Explore BrainMass

The Hebrew Bible, otherwise known as the "Torah"

Investigate when, where and by whom the Hebrew Bible was

Solution Preview

The Hebew Bible, otherwise known as the "Torah" consists of the first five books of the old testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Judaic traditions says "Moses" wrote these books. These books of Moses are also known as; The Pentateuch, the Books of the Law, the Law, and the Torah. There are also Christian Scripture references to Moses writing these books.

Conflicting quotations regarding authorship:

* "...despite all the arguments made against Mosaic authorship/editorship, the traditional view [that Moses wrote the Pentateuch] is still as critically tenable as any of the others." J.D. Douglas et al. 1
* "..there is hardly a biblical scholar in the world actively working on the [authorship] problem who would claim that the Five Books of Moses were written by Moses." R.E. Friedman. 2
* " has long been recognized that...[Moses] cannot have been the author, and that the Pentateuch is in fact anonymous." D.J.A. Clines. 3

Biblical Terms:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are sometimes referred to as:

* the "Five Books of Moses," because the writings themselves identify the author as Moses, or
* the "Pentateuch," a Greek term meaning "pente (5) teuchos (volumes)," or
* the "Books of the Law", or
* the "Torah" (a Hebrew word meaning "instruction")

These books were originally written as a single unbroken scroll. Sometime before the 2nd Century BCE, it was divided into the 5 books that we see today.
What does the Bible itself say about authorship of the Pentateuch?

There are about two dozen verses in the Hebrew Scriptures and one dozen in the Christian Scriptures which state or strongly imply that Moses was the author. Consider the following passages from the New Living Translation (NLT):

* Passages in the Pentateuch itself:
o Exodus 17:14 "Then the Lord instructed Moses, 'Write this down as a permanent record...'"
o Exodus 24:4 "Then Moses carefully wrote down all the Lord's instructions."
o Exodus 34:27 "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Write down all these instructions, for they represents the terms of my covenant with you and with Israel.'"
o Leviticus 1:1 "The Lord called to Moses from the Tabernacle and said to him, 'Give the following instructions to the Israelites...'"
o Leviticus 6:8 "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Give Aaron and his sons the following instructions...'"
o Deuteronomy 31:9 "So Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the priests."
o Deuteronomy 31:24-26 "When Moses had finished writing down this entire body of law in a book..."
* Passages elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures:
o Joshua 1:7-8 "...Obey all the laws Moses gave you."
o Joshua 8:31-34 "He followed the instructions that Moses the Lord's servant had written in the Book of the Law..."
o Joshua 22:5 "...obey all the commands and the laws that Moses gave to you."
o 2 Chronicles 34:14 "...Hilkiah the high priest...found the book of the Law of the Lord as it had been given through Moses."
* Passages in the Gospels which show that Jesus and John the Baptizer believed Moses to be the author:
o Matthew 19:7-8 "...why did Moses say a man could merely write an official letter of divorce and send her away?", they asked. Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted divorce...'"
o Matthew 22:24 "Moses said, 'If a man dies without children...'"
o Mark 7:10 "For instance, Moses gave you this law from God..."
o Mark 12:24 "...haven't you ever read about this in the writings of Moses, in the story of the burning bush..."
o Luke 24:44 "...I told you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms ...

Solution Summary

The Hebrew Bible, otherwise known as the "Torah," is briefly explained.