Why conservative Christians continue to insist that Moses wrote the Pentateuch…against all evidence

Copied from the conservative Christian website:  AnswersinGenesis.org

The Documentary (or JEDP) Hypothesis

Various sections of the Pentateuch are assigned to various authors who are identified by the letters J, E, D, and P. Hence, it is called the documentary hypothesis (or the JEDP model3). As this hypothesis was developed by a number of Jewish and theologically liberal Christian scholars in the late seventeenth to the late nineteenth centuries, there were a number of different proposals of who wrote what and when. But by the end of the nineteenth century liberal scholars had reached general agreement. The letters stand for:

  • J documents are the sections, verses, or in some cases parts of verses that were written by one or more authors who preferred to use the Hebrew name Jahweh (Jehovah) to refer to God. It is proposed that this author wrote about 900–850 BC.
  • E documents are the texts that use the name Elohim for God and were supposedly written around 750–700 BC.
  • D stands for Deuteronomy, most of which was written by a different author or group of authors, perhaps around the time of King Josiah’s reforms in 621 BC.
  • P stands for Priest and identifies the texts in Leviticus and elsewhere in the Pentateuch that were written by a priest or priests during the exile in Babylon after 586 BC.

Then around 400 BC some redactors (i.e., editors) supposedly combined these four independently written texts to form the Pentateuch as it was known in the time of Jesus and modern times.

Reasons to reject the Documentary Hypothesis

There are many reasons to reject this skeptical attack on the Bible. First, consider what the Bible itself says about the authorship of the Pentateuch.

Biblical witness to Mosaic authorship

  1. The chart below shows that the Pentateuch states that Moses wrote these books: Exodus 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Numbers 33:1–2; Deuteronomy 31:9–11. In his rejection of Mosaic authorship, Wellhausen nowhere discussed this biblical evidence. It is easy to deny Mosaic authorship, if one ignores the evidence for it. But that is not honest scholarship.
  2. We also have the witness of the rest of the Old Testament: Joshua 1:8; 8:31–32; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; 21:8; Ezra 6:18; Nehemiah 13:1; Daniel 9:11–13; Malachi 4:4.
  3. The New Testament is also clear in its testimony: Matthew 19:8; John 5:45–47; 7:19; Acts 3:22; Romans 10:5; Mark 12:26. The divisions of the Old Testament were clearly in place in the Jewish mind long before the time of Christ, namely, the Law of Moses (first 5 books of the OT), the Prophets (the historical and prophetic books) and the Writings (the poetic books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, etc.). So when Jesus referred to the Law of Moses, His Jewish listeners knew exactly to what He was referring.

Gary:  So what this conservative Christian author says is:

1.  Since the books of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) say that Moses wrote them…that is evidence that he did!  It doesn’t matter that modern textual analysis proves that Moses did not write these books.  If the inerrant Holy Book says Moses wrote it…he did

This is just another version of:  “The Bible is inerrant…because the Bible says it is inerrant.”

2.  The rest of the Old Testament confirms that Moses wrote the Pentateuch??…or the rest of the Old Testament, written by King Josiah’s scribes and supplemented by Jewish scribes in captivity in Babylon, simply make these statements to reinforce the authority of the previous fabricated stories?

3.  Since the Jews in the New Testament believed that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, and especially the fact that Jesus believed that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, that is solid evidence that Moses did write the Pentateuch!

But what if Jesus and the Jews of the first century AD were mistaken?  What if they believed that Moses wrote the Pentateuch solely because they were told by their rabbis and priests that Moses wrote them…who were taught the same stories by their rabbis and priests, etc., going all the way back to the Jewish scribes in Babylon who fabricated the story to begin with???

The whole conservative Christian defense for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is based on assuming that Jesus wouldn’t believe a fabricated tale to be the truth!

  Science and archaeology clearly demonstrate that Jesus made a mistake!

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