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Did Moses write the book of Genesis? (part 2)

My last post on the authorship on Genesis was originally a response to a question posed by another blogger I read often, Uri Brito of Ad Majorum Dei Glorium. He was originally concerned with James Jordan’s argument against the Mosaic authorship of Genesis. I am going in an entirely different direction with this. I am not so much concerned with Jordan as I am with the idea of a book in the Biblical canon lacking a pedigree. Moses had to be the author of the five books of Moses.

Uri then comments:

Concerning point 3, remember that the death of Moses is recorded in Deuteronomy. Jordan does not believe Joseph had anything to do with the authorship of Deuteronomy. As for your question, who wrote about Moses’ death-your guess is as good as mine. To me, however, it is obvious that it was not Moses and I think church history bears that skepticism as well.

I respond:

I use that passage about Joseph’s bones as an example of the skepticism that Moses was the author of the “five books of Moses.” It is possible that Moses composed the five books as we know them today. However, it would not do violence to inerrancy to say that a later prophet, such as Joshua, redacted the Pentateuch.

It is also possible that Ezra or one of the prophets after Moses edited some of the books of the Old Testament. As a prophet, he would have had the authority to do so.

If Jesus and the Apostles taught the five books were the books of Moses, then they were the books of Moses. It is useless to conjecture what that meant. We can speculate as to whether Moses received it from an earlier source. For instance, I can hypothesize that Moses compared the story of Joseph in the Egyptian libraries with the story of Jethro in the wilderness. But this is a thesis that can never be proven — however likely it may sound. The problem is that this is the type of wild fancy that Higher Critics engage in. Conservative evangelicals follow their lead and reject almost every established tradition about authorship.

For instance, virtually every Christian has been taught that Mark was the first Gospel written and the ancient tradition that Matthew was very early (37 to 40 A.D.) is now thought to be a mistake. All the church fathers who wrote on the topic of priority believed that the order is exactly as we have in now in the canon.

The idea that the other Gospels followed Mark is based on the attempt of liberals to date the writing of the synoptic Gospels in the late first or even the second century. They posit the “Q” source or a “two sources” theory and reason that pseudonymous writers — not the Apostles — wrote the Gospels later on. Evangelicals swallow their conclusions hook, line and sinker when they reject the Markan priority, which has no basis in evidence unless we accept the late writing of the four Gospels and an earlier fifth Gospel that has been lost to us.

The bottom line is that the New Testament authors quoted from Genesis thinking that Moses was the author. We should too.

Comments

Your comments are welcome!

Hey Jay,

I actually don't work for CCM Magazine anymore. I write books for a living. So thanks for the encouragement; I won't give up my day job! And yeah, you should start that blog.

Matthew

Posted by Matthew Paul Turner on 03/28/2015 08:16 AM #

For an update on my 'Toledoth' articles, re Mosaic authorship, visit my House of Gold blog.
http://houseofgold.blog.com

There you will find also the correct location for the era of Moses.

Damien F. Mackey
22 Nov 07

Posted by Damien F. Mackey on 03/28/2015 08:16 AM #

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

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This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

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Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

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Running Time: 40 minutes

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