Friday, April 10, 2020

Mosaic Authorship Of The Pentateuch

Pentateuch, the. The Greek name given to the five books commonly called the Five Books of Moses. The present Jews usually call the whole by the name of Torak, i.e. "the LAW," or Torath Moshek, " the Law of Moses." The rabbinical title is "the five-fifths of the Law." The division of the whole work into five parts has by some writers been supposed to be original. Others, with more probability, think that the division was made by the Greek translators; for the titles of the several books are not of Hebrew but of Greek origin. The Hebrew names are merely taken from the first words of each book, and in the first instance only designated particular sections, and not whole books. The MSS. of the Pentateuch form a single roll or volume, and are divided, not into books, but into the larger and smaller sections called Parshiyath and Sedarim. For the several names and contents of the Five Books, we refer to the articles on each book, where questions affecting their integrity and genuineness are also discussed. The unity of the work in its existing form is now generally recognized. It is not a mere collection of loose fragments carelessly put together at different times, but bears evident traces of design and purpose in its composition. The question has been raised, whether the Book of Joshua does not, properly speaking, constitute an integral portion of this work. All that seems probable is, that the Book of Joshua received a final revision at the hands of Ezra, or some earlier prophet, at the same time with the books of the Law. At different times, suspicions have been entertained that the Pentateuch as we now have it is not the Pentateuch of the earliest age, and that the work must have undergone various modifications and additions before it assumed its present shape. So early as the second century, we find the author of the Clementine Homilies calling in question the authenticity of the Mosaic writings. Jerome, there can be little doubt, had seen the difficulty of supposing the Pentateuch to be altogether, in its present forms, the work of Moses. Aben Ezra (1167), in his Com. on Deut. i. 1, threw out some doubts as to the Mosaic authorship of certain passages, such as Gen. xii. 6, Deut. iii. 10, 11, xxxi. 9. For centuries, however, the Pentateuch was generally received in the Church without question as written by Moses. The Age of criticism had not yet come. The first signs of its approach were seen in the 17th century. Spinoza (Tract. Theol.-Palit. c. 8, 9, published in 1679) set himself boldly to controvert the received authorship of the Pentateuch. But it was not till the middle of the last century that the question as to the authorship of the Pentateuch was handled with anything like a discerning criticism. In the year 1753 there appeared at Brussels a work entitled "Conjectures sur les Mémoires originaux, dont il paroit que Moyse s'est servi pour composer le Livre de Genèse." It was written in his in his 69th year by Astruc, Doctor and Professor of Medicine in the Royal College at Paris, and Court Physician to Louis XIV. 

His critical eye had observed that throughout the Book of Genesis, and as far as the 6th chapter of Exodus, traces were to be found of two original documents, each characterized by a distinct use of the names of God; the one by the name Elohim, and the other by the name Jehovah. Besides these two principal documents, he supposed Moses to have made use of ten others in the composition of the earlier part of his work. But this documentary hypothesis," as it is called, was too conservative and too rational for some critics. Vater And A. T. Hartmann maintained that the Pentateuch consisted merely of a number of fragments loosely strung together without order or design. This has been called the "fragmentary hypothesis." Both of these have now been superseded by the supplementary hypothesis, which has been adopted with various modifications by De Wette, Bleek, Stahelin, Tuch, Lengerke, Hupfeld, Knobel, Bunsen, Kurta, Delitzsch, Schultz, Vaihinger, and others. They all alike recognize two documents in the Pentateuch. "They suppose the narrative of the Elohist, the more ancient writer, to have been the foundation of the work, and that the Jehovist, or later writer making use of this document, added to and commented upon it, sometimes transcribing portions of it intact, and sometimes incorporating the substance of it into his own work But though thus arriving in the main, they differ widely in the application of the theory. Thus, for instance, De Wette distinguishes between the Elohist and the Jehovist to the first four books, and attributes Deuteronomy to a differ ent writer altogether. S helin, on the other hand, declares for the identity of the Deuteronomist and the Jehovist and supposes the last to have written in the reign of Saul, and the Elohist in the time of the Judges. Hopfeld finds, in general at least, traces of three authors, an earlier and later Elohist, as well as the Jehovist. Delitesch agrees with the authors above mentioned in recognizing two distinct documents as the basis of the Pentateuch, especially in its earlier portions, but he entirely severs himself from them in maintaining that Deuteronomy is the work of Moses. Ewald distinguishes seven different authors in the great book of Origines or l'rimitive History (comprising the Pentateuch and Joshua). 

On the other side, however, stands an array of names scarcely less distinguished for learning, who maintain not only that there is unity of design in the Pentateuch which is granted by many of those before mentioned but who contend that this unity of design can only be explained on the supposition of . single author, and that this author could have been none other than Moses. This is the ground taken by Hengstenberg, Havernick, Drechsler, Ranke, Welte, and Keil. 

II. We ask in the next place, What is the testimony of the Pentateuch itself with regard to is authorship? 1. We find on reference to Ex. xxiv. 3, 4, that "Moses came and told the people all the words of Jehovah and all the judgments, and that he subsequently wrote down all the words of Jehovah. These were written on a roll called the book of the covenant, the ten commandments. Leaving Deuteronomy aside for the present, there are only two other passages in which mention is made of the writing of any part of the Law and those are Ex. xvii. 14, where Moss is commanded to write the defeat of Amalek in book (or rather in the book, one already in use for the purpose and Num. xxxiii. 1, where we are informed that Moss wrote the journeyings of the children of Israel in the desert, and the various stations at which they cramped. It obviously does not follow from the statements that Moses wrote all the rest of the first four books which bear his name. Nor on the other hand does this specific testimony with regard to certain portions justify us in coming to an opposite conclusion. So far, nothing can be determined positively one way or the other. 

But it may be said that we have an express testimony to the Mosaic authorship of the Law in Deut. xxxi. 9-12, where we are told that " Moses wrote this Law," and delivered it to the custody of the priests, with a command that it should be read before all the people at the end of every seven years, on the Feast of Tabernacles. In ver. 24 it is further said, that when he "had made an end of writing the words of this Law in a book till they were finished," he delivered it to the Levites to be placed in the side of the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, that it might be preserved as a witness against the people. Such a statement is no doubt decisive; but the question is, how far does it extend? Do the words  'this Law ' comprise all the Mosaic legislation as contained in the last four books of the Pentateuch, or must they be confined only to Deuteronomy 1? The last is apparently the only tenable view. So far, the direct evidence from the Pentateuch itself is not sufficient to establish the Mosaic authorship of every portion of Five Books. Certain parts of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and the whole of Deuteronomy to the end of chap, xxx., are all that are expressly said to have been written by Moses. Two questions are yet to be answered. Is there evidence that parts of the work were not written by Moses? Is there evidence that parts of the work are later than his time? 

2. The next question we ask is this: Is there any evidence to show that he did not write portions of the work which goes by his name? We have already referred to the last chapter of Deuteronomy, which gives an account of his death. Is it probable that Moses wrote the words in Ex. xi. 3, or those in Num. xii. 3? On the other hand, are not such words of praise just what we might expect from the friend and disciple who pronounced his eulogium after his death? (Deut. xxxiv. 10.) 3. But there is other evidence, to a critical eye not a whit less convincing, which points in the same direction. If, without any theory casting its shadow upon us, and without any fear of consequences before our eyes, we read thoughtfully only the Book of Genesis, we can hardly escape the conviction that it partakes of the nature of a compilation. It has indeed a unity of plan, a coherence of parts, a shapeliness and an order, which satisfy us that as it stands it is the creation of a single mind. But it bears also manifest traces of having been based upon an earlier work  and that earlier work itself seems to have had cm- bedded in it fragments of still more ancient documents. Before proceeding to prove this, it may not be unnecessary to state, in order to avoid misconstruction, that such a theory docs not in the least militate against the divine authority of the book. The history contained in Genesis could not have been narrated by Moses from personal knowledge; but whether he was taught it by immediate divine suggestion, or was directed by the Holy Spirit to the use of earlier documents, is immaterial in reference to the inspiration of the work. The question may therefore be safely discussed on critical grounds alone. 

The language of chapter i. I-ii. 3 is totally unlike that of the section which follows, ii. 4- iii. 23. This last is not only distinguished by a peculiar use of the Divine Names — for here and nowhere else in the whole Pentateuch, except Ex. ix. 30, have we the combination of the two, Jehovah Elohim — but also by a mode of expression peculiar to itself. It is also remarkable for preserving an account of the Creation distinct from that contained in the first chapter. It may be said, indeed, that this account does not contradict the former, and knight therefore have proceeded from the same pen. But, fully admitting that there is no contradiction, the representation is so different, that it is far more natural to conclude that it was derived from some other, though not antagonistic source. To take another instance. Chapter xiv. is, beyond all doubt, an ancient monument, — papyrus-roll it may have been, or inscription on stone, — which has been copied and transplanted in its original form into our present Book of Genesis. Archaic it is in its whole character; distinct too, again, from the rest of the book in its use of the name of God. We believe, then, that at least these two portions of Genesis — chap. ii. 4-iii. 24, and chap, xiv. — are original documents, preserved, it may have been, like the genealogies, which are also a very prominent feature of the book, in the tents of the patriarchs, and made use of either by the Elohist or the Jehovist for his history. We come now to a more ample examination of the question as to the distinctive use of the Divine Names. Is it the fact, as Astruc was the first to surmise, that this early portion of the Pentateuch, extending from Gen. l. to Ex. vi., does contain two original documents characterized by their separate use of the Divine Names and by other peculiarities of style? Of this there can be no reasonable doubt. We do find, not only scattered verses, but whole sections, thus characterized. Through out this portion of the Pentateuch, the name Jehovah prevails in some sections, and Elohim in others. There are a few sections where both are employed indifferently ; and there are, finally, sections of some length in which neither the one nor the other occurs. And we find moreover that in connection with this use of the Divine Names there is also a distinctive and characteristic phraseology. The style and idiom of the Jehovah sections is not the same as the style and idiom of the Elohim sections. After Ex. vi. 2-vii. 7, the name Elohim almost ceases to be characteristic of whole sections; the only exceptions to this rule being Ex. xiii. 17-19 and chap, xviii. Such a phenomenon as this cannot be without significance. If, as Hengstenberg and those who agree with him would persuade us, the use of the Divine Names is to be accounted for throughout by a reference to their etymology — if the author uses the one when his design is to speak of God as the Creator and the Judge, and the other when his object is to set forth God as the Redeemer — then it still cannot but appear remarkable that only up to a particular point do these names stamp separate sections of the narrative, where as afterwards all such distinctive criterion fails. Still this phenomenon of the distinct use of the Divine Names would scarcely of itself prove the point, that there are two documents which form the groundwork of the existing Pentateuch. But there is other evidence pointing the same way. We find, for instance, the same story told by the two writers, and their two accounts manifestly interwoven; and we find also certain favorite words and phrases which distinguish the one writer from the other. (1.) In proof of the first, it is sufficient to read the history of Noah. In order to make this more clear, we will separate the two documents, and arrange them in parallel columns : —

Gen. vi. 5. And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented Jehovah &c.
Gen. vi. 12. And Elohim saw the earth, and behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
 7. And Jehovah said, I will blot out man whom I have created from on the face of the ground.
13. And Elohim said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth.
vii. 1. And Jehovah said to Noah ... Thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. vi. 9. Noah a righteous man was perfect in his generation. With Elohim did Noah walk.
vii. 2. Of all cattle which is clean thou shalt take to thee by sevens, male and his female; and of all cattle which is not clean, two, male and his female. vi. 19. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of all shalt thou bring into the ark to preserve alive with thee: male and female shall they be.
3. Also of fowl of the air by sevens, male and female, to preserve seed alive on the face of all the earth. 20. Of fowl after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every thing that creepeth on the ground after his kind, two of all shall come unto thee that thou mayest preserve (them) alive.
vii. 4. For in yet seven days I will send rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out all the substance which I have made from or the face of the ground. vi. 17. And I, behold I do bring the flood, waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven: all that is in the earth shall perish.
vii. 5. And Noah did according to all that Jehovah commanded him. vi. 22. And Noah did according to all that Elohim commanded him; so did he.

Without carrying this parallelism farther at length, we will merely indicate by references the traces of the two documents in the rest of the narrative of the Flood : — vii. 1,6, on the Jehovah side, answer to vi. 18, vii. 11, on the Elohim side; vii. 7, 8, 9, 17, 23, to vii. 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, 22; viii. 21, 22, to ix. 8, 9, 10, 1 1. (2.) But again we find that these duplicate narratives are characterized by peculiar modes of expression; and that, generally, the Elolistic and Jehovistic sections have their own distinct and individual coloring. There is therefore, it seems, good ground for concluding that, besides some smaller independent documents, traces may be discovered of two original historical works, which form the basis of the present Book of Genesis and of the earlier chapters of Exodus. Of these there can be no doubt that the Elohistic is the earlier. The passage in Ex. vi. establishes this, as well as the matter and style of the document itself. Whether Moses himself was the author of either of these works is a different question. Both are probably in the main as old as his time; the Elohistic certainly is, and perhaps older. 4. But we may now advance a step farther. There are certain references of time and place which clearly prove that the work, in its present form, is later than the time of Moses. When, for instance, it is said (Gen. xii. 6, comp. xiii. 7), "And the Canaanitc was then in the land," toe obvious meaning of such a remark seems to be that the state of things was different in the time of the writer; and the conclusion is, that the words must have been written after the occupation of the land by the Israelites. The principal notices of time and place which have been alleged as bespeaking for the Pentateuch a later date are the following : — (a.) References of time. Ex. vi. 26, 27, need not be regarded as a later addition, for it obviously sums up the genealogical register given just before, and refers back to ver. 13. But it is more naturally reconcilable with some other authorship than that of Moses. Again, Ex. xvi. 33-36, though it must have been introduced after the rest of the look was written, may have been added by Moses himself, supposing him to have composed the rest of the book. Moses there directs him to have composed the rest of the book. Moses there directs Aaron to lay up the manna before Jehovah, and then we read : "As Jehovah commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony " (i.e. the Ark) "to be kept. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited ; they did eat manna until they come unto the borders of the land of Canaan." Then follows the remark, "Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah." It is clear then that this passage was written not only after the Ark was made, but after the Israelites had entered the Promised Land. The difficulty is greater with a passage in the Book of Genesis. The genealogical table of Esau's family (chap, xxxvi.) can scarcely be regarded as a later interpolation. It docs not interrupt the order and connection of the book; on the contrary, it is a most es sential part of its structure; it is one of the ten "generations" or genealogical registers which form, so to speak, the backbone of the whole. Here we find the remark (ver. 31), "And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel." No unprejudiced person can read the words, " before there reigned any king over the children of Israel," with out feeling that, when they were written, kings had already begun to reign over Israel. Either then we must admit that the Book of Genesis did not exist as a whole till the times of David and Solomon, or we must regard this particular verse as the interpolation of a later editor. 

Similar remarks may perhaps apply to Lev. xviii. 28. This undoubtedly assumes the occupation of the Land of Canaan by the Israelites. The great difficulty connected with this pas sage, however, is that it is not a supplementary remark of the writer's, but that the words arc the words of God directing Moses what he is to say to the children of Israel (ver. 1 ). (4.) In several instances, older names of places give place to those which came later into use in Canaan. In Gen. xiv. 14 and in Deut. xxxiv. I, occurs the name of the well-known city of Dan. In Genesis, we can only fairly account for its appearance by supposing that the old name Laish originally stood in the MS., and that Dan was substituted for it on some later revision. In Josh. xiv. 15 (comp. xv. 13, 54) and Judg: i. 10, we are told that the original name of Hebron before the conquest of Canaan was Kirjath-Arba. In Gen. xxiii. 2, the older name occurs, and the explanation is added evidently by some one who wrote later than the occupation of Canaan), " the same is Hebron." Another instance of a similar kind is the occurrence of Hormah in Num. xiv. 45, xxi. 1-3, compared with Judg. i. 17. So far, then, judging the work simply by what we find in it, there is abundant evidence to show that, though the main bulk of it is Mosaic, certain detached portions of it are of later growth. We are not obliged, because of the late date of these portions, to bring down the rest of the book to later times. 

III. We are now to consider the evidence lying outside of the Pentateuch itself, which bears upon its authorship and the probable date of its composition. This evidence is of three kinds : first, direct mention of the work as already existing in the later books of the Bible; secondly, the existence of a book substantially the same as the present Pentateuch amongst the Samaritans ; and, lastly, allusions less direct, such as historical references, quotations, and the like, which presuppose its existence. 1. We have direct evidence for the authorship of the Law in Josh i. 7, 8, and viii. 31, 34, xxiii. 6, xxiv. 26, in all which places Moses is said to have written it. The Book of Judges does not speak of the Book of the Law. No direct mention of it occurs in the Books of Samuel. The first mention of the Law of Moses after the establishment of the monarchy is in David's charge to his son Solomon, on his deathbed (1 K. ii. 3). The allusion seems to be to parts of Deuteronomy, and therefore favors the Mosaic authorship of that book (comp. viii. 9, 53). In 2 K. xi. 12, "the testimony is put into the hands of Joash at his coronation. This must have been a book containing either the whole of the Mosaic law, or at least the Book of Deuteronomy. Ir. the Books of Chronicles, far more frequent mention is made of " the Law of Jehovah," or " the book of the Law of Moses " — a fact which may be accounted for partly by the priestly character of those books (comp. 1 Chr. xvi. 40, xxii. 12, 13; 2 Chr. xii. 1, xiv. 4, xv. 3, xvii. 9, xxv. 4, xxxi. 3, 4, 21, xxxiii. 8, xxxiv. 14, xxxv. 26). In Ezra and Nehemiah, we have mention several times made of the Law of Moses, and here there can be no doubt that our present Pentateuch is meant; for we have no reason to suppose that any later revision of it took place. At this time, then, the existing Pentateuch was regarded as the work of Moses. The Books of Chronicles, though undoubtedly based upon ancient records, are probably in their present form as late as the time of Ezra. Hence it might be supposed that if the reference is to the present Pentateuch in Ezra, the present Pentateuch must also be referred to in Chronicles. But this does not follow. The Book of Ezra speaks of the Law as it existed in the time of the writer; the Books of Chronicles speak of it as it existed long before. Hence the author of the latter (who may have been Ezra), in making mention of the Law of Moses, refers of course to that recension of it which existed at the particular periods over which his history travels. In Dan. ix. 11, 13, the Law of Moses is mentioned; and here again a book differing in nothing from our f resent Pentateuch is probably meant. In the Prophets and in the Psalms, though there are many allusions to the Law, evidently as a written document, there are none as to its authorship. 

2. Conclusive proof of the early composition of the Pentateuch, it has been argued, exists in the fact that the Samaritans had their own copies of it, not differing very materially from those possessed by the Jews, except in a few passages which had probably been purposely tampered with and altered: such for instance as Ex. xii. 40; Deut. xxvii. 4. If this point could be satisfactorily established, we should have a limit of time in one direction for the composition of the Pentateuch. It could not have been later than the times of the earliest kings. It must have been earlier than the reign of Solomon, and indeed than that of Saul. History leaves us altogether in doubt as to the time at which the Pentateuch was received by the Samaritans. Copies of it might have been left in the northern kingdom after Shalmaneser's invasion, though this is hardly probable; or they might have been introduced thither daring the religious reforms of Hezekiah or Josiah. But the actual condition of the Samaritan Pentateuch is against any such supposition. It agrees so remarkably with the existing Hebrew Pentateuch, and that too in those passages which are manifestly interpolations and corrections as late as the time of Ezra, that we must look for some other period to which to refer the adoption of the Books of Moses by the Samaritans. This we find after the Babylonish exile, at the time of the institution of the rival worship on Gerizim. Till the return from Babylon, there is no evidence that the Samaritans regarded the Jews with any extraordinary dislike or hostility. But the manifest distrust and suspicion with which Nehemiah met their advances when he was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem provoked their wrath. From this time forward, they were declared and open enemies. A full discussion of this question would be out of place here. We incline to the view of Prideaux, that the Samaritan Pentateuch was in fact a transcript of Ezra's revised copy. The saint view is virtually adopted by Gesenius. 

3. We are now to consider evidence of a more indirect kind, which bears not so much on the Mosaic authorship as on the early existence of the work as a whole. This last circumstance, however, if satisfactorily made out, is, indirectly at least, an argument that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Hengstenberg has tried to show that all the later books, by their allusions and quotations, presuppose the existence of the Books of the Law. He traces, moreover, the influence of the Law upon the whole life, civil and religious, of the nation after their settlement in the land of Canaan. Now, beyond all doubt, there are numerous most striking references, both in the Prophets and in the Books of Kings, to passages which are found in our present Pentateuch. It is established in the most convincing manner that the legal portions of the Pentateuch already existed in writing before the separation of the two kingdoms. Even as regards the historical portions, there are often in the later books almost verbal coincidences of expression, which render it more than probable that these also existed in writing. But now if, as appears from the examination of all the extant Jewish literature, the Pentateuch existed as a canonical book; if, moreover, it was a book so well known that its words had become household words among the people; and if the prophets could appeal to it as a recognized and well-known document, — how comes it to pass that in the reign of Josiah, one of the latest kings, its existence as a canonical book seems to have been almost forgotten? Yet such was evidently the fact. How are we to explain this surprise and alarm in the mind of Josiah, betraying as it does such utter ignorance of the Book of the Law, and of the severity of its threatening, except on the supposition that, as a written document, it had well-nigh perished? This must have been the case, and it is not so extraordinary a fact perhaps as it appears at first sight. It is quite true that, in the reign of Ahaz, the prophet Isaiah directed the people to turn "to the Law and to the Testimony;" and Hezekiah, who succeeded Ahaz, had no doubt reigned in the spirit of the prophet's advice. But the next monarch was guilty of outrageous wickedness, and filled Jerusalem with idols. How great a desolation might one wicked prince effect, especially during a lengthened reign! To this we must add, that at no time, in all probability, were there many copies of the Law existing in writing. It was probably then the custom, as it still is in the East, to trust largely to the memory for its transmission. The ritual would easily be perpetuated by the mere force of observance, though much of it doubtless became perverted, and some part of it perhaps obsolete, through the neglect of the priests. The command of Moses, which laid upon the king the obligation of making a copy of the Law for himself, had of course long been disregarded. Here and there perhaps only some prophet or righteous man possessed a copy of the sacred book. The bulk of the nation were without it. The oral transmission of the Law and the living witness of the prophets had superseded the written document, till at last it had become so scarce as to be almost unknown. 

On carefully weighing all the evidence hither to adduced, we can hardly question, without a literary skepticism which would be most unreasonable, that the Pentateuch is to a very considerable extent as early as the time of Moses, though it may have undergone many later revisions and corrections, the last of these being certainly as late as the time of Ezra. But as regards any direct and unimpeachable testimony to the composition of the whole work by Moses, we have it not. Only one book out of the five — that of Deuteronomy — claims in express terms to be from his hand. And yet, strange to say, this is the very book in which modern criticism refuses most peremptorily to admit the claim. It is of importance therefore to consider this question separately. All allow that the Book of the Covenant id Exodus, perhaps a great part of Leviticus and some part of Numbers, were written by Israel's greatest leader and prophet. But Deuteronomy, it is alleged, is in style and purpose so utterly unlike the genuine writings of Moses, that it is quite impossible to believe that he is the author. But how then set aside the express testimony of the book itself? How explain the fact that Moses is there said to have written all the words of this law, to have consigned it to the custody of the priests, and to have charged the Levites sedulously to preserve it by the side of the ark? Only by the bold assertion that the fiction was invented by a later writer, who chose to personate the great Lawgiver in order to give the more color of consistency to His work! But, besides the fact that Deuteronomy claims to have been written by Moses there is other evidence which establishes the great antiquity of the book. 

1. It is remarkable for its allusions to Egypt, which ore just what would be expected sup posing Moses to have been the author. In xi. 10, there is an allusion to the Egyptian mode of irrigation; in xx. 5, to Egyptian regulations in time of war; in xxv. 2, to the Egyptian bastinado. Again, among the curses threatened are the sicknesses of Egypt, xxviii. 60 (comp. vii. 15). According to xxviii. 68, Egypt is the type of all the oppressors of Israel. Lastly, references to the sojourning in Egypt are numerous (vi. 21-23 ; see also vii. 8, 18, xi. 3). The phraseology of the book, and the archaisms found in it, stamp it as of the same age with the rest of the Pentateuch. 2. A fondness for the use of figures is another peculiarity of Deuteronomy. See i. 31, 44, viii. 5, xxviii. 13, 29, 44, 49, xxxix. 17, 18. The results are most surprising when we compare Deuteronomy with the Book of the Covenant (Ex. xix.-xxiv.) on the one hand, and with Ps. xc. (which is said to be Mosaic) on the other. In addition to all these peculiarities which are arguments for the Mosaic authorship of the book, we have here, too, the evidence strong and clear, of post-Mosaic times and writings. The attempt by a wrong interpretation of 2 K. xxii. and 2 Chr. xxxiv. to bring down Deuteronomy as low as the time of Manasseh fails utterly. A century earlier, the Jewish prophets borrow their words and their thoughts from Deuteronomy. Since, then, not only Jeremiah and Ezekiel, but Amos and Hosea, Isaiah and Micah, speak in the words of Deuteronomy, as well as in words borrowed from other portions of the Pentateuch, we see at once how untenable is the theory of those who, like Ewald, maintain that Deuteronomy was composed during the reign of Manasseh, or, as Vaihinger does, during that of Hezekiah. But, in truth, the book speaks for itself. No imitator could have written in such a strain. We scarcely need the express testimony of the work to its own authorship. But, having it, we find all the internal evidence conspiring to show that it came from Moses. We therefore declare unhesitatingly for the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy. Briefly, then, to sum up the results of our inquiry. 1. The Book of Genesis rests chiefly on documents much earlier than the time of Moses, though it was probably brought to very nearly its present shape either by Moses himself, or by one of the elders who acted under him. 2. The Books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, are to a great extent Mosaic. Besides those portions which are expressly declared to have been written by him, other portions, and especially the legal sections, were, if not actually written, in all probability dictated by him. 3. Deuteronomy, excepting the concluding part, is entirely the work of Moses, as it professes to be. 4. It is not probable that this was written before the three preceding books, because the legislation in Exodus and Leviticus as being the more formal is manifestly the earlier, whilst Deuteronomy is the spiritual interpretation and application of the Law. But the letter is always before the spirit; the thing before its interpretation. 5. The first composition of the Pentateuch as a whole could not have taken place till after the Israelites entered Canaan. It is probable that Joshua, and the elders who were associated with him, would provide for its formal arrangement, custody, and transmission. 6. The whole work did not finally assume its present shape till its revision was undertaken by Ezra after the return from the Babylonish Captivity.

William Smith, A Dictionary Of the Bible Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, p. 715-721


Searching for Truth said...

I agree wholeheartedly, regarding the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, I would assert that Wellhausen's documentary hypothesis, which is predicated upon a presuposed philosophical naturalism, has been thoroughly and definitively refuted by a number of scholars. It is falling out of favor even amongst adherents of the modern critical methodology. See: Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, [Moody Press, 1974], for an excellent introduction to the old testament, as well as a comprehensive refutation of Wellhausen and critical scholarship in general.

Archer, who among his many degrees possessed an LL.B from Suffolk Law School, stated: is very doubtful whether the Wellhausen hypothesis is entitled to the status of scientific respectability. There is so much of special pleading, circular reasoning, questionable deductions from unsubstantiated premises, that it is absolutely certain that its methodology would never stand up in a court of law. Scarcely any of the laws of evidence respected in legal proceedings are honored by the architects of this documentary theory. Any attorney who attempted to interpret a will or statute or deed of conveyance in the bizarre and irresponsible fashion of the source critics of the Pentateuch would find his case thrown out of court without delay.
(Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, [Moody Press, 1974], pp. 108-109).

Searching for Truth said...

While I am personally inclined to disagree with Smith regarding the "two document theory" for the composition of Genesis (I am certainly no authority on the subject). I believe Engnell makes a valid point:

In so far as a certain "constant" change of divine names is really to be found, a closer examination shows that this does not rest upon change of documents but upon a conscious stylistic practice of the traditionist, something which is bound up with the fact that the different divine names have different ideological associations and therewith different import. Thus, Yahweh is readily used when it is a question of Israel's national God, indicated as such over against foreign gods, and where the history of the fathers is concerned, &c., while on the other hand Elohim, "God," gives more expression to a "theological" and abstract-cosmic picture of God, and is therefore used in larger and more moving contexts. …So, then, it is the traditionist, the same traditionist, who varies in the choice of the divine names, not the "documents."
(Engnell, Art. 'Moseböckerna,' Svenskt Bibliskt Uppslagsverk, ii) cited from (C. R. North, "Pentateuchal Criticism," found in: The Old Testament and Modern Study: A Generation of Discovery and Research, H. H. Rowley, ed., [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961], pp. 66-67).

That aside, I would certainly say that Smith falls within the parameters of historical orthodoxy with his conclusions, and provides valuable insight and food for thought.

Jesse Albrecht said...

Authorship as a concept in Moses' time included what we would call an editor or compiler. I am fine with the idea of Moses doing a variety of duties and not personally writing every word.