What solid evidence is there for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch? Gleason L. Archer

What solid evidence is there for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch?

What solid evidence is there for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch?
What solid evidence is there for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch?

It is common in liberal or neoorthodox circles to deny that Moses had anything to do with the composition of the Pentateuch. Most critics of that persuasion feel that the so-called Books of Moses were written by several different, anonymous authors beginning in the ninth century and concluding with the final portion, the “Priestly Code,” around 445 B.C.—just in time for Ezra to read it aloud at the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Neh. 8).

Still, other scholars, especially those of the form-critical school, feel that rather little of the Pentateuch was actually written down until the time of Ezra, even though some portions of it may have existed as oral tradition for several centuries previous—perhaps even to the period of Moses himself. In view of the general consensus among non-Evangelical scholars that all claims to Mosaic authorship are spurious, it is well for us to review at least briefly the solid and compelling evidence, both internal and external, that the entire Pentateuch is the authentic work of Moses, under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit.

Biblical Testimony to Mosaic Authorship

The Pentateuch often refers to Moses as its author, beginning with Exodus 17:14: “And Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Write for me a memorial in a book … that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek.’ ” In Exodus 24:4 we read, “And Moses wrote all the words of Yahweh.” In v.7 we are told, “And he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people.” Other references to Moses’ writing down the Pentateuch are found in Exodus 34:27, Numbers 33:1–2, and Deuteronomy 31:9, the last of which says, “And Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests.” Two verses later it is made a standing requirement for the future that when “all Israel has come to appear before Yahweh, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.” This provision apparently comprises all of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and most of Deuteronomy (at least through chap. 30).

Later on, after the death of Moses, the Lord gives these directions to Joshua, Moses’ successor: “This book of the Law shall not depart from your Mouth, but you are to meditate in it day and night, in order that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it” (Josh. 1:8). The denial of Mosaic authorship would mean that every one of the above-cited verses is false and unworthy of acceptance.

Joshua 8:32–34 records that with the congregation of Israel stationed outside the city of Shechem, on the slopes of Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, Joshua read aloud from the Law of Moses inscribed on stones the passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy referring to the blessings and curses, as Moses earlier had Deut. 27–28). If the Documentary Hypothesis is correct, then this account must also be rejected as a sheer fabrication. Other Old Testament references to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch are 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; 21:8; Ezra 6:18; Nehemiah 13:1; Daniel 9:11–13; and Malachi 4:4. All these testimonies must also be rejected as totally in error.

Christ and the apostles likewise gave unequivocal witness that Moses was the author of the Torah (law). In John 5:46–57, Jesus said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how can you believe my words?” How indeed! Likewise, in John 7:19, Jesus said, “Did not Moses give you the Law? And yet none of you does the Law.” If Christ’s confirmation of Moses as the real author of the Pentateuch is set aside—as it is by the modern critical theory—it inescapably follows that the authority of Christ Himself is denied.

For if He was mistaken about a factual, historical matter like this, then He might be mistaken about any other belief He held or doctrines He taught. In Acts 3:22, Peter said to his countrymen, “Moses indeed said, ‘A Prophet shall the Lord God raise up to you’ ” (cf. Deut. 18:15). Paul affirmed in Romans 10:5 that “Moses writes that the man who practices righteousness based on the law will live by that righteousness.” But the JEDP theory of Wellhausen and the rationalistic modern critics deny that Moses ever wrote any of those things. This means that Christ and the apostles were totally mistaken in thinking that he did.

Such an error as this, in matters of historical fact that can be verified, raises a serious question as to whether any of the theological teaching, dealing with metaphysical matters beyond our powers of verification, can be received as either trustworthy or authoritative. Thus we see that the question of Mosaic authenticity as the composer of the Pentateuch is a matter of utmost concern to the Christian. The authority of Christ Himself is involved in this issue.

Internal Evidence of Mosaic Composition

In addition to the direct testimonies of the Pentateuchal passages quoted above, we have the witness of the incidental allusions to contemporary events or current issues, to social or political conditions, or to matters of climate or geography. When all such factors are fairly and properly weighed, they lead to this conclusion: the author of these books and his readers must originally have lived in Egypt. Furthermore, these factors indicate that they had little or no firsthand acquaintance with Palestine and knew of it only by oral tradition from their forefathers. We cite the following evidences.

  1. The climate and weather referred to in Exodus are typically Egyptian, not Palestinian (cf. the reference to crop sequence in connection with the plague of hail, Exod. 9:31–32).
  2. The trees and animals referred to in Exodus through Deuteronomy are all indigenous to Egypt or the Sinai Peninsula, but none of them are peculiar to Palestine. The shittim or acacia tree is native to Egypt and the Sinai, but it is hardly found in Canaan except around the Dead Sea. This tree furnished the wood for much of the tabernacle furniture. The skins for its outer covering were the hide of the taḥaš, or dugong, which is foreign to Palestine but is found in the seas adjacent to Egypt and the Sinai. As for the lists of clean and unclean animals found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, these include some that are peculiar to the Sinai Peninsula, such as the dîśōn, or pygarg (Deut. 14:5); the yaʿanāh, or ostrich (Lev. 11:16); and the teʾô, or wild antelope (Deut. 14:5). It is difficult to imagine how a list of this sort could have been made up nine hundred years later, after the Hebrew people had been living in a country not possessing any of these beasts.
  3. Even more conclusive are the geographical references that betray the perspective of one who is personally unfamiliar with Palestine but is well acquainted with Egypt. (1) In Genesis 13:10, where the author wishes to convey to his readers how verdant the vegetation of the Jordan Valley was, he compares it to a well-know locality in the eastern part of the Egyptian Delta region, lying near Mendes, between Busiris and Tanis. He states that the Jordan Valley was like “the land of Egypt, as you go toward Zoar” (Egyp.T-;-r). Nothing could be plainer from this casual reference than that the author was writing for a readership unfamiliar with the appearance of regions in Palestine but personally acquainted with the scenery of Lower Egypt. Such could only have grown up in Egypt, and this fits in only with a Mosaic date of composition for the Book of Genesis. (2) The founding of Kirjath-arba (the pre-Israelite name of Hebron in southern Judah) is stated in Numbers 13:22 to have taken place “seven years before Zoan in Egypt.” This clearly implies that Moses’ readers were well aware of the date of the founding of Zoan but unfamiliar with when Hebron—which became one of the foremost cities in Israel after the Conquest—was first founded. (3) In Genesis 33:18, there is a reference to “Salem, a city of Shechem in the land of Canaan.” To a people who had been living in Palestine for over seven centuries since the Conquest (according to the date given this passage by the Wellhausen School), it seems rather strange that they would have to be told that so outstanding a city as Shechem was located “in the land of Canaan.” But it would be perfectly appropriate to a people who had not yet settled there—as was true of the congregation of Moses.
  4. The atmosphere and setting of the desert prevails all through the narrative, from Exodus 16 to the end of Deuteronomy (though there are some agricultural references looking forward to settled conditions in the land that they were soon to conquer). The prominence accorded to a large tent or tabernacle as the central place of worship and assembly would hardly be relevant to a readership living in Palestine for over seven centuries and familiar only with the temple of Solomon or Zerubbabel as their central sanctuary. The Wellhausen explanation for this, that the tabernacle was simply an artificial extrapolation from the temple, does not fit the facts; the temple was much different in size and furnishings from those described for the tabernacle in the Torah. But even this theory of historical fiction furnishes no explanation of why Ezra’s contemporaries would have been so interested in a mere tent as to devote to it so many chapters in Exodus (Ex. 25–40) and to refer to it in nearly three-fourths of Leviticus and very frequently also in Numbers and Deuteronomy. No other example can be found in all world literature for such absorbing attention to a structure that never really existed and that had no bearing on the generation for which it was written.
  5. There are many evidences of a technical, linguistic nature that could be adduced to support an Egyptian background for the text of the Torah. Detailed examples of this may be found in my Survey of Old Testament Introduction (pp. 111–114). Suffice it to say that a far greater number of Egyptian names and loan words are found in the Pentateuch than in any other section of Scripture. This is just what we would expect from an author who was brought up in Egypt, writing for a people who were reared in the same setting as he.
  6. If the Pentateuch was composed between the ninth and fifth centuries B.C., as the Documentary school maintains, and if it extrapolated the religious practices and political perspectives of the fifth and sixth centuries back to the times of Moses (by way of a pious fraud), it is reasonable to expect that this spurious document, concocted long after Jerusalem had been taken over as the capital of the Israelite kingdom, would surely have referred to Jerusalem by name on many occasions. It would certainly have included some prophecy of the future conquest of that city and its coming status as the location of the permanent temple of Yahweh. But a careful examination of the entire text of Genesis through Deuteronomy comes up with the astonishing result that Jerusalem is never once mentioned by name. To be sure, Mount Moriah appears in Genesis 22 as the location of Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of Isaac, but there is no suggestion that it was to be the future location of the temple.

In Genesis 14 there is a reference to Melchizedek as the “King of Salem”—not “Jerusalem”—but again without any hint that it would later become the religious and political capital of the Hebrew Commonwealth. In Deuteronomy 12:5–18 there are references to a “place that Yahweh your God shall choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling.”

While these references are general enough to include such places as Shiloh and Gibeon, where the tabernacle was kept for extended periods of time before the erection of Solomon’s temple, it is fair to assume that Deuteronomy 12:5 was mainly intended as a prediction of the establishment of the Jerusalem temple. Yet it is almost impossible to account for the failure of this allegedly late and spurious work of Moses to mention Jerusalem by name, when there was every incentive to do so. Only the supposition that the Torah was genuinely Mosaic, or at least composed well before the capture of Jerusalem in 1000 B.C., can account for its failure to mention the city at all by name.

  1. In dating literary documents, it is of greatest importance to take stock of the key terms that are apparently current at the time the author did his work. In the case of a religious book, the titles by which God is characteristically referred to are of pivotal significance. During the period between 850–450 B.C., we find increasing prominence given to the title YHWH ṣeḇaʾóṯ (most frequently rendered in English versions by “the LORD of Hosts”). This appellation, which lays particular stress on the omnipotence of Israel’s Convenant-God, occurs about sixty-seven times in Isaiah (late eight century), eighty three times in Jeremiah (late seventh and early sixth centuries), thirteen times in the two chapters of Haggai (late sixth century), and fifty-one times in the fourteen chapters of Zechariah (late sixth to early fifth century). These prophets cover nearly the whole span of time during which the Pentateuchal corpus was being composed by Messrs. J, E, D, and P; yet amazingly enough, the title “Yahweh of Hosts” is never once to be found in the entire Pentateuch. From the standpoint of the science of comparative literature, this would be considered the strongest kind of evidence that the Torah was composed at a period when the title “Yahweh of Hosts” was not in use—therefore, all of it, even the so-called Priestly Code, must have been composed before the eighth century B.C. If this is a valid deduction, then the entire Documentary Hypothesis must be altogether abandoned.
  2. If the Priestly Code portion of the Pentateuch was truly composed in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., it would be expected that distinctively Levitical institutions and enrichments of public worship introduced from the time of David onward would find frequent mention in the Pentateuch. Such distinctives would surely include the guilds of temple singers, who were divided into twenty-four courses by King David (1 Chron. 25) and were often referred to in the titles of the Psalms. Yet no organized guilds of Levitical singers are ever once referred to in the Torah.

The order of scribes (sōp̱ērîm) should certainly have received mentioned as the great chief of scribes, Ezra himself, was finalizing large portions of the Pentateuch in time for the 445 B.C. celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles—according to the Wellhausen hypothesis. But for some strange reason there is no reference whatever to the scribal order or function, nor any prophetic hint that there will some day be such a class of guardians of the sacred text.

From the time of Solomon and onward, there was a very important class of temple servants known as the Nethinim (“those who have given,” i.e., to the service of the Lord in the temple). The number of Nethinim (392) who joined the 42,000 returnees from Babylon in 538 B.C. is included in the statistics of Ezra 2:58 and Nehemiah 7:60, along with the count of the Levites and priests. But there is no reference to them or prediction of them to be found in “Document P.” Very strange!

From the time of David, “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam 23:1), liberal use was made of various musical instruments (stringed, wind, percussion—all three types) in connection with public worship before the Lord. Certainly a Mosaic sanction for this important feature of Levitical worship ought to have been included in the Torah if it had been composed as late as the tenth century or thereafter.

But surprisingly enough, it fails to contain a single reference to musical accompaniment in connection with tabernacle worship. This is impossible to reconcile with a composition date in the fifth century B.C. It is beyond debate that a professional priestly group such as the Documentarians describe would have had the strongest motivation for including such cherished institutions as these among the ordinances of “Moses.”

  1. The Pentateuch, especially in Deuteronomy, contains several references to the future conquest of Canaan by the descendants of Abraham. The Deuteronomic speaker is filled with confidence that the Hebrew host will overwhelm all opposition within the land of Canaan, defeat every army, and storm every city they decide to attack. This is clearly reflected in the repeated exhortations to destroy every Canaanite temple or shrine with complete thoroughness (Deut. 7:5; 12:2–3; cf. Exod. 23:24; 34:13).

Since every nation defends its religious shrines with the utmost resistance of which it is capable, the assumption that Israel will be able to destroy every pagan sanctuary throughout the land assumes the military supremacy of Yahweh’s people after their invasion of the land. At what other juncture in the career of the Hebrew nation could such a confidence have been entertained except in the days of Moses and Joshua?

Here again, internal evidence points very strongly to a Mosaic date of composition. Nothing could be more unrealistic than to suppose that Josiah back in 621 B.C., when Judah was a tiny vassal state under the Assyrian Empire, could have expected to break down every idolatrous altar, destroy every pillar (maṣṣēḇāh) and cultic tree (ʾašērāh), and smash every temple structure to rubble throughout the length and breadth of Palestine. Or how could the struggling little colony of post-Exilic fifth-century Judea expect to make a clean sweep of every heathen shrine from Dan to Beer-Sheba?

The only conclusion to draw from these Pentateuchal commands to destroy all traces of idolatry is that it was within Israel’s military capabilities to carry out this program throughout the whole region. But nothing could have been more inappropriate in the time of Zechariah, Ezra, and Nehemiah than to contemplate such a thorough extirpation of idol worship throughout Palestine. For them it was a battle just to survive, so repeated were their crop failure and so serious was the opposition of all the nations surrounding them. Neither “Document P” in the time of Ezra nor Deuteronomy in the days of Josiah could possibly be harmonized with such passages as these.

  1. Deuteronomy 13:2–11 provides the penalty of death by stoning for any idolater or false prophet, even for a brother, wife, or child. Deut. 13:12–17 go on to say that even if it is an entire city that has turned to idolatry, every inhabitant within it is to be put to death, all houses are to be reduced to rubble and ashes, and all property is to be put under the ban. This is no visionary theory but a serious ordinance with inbuilt investigative procedures, reflecting a program that is meant to be carried out within contemporary Israel. But as we examine the account of Judah’s religious situation in the seventh century B.C. (or, indeed, in the eighth century from the time of Ahaz on), we find that idol worship was tolerated and practiced in almost every municipality throughout the kingdom—except during the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah. This would have meant the destruction of every city and town throughout the realm, even including Jerusalem itself. No one devises laws that are completely impossible to carry out in the light of contemporary conditions. The only period in Israel’s history when such legislation could have been enacted and enforced was back in the days of Moses and Joshua—or possibly in the time of David. (Already by Solomon’s time shrine worship on the “high places” was practiced.)

Moses’ Qualifications for Authorship of the Pentateuch

From all the biblical references to Moses’ background and training, it is apparent that he had just the right qualifications to compose just such a work as the Torah.

  1. He had a fine education as a prince reared in the Egyptian court (Acts 7:22), in a land that was more literate than any other country in the Fertile Crescent. Even the mirror handles and toothbrushes were adorned with hieroglyphic inscriptions, as well as the walls of every public building.
  2. From his Israelite ancestors, he must have received a knowledge of the oral law that was followed in Mesopotamia, where the patriarchs had come from.
  3. From his mother and blood relations, Moses must have received a full knowledge of the experiences of the patriarchs, all the way from Adam to Joseph; and from this wealth of oral tradition, he would have been equipped with all the information contained in Genesis, being under the sure guidance of the Holy Spirit as he composed the inspired text of the Torah.
  4. As a longtime resident of Egypt and also of the land of Midian in the Sinai, Moses would have acquired a personal knowledge of the climate, agricultural practices, and geographical peculiarities of both Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, such as is obvious throughout the text of these four books (Exodus through Deuteronomy), which deal with the fifteenth-century world in the vicinity of the Red Sea and the Nile.
  5. As the divinely appointed founder of a new nation to be governed by the revealed law of God, Moses would have had every incentive to compose this monumental work, including Genesis, with its full account of God’s gracious dealings with Israel’s ancestors before the migration of Jacob’s family to Egypt. And since this young nation was to be governed by the Law of God rather than by some royal despot like the pagan nations around them, it was incumbent on Moses to compose (under God’s inspiration and guidance) a carefully detailed listing of all the Laws God had given to guide His people in the ways of justice, godliness, and worship. Over the forty-year period of the wilderness wanderings, Moses had ample time and opportunity to lay out the entire system of civil and religious law that God had revealed to him to serve as the constitution for the new theocratic commonwealth.

Moses had, then, every incentive and every qualification to compose this remarkable production.

The Basic Fallacy Underlying the Documentary Hypothesis

The most serious of the false assumptions underlying the Documentary Hypothesis and the form-critical approach (the former assumes that no part of the Torah found in written form until the mid-ninth century B.C., the latter defers all writing down of the received Hebrew text of the Pentateuch until the time of the Exile) is that the Israelites waited until many centuries after the foundation of their commonwealth before committing any part of it to written form.

Such an assumption flies in the face of all the archaeological discoveries of the last eighty years, that all of Israel’s neighbors kept written records relating to their history and religion from before the time of Moses. Perhaps the massive accumulation of inscriptions on stone, clay, and papyrus that have been exhumed in Mesopotamia and Egypt might have been questioned as necessarily proving the extensive use of writing in Palestine itself—until the 1887 discovery of the archive of Palestinian clay tablets in Tell el-Amarna, Egypt, dating from about 1420 to 1380 B.C. (the age of Moses and Joshua).

This archive contained hundreds of tablets composed in Babylonian cuneiform (at that time the language of diplomatic correspondence in the Near East), which were communications to the Egyptian court from Palestinian officials and kings. Many of these letters contain reports of invasions and attacks by the Ha-bi-ru and the so-called SA.GAZ (the oral pronunciation of this logogram may well have been Habiru also) against the city-states of Canaan.

Wellhausen himself chose to ignore this evidence almost completely after the earliest publications of these Amarna Tablets came out in the 1890s. He refused to come to terms with the implications of the now-established facts that Canaan even before the Israelite conquest was completed contained a highly literate civilization (even though they wrote in Babylonian rather than their own native tongue). The later proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis have been equally closed-minded toward the implications of these discoveries.

The most serious blow of all, however, came with the deciphering of the alphabetic inscriptions from Serabit el-Khadim in the region of Sinai turquoise mines operated by the Egyptians during the second millennium B.C. These consisted of a new set of alphabetic symbols resembling Egyptian hieroglyphs but written in a dialect of Canaanite closely resembling Hebrew.

They contained records of mining quotas and dedicatory inscriptions to the Phoenician goddess Baalat (who was apparently equated with the Egyptian Hathor). The irregular style of execution precludes all possibility of attributing these writings to a select group of professional scribes. There is only one possible conclusion to draw from this body of inscriptions (published by W.F. Albright in The Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions and Their Decipherment [Cambridge: Harvard University, 1966]): Already back in the seventeenth or sixteenth centuries B.C., even the lowest social strata of the Canaanite population, slave-miners who labored under Egyptian foremen, were well able to read and write in their own language.

A third important discovery was the library of clay tablets discovered in the North Syrian site of Ras es-Shamra, anciently known as Ugarit, in which were many hundreds of tablets written around 1400 B.C. in an alphabetic cuneiform dialect of Canaanite, closely related to Hebrew. Along with business letters and government documents (some of which were written in Babylonian cuneiform), these tablets contained a great deal of religious literature.

They related the loves and wars and exciting adventures of various deities of the Canaanite pantheon, such as El, Anath, Baal, Asherat, Mot, and many others, composed in a poetic form resembling parallelistic Hebrew poetry as found in the Pentateuch and in the Psalms of David. Here again we have indisputable proof that the Hebrew conquerors under Joshua, having emigrated from a highly literate culture down in Egypt, came into another civilization that made liberal use of writing.

Furthermore, the high percentage of religious literature found at both Ras Shamra and Serabit el-Khadim utterly negate the supposition that, of all the ancient Near Eastern peoples, only the Hebrews did not contrive to put their religious records into written form until a thousand years later. Only the most unalterable form of bias in the minds of liberal scholars can account for their stubborn avoidance of the overwhelming mass of objective data that now support the proposition that Moses could have written, and in all probability did write, the books ascribed to him.

An even more fundamental fallacy underlies the modern Documentary approach, not only in regard to the authorship of the Pentateuch, but also to the composition of Isaiah 40–66 as an authentic work of the eighth-century Isaiah himself and the sixth-century date for the Book of Daniel. Basic to all these rationalist theories about the late and spurious nature of the composition of these Old Testament books is one firmly held assumption: the categorical impossibility of successful predictive prophecy.

It is taken for granted that there is no authentic divine revelation to be found in Scripture and that all apparently fulfilled prophecies were really the result of pious fraud. In other words, the predictions were not written down until they had already been fulfilled—or were obviously about to be fulfilled. The result is a logical fallacy known as petitio principii, or reasoning in a circle. That is to say, the Bible offers testimony of the existence of a personal, miracle-working God, who revealed His future purposes to chosen prophets for the guidance and encouragement of His people.

Through the abundance of fulfilled predictions, the Scripture furnishes the most compelling evidence of the supernatural, as exhibited by a personal God who cares for His people enough to reveal to them His will for their salvation. But the rationalist approaches all these evidences with a completely closed mind, assuming that there is no such thing as the supernatural and that fulfilled prophecy is per se impossible. With this kind of bias, it is impossible to give honest consideration to evidence pertaining directly to the matter under investigation.

After a careful study of the history of the rise of modern higher criticism as practiced by the Documentarians and the form-criticism school, this writer is convinced that the basic reason for the refusal to face up to objective archaeological evidence hostile to the antisupernaturalist theories of the critics must be found in a self defensive mentality that is essentially subjective. Thus it becomes absolutely essential for Documentarians to assign predictions of the Babylonian captivity and subsequent restoration (such as are found in Lev. 26 and Deut. 28) to a time after these events had already taken place.

This is the real philosophical basis for assigning such portions (included in the “Priestly Code” or “Deuteronomic school”) to the fifth century B.C., a thousand years later than the purported time of authorship. For, obviously, no mortal can successfully predict what lies even a few years in the future.

Since a fifteenth-century Moses would have to have foreseen what was going to happen in 587 and 537 B.C. in order to compose such chapters as these, he could never have composed them. But the Pentateuch says that Moses merely wrote down what almighty God revealed to him, rather than the product of his own unaided prophetic foresight.

Hence, there is absolutely no logical difficulty in supposing that he could have predicted, under divine inspiration, events that far in the future—or that Isaiah in the early seventh century could have foreknown the Babylonian captivity and the subsequent return to Judah, or that Daniel could have predicted the major events of history between his own day (530 B.C.) and the coming of Antiochus Epiphanes in 170 B.C. In each case the prophecy comes from God, the Lord of history, rather than from man; so there is no logical reason why God should be ignorant of the future that He Himself brings to pass.

Furthermore, the prophetic horizon of Daniel in Daniel 9:24–27 in actuality goes far beyond the Maccabean date assigned to it by rationalist scholars, for it pinpoints A.D. 27 as the exact year of Christ’s appearing (Dan. 9:25–26).

The same is true of the Deuteronomy 28:68 prediction of the aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and of the Isaiah 13:19–20 prediction of the total and permanent desolation of Babylon, which did not take place until after the Muslim conquest in the seventh century A.D. It is hopeless to attempt to account for such late fulfillments as these by alleging that the books that contained them were not written until after the predictions had actually come to pass.

Thus we see that this guiding principle, which underlies the entire fabric of the Documentary Hypothesis, cannot be successfully maintained on objective or scientific grounds. It should, therefore, be abandoned in all our institutions of higher learning in which it is still being taught.

(As for the passages that are allegedly non-Mosaic on the basis of internal evidence, see the article on Exod. 6:26–27.)



[1]Archer, G. L. (1982). New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Originally published: Encyclopedia of Bible difficulties. 1982. Zondervan’s Understand the Bible Reference Series (45). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

What solid evidence is there for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch?

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