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Who Wrote the Bible? (The History Channel)

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1 Who Wrote the Bible? (The History Channel)

2 The origins of the Torah according to the Torah
According to biblical tradition, the Torah was revealed to Moses at Sinai. Aron Tendler, Associate Rabbi, Yeshiva University: “We believe the Torah was written by the hand of Moses but dictated to him by God himself in a totally divine manner, no different than you would dictate a letter to a secretary.”

3 Rabbi David Wolpe, University of Judaism:
“The Torah itself never exactly claims that Moses wrote all of it. There’s a section that says Moses wrote down these words but it never says ‘and all the other words in this book’. The belief originated in pre-Rabbinic and Rabbinic times, the first couple of centuries BCE, for lots of reasons not the least of which was; you can’t establish the authority of the book any better than saying G-d wrote it.”

4 An Oral Tradition Stories told round campfires about the history of the family and tribe.

5 The Structure of the Bible
The Hebrew Bible aka the Old Testament (Christian & Jewish): The Law – The five books of Moses The Prophets – history of the united monarchy and the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, including Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings The Writings New Testament (Christian): Gospels - the life and death of Jesus Acts of the Apostles - the work and teaching of the early founders of the Church Epistles - letters from Christian leaders, particularly Paul, to Christian communities Book of Revelation

6 The Apocrypha Prophesies, poems and psalms that were part of the Hebrew tradition but were eventually dropped from the canon. (We use the word ‘apocryphal’ today to describe stories of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true.)

7 The Dead Sea Scrolls - Written at about the time of Christ, on parchment and papyrus, mostly in Hebrew but also Aramaic and Greek - Both canonical books and apocrypha - Different versions of the same book (eg. Samuel) in circulation - Collected and hidden away by a Jewish sect called the Essenes

8 The Documentary Hypothesis
The Documentary Hypothesis is the theory that the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (aka The Torah aka The Five Books of Moses aka the Pentateuch) derive from four distinct sources. These four sources sometimes overlap and are sometimes inconsistent.

9 Doublets – inconsistent versions of the same story.
Contradictory passages: - How could have Moses written about his own death (in Deuteronomy)? Genesis 6:19 and Genesis 7:2 state a different number of animals that were taken on to the Arc by Noah Two versions of creation Two versions of the covenant with Abraham Two versions of Moses obtaining water from a rock

10 Sources E & J Throughout the Torah G-d is referred to by two different names: Elohim and Yahweh. It turns out that all the doublets are also distinguished by these different names for G-d. From this it is concluded that there were actually two different sources that were fused together at a later point. They are referred to as E (for Elohim) and J (for Jehovah meaning Yahweh). Differences between E and J more apparent in Hebrew than in English.

11 Sources P & D A third writer – P – is believed to have been a priest and was concerned with the establishment of a priesthood after the exodus. A fourth author: language, tone and content of Deuteronomy is distinct to the rest. This author is known as D – the deuteronomist.

12 The documentary hypothesis

13 Baruch the Deuteronomist?
Argument that D is author of Deuteronomy, Joshua, II Kings, prose in the Book of Jeremiah; similar word usage. Bible says Book of Jeremiah was written by the scribe Baruch. Thus, is Baruch D? Clay seal dated to 7th Century signed by “Baruch ben Neriah, the scribe”.

14 Civil War & Assyrian Conquest
922 BCE: Israel in the north splits with Judah in the south. It is believed that J was compiled under Solomon (in Judah). E was compiled independently in Israel. Characterised by more sophisticated theology but also privileged position of the second son (eg. Isaac over Ishmael). 720 BC: The Assyrian conquest of Israel The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel suddenly disappear from biblical and other historical accounts.

15 Babylonian Exile Jeremiah prophesises exile as punishment for paganism and moral dissolution. According to biblical tradition, proceeded by descent into pagan practices like idol worship. Josiah seeks to purify the Jews and eradicate pagan worship. 586 BCE: The neo-Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar II, besieged Jerusalem and conquered Judah and took many Jews into exile in Babylon.

16 Babylonian Exile 538 BCE: Babylon conquered by Persia. Persian emperor, Cyrus the Great, issues the Edict of Restoration allowing the Jews to return to their homeland. Possibly the Pentateuch was compiled and edited either during the exile or upon return, as part of an attempt to maintain Hebrew tradition in the face of adversity. Possibly the editor was Ezra.

17 The Septuagint Alexander the Great (a Macedonian) conquers Canaan circa 300. He and his others bring Greek culture; this process is called Hellenisation. Many Jews embraced Greek language and Greek culture . Tradition has it that Ptolemy organised 72 scholars to create a Greek translation. Thus it is called the Septuagint (Latin for 70).

18 The Lost Books Original copies of Septuagint may have been kept at the Library of Alexandria. The Library was burnt down by the Romans in 47 AD. It is believed, books from the Hebrew tradition may have been lost forever.

19 The (final) Canon May have been formed in the 1st Century CE at a time when Jews bitterly resisted Roman rule. Walter Zanger: “The surviving authorities, those who got through the war ok, met in the town of Yavna and one of their first priorities was really to get this holy scripture defined and done. If you don’t finally get this down, you run the risk of diluting or losing the whole heart of the people, which is the covenant with G-d and its relationship in history.”

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