Sunday Sermon…What DID Moses Write?

Sunday Sermon…What Did Moses Write?

Evangelicals and Fundamentalists insist that the first five book of the Old Testament, called the Pentateuch, were written by one person; Moses. They thoroughly renounce any other view.

There is a theory among biblical scholars however that these five books were written by as many as four different people.

The theory is generally called the Documentary Hypothesis, and the four different strands of authorship are called J, E, D, and P. According to this view, the letter “J” stands for the Yahwist (“J” from the German Jahweh) narrative, that comes from the period of the early Jewish monarchy, about 950 B.C. “E” stands for the Elohist narrative from the region of the Northern Kingdom dating from about 750 B.C. “D” is represented by the book of Deuteronomy and is said to have originated in the Southern Kingdom about 650 B.C. or later. Finally, “P” is the priestly document that comes from the period after the fall of Israel in 587 B.C. According to the theory, the Pentateuch reached its current form around the time of Ezra, or about 400 B.C.

If one were to believe the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists version of single authorship (Moses) of the Pentateuch, one would be in trouble with historical dating.

Depending on which dating source you use, Moses was born anywhere from 1593 BCE to 1150 BCE. He lived for 120 years, which would put his death somewhere between 1473 BCE and 1030 BCE. So at the latest he would be writing at 1030 BCE.

Now in Genesis 11:26, Moses first writes of Abram, later to become to become Abraham, the father of the Jewish Nation: 26And Terah lived on for seventy years, after which he became father to Abram, Nahor and Heran.

Genesis 11:31 31And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.

Now Abram (Abraham) was born anywhere from 1991 BCE to 2018 BCE and lived 175 years, so he died from 1843 BCE to 1816 BCE.

We can safely say that Abraham lived well before Moses. We can safely say that Moses died well before 1000 BCE.

Again Genesis 11:31 And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.

Ur of the Chaldeans did not exist…then. The city of Ur would not be known as Ur of the Chaldees, or Ur of the Chaldeans until…at the earliest….732 BCE. It would not be known by this name before the 10th. Dynasty of Ur; dated from 732 BCE to about 620 BCE.

Moses was using a term that did not exist for up to 700 years later. But, if a writer later than Moses (Such as in the Documentary Hypothesis) produced or changed that part of Genesis, perhaps the term “Ur of the Chaldees/Chaldeans” would be a no brainer.

Check your bibles…Google “Ur” or “Ur of the Chaldees / Chaldeans”. Doesn’t jibe, does it?

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About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

16 Responses to Sunday Sermon…What DID Moses Write?

  1. Justin says:

    That is church tradition that says that. Frankly it does not matter though. God inspired it.

    You spend a lot of time trying to not come to Christ. That’s probably better than apathy though. 🙂

  2. thewordofme says:

    Hi Justin,

    No, that writing is supposedly the inerrant word of God as transcribed by Moses himself. I believe however that it is probably a confirmation of the Documentary Hypothesis.

    You can’t have it both ways. If your religion tells you that your religious manual is the inerrant word of god…then it had better be the “Inerrant Word of God” There are no excuses allowed…after all God himself said that…”it must be true.”

    At least that part of Genesis had to have been written after the time the city of Ur was called “Ur of the Chaldees” Moses was LONG dead by then. Speaks to a different author and an “errant” bible.

    The reason I keep coming up with these things is, I read the bible and some things just stick out like a sore thumb.

    Like the Flood and Tower of Babel and Joshua and Daniel and other parts of the OT.

    I haven’t really got into the NT yet.

    If you were reading a text and came across something you suspected was not true, wouldn’t you stop and research it?

    You shouldn’t just check your brain at the door.

  3. Justin says:

    I do believe that the Bible is inerrant, infallible, and sufficient Word of God,. There is not a single mistake, internal or external.

  4. thewordofme says:

    If you read the above post…I just showed you one. I have a few more.
    Sorry, I just had to do this. Boy, are you in for some surprises.

  5. Justin says:

    haha, funny. Look at what you are saying again. Do you not see it? There are no mistakes in the Bible.

  6. Pingback: Pentatuech Not Written by Moses « The Word of Me..Weblog

  7. Bryan says:

    There are so many errors in the old testament, I can’t even begin.

    How come when god sent Cain out of the garden, he somehow found a wife… when at the time, the only 3 humans on earth as your inerrant bible claims, were Adam, Eve, and Cain. Hmmmm?

  8. Justin says:

    Many ask this question thinking they’ve found a “mistake” in the Bible—that there must have been other people besides Adam and Eve. Scripture tells us that Adam is “the first man” (1 Corinthians 15:45); that there were no other humans when he was created, because God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18); and that Eve is “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). Cain and Abel, then, must have married distant sisters. All of the first-generation siblings married each other in order to populate the earth. At that time there was no law against incest. But as the population grew large enough, and as the risk of genetic problems increased because of sin’s curse, God outlawed marriage between siblings.
    -Way of the Master

  9. thewordofme says:

    Hi Justin, welcome back.

    I realize this argument has been around forever. I remember asking about it in Jr. High. Man, now that was ancient times.

    So, you just flat deny that there were many humans (modern types) around for tens of thousands of years?

    You can’t accept that this is just Hebrew mythology and in no way relates to the actual physical evidence that is all over the world?

    I’ll bet you even believe in Jesus. 🙂

  10. Justin says:

    thewordofme, I do not know how old the earth is. The physical evidence can be used either way. It depends on your perspective. If you use your presuppositions, then the story of the Bible could never happen. However, if you humbly allow for an all powerful God, then it makes perfect sense. Your conscience can be awakened to warn you and the Bible can come alive.

  11. thewordofme says:

    Hi Justin, welcome

    You say:
    “Thewordofme, I do not know how old the earth is. The physical evidence can be used either way. It depends on your perspective.”

    The information about the earth cannot be used either way. It is what it is, and does not depend on perspective. It depends on facts.

  12. Justin says:

    “Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians all have the same evidence—the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same.

    The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions. These are things that are assumed to be true, without being able to prove them. These then become the basis for other conclusions. All reasoning is based on presuppositions (also called axioms). This becomes especially relevant when dealing with past events.”
    Read the rest of Answers in Genesis’s article at

  13. thewordofme says:

    Hi Justin,

    There are no physical science facts that back up magic or supernatural presuppositions.
    Magic or supernatural manifestations have never been observed, or in anyway been proven…by anyone.

    The science behind evolution is not always ‘presumed to be true’; it is always undergoing fact checks in one way or another.

    Any scientist with a fresh new Masters or Doctorate degree (or even old timers) would love to be able to ‘prove’ something wrong in their field…that would make them famous and probably lead to life-long job security. If the Proof is there, anything can be accepted by science…it just needs proof.

    There is no proof…at all…for most of the things written about in the Pentateuch. Despite hundreds of years of people trying to prove the Noachian flood they cannot do it. It is un-provable because there is no scientific evidence to back it up. But there is scientific evidence to back up the position that it never happened. There is no proof for the confusion of languages at Babel (Babylon) but there is proof that languages were all over the world at that time.

    So far, no one has been able to disprove any of the major components of evolution. It’s been out there since 1859, and religion has fumed and fussed and railed against it from the beginning…to no effect. Religious people have tried their damnest to get rid of evolution, for 150 years now, they cannot do it because it is simply the truth.

    I trust things that can be observed or proven to me. There is nothing in those old Hebrew myths that makes sense. They speak of things that never were or never will be. The stories are just that…stories…not evidence of a God. The thing they speak of as a God does not have Godlike qualities.

    I see worlds of galaxies and a humongous universe out there, stars, billion and billions of stars, and probably billions of planets, a natural world right under our own feet that can be totally described by natural processes. Places as far as the eyes (sometimes with telescopes) can see, and humans, without the help of imaginary gods or ‘A God’ can study and understand and explain it all, without resorting to a superstitious world view that is long past it’s expiration date.

    But then, that’s just me.

    Nice ‘talking’ with you again Justin. :0)

    7.12.08 Justin, regarding Flood, see latest post.

  14. justinlessard says:

    I realize that you guys are WAY past this point by now, but I just wanted to add, for the record only,

    “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’” –Gen 3:16
    “After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.” –Gen 5:4

    The OT wasn’t written chronologically. They wrote different then. They would tell story by story, not day by day. That’s why it seems to be out of order sometimes. Let me give an example. I’m Justin (not the same one as the other Justin in this conversation) my dad is Tom and my grandpa is Dave. Back then, they would tell Dave’s entire story, possibly including the birth of Tom. Then they would tell Tom’s story. After writing about Tom from birth to death (or current), they would go back and write about Justin. So if you just read along line by line, you’d think quite often that you missed something, like the fact that Adam and Eve had other kids.

  15. thewordofme says:

    Hi justinlessard, thanks for writing.

    Using religions own times, Moses wrote of two places that weren’t in existence in his time…the towns were there, but they weren’t named what he wrote. This speaks to what many scholars think, namely that much of the Old Testament was written by others while in exile…or later.

    There is also a 45 years discrepancy in the story of Terah and Abraham and the death of the father and Abraham’s leaving Haran.

    These things don’t rely on story order…they are words of Moses describing what is going on in separate chapters, and the changes happened well after Noah’s death.

    In the Bible other kids of A&E are *not* mentioned until after Seth. We know for a fact however that there were millions of people on earth 6000 years ago, so that point is moot anyway.

    The things we can now find out about Biblical times using the sciences that so many religious people denigrate is truly amazing. Every time religion has fought or denied science…religion lost.

    The facts are that many things in the Bible remain controversial and obviously wrong despite evangelical and fundamentalists protestations. If you are not caught up in the religious fervor you can easily see them.

  16. Thomas says:

    Dear wordofme,

    I know I’m getting here a bit late but hopefully you will respond. I would like to start by saying that I simply loved your argument. I was skimming Google to find some piece of info about Moses, but instead I found this. It is one of those thought provoking articles that belongs in some higher publication.

    When I first stumbled onto your article – roughly an hour ago – I felt very skeptical (a feeling you are doubtlessly familiar with). I began to fact check everything, right down to the original Hebrew text of Genesis 11:31. My first notion was that the contemporary translators had switched up names to make it more recognizable, but, alas, no. I then began to reread your article over and over. My mind came to many other conclusions, but they were soon blasted away by obvious information.

    It all made sense, yet contradicted most of what I was taught in church (I’m sorry if I’m making you salivate). It made me think, and then think a little more. Then I decided your right. One of the more obvious hints is that Moses couldn’t write Deuteronomy, because that book is his going away words to his people. It must have been passed on down by word of mouth for generations until, finally, it got written down.
    All of what you said made sense and I agreed with it… Right up to the comment where you state that, for the reasons above, these texts aren’t the inerrant word of God. That might need a little work. You state in your article “Pentateuch Not Written by Moses” that just because the Torah is not written by Moses then it’s flawed and not of God. That statement is flawed if you read in the Bible (if you wish to prove or disprove the Word with the Word) that God uses Man to reveal his Word.

    Also in one of you comments you say that Christianity hasn’t gotten rid of evolution yet, but evolution hasn’t gotten rid of Christianity yet has it. Charles Darwin saw adaptation and evolution as a way of proving a creator, until he became unsure because he did not have a sound faith. The rest happened because of men trying to “create themselves”, and escape from their inherent sin. I would venture out and say that all atheists, if they went to any decent church for one day, would be scared, BECAUSE their unbelief is because they wish to identify themselves.

    I love that in all your articles against Christianity you use the Bible. It makes me hope and pray for you. God bless you.

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