Pentateuch Not Written by Moses

At least not all of it

Thomas Paine wrote this 200+ years ago:

IT has often been said that any thing may be proved from the Bible; but before any thing can be admitted as proved by Bible, the Bible itself must be proved to be true; for if the Bible be not true, or the truth of it be doubtful, it ceases to have authority, and cannot be admitted as proof of any thing.

It has been the practice of all Christian commentators on the Bible, and of all Christian priests and preachers, to impose the Bible on the world as a mass of truth, and as the word of God; they have disputed and wrangled, and have anathematized each other about the supposeable meaning of particular parts and passages therein; one has said and insisted that such a passage meant such a thing, another that it meant directly the contrary, and a third, that it meant neither one nor the other, but something different from both; and this they have called undffstanding the Bible


Having premised these things, I proceed to examine the authenticity of the Bible; and I begin with what are called the five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. My intention is to shew that those books are spurious, and that Moses is not the author of them; and still further, that they were not written in the time of Moses nor till several hundred years afterwards; that they are no other than an attempted history of the life of Moses, and of the times in which he is said to have lived, and also of the times prior thereto, written by some very ignorant and stupid pretenders to authorship, several hundred years after the death of Moses; as men now write histories of things that happened, or are supposed to have happened, several hundred or several thousand years ago.


I begin with the book of Genesis.–In Genesis xiv., the writer gives an account of Lot being taken prisoner in a battle between the four kings against five, and carried off; and that when the account of Lot being taken came to Abraham, that he armed all his household and marched to rescue Lot from the captors; and that he pursued them unto Dan. (ver. 14.)

To shew in what manner this expression of Pursuing them unto Dan applies to the case in question, I will refer to two circumstances, the one in America, the other in France. The city now called New York, in America, was originally New Amsterdam; and the town in France, lately called Havre Marat, was before called Havre-de-Grace. New Amsterdam was changed to New York in the year 1664; Havre-de-Grace to Havre Marat in the year 1793. Should, therefore, any writing be found, though without date, in which the name of New-York should be mentioned, it would be certain evidence that such a writing could not have been written before, and must have been written after New Amsterdam was changed to New York, and consequently not till after the year 1664, or at least during the course of that year. And in like manner, any dateless writing, with the name of Havre Marat, would be certain evidence that such a writing must have been written after Havre-de-Grace became Havre Marat, and consequently not till after the year 1793, or at least during the course of that year.

I now come to the application of those cases, and to show that there was no such place as Dan till many years after the death of Moses; and consequently, that Moses could not be the writer of the book of Genesis, where this account of pursuing them unto Dan is given.

The place that is called Dan in the Bible was originally a town of the Gentiles, called Laish; and when the tribe of Dan* seized upon this town, they changed its name to Dan, in commemoration of Dan, who was the father of that tribe, and the great grandson of Abraham. (*Now thought to be the ‘Sea People.’)

To establish this in proof, it is necessary to refer from Genesis to chapter xviii. of the book called the Book of judges. It is there said (ver. 27) that “they (the Danites) came unto Laish to a people that were quiet and secure, and they smote them with the edge of the sword [the Bible is filled with murder] and burned the city with fire; and they built a city, (ver. 28,) and dwelt therein, and [ver. 29,] they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan, their father; howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.”

This account of the Danites taking possession of Laish and changing it to Dan, is placed in the book of Judges immediately after the death of Samson. The death of Samson is said to have happened B.C. 1120 and that of Moses B.C. 1451; and, therefore, according to the historical arrangement, the place was not called Dan till 331 years after the death of Moses.

There is a striking confusion between the historical and the chronological arrangement in the book of judges. The last five chapters, as they stand in the book, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, are put chronologically before all the preceding chapters; they are made to be 28 years before the 16th chapter, 266 before the 15th, 245 before the 13th, 195 before the 9th, go before the 4th, and 15 years before the 1st chapter. This shews the uncertain and fabulous state of the Bible. According to the chronological arrangement, the taking of Laish, and giving it the name of Dan, is made to be twenty years after the death of Joshua, who was the successor of Moses; and by the historical order, as it stands in the book, it is made to be 306 years after the death of Joshua, and 331 after that of Moses; but they both exclude Moses from being the writer of Genesis, because, according to either of the statements, no such a place as Dan existed in the time of Moses; and therefore the writer of Genesis must have been some person who lived after the town of Laish had the name of Dan; and who that person was nobody knows, and consequently the book of Genesis is anonymous, and without authority. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason-Part II, 1795ish. Several different parts (separated by asterisks) were put together here in the interest of brevity Google above to find original on net.

The above example written by one of the founding fathers of The United States, Thomas Paine, in 1795 is just a small example of how wrong the Bible is. I have already written earlier on this blog (Here) that Genesis refers to ‘Ur of the Chaldees,’ loongg before the Chaldeans controlled the city. These two arguments alone are enough to throw serious doubt on the historicity of Genesis. Actually I think they disprove Genesis and the Pentatuech altogether, in the sense that they prove Moses did not write all of it. And that pretty much does in “Bible inerrancy” as espoused by some Christian sects.

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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.

19 Responses to Pentateuch Not Written by Moses

  1. Justin says:

    I’ll give you a hint. God wrote the Bible and used men to pen it. It does not lose its inerrancy if you could prove that he used one pen over the other.

  2. thewordofme says:

    Hi again Justin, thanks for reply.
    I don’t think God wrote, or inspired men to write the Bible. I think men inspired the whole thing.

    I believe the point about different writers at different times is pretty much proven. And that in turn disproves the biblical literalists reason to believe….but, we all know they will just ignore or deny it

    The more I get into the research on religion the clearer the vision I get of a monumental hoax. There is sooo much that doesn’t add up…if you actually look at the evidence.

    If you didn’t have the presuppositions you have, and you had the ability to read the actual proofs, you would see it too.

  3. Justin says:

    You said “I believe the point about different writers at different times is pretty much proven. And that in turn disproves the biblical literalists reason to believe….but, we all know they will just ignore or deny it” How?

    You are very selective in using research to back what you already believe.

  4. thewordofme says:

    Hi Justin, thanks for writing.

    With regards to Genesis and the wrong information given about Abraham and Lot in the Bible, it is just staring you in the face. The only way around it is to deny or ignore. If you embrace it, then you have to admit that there are mistakes made, and the Bible is not ‘The Inerrant Word of God.’ The Bible texts and papers have undergone significant messing around with in their history. A lot of Christians just can’t accept that and they try to cover it up.

    Regarding the Flood and the Tower of Babel there is just too much evidence out there to justify believing in the fables anymore. Its either deny, ignore, or twist the actual science out of shape.

    But, you know what really gets me, is that many so-called Christians will lie to each other and to the secular world in general about the very foundations of their faith. I think a lot of them see what science is doing to their worldview and they try to stop it by lying either to themselves or passing on lies about their faith or both. In any case, they are not being honest.

    How about we try this Justin? Lets talk about specific subjects and explore what we believe is true about our own world views. Don’t you just quote dogma that you have learned in religion classes. Really think about and open up to subjects.

    Example: I think that the Bible saying that Abraham came out of ‘Ur of the Chaldees’…when in fact the Chaldean’s were over 700 years away from controlling the city…is a mistake that writers or redactors made when they edited together many separate myths. The author, Moses, was said to be writing the story, but he could not have and used the phrase…’Ur of the Chaldees…because it did not exist at the time. The city did, but not the descriptor.

    How do you feel about this? The Bible is writing in historical times and the dates come from written records…not C-14.

    I think this is proof that the ‘Documentary Hypothesis’ is true, or at the very least, someone other than Moses was writing about Abraham.

    Same exact thing goes with the story of Lot, except the difference is about 300 years.

    The OT was not finalized until about 400 BCE. There are more dating mistakes made than the ones I am talking about now. If you are going to believe in something you want to make sure it has real, not fictionalized, beginnings.

  5. Justin says:

    I do not know. Any other questions? 🙂

  6. thewordofme says:


  7. Justin says:

    Good to know that this is the one thing that is keeping you from becoming a Christian…

  8. thewordofme says:

    Hold on a minute….what other “mistakes” are in this Bible?

  9. Justin says:

    There are no mistakes in the Bible. I am not up to speed on the thing you mentioned. Is there anything else you perceive as a mistake?

  10. thewordofme says:

    So, why should someone believe in this Hebrew God?

    The only times he was seen was three or four thousand years ago, with no corroborating witnesses.

    No one today can point to any physical proof He exists.
    His Holy Book is proven to have not only mistakes, but lots of it were made up.

    Paul received his calling from a ‘beam of light.’ He then proceeds to change the apocalyptic message of Jesus and to shift focus away from a revengeful destructive God to a God of Love.

    Paul originated “original sin”

  11. Justin says:

    Well, you could start by believing in the Creator. Creation proves the Creator. Then you could combine this with your conscience and realize you are guilty. The Bible is the only Holy book that makes sense with these two axiomatic facts.

  12. thewordofme says:

    Hi Justin,

    That we exist does not prove a Hebrew God.

    >>There are no mistakes in the Bible. I am not up to speed on the thing you mentioned. Is there anything else you perceive as a mistake?<<

    Lots of mistakes. Take your time. Answer the Abraham and Lot question. 🙂

  13. Justin says:

    Ok, if you seriously want me to take the time to answer this, I m gonna need “full disclosure”. Give me ll your sources you’ve used. Authors, websites, ect.

  14. thewordofme says:

    Hi Justin,

    Go to the Bible for the script of Abraham and Lot. Genesis 11:31 for mention of Ur of the Chaldees and Genesis 14:14 for mention of Dan. The dating for the different cities is, like I said, historical and archaeological.

    The dating for Moses, Abraham, and Lot is subject to interpretation by different sects, but not that far apart.
    By the way I use “sects” in the research way, not pejoratively.

    Go to Encyclopedia Britannica, Columbia Encyclopedia, Encarta, Wikipedia, or Google the following…(not all at once)…Chaldeans, Lot, Abraham, Moses, Pentateuch, early Christianity, Bible inerrancy, Ur of the Chaldeans or Chaldees, City of Dan, Laish, Sea People, biblical timelines…probably a lot more I can’t think of right now.

    If I find something in one place, I always find it at another source before using.

    I have the Britannica on DVD, you may not have access to it, but I find that Wikipedia closely follows the DVD info. Wikipedia has much wider footnoted references and subject matter that can mostly be checked online. Be aware that sometimes people get on it and change info. It is usually caught and corrected very quickly though. Also, church sponsored websites usually slant or disregard real evidence, whereas the Encyclopedias are generally not too biased. 🙂

    Bible scripture is found in about 50 different source Bibles at I’m not sure which version you are using. I generally use KJV or New KJV. I have KJV, NIV, and NWT at home and sometimes double check…have yet to find discrepancy. I also have at home, and use occasionally, Strong’s Concordance. It can be found online by Googling “Strong’s Concordance”

  15. Matt says:

    I know this thread is old but I didn’t come across it until today. To answer your quandry about Moses and Dan one need only consider a single thought. If the Bible was indeed inspired by God, and He did indeed influence men to write what they did, why could he not give Moses the name of Dan? Certainly God knew what land Dan would inherit in the south and what land he would take in the north. Moses also knew that the land would eventually be divided by tribe, so using the name Dan would come as no surprise to him. Furthermore, writing this history for the purpose of passing it along to future generations of Jews, it would not be unreasonable to use the name Dan rather than Laish, since future Jews would be more familiar with the name of Dan.

    It is amazing how God gives the answers to these Biblical quandries if men simply believe the Bible is true and allow God to answer for Himself. There are no mistakes or genuine contradictions, only a limited human mind that cannot fully understand without the help of the Holy Ghost. To assume we can understand a Holy Book without the help of the Divine author is both foolishness and the height of arrogance.

    Thanks for your time.

  16. thewordofme says:

    Hi Matt, thanks for taking the time to write.

    The actual reason that these “out of time” (Anachronisms) events are in the Old Testament (this is from scholars…I’m just passing it along) is most of it was written long after the events happened.

    Most of the OT was written around 700 to 500 BC. Some think a lot was finished during the exile in Babylon or shortly thereafter. At that time Laish was already known as Dan and Ur was known as “Ur of the Chaldeans”

    Almost all real Biblical scholars agree that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses.

    There are tremendous contradictions and mistakes in the Bible and for some of them there is no way of making them agree…short of making stuff up, which Christians have been known to do.

    Go to the library and find the book “Jesus Interrupted” by Bart Ehrman. He is a professor of religion at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    You write:
    “To assume we can understand a Holy Book without the help of the Divine author is both foolishness and the height of arrogance.”

    In the last 300 years or so scholars have been studying and dissecting the Bible and with good reason. How do we know what is true if we don’t thoroughly study it?

    To just take the word of a bunch of sheep/goat herders writing in times where magic was considered real, would be foolish. We have a brain and should use it.

    You have to be careful of people that tell you to believe without checking into the truthfulness of what they say.

    Thanks again for your time.


  17. L. Touthang says:

    Hi Justin!
    Firstly, it is good to know the information and reason that you laid down.
    Secondly, I absolutely believed that The Bible is mainly focuses on the liberation of humankind from the yoke of slavery of sin. It is obvious that, everything written in the Bible is all about the salvation.

  18. Thomas says:

    I think that everyone should know that Paine WAS NOT a Christian; he was a deist. He used this book as a way to point out the flaws of the Church NOT denounce the Old Testament. He used Biblical references in Common Sense to back up his logic. This was a way to bash the church and promote deism, just as Richard Dawkins and the like do.

    The problem with the above statements – as Justin so intelligently pointed out – is that you use subjective sources. I challenge everyone of you all – atheist, christian, agnostic, or whoever else – to read A Case for a Creator, by Lee Strobel. Don’t just automatically reject it, either. Accept it, then try and find ways to reject it. Innocent until proven guilty.

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