Mosaic Authorship

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Mosaic authorship is reinforced by scattered references to writing in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Only God and Moses write in the Pentateuch. God writes laws (Exod. 24:12), the architectural plans for the tabernacle (Ex. 31:18), names of the elect in a special book (Ex. 32:32), and the tablets containing the ten commandments (Ex. 34:1; Deut. 4:13; 5:22; 9:10; 10:2-4). Moses writes four distinct genres of literature: prophecy about holy war (Ex. 17:14), laws (Ex. 24:4, 34:27-28; Deut. 31:9, 34), the history of the wilderness journey (Num. 33:2), and a song (Deut. 31:9, 22). Mosaic authorship is most likely extended in Deut. 31:24-26 to in- clude the entire book of Deuteronomy, described as the "book of the torah," meaning "book of the law." Josh. 8:31-34 identifies the "book of the torah" as the "torah of Moses" (see also Josh. 23:6; 1 Kgs. 2:3; 2 Kgs. 14:6, 23:25). "Torah of Moses" most likely refers to the book of Deuteron- omy throughout these citations. But over time the designation came to represent all pentateuchal literature. Thus when Ezra, the scribe, returns from Persia after the exile (sometime in the fifth century B.C.E.), the "torah of Moses"…show more content…
Thus, his authorship be- comes important for attributing divine authority to Torah. It also lays the foundation for the belief that the Pentateuch contained one unified mes- sage because it had one divinely inspired author. Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch was assumed in Jewish Hel- lenistic, Rabbinic, and early Christian writings. Philo, a Hellenistic Jew- ish author writing in the first century of the common era, provides an ex- ample. He writes in his commentary on creation, "Moses says . . . 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. ' "3 Josephus also asserts that Moses authored the first five books.4 The Rabbis, too, state, "Moses wrote his own book."5 Its origin was divine.6 A similar perspective is also expressed by early Christian
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