Monday, 3 April 2006

old testament passion

after a 3 year hiatus, i feel i should resume blogging on this until i reach the last book of the o.t.! that's a mighty tall order, considering the number of books in the o.t.

we have finished the first 5 books of the Torah. let us take an overview of the 5 books. the jews believed moses wrote the Torah. most conservative christians believed that too, following the jewish position. today, more critical scholsrship would deny mosaic authorship. one reason they cite is that moses couldn't have written the last chapter of deuteronomy which concerns his death! someone else would have to write that chapter. another reason quoted is the presence of doublets in the books. doublets are repetitive passages e.g. in the noah's story, there are 2 accounts conflated together. at 1 time, we read of 1 pair of clean and 1 pair of unclean animals going into the ark, at another time, we read of 7 pairs of clean and unclean animals. a third reason is the repetition of laws in the different law codes (the book of the covenant in exod. 20:22-23:33; the holiness code in lev. 17-26, the deuteronomic code in deut. 12-26) which looked like they were being added at different times.

my own thinking is that moses may have written a core of the books but the 5 books were obviously updated, redacted and edited by later hands. that moses wrote something, we can be sure when we read the book of joshua. joshua was given the book of the law written by moses to meditate upon. this was probably a proto-type of the law book, still in its infancy stage. so, moses was responsible at least for kick-starting the Torah. how many hands were involved in the final shape of the book, we will never know. my understanding of inspiration of scriptures cover even the redactors and editors, so that nothing not allowed by God would have made it into scripture. in that sense, all scripture is inspired by God.