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Featured Episode - Special Feature - The Bible: Authorship of the Pentateuch
In This Episode
In this special feature sub-series, we will explore the world of the Bible. Who wrote the Bible? More specifically, who authored the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Old Testament? Join host, Petros Koutoupis, as he takes us on a journey to explore current theories and scholarship around this age-old question.
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Babylonian Exile - Also referred to as the Babylonian Captivity, is the period in Jewish history when a large number of Judeans from the Southern ancient Kingdom of Judah were transported to and held captives in Babylon (597 - 539 BCE).
BCE - Before the Common Era, the equivalent of B.C.
Bronze Age - Defines a historic period dated to approximately between 3300 BCE and 1200 BC. It is characterized by the use of bronze, the presence of writing in some areas, and other early features of urban civilization.
Canaan - The region that is the Levant and what is Israel and Syria today.
Dead Sea Scrolls - Discovered in the caves of Qumran, to the north of the Dead Sea and dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered to be the oldest surviving manuscripts of entire books later included in the biblical canons.
Deuteronomist (D) - An author or source identified in the Documentary Hypothesis and dated to around the 8th or 7th century BCE.
Documentary Hypothesis - A model used by Biblical Scholars to explain the origins and composition of the Pentateuch.
Elohist (E) - An author or source identified in the Documentary Hypothesis and dated to around the 9th century BCE.
Herodotus - (c. 484 – c. 425 BCE) An ancient Greek historian and geographer.
Late Bronze Age - A historical period defining the end of the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean that began at c. 1500 BCE and ended c. 1200 BCE.
Levant - The general geographical region of the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia, more centralized around modern-day Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
Moses - The most important prophet in Judaism and one of the most important characters in the Old Testament. Moses was the leader of the Israelites and led them to freedom from the under bondage of Egyptian slavery and to the Promised Land.
Mycenaean - A phase or period of the Bronze Age Greece, spanning from approximately 1600-1100 BCE.
Pentateuch - The first five books of the Old Testament which include the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Number and Deuteronomy.
Persian Imperial Authorization Hypothesis -
Peshitta - A 2nd century CE translation of the Old Testament into the Syriac Aramaic script from the Biblical Hebrew.
Priestly (P) - An author or source identified in the Documentary Hypothesis and dated to around the 5th century BCE.
Redactor (R) - An editor identified in the Documentary Hypothesis.
Samaritan Pentateuch - Is the text of the Torah written in the Samaritan script and used by the Samaritans. It dates to the Second Temple period and is believed to be no older than the mid-5th century BCE.
Septuagint - Abbreviated as LXX and sometimes referred to as the Greek Old Testament is the first translation of the Jewish Bible into the Greek language from the original Hebrew. It was translated in Egypt and at the request of Ptolemy II (3rd century BCE) by 72 Jewish translators.
Shardana - Also referred to as the Sherden, they were one of the several ethnic groups the Sea Peoples.
Torah - Hebrew for Instruction or the Law, it consists of the first five books of the Old Testament which include the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Number and Deuteronomy (e.g. the Pentateuch).
Tyrrhenian Sea - Part of the Mediterranean Sea and off the western coast of Italy.
Vulgate - The Latin Vulgate or the Biblia Vulgata is the Latin translation of the Bible dated to approximately the 4th century CE.
Yahwist (J) - An author or source identified in the Documentary Hypothesis and dated to around the 10th century BCE.
Yehud - A province in the former territories of the Kingdom of Judah established under the Neo-Babylonian Empire circa 587 BCE and absorbed into the Persian Achaemenid Empire circa 539 BCE.
By Richard Elliott Friedman
For thousands of years, the prophet Moses was regarded as the sole author of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch. According to tradition, Moses was divinely directed to write down foundational events in the history of the world: the creation of humans, the worldwide flood, the laws as they were handed down at Mt. Sinai, and the cycle of Israel’s enslavement and liberation from Egypt.
However, these stories—and their frequent discrepancies—provoke questions: why does the first chapter in Genesis say that man and woman were made in God’s image, while the second says that woman was made from man’s rib? Why does one account of the flood say it lasted forty days, while another records no less than one hundred? And why do some stories reflect the history of southern Judah, while others seem sourced from northern Israel?
Originally published in 1987, Richard Friedman’s Who Wrote the Bible? joins a host of modern scholars who show that the Pentateuch was written by at least four distinct voices—separated by borders, political alliances, and particular moments in history—then connected by brilliant editors. Rather than cast doubt onto the legitimacy of the Bible, Friedman uses these divergent accounts to illuminate a text that was written by real people. Friedman’s seminal and bestselling text is a comprehensive and authoritative answer to the question: just who exactly wrote the Bible?
By Richard Elliott Friedman
Renowned biblical sleuth and scholar Richard Elliot Friedman reveals the first work of prose literature in the world-a 3000-year-old epic hidden within the books of the Hebrew Bible. Written by a single, masterful author but obscured by ancient editors and lost for millennia, this brilliant epic of love, deception, war, and redemption is a compelling account of humankind's complex relationship with God. Friedman boldly restores this prose masterpiece-the very heart of the Bible-to the extraordinary form in which it was originally written.
By Frank Moore Cross and David Noel Freedman
Ancient Yahwistic Poetry is a particularly tempting field of study. In this small body of literature are preserved the oldest and most creative expressions of Israel's faith. This study of ancient Yahwistic poetry by Frank Moore Cross Jr. and David Noel Freedman untangles some of the serious textual difficulties and linguistic obscurities that have been a challenge to students of the Hebrew Bible for many generations.
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