Dating the Pentateuch

Walter Mattfeld mattfeld at
Sat Nov 13 15:43:47 EST 1999

I am currently assembling research clues for the "Dating of the Pentateuch", and two papers in this series are now available for those with an interest in the said subject.

As of this past Summer, I have had cause to change my position argued in earlier papers made available this past Spring on this list, that the Pentateuch might be a Hellenistic (Hasmonean/Herodian) creation.

My present position is that the Pentateuch is a creation of either the 6th or 5th century BCE (favoring the latter century).

Each paper presents various "historical scenarios" culled from various scholarly works as well as some of my own ideas and presents the pros and cons for each. This is followed with a detailed argument for one of the scenarios.

The first paper is titled "Dating the Pentateuch, Unraveling the Japheth Mystery". Four historical scenarios are presented extending from the 12th to the 2nd centuries BCE. Full explanation is given on who Japheth is and why (he is the Persians).

The second paper is titled Dating the Pentateuch, Balaams' Ships of Kittim Oracle," and this paper presents five historical scenarios, again, dating from the 12th to the 2nd centuries BCE. The conclusion is that Balaam is, in part, describing events of the late 6th century BCE.

I want to make clear that in arguing for a Pentateuchal composition of the 6-5th centuries, I am not saying that everything was made up out of thin air by the author (s). My research indicates that there are motifs and themes about God that are Pre-Exilic in nature, reflecting the religious literature of the Neo-Assyrians and Neo-Babylonians. I thus understand that the Pentateuch, although a late composition, does preserve Pre-Exilic religious motifs, and history.

These papers are free, and are available as e-mail attachments in RTF or ASCII formats, zipped or un-zipped, please specify.

Earlier papers still available:

Sabbath Origins and the Epic of Gilgamesh. In this paper I argue that certain themes and motifs found in this epic have been recast by the Hebrew narrator (s) into a 7th day of rest, known as the Sabbath. The characters, Adam and Eve are also recasts of characters in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Please do not direct your requests to this list!

Direct your requests to the following address:

mattfeld at

All the best,

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld, M.A. Ed.

Walldorf by Heidelberg

Baden Wurttemburg


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