Dating the Pentateuch

Jonathan D. Safren yonsaf at
Wed Jun 13 03:57:42 EDT 2001

The Table of Nations (Gen. 10) mentions Media but not Persia; Ionia but not
Doria; the Romans are not at all within the ken of its author. It mentions
the Scythians and the Mushku, known to us from 7th century BCE inscriptions.
I imagine that "fundamentalist" minimalists will claim that this is
archaizing; but I see it as clear evidence for an early date of composition.
But we've already had this argument, Walter!
Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College
44905 Israel

----- Original Message -----
From: "Walter Mattfeld" <mattfeld at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2001 6:44 AM
Subject: Dating the Pentateuch

> Dear b-hebrew haverim,
> Knowing many have an interest in dating the Hebrew bible from past
> discussions, I thought this letter, posted to another list (Ancien-L)
> be of some help to those struggling to date the scriptures.
> Dear Tom,
> Your last statement, "10 years of research since 1990, pfft !"  IS AN
> OBSERVATION I CAN PAINFULLY RELATE TO. From 1990 to 1999 I pursued
> lines, gathering what I thought were clues to the OT's being a Hasmonean
> even Herodian creation. I eventually came to realize my error by the
> of 1999.
> Hindsight is always 20/20 they say, and I now know what threw me off, it
> a combination of several factors. First, the fact that I am an amateur
> scholar, not fully conversant in all areas of research (I simply didn't
> the breadth and depth of training to comprehend the problems arising from
> reconciling the data in the OT with a Hellenistic era creation). Secondly,
> the presence of Greek motifs which I had discovered in Genesis threw me
> I was unaware that the Greeks were in contact with Judaea in the
> Exilic and Early Post-Exilic periods, so I incorrectly assumed the Greek
> motifs in Genesis were Hellenistic.
> A recently released book touches upon the contact between Judaea and the
> Greeks from circa the 7th century BCE and onwards, Ephraim Stern,
> Archaeology of the Land of the Bible. Vol. 2. The Assyrian, Babylonian and
> Persian Periods (732-332 BCE). New York. Doubleday. 2001. ISBN
> 0-385-42450-7 hdbk pp. 665.
> Stern devotes a whole chapter to the Greeks, titling it "The Greek
> Penetration" (Chapter 7, pp.217-227), and notes the presence of Greek
> pottery along the Mediterranean coast as early as the 11th century, then
> penetrating Judaea, Moab and Edom in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE,
> continuing in ever increasing numbers through the Persian period. One
> to remember that with trade comes new ideas, think of the penetration of
> American (USA) culture in all lands today accompaning our trade !
> Stern's final concluding paragraph :
> "From this combined evidence of both written documents and archaeological
> remains, it appears that, even before the arrival of the Assyrians, but
> mainly during and after their period of domination, THERE WAS GREEK
> PERIOD CAN IGNORE THEM, and in any case, their presence here seems to
> reflect somewhat more than the results of regular trade relations alone,
> was suggested by J. Waldbaum." (p.227, Stern)
> My "discovery" in 1992 that Genesis' Madai (the Medes) Japhethic descent
> preserved in the Athenian Greek Medus myth (which is no earlier than the
> 6th/5th century BCE) pinpoints the creation of Genesis and the Pentateuch.
> My other "discovery," that Noah's blessing of Japheth making him co-ruler
> with Shem (the Jews) of the coveted Promised Land, established that Cyrus
> and all the kings of Persia possessed in Athenian Greek myths, a pedigree
> from the Greek Titan, Iapetos. Cyrus' grandfather, according to Herodotus,
> was Astagyes, the last king of Media. Genesis makes the Medes descendants
> Japheth. And Greek myths preserved by Herodotus make the Persians declare
> the Greeks on the eve on their invasion of Greece, circa 490 BCE that they
> are brothers and related to each other. Medus, son of a King of Athens and
> Medea of Colchis is of Japhethic descent through his royal Greek
> The Greeks believed that all Greeks were the descendants of Iapetos
> his son Prometheus.
> In sum, the genealogical bloodlines preserved in Greek myths and histories
> MATCH THE ASSERTIONS MADE IN GENESIS about Madai's Japhethic descent, and
> know that a descendant of Japheth did indeed rule of the Promised Land
> GOD'S BLESSING, for Deutero-Isaiah declares that Cyrus is God's MESSIAH,
> he, God, has given HIS Messiah RULE OVER ALL LANDS (and that includes the
> Promised Land, cf. Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-6). Ergo, Genesis' blessings are for
> the Persians not the Hellenistic Greeks. The Primary History (Genesis to 2
> Kings) is then, in my understanding, a Persian creation of circa 538-450
> BCE, its not Hellenistic Greek. If the Primary History had been written in
> the Hellenistic Era, why create a blessing for the Persians who are past
> history ? If the Primary History is a Hellenistic creation then one would
> expect that he Greeks who rule the Promised Land in the Hellenistic Era
> should be the descendants of Japheth singled out by Noah to co-rule with
> Shem (the Jews), but, I point out in my article, "The Pentateuch a Second
> Temple Creation (Unraveling the Japheth Mystery)," why the Greeks of the
> Hellenistic (Hasmonean era) period would be a poor choice for such a
> blessing (they are oppressors of the Jews from Ptolemy I's conquest of
> Jerusalem ON THE SABBATH in 330 BCE, knowing the Jews would not fight on
> that day,  to Antiochus IV's attempt to eradicate Judasism ca 163 BCE).
> Tom, I keep a motto on my classroom wall to keep all of this in
> it says in essence:
> "It is quite normal to be confused and possess only partial knowledge."
> Fondly,   Walter
> Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
> Walldorf by Heidelberg
> Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany
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