[b-hebrew] Author of the torah
peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Jul 29 15:01:08 EDT 2005
On 29/07/2005 19:28, Read, James C wrote:
>There are three places where Moses is said to have written something- Ex
>24:4, Dt 31:9, 31:22. An even not so careful reading will show that the
>reference to Moses writing refers only to the present pericope.
>Have you read Deouteronomy 31:9 closely?
>What did he write?
>How do you say 'law' in hebrew?
>Isn't it something like 'torah'?
>And the name of the book attributed to Moshe?
>My! What an amazing coincidence!!!
Surely not, James. See also 31:24, which Jim just happens to have
forgotten, which states that Moses wrote down this law, hattora hazzo't,
`ad tummam which means something like "completely". In other words, this
verse seems to be an explicit claim that Moses wrote down the whole of
But then what was meant by the Torah? Not necessarily all of the five
books now known as such. But 31:9,24 must be a claim at least that Moses
wrote down the complete contents of what he had just spoken, also
referred to as "this law", hattora hazzo't, in 1:5. And this happens to
be the major part of the book of Deuteronomy, from 1:6 to 30:20 - except
for 27:1a,9a,11 and 29:1,2, which are the only parts of this which are
not presented as the words of Moses. Additionally, large parts of
chapters 31-33 are presented as Moses' words, and in 31:22 it is stated
that he wrote down his song which is 32:1-43. So, we have about 95% of
the book presented as Moses' words and 85% explicitly stated as written
down by him. And I think even the most conservative interpreters accept
that at least part of the remaining 5%, especially chapter 34, was not
in fact written by Moses.
Of course some might want to dispute whether the internal claims of the
book are reliable. But it is necessary to recognise first that these
claims are being made.
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
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