[b-hebrew] Author of the Torah

Heard, Christopher Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Fri Jul 29 15:58:47 EDT 2005

On Jul 29, 2005, at 12:46 PM, Brian Roberts wrote:
> > I would also want to know which canon is being referred to here? The
> > universal elements shared by all canons? Or are talking about LXX  
> versus
> > Masoretic again? Or the Christian OT?


Of course, I can only speak for myself, but on this particular thread  
we have been discussing the Torah, which has the same "table of  
contents" in all of the canons you listed above, plus the Eastern  
Orthodox, Slavonic, Ethiopic, Samaritan, and any other Judeo- 
Christian traditions you want to name.

Now, of course, if the Tanakh itself includes references to a five- 
book Torah, the authors would be presupposing neither the Masoretic  
Text nor the LXX nor the Samaritan Pentateuch nor a DSS text-type,  
but a (theoretical, but in my judgment almost unassailably probable)  
precursor text-type that all of these later text-types would share in  

Of course, it would be entirely legitimate to question whether the  
fairly simplistic
"family bush" model I've used above is valid, that is, to interrogate  
my assumption of *a* single "canonical Torah," be it text or text- 
type, from which all of the extant text-types descend. But that is a  
big question to which I have no ready answer.

In any event, if the LXX project was indeed begun c. 385 BCE, that is  
good evidence that by c. 400 the Torah/Pentateuch was seen and  
circulating as such, that is, as a collection of five books, Genesis  
through Deuteronomy. The unresolved question is how much *earlier*  
that happened, and whether any of the Tanakh references to "the book  
of the law of Moses" refer to that five-book collection as such.


R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Pepperdine University
Malibu, California 90263-4352

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