[b-hebrew] Author of the Torah

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Jul 29 20:44:24 EDT 2005

On 29/07/2005 22:39, Heard, Christopher wrote:

>Oops, no. Brain hiccup. Please substitute "285 BCE"--I am thinking of  
>the tradition that the LXX project was begun while Judea was under  
>Ptolemaic rule--and adjust other dates accordingly.
Well, this is not in fact a basis for moving forward to this date the 
latest time of composition of the Torah. For James made one very good 
new point, which was that the Samaritan Pentateuch is nearly identical 
to the Torah, which proves that the more-or-less final form of the Torah 
predates the split between the Jews and the Samaritans. Now we don't 
know the precise date of this. The Samaritan tradition dates it as far 
back as the time of Eli. The book of Kings suggests the time of 
Hezekiah. And the Elephantine letters gives clear evidence that by 500 
BCE there were separate communities with separate Temples, and so very 
probably with separately preserved versions of the Torah. So, this 
becomes quite a stong argument for the Torah being complete at least 
before the Exile. Perhaps the last time at which it could have been 
shared between Judeans and Samaritans was the time of Josiah, when 
Samaria seems to have come temporarily under Judean control. So I would 
suggest that as the latest plausible date for the Torah in more or less 
its final form.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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