[b-hebrew] Yigal: Who wrote the books of the Bible

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Tue Oct 30 23:37:22 EDT 2007

The list of Biblical writers that I cited is taken from the Talmud, 
Bava Basra.  The fact that it is listed somewhere later than the 
completion of these books doesn't mean that it was all just made up 
by rabbis who had an agenda; my position - that they had the 
information, and they listed the authors of these books for us so 
that we, too, could have the information - is no less plausible than 
your position.

This relates to our previous discussion of Sefer Yetzira which is 
attributed to Avraham, yet Sa'adia Gaon, who said it was written in 
Talmudic times still attributed the methods it taught, and the 
knowledge contained within it, to have come from Avraham.  So 
obviously Avraham didn't put pen to paper, but this apparently is 
what it means that Avraham "wrote" it, and this must be the reason 
why the word "redacted" is used, and why it doesn't contradict that 
someone else originated it earlier.  Similarly the Zohar - which was 
either actually written by Shimon Bar Yochai, or was a collection of 
all of his teachings to his special inner group of disciples, that 
were handed down from disciple to disciple that were finally COMPILED 
("redacted"?) into a book a few hundred years later by Moshe de Leon 
- really amounts to the same thing - not for purposes of science, or 
the style of language, but in terms of the CONTENT.  Similarly the 
Torah - when we say that G-d wrote it we really do mean that G-d had 
Moshe write it, but the content originated with G-d, not Moshe, who 
was only a faithful servant.  And similarly all these other books of 

The "canonization" that the Anshei Knesset HaGedola (who also 
standardized the prayer liturgy, enacted many  laws designed to 
protect Torah observance and made Torah education available to the 
masses - Bab. Talmud Megilah: 17b) did, was another stage in the 
preservation and transmission of our Mesorah - which, ESPECIALLY, if, 
as you say, there were many versions of these books in circulation, 
they really needed to do - come to a consensus of which were 
authentic and which were not, in terms of faithfully depicting our 
Mesorah - BIG TIME.

Shoshanna Walker


The list of bibilcal writers according to the Rabbis (Hazal) is recorded in
a braitha from hundreds of years after the completion of the latest of these
books, and is largely based on the Rabbis' need for the authors to have been
recognized prophets (since the books are "the word of God"). This tradition
and the methodology which it is based upon is not accepted by the majority
of modern scholars, for the same reasons that I have already stated in
previous posts. Most of the books themselves do NOT claim to have been
written by those people. In any case, even if a book like Samuel is based
upon an earlier written source dating back to the days of David (which is
possible, but in no way proven), it was definately "redacted" by a
late-monarchic and then by an exilic editor. Which means that the book AS WE
HAVE IT is a product of a much later period, and we can only guess about its
actual sources.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint and quite a few other sources,
including rabbinic quotes, show that during the Second Temple period there
were more than one (or even two) "versions" or "editions" of the various
books in circulation, and that the "canonical status" of many of the books
was not agreed on by all authorities. The more-or-less final "canonization"
of the Hebrew Bible only took place after the destruction of the Second

There are lots of books you can read on the subject.

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message -----
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 5:06 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] RUTH Re: Hebrew as a Spoken Language vs. Aramaic

> But the notes from this Table - I can't quote them all - I quoted
> some of them in parentheses - use the word 'redacted' as a synonym
> for 'wrote' and/or 'transcribed'
> Here is my (partial) list:
> Pentateuch redacted by Moshe  (the last 8 verses of the Torah, which
> refer to Moshe's death, were either written by Moshe be'dima - with
> tears - or by Joshua)
> Joshua redacted by Joshua - the notes say, "The book of Joshua was
> written by Joshua, through Joshua 24:29 (which refers to Joshua's
> death), and was completed by Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon HaCohen
> )Bava Basra  15a)
> Judges redacted by Samuel (Samuel wrote Judges and Samuel I, until I
> Samuel 28:3, which refers to Samuel's death.  The remainder was
> completed by Gad haChozeh and Natan HaNavi0
> Kings redacted by Jeremiah (Jeremiah wrote Jeremiah, Kings and Eichah)
> Isaiah redacted by Anshei Chizkiah (the scholars of King Chizkiah's
> generation, who survived Chizkiah by a number of years, transcribed
> Isaiah's prophecies after he was slain by Menashe (Yevamos 49b)
> Jeremiah redacted by Jeremiah
> Yechezkiel redacted by Anshei Knesset HaGedolah
> Trei Asar redacted by Anshei Knesset HaGedolah
> Psalms redacted by King David and Ten Elders (the notes name these ten
> Elders)
> Song of Songs redacted by Anshei Chizkiah (Song of Songs,
> Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs were written by King Solomon, and were
> transcribed by Anshei Chizkiah (see Proverbs, 25:1)
> OK, I'm not going to finish - you get the picture...
> Shoshanna Walker
>> QUESTION:  What does "Redacted" mean?
>> Shoshanna
> Edited.
> Karl W. Randolph.
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