The Human Truth Foundation

The Pentateuch is the First 5 Books of the Bible
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

By Vexen Crabtree 2012


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#bible #christianity #judaism #old_testament #pentateuch

The Five Books of Moses are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Together they are called the Pentateuch. Archaeological and historical evidence shows that these five books were primarily composed in the 7th century BCE. Finkelstein & Silberman explain that the evidence is that "the Deuteronomistic History was written in the days of King Josiah, to serve his religious ideology and territorial ambitions, and ... was finished and edited a few decades later in exile. ... The geographical and ethnic details of both the patriarchal origin stories and the Exodus liberation story bear the hallmarks of having been composed in the seventh century BCE"1. These five scrolls did not start out as being considered the holy word of god. They were modified and moulded over hundreds of years by various editors2 - although Christian tradition fiercely fought for them to be considered to be the works of Moses, this is clearly not the case. "The Pentateuch [was] considered to be canonical by the time of Ezra and Nehemiah in the fifth century BC"2.

Arguing against Biblical inerrantism in the 19th century, Bishop Colenso critically examined the text of the Pentateuch:

Bishop Colenso in his exhaustive work on the Pentateuch shows that most of the records therein claiming to be historical facts are merely parables and figments of the imagination of different writers, composed at different periods, full of contradictions, interpolations and discrepancies.

"The Woman's Bible" by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1898)3


1. Introductions to the Books of the Pentateuch

1.1. Genesis
50 chapters, 1533 verses (in most versions)

#bible #christianity #creationism #egypt #genesis

Genesis contains a creation story of the Earth and the first 2 people, Adam and Eve, and their incestuous (and murderous) family. It describes a version of the ancient Flood story where God, or the Gods, flood the Earth or at least a large portion of it, drowning all living creatures including all animals, men, women, children, infants, but saving Noah and his immediate family. Another period of incestuous family relations afterwards ensues. Genesis then tells the story of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, each of which acted sometimes as immoral tyrant and sometimes as holy spokesperson. They all end up, according to these stories, in Egypt, although historical evidence is clear that most Hebrews continued to live in their homeland. Genesis was written and edited by various authors from between the 10th and 6th century BCE, and some scholars believe it wasn't completely written until as late as the 2nd century BCE4.

"Bereishit / Genesis" by Vexen Crabtree (2012)

1.2. Exodus
40 chapters, 1213 verses (in most versions)

#egypt

The text of Exodus was written and edited at various times between the 8th and 2nd century BCE5,6.

The first half is about the oppression of the portion of the Hebrews who had ended up in Egypt. It contains classic scenes such as the nine plagues. The second half is the unhistorical story of Moses' leading some of the Hebrews out of Egypt and their wonderings in the desert. Some authors believe that this pseudo-history is based on a real, partial, movement of Jews in the 13th century BCE7 but most think that the movement was of a small group of Hebrews in the 7th century BCE. Certainly, the migration did not leave any archaeological evidence (campsites, etc). Moses receives the Law from God on Mount Sinai, where he also receives the Ten Commandments.

"Shemot / Exodus" by Vexen Crabtree (2012)

1.3. Leviticus
27 chapters, 859 verses (in most versions)

#bible #christianity #creationism #egypt #genesis

Genesis contains a creation story of the Earth and the first 2 people, Adam and Eve, and their incestuous (and murderous) family. It describes a version of the ancient Flood story where God, or the Gods, flood the Earth or at least a large portion of it, drowning all living creatures including all animals, men, women, children, infants, but saving Noah and his immediate family. Another period of incestuous family relations afterwards ensues. Genesis then tells the story of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, each of which acted sometimes as immoral tyrant and sometimes as holy spokesperson. They all end up, according to these stories, in Egypt, although historical evidence is clear that most Hebrews continued to live in their homeland. Genesis was written and edited by various authors from between the 10th and 6th century BCE, and some scholars believe it wasn't completely written until as late as the 2nd century BCE4.

"Bereishit / Genesis" by Vexen Crabtree (2012)

1.4. Numbers
36 chapters, 1288 verses (in most versions)

#bible #christianity #creationism #egypt #genesis

Genesis contains a creation story of the Earth and the first 2 people, Adam and Eve, and their incestuous (and murderous) family. It describes a version of the ancient Flood story where God, or the Gods, flood the Earth or at least a large portion of it, drowning all living creatures including all animals, men, women, children, infants, but saving Noah and his immediate family. Another period of incestuous family relations afterwards ensues. Genesis then tells the story of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, each of which acted sometimes as immoral tyrant and sometimes as holy spokesperson. They all end up, according to these stories, in Egypt, although historical evidence is clear that most Hebrews continued to live in their homeland. Genesis was written and edited by various authors from between the 10th and 6th century BCE, and some scholars believe it wasn't completely written until as late as the 2nd century BCE4.

"Bereishit / Genesis" by Vexen Crabtree (2012)

1.5. Deuteronomy
34 chapters, 959 verses (in most versions)

#bible #christianity #creationism #egypt #genesis

Genesis contains a creation story of the Earth and the first 2 people, Adam and Eve, and their incestuous (and murderous) family. It describes a version of the ancient Flood story where God, or the Gods, flood the Earth or at least a large portion of it, drowning all living creatures including all animals, men, women, children, infants, but saving Noah and his immediate family. Another period of incestuous family relations afterwards ensues. Genesis then tells the story of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, each of which acted sometimes as immoral tyrant and sometimes as holy spokesperson. They all end up, according to these stories, in Egypt, although historical evidence is clear that most Hebrews continued to live in their homeland. Genesis was written and edited by various authors from between the 10th and 6th century BCE, and some scholars believe it wasn't completely written until as late as the 2nd century BCE4.

"Bereishit / Genesis" by Vexen Crabtree (2012)

2. Moses Was Not the Author 8

#christianity

Although Christian tradition fiercely fought for these five books to be considered the works of Moses, this is clearly not the case. Critics of religion were often persecuted for arguing that the evidence does not support the traditional idea that Moses authored the Pentateuch. Thomas Paine advocated rational analysis of scripture, and ridiculed some of the assumptions that have to be made in order to preserve the idea that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. He points out Numbers 12:3 which says "Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth" - imagine the contradictory embarrassment of arguing that Moses wrote this about himself9! It is clear that Moses was only posited as the author much later than the time the books were written.

Moses is not the author of them; and still further, that they were not written in the time of Moses, nor till several hundred years afterward.

"The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine (1807)10

Current edition: 2012 Jul 14
Last Modified: 2015 Aug 31
http://www.holybooks.info/pentateuch.html
Parent page: Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Holy Bibles Across Different Traditions

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References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Book Cover

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The Bible (NIV). The NIV is the best translation for accuracy whilst maintaining readability. Multiple authors, a compendium of multiple previously published books. I prefer to take quotes from the NIV but where I quote the Bible en masse I must quote from the KJV because it is not copyrighted, whilst the NIV is. Book Review.

Finkelstein & Silberman
(2002) The Bible Unearthed. Subtitled: "Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and The Origin of Its Sacred Texts". Amazon Kindle digital edition. Published by The Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc, NY, USA. Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. An e-book.

Leeming, David
(2004, Ed.) Jealous Gods & Chosen People: The Mythology of the Middle East. Published by Oxford University Press. A hardback book.

Paine, Thomas
(1807) The Age of Reason. Published by Musiaicum Books. Part 1 published 1794, part 2 in 1795 and part 3 in 1807. An e-book.

Roberts, Jenny
(1997) Bible Facts. Originally published 1990. Current version published by Grange Books, London. A hardback book.

Stanton, Elizabeth C.. (1815-1902)
(1898) The Woman's Bible. Amazon Kindle digital edition produced by Carrie Lorenz and John B. Hare. An e-book.

Footnotes

  1. Finkelstein & Silberman (2002). Book theme. But in particular see digital locations 455-467, 642-44, 1782-85. Added to this page on 2014 May 08.^
  2. Roberts (1997). P10.^
  3. Stanton (1898). P118-119.^
  4. Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance article "Archaeology and the Hebrew Scriptures". Accessed 2001.1.1. Genesis
    50 chapters, 1533 verses (in most versions)
    " href="#OU0784">^1.3. Leviticus
    27 chapters, 859 verses (in most versions)
    " href="#OU0786">^1.4. Numbers
    36 chapters, 1288 verses (in most versions)
    " href="#OU0787">^1.5. Deuteronomy
    34 chapters, 959 verses (in most versions)
    " href="#OU0788">^
  5. Roberts (1997). P28.1.2. Exodus
    40 chapters, 1213 verses (in most versions)
    " href="#OU0785">^
  6. Finkelstein & Silberman (2002). Digital location 1776-1779. . Author lays down a wealth of archaeological evidence that proves that the Exodus narrative 'reached its final form during the time of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, in the second half of the seventh and the first half of the sixth century BCE'.1.2. Exodus
    40 chapters, 1213 verses (in most versions)
    " href="#OU0785">^
  7. Leeming (2004). For example, on p109.1.2. Exodus
    40 chapters, 1213 verses (in most versions)
    " href="#OU0785">^
  8. Added to this page on 2018 Sep 03.^
  9. Paine, Thomas (1807). Digital location 1078-1081.^
  10. Paine, Thomas (1807). Digital location 1061.^

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