How late was the Bible? And who really wrote it?
It has become a truism that the Bible, or let’s be specific and acknowledge we are discussing the Old Testament or Jewish/Hebrew Bible, is a collection of various books composed by multiple authors over many years. All of these authors are said to have “coincidentally” testified to the one and only true God of the Jewish people. The mere fact that multiple authors spanning generations wrote complementary works all directed at the reality of this God working in human affairs is considered proof that we are dealing with a cultural and religious heritage, a common tradition belonging to a single people over time.
A few scholars have challenged that thesis and the most recently published of these is Philippe Wajdenbaum. He writes:
To have a single writer for Genesis-Kings, and possibly for other biblical books, contradicts the idea of the transmission of the divine word, and of a tradition proper to a people. (p. 11)
The idea of a single author does not conflict with the understanding that the sources of the Bible were drawn from archives of Israelite and Judahite kings as well as Mesopotamian and “Canaanite” and other sources. WP claims that the traditional scholarly hypotheses of authorship and origins of the Bible are in fact secular rationalizations of cultural myths about the Bible. But I will discuss this in a future post. Continue reading “Bible Origins — continuing Wajdenbaum’s thesis in Argonauts of the Desert”