The Pentateuch

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The Pentateuch:
An Insight On The Development Of The Five Books Which Now Compromise The Pentateuch.

The Pentateuch is defined as the first five books of the Old Testament. Throughout its continued existence, it has been very hard to trace its origins of authors and the times of authentication.

In short, the Pentateuch tells of the story of creation and continues until the death of Moses. It was believed that Moses wrote the entire Pentateuch although further study shows otherwise. There are no original manuscripts of the Old Testament which means any extant manuscript is a copy of an earlier one. Prior to 400 B.C. there were several languages that were fairly similar to each other, although Bruce Waltke and Michael O’Connor believe that Moses wrote in some form of Hebrew. The Old Testament was canonized by about 300 B.C. From here the Pentateuch was beginning to be reproduced by scribes who tried to keep it as close to its origins as they could, while also being open to updating the text. Nearing 500 A.D. another group of scribes called the Masoretes continued the tradition of reproducing the text. They also had questions about the structure of the text and left relevant notations in their work. This is was one of the earliest forms of criticisms the Old Testament had received. After 1000 A.D the printing press was invented, giving the Pentateuch the opportunity to be mass produced and remain accurate in its Hebrew writings.

With the use of source criticisms of the Old Testament, different hypotheses have arisen about the true authors and the time of authorship. One of the most popular of these is the Documentary hypothesis, which suggests the Pentateuch was created by four sources being; Yahwist (J), Elohist (E), Priestly (P) and Deuteronomy (D). The chief advocate for this hypothesis was J. Wellhausen. Interestingly there are new modern forms of criticism arising about the Pentateuch. This can be seen in...
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