Theology - the Pentateuch

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The Pentateuch is the first five books of the bible and is held as foundational to all of Scripture and ranks as one of the most important sections in God’s Word. Just as a knowledge of the four gospels is essential for understanding the New Testament, so the content of the Pentateuch is crucial to the rest of the Old Testament and for that matter the whole Bible. The Torah, as is it referred to in the Jewish bible, includes the book of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

The Pentateuch is the product of many different traditions and stories that were gradually written down over many years by many different writers. Most of the words we read in the Pentateuch today began as oral stories and generations of family traditions and understandings of God. Therefore it is believed that the Pentateuch was written by Israelite communities, who may have added or interpreted these oral telling’s in many different ways. It s also believed that the majority of the writing of the Pentateuch occurred during the Babylonian Exile. This was a way for the Israelites to express their beliefs and reach out to God in a time of desperate exile and suffering for their people. Stories and experiences that were once only told were being recorded for what many believe to be the first account of writing for the Bible.

There are many traditional scholars and readers of the bible that believe Moses wrote the Pentateuch, there are several reasons for this link. A number of passages assert that Moses wrote at least part of the Pentateuch, however in the final form of these books it is obvious that he could not be the author, with the obvious reference of Moses’ death (Deuteronomy 34:1, NRSV).

Many other scholars also believe many different writers wrote the Pentateuch, or when referring to the documentary hypothesis, four main writers. These four writers include the Yahwist writer, Elohist writer, Deuteronomist writer and Priestly writer. These writers are said to...
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