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Jordan Parker
Jordan Parker

How Many Books Moses Wrote


Dr. Archer has authored many books, including the two commentaries The Epistle to the Hebrews and The Epistle to the Romans, as well as his Survey of Old Testament Introduction, and The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties.




how many books moses wrote



For much of Church history, it was common to make minimal modifications to the idea that Moses wrote these books. It would be said that he was the main author but that after his death others added bits here and there, such as the material recording his death. (Some have suggested Moses himself did write this by way of prophetic revelation, but this is not a widely held view.)


Author: The book of Psalms includes five collections of compositions by many authors. It is one of the most popular books in the whole Bible. In terms of literary genre, it is one of the books of poetry in the Holy Book.


Author: The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles are anonymous. According to tradition, the priest Ezra wrote Chronicles (the division into two books came much later), Ezra and Nehemiah. Most scholars agree with that view. They claim that there are similarities in the vocabulary, themes, and concerns among those books. They also point out how the book of Ezra seems to pick up where 2 Chronicles left off (compare 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 with Ezra 1:1-4).


Prove that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch and you prove that Jesus was totally mistaken and not the infallible Son of God he claimed to be. Upon your faith in Moses as the writer of the five books attributed to him rests also your faith in Jesus as the Son of God. You cannot believe in Jesus Christ without believing what Moses wrote. You see, there is much more involved in denying the books of Moses than most people suppose (1982, p. 41).


Until comparatively recent times, the practically universal view among both Jews and Christians was that "Moses wrote the Pentateuch." Josephus, the Jewish historian, in speaking of the sacred books of the Jews declares: "and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death."[3] That these words refer to the Pentateuch, that they attribute it to Moses, and that they represent the accepted opinion of Jewish scholars of the past is undeniable. The acceptance of this belief in the Christian Church is shown by the fact that in Luther's translation of the Bible each of the books of the Pentateuch is entitled a "book of Moses," and that a similar statement appears in the 1611 Version of the English Bible. The question whether a tradition which is so ancient and so universal is correct is important in itself. But it becomes especially important when we consider the three matters closely connected with it which have already been alluded to: (I) the basis of this tradition, (II) the consequences of rejecting it, and (III) the methods used by the critics to disprove the Mosaic authorship.


Since the higher critics do not deny the antiquity and practical universality of the tradition that the Pentateuch is Mosaic,[10] but rather affirm that their own view is essentially a modern discovery, it is not necessary to prove this in detail. A few facts, however, may be noted. The earliest extra-canonical witness to the Old Testament canon is Ecclesiasticus (written about 250 B.C.). There we read, "He [Jehovah] made him [Moses] to hear his voice and brought him into the dark cloud, and gave him commandments before his face, even the law of life and knowledge, that he might teach Jacob his covenants and Israel his judgments."[11] Second Maccabees speaks of the "commandment of the law which was given . . . by Moses" (7:30). Philo, who was an older contemporary of Josephus, attached such importance to the books of Moses that he assigned the Pentateuch a unique place among the Old Testament books. In the Talmud it is declared that any departure from the teaching that Moses wrote the Pentateuch would be punished by exclusion from Paradise.[12] Among Christian scholars, one of the first to refer to the "five books of Moses" is Melito, Bishop of Sardis (cir. 175 AD.). In all of the lists of the Canonical Scriptures given by the Church Fathers the Five Books of the Law are given a unique position; and they are frequently called the "books of Moses."[13] The simplest explanation of this tradition is that it represents the teachings of the Bible itself.


For many years a popular claim in school textbooks has been that the Phoenicians invented the alphabet around 1100 BC. The first Hebrew script is thought to have developed from Phoenician a couple centuries later, around 900 BC.


If this were true, it would be a big problem for the idea of Moses writing the Torah over three centuries earlier. This is one reason why many are skeptical that he did. However, the startling fact is that leading experts in the field have long known that the earliest alphabet comes from an era before the Phoenicians, so why have textbooks not reflected this reality?


Modern scripture affirms not only the historical nature of many important events in the Bible, but also the reality of the figures who participated in or wrote about them. Joseph Smith has left accounts of personal visions and manifestations that include many prominent characters of the Book of Mormon[19] and the Bible.[20]


In my last article, we considered who wrote the book of Genesis, and for that matter, who wrote the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch. We saw how, according to the vocabulary and syntax used, it has been determined there is truly only one voice and therefore, a singular author. The Bible teaches and we believe this singular human author is Moses. We also confess as Christians that all Scripture is breathed out by God, that is inspired by God the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16,17).


This is the liberal/critical view which denies that Moses wrote Genesis to Deuteronomy.It teaches that various anonymous authors compiled these five books (plus otherportions of the Old Testament) from centuries of oral tradition, up to 900 yearsafter Moses lived (if, in this view, he even existed). These hypothetical narratorsare designated as follows:


Answer: He was none of the above. Rather, Moses himself was bothwriter and editor of the Pentateuch, and these five books were composed by him inabout 1400 BC , not by unknowns at the time of theExile. This does not mean that Moses did not use other written sources availableto him (see later), or that he wrote the last few verses of Deuteronomy 34 thatrecord his death. Talmudic (Rabbinic Jewish) tradition has always been that thesewere added, under divine inspiration, by Joshua.


All the books of the Pentateuch have traditionally been attributed to Moses, who is the leading character in four of them, excluding Genesis. It is thought that only Moses could have known the events in those four books, and also that God must have told him what to write in the Book of Genesis. Then, as early as 1520, the German theologian Andreas Rudolf Bodenstein von Carlstadt wrote a pamphlet arguing that Moses did not write the Pentateuch (see The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume 1, page 819). In 1574, A. Du Maes, a Roman Catholic scholar, suggested that the Pentateuch was composed by Ezra, using old manuscripts as a basis.


Or perhaps the question really only means, "How could Moses have written ALL of them, every word?" I don't think it is necessary that he wrote every word, as I've already argued. But I ascribe to the doctrine that all scripture is inspired by God, stated plainly in in Exodus 24:4*ff* and II Timothy 3:16. So I don't really care if there were ten or twenty authors involved; it's still God's holy word. The verses above only ascribe the Laws and the books to Moses. He may have had assistants and co-authors and translators and a whole team of editors. I'm not bothered that he gets the full credit, because he ascribes the ultimate credit to God. Your doctrine may differ, in which case this hermeneutic may not work for you. No offense is intended.


It is of course true that one could explain each of the half dozen passages mentioned by ibn Ezra and show that they do not necessarily imply that Moses did not write them. Indeed, the Talmuds address and answer these and similar problems and many later Torah scholars wrote explanations. However, ibn Ezra himself felt that they prove that Moses did not write the entire Torah.


1. How many books are in the Bible? (66)2. How many testaments? (2)3. How many books in the OT? (39)4. How many in the NT? (27)5. What are the divisions in the OT? (5 law, 12 history, 5 poetry, 5 major, 12 minor)6. What about the NT? (4 gospels, 1 history, 21 letters, 1 prophecy)


Whether or not you think you do, chances are you do. Modern day poetry is most often formed around music. This was also true in ancient Israel. They communicated in verse, both with and without music. While Job is odd in that it was written well before the rest of the books of poetry, and in that Job lived during the time of Abraham, not David, much of the book is written in Hebrew verse. Because of the timing of the book, many believe Moses wrote Job, although it is not certain. Job was written around 1400 BC.


In this class, the third in our series on TORAH, we take a closer look at the Pentateuch. Fundamentalists claim that Moses wrote the five books from Genesis through the end of Deuteronomy, but what do the biblical texts claim? There are seven references to Moses writing something, nineteen references to this torah, seven references to this scroll of the Torah, three references to a scroll of Moses, and fourteen references to the Torah of Moses. All of these point to content found exclusively in one ancient book. Watch / listen to this class to learn more.


ContentsBooks on Black Art (Ireland). The Wondrous Michael Scott (Scotland). The Magic Book (Germany). The Magic Book and the Crows (Germany). The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (Germany). The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (Germany / Poland). The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (Germany). The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (Germany). The Black Book (Germany). Faust's Book of Hell's Charms (Germany). Dr. Faust's Hell-Master (Germany). The Book of Cyprianus (Denmark). The Milkmaid from Listrup (Denmark). The Court Tutor at Tøjstrup Manor (Denmark). Cyprianus (Denmark). Folk Beliefs about the Cyprianus (Denmark). The Devil Is Given a Task (Denmark). The Book of Magic (Russia). Links to related sites. Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology. Books on Black ArtIrelandBooks on Black Art were got in Scotland by those who went to work there during the Harvest. It was against the law to sell or buy these but it was done. A 1 was left on a certain place and while one watched a hand appeared took the money and shortly afterwards put the required book in its place. At the beginning of each book these words were written: Read me through But pursue me not, For if you do Hell and damnation will be your lot. Mrs. M. A. McAdoo (56) Liseveny, Parish of Ematris, Barony of Dartrey. Source: dúchas.ie >> The Schools' Collection >> Co. Monaghan >> Nart, pp. 201-202. The material on this site is made available under the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence. The Schools' Collection is a manuscript collection of folklore compiled by schoolchildren in Ireland in the 1930s. Return to the table of contents. The Wondrous Michael ScottScotlandSir Michael Scott of Balwearie flourished during the 13th century.... He was a man of much learning, chiefly acquired in foreign countries. He wrote a commentary upon Aristotle, printed at Venice in 1496; and several treatises upon natural philosophy, from which he appears to have been addicted to the abstruse studies of judicial astrology, alchymy, physiognomy, and chiromancy. Hence he passed among his contemporaries for a skilful magician. Dempster informs us , that he remembers to have heard in his youth , that the magic books of Michael Scott were still in existence, but could not be opened without danger, on account of the fiends who were thereby invoked. Dempsteri Historia Ecclesiastica, 1627, lib. xii. p. 495. Lesly characterises Michael Scott as "singulari philosophiæ, astronomiæ, ac medicinæ laude prestans; dicebatur penitissimos magiæ recussus indagasse." A personage, thus spoken of by biographers and historians, loses little of his mystical fame in vulgar tradition. Accordingly, the memory of Sir Michael Scott survives in many a legend; and in the south of Scotland, any work of great labour and antiquity is ascribed, either to the agency of Auld Michael, of Sir William Wallace, or of the devil. Tradition varies concerning the place of his burial: some contend for Holme Coltrame, in Cumberland; others for Melrose Abbey. But all agree, that his books of magic were interred in his grave, or preserved in the convent where he died. Source (books.google.com): Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel: A Poem (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; Edinburgh: Constable and Company, 1805), notes, pp. 234-35. Source (Internet Archive): Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel: A Poem (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; Edinburgh: Constable and Company, 1805), notes, pp. 234-35. Return to the table of contents. The Magic BookGermanyIt is said that eighteen years ago an old shepherd from Mödiskruge, County of Guben, possessed a book containing all kinds of secrets. He wanted to get rid of it and tried to cut it into pieces, burn it, and give it away, but nothing succeeded until the pastor in Fünfeichen took it from him in the church. Children were told to walk around the old man three time if they wanted to speak to him. Otherwise he could harm them, put a spell on them, or something similar. Source (books.google.com): Karl Gander, "Das Zauberbuch," Niederlausitzer Volkssagen vornehmlich aus dem Stadt- und Landkreise Guben (Berlin: Deutsche Schriftsteller-Genossenschaft, 1894), no. 62, p. 24. Source (Internet Archive): Karl Gander, "Das Zauberbuch," Niederlausitzer Volkssagen vornehmlich aus dem Stadt- und Landkreise Guben (Berlin: Deutsche Schriftsteller-Genossenschaft, 1894), no. 62, p. 24. Return to the table of contents. The Magic Book and the CrowsGermanyA peasant in Breslack had an old book. Whenever he would read in it the entire room was suddenly filled with crows. He gave the book to the pastor, who removed the curse from him. Source (books.google.com): Karl Gander, "Das Zauberbuch und die Krähen," Niederlausitzer Volkssagen vornehmlich aus dem Stadt- und Landkreise Guben (Berlin: Deutsche Schriftsteller-Genossenschaft, 1894), no. 63, p. 24. Source (Internet Archive): Karl Gander, "Das Zauberbuch und die Krähen," Niederlausitzer Volkssagen vornehmlich aus dem Stadt- und Landkreise Guben (Berlin: Deutsche Schriftsteller-Genossenschaft, 1894), no. 63, p. 24. Gander's source: "Oral, from a peasant woman." Return to the table of contents. The Sixth and Seventh Books of MosesGermanyA woman in Fünfeichen was said to possess the sixth and seventh books of Moses. When asked how she would cure a mad dog, she replied that she would say: "Devil, depart from this animal. For that I give you body and soul!" But then she added: "This will restore the dog's health, but if it is a female dog, all of her pups will turn mad." Source (books.google.com): Karl Gander, "Das sechste und siebente Buch Mosis," Niederlausitzer Volkssagen vornehmlich aus dem Stadt- und Landkreise Guben (Berlin: Deutsche Schriftsteller-Genossenschaft, 1894), no. 64, p. 24. Source (Internet Archive): Karl Gander, "Das sechste und siebente Buch Mosis," Niederlausitzer Volkssagen vornehmlich aus dem Stadt- und Landkreise Guben (Berlin: Deutsche Schriftsteller-Genossenschaft, 1894), no. 64, p. 24. Gander's source: "Oral." Return to the table of contents. The Sixth and Seventh Books of MosesGermany / PolandThe most important magic books are the sixth and seventh books of Moses. Because their contents bring misfortune, they were excluded from the Bible. However, they are still found now and again, pastors having kept them in their churches. If one throws such books into the fire, they will not burn. A journeyman miller owned such a magic book. Once when he had gone to church the master came by and read in the book, which he had left lying on the table. The master very much liked the stories he was reading, but while he was reading, numerous lords came in through the door, sat down at the table, and demanded work. This terrified the master, and he sent someone to the church to fetch the journeyman. The journeyman read everything backwards that the master had read forwards, and with that the spirits disappeared. Nevertheless, the journeyman was very angry at the master's audacity, scolded him, and told him never again to touch his books. Source (books.google.com): Ulrich Jahn, "Das sechste und siebente Buch Moses," Volkssagen aus Pommern und Rügen (Stettin: Verlag von H. Dannenberg, 1886), no. 437, pp. 347-48.. Source (Internet Archive): Ulrich Jahn, "Das sechste und siebente Buch Moses," Volkssagen aus Pommern und Rügen (Stettin: Verlag von H. Dannenberg, 1886), no. 437, pp. 347-48.. Return to the table of contents. Kuhn's source: "From Meesow [Mieszewo], Country of Regenwalde: Communicated by Prof. E. Kuhn." The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses Chemnitz, GermanyThere is no longer any magic or witchcraft. That is because the sixth and the seventh books of Moses can no longer be used. Witchcraft, magic, and incantations were all exactly described and recorded there. These two books are now secured at Wittenberg. They can still be seen as curiosities, but can no longer be used. Source: A. Kuhn and W. Schwartz, "Das sechste und siebente Buch Mosis," Norddeutsche Sagen, Märchen und Gebräuche aus Meklenburg [Mecklenburg], Pommern, der Mark, Sachsen, Thüringen, Braunschweig, Hannover, Oldenburg und Westfalen (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1848), no. 100, p. 90. Kuhn's and Schwartz's source: "Oral from Chemnitz." Return to the table of contents. The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses Rügen, Germany Many years ago there lived in Trent an old master tailor whose wife had inherited an unusual book from her mother. They say she had the sixth and the seventh books of Moses. Whenever the woman read in the book, deer, wolves, hares, and other animals would come to her, lie down at her feet, and play with her children. All these animals would disappear as soon as the book was closed. One day while the woman was reading the book, she was surprised by her husband. He grabbed the book and threw it into the stove. But behold! The fire went out, and the book remained undamaged. The tailor did not want to have this book in his house any longer, so, acting on the advice of some old people, he had a boy who was born on a Sunday during the sermon throw the book into the stove. That worked, for the book was immediately consumed by the flames. Source: A. Haas, "Das sechste und siebente Buch Mose," Rügensche Sagen und Märchen (Stettin: Johs. Burmeister's Buchhandlung, 1903), no. 101, p. 90. Haas's source: "Associate Headmaster P. Grützmacher from Trent." Return to the table


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