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Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: The Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch

By Professor George Frederick Wright, D. D., L. L. D.
Chapter 2 of The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, Vol. 1 (the series of booklets from which fundamentalism took its name)

The Good
  • Shows how "Jehovah" and "Elohim" were used interchangeably and therefore the original clue to the division of the Pentateuch into the alleged "J" and "E" documents is baseless
  • Demonstrates two instances (Exodus 18:6 and Genesis 39:20-22) where alleged difficulties that are supposed as indicating multiple authorship can be resolved through textual criticism
  • Shows how the standards used by the "destructive critics" to divide the text are arbitrary- if one applied them to other works (such as the Epistle to the Romans, Robert Burns' "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough", or the writings of Macauley or Milton "by selecting lists of words from the documents prepared by them when holding high political offices and from their various prose and poetical writings"), then one would have to attribute multiple authorship to these as well
  • Argues that the moral law, the civil law, and the ceremonial law "were naturally and necessarily in existence at the same time"
  • Gives nine "considerations" that support the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch
The Bad
  • At times, he lets adjectives serve as arguments (e.g., Dahse is a brilliant mind and working on an important book)
The Mixed
  • While most of the article seems easily understandable to the average reader, he could have made the section on the sacrificial system much clearer by including an example or two of how critics of the Bible have used the misunderstanding of the difference between altars and sanctuaries to argue for multiple authorship.

Conclusion Aside from the above minor criticism, it's hard to find fault with the article.
RATING: 8/10

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