Who wrote the Torah?
For thousands of years it was universally believed and accepted that Moses wrote the Pentateuch - the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Torah. This was confessed even by the pagans, in their comments on the Jewish faith, and when referring to their earlier historical records. This was so, until during the Enlightenment, certain Rationalists came to believe that Truth could be found solely by the unfettered mind. So now anything was open for reconsideration and questioning. (With the goal to eliminate God from their minds - Romans 1:28)
Questioning the Authorship
Around 1767 a French rationalist physician named Astruc noted that two different words were used for God - Elohim, usually translated God, and Jehovah, usually translated LORD. He speculated that maybe it suggested the preferred usage of different authors, instead of the stylistic, literary, or doctrinal usage of the acknowledged author. Thus the race was on to dissect the Pentateuch and see if one could find (discern) different documents that were stitched together to make the completed books that we are now in possession of.
Origin of JEPD or Documentary Theory of Graff-Wellhausen
This JEPD or Documentary Theory was made famous by Graff and Wellhausen (German critics), and therefore became named the Graff-Wellhausen Theory. It is universally believed in secular colleges and universities, and liberal seminaries. It came to take over the field because, after Darwin's Theory of evolution was propounded, in the 1870s other individuals tried to apply the Darwinian theory to other fields of study - and the belief that societies and religions evolved also, took over these subjects of study. Thus, according to the theory, our animist forbears became polytheists, and latter evolved into monotheists, and then grew into Christian theists, etc. The Bible became an ancient book that slowly accumulated different legends, myths, records and history together, and it was suggested that the different use of words meant that those sections were written by DIFFERENT authors.
The key idea was that Elohim was used in different documents than the word Jehovah, and that conniving priests then edited them together (the P in the theory title), and the book of Deuteronomy was latter added around the time of King Josiah (the D). The final pieces of putting the puzzle together was done by Ezra, or around his time. This way they (the critics) were able to eliminate ALL prophecy from the Pentateuch, and make it simply a human production. For if Moses wrote it, then its production date would be about 1440 BC and it contained prophetic declarations from God, but if the Documentary Theory was true, then they would be able to shave off over 1000 years from the writing of the Pentateuch, and all the "prophecies" would have been written after they were fulfilled - thus not prophecies at all, but "pious" deceptions! So Moses in 1440 BC was replaced by unknown scribes around 300 BC, and it could now be claimed that, instead of coming from God, the Pentateuch was stolen from the Babylonians (and their myths - with the many gods taken out of them) during the Babylonian Captivity - around 586 BC to 536 BC.
Because of this theory, you will hear things like: "There are two stories of creation in the Bible that conflict." Genesis 1 uses Elohim for God, and in Chapter 2 Jehovah is introduced, along with Elohim. (This is where the theory has trouble explaining the evidence - when both terms are used together, or intertwined in the narrative.) A better explanation is that Chapter 1 uses the literary device of a synopsis (or general overview) and Chapter 2 is the specific description (as it applies to the Garden of Eden).
Problems with JEPD Theory
The only problem with this documentary theory is - there is NO EVIDENCE for this, but their speculation! (No manuscripts, no texts - no "before" and "after") All the manuscripts that are known are the "finished " product in its final form. This results in the fact that each critic comes up with his own re-organization of how he thinks the "pieces" of the Pentateuch should be put together, or "torn" apart, and EACH one is DIFFERENT. And since the facts (the actual manuscript material) doesn't fit these elaborate reconstructions, the Theory is constantly being revised with exceptions, revisions, and new explanations, and reconstructions (according to the imagination of each different scholar). It's treated like how evolution deals with the fossil record, and other facts - a continuing series of "Just So" stories (like Rudyard Kipling's stories). It is another example of what man can concoct to eliminate God, and his responsibility to Him.
There have been true scholars, like Robert Dick Wilson, who after mastering 45 languages and dialects, so that he could read all biblical evidences in their original languages up to 600 AD, have concluded that the Documentary Theory is but the bankrupt theory of speculators that are but playing a mind game of "what if", and not dealing with facts. See his "Is the Higher Criticism Scholarly?"
In conclusion, who wrote the Torah? The evidence points towards Moses!
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