... greatly exaggerated ...

"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

So said Mark Twain upon hearing of the reports of his own demise in the New York Journal.

Those who believe that the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch *, were written by Moses must not have noticed the following in Deuteronomy 34:

5 And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. 6 He buried him [b] in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.

And so it goes for another five verses. Are we to assume that, like Mark Twain, Moses would have said that reports of his death and burial (by who?) were greatly exaggerated after he laid down his quill after Deuteronomy 34:12?

12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Rather arrogant of him, if so!

In fact, the consensus amongst unbiased biblical scholars is that the books attributed to Moses actually had 4 sets of authors, J, E, P, and D **. This interpretation of the evidence is know as the Documentary Hypothesis.

The central fact of these sources and editing remains the dominant model among critical scholars, though not among most fundamentalist or orthodox scholars, who remain committed to traditional beliefs.

The phrase "traditional beliefs" is a euphemism for stubbornly ignorant, in my opinion. It is no surprise that fundamentalist and orthodox scholars are in denial of any and all evidence that indicates that the Bible is an internally inconsistent, human invention.

* Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

** J and E in the flood story


rjblaskiewicz said...

May I ask you where you got the image of moses? I'm a mosaic junkie.


Anonymous said...

Google images -- search for "Moses". It's lovely when viewed full-size.