In order to understand how the Pentateuch came to be we must take in account the culture of the author, or perhaps more appropriately, the authors. In the ancient times, writers were characterized by the nonentity of their writings. Instead of concerning themselves with minute details, they focused on the moral implications of the events involved. The same can be said about the foundation of the Catholicism, which is the connection of Scripture and Tradition in order to understand the true implications of the Word of God.
Applying this theory to the reading and composition of the Pentateuch is crucial understanding its authorship. Modern writers are more concerned with factual accuracy of their works—in regard to time and place—as opposed to the message at hand. In our times, works are done from analysis and then conclusion. Both known and unknown authors wrote the Bible. These authors were inspired; whether we know who they are is of little importance.
In a study of ancient texts, it was found that there was not a single name for God.
In fact, such names varied throughout the different texts. Mosaic means a mixture, assortment, or a variety of. But Mosaic in terms of authorship explains the use of the different divine names of God in some texts called Elohim and in others as Yahweh. The books of the bible are composed of a large number of pieces knitted together to structure one divine truth. A simple reading of Genesis easily shows the truth of the Word and the impossibility of single authorship.
Evidence that Moses could not have of written all the texts in the Pentateuch is evident to the reader, and instead, many different writers made contributions to the writings. An example of this would be the number of animals Noah took into the ark. In Gen. 6:19 “…from all living creatures, from all living things. You must take two of each kind aboard the ark…”. Noah is told to take two of every kind of living creature—one male and one female of every creature. However, Gen. 7:2 reads, “Of every clean animal you must take seven pairs, a male and it’s female…”. Seven pairs of clean animals and birds are required—fourteen of all creatures. Certainly Moses would not of made this mistake if he were the sole author.
Another problem with crediting Moses as the sole author of the Pentateuch is how he could have written about his own death. It is clear that a number of authors used notes of Moses, and gathered other sources, in order to compile these events into the present texts.
The documentary Hypothesis states that two people are writing about same event at the same time. In this instance, this is incorrect because one person cannot say that God ordered for two of each creature to be preserved and then say fourteen of each creatures would have been brought on the ark with Noah. Therefore, this hypothesis is not supported.
The fragmentary hypothesis evaluates that the Pentateuch is composed of a large number of texts, later compiled by a smaller number of people later. It is told over and over but once this happens it is rendered void as things can be changed in order to satisfy the desired effect.
The only logical choice is supplemental hypothesis as it takes into account all of these variables. The differentiation in terms of the names of God, names of cities, and minute differences found within the text. The supplemental hypothesis takes the Pentateuch as fully united group of works. These works are then put together from various sources to compile one entity or message conveyed to the reader. These are ways that these grouping of text could have been put together, changes in the divine name, the linguistic usages, and the diversity of ideas supported by history of scholarship of these texts.
As I said earlier the importance of understanding the context in which the Pentateuch was written is crucial to the understanding of the text. Moreover this is demonstrated through the use of the supplementary hypothesis. Because the texts themselves represent a larger group of works the importance is not the “accuracy” of the works but the message it conveys—The Word of God.
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