Jump to: Hitchcock'sATSISBEEaston'sWebster'sThesaurusGreekHebrewLibrarySubtopicsTerms
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia




1. The Current Critical Scheme 2. The Evidence for the Current Critical Scheme

(1) Astruc's Clue

(2) Signs of Post-Mosaic Date

(3) Narrative Discrepancies

(4) Doublets

(5) The Laws

(6) The Argument from Style

(7) Props of the Development Hypothesis

3. The Answer to the Critical Analysis

(1) The Veto of Textual Criticism

(2) Astruc's Clue Tested

(3) The Narrative Discrepancies and Signs of Post-Mosaic Date Examined

(4) The Argument from the Doublets Examined

(5) The Critical Argument from the Laws

(6) The Argument from Style

(7) Perplexities of the Theory

(8) Signs of Unity

(9) The Supposed Props of the Development Hypothesis

4. The Evidence of Date

(1) The Narrative of Genesis

(2) Archaeology and Genesis

(3) The Legal Evidence of Genesis

(4) The Professedly Mosaic Character of the Legislation

(5) The Historical Situation Required by Pentateuch

(6) The Hierarchical Organization in Pentateuch

(7) The Legal Evidence of Pentateuch

(8) The Evidence of D

(9) Later Allusions

(10) Other Evidence

5. The Fundamental Improbabilities of the Critical Case

(1) The Moral and Psychological Issues

(2) The Historical Improbability

(3) The Divergence between the Laws and Post-exilic Practice

(4) The Testimony of Tradition

6. The Origin and Transmission of the Pentateuch


1. Style of Legislation

2. The Narrative

3. The Covenant

4. Order and Rhythm


1. Textual Criticism and History

2. Hebrew Methods of Expression

3. Personification and Genealogies

4. Literary Form

5. The Sacred Numbers

6. Habits of Thought

7. National Coloring

8. How Far the Pentateuch Is Trustworthy

(1) Contemporaneous Information

(2) Character of Our Informants

(3) Historical Genius of the People

(4) Good Faith of Deuteronomy

(5) Nature of the Events Recorded

(6) External Corroborations

9. The Pentateuch as Reasoned History


1. Hindu Law Books

2. Differences

3. Holiness

4. The Universal Aspect

5. The National Aspect


I. Title, Division, Contents

(Torah, "law" or "teaching").-It has recently been argued that the Hebrew word is really the Babylonian tertu, "divinely revealed law" (e.g. Sayce, Churchman, 1909, 728;), but such passages as Leviticus 14:54-57 Deuteronomy 17:11 show that the legislator connected it with horah (from yarah), "to teach." Also called by the Jews chamishshah chumeshi torah, "the five-fifths of the law": ho nomos, "the Law." The word "Pentateuch" comes from pentateuchos, literally "5-volumed (book)." The Pentateuch consists of the first five books of the Bible, and forms the first division of the Jewish Canon, and the whole of the Samaritan Canon. The 5-fold division is certainly old, since it is earlier than the Septuagint or the Sam Pentateuch. How much older it may be is unknown. It has been thought that the 5-fold division of the Psalter is based on it.

The five books into which the Pentateuch is divided are respectively Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and the separate articles should be consulted for information as to their nomenclature.

The work opens with an account of the Creation, and passes to the story of the first human couple. The narrative is carried on partly by genealogies and partly by fuller accounts to Abraham. Then comes a history of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the collateral lines of descendants being rapidly dismissed. The story of Joseph is told in detail, and Genesis closes with his death. The rest of the Pentateuch covers the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, their exodus and wanderings, the conquest of the trans-Jordanic lands and the fortunes of the people to the death of Moses. The four concluding books contain masses of legislation mingled with the narrative (for special contents, see articles on the several books).

II. Authorship, Composition, Date.

1. The Current Critical Scheme:

The view that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, with the exception of the concluding verses of Deuteronomy, was once held universally. It is still believed by the great mass of Jews and Christians, but in most universities of Northern Europe and North America other theories prevail. An application of what is called "higher" or "documentary criticism" (to distinguish it from lower or textual criticism) has led to the formation of a number of hypotheses. Some of these are very widely held, but unanimity has not been attained, and recent investigations have challenged even the conclusions that are most generally accepted. In the English-speaking countries the vast majority of the critics would regard Driver's, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament and Carpenter and Harford-Battersby's Hexateuch as fairly representative of their position, but on the Continent of Europe the numerous school that holds some such position is dwindling alike in numbers and influence, while even in Great Britain and America some of the ablest critics are beginning to show signs of being shaken in their allegiance to cardinal points of the higher-critical case. However, at the time of writing, these latter critics have not put forward any fresh formulation of their views, and accordingly the general positions of the works named may be taken as representing with certain qualifications the general critical theory. Some of the chief stadia in the development of this may be mentioned.

After attention had been drawn by earlier writers to various signs of post-Mosaic date and extraordinary perplexities in the Pentateuch, the first real step toward what its advocates have, till within the last few years, called "the modern position" was taken by J. Astruc (1753). He propounded what Carpenter terms "the clue to the documents," i.e. the difference of the divine appellations in Genesis as a test of authorship. On this view the word 'Elohim ("God") is characteristic of one principal source and the Tetragrammaton, i.e. the divine name YHWH represented by the "LORD" or "GOD" of the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), shows the presence of another. Despite occasional warnings, this clue was followed in the main for 150 years. It forms the starting-point of the whole current critical development, but the most recent investigations have successfully proved that it is unreliable (see below, 3, (2)) Astruc was followed by Eichhorn (1780), who made a more thorough examination of Genesis, indicating numerous differences of style, representation, etc.

Geddes (1792) and Vater (1802-1805) extended the method applied to Genesis to the other books of the Pentateuch.

In 1798 Ilgen distinguished two Elohists in Genesis, but this view did not find followers for some time. The next step of fundamental importance was the assignment of the bulk of Deuteronomy to the 7th century B.C. This was due to De Wette (1806). Hupfeld (1853) again distinguished a second Elohist, and this has been accepted by most critics. Thus, there are four main documents at least: D (the bulk of Deuteronomy), two Elohists (P and E) and one document (Jahwist) that uses the Tetragrammaton in Genesis. From 1822 (Bleek) a series of writers maintained that the Book of Joshua was compounded from the same documents as the Pentateuch (see HEXATEUCH).

Two other developments call for notice:

(1) there has been a tendency to subdivide these documents further, regarding them as the work of schools rather than of individuals, and resolving them into different strata (P1, Secondary Priestly Writers, P3, etc., J1, Later additions to J, etc., or in the notation of other writers Jj Je, etc.);

(2) a particular scheme of dating has found wide acceptance. In the first period of the critical development it was assumed that the principal Elohist (P) was the earliest document.

A succession of writers of whom Reuss, Graf, Kuenen and Wellhausen are the most prominent have, however, maintained that this is not the first but the last in point of time and should be referred to the exile or later. On this view theory is in outline as follows: J and E (so called from their respective divine appellations)-on the relative dates of which opinions differ-were composed probably during the early monarchy and subsequently combined by a redactor (Rje) into a single document JE. In the 7th century D, the bulk of Deuteronomy, was composed. It was published in the 18th year of Josiah's reign. Later it was combined with JE into JED by a redactor (Rjed). P or Priestly Code the last of all (originally the first Elohist, now the Priestly Code) incorporated an earlier code of uncertain date which consists in the main of most of Leviticus 17:1-26:46 and is known as the Law of Holiness (H or Ph). P itself is largely postexilic. Ultimately it was joined with JED by a priestly redactor (Rp) into substantially our present Pentateuch. As already stated, theory is subject to many minor variations. Moreover, it is admitted that not all its portions are equally well supported. The division of JE into J and E is regarded as less certain than the separation of Pentateuch. Again, there are variations in the analysis, differences of opinion as to the exact dating of the documents, and so forth. Yet the view just sketched has been held by a very numerous and influential school during recent years, nor is it altogether fair to lay stress on minor divergences of opinion. It is in the abstract conceivable that the main positions might be true, and that yet the data were inadequate to enable all the minor details to be determined with certainty.


This theory will hereafter be discussed at length for two reasons:

(1) while it is now constantly losing ground, it is still more widely held than any other; and

(2) so much of the modern literature on the Old Testament has been written from this standpoint that no intelligent use can be made of the most ordinary books of reference without some acquaintance with it.

Before 1908 the conservative opposition to the dominant theory had exhibited two separate tendencies. One school of conservatives rejected the scheme in toto; the other accepted the analysis with certain modifications, but sought to throw back the dating of the documents. In both these respects it had points of contact with dissentient critics (e.g. Delitzsch, Dillmann, Baudissin, Kittel, Strack, Van Hoonacker), who sought to save for conservatism any spars they could from the general wreckage. The former school of thought was most prominently represented by the late W.H. Green, and J.

Raven's Old Testament Introduction may be regarded as a typical modern presentation of their view; the latter especially by Robertson and Orr. The scheme put forward by the last named has found many adherents. He refuses to regard J and E as two separate documents, holding that we should rather think (as in the case of the parallel Psalms) of two recensions of one document marked by the use of different divine appellations. The critical P he treats as the work of a supplemented, and thinks it never had an independent existence, while he considers the whole Pentateuch as early. He holds that the work was done by "original composers, working with a common aim, and toward a common end, in contrast with the idea of late irresponsible redactors, combining, altering, manipulating, enlarging at pleasure" (POT, 375).

While these were the views held among Old Testament critics, a separate opposition had been growing up among archaeologists. This was of course utilized to the utmost by the conservatives of both wings. In some ways archaeology undoubtedly has confirmed the traditional view as against the critical (see ARCHAEOLOGY AND CRITICISM); but a candid survey leads to the belief that it has not yet dealt a mortal blow, and here again it must be remembered that the critics may justly plead that they must not be judged on mistakes that they made in their earlier investigations or on refutations of the more uncertain portions of their theory, but rather on the main completed result. It may indeed be said with confidence that there are certain topics to which archaeology can never supply any conclusive answer. If it be the case that the Pentateuch contains hopelessly contradictory laws, no archaeological discovery can make them anything else; if the numbers of the Israelites are original and impossible, archaeology cannot make them possible. It is fair and right to lay stress on the instances in which archaeology has confirmed the Bible as against the critics; it is neither fair nor right to speak as if archaeology had done what it never purported to do and never could effect.

The year 1908 saw the beginning of a new critical development which makes it very difficult to speak positively of modern critical views. Kuenen has been mentioned as one of the ablest and most eminent of those who brought the Graf-Wellhausen theory into prominence. In that year B.D. Eerdmans, his pupil and successor at Leyden, began the publication of a series of Old Testament studies in which he renounces his allegiance to the line of critics that had extended from Astruc to the publications of our own day, and entered on a series of investigations that were intended to set forth a new critical view. As his labors are not yet complete, it is impossible to present any account of his scheme; but the volumes already published justify certain remarks. Eerdmans has perhaps not converted any member of the Wellhausen school, but he has made many realize that their own scheme is not the only one possible. Thus while a few years ago we were constantly assured that the "main results" of Old Testament criticism were unalterably settled, recent writers adopt a very different tone: e.g. Sellin (1910) says, "We stand in a time of fermentation and transition, and in what follows we present our own opinion merely as the hypothesis which appears to us to be the best founded" (Einleitung, 18). By general consent Eerdmans' work contains a number of isolated shrewd remarks to which criticism will have to attend in the future; but it also contains many observations that are demonstrably unsound (for examples see BS, 1909, 744-48; 1910, 549-51). His own reconstruction is in many respects so faulty and blurred that it does not seem likely that it will ever secure a large following in its present form. On the other hand he appears to have succeeded in inducing a large number of students in various parts of the world to think along new lines and in this way may exercise a very potent influence on the future course of Old Testament study. His arguments show increasingly numerous signs of his having been influenced by the publications of conservative writers, and it seems certain that criticism will ultimately be driven to recognize the essential soundness of the conservative position. In 1912 Dahse (TMH, I) began the publication of a series of volumes attacking the Wellhausen school on textual grounds and propounding a new pericope hypothesis. In his view many phenomena are due to the influence of the pericopes of the synagogue service or the form of the text and not to the causes generally assigned.

2. The Evidence for the Current Critical Scheme:

The examination of the Graf-Wellhausen theory must now be undertaken, and attention must first be directed to the evidence which is adduced in its support. Why should it be held that the Pentateuch is composed mainly of excerpts from certain documents designated as J and E and P and D? Why is it believed that these documents are of very late date, in one case subsequent to the exile?

(1) Astruc's Clue.

It has been said above that Astruc propounded the use of the divine appellations in Genesis as a clue to the dissection of that book. This is based on Exodus 6:3, `And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as 'El Shadday (God Almighty); but by my name YHWH I was not known to them.' In numerous passages of Genesis this name is represented as known, e.g. 4:26, where we read of men beginning to call on it in the days of Enosh. The discrepancy here is very obvious, and in the view of the Astruc school can be satisfactorily removed by postulating different sources. This clue, of course, fails after Exodus 6:3, but other difficulties are found, and moreover the sources already distinguished in Genesis are, it is claimed, marked by separate styles and other characteristics which enable them to be identified when they occur in the narrative of the later books.


(2) Signs of Post-Mosaic Date.

Close inspection of the Pentateuch shows that it contains a number of passages which, it is alleged, could not have proceeded from the pen of Moses in their present form. Probably the most familiar instance is the account of the death of Moses (Deuteronomy 34). Other examples are to be found in seeming allusions to post-Mosaic events, e.g. in Genesis 22 we hear of the Mount of the Lord in the land of Moriah; this apparently refers to the Temple Hill, which, however, would not have been so designated before Solomon. So too the list of kings who reigned over Edom "before there reigned any king over the children of Israel" (36:31) presumes the existence of the monarchy. The Canaanites who are referred to as being "then in the land" (Genesis 12:6; Genesis 13:7) did not disappear till the time of Solomon, and, accordingly, if this expression means "then still" it cannot antedate his reign. Deuteronomy 3:11 (Og's bedstead) comes unnaturally from one who had vanquished Og but a few weeks previously, while Numbers 21:14 (the King James Version) contains a reference to "the book of the Wars of the Lord" which would hardly have been quoted in this way by a contemporary. Exodus 16:35 refers to the cessation of the manna after the death of Moses. These passages, and more like them, are cited to disprove Mosaic authorship; but the main weight of the critical argument does not rest on them.

(3) Narrative Discrepancies.

While the divine appellations form the starting-point, they do not even in Genesis constitute the sole test of different documents. On the contrary, there are other narrative discrepancies, antinomies, differences of style, duplicate narratives, etc., adduced to support the critical theory. We must now glance at some of these.

In Genesis 21:14 Ishmael is a boy who can be carried on his mother's shoulder, but from a comparison of 16:3, 16; 17, it appears that he must have been 14 when Isaac was born, and, since weaning sometimes occurs at the age of 3 in the East, may have been even as old as 17 when this incident happened. Again, "We all remember the scene (Genesis 27) in which Isaac in extreme old age blesses his sons; we picture him as lying on his deathbed. Do we, however, all realize that according to the chronology of the Book of Genesis he must have been thus lying on his deathbed for eighty years (compare 25:26; 26:34:00; 35:28)? Yet we can only diminish this period by extending proportionately the interval between Esau marrying his Hittite wives (26:34) and Rebekah's suggestion to Isaac to send Jacob away, lest he should follow his brother's example (27:46); which, from the nature of the case, will not admit of any but slight extension. Keil, however, does so extend it, reducing the period of Isaac's final illness by 43 years, and is conscious of no incongruity in supposing that Rebekah, 30 years after Esau had taken his Hittite wives, should express her fear that Jacob, then aged 77, will do the same" (Driver, Contemporary Review, LVII, 221).

An important instance occurs in Numbers. According to 33:38, Aaron died on the 1st day of the 5th month. From Deuteronomy 1:3 it appears that 6 months later Moses delivered his speech in the plains of Moab. Into those 6 months are compressed one month's mourning for Aaron, the Arad campaign, the wandering round by the Red Sea, the campaigns against Sihon and Og, the missions to Balaam and the whole episode of his prophecies, the painful occurrences of Numbers 25, the second census, the appointment of Joshua, the expedition against Midian, besides other events. It is clearly impossible to fit all these into the time.

Other discrepancies are of the most formidable character. Aaron dies now at Mt. Hor (Numbers 20:28; Numbers 33:38), now at Moserah (Deuteronomy 10:6). According to Deuteronomy 1; Deuteronomy 2:1, 14, the children of Israel left Kadesh-barnea in the 3rd year and never subsequently returned to it, while in Numbers they apparently remain there till the journey to Mt. Hor, where Aaron dies in the 40th year. The Tent of Meeting perhaps

provides some of the most perplexing of the discrepancies, for while according to the well-known scheme of Exodus 25; and many other passages, it was a large and heavy erection standing in the midst of the camp, Exodus 33:7-11 provides us with another Tent of Meeting that stood outside the camp at a distance and could be carried by Moses alone. The verbs used are frequentative, denoting a regular practice, and it is impossible to suppose that after receiving the commands for the Tent of Meeting Moses could have instituted a quite different tent of the same name. Joseph again is sold, now by Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:27, 28; Genesis 39:1), anon by Midianites (31:28a, 36). Sometimes he is imprisoned in one place, sometimes apparently in another. The story of Korah, Dathan and Abiram in Numbers 16 is equally full of difficulty. The enormous numbers of the Israelites given in Numbers 1-4, etc., are in conflict with passages that regard them as very few.

(4) Doublets.

Another portion of the critical argument is provided by doublets or duplicate narratives of the same event, e.g. Genesis 16 and 21. These are particularly numerous in Genesis, but are not confined to that book. "Twice do quails appear in connection with the daily manna (Numbers 11:4-6, 31 Exodus 16:13) Twice does Moses draw water from the rock, when the strife of Israel begets the name Meribah (`strife') (Exodus 17:1-7 Numbers 20:1-13)" (Carpenter, Hexateuch, I, 30).

(5) The Laws.

Most stress is laid on the argument from the laws and their supposed historical setting. By far the most important portions of this are examined in SANCTUARY and PRIESTS AND LEVITES. These subjects form the two main pillars of the Graf-Wellhausen theory, and accordingly the articles in question must be read as supplementing the present article. An illustration may be taken from the slavery laws. It is claimed that Exodus 21:1-6 Deuteronomy 15:12; permit a Hebrew to contract for life slavery after 6 years' service, but that Leviticus 25:39-42 takes no notice of this law and enacts the totally different provision that Hebrews may remain in slavery only till the Year of Jubilee. While these different enactments might proceed from the same hand if properly coordinated, it is contended that this is not the case and that the legislator in Leviticus ignores the legislator in Exodus and is in turn ignored by the legislator in Deuteronomy, who only knows the law of Exodus.

(6) The Argument from Style.

The argument from style is less easy to exemplify shortly, since it depends so largely on an immense mass of details. It is said that each of the sources has certain characteristic phrases which either occur nowhere else or only with very much less frequency. For instance in Genesis 1, where 'Elohim is used throughout, we find the word "create," but this is not employed in 2:4bff;, where the Tetragrammaton occurs. Hence, it is argued that this word is peculiarly characteristic of P as contrasted with the other documents, and may be used to prove his presence in e.g. 5:1 f.

(7) Props of the Development Hypothesis.

While the main supports of the Graf-Wellhausen theory must be sought in the articles to which reference has been made, it is necessary to mention briefly some other phenomena to which some weight is attached. Jeremiah displays many close resemblances to Deuteronomy, and the framework of Kings is written in a style that has marked similarities to the same book. Ezekiel again has notable points of contact with P and especially with H; either he was acquainted with these portions of the Pentateuch or else he must have exercised considerable influence on those who composed them. Lastly the Chronicler is obviously acquainted with the completed Pentateuch. Accordingly, it is claimed that the literature provides a sort of external standard that confirms the historical stages which the different Pentateuchal sources are said to mark. Deuteronomy influences Jeremiah and the subsequent literature. It is argued that it would equally have influenced the earlier books, had it then existed. So too the completed Pentateuch should have influenced Kings as it did Chronicles, if it had been in existence when the earlier history was composed.

3. Answer to the Critical Analysis:

(1) The Veto of Textual Criticism.

The first great objection that may be made to the higher criticism is that it starts from the Massoretic text (MT) without investigation. This is not the only text that has come down to us, and in some instances it can be shown that alternative readings that have been preserved are superior to those of the Massoretic Text. A convincing example occurs in Exodus 18. According to the Hebrew, Jethro comes to Moses and says "I, thy father-in-law.... am come," and subsequently Moses goes out to meet his father-in-law. The critics here postulate different sources, but some of the best authorities have preserved a reading which (allowing for ancient differences of orthography) supposes an alteration of a single letter. According to this reading the text told how one (or they) came to Moses and said "Behold thy father-in-law.... is come." As the result of this Moses went out and met Jethro. The vast improvement in the sense is self-evident. But in weighing the change other considerations must be borne in mind. Since this is the reading of some of the most ancient authorities, only two views are possible. Either the Massoretic Text has undergone a corruption of a single letter, or else a redactor made a most improbable cento of two documents which gave a narrative of the most doubtful sense. Fortunately this was followed by textual corruption of so happy a character as to remove the difficulty by the change of a single letter; and this corruption was so widespread that it was accepted as the genuine text by some of our best authorities. There can be little doubt which of these two cases is the more credible, and with the recognition of the textual solution the particular bit of the analysis that depends on this corruption falls to the ground. This instance illustrates one branch of textual criticism; there are others. Sometimes the narrative shows with certainty that in the transmission of the text transpositions have taken place; e.g. the identification of Kadesh shows that it was South of Hormah. Consequently, a march to compass Edom by way of the Red Sea would not bring the Israelites to Hormah. Here there is no reason to doubt that the events narrated are historically true, but there is grave reason to doubt that they happened in the present order of the narrative. Further, Deuteronomy gives an account that is parallel to certain passages of Numbers; and it confirms those passages, but places the events in a different order. Such difficulties may often be solved by simple transpositions, and when transpositions in the text of Numbers are made under the guidance of Deuteronomy they have a very different probability from guesses that enjoy no such sanction. Another department of textual criticism deals with the removal of glosses, i.e. notes that have crept into the text. Here the ancient versions often help us, one or other omitting some words which may be proved from other sources to be a later addition. Thus in Exodus 17:7 the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) did not know the expression, "and Meribah" (one word in Hebrew), and calls the place "Massah" simply. This is confirmed by the fact that Deuteronomy habitually calls the place Massah (6:16; 9:22; 33:8). The true Meribah was Kadesh (Numbers 20) and a glossator has here added this by mistake (see further (4) below). Thus we can say that a scientific textual criticism often opposes a real veto to the higher critical analysis by showing that the arguments rest on late corruptions and by explaining the true origin of the difficulties on which the critics rely.

(2) Astruc's Clue Tested.

Astruc's clue must next be examined. The critical case breaks down with extraordinary frequency. No clean division can be effected, i.e. there are cases where the Massoretic Text of Genesis makes P or E use the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) or J Yahweh (Yahweh). In some of these cases the critics can suggest no reason; in others they are compelled to assume that the Massoretic Text is corrupt for no better reason than that it is in conflict with their theory. Again the exigencies of the theory frequently force the analyst to sunder verses or phrases that cannot be understood apart from their present contexts, e.g. in Genesis 28:21 Carpenter assigns the words "and Yahweh will be my God" to J while giving the beginning and end of the verse to E; in Genesis 31, verse 3 goes to a redactor, though E actually refers to the statement of 31:3 in verse 5; in Genesis 32, verse 30 is torn from a J-context and given to E, thus leaving 32:31 (Jahwist) unintelligible.

Read Complete Article...




1. In Older Times

2. Revived Knowledge


1. Nablus Roll

2. The Script

3. Peculiarities of Writing

4. The Tarikh

5. The Mode of Pronunciation

6. Age of the Nablus Roll


1. Relation to the Massoretic Text: Classification of Differences

(1) Examples of Accidental Variations

(a) Due to Mistakes of Sight

(b) Variations Due to Mistakes of Hearing

(c) Changes Due to Deficient Attention

(2) Intentional

(a) Grammatical

(b) Logical

(c) Doctrinal

2. Relation of Samaritan Recension to Septuagint

(1) Statement of Hypotheses

(2) Review of These Hypotheses




The existence of a Samaritan community in Nablus is generally known, and the fact that they have a recension of the Pentateuch which differs in some respects from the Massoretic has been long recognized as important.

I. Knowledge of Samaritan Pentateuch.

1. In Older Times:

Of the Greek Fathers Origen knew of it and notes two insertions which do not appear in the Massoretic Text- Numbers 13:1 and 21:12, drawn from Deuteronomy 1:2 and 2:18. Eusebius of Caesarea in his Chronicon compares the ages of the patriarchs before Abraham in the Septuagint with those in the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Massoretic Text. Epiphanius is aware that the Samaritans acknowledged the Pentateuch alone as canonical. Cyril of Jerusalem notes agreement of Septuagint and Samaritan in Genesis 4:8. These are the principal evidences of knowledge of this recension among the Greek Fathers. Jerome notes some omissions in the Massoretic Text and supplies them from the Samaritan Text. The Talmud shows that the Jews retained a knowledge of the Samaritan Pentateuch longer, and speaks contemptuously of the points in which it differs from the Massoretic Text. Since the differences observed by the Fathers and the Talmudists are to be seen in the Samaritan Pentateuch before us, they afford evidence of its authenticity.

2. Revived Knowledge:

After nearly a millennium of oblivion the Samaritan Pentateuch was restored to the knowledge of Christendom by Pietro de la Valle who in 1616 purchased a copy from the Samaritan community which then existed in Damascus. This copy was presented in 1623 to the Paris Oratory and shortly after published in the Paris Polyglot under the editorship of Morinus, a priest of the Oratory who had been a Protestant. He emphasized the difference between the Massoretic Text and Samaritan Pentateuch for argumentative reasons, in order to prove the necessity for the intervention of the church to settle which was Scripture. A fierce controversy resulted, in which various divines, Protestant and Catholic, took part. Since then copies of this recension have multiplied in Europe and America. All of them may be regarded as copies ultimately of the Nablus roll. These copies are in the form, not of rolls, but of codices or bound volumes. They are usually written in two columns to the page, one being the Targum or interpretation and this is sometimes in Aramaic and sometimes in Arabic. Some codices show three columns with both Targums. There are probably nearly 100 of these codices in various libraries in Europe and America. These are all written in the Samaritan script and differ only by scribal blunders.

II. Codices and Script.

1. Nablus Roll:

The visitor to the Samaritans is usually shown an ancient roll, but only rarely is the most ancient exhibited, and when so exhibited still more rarely is it in circumstances in which it may be examined.

Dr. Mills, who spent three months in the Samaritan community, was able to make a careful though interrupted study of it. His description (Nablus and the Modern Samaritans, 312) is that "the roll is of parchment, written in columns, 13 inches deep, and 7 1/2 inches wide. The writing is in a fair hand, rather small; each column contains from 70 to 72 lines, and the whole roll contains 110 columns. The name of the scribe is written in a kind of acrostic, running through these columns, and is found in the Book of Deuteronomy The roll has the appearance of very great antiquity, but is wonderfully well preserved, considering its venerable age. It is worn out and torn in many places and patched with re-written parchment; in many other places, where not torn, the writing is unreadable. It seemed to me that about two-thirds of the original is still readable. The skins of which the roll is composed are of equal size and measure each 25 inches long by 15 inches wide." Dr. Rosen's account on the authority of Kraus (Zeitschr. der deulschmorgenl. Gesellsch., XVIII, 582) agrees with this, adding that the "breadth of the writing is a line and the space between is similar." Both observers have noted that the parchment has been written only on the "hair" side. It is preserved in a silk covering enclosed in a silver case embossed with arabesque ornaments.

2. The Script:

The reader on opening one of the codices of the Samaritan Pentateuch recognizes at once the difference of the writing from the characters in an ordinary Hebrew Bible. The Jews admit that the character in which the Samaritan Pentateuch is written is older than their square character. It is said in the Talmud (Sanhedhrin 21b): "The law at first was given to Israel in `ibhri letters and in the holy tongue and again by Ezra in the square ('ashurith) character and the Aramaic tongue. Israel chose for themselves the 'ashurith character and the holy tongue: they left to the hedhyoToth ("uncultured") the `ibhri character and the Aramaic tongue-`the Cuthaeans are the hedhyoToth,' said Rabbi Chasda." When Jewish hatred of the Samaritans, and the contempt of the Pharisees for them are remembered, this admission amounts to a demonstration. The Samaritan script resembles that on the Maccabean coins, but is not identical with it. It may be regarded as between the square character and the angular, the latter as is seen in the manuscript and the Siloam inscription. Another intermediate form, that found on the Assouan papyri, owes the differences it presents to having been written with a reed on papyrus. As the chronology of these scripts is of importance we subjoin those principally in question.

The study of these alphabets. will confirm the statement above made that the Samaritan alphabet is, in evolution, between the square character and the angular, nearer the latter than the former, while the characters of the Assouan papyri are nearer the former than the latter. Another point to be observed is that the letters which resemble each other in one alphabet do not always resemble in another. We can thus, from comparison of the letters liable to be confused, form a guess as to the script in which the document containing the confusion written.

3. Peculiarities in Writing:

In inscriptions the lapidary had no hesitation, irrespective of syllables, in completing in the next line any word for which he had not sufficient room. Thus, the beginnings and endings of lines were directly under each other, as on the MS. In the papyri the words are not divided, but the scribe was not particular to have the ends of lines directly under each other. The scribe of the square character by use of literae dilatabiles secured this without dividing the words. The Samaritan secured this end by wider spacing. The first letter or couple of letters of each line are placed directly under the first letter or letters of the preceding line-so with the last letters-two or three-of the line, while the other words are spread out to fill up the space. The only exception to this is a paragraph ending. Words are separated from each other by dots; sentences by a sign like our colon. The Torah is divided into 966 qisam or paragraphs. The termination of these is shown by the colon having a dot added to it, thus:. Sometimes this is reinforced by a line and an angle. These qisam are often enumerated on the margin; sometimes, in later manuscripts in Arabic numerals. A blank space sometimes separates one of these qisam from the next.

4. The Tarikh:

When the scribe wished to inform the reader of his personality and the place where he had written the manuscript he made use of a peculiar device. In copying he left a space vacant in the middle of a column. The space thus left is every now and then bridged by a single letter. These letters read down the column form words and sentences which convey the information. In the case of the Nablus roll this tarikh occurs in Deuteronomy and occupies three columns. In this it is said, "I Abishua, son of Pinhas (Phinehas), son of Eleazar, son of Aharun (Aaron) the priest, have written this holy book in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in Mt. Gerizim in the 13th year of the rule of the children of Israel in the land of Canaan." Most of the codices in the libraries of Europe and America have like information given in a similar manner. This tarikh is usually Hebrew, but sometimes it is in the Samaritan Aramaic. Falsification of the date merely is practically impossible; the forgery must be the work of the first scribe.

5. The Mode of Pronunciation:

Not only has the difference of script to be considered, but also the different values assigned to the letters. The names given to the letters differ considerably from the Hebrew, as may be seen above. There are no vowel points or signs of reduplication. Only B and P of the BeGaDH-KePHaTH letters are aspirated. The most singular peculiarity is that none of the gutturals is pronounced at all-a peculiarity which explains some of the names given to the letters. This characteristic appears all the more striking when it is remembered how prominent gutturals are in Arabic, the everyday language of the Samaritans. The Genesis 1:1-5 are subjoined according to the Samaritan pronunciation, as taken down by Petermann (Versuch einer hebr. Formenlehre, 161), from the reading of Amram the high priest: Barashet bara Eluwem it ashshamem wit aarets. Waarets ayata-te'u ube'u waashek al fani.... turn uru Eluwem amra, efet al fani ammem waya'mer Eluwem ya'i or way'ai or wayere Eluwem it a' or ki tov wayabdel Eluwem bin a'ir ubin aashek uyikra Eluwem la'or yom ula 'ashek qara lila. Uyai `erev uyai beqar yom a'ad.

6. Age of the Nablus Roll:

There is no doubt that if the inscription given above is really in the manuscript it is a forgery written on the skin at the first. Of its falsity also there is no doubt. The Tell el-Amarna Letters sent from Canaan and nearly contemporary with the Israelite conquest of the land were impressed with cuneiform characters and the language was Babylonian. Neglecting the tarikh, we may examine the matter independently and come to certain conclusions. If it is the original from which the other manuscripts have been copied we are forced to assume a date earlier at least than the 10th century A.D., which is the date of the earliest Hebrew MS. The script dates from the Hasmoneans. The reason of this mode of writing being perpetuated in copying the Law must be found in some special sanctity in the document from which the copies were made originally. Dr. Mills seems almost inclined to believe the authenticity of the tarikh. His reasons, however, have been rendered valueless by recent discoveries. Dr. Cowley, on the other hand, would date it somewhere about the 12th century A.D., or from that to the 14th. With all the respect due to such a scholar we venture to think his view untenable. His hypothesis is that an old manuscript was found and the tarikh now seen in it was afterward added. That, however, is impossible unless a new skin-the newness of which would be obvious-had been written over and inserted. Even the comparatively slight change implied in turning Ishmael into Israel in the tarikh in the Nablus roll necessitates a great adjustment of lines, as the letters of the tarikh must read horizontally as well as perpendicularly. If that change were made, the date would then be approximately 650 A.D., much older than Cowley's 12th century. There is, however, nothing in this to explain the sanctity given to this MS. There is a tradition that the roll was saved from fire, that, it leaped out of the fire in the presence of Nebuchadnezzar. If it were found unconsumed when the temple on Mt. Gerizim was burned by John Hyrcanus I, this would account for the veneration in which it is held. It would account also for the stereotyping of the script. The angular script prevailed until near the time of Alexander the Great. In it or in a script akin to it the copy of the Law must have been written which Manasseh, the son-in-law of Sanballat, brought to Samaria. The preservation of such a copy would be ascribed to miracle and the script consecrated.

III. Relation of the Samaritan Recension to the Massoretic Text and to the Septuagint.

1. Relation to Massoretic Text: Classification of Differences:

While the reader of the Samaritan Pentateuch will not fail to observe its practical identity with the Massoretic Text, closer study reveals numerous, if minor, differences.

These differences were classified by Gesenius. Besides being illogical, his classification is faulty, as founded on the assumption that the Samaritan Pentateuch text is the later. The same may be said of Kohn's. We would venture on another classification of these variations, deriving the principle of division from their origin. These variations were due either to

(1) accident or

(2) intention.

(1) The first of these classes arose from the way in which books were multiplied in ancient days. Most commonly one read and a score of scribes, probably slaves, wrote to this dictation. Hence, errors might arise

(a) when from similarity of letters the reader mistook one word for another.

(b) If the reader's pronunciation was not distinct the scribes might mis-hear and therefore write the word amiss.

(c) Further, if the reader began a sentence which opened in a way that generally was followed by certain words or phrases, he might inadvertently conclude it, not in the way it was written before him, but in the customary phrase. In the same way the scribe through defective attention might also blunder. Thus the accidental variations may be regarded as due to mistakes of sight, hearing and attention.

(2) Variations due to intention are either

(a) grammatical, the removal of peculiarities and conforming them to usage, or

(b) logical, as when a command having been given, the fulfillment is felt to follow as a logical necessity and so is narrated, or, if narrated, is omitted according to the ideas of the scribe;

(c) doctrinal changes introduced into the text to suit the doctrinal position of one side or other. Questions of propriety also lead to alterations-these may be regarded as quasi-doctrinal.

(1) Examples of Accidental Variations.

(a) Due to Mistakes of Sight:

The cause of mistakes of sight is the likeness of differing letters. These, however, differ in different scripts, as may be proved by consideration of the table of alphabets. Some of these mistakes found in connection with the Samaritan Pentateuch appear to be mistakes due to the resemblance of letters in the Samaritan script. Most of these are obvious blunders; thus, in Genesis 19:32, we have the meaningless tabhinu instead of 'abhini, "our father," from the likeness of the Samaritan "t" to "a." In Genesis 25:29 we have tsazedh instead of yazedh, "to seethe," because of the likeness of a Samaritan "ts", to "y" or "i". These, while in Blayney's transcription of Walton's text, are not in Petermann or the Samaritan Targum. The above examples are mistakes in Samaritan manuscripts, but there are mistakes also in the Massoretic Text. In Genesis 27:40 the Revised Version (British and American) rendering is "When thou shalt break loose, thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck." This rendering does violence to the sense of both verbs and results in a tautology. In the Hiphil the first verb rudh ought to mean "to cause to wander," not "to break loose," and the second verb paraq means "to break," not "to shake off." The Samaritan has "When thou shalt be mighty, thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck." The Massoretic Text mistake may be due to the confounding of the Samaritan "a" with a "t", and the transposition of a Samaritan "d" and "b". The verb 'adhar, "to be strong," is rare and poetic, and so unlikely to suggest itself to reader or scribe. The renderings of the Septuagint and Peshitta indicate confusion. There are numerous cases, however, where the resembling letters are not in the Samaritan script, but sometimes in the square character and sometimes in the angular. Some characters resemble each other in both, but not in the Samaritan. The cases in which the resemblance is only in letters in the square script may all be ascribed to variation in the Massoretic Text. Cases involving the confusion of waw and yodh are instances in point. It may be said that every one of the instances of variation which depends on confusion of these letters is due to a blunder of a Jewish scribe, e.g. Genesis 25:13, where the Jewish scribe has written nebhith instead of nebhdyoth (Nebaioth) as usual; 36:5, where the Jewish scribe has ye`ish instead of ye`ush (Jeush), as in the Qere. In Genesis 46:30, by writing re'othi instead of ra'ithi, the Jewish scribe in regard to the same letters has made a blunder which the Samaritan scribe has avoided. When d and r are confused, it must not be ascribed to the likeness in the square script, for those letters are alike in the angular also. As the square is admitted to be later than the date of the Samaritan script, these confusions point to a manuscript in angular. There are, however, confusions which apply only to letters alike in angular. Thus, binyamim, invariably in the Samaritan Pentateuch Benjamin, binyamin, is written Benjamin; also in Exodus 1:11 pithon instead of pithom, but "m" and "n" are alike only in the script of the Siloam inscription. In Deuteronomy 12:21, the Samaritan has leshakken, as the Massoretic Text has in 12:11, whereas the Massoretic Text has lasum. A study of the alphabets on p. 2314 will show the close resemblance between waw (w) and kaph (k) in the Siloam script, as well as the likeness above mentioned between "m" and "n". This points to the fact that the manuscripts from which the Massoretic Text and the Samaritan were transcribed in some period of their history were written in angular of the type of the Siloam inscription, that is to say of the age of Hezekiah.

(b) Variations Due to Mistakes of Hearing:

The great mass of these are due to one of two sources, either on the one hand the insertion or omission of waw and yodh, so that the vowel is written plenum or the reverse, or, on the other hand, to the mistake of the gutturals. Of the former class of variations there are dozens in every chapter. The latter also is fairly frequent, and is due doubtless to the fact that in the time when the originals of the present manuscripts were transcribed the gutturals were not pronounced at all. Genesis 27:36 shows 'aleph (') and he (h) interchanged, he (h) and cheth (ch) in Genesis 41:45, cheth (ch) for `ayin (`) in Genesis 49:7, and 'aleph (') and `ayin (`) in Genesis 23:18, in many Samaritan manuscripts, but the result is meaningless. This inability to pronounce the gutturals points to a date considerably before the Arab domination. Possibly this avoidance of the gutturals became fashionable during the Roman rule, when the language of law was Latin, a language without gutturals. A parallel instance may be seen in Aquila, who does not transliterate any gutturals. This loss of the gutturals may be connected with the fact that in Assyrian 'aleph (') is practically the only guttural. The colonists from Assyria might not unlikely be unable to pronounce the gutturals.

(c) Changes Due to Deficient Attention:

Another cause of variation is to be found in reader or scribe not attending sufficiently to the actual word or sentence seen or heard. This is manifested in putting for a word its equivalent. In Genesis 26:31 the Samaritan has lere`ehu, "to his friend," instead of as the Massoretic Text le'achiw, "to his brother," and in Exodus 2:10 Samaritan has na`ar for yeledh in Massoretic Text. In such cases it is impossible to determine which represents the original text. We may remark that the assumption of Gesenius and of such Jewish writers as Kohn that the Massoretic Text is always correct is due to mere prejudice. More important is the occasional interchange of YHWH and 'Elohim, as in Genesis 28:4, where Samaritan has YHWH and the Massoretic Text 'Elohim, and Genesis 7:1 where it has 'Elohim against YHWH in the Massoretic Text. This last instance is the more singular, in that in the 9th verse of the same chapter the Massoretic Text has 'Elohim and the Samaritan YHWH. Another class of instances which may be due to the same cause is the completion of a sentence by adding a clause or, it may be, dropping it from failure to observe it to be incomplete, as Genesis 24:45. If the Massoretic Text be the original text, the Samaritan adds the clause "a little water from thy pitcher"; if the Samaritan, then the Massoretic Text has dropped it.

(2) Intentional.

(a) Grammatical:

The variations from the Massoretic Text most frequently met with in reading the Samaritan Pentateuch are those necessary to conform the language to the rules of ordinary grammar. In this the Samaritan frequently coincides with the Qere of the Massoretic Text. The Kethibh of the Massoretic Text has no distinction in gender between hu' in the 3rd personal pronoun singular-in both masculine and feminine it is hu'. The Samaritan with the Qere corrects this to hi'. So with na`ar, "a youth"-this is common in the Kethibh, but in the Qere when a young woman is in question the feminine termination is added, and so the Samaritan writers also. It is a possible supposition that this characteristic of the Torah is late and due to blundering peculiar to the manuscript from which the Massoretes copied the Kethibh. That it is systematic is against its being due to blunder, and as the latest Hebrew books maintain distinction of gender, we must regard this as an evidence of antiquity. This is confirmed by another set of variations between the Samaritan and the Massoretic Text. There are, in the latter, traces of case-endings which have disappeared in later Hebrew. These are removed in the Samaritan. That case terminations have a tendency to disappear is to be seen in English and French The sign of the accusative, 'eth, frequently omitted in the Massoretic Text, is generally supplied in Samaritan. A short form of the demonstrative pronoun plural ('el instead of 'ellah) is restricted to the Pentateuch and 1 Chronicles 20:8. The syntax of the cohortative is different in Samaritan from that in the Massoretic Hebrew. It is not to be assumed that the Jewish was the only correct or primitive use. There are cases where, with colloquial inexactitude, the Massoretic Text has joined a plural noun to a singular verb, and vice versa; these are corrected in Samaritan. Conjugations which in later Hebrew have a definite meaning in relation to the root, but are used in the Massoretic Text of the Torah in quite other senses, are brought in the Samaritan Pentateuch into harmony with later use. It ought in passing to be noted that these pentateuchal forms do not occur in the Prophets; even in Joshua 2:15 we have the feminine 3rd personal pronoun; in Judges 19:3 we have na`arah.

(b) Logical:

Sometimes the context or the circumstances implied have led to a change on one side or another. This may involve only the change of a word, as in Genesis 2:2, where the Samaritan has "sixth" instead of "seventh" (Massoretic Text), in this agreeing with the Septuagint and Peshitta, the Jewish scribe thinking the "sixth day" could only be reckoned ended when the "seventh' had begun. In Genesis 4:8, after the clause, "And Cain talked with (said to) Abel his brother," the Samaritan, Septuagint and Peshitta add, "Let us go into the field." From the evidence of the VSS, from the natural meaning of the verb 'amar, "to say," not "to speak," from the natural meaning also of the preposition 'el, "to," not "with" (see Gesenius), it is clear that the Massoretic Text has dropped the clause and that the Samaritan represents the true text. If this is not the case, it is a case of logical completion on the part of the Samaritan. Another instance is the addition to each name in the genealogy in Genesis 11:10-24 of the sum of the years of his life. In the case of the narrative of the plagues of Egypt a whole paragraph is added frequently. What has been commanded Moses and Aaron is repeated as history when they obey.

(c) Doctrinal:

There are cases in which the text so suits the special views of the Samaritans concerning the sanctity of Gerizim that alteration of the original in that direction may be supposed to be the likeliest explanation. Thus there is inserted at Genesis 20:6, 7 a passage from Deuteronomy 27:2 slightly modified: Gerizim being put for Ebal, the object of the addition being to give the consecration of Gerizim the sanction of the Torah. Kennicott, however, defends the authenticity of this passage as against the Massoretic Text. Insertion or omission appears to be the result of doctrinal predilection. In Numbers 25:4, 5 the Samaritan harmonizes the command of Yahweh with the action of Moses. The passage removed has a bloodthirsty Moloch-like look that might seem difficult to defend. On the other hand, the Jewish hatred of idolatry might express itself in the command to "take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the Lord against the sun," and so might be inserted. There are cases also where the language is altered for reasons of propriety. In these cases the Samaritan agrees with the Qere of the Massoretic Text.

These variations are of unequal value as evidences of the relative date of the Samaritan recension of the Pentateuch. The intentional are for this purpose of little value; they are evidence of the views prevalent in the northern and southern districts of Palestine respectively. Only visual blunders are of real importance, and they point to a date about the days of Hezekiah as the time at which the two recensions began to diverge. One thing is obvious, that the Samaritan, at least as often as the Massoretic Text, represents the primitive text.

2. Relation of Samaritan Recension to Septuagint:

(1) Statement of Hypotheses.

The frequency with which the points in which the Samaritan Pentateuch differs from the Massoretic Text agree with those in which the Septuagint also differs has exercised scholars. Castelli asserts that there are a thousand such instances. It may be noted that in one instance, at any rate, a passage in which the Samaritan and the Septuagint agree against the Massoretic Text has the support of the New Testament. In Galatians 3:17, the apostle Paul, following the Samaritan and Septuagint against the Massoretic Text, makes the "430 years" which terminated with the exodus begin with Abraham. As a rule the attention of Biblical scholars has been so directed to the resemblances between the Samaritan and the Septuagint that they have neglected the more numerous points of difference. So impressed have scholars been, especially when Jews, by these resemblances that they have assumed that the one was dependent on the other. Frankel has maintained that the Samaritan was translated from the Septuagint. Against this is the fact that in all their insulting remarks against them the Talmudists never assert that the "Cuthaeans" (Samaritans) got their Torah from the Greeks. Further, even if they only got the Law through Manasseh, the son-in-law of Sanballat, and even if he lived in the time of Alexander the Great, yet this was nearly half a century before the earliest date of the Septuagint. Again, while there are many evidences in the Septuagint that it has been translated from Hebrew, there are none in the Samaritan that it has been translated from Greek The converse hypothesis is maintained by Dr. Kohn with all the emphasis of extended type. His hypothesis is that before the Septuagint was thought of a Greek translation was made from a Samaritan copy of the Law for the benefit of Samaritans resident in Egypt. The Jews made use of this at first, but when they found it wrong in many points, they purposed a new translation, but were so much influenced by that to which they were accustomed that it was only an improved edition of the Samaritan which resulted. But it is improbable that the Samaritans, who were few and who had comparatively little intercourse with Egypt, should precede the more numerous Jews with their huge colonies in Egypt, in making a Greek translation. It is further against the Jewish tradition as preserved to us by Josephus. It is against the Samaritan tradition as learned by the present writer from the Samaritan high priest. According to him, the Samaritans had no independent translation, beyond the fact that five of the Septuagint were Samaritan. Had there been any excuse for asserting that the Samaritans were the first translators, that would not have disappeared from their traditions.

(2) Review of These Hypotheses.

The above unsatisfactory explanations result from deficient observation and unwarranted assumption. That there are many cases where the Samaritan variations from the Massoretic Text are identical with those of the Septuagint is indubitable. It has, however, not been observed by those Jewish scholars that the cases in which the Samaritan alone or the Septuagint alone (one or the other) agrees with the Massoretic Text against the other, are equally numerous. Besides, there are not a few cases in which all three differ. It ought to be observed that the cases in which the Septuagint differs from the Massoretic Text are much more numerous than those in which the Samaritan differs from it. One has only to compare the Samaritan, Septuagint and Massoretic Text of any half a dozen consecutive chapters in the Pentateuch to prove this. Thus neither is dependent on the others.

Read Complete Article...




3551. nomos -- that which is assigned, hence usage, law
... plur: of divine laws; of a force or influence impelling to action; of the Mosaic
law; meton: of the books which contain the law, the Pentateuch, the Old ...
// - 7k

3475. Mouses -- Moses, a leader of Isr.
... Noun, Masculine Transliteration: Mouses Phonetic Spelling: (moce-yoos') Short
Definition: Moses Definition: Moses; met: the books of Moses, the Pentateuch. ...
// - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
1931. hu -- he, she, it
... Of which the feminine (beyond the Pentateuch) is hiyw {he}; a primitive word, the
third person pronoun singular, he (she or it); only expressed when emphatic ...
/hebrew/1931.htm - 6k

8451. torah -- direction, instruction, law
... bullock, ox. Or torah {to-raw'}; from yarah; a precept or statute, especially the
Decalogue or Pentateuch -- law. see HEBREW yarah. 8450, 8451. torah. 8452 > ...
/hebrew/8451.htm - 6k


The Gospel of the Pentateuch
The Gospel of the Pentateuch. <. The Gospel of the Pentateuch Charles
Kingsley. Transcribed by David Price, email ccx074 ...
// gospel of the pentateuch/

The Messianic Prophecies in the Pentateuch.
contained in Genesis we cannot fail to perceive a remarkable ...
/.../christology of the old testament/the messianic prophecies in the.htm

The Angel of the Lord in the Pentateuch, and the Book of Joshua.
Testament distinguishes between the hidden God and the ...
/.../hengstenberg/christology of the old testament/the angel of the lord.htm

The Pentateuch.
... CHAPTER XIX. THE PENTATEUCH. ... 3. Genesis is the introductory book to the Pentateuch,
without which our understanding of the following books would be incomplete. ...
/.../barrows/companion to the bible/chapter xix the pentateuch.htm

Doubtful Fragments on the Pentateuch.
... Part I."Exegetical. Doubtful Fragments on the Pentateuch. Preface. In the name
of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God. ...
/.../doubtful fragments on the pentateuch.htm

Authorship of the Pentateuch.
PENTATEUCH. The term Pentateuch is composed of the two Greek ...
/.../barrows/companion to the bible/chapter ix authorship of the.htm

Authenticity and Credibility of the Pentateuch.
CREDIBILITY OF THE PENTATEUCH. 1. The historic truth of the ...
/.../barrows/companion to the bible/chapter x authenticity and credibility.htm

Sources of the Pentateuch.
in this study that the Pentateuch is a composite book. ...
/.../gladden/who wrote the bible/chapter iii sources of the.htm

The Gospel of the Pentateuch
The Gospel of the Pentateuch. <. ... Title Page. The Gospel
of the Pentateuch: A set of Parish Sermons. ...
// gospel of the pentateuch/title page.htm

Preface to the First Edition of the Gospel of the Pentateuch to ...
The Gospel of the Pentateuch. <. ... PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THE GOSPEL
/.../kingsley/the gospel of the pentateuch/preface to the first edition.htm

Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

the five books of Moses

ATS Bible Dictionary

The five books the books of Moses; that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. See articles on those books, and also MOSES.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
The five-fold volume, consisting of the first five books of the Old Testament. This word does not occur in Scripture, nor is it certainly known when the roll was thus divided into five portions Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Probably that was done by the LXX. translators. Some modern critics speak of a Hexateuch, introducing the Book of Joshua as one of the group. But this book is of an entirely different character from the other books, and has a different author. It stands by itself as the first of a series of historical books beginning with the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan. (see JOSHUA.)

The books composing the Pentateuch are properly but one book, the "Law of Moses," the "Book of the Law of Moses," the "Book of Moses," or, as the Jews designate it, the "Torah" or "Law." That in its present form it "proceeds from a single author is proved by its plan and aim, according to which its whole contents refer to the covenant concluded between Jehovah and his people, by the instrumentality of Moses, in such a way that everything before his time is perceived to be preparatory to this fact, and all the rest to be the development of it. Nevertheless, this unity has not been stamped upon it as a matter of necessity by the latest redactor: it has been there from the beginning, and is visible in the first plan and in the whole execution of the work.", Keil, Einl. i.d. A. T.

A certain school of critics have set themselves to reconstruct the books of the Old Testament. By a process of "scientific study" they have discovered that the so-called historical books of the Old Testament are not history at all, but a miscellaneous collection of stories, the inventions of many different writers, patched together by a variety of editors! As regards the Pentateuch, they are not ashamed to attribute fraud, and even conspiracy, to its authors, who sought to find acceptance to their work which was composed partly in the age of Josiah, and partly in that of Ezra and Nehemiah, by giving it out to be the work of Moses! This is not the place to enter into the details of this controversy. We may say frankly, however, that we have no faith in this "higher criticism." It degrades the books of the Old Testament below the level of fallible human writings, and the arguments on which its speculations are built are altogether untenable.

The evidences in favour of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch are conclusive. We may thus state some of them briefly:

(1.) These books profess to have been written by Moses in the name of God (Exodus 17:14; 24:3, 4, 7; 32:7-10, 30-34; 34:27; Leviticus 26:46; 27:34; Deuteronomy 31:9, 24, 25).

(2.) This also is the uniform and persistent testimony of the Jews of all sects in all ages and countries (Comp. Joshua 8:31, 32; 1 Kings 2:3; Jeremiah 7:22; Ezra 6:18; Nehemiah 8:1; Malachi 4:4; Matthew 22:24; Acts 15:21).

(3.) Our Lord plainly taught the Mosaic authorship of these books (Matthew 5:17, 18; 19:8; 22:31, 32; 23:2; Mark 10:9; 12:26; Luke 16:31; 20:37; 24:26, 27, 44; John 3:14; 5:45, 46, 47; 6:32, 49; 7:19, 22). In the face of this fact, will any one venture to allege either that Christ was ignorant of the composition of the Bible, or that, knowing the true state of the case, he yet encouraged the people in the delusion they clung to?

(4.) From the time of Joshua down to the time of Ezra there is, in the intermediate historical books, a constant reference to the Pentateuch as the "Book of the Law of Moses." This is a point of much importance, inasmuch as the critics deny that there is any such reference; and hence they deny the historical character of the Pentateuch. As regards the Passover, e.g., we find it frequently spoken of or alluded to in the historical books following the Pentateuch, showing that the "Law of Moses" was then certainly known. It was celebrated in the time of Joshua (Joshua 5:10, cf. 4:19), Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30), Josiah (2 Kings 23; 2 Chronicles 35), and Zerubbabel (Ezra 6:19-22), and is referred to in such passages as 2 Kings 23:22; 2 Chronicles 35:18; 1 Kings 9:25 ("three times in a year"); 2 Chronicles 8:13. Similarly we might show frequent references to the Feast of Tabernacles and other Jewish institutions, although we do not admit that any valid argument can be drawn from the silence of Scripture in such a case. An examination of the following texts, 1 Kings 2:9; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chronicles 23:18; 25:4; 34:14; Ezra 3:2; 7:6; Dan. 9:11, 13, will also plainly show that the "Law of Moses" was known during all these centuries.

Granting that in the time of Moses there existed certain oral traditions or written records and documents which he was divinely led to make use of in his history, and that his writing was revised by inspired successors, this will fully account for certain peculiarities of expression which critics have called "anachronisms" and "contradictions," but in no way militates against the doctrine that Moses was the original author of the whole of the Pentateuch. It is not necessary for us to affirm that the whole is an original composition; but we affirm that the evidences clearly demonstrate that Moses was the author of those books which have come down to us bearing his name. The Pentateuch is certainly the basis and necessary preliminary of the whole of the Old Testament history and literature. (see DEUTERONOMY.)

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
(n.) The first five books of the Old Testament, collectively; -- called also the Law of Moses, Book of the Law of Moses, etc.
... The books composing the Pentateuch are properly but one book, the "Law of Moses,"
the "Book of the Law of Moses," the "Book of Moses," or, as the Jews ...
/p/pentateuch.htm - 77k

Samaritan (8 Occurrences)
... Samaritan Pentateuch. ... There are important differences between the Hebrew and the
Samaritan copies of the Pentateuch in the readings of many sentences. ...
/s/samaritan.htm - 42k

... hek'-sa-tuk: 1. Evidence for: This word, formed on the analogy of Pentateuch,
Heptateuch, etc., is used by modern writers to denote the first six books of the ...
/h/hexateuch.htm - 8k

Brook (75 Occurrences)
... for this wady points to a curious and most interesting and important piece of
archaeological evidence on the critical question of the origin of the Pentateuch. ...
/b/brook.htm - 45k

Nazirite (10 Occurrences)
... we find something of the kind in many countries and always linked with special
abstinence of some kind; and from all that is said in the Pentateuch we should ...
/n/nazirite.htm - 21k

Hebrew (37 Occurrences)
... The Targumim are: TO THE PENTATEUCH (1) Targum Onkelos or Babylonian Targum (the
accepted and official); (2) Targum yerushalmi or Palestinian Targum ("Pseudo ...
/h/hebrew.htm - 77k

Deuteronomy (1 Occurrence)
... In all the Hebrew manuscripts the Pentateuch (qv) forms one roll or volume divided
into larger and smaller sections called parshioth_ and _sedarim. ...
/d/deuteronomy.htm - 44k

Levites (267 Occurrences)
/l/levites.htm - 72k

Priests (451 Occurrences)
/p/priests.htm - 69k

Providence (3 Occurrences)
Old Testament Scriptures (1) Providence in the Pentateuch (2) The Historical ...
/p/providence.htm - 44k



Related Terms

Samaritan (8 Occurrences)


Brook (75 Occurrences)

Nazirite (10 Occurrences)

Hebrew (37 Occurrences)

Deuteronomy (1 Occurrence)

Levites (267 Occurrences)

Priests (451 Occurrences)

Providence (3 Occurrences)


Sadducees (14 Occurrences)

Egypt (596 Occurrences)

Patriarchs (6 Occurrences)



Leviticus (1 Occurrence)

History (57 Occurrences)

Samaritans (9 Occurrences)

Sinai (38 Occurrences)


Tablets (31 Occurrences)


Numbers (136 Occurrences)



Tell (3056 Occurrences)

Syriac (2 Occurrences)

Passover (81 Occurrences)

Moses (9295 Occurrences)


Abiathar (29 Occurrences)

Sanctuary (250 Occurrences)


Philistines (224 Occurrences)

Wanderings (7 Occurrences)

Judges (117 Occurrences)




Joseph (248 Occurrences)


Ark (212 Occurrences)

Amos (12 Occurrences)


Law (670 Occurrences)

Altar (343 Occurrences)

Old (3966 Occurrences)

Covenant (309 Occurrences)

Exodus (2 Occurrences)

Kings (350 Occurrences)


Text (5 Occurrences)

Messenger (235 Occurrences)

Zibeon (7 Occurrences)

Zoan (7 Occurrences)

Nisan (2 Occurrences)

Uzza (10 Occurrences)

Uzzah (10 Occurrences)

Jephthah (26 Occurrences)

Jashar (2 Occurrences)

Jehovah (20094 Occurrences)

Judicial (2 Occurrences)

Josiah (51 Occurrences)

Gershom (16 Occurrences)

Well (2882 Occurrences)

Inheritance (263 Occurrences)


Introduction (3 Occurrences)

Jericho (59 Occurrences)

Tablet (7 Occurrences)

Tithe (30 Occurrences)

Thessalonians (6 Occurrences)


Rameses (5 Occurrences)

Rainbow (6 Occurrences)

Raamses (1 Occurrence)


Ezekiel (4 Occurrences)

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Top of Page
Top of Page