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Old Testament
Comparative Religions and Denominations
Moses

When was the Book of Exodus written?

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November 05, 2014 5:51PM

The traditional view is that the Book of Exodus was written by Moses. Based on the traditional date for the death of Moses, that would mean that it was written about 1400 BCE. However, the view of biblical scholars now is that Moses did not write, and could not have written, Exodus.

During the nineteenth century, Samuel Davidson, D.D found clear literary evidence that Exodus was not written by anyone in the time of Moses. For example:


  • Exodus 16:35: And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.
Moses was dead before the manna ceased. It is therefore natural to infer that he did not write these words.


  • Exodus 22:29: Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.
  • Exodus 23:19: The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God.
No regulation is given respecting the manner of their offering ; it is simply enjoined that the people should not delay to offer. This presupposes that the Israelites had already brought the first-fruits of their fields and vines to the priests and knew how much to offer and in what manner. The second verse above also presupposes the existence of the temple (house of the LORD thy God).


  • Exodus 16:36: Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.
Davidson says this explanation seems to have originated in a change of time, the measure having gone out of use and therefore needs explanation.


  • Exodus 6:26: These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.
Moses would not have needed to tell the Israelites who were with him and who had come with him out of Egypt that he and his brother were the persons to whom the Lord said, " Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies, etc. ?" Surely this were superfluous if given by Moses himself, but appropriate as a celebration of Moses in later times.


Exodus was compiled over a period of centuries, before it reached a more or less identifiable form, and was then redacted into substantially the form we know today. So, the answer to this question depends on the level of the book's evolution at which you would finally consider it to be 'Exodus'. Arguably, that would be somewhere around 500 to 600 BCE.


The book is based on input from several sources. Because we do not know the actual names of those sources, we generally call the major contributors: J, E and P. Based on the archaic Hebrew and other evidence, J and E appear to be from around 800 to 1000 BCE. P (the Priestly source) probably lived during the Babylonian exile.





The Torah including the book of Exodus was written by Moses (Deuteronomy 31:24) before his death, which is traditionally put in 1272 BCE. .Note:

According to tradition, the whole Torah has a single author.The same literary devices which the Torah employs to enrich its text, have been used by Bible-critics in an attempt to reassign its authorship.

The Jewish sages, based on ancient tradition, identified many of these devices, which include:

recapping earlier brief passages to elucidate,

employing different names of God to signify His various attributes,

using apparent changes or redundancies to allude to additional unstated details,

speaking in the vernacular that was current during each era,

and many more. While Judaism has always seen the Torah as an intricate tapestry that nonetheless had one Divine source, some modern authors such as Wellhausen (the father of modern Biblical-criticism, 1844-1918) have suggested artificially chopping up the narrative and attributing it to various authors, despite the Torah's explicit statement as to its provenance (Exodus 24:12, Deuteronomy 31:24). This need not concern believers, since his claims have been debunked one by one, as archaeology and other disciplines have demonstrated the integrity of the Torah. No fragments have ever been found that would support his Documentary Hypothesis, which remains nothing more than an arbitrary claim, whose falsehood has been pointed out:

http://www.whoreallywrotethebible.com/excerpts/chapter4-1.php

http://www.pearlmancta.com/BiblicalcriticswrongRShlomoCohen.htm

And see also the wider picture:

http://judaism.answers.com/hebrew/does-archaeology-support-the-hebrew-bible

User Avatar
Wiki User
November 05, 2014 5:51PM

The Torah including the book of Exodus was written by Moses (Deuteronomy 31:24) before his death, which is traditionally put in 1272 BCE. .Note:

According to tradition, the whole Torah has a single author.The same literary devices which the Torah employs to enrich its text, have been used by Bible-critics in an attempt to reassign its authorship.

The Jewish sages, based on ancient tradition, identified many of these devices, which include:

recapping earlier brief passages to elucidate,

employing different names of God to signify His various attributes,

using apparent changes or redundancies to allude to additional unstated details,

speaking in the vernacular that was current during each era,

and many more. While Judaism has always seen the Torah as an intricate tapestry that nonetheless had one Divine source, some modern authors such as Wellhausen (the father of modern Biblical-criticism, 1844-1918) have suggested artificially chopping up the narrative and attributing it to various authors, despite the Torah's explicit statement as to its provenance (Exodus 24:12, Deuteronomy 31:24). This need not concern believers, since his claims have been debunked one by one, as archaeology and other disciplines have demonstrated the integrity of the Torah. No fragments have ever been found that would support his Documentary Hypothesis, which remains nothing more than an arbitrary claim, whose falsehood has been pointed out:

http://www.whoreallywrotethebible.com/excerpts/chapter4-1.php

http://www.pearlmancta.com/BiblicalcriticswrongRShlomoCohen.htm

And see also the wider picture:

http://judaism.answers.com/hebrew/does-archaeology-support-the-hebrew-bible