Reflection on Lesson 4

The section in Lesson 4 titled “Authorship Issues” really has me thinking.  In Mark 7:10, Jesus says, “For Moses said,…’”  He was referencing to scriptures in the OT, and those scriptures are Exodus 20:12, Deut. 5:16, Exodus 21:17, and Lev. 20:9.  When I first read the three questions I was a little puzzled.  After all, Jesus does say Moses said these things, but we can’t be 100% sure who wrote the Torah, and if you take the same stance as Peter Enns, you might believe that maybe when Mark was writing this Gospel he got it wrong or somehow something was lost in translation and Jesus never really meant that Moses himself said these things.

But then I thought about it more and realized Moses did say these things!  It doesn’t matter so much WHO wrote it, but that Moses DID say the things that Jesus told the people he said.  Jesus never says “Moses wrote these things.”  He reminds us of things that Moses said because God was speaking through Him. 

I believe that it is very possible that Jesus was teaching that Moses is the author of the Torah.  He obviously didn’t feel that it was crucially important for us to know for a fact that Moses wrote it, or He would have said, and it would have been recorded, that Moses was the writer.  More importantly, Jesus wanted the people of the day, and all people everywhere to know that He had come to “fulfill [the law and the Prophets].” (Matt. 5:17) 

                Jesus knew that people were either going to view him as just a Jewish teacher, or they would see him as a heretic that was telling people to abandon the teachings and revelations from God in the OT.  But he was impressing on these people that he was neither extreme, but instead he was ushering in a new era, He is the Messiah and Deliverer, but he was not denying the validity and inspiration of the OT, particularly the Torah.

He wanted us to know that these words are important.  I think He meant that this history, the words spoken through the Law and the Torah are vital to us because they give us grounding and roots.  They connect us to our God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.  I think that’s why he said the letters and strokes won’t disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

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3 Responses

  1. Peter Enns does not take the stance that you are saying he does. Please be accurate in your representation of someone’s beliefs. Anything less than that is dishonesty and libel.

  2. Brandon,
    “aboulet” makes a valid comment. Peter Enns has not said that the biblical authors “got it wrong,” or that there are errors in the Bible. He is not saying that the Bible is unreliable. He is saying we have to understand it according to the context in which it was written. Since Dr. Enns’ reputation and career are currently under scrutiny, we should be careful how we characterize what he has said in I&I.

    Aboulet,
    Thanks for your note of correction and warning. I will also ask you to be patient with our students who are reading I&I in advance of class that begins next week. Many of them are coming to terms with questions such as these for the first time–they are trying to understand Enns and the issues he raises. We will have a chance to discuss these in detail next week.

    Thanks for the resources you provided on your site.

  3. aboulet,

    Thanks for your comment. I’d like to take this time to better clarify my thoughts, because I am certainly not trying to criticize Dr. Enns, or his work. What I meant by my comment- “if you take the same stance as Peter Enns, you might believe that maybe when Mark was writing this Gospel he got it wrong or somehow something was lost in translation…” is that because of Dr. Enns’ idea of the humanity of the OT, understanding it as relevant to the culture in which it was written, it may not be such a stretch for us to believe that maybe something was lost or misinterpreted along the way. Dr. Enns writes in Chapter 4 pg 153, “the New Testament authors take the Old Testament out of one context, that of the orignal author, and place it into another context, the one that represents the final goal to which Israel’s story has been moving.”

    Aboulet and Dr. Alterman, please let me clarify by saying that is exactly the point I was alluding to. I stated, “He (Jesus) wanted us to know that these words are important.” I agree with Dr. Enns on this and many other points. I am certainly not trying to misrepresent Dr. Enns or be dishonest in ANY way. I’m just trying my best to put into words my thoughts, I’m sorry if it was interpreted in a negative fashion.

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