Can we believe in “Mosaic Authorship”?

In our Mangano commentary, a very conservative commentary, Randall Bailey suggests a 3rd alternative to the authorship of Genesis. The first two options presented are:

1. Moses wrote it.

2. Moses did not write it.

He proposes a third option:

3. The book is one of “Mosaic Authorship”.

This solution provides that the work of Genesis is inspired by and preserved by God, but that Moses could have used other sources to write Genesis, and that editors/compilers of a “Mosaic” school may have completed some of the books of the Pentateuch.

Bailey says on page 101, “…Authorship, sources, and inspiration are separate issues. Moses may have used sources to write the Pentateuch and other authors may have added to the Pentateuch. Similarly, one may believe in the inspiration of the original autographs and acknowledge the evidence that points to additions to Moses’ work…”.

As I read this I breathed a sigh of relief. Can I really choose option 3? It sounds good, but does it really hold up in the wash? Can I have my cake (The Bible is the inspired word of God.) and eat it too (Yes, it really is a little weird for Moses to report on his own death.)?

Maybe I have been to quick to give myself the same answer that I give my children when they ask me things like,

“Mommy, if a baby is in its mommy’s tummy when Jesus comes back, will it stay in her tummy in heaven?”, or

“Mommy, if Jesus is God, and Jesus was dead when he came off the cross, was God dead for that day?”, or

“Mommy, where EXACTLY is heaven?”.

I always tell them, “Hmmm, great question. Let’s remember to ask God that one when we get there!” (Does this qualify as teaching your children Torah when you rise up, lie down, and walk along the path?)

Maybe I shouldn’t be scared to think about these seemingly scary issues of authorship? Maybe there are other answers out there or maybe it would be okay to really look and still not have them answered?

Is anyone else struggling with this? Has anyone else resolved it for themselves? I would love your insight.

Cathy

Greetings from a latecomer

Hello, folks. After some extraordinary confusion, I’ve finally managed to join the site.

My name is Tyler Martin. I am a 23-year-old 2010 graduate from KCU, and this makes my second class in the grad school program (Christian Leadership, emphasis in theological studies). My goal is to eventually teach theology on the college level, and I look forward to diving a bit deeper into Old Testament research and gaining a better understanding of the Christian tradition (and, more broadly, the work of God) as a result. For me, life is very much a constant learning experience, and it is my belief that intellectual growth quite often goes hand in hand with spiritual growth, and neither of those truly ends as long as one lives. Having taken this view, I find it hard to stay in one place, figuratively speaking–while the foundations of my views and beliefs have remained largely the same in the years since my life as a Christian began in earnest, the learning I have attained has always led me to see things in a much broader and brighter light.

As far as my personal life is concerned, I very much meet the qualifications for “nerd.” I love to read, both fiction and non-fiction, though lately I’ve seen more of the latter. My favorite authors include Thomas Merton, Martin Luther King, Jr., C.S. Lewis, Arthur C. Clarke, and Dr. Seuss. I’ve been a huge fan of Godzilla and his monstrous kin since childhood, and am also rather fond of Star Trek, Star Wars, and the like. The username I’ve chosen is a reference both to my “wandering” nature and to an excellent 1949 film by the great Akira Kurosawa. Music is also of great interest to me–I spent my first three and a half years at KCU majoring in Vocal Performance, and while my career plans may have changed, I see that experience as entirely worthwhile and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I’m still getting used to the whole grad school thing, but I’m ready for just about anything. Looking forward to some excellent discussion.

Hebrew Language: A pair of glasses to understand how people view the world.

I have read many posts and comments where students tell the others that they struggle learning the languages, not only English, but Spanish, German or French. But at the same time everybody agrees that learning Hebrew is very helpful to understand the Bible. I agree 100 percent with it and want to add that language reflects the way people think.  I remember I had a class “Cultural Communications for Translators” and we had an assignment where we were given Japanese hieroglyphs (nobody knew Japanese, of course) and their meanings and then combinations of these hieroglyphs, the meanings of which we knew, and tried to guess the words – some of them we guessed but most of them we didn’t. But in the end the instructor explained why this particular combination of hieroglyphs meant that word and how, knew we the culture, we might have guessed the meaning. Language very much reflects the culture. Another example is German. From my experience learning German, it is like Mathematics. All sentences are formulas (strict order of words in a sentence). Put the right words in the formula and you get the sentence. Now what can we say about the people who speak this Mathematical language? That they are very much logical, disciplined, organized, direct, probably the best workers.   Well, these are the stereotypes we have about them, and from what I heard from people who had a chance observing them, they are what we think they are. My expectations from learning Hebrew (I am going to study it for two semesters) is not only to be able to understand and read the Scriptures in the original, but maybe to have a better understanding of their worldview, the way they saw things. Language is the lenses through which people express what they see (analogy with worldview being a lens through which we see the world around us).

I might be at an advantage over other students in the class because a have experience of learning languages, both “alive” and dead. Plus some of the letters in Russian alphabet are borrowed from Hebrew, so I can make analogies. Nevertheless, it is always a challenge to master a language. All languages I learned are from one group of languages – Germanic, and one family of languages Indo-European (Russian also belongs to this family). But Hebrew is from another family of languages – Afro-Asiatic and Semitic group. The far away your own language, mother tongue, the more difficult is to learn the language. So here I am in the same position as everybody else.

I am looking forward to meeting everybody tomorrow.

Humbled

If I had my webcam on right now, you might see that I have the proverbial “deer in the headlights” look. I’m overwhelmed. I’m a bit nervous. I’m excited. I’m tired. I’m humbled.

Like many Nebraskans, I like football. But, I’m a casual football fan. (Nebraska Cornhuskers & Kansas City Chiefs – and I have a feeling this fall, I will add the KCU Knights to that list) I enjoy watching the games, but don’t get crazy about them like some people do. If the team I like loses a game, I realize the sun is still going to come up tomorrow – and if it doesn’t, we have way bigger problems than that a team lost a football game. As I ponder the upcoming season, I think about the undrafted rookies in NFL training camps across the country. I’m quite certain that many of them have the deer in the headlights look, too. I’m confident that many of them are having some humbling experiences. They’re excited as can be, but they’re not sure just exactly what they’ve gotten themselves into. However . . . if they’re smart, they know they can learn a great deal from veteran players.

In a small way, I empathize with them. As I’ve spent the past few weeks working on this class, I have: a) been excited b) wondered what I’ve gotten myself into c) been humbled. Just reading the depth of some of the posts on the blog creates all of the above. However, I’m going to choose to focus on c and a. I am humbled, but I am excited about what I can learn from this class, Dr. Alterman, and the “veteran players”.

Excited to meet you all on Monday! Until then, I remain . . . humbled.

The Jones

My name is Ian Jones, and I often use a definite article in my name because, really, why not?  My username is based out of Revelation 2:17 and, yes, it is Hebrew.  I’m interested to know what any Hebrew scholars in this class will make of it.  I have gone by many names because I love names.  I love to know what they mean, what they come from, how they developed.  I have already very carefully chosen names for my yet-unconceived children.  Names are probably the main reason why I love learning languages.  That, and I consider myself a philologist.

I was conceived on a mission in Zambia, so my parents and older sister came back to America and I was born in Indiana.  I spent the better part of my childhood in the country outside of Paint Lick, KY.  I can’t say for sure that it was the larger part, but it was definitely better.  I moved to Bourbonnais, IL for a few years and then to Clifton during my teenage years.  I then came back to Kentucky for college, and I hope I can stay here for a long time.

My favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Ted Dekker.  I prefer novels by Christian authors over commentaries.  I’m working on a novel right now, along the vein of my favorite authors.  My musical tastes range from Josh Turner to Demon Hunter.  I play guitar, but if I had to choose, I would rather sing (but doing both at once is really fun!)  I like all kinds of movies, and play a very limited range of video games.

Currently, I live in Grayson with my wife Katherine (also in this class), and our home is always a comfortable, spacious mess.  We were just married at the beginning of this summer.  I work in the kitchen at Callihan’s Pub and Grill, and she works at the Child Development Center.  We’re waiting a while before we have kids.

I have two kilts, one traditional and one modern, and I am hoping to get a few more, eventually in my family tartan.  Recently, I have become obsessed with walking and working out (I wager I could leg-press almost 1,000 lbs).  I would like to start running again.

Thought on Enns

I have really enjoyed reading this book so far. It was been very insightful and thought provoking. I loved the section where he dealt with incarnation stories of the bible.  Christ is the most important incarnation story of the bible! Enns hit a home run for me when he talked about the magnitude of Christ in the biblical story. “He is the one in whom Israel’s story reaches its climax… Christ is the final destiny of Israel’s story, and it is to him that the Bible as a whole bears witness,” (110). The title of the book resonated in my mind as I finished reading the chapter. God’s holy word, the scriptures, is built on a foundation of divine inspiration. God’s Word, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate incarnation story of all time. His story, some people refer to as history, is full of God interacting with his people. The beauty of His story is revealed when every part of history collides with the cross.

On Lesson 4

While reading the historical introduction to Gilgamesh, I was interested to learn that writing was ultimately created due to the need for canals. We are taught in school that writing (sometimes we hear cuneiform) was first used in certain ancient cities, but I’m not sure I ever understood why a written language was needed, or why it was used in some ancient cultures but not others. Learning a little more about the historical aspects surrounding the Gilgamesh story, gives me an even greater appreciation for these ancient cultures and their significance when compared to biblical culture. Likewise, I found the section on the Akkadian cuneiform to be fascinating. Learning Hebrew doesn’t seem so bad, when compared with the idiosyncrasies of the Akkadian language.

 

When it comes to the flood, I think a comparison can be made between Gilgamesh and the Bible. As stated here, perhaps the reason the Gilgamesh flood was not worldwide was because the people in that place had no knowledge of the rest of the world. I think it is also important to note that while the descriptions of specific events may differ greatly between Gilgamesh and the Bile, the themes are very similar between the two. Aren’t themes more important anyway? Aren’t themes what allow us to say biblical truth exists in literature, movies, other art forms, and in the lives of others? Just a thought…