Genesis Through Joshua- Genesis: Overview

The Extrinsic Agents
Who is the writer of the book?

1) The Critical Documentary Hypothesis of the OT Pentateuch
Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) a German Scholar used a set of criteria to find the supposed four main traditions behind the Pentateuch. These criteria are as follows:

· Divine Names used in a particular passage
· Doublets used. These are sections of scripture that say the same thing.
· The Theological emphases in a passage.

The four sources are known as J, E, D, and P.

· Refers to God as YHWH (Jehovah)
· The writer of the Davidic period (1000BC)
· Supposedly wrote the stories of creation and the fall
· Wrote to support David’s monarchy

· Used Elohim to refer to God.
· Northern Writer
· Writing 800-700BC
· Emphases the background of the northern tribes

· Wrote the book of Deuteronomy
· Wrote to support Josiah’s reforms in 622BC

· Authored by Priests
· Wrote during or after the exile
· Wrote to support the Priestly function
· Wrote the worship/sacrifice parts of the Pentateuch

Critical scholars don’t agree on the identity of J, E, D, and P.
Recently many dispute this theory (Rev Charles from Yale)

The Jews have always considered the first five books of the Bible as written by Moses

2) Mosaic Authorship
Moses used aural and written sources to compose the Pent.
It’s reasonable to assume that Moses gained information from his mother for the Pent.
Moses used scribes to write the Pent.
Moses didn’t sit down and write the Pent all at once with God speaking directly. He collected sources.
Moses was the controller of the text.

3) Minor Additions to the Pentateuch
Genesis 14v40: The place ‘Dan’ was not called Dan until Judges 18. It looks like someone has updated the text.
There can be minor additions to the Pent books.
The Hebrew of the Pent is not in the style of the Moses would have written in. The Hebrew was updated to the Hebrew of the Patriarchal times.

E.J. Young: ‘Under divine inspiration there may have been later minor editions and even revisions. Substantially and essentially it is [the Pent] the product of Moses.’

The stories of the Pent come from the time of Moses.

Biblically why is Moses the author?
Moses is seen as the prominent lawgiver in the NT.
References to the Pent are quoted as Moses in the NT.
The Literary analysis supports the idea.

4) The Date and Location of the Final Composition of Genesis
Written: After the burning bush event Exodus 3
And before Moses death-recorded in Deuteronomy 34:5

Genesis could have been written in Egypt, Sinai, Wilderness, or Moab.

Literary Structure of Genesis
1) 10 sections found by observing the Hebrew word for generation:

Heaven and Earth
Noah’s Sons

2) Alternative Division proposed by Dr Pratt:
Primeval History: 1-11:9
Patriarchal Times including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob: 11:10-36:43
Joseph’s Times 37-50

The Message of Genesis
1)Why did Moses write this book?
The book of Genesis had a relevant message to the audience that was hearing it.

2) What were the concerns of Moses readers?
Could be one of two groups of people:
Either 1st Generation: All minus 2 (Joshua and Caleb) died in the Wilderness, or 2nd Generation

The concerns of the 1st generation:
‘Did we do the right thing by leaving Egypt and marching through the miserable wilderness?’

The concerns of the 2nd generation:
Numbers 13 and 14: ‘Entering Canaan and conquering the giants will be a hard thing’

Moses wrote Genesis to address both of these issues. He didn’t write Genesis just to record history!

So the summarised meaning of Genesis:
‘Leaving Egypt and possessing Canaan is God’s design for Israel.’
The Israelites were to read the stories of Genesis to see that it’s right to go onto the Promised Land.

Genesis taught the 1st generation that He would take them out of Egypt. It was pre-planned by Him.
Genesis to the 2nd generation taught of the assurance of possessing Canaan.

The Modern Application of Genesis
We should leave the world based on the promises of Christ to pilgrimage to the new Heaven and Earth. We’re not following Moses; we’re following Christ.


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