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Authorship Of The Torah

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Introduction

Emma Tingey Homework - 2nd October 2007 Explain why some Jews question the authority of the Torah. (10) The question of Jewish authorship of the Torah is one that divides the Jewish community. Throughout the generations, Jews have treated the Torah as a whole, as a revelation of God to Moses on Mount Sinai, delivered to the Israelites. Traditionally the Torah was thought to be literally dictated to Moses from God so every word true. All Jews followed the 613 mitzvot because God had instructed them to. The Torah is God's instruction on how those who place their trust in him are to live, so that 'all will be well with them.' (Deuteronomy 4.40). However since the nineteenth century many scholars have claimed that the Torah is a collection of traditions composed at different times, which is why the authority of the Torah is questioned. There are three main areas that highlight why Jews may question the authorship of the Torah. They are Biblical Criticism, textual studies of ancient Manu scriptures and the influences of other cultures. ...read more.

Middle

The source is though to have originated from the tribe of Judah in the South. It has many anthropomorphic characteristics to God, and refers to him as YHWH or 'Lord'. The source believes that Seth was the first person to call the 'Lord' by his name and wrote that Judah saved Joseph. The source is said to belong to the 9th Century BCE. 'The lord (YHWH) said to Moses' (Exodus). Source E's attributes have fewer references to anthropomorphic attributes to God. This source originated from the tribe of Reuben in the North. Unlike Source J, God is different, when referring to God the source uses the divine name of Elohim or God, and believes that Moses was the first to call the Lord by name and wrote that Reuben saved Joseph. This source is said to belong to the 8th Century BCE. 'God (Elohim) did not lead them' Exodus. Source J and E were combined together in 721 BCE, after the fall of Simaria, and was added to the original material, which means the Torah isn't just the original Torah. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, the Pentateuch is made up of original material, the sources J, E, D and P, which means it may not be the true word of God. This is why Liberal Jews feel they don't have to follow the Pentateuch, word for word and can adapt it to modern life. The view of the Orthodox Jews is that the torah used today in the Synagogues is the same that was given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai. However within Liberal Jews it is widely accepted that the Hebrew Language today isn't the same as it was in the time of Moses, and translations into other languages from Hebrew may contain errors. Therefore, this has led much of the Jewish community to believe that the Torah today isn't a perfect representation and revelation given to Moses. The traditional belief held by Orthodox Jews is the Torah was created from nothing 'exnihilo', however, there are strong beliefs and parallels between the Torah and stories from the Near East. It was almost as if people knew the stories God was giving to them. ...read more.

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