Who wrote the Torah?
Many people believe that the Bible is the word of God. The first five books are known to Jews as the Torah, and they are the most important books to Judaism. These books include Genesis, which begins by telling stories of how God created life on Earth and mankind and also goes through a lengthy description of early generations of people, including Noah, Abraham, etc. The other four books are focused a lot on the Israelites and their leader Moses. These books involve a lot of religious laws and thus are very influential to the lives of people who believe in them. The books that make up the Torah are fundamental to the worldview of nearly all Jews and most Christians throughout the world.
Traditionally, Jewish scholars have argued that the Torah was wholly or mostly written by Moses, somewhere around 1200-1300 BC. The idea is that God spoke directly to Moses and he wrote this down and also he wrote down a lot of details from his own experiences. In modern times, a lot of historians, archeologists, linguists, and scientists have compiled evidence relating to the Torah and studied it in detail and have debunked the theory that any single person wrote the Torah. For one thing, the language used throughout the Torah varies widely. Some passages use eloquent Hebrew, others use a more dry and straightforward language.
Also, the different language styles correspond to different names for God that are used. Some passages use the word “Yahweh” for God and others use the word “Elohim”. There are even different ideas in different parts of the Torah regarding how a person can communicate with God, and these correspond to the different names for God as well. Some historians have speculated that there might have been different communities in ancient Israel that had slightly different religious beliefs and practices and that the Torah is a mixture of these. So the evidence is that the Torah was a creation from multiple sources that did not fully agree with each other.
The evidence also strongly shows that the Torah was written, at least in its current form, much more recently than the time of Moses. The most popular theory among modern historians, the theory that has the most evidence backing it, is that the Torah did not come into its current form until somewhere around 400 BC. This is several centuries after the events that are recorded in the Torah supposedly took place. This strongly calls into question whether these events, or even anything close to these events, took place at all or whether they were fabricated over centuries of tall tales.
Looking at what is written in the Torah objectively, these writings are not only counter to the findings of modern science, but they also promote a conception of God that favors some people over others and has anger and wrath and jealousy. Perhaps it made sense for people to believe in this stuff thousands of years ago, but now we have an abundance of evidence that these writings are fully of falsehood. If more Jews and Christians took a critical look at their holy books in light of the findings of modern science, then the world would be a better place.
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