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Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)


Author(s) of the Book of Genesis:
Chapters 1 to 10

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According to Jewish and Christian tradition, the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) -- the Pentateuch --were written by Moses under the inspiration of God. God inspired Moses to write the truth and prevented him from making any errors. The Bible itself states that Moses was the author.  Many conservative Christians and Jews continue with this belief today.

However, mainline and liberal theologians generally accept the "Documentary Hypothesis" which asserts that the Pentateuch was written by five authors or groups of authors, from diverse locations, over a period of centuries. Each wrote with the goal of promoting his/her/their own religious views The five individuals or groups are commonly called:

bullet J: a writer(s) who used Yahweh/Jehovah as the divine name.
bullet E: a writer(s) who used Elohim as the divine name. *
bullet P: a writer(s) who added material of major interest to the priesthood.
bulletD: the author of the book of Deuteronomy. *
bullet R: a redactor(s) who welded the contributions of J, E and P together into the present Pentateuch.

* Did not contribute to Genesis.

The authors of Genesis seem have picked up part of their story from Hindu legends of the creation and early history of humanity. Stories of Hindu heros Adimo, Heva, Sherma, Hama and Jiapheta apparently were replicated into legends about Adam, Eve, Shem Ham, and Japeth. 1

The two creation stories at the start of Genesis were also apparently heavily influenced by Pagan writings from Mesopotamia; the transition between the two sources occurs at Genesis 2:4 with a verse inserted by the redactor "R."

The first ten chapters of the book of Genesis are reprinted in the following essays. 2 The original authors, according to the Documentary Hypothesis, are indicated in different colors: J, P, and R. We follow the identification by R.E. Friedman. 3

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Topics covered in this section:

The authors of Genesis, according to the Documentary Hypothesis:

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  1. Kesey Graves, "The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors: Christianity Before Christ," Adventures Unlimited Press, (2001), Page 291. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  2. The book of Genesis from the King James Version of the Bible.
  3. R.E. Friedman, "Who Wrote the Bible?" HarperCollins, (1997), Pages 246-247. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  4. R.E. Friedman, "The hidden book in the Bible: The discovery of the first prose masterpiece," Haper San Francisco. Review/order this book. The author traces the "J" component of the first four books of the Bible. He writes:  "Readers have an opportunity to see the first great prose writer's full achievement; an epic work of the struggle between God and humans. and between good and bad."
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Copyright 1998 to 2011 incl. by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Latest update: 2011-FEB-01
Author: B.A. Robinson, J, P, & R

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