Edward J. Young



The human author of the Pentateuch was Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel. It is true that there is no superscription or introduction or express claim that the work in its entirety is from Moses. Nevertheless, there is convincing testimony, both of an external and internal nature, to support the position that Moses wrote the Pentateuch...

When we affirm that Moses wrote, or that he was the author of, the Pentateuch, we do not mean that he himself necessarily wrote every word. To insist upon this would be unreasonable. Hammurabi was the author of his famous code, but he certainly did not engrave it himself upon the stele. Our Lord was the author of the Sermon upon the Mount, but He did not write it Himself. Milton was the author of Paradise Lost, but he did not write it all out by hand.

The witness of sacred Scripture leads us to believe that Moses was the fundamental or real author of the Pentateuch. In composing it, he may indeed, as Astruc suggested, have employed parts of previously existing written documents. Also, under divine inspiration, there may have been later minor additions and even revisions. Substantially and essentially, however, it is the product of Moses. The position for which conservatives contend has been well expressed by Wilson: 'That the Pentateuch as it stands is historical and from the time of Moses; and that Moses was its real author, though it may have been revised and edited by later redactors, the additions being just as much inspired and as true as the rest' (A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament (1929), p.11).

The authority of the holy scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the word of God' (WC, I :IV). [1] That these words set forth a high view of the authority of the Scriptures, and therefore of the Old Testament, is a fact which cannot be denied. The Scripture, according to this viewpoint, possesses an authority which is of so great a nature that it ought to be believed and also obeyed. This authority it derives, not from man or even from the Church, but only from God, who is its author.

This high view has been commonly held by the historic Christian Church, and is embodied in her official creeds. The early fathers appealed to the Bible as authoritative Scripture, and throughout her history the Church has followed suit. [2] Nevertheless, there have been those both within and without the pale of the Church who have dissented from this high and noble view of the Bible.

It is difficult to discover precisely when hostile criticism of the Bible first made its appearance. Of course, all sin is a criticism of the Word of God, a manifestation of the desire to be wise above that which God has commanded...

[1] See B.B. Warfield, "The Westminster Doctrine of Holy Scripture' in The Westminster Assembly and Its Work (New York, 1931), pp. 155-257.

[2] Cf. the official creeds of the historic Church, and the statements therein made concerning the authority of Scripture. See Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols. (New York, 1881-82).

An Introduction to the Old Testament. Edward J. Young. W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapidsm MI. 1949. Pages 42, 45, 107.