Thursday, March 02, 2006

Who Wrote the Torah?

I wrote this essay over four years ago and there is much I would change in it if I were to rewrite it. Nevertheless, it is essentially taken from Torah Shelemah, vol. 19 addenda ch. 33. Its main thesis is that the Patriarchs wrote scrolls which were incorporated by God into the Torah. When I wrote this, I showed it to two rabbis, neither of whom are Modern Orthodox. One didn't like it and the other thought it was obvious and correct. I have since discovered that Prof. Yehudah Kil takes the same approach in his Da'as Mikra commentary to Genesis. In his introduction, he even labels different sections as different scrolls as follows:

(Introduction [1:1-2:3])
1. The Creation Scroll (2:4-4:26)
2. The Scroll of the Generation of the Flood (5:1-6:8)
3. The Scroll of Noah (6:9-9:29)
4. The Scroll of Noah's Sons (10:1-11:9)
(Generations [11:10-32])
5. The Scroll of Abraham (12:1-25:11)
6. The Scroll of Ishmael (25:12-18)
7. The Scroll of Isaac (25:19-35:29)
8. The Scroll of Esau (36)
9. The Scroll of Jacob and His Sons (37:1-50:13)
(Conclusion [50:14-26])

Let me add that I am not saying that any of this is necessarily correct. I don't know if it is. But it is certainly an interesting possibility.

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