Did Genesis Have Four Authors?
“For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
There is a theory that Genesis and the other books of the Penteteuch were actually compiled long ago by four authors. Although this theory is now accepted far less in academic circles than it used to be, the message has not got through to writers of popular-style books, so the idea is perpetuated. The alleged four authors are identified by the letters JEPD, so this theory of the authorship of the first five books of the Bible is called the JEPD Theory.
J is alleged to be the so-called Yahwist author. He is identified by referring to God as Yahweh – or Jehovah. JEPD theorists suggest that J wrote Genesis 2, about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They maintain that this is a completely different account from Genesis 1, which they suggest was written by E – the Elohist author, who refers to God as Elohim. They suggest that Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers were compiled from mixtures of these two accounts, while P, the Priestly author, contributed to Leviticus, and D wrote Deuteronomy.
There seems to be a desire both to suggest that Moses had nothing to do with writing Genesis and to relegate it to the realm of mythology. Yet, no evidence of J, E, P, or D has been found. Moreover, New Testament authors affirm their belief that Moses wrote the Penteteuch. For example, Jesus, in answering the Sadducees' erroneous question about death, quoted from Genesis and Exodus in His reply. The New Testament testifies that Genesis is what it claims to be – a biblical book, inerrant and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the truth of Your word. Give us the humility to submit ourselves to believing Your word to be true from beginning to end. Amen.
Ref: What is the JEPD theory? < https://www.gotquestions.org/JEDP-theory.html >, accessed 4/24/2018. Image: Malmesbury Bible, Public Domain.
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