The current scholarly consensus on the dates of writing of Exodus to Deuteronomy is between 538BC and 330BC1 – i.e., from the return from captivity in Babylon to the time of Alexander the Great. However, the scholarly consensus changes. In the 19th century and the first half of the 20th it was widely believed that the first five books of the Bible were composed from four documents written between the reign of Solomon and the time of Ezra. That consensus has now collapsed due to the work of revisionist scholars who date some documents later and question the existence of others.2
Modern writers (19th century to the present day) on Old Testament subjects generally do not believe that the book of the Law was written by Moses. This invalidates a number of OT references to “The Book of the Law of Moses”. But what does the Bible say about when the books of Exodus – Deuteronomy were written – and how do those Biblical statements impact on our belief in Jesus Christ and the words of his apostles?
Did Moses Write “The Book Of The Law”?
The clear testimony of Scripture is that Moses did write. In the Old Testament, from Ex.17v14 to Dan.9v13 there are at least 24 references to God telling Moses to write, to Moses writing, to things which were written in “the book of Moses” or “the book of the law of Moses, to people reading “the book of Moses, etc.3
In the New Testament there are at least 9 such references4, including:
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me”.Jn.5v45-46
The issue that has to be faced is this: If Moses did not write “The Book of the Law” then God himself, the writers of at least six other books of the Old Testament, God’s Son Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul are lying to us! Do we believe men who, on flimsy evidence say that Moses did not write the law, or the God of heaven who says that Moses did write? If we take the former view, we have no basis of faith in the Bible.
1 See the article “Dating the Bible” – Wikipedia.
2 The time has long passed for scholars of every theological persuasion to recognize that the Graf-Wellhausen theory, as a starting point for continued research, is dead. The Documentary Hypothesis and the argumenta that support it have been effectively demolished by scholars from many different theological perspectives and areas of expertise. (www.biblearchaeology.org “The Documentary Hypothesis”).
3 Ex.17v14, 24v4, 34v27, Num.33v2, Dt.31v9/22/24/25-26, Josh.8v31/32, 23v6, 2 Ki.14v6, 2 chron.25v4, 34v14, 35v12, Ezra 3v2, 6v18, Neh.8v1/14, 13v1, Dan.9v11/13.
4 Mk.12v19/26,Lk.20v28, 24v44, Jn.1v45, 5v45-46, Acts 15v21, 1 Cor.9v9, 2 Cor.3v15.