Despite all these proposals we have set out, the best and the most critically founded is to consider the Pentateuch in its present shape, the one we find in our Bibles. The Pentateuch consists of five parts: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy. This solution is based on several elements.
The division between Deuteronomy and Joshua is very clear and sharp. Deuteronomy 34 is talking about the death of Moses, while Joshua 1:1 says: “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord …”. Therefore there is a clear watershed in the history of Moses and that of Joshua.
After all, Moses is the key figure of the entire Pentateuch, the constant point of reference. Although not physically written by him, the Pentateuch derives all his authority from Moses. In this sense, as long as there is Moses there isn’t the Torah (i.e. the Pentateuch). Torah, in fact, becomes the reference point of the books following the Pentateuch. In other words, Torah could be called the “prophetic successor” of Moses (cf. Dt 34:10). In the Pentateuch, in fact, we find the promises that will be realized in the course of the history of Israel that begins at Joshua 1:1.
So we have establishes the unity of the Pentateuch, it is a collection from Genesis to Deuteronomy. Now there is another question: What are the stages of its composition? Here begins a long history of study and research, starting from the sixteenth century … (to be continued)
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