Torah Authorship
Rabbi Reuven Mann
Question:Dear Mesora, Could you give some arguments against the opinion of some scientists, that the Torah wasn't written at once (I mean the Pentateuch) by G-D through Moshe, but later in the times of Nehemiah and Ezra ? And can you give me also some arguments to support the opinion, that the Torah was completely written by G-D through Moshe in the times, when Moshe was still alive?


Response: The question is: did the Torah exist in the time of Ezra or not. Were the Jews aware of it's existence or not? If it was created (by whoever wrote it) at the time of Ezra then the question arises: How was he able to convince the people at that time to accept as their authentic history a book containing a story which was totally foreign to them. Moreover, even if they accepted Ezra as a valid historian (in spite of the fact that his history had no basis in their own experience) still the book they were being asked to accept stated that it was the work of Moses who received it from G-d. How can you convince a people to accept a completely fabricated account of their history and a very demanding religion which comes attached to that history, all on the basis that it comes from G-d, when their own knowledge of their history is completely at odds with the account in the book? You must conclude that the people who accepted the Book did so because it corresponded to the own experience. Hence you must conclude that the people to whom the book was given knew their history that they were slaves in Egypt, that Moses performed miracles and led them out and everything else contained in the Torah.

The same argument leads to the conclusion that Moses wrote the Torah, for if he did not, then you have to assume that the Jews were somehow duped in believing a fabricated account of the authorship of their most important book. Do we have to prove that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet? We accept it because the people to whom it was given had no reason to doubt it and we dont assume conspiracies. The burden of proof in such a case is on the position which wants to assert something which is contrary to all the rules of ordinary reason and common sense. We believe that the source of the Torah is G-d because of the
proofs of Torah MiSinai. The degree of prophecy which Moses attained and on the basis of which he received the Torah, is referred to in the Torah (in the story of the lashon hara of Miriam). The belief that every word came from G-d is generally made clear by Moses in the Torah. It is spelled out specifically and rendered into a basic article of faith in the oral law.
Rabbi Reuven Mann

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