The Torah contains the five books of the Old Testament called Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and is an important collection that created a path for religions such as Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism and many other religions. The Torah, which was though to have been written by Moses, contains multiple inconsistencies that led scholars to believe that the Torah was written by multiple people. Based on the different styles and repetition, blatant contradictions and varied language, the Torah was not only written by different people at different time periods, but shows a clear confusion of the exact ideology of the Old Testament. In the Book of Genesis there are many doublets that lead scholars to believe that the Torah was written by multiple authors with different motives. The Book of Genesis permeates with contradictions and repetition, most notably in the creation story where two accounts of creation contrast considerably.
The first account of creation in Genesis 1:1-1 explains that “the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters,” leading to the belief that earth’s cosmic beginning is watery.This initial belief is then challenged in Genesis 1:2-4 where it is stated that “no plant of the field was yet on earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up- for God had not caused it to rain upon the earth.” From these two contrasting ideas of earths origins, it is clear that there are multiple sources with vastly different ideas writing the beginning one beginning full of water, and one a dry void. A conclusion that can also be drawn is that the authors came from different times, one where life was smoother and allowed for a God who saw water and created life around it, and another time where men had to pillage the ground for food and pray to God for water. The ideology is an aspect in the Torah, specifically Genesis and Deuteronomy, that consistently contradicts itself, especially the nature of God. In Genesis, God is shown to walk around and interact with the environment as a positive figure rather that an Almighty being that punishes for a tiny infraction. This is greatly challenged in Deuteronomy as God in this book considers any act that is not in his name, a sin worth being punished. In Genesis, when God creates Adam, he shows a meaningful relationship with the man, more so than that of any animals or the environment.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
Throughout God’s relationship with Adam he speaks to Adam directly and gives him the power to name all the beasts and animals on the Earth and is also told to reproduce and continue his lineage. God also reveals a human attachment to by transforming into an animal to speak with him. The description of God walking in the garden is found in Genesis 3:8 “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God.” This physical description of God walking further qualifies how personable he is in Genesis.
While he is a figure of power and has direct control, he does not exert his power in an almighty and ruthless way such as in Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy 24:16, God instructs that: “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin” while this rule seems to have a sense of justice, God, four chapters later, directly violates his own decree and and states if you don’t follow God’s law, He will ensure that somebody will rape your woman (Deut. 28:30) and kidnap your children (Deut. 28:32).
God gives no leeway for children of heretics and condemns them to a fate that was supposed to be protected by his former ruling. This direct contrast to his character leads to the belief that Gods power was written about with two very different Ideas on how to interact with God. In the “J” source, God has very human like interactions much like the Mesopotamians who believed that they could interact with God on a very personal level. This is unlike the “D” source which was developed later at about 600 BC. where God is almighty and punishing. These time changes would have been most influential as to the changing ideas of Judaism and the move from Mesopotamian appropriation to a more customized religion. In conclusion, based on the inconsistencies and blatant repetition of stories, it is clear that the Torah was written by multiple authors at different times.
The lack of uniformity shows that the religion was changing throughout time as people began to understand the role that God had in their lives. From appropriation of Mesopotamian culture to a more tailored institution, the Torah provided a gateway for religions that continue to effect our society today.