Monday, November 4, 2013

The Book of Genesis Unveiled. By Michael Sherlock

The Five Books of “Moses”

Genesis is the first book of the Bible and is subsequently, the first book of ‘Pentateuch’ or ‘Torah’ or “The Five Books of Moses.”  According to both Christian and Jewish tradition, Moses wrote the first five books of what Christians refer to as the Old Testament.  Those books are Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  There are a number of serious problems with the belief in the mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.  First and foremost, nowhere in these books does it say that Moses was the author.  Further, Moses never mentioned the account of creation written in Genesis one, nor did Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, and Nahum, for that matter.  One would expect these prophets to have at least mentioned the most significant event and work of their creator.  Their silence on this issue implies that they did not know of it, which in turn raises the possibility that the accounts of creation located in Genesis were composed after any of these characters were written about.  The first prophet to refer to the Pentateuch was Jeremiah, who said:

How can you say, “We are wise, and the Torah of the Lord is with us,” when, in fact, the false pen of scribes has made it into a lie?                                                                                                                                             ~Jeremiah 8:8

What Jeremiah was saying is that the entire Torah, the ‘First Five Books of the Bible,’ had been corrupted by lying scribes.  Thus, according to Judeo-Christianity’s very own prophet Jeremiah, the scriptures upon which these two religions have built their foundations are untrustworthy. 

One would be forgiven for asking how Moses was able to give an account of the creation of the universe, Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden and the Flood, when all of these incidents occurred before he was born.  One may wish to appeal to the idea that historians also write about things in the past, yet, if you read the account of creation, for example, events are recorded that no human witness was privy to.  We are being asked to believe quite a lot here.  But Christians and Jews say that Yahweh revealed all these things to Moses, yet nowhere in the Bible does it say that he (Yahweh) told Moses any of this.

Writing in the early twentieth century, the brilliant lawyer and independent religious scholar, Joseph Wheless, addressed the absurdity of Moses writing about events which occurred well before and after his time, saying:

According to the Bible chronology, Moses lived some 1500 years before Christ; the date of his Exodus out of Egypt with the Israelites is laid down as the year 1491 Before Christ, or some 2500 years after the Biblical creation of the world.' So, if Moses wrote the account of the creation, the fall of man, the flood, and other notable historical events recorded in Genesis, he wrote of things happening, if ever they happened, 2500 years more or less before his earthly time, and some of them before even man was created on earth; things which Moses of course could not personally have known….But the Book of Genesis, and all the "five Books of Moses," contain many matters of "revealed" fact which occurred, if ever at all, many hundreds of years after the death of Moses. Moses is not technically "numbered among the Prophets," and he does not claim for himself to have been inspired both backwards and forwards, so as to write both past history and future history. It is evident therefore by every internal and human criterion, that these "five Books of Moses," containing not only the past events referred to, but many future events narrated not in form of prophecy of what would be, but as actual occurrences and “faits accomplis” (established fact) could not have been written by Moses…(1)

We are expected to simply believe that Moses wrote these five books.  Further, within the first five books, events are described during the life of Moses that he could not have been privy to, as they occurred outside of his geographic and conscious proximity.  In other words, he wasn’t there to have witnessed and recorded events that happened in other countries, whilst he was in Egypt.  Again the Jews and Christians say he was made privy to these events by their God, Yahweh, but we should expect to be furnished with some evidence concerning this extraordinary proposition, for in the words of Carl Sagan, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” yet, we are told by these faith-peddlers that it is not our right to ask for it. 

As further testimony against the proposition that Moses wrote these books, he is written about in the third person past tense (“Moses was”), as opposed to the first person present tense (“I am”) or even first person past tense (“I was”).   One example of this which seems to demonstrate that the account was written as a reflection from an author looking back, comes from the book of Exodus in which the anonymous author says:

Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt.
                                                                                                                                                      ~Exodus 11:3

The most perplexing issue of all is how Moses wrote concerning events that occurred after his death.  Tradition dictates that Moses wrote the following words with his own post-mortem hand: 

And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.
 And there arose not a prophet SINCE in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face…
                                                    ~Deuteronomy 7-10

As you may have guessed, Jews and Christians have an apology for this illogicality.  Their argument boils down to a single word, “oops.”  That portion of Deuteronomy wasn’t supposed to be in that book, but later redactors accidently placed it there, instead of where it truly belongs, which is in the next book, the book of Joshua.  Notwithstanding this unsubstantiated apology, one which bodes against the notion of omniscient construction, we must consider the probability that if Moses was indeed an historical figure, he did not write regarding events that occurred before and after his existence and on those things outside of his proximity, or any human’s for that matter.  To believe otherwise is to offend our most sacred cognitive institution, reason. 

Addressing the claim that Moses wrote the first five books of the Tanakh, Judge Parish. B. Ladd commented:

In some of the minor details there is quite a diversity of opinion, some maintaining that the five books were written in whole and taken from tradition at the Babylonian captivity; while others assert that Moses and the early Hebrews left the substance of these books in different manuscripts; and still others assert that they were made up partly from fragmentary writings and traditions. But all of these authors agree that at least the first four books of the Pentateuch, and probably the fifth, in their present form, were first made known and published in the world by Ezra and Nehemiah, about 445 B.C, nearly 1,000 years after Moses.(2)

Finally, biblical scholar and professor of Jewish studies at the University Georgia, Richard Elliot Friedman, enunciated the problem with believing in the Mosaic authorship of the Torah, saying:

…early Jewish and Christian tradition held that Moses himself wrote them (Pentateuch), though nowhere in the Five Books of Moses themselves does the text say that he was the author.  But the tradition that one person, Moses, alone wrote these books presented problems. People observed contradictions in the text. It would report events in a particular order, and later it would say that those same events happened in a different order. It would say that there were two of something, and elsewhere it would say that there were fourteen of that same thing. It would say that the Moabites did something, and later it would say that it was the Midianites who did it. It would describe Moses as going to a Tabernacle in a chapter before Moses builds the Tabernacle.
People also noticed that the Five Books of Moses included things that Moses could not have known or was not likely to have said. The text, after all, gave an account of Moses' death. It also said that Moses was the humblest man on earth; and normally one would not expect the humblest man on earth to point out that he is the humblest man on earth. (3)

Re-dating the Book of Genesis

As mentioned, Christian tradition dates the composition of the book of Genesis somewhere between 1500-1200 BCE, at around the time of the Israelite’s alleged exodus from Egypt.(4)  This tradition has now been proven to be nothing less than erroneous and unsubstantiated belief.  According to the overwhelming amount of archaeological, textual and extra-biblical evidence, the book of Genesis was probably written or finally redacted in large part, sometime during the sixth to the fifth centuries BCE, either during or after the Israelites were exiled in Babylon, also known as the exilic and post-exilic periods.  At this point the reader may be wondering why this fact is significant.  It is important because the Chaldeans, Sumerians and Babylonians, all had near identical myths from the creation of heaven and earth, the Fall of Man, the Great Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Ten Commandments and even a Garden of Eden.  All of these ancient Babylonian myths pre-date the Hebrew Scriptures by at least a thousand years or more. 

There have been a number of recent discoveries made in the fields of philology, archaeology, history and textual criticism that have led scholars to re-date the book of Genesis to the exilic and even post-exilic periods.  The following are just a few of those discoveries.

The Hebrew Language

The first and foremost reason for considering a much later date for the composition for the book of Genesis than is held by the Judeo-Christian tradition, is the fact that the Hebrew language was not yet in existence during the period in which the book was allegedly written (second millennium BCE).  There are two major forms of Hebrew script, the ‘Ketav Ivri’, which is derived from the Phoenician (ancient Lebanese) language and the ‘Ketav Ashuri’, rooted in the Acadian or Babylonian language.  Neither Hebraic Scripts originate with the actual Hebrews themselves; they are borrowed languages from people who worshiped other gods.  This begs the question; in what language would Yahweh have spoken to the Hebrews, if the language of Hebrew itself did not exist at the time he allegedly spoke to them?  And why did the “one true God” fail to directly bestow a language upon his chosen people, leaving them to plunder the languages of much more advanced civilizations, which the Hebrew Scriptures themselves, tells us he despised?  Whether the original manuscripts of Genesis were penned in the Babylonian Hebrew or the Phoenician Hebrew, one thing is almost certain and that is, the earliest possible date that the Hebrew book of Genesis could have been written is no earlier than 1000 B.C.E.

With regards to the late development of the Hebrew language the ‘Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages’ relates that:

No extant inscription that can be identified specifically as Hebrew antedates the tenth century BC, and Hebrew inscriptions in significant numbers do not begin to appear before the early eighth century BC.(5)

The Philistines and the City of Gerar

Another piece of evidence indicating that the book of Genesis, as it has come down to us today, could not have been written any earlier than around the eighth century BCE, relates to the mention of the Philistines and the Philistine city of Gerar.  Based on the archaeological evidence, the Philistines did not arrive in Canaan until around 1200BCE.  What’s more, the Philistine city Gerar, mentioned at Genesis 26:1, did not become a city until sometime between the eighth and seventh centuries BCE, which pushes back the composition or alteration of the book of Genesis to sometime between the eighth and seventh centuries BCE, around 800 years later than the traditionally accepted date of its authorship. 

In their book, The Bible Unearthed, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University in Israel, Prof. Israel Finkelstein and historian Neil Asher Silberman, discuss this piece of evidence in the following words:

Then there is the issue of the Philistines.  We hear of them in connection with Isaac’s encounter with “Abimelech, king of the Philistines,” at the city of Gerar (Genesis 26:1).  The Philistines, a group of migrants from the Aegean or eastern Mediterranean, had not established their settlements along the coastal plain of Canaan until sometime after 1200BCE.  Their cities prospered in the eleventh and tenth centuries and continued to dominate the area well into the Assyrian period.  The mention of Gerar as a Philistine city in the narrative of Isaac and the mention of the city (without the Philistine attribution) in the stories of Abraham (Genesis 20:1) suggest that it had a special importance or at least was widely known at the time of the composition of the patriarchal narratives.  Gerar is today identified with Tel Haror northwest of Beersheba, and excavations there have shown that in the Iron Age-the early phase of Philistine history-it was no more than a small quite insignificant village.  But by the late eighth and seventh century BCE, it had become a strong, heavily fortified Assyrian administrative stronghold in the south, an obvious landmark. (6)


The next reason for questioning the traditional date of Genesis is the presence of camels in the narrative.  This issue is not as cut and dry as some of the other issues that demonstrate the late composition of the book of Genesis, but there is some evidence (in the negative form) to suggest that camels were not domesticated in the middle of the second millennium BCE.  According to Ladaj Saphir an archaeo-zoologist working in the Archaeo-zoology Department of Tel Aviv University in Israel, camels were not domesticated, at least in Egypt, until after 1000BC.  She says:

According to the archaeological evidence, the camel could not have been domesticated as a beast of burden before the first millennium B.C. (7)

You may be wondering why this issue is important. 

In Genesis 12:16 Abraham is rewarded by the Pharaoh of Egypt for giving the Pharaoh his “sister,” who was actually Abraham’s wife/half-sister.  For this gift of prostitution, the Pharaoh rewarded him with sheep, asses, slaves and a camel.  There are numerous other references to camels throughout the book of Genesis, as well (see Gen. 24:10-11, Gen. 29:43, Gen 31:17, Gen. 32:7, 32:15 and Gen. 37:25, for example).

However, camels were not domesticated until after 1000BC and this story is traditionally said to have taken place around 2000BC, that is, toward the end of the third and beginning of the second millennium BCE.  Therefore, the author of Genesis was living in a time when camels were domesticated, which according to both archaeological evidence and the scholarly consensus amongst modern archaeologists, couldn’t have been before the first millennium BCE (1000 B.C.E~1BC).   This pushes both the story of Abraham and the book of Genesis to after 1000BCE, at least.

The ‘Harper Collins Bible Dictionary’ corroborates the above point, whilst disagreeing slightly on the date of the introduction of the Camel to Canaan and Egypt.  It states:

There is however no archaeological corroboration for the camel being known in Palestine or Egypt at the beginning of the second millennium B.C., as the seventeen references to the camel in Genesis might suggest, and those references are therefore considered anachronisms. (8)

Further, volume 2 of The Cambridge Ancient History,’ states:

The attribution to Abraham (Gen. xii. 16; xxiv. 10) and Jacob (Gen. xxx. 43;xxxii) of camels as transport and riding animals may be looked upon as an anachronism. At the time assumed for these patriarchs, that is the first half of the second millennium B.C, there seem to have been no domesticated camels in Western Asia and Egypt. (9)

And professor of Archaeology at Boston University, Kathryn A. Bard says:

For most of pharaonic times the donkey was the only beast of burden. Caravans and expeditions along desert routes had to rely on donkeys because the dromedary camel was not introduced into Egypt until late in the 1st millennium bc. (10)

Also, in her book, ‘Encyclopaedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt,’ Professor Bard reaffirms and elaborates upon her previous findings, saying:

The few contested camelid figurines and the few bone finds suggest that dromedaries were known to the ancient Egyptians but not adopted. Later in the first millennium BC, dromedaries and perhaps camels were brought to the Delta and the Nile Valley. (11)

In addition, two Jewish Rabbis, Messod and Roger Sabbah, discuss this point in their bestseller, ‘Secrets of the Exodus: The Egyptian Origins of the Hebrew People’, arguing that the appearance of camels within the narratives found in the Book of Genesis are telltale signs that the book was composed much later than previously believed:   

Biblical researchers believed that the presence of camels in the story of the patriarchs was an error of the scribes. However, the scribes went into great detail, as if they wanted to pass on a message. "He caused the camels to kneel ..." (Genesis 24:11). "Rebecca looked up and alighted from the camel ..." (Genesis24:64). Presenting Biblical characters alighting from camels' backs is an anachronism that the scribes apparently wished to present.
By the sixth century BC, the camel, a symbol of wealth and power, had already been domesticated in Babylonia.
Had they forgotten that camels did not exist in ancient Egypt?
Couldn't they have presented and described Abraham's power and wealth without camels? The camels give a Mesopotamian twist to the story, which would have been pleasing to their captors. (12)

Further, although differing with the above mentioned dates of the introduction of the domestic camel in ancient Egypt, Professor of Egyptology, Rosalie David, supports the findings of both Prof. Bard and the scholars at Cambridge University with regards to the absence of domestic camels prior to 1000 BCE, stating:

The donkey, however, remained the most popular beast of burden in ancient Egypt; the camel is never mentioned or depicted in Egyptian sources until the Greek Period when it was first introduced to the country.(13)

Finally, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University in Israel, Professor Israel Finkelstein says:

First, the stories of the Patriarchs are “packed” with camels: usually herds of camels, but, as in the story of Joseph’s sale by his brothers into slavery, camels are also described as beasts of burden used in caravan trade. We know that camels were not domesticated as beasts of burden earlier than the early first millennium; in other words, they were not widely used in that capacity in the ancient Near East until well after 1000 b.c.e. The account of the camel caravan carrying “gum, balm, and myrrh” in the Joseph story reveals an obvious familiarity with the main products of the lucrative Arabian trade that flourished under Assyrian domination in the eighth to seventh centuries b.c.e.  Indeed, excavations at the site of Tell Jemmeh in the southern coastal plain of Israel—an important trade entrepot on the main caravan route between Arabia and the Mediterranean—revealed a dramatic increase in the number of camel bones in the seventh century. (14)


The book of Genesis describes Abraham’s birthplace as being in Ur in Chaldea, which as mentioned, is more popularly known today as Babylon.  At Genesis 11:28, 31 and 15:7, the Hebrew word ‘Kasdim’ (Eng. Chaldee) is used to describe the ancient region of Babylonia.  The problem with the use of the word ‘Kasdim’ is that it was not used to describe ancient Babylonia until the sixth century BCE, which is known as the Neo-Babylonian Period.  Before this it was known as ‘Sumer,’ yet the account given in Genesis refers to this region as Chaldea.  This fact provides further evidence that the book of Genesis was more than likely written or at least redacted, sometime during or after the sixth century BCE.  According to Messod and Roger Sabbah, the story of Abraham was a sixth century composition constructed to pander to the Jew’s Babylonian captors and masters.  They say:

Although the city of Ur existed in Sumeria, the name "Chaldea" (Chaldees) does not appear until sometime around the sixth century BC. Chaldea has never yielded any archeological proof of the existence of the great patriarch, Abraham.  In order to survive and for their traditions to survive as well, the Yahuds introduced anachronisms into the history of the Patriarchs. They made the story compatible with sixth-century Babylon. They recast a large part of their history at that time, probably under considerable restrictions. The new text of the story had no historical reality at all. (15)

Moreover, the ‘Harper Collins Bible Dictionary’ informs us that:

“In the OT, Ur is mentioned four times (Gen. 11:28, 31; 15:7; Neh. 9:7), in each instance as the home of the patriarch Abraham before his migration to Harran and Canaan, and in each instance the Hebrew phrase “Ur Kasdim” is used. Kasdim here almost certainly indicates the "Chaldeans" (cf. already the Septuagint), which suggests that the phrase as a whole refers to the southern Mesopotamia!! Ur of the period of the Neo-Babylonian/Chaldean Empire.  To be sure, this period is much too late for Abraham…”(16)

Further still, the President of the Biblical Archaeology Society of New York, Gary Greenberg said in his book, 101 Myths of the Bible:

These references to Ur of the Chesdim, Chesed, and Aram obviously stem from a time when:
1. Aramea and Chaldea had come into existence;
2. the Hebrews started to adopt Aramaic terminology;
3. Chaldea had become a major force in Mesopotamia;
4. the collective memory of Chaldean and Aramaic origins had receded into myth; and
5. the Hebrews would use the Aramaic pronunciation rather than the native dialect for the Chaldean name.

This suggests a timeframe well after the Babylonian conquest of Judah and almost certainly into the Persian or Hellenistic period (fifth century B.C. or later.) (17)

It appears that many, if not all of the accounts of Abraham’s birth and travels, were created no earlier than the sixth century BCE, which seems to indicate that the writer(s) was either in Babylon during the exilic period or had already returned to Israel.  Either way, the authors of the Hebrew Scriptures had ample opportunity to copy and re-script the mythologies of the ancient Babylonians to suit their own social and theological needs. 

Kings in Israel 

Genesis 36:31 says;

And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.

The obvious implication of this statement is that at the time the author was writing this passage, there had been numerous kings who had reigned in Israel, as evidenced by the phrase, “any king over the children of Israel.” 

The very first king of Israel was Saul and his reign has been dated from 1020BCE-1000BCE. (18)  Thus, the author must have been writing the account in Genesis following this period.  There may well be good reason to suggest it was long after this period, due to the fact that the author says; “before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.”  Use of the phrase, ‘any king’ implies that he was aware of more than one king.  If only one king had reigned it would have made more sense for the author to name that king or if there were two, to use the phrase ‘either king’ or ‘both kings,’ or use their names, but it seems as if there had been many kings which preceded the account.  This indicator coupled with the textual and archaeological evidence showing that Saul was the first king of Israel in the tenth century BCE, seems to indicate that the account in Genesis was written well after this date. 

Bozrah in Edom    

The next clue to the late composition of the book of Genesis can be found within the reference to an Edomite king by the name of Jobab ruling in place of King Bela, who was reported to have died.  Jobab’s father was Zarah, a king from Bozrah (see Genesis 36:33).
Recently, the ancient city of Bozrah was excavated by archaeologists, who discovered that it came into being no earlier than the eighth century BCE.  

Bennet, the archaeologist responsible for excavating Bozrah, said:

There is no archaeological evidence to support the story of the king of Edom refusing passage to Moses, or for a powerful kingdom of Edom in the time of David and his son Solomon. Biblical traditions such as Genesis 36:31 and Numbers 20:14 probably reflect 8th-6th century BC conditions. The evidence for a very impressive occupation and a city with all the appetencies of prosperity is overwhelming during the Neo-Assyrian period and is supported by the records in the Assyrian annals, and 8th century BC biblical references to Bozrah (especially Amos 1:12). (19)

The ‘Harper Collins Bible Dictionary’ supports this conclusion, stating:

Excavations by Crystal-M. Bennett reveal that it flourished in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. and probably continued into the fourth.  As is the case with other Edomite sites, it does not appear to have existed before the eighth century B.C., which raises serious questions about the historical accuracy of the Edomite king lists in which it is mentioned (Gen. 36:33; 1 Chron. 1:44). (20)

In providing evidence contrary to the alleged conquest of Canaan by Joshua, the Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies discounts the existence of Bozrah prior to the traditional date of Joshua’s alleged conquest, reporting:

Thus the traditional picture of Israel’s ‘conquest’ of Canaan has been dramatically revised as a result of archaeological excavation and survey in the hill country.  The evidence from Canaanite cities, formerly used to support the conquest theory, no longer works; certain cities named in the conquest narratives—Jericho, Ai, Heshbon, and Arad—were not Late Bronze Age cities. The kingdom of Edom, mentioned as an obstacle to Israel’s migration in Num. 20: 1421, did not yet exist, as was shown by the excavations of Bennett at Umm el-Biyarah, TaWleh, and Busayra and the surveys of B. McDonald…(21)

And Finkelstein adds:

But Edom did not exist as a distinct political entity until a relatively late period. From the Assyrian sources we know that Edom emerged as a fully developed state only in the late-eighth century b.c.e. It became a serious rival to Judah only with the beginning of the lucrative Arabian trade under Assyrian domination.  The archaeological evidence is clear: the first large-scale wave of settlement in Edom accompanied by the establishment of significantly large settlements and fortresses may have started in the late-eighth century b.c.e., but reached its peak only in the seventh and early-sixth centuries b.c.e. Before then, the area was sparsely populated. Excavations at Bosrah (Buseirah), the capital of late-Iron II Edom, revealed that it grew to become a large city only in the Assyrian period. (22)

Another clue which seems to suggest that the passage in question was written in the post-exilic period, is that the author, if living within the seventh century would have known that contrary to the account given in Genesis (36:31), there were kings in Israel before there were kings in Edom and not vice versa, as was asserted by the author of Genesis (see Genesis 36:31).  Quite a lot of time would have to elapse before this fact would be forgotten by the people of Israel and the authors of Genesis.  As a result of this historical inaccuracy, it may not be unreasonable to suggest that the book of Genesis as we know it today could have possibly been written as late as, or even later than, the sixth or even fifth centuries BCE.      


Yet another piece of evidence which seems to show that Genesis was written in either the exilic or post-exilic period is the primary reference to Nineveh, listed first and foremost amongst the cities of Babylonia (Gen. 10:11-12).  During the period in which Genesis was traditionally believed to have been written, the capital city of Babylon was Asshur, yet there is no mention of this city, instead we see three major cities listed; Nineveh, Rehoboth and Calah.

Genesis 10:11-12 lists the cities of Babylonia as follows;

…Nineveh and the city Rehoboth and Calah.
And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.

The fact that Nineveh is the first mentioned city is of great importance from a literary point of view.  It seems to indicate that it was the most significant city, probably the capital.  Moreover, in verse twelve it is once again given first place over the city of Calah.  The issue here is that it did not become the capital city until the seventh century BCE.

According to the Harper Collins Bible Dictionary:

Ninevah was the capital of Assyria at its height from the time of Sennacherib, who assumed the throne in 705 B.C. to its fall in 612 B.C. (23)

There is little doubt that the author of this passage in Genesis, saw Nineveh as the chief city of Babylon, leading him to give it pride of place as the first city mentioned and that in so doing betrayed the fact that he belonged to a period later than the sixth century BCE.


The final piece of evidence I will provide to show a late date for the composition of the book of Genesis relates to the mention of a town yet unfamiliar to the fifteenth century BCE inhabitants of the region, a town called Lud or Lydia in English.  In Genesis 10:22 the town of Lud (Lydia) is mentioned, however it was unheard of before the seventh century BCE, according to Ashurbanipal, the king of the Babylonian Empire.  According to Ashurbanipal, Lud was unheard of by his fathers and so it is unlikely that an Israelite author writing in the fifteenth century BCE would have heard of it. (24)  Ashurbanipal was the head of a great empire that had conquered almost all of the surrounding nations, their exploits spanned across many countries and yet his fathers had not heard of this place known as Lud.  What are the chances of an author hearing about this place before the kings of a mighty empire?  However, if the author of Genesis was writing the account after Ashurbanipal’s testimony, then he would have had the opportunity to learn of such a place and include it in his record.  This seems to be the most probable scenario and would place the author sometime after Ashurbanipal’s reign in the seventh century BCE. (25)

In Knight’s comprehensive work entitled ‘Ancient Civilizations’, we read:

Lydia truly emerged as a civilization only under the Mermnad dynasty, established in about 685 B.C. Its founder was named Gyges, a palace guard who, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, murdered the king, Kandaules, married his wife, and usurped the throne. (26)

Finally, with regards to the late composition of the book of Genesis, referring to the ‘Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies’, we are able to establish the probable truth that the book of Genesis was written no earlier than the seventh century BCE:

Attempts to identify Abraham’s family migration with a supposed westward Amorite migration at the collapse of the Early Bronze Age c.21001800 bce, or to explain personal names, marriage customs, or laws of property by reference to fifteenth century Nuzi or Mari documents have failed to convince.  Abraham’s life-style is no longer seen as reflecting Intermediate Early Bronze/Middle Bronze bedouin, or donkey caravaneers trading between Mesopotamia and Egypt, or tent-dwellers living alongside Middle Bronze Age cities in Canaan; rather, with its references to Philistines and Aramaeans, Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites, Ishmael and his descendants Kedar, Nebaioth, and Tema, Assyria and its cities of Nineveh and Calah, camel caravans and spices, Genesis reflects the first millennium world of the Assyrian empire. With its emphasis on the southern centres of Hebron and (Jeru)salem (Gen. 14: 18) and the northern centres of Bethel and Shechem, the Abraham story reveals knowledge of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (cf. Gen. 49: 812, 226), in its present form probably deriving from Judah’s Floruit in the seventh century bce. (27)

To sum up the modern position regarding not only the date of the composition of Genesis, but of the entire Pentateuch, the Professor of theology at the University of Hull, Lester G. Grabbe, says:

It seems likely that the Torah (the Pentateuch or the first Five Books of Moses) was composed late in the Persian period (6th to 4th centuries BCE), but by whom and how it was promulgated is not presently known. (28)

From all of the available evidence of which I have canvassed a small sample, Moses was not the author of the first five books of the bible and the authors of at least majority portions of the book of Genesis, were more than likely living some time during or after the sixth century BCE.  This places them in the exilic or post-exilic period, thus affording them opportunity to copy the myths of their former hosts, the Babylonians.


1.       Joseph Wheless. Is it God’s Word? Alfred A. Knopf. (1926). pp. 29-30
2.       Judge Parish B. Ladd. Commentaries on Hebrew and Christian Mythology. The Truth Seeker Company, (1896). pp. 53-54.
3.       Richard Elliot Friedman. Who Wrote the Bible? Harper-San Francisco. (1997). pp. 17-18.
5.       Roger D. Woodward. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages: The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia. Cambridge University Press. (2008). p. 36.
6.       Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts. Touchstone (2002). pp. 37-38
7.       Thierry Ragobert and Isy Morgenzstern. The Bible Unearthed. TV. Documentary Series. Part 2: The Exodus. (2005).
8.       Paul. J. Achtemeier. Harper-Collins Bible Dictionary Revised Edition. Harper Collins, (1989). p. 165.
9.    I. E. S. Edwards. C. J. Gadd. N. G. L. Hammond E. Sollberger. The Cambridge Ancient History: Vol. 2. Part 1. Cambridge University Press. (1973). p. 24.
10.  Kathryn A. Bard. An Introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Blackwell Publishing (2007). p. 60.
11.  Kathryn A. Bard. Encyclopaedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Routledge (1999). p. 363.
12.   Messod and Roger Sabbah. The secrets of the Exodus: The Egyptian roots of the Hebrew People. Allworth Press (2004) p. 90.
13.  Rosalie David. Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt. Facts on File Inc. (2003). pp. 303-304.
14.   Israel Finkelstein & Amihai Mazar. The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archeology and the History of Early Israel. Brill (2007). p. 46.
15.   Ibid. p. 91.
16.   Paul. J. Achtemeier. Harper-Collins Bible Dictionary Revised Edition. Harper Collins, (1989). p. 1187.
17.   Gary Greenberg. 101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History. Sourcebooks Inc. (2000). p. 116.
18.   Bruce Metzger and Herbert G. May. The New Oxford Annotated Bible With Apocrypha. (1977). p.1548. .
19.   Crystal M. Bennett. "Excavations at Buseirah (Biblical Bozrah)." John F. A. Sawyer & David J. A. Clines, editors. Midian, Moab and Edom; The History and Archaeology of the Late Bronze and Iron Age Jordan and North-west Arabia. 1983. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Supplement 24. Sheffield, England. pp. 16-17.
20.   Paul. J. Achtemeier. Harper-Collins Bible Dictionary Revised Edition. Harper Collins, (1989). p. 153.
21.   J.W. Rogerson. Judith. M. Lieu. The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies. Oxford University Press, (2006). p. 63.
22.   Israel Finkelstein & Amihai Mazar. The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archeology and the History of Early Israel. Brill (2007) pp.47-48.
23.   Paul. J. Achtemeier. Harper-Collins Bible Dictionary Revised Edition. Harper Collins, (1989). p.759.
24.   George Smith. History of Ashurbanipal. Williams and Norgate. (1871). pp. 64, 73.
25.   J.B. Bury, M.A, F.B.A., S.A. Cook, Litt.D., F.E. Adcock, M.A. The Cambridge Ancient History. Vol. 1: Egypt and Babylonia to 1580 B.C. Cambridge University Press. (1928). p. 149.
26.   Judson Knight, Stacy A McConnell & Lawrence W. Baker. Ancient Civilizations Almanac. Vol. 1. A.X.L An Imprint of the Gale Group. (2000). p. 145.
27.  J.W. Rogerson. Judith. M. Lieu. The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies. Oxford University Press, (2006). p. 61.
28.  Lester G. Grabbe. An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel and Jesus. T&T Clark. (2010). p. 4.

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