Peter Enns has written a short essay providing a “descriptive historical survey” on the evolution of the Pentateuch titled “When was Genesis Written and Why Does It Matter?”. You can access it from the BioLogos website here. The thesis is as follows:
“The Pentateuch as we know it was not authored out of whole cloth by a second millennium Moses, but is the end product of a complex literary process—written, oral, or both—that did not come to a close until sometimes after the return from exile.”
Enns makes some good observations (nothing radically new, hence a “historical survey”). I think it is a worthwhile read and I’d be interested to hear the opinion of any student of the Old Testament who has read it.
Gave it a brief read. I have a Th.M. in OT, and working on a Ph.D. currently. I think this essay is a pretty good summary of scholarship on the Pentateuch (in short form – a longer one is Nicholson’s Pentateuch in the 20th century). When he contends that it was written to describe who they were and who their God was, and where they came from (p10 bottom) – it sounds an awful lot like Deut 26 “my father was a wandering aramean…” which I think helps prove his point.
Thanks for the input Justin.
This, I believe, is similar to what someone like Walter Brueggemann would argue. A bit different from the J,E,P,D sources and definitely wanting to maintain the reality of the God-breathed nature of the Pentateuch.
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