Old Testament Authors

Authors of Bible – Old Testament

Authors of Bible – Old Testament

Old Testament Authors

Book Author By Tradition Author By Conjecture Conjectural Editor
Genesis Moses (Yahwist + Elohist) + Priest* Ezra*
Exodus Moses (Yahwist + Elohist) + Priest* Ezra*
Levitcus Moses Priest*
Numbers Moses (Yahwist + Elohist) + Priest* Ezra*
Deuteronomy Moses (found by Hilkiah) Deuteronomist [Jeremiah & Baruch]* Ezra (slightly)*
Joshua Joshua Yahwist + Elohist* Jeremiah & Baruch*
Judges Samuel Yahwist + Elohist* Jeremiah & Baruch*
Ruth Samuel ?
1 Samuel Samuel + Gad? + Nathan? Yahwist + Elohist* Jeremiah & Baruch*
2 Samuel Samuel + Gad? + Nathan? Yahwist + Elohist* Jeremiah & Baruch*
1 Kings Jeremiah? Annals of the Kings of Israel & Judah (Ch. 1&2 by Yahwist)* Jeremiah & Baruch*
2 Kings Jeremiah? Annals of the Kings of Israel & Judah* Jeremiah & Baruch*
1 Chronicles Ezra + Nehemiah? Chronicler (Ezra?)*
2 Chronicles Ezra + Nehemiah? Chronicler (Ezra?)*
Ezra Ezra Ezra + Nehemiah
Nehemiah Nehemiah Ezra + Nehemiah
Esther Mordecai? (495-479 B.C.) ? (460-330 B.C.)
Job Moses? various authors
Psalms David+ (compiled by Hezekiah) compiled later Ezra
Proverbs Solomon+ (compiled by Hezekiah) compiled later Ezra
Ecclesiastes Solomon (compiled by Hezekiah) compiled later (250-200 B.C.)
Song of Songs Solomon (compiled by Hezekiah) compiled later (300-400 B.C.)
Isaiah Isaiah Isaiah (Ch. 1-39) + “Second Isaiah” (Ch. 40-66)
Jeremiah Jeremiah & Baruch Jeremiah & Baruch + “Second Jeremiah” (Ch.27b-29a,33b,39,mid49)
Lamentations Jeremiah & Baruch various authors
Ezekiel Ezekiel Ezekiel
Daniel Daniel (580 B.C.) ? (165 B.C.)

*Based on Who Wrote the Bible?, by Richard Elliot Friedman, Prof. of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, San Diego

“Yahwist”, “J” (848-722 B.C.)– author from Judah who wrote the majority of Genesis; refers to God as Yahweh; concentrates on stories of families, deception, sex, and violence; writes of angels, talking animals and prophetic dreams; portrays God in an anthropormorphic way in Genesis; refers to Mt. Sinai as Sinai and Moses’ father-in-law as Reuel; attributes the heresy at Peor to Moabite idolatry (Num. 25:1-5)

“Elohist”, “E” (747-722 B.C.)– author from Israel; refers to God as Elohim; priest of Shiloh: a priesthood that didn’t believe in animal sacrifice, was removed from power by Solomon and Jeroboam, and whose leader Abiathar was exiled by Solomon to the Aaronid city of Anathoth; revered Moses and Samuel and concentrated on the Exodus; unadmiring towards Aaron and the Aaronid priesthood; wrote the story of the bronze snake Nehushtan; refers to Mt. Sinai as Horeb and Moses’ father-in-law as Jethro; writes of Moses bringing water from a rock in Meribah (Ex. 17:6-7)

“Priest”, “P” (722-587 B.C.)– Aaronid priest from Jerusalem, probably from King Hezekiah’s time; refers only to Aaron as a prophet; recognized only Aaronites as priests rather than all Levites; concentrated on the laws of Moses and priestly duties; did not write on sacrifices until Moses; wrote as a reaction against the combined Yahwist-Elohist scripture; considered Jerusalem to be the only legitimate place to make sacrifice; wrote of God speaking to both Moses and Aaron and of the ‘staff of Aaron’ rather than the ‘staff of Moses’; wrote of Moses being punished for lack of faith when he brings water from a rock in Meribah (Num. 20:11-12); attributes the heresy at Peor to the marriage of Midianites in which God grants priesthood to Aaron’s grandson Phineas for killing a Jew/Midianite couple that practiced racial impurity and dared to flaunt it by entering the Tent of Meeting(Num. 25:6-16)

“Deuteronomist”, “D” (621 B.C.)– author of most of the text that is now Deuteronomy; Deuteronomy was believed by the early church fathers, including Jerome, to have been the book of law that was discovered in the temple in 621 BCE under the reign of King Josiah (2 Kings 22); greatly concerned with establishing the centrality of the temple to Jewish worship and with keeping the people on their guard against pagan influences; unadmiring towards Aaron, Solomon and Jeroboam; most scholars believe “D” is also responsible for editing and arranging the “Deuteronomositic History”, from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings; Hebrew scholar Richard Elliott Friedman identifies this author with Jeremiah and the Shiloh community due to focus and linguistic similarities

Isaiah (739-681 B.C.)- prophet during Hezekiah’s reign; preached against idolatry and emphasized repentance of sins instead of sacrifice; predicts the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 2 Kings 20:16-18

Jeremiah (627-587 B.C.)– priest of Shiloh from Anathoth, the city of exile; son of Hilkiah; dictated his writings as his scribe Baruch wrote them; similar to the perception in 2 Kings, Jeremiah revered King Josiah and wrote lamentations for him after the king was killed by Pharaoh Necho; wrote prophecies against Josiah’s son Jehoiakim; wrote that God never commanded sacrifice in Moses’ time (Jer. 7:22-23, 8:7-8); prophecized the destruction of Judah and their exile into Babylon; saved from stoning by Shapan’s son Ahikam; protected by his other son, Gedaliah, the governor appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon after the fall of Judah

“Chronicler” (627-587 B.C.)– Author who wrote Chronicles; Aaronid priest; recognized only Aaronites as priests rather than all Levites; concentrated on the laws of Moses and priestly duties; revered Solomon and King Hezekiah (2 Chr. 30:26); leaves out the sins of Solomon and how he split the kingdom as portrayed in 1 Kings 11; leaves out Isaiah’s prophecy against Hezekiah from 2 Kings 20:12-19 (2 Chr. 32:31); most scholars see Chronicler as copying from and less reliable than the author of 2 books of Kings

Daniel (580 B.C.; 165 B.C.)– The book of Daniel tells of a 6th-century Jewish prophet who becomes a dream reader in the royal court of Babylon, similar to the way Joseph read the dreams of Pharaoh; historical inaccuracies in the text make many scholars believe it was written in the Maccabean era, mistakes such as: the intervention of an unknown Median Empire between the Chaldean and Persian Empires led by a ‘Darius the Mede’ (believed by scholars to have been confused with the Persian king Darius), the book calling King Nebuchadnezzar the father of King Belshazzar (who was neither related nor reigned subsequent to him), a contradiction in the year Nebuchadnezzar beseiged Jerusalem (Dan. 1:1; 2 Kings 23:36), and a prediction that Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria would invade Egypt a second time, conquer it, and then die somewhere between Mediterranean Sea and Jerusalem (Dan. 11:44-45)- none of which happenned- he died in Persia (1 Macc. 6:1-6); scholars date the composition as being written between the last correct ‘prediction’ (167-165 B.C.) and the tyrant’s death (164 B.C.)

Ezra- (550-450 B.C.) Aaronid priest who was given authority by the Persian emperor Artaxerxes to instruct the Jews in Jerusalem on the law (Ezra 7:10-14) Promulgated a creed that included sources from all four of the sources that made up the first five books of Moses (Yahwist, Elohist, Priest, and Deuteronomist), as told in Nehemiah 8; Richard Elliott Friedman conjectures that he interwove the (already combined) Yahwist/Elohist text with the Priestly text and Deuteronomy to produce the Torah.

“Second Isaiah” (546-538 B.C.)– believed to have written Ch. 40-66; these chapters make references to the destruction of Jerusalem but whether it is in past or future tense is uncertain; prophecizes about a suffering servant and the fall of Babylon

Nehemiah (445-433 B.C.)– governor of Judea from 445 to 433 B.C.

“Second Jeremiah” (464 B.C.-70 A.D.)– The Hebrew book of Jeremiah was edited by a Levite from the Second Temple times in order to make it look like Jeremiah accepted Levitical sacrifice as legitimate (Jer.33:17-18); he switched around some of Jeremiah’s chapters as well as added his own; the original version was recorded in both the Greek Septuagint (250 B.C.) and the Dead Sea Scrolls (200 B.C.-68 A.D.), but is unmarked in most Bibles

1 thought on “Authors of Bible – Old Testament

  1. Pingback: Divisions Of The Bible | ricklee's poetry plus

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