It’s easy to think of the Bible as one long book, but the truth is that it’s more of an entire library, representing subjects ranging from history to poetry to law.
But who are the real people who contributed to the authorship of the Bible? As is sometimes the case, historical scholarship and religious teachings do not always coincide precisely, and this is true of the question of who wrote the Bible.
Centuries of scholarship investigated and explored this topic, and there is still some debate about it today. For some Christians and some conservative Jews, the question of who wrote the first five books of the Bible is simple and straightforward: Moses.
Who wrote the Bible?
According to them, he is behind the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which together are known as the “Pentateuch.”
“God set before you today his laws of life, good and death.” But, in the 18th and 19th centuries, German researchers began to critically analyze the texts and discovered that they could not have been written by the same man.
There were differences in style and language, for example, and different accounts of the same event told differently. In a nutshell, the texts were collected by different editors and writers over the years; men whose names are lost. It was these writings that were eventually brought together and compiled into the Pentateuch.
After the Pentateuch, the next important section of the Old Testament is its 12 history books, beginning with Joshua and ending with Esther.
These works span centuries, beginning with God’s relationship with his people after their return from captivity in Egypt. Then, you go through the height of Israel’s strength as a regional power, followed by its decline and the eventual captivity of the Israelites.
Four of the main books in this section are Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. Which for centuries were believed to be written by Joshua and Samuel. But their language has similarities to that of Deuteronomy, so some Bible scholars think they were written by the same person.
It is likely that they were compiled by Jewish priests who served during the captivity of the Israelites in Babylon in the middle of the 5th century BC.
The historical section of the Old Testament is followed by another: the Prophets. Which are sometimes divided into major and minor. Although tradition and some teachings hold that they were written by the men whose names they bear, history provided a less direct explanation.
For example, consider the prophet Isaiah, whose name is counted among the major prophets. The first part of his book could have been written by himself.
But the second part represents a marked change of tone, and may have been compiled by later editors. The third part has linguistic similarities to Deuteronomy, and could have been written by the author of that text. In the case of the prophet Jeremiah, the attribution of authorship is even more complicated.
It could be Jeremiah himself; it could be Aman he mentions as his scribe, or it could be one of the authors of the Pentateuch.
“What’s your name?”
While the Old Testament period of hundreds of years, with authorship traditionally attributed to more than a dozen men. The New Testament is seemingly simpler. It only spans about a century, and its authorship was historically and dogmatically attributed to only a handful of writers.
Tradition claims that the Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These were contemporaries of Jesus who lived and ministered alongside him, from the year 4 B.C. until AD 30about. But this is probably false.
The Gospels were written in the year 70 of our era, four decades after the death of Jesus. In his book Jesus, Interrupted, biblical scholar Bart Ehrman asserts that the Gospels were compiled from oral tradition.
It also suggests that the editors who compiled them appended the names of Jesus’ disciples to inform readers of the presumed authority behind each gospel.
The apostle Paul
One of the most important figures in the New Testament is the apostle, Paul. This Jewish teacher converted to Christianity traditionally wrote 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament. All of them letters to various churches in the Mediterranean region.
The narration of these works provides much of the basis for Christian doctrine and practice. But did Paul write the epistles, as tradition and dogma hold?
Well more or less. It is probable that he wrote seven of them, and that the remaining six were assigned his name by later editors. Who probably wanted to authenticate their writings by attaching Paul’s name to them. The “Pauline epistles” believed to have been written by him are Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon.
In addition to the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles, there are three other sections of the New Testament:
History, General Epistles, and Prophecy. “History” here refers to the book of Acts, which describes the activities of Jesus’ disciples in the decades after his death.
The author of this section claims to be Luke. The same man as the alleged author of the Gospel that bears his name.
The term “General Epistles” refers to the epistles not written by Paul. You can read too Significant drop in Americans who identify as Christian.