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Who Authored Genesis if in The Beginning There Was Nothing?

Who authored Genesis if in the beginning there was nothing?

No, it wasn’t Moses.

Mortal men authored Genesis, and long, long after there was nothing.

 They wrote it about 13.82 billion years after all that nothing became a lot of something.  Our universe had long before The Book of Genesisthem come into existence, as had our Milky Way,  and  about 4.6 billions years ago, our solar system. Then between 5 and 7 million years ago a distant ancestor separated from other apes and started our human lineage.

Long after that, about 2700 years ago, the authors of Genesis put together it’s “first draft”. Who were they?

Up until the 1970’s these authors were believed by scholars to come from four different sources. That number has now been effectively narrowed down to two. 

Over the last few decades scholarly opinion has evolved further on the primary source of the material that became the Book of Genesis. That source is known as  [newsletter_lock] the Yahwist.  

The Yahwist gathered the Genesis stories from others. He borrowed some Greek beliefs and rewrote a Mesopotamian fable, “The Epic of Gilgamesh”- to create the story of Noah. Don’t believe it? Look it up – it’s older than the Noah story and while not the earliest flood story it is basically the source of the Noah story.  

All of the Genesis bits and pieces were later assembled by a different group known as “the Priestly source” about the 5th century BCE.

Though Genesis comes first in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible and in the Old Testament, it is not the oldest written book in the Old Testament. Some books in The Pentateuch- the first five books in the Old Testament were composed before it. 

Genesis is a retrospective – a look back at what it’s authors provided as an explanation intended for illiterate, uneducated, primitive people to explain their world.

For those so inclined a scholarly overview on Genesis, taught by Professor Gary Rendsburg, PhD from Rutgers University is available for home study. You can learn about it here.

How did Genesis and the  Old Testament end up in the new Bible?

People living during the time Christianity was being formed tended to reject new religions. To be credible a religion needed to be old and well founded in tradition.

To lend age and credibility to the new Christianity, the teachings and later the writings of the Hebrew Bible were incorporated into it by reference.

If upon reading this you do not like that assessment, the story of that integration is on the net and in scholarly works to learn and verify. 

I recommend: Bart Ehrman, “The New Testament: A Historical Introduction”

So what do you think about the early biblical authors? 


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