16 August, 2006

Who Wrote Deuteronomy?

Dear Bro. John:
Who wrote the book of Deuteronomy? Moses or someone else? Chapter 34 mentions his death. I'm confused.

Dear Larry:
Thanks for your question. The book of Deuteronomy credits Moses with the authorship of its contents. "These are the words which Moses spake unto all Israel" (1:1). "And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished." (31:2426). Jesus attributes the Law whiich is, the first five books of the Old Testament, including Deuteronomy, to Moses. "For if ye believed Moses, ye would believe me; for he wrote of me (See Deut. 18:15-18). But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (John 5:46-47). For some 3500 years, the Hebrews and later Christians, have taken these words of authorship at face value and attributed Deuteronomy to Moses.

Chapter 34 records the death of Moses. This he could not have personally written. No one was with him on Mt. Pisgah to bring back the report. Obviously some other inspired hand provided this last chapter. Since 34: 9 says that "Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him..." most conservative Bible scholars assume that Joshua was inspired to write the closing event of his life.

You are probably aware that all liberal scholars, both Catholic and Protestant deny the authorship of Moses. Among their reasons is that Moses could not have written chapter 34. They approach the book with a skeptical presupposition and do not believe what the Scripture clearly says as to the authorship. As for me, The Bible says it (Deut. 31:24). I believe it. That settles it for me.

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