How Many Books Of The Bible Did Moses Write

The debate about how many books of the Bible were written by Moses has puzzled biblical scholars for centuries. The traditional answer was that Moses wrote the five books of the Torah, or Pentateuch, as modern scholars refer to them; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. However, many modern theologians challenge this answer, believing that an anonymous ‘J’, ‘E’ and ‘P’ redacted and edited these texts, which are now collectively known as the Jehovah Document (J), the Elohim Document (E), and the Priestly Document (P). Thus, the debate about how many Books of the Bible were written by Moses and not by others involves the texts of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, collectively known as the so-called ‘JEDP’ texts.

The traditional belief of many biblical scholars is that Moses wrote the entire five writings of the Torah. This view is seen in the twelfth century rabbi, Maimonides, who stated “all five books which were given to Moses were written by Moses.” This opinion has been upheld by many prominent scholars throughout history and has been echoed in many rabbinic sources, including the Babylonian Talmud, and other ancient Midrashim, which all held this view.

However, the answer to the original question of how many books of the Bible did Moses write becomes more complicated due to the development of the documentary hypothesis. The documentary hypothesis is the proposition that the five books of the Pentatuch have been authored by multiple authors of which the first four books are attributed to the ‘JEDP’ authors. Proponents of the documentary hypothesis suggest that they have identified distinctive patterns in the wording within the five books of the Bible, which imply multiple authors. Additionally, the style within the texts vary considerably which is a further indication of multiple authors. This hypothesis suggests that Moses was the author of only parts of the Torah, such as parts of the books in Genesis and Deuteronomy.

For many traditionalists, the idea of multiple authors naturally goes against their belief in Biblical inerrancy and thus, is considered heresy. This is due to the fact that if Moses did not author the ‘JEDP’ texts, then the notion that Moses wrote the five books of the Bible is discredited. Thus, the debate over the authorship of the Pentatuch remains ongoing and highly controversial.

Within the scholarly community, there is still some dispute as to how many books of the Bible Moses actually wrote. Some contend that the author of the ‘JEDP’ texts could still have been Moses, while others argue that the changes in style between the different books imply authorship by other individuals. In addition, most traditionalists firmly stand by the belief that Moses wrote all five books. This view is supported by the majority of scholars who consider Moses to be the original author.

views on the Oral Tradition

The source of the authorship debate comes from the belief that parts of the Bible were passed down orally for centuries before being written. This is known as the Oral Tradition and is based upon the teachings of rabbinic scholars of the ancient near-east. These oral teachings are thought to have been passed down from generation to generation before being eventually written down. Supporters of the Oral Tradition see Moses as a scribe or redactor of the texts rather than the original author. This view is held by modern biblical scholars who view the Oral Tradition as a credible source of evidence. The implications of this view are that the authors of the ‘JEDP’ texts could have been a number of individuals, not just Moses. It is important to note, however, that this view is largely rejected by traditionalists.

In conclusion, the answer to the question of how many books of the bible did Moses write depends on who you ask. Traditionalists firmly believe that he wrote all five books of the Torah, while modern theologians posit that he may have only written parts of the books. There is also substantial evidence that suggests that the ‘JEDP’ texts were written by an anonymous author or collection of authors, not just by Moses. In the absence of clear historical evidence, the authorship debate over the Pentatuch will continue and open to a variety of interpretations.

Other Historical Evidence

Aside from the debate about the authorship of the Pentatuch, there are other historical, archaeological, and literary sources which point to Moses being the author of these five books. For example, some argue that the presence of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments in Exodus, is proof that Moses authored that book. Additionally, several passages within Moses’ life story, such as the burning of his holy scriptures, are found in the book of Deuteronomy and thus, indicate that Moses wrote this book as well. Furthermore, the writers of the New Testament allude to the idea that Moses was the author of the Pentatuch and this is referenced numerous times in various New Testament passages.

Thus, even if the documentary hypothesis is correct, and the authors of the ‘JEDP’ documents were anonymous, these passages still point to Moses as the likely author of the Pentatuch. Furthermore, several Jewish writers and rabbis who lived in the period just before and after the time of Jesus, such as Philo of Alexandria, Josephus and several writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls, maintained the belief that Moses was the author of the five Books of the Bible.

This then begs the question: why is there such a disagreement over this question of authorship? One explanation could be the lack of clear historical evidence. As the biblical texts were written centuries after the time of Moses, there is no definitive evidence to support either side of the debate. While there are other sources, such as the Oral Tradition and the writings of ancient Jews, these are still open to interpretation and can be used to support both sides of the debate. This explains why the debate on authorship is still ongoing.

The Authorship of the rest of the Bible

The authors of the rest of the Bible are much more certain than the authors of the Pentatuch. Although much of the Bible is anonymous, it is believed that several books were written by various individuals or groups. The book of Job is traditionally attributed to Moses, although this is not certain. David is also traditionally attributed to many of the Psalms, while Daniel was likely written towards the end of the 6th century BC by Daniel himself. Ezra, Nehemiah, Hosea, Isaiah, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah were all written by the prophets of the same names, while other books, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, were written by disciples of the original authors.

In addition to the books of the Bible that are traditionally attributed to certain authors, there are some books which are attributed to anonymous authors. These books include Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations. While the authors of these books remain unknown, it is generally accepted that they were written during the period of the southern kingdom of Israel, between 900 and 600 BCE.

The Spread of the Bible

The spread of the Bible is usually attributed to the work of missionaries who travelled across regions to spread the word of the Bible. Additionally, many of the texts were translated into different languages and made available to different cultures. The spread of the Bible is also attributed to the translation of the Latin Vulgate, the translation of the Latin Vulgate into the Greek Septuagint, and the translation of the Latin Vulgate into the vernacular languages. The spread of the Bible has been facilitated by the invention of printing technology in the fifteenth century and the emergence of the internet in the twentieth century.

It is important to remember that the Bible was not just spread by missionaries. It was also spread through the efforts of individuals who shared the stories and teachings that are found in the Bible. In addition, many books of the Bible have become part of popular culture and have been adapted into films, television shows, and music. This has allowed the stories and teachings of the Bible to reach a wider audience, and to continue to be shared and spread throughout the world.

Other Facts about the Bible

Apart from the authorship of the books, there are various other facts about the Bible which are interesting and important. One such fact is the age of the Bible. It is believed that the earliest manuscripts of the Bible date back to the third century BC, making it one of the oldest texts still in use today. Furthermore, the Bible is composed of 66 books and is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is made up of 39 books, while the New Testament consists of 27 books. Another interesting fact is that the Bible is made up of 1,189 chapters and 31,102 verses, with the shortest verse being three words and the longest verse consisting of 58 words.

Finally, it is estimated that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time and that over 5 billion copies have been sold. This is an incredible figure, especially considering the age of the Bible. The Bible has been translated into almost every language in the world, and this has allowed it to reach audiences around the world. In addition, modern technology has allowed Christians and non-Christians alike to access the Bible on a range of different devices, making it even more accessible to all.

The Impact of the Bible

The impact of the Bible on religion, culture, and history is undeniable. The Bible has shaped the beliefs, values, and world-views of millions of people. Many of the moral and ethical codes that are followed today can be traced back to the teachings of the Bible. Furthermore, the influence of the Bible has been seen in a range of cultural phenomena such as literature, art, music, and film. In addition, many of the ideas, concepts, and words that we use today can be traced back to the Bible. In short, the Bible has been one of the most influential books in the history of mankind.

The impact of the Bible is also seen in the fact that it is one of the most studied texts in the world. Scholars from all different disciplines, from linguistics to philosophy, have studied and analysed the texts of the Bible. For millennia, people have sought to understand the meaning of the Bible and its relevance in the modern world. To this day, the Bible continues to be studied and discussed by millions of people around the world.


In conclusion, it is clear that the Bible has had a profound and lasting impact on history, culture, and society. The debate over the authorship of the Pentatuch still rages, with scholars disagreeing over whether Moses wrote the five books or not. Whatever the answer, it is undeniable that the Bible has been an integral component of human history, and it is likely to continue to have a great impact for years to come.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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