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Many scholars agree that Job is the oldest book in The Bible, written around 1500 B.C. Others hold that the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) are the oldest books in the Bible, written between 1446 and 1406 B.C.

While some modern and recent thoughts and suppositions question the traditional authorship of the Pentateuch. However, the New Testament is full of references to the writings of Moses by Jesus himself and the Apostle Paul. For example Jesus said, "And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?" Mark 12:26 (KJV). Therefore, either Jesus and the Apostle Paul were wrong and not smart enough to know who wrote the Pentateuch or the modern teachers who say Moses did not write it are wrong. It is certainly possible that finishing touches were added later by other authors to books such as Deuteronomy but the main author of the entire Pentateuch is Moses according to the Bible itself as well as tradition and Jewish history. It is also notable that the Talmud, a central text in mainstream Judaism, gives credit to Moses for authoring the book of Job. Many if not most traditional scholars believe that Job was most likely written prior to the Pentateuch, but most also acknowledge that this is not a known fact and it could have been written around the same time as the Pentatuech, before or after.

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Traditionally, the five books known to Christians as the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were the first books of the Bible to be written. The traditional view is that Moses was the author of the entire Pentateuch, however there is nothing in the books themselves to support this belief. In fact, Deuteronomy chapter 34 describes the death of Moses.and says that "not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses..." This could not have been written by Moses or even by any author until long after the establishment of a nation called Israel. Moreover, certain inconsistencies in the Pentateuch argue strongly against Moses being the author.

Scholars have noticed, for example, that Deuteronomy was written in a more modern form of Hebrew than parts of Genesis, and has a very similar style to the history books, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings. They conclude that these books were indeed written late in the reign of the Judahite King Josiah - around 622 BCE - by a single source, today known as the Deuteronomist.

The Sources Theory, which is widely accepted by modern scholars and some Christians, states that the Pentateuch had several authors. We do not know the original names of these sources, but they are known today as the Yahwist ('J'), Elohist ('E'), Deuteronomist ('D') and Priestly ('P') sources. The earliest of these was the Yahwist, who probably lived in the southern kingdom of Judah around the ninth century BCE. The Elohist wrote a little later in the northern kingdom of Israel. However, the material produced by the Yahwist and the Elohist was not yet what we would identify as books of the Bible. Deuteronomy is substantially the work of the Deuteronomist, hence his modern name. The Priestly source added material to the other books during the Babylonian Exile. So, although the Deuteronomist was much later than the Yahwist and the Elohist, there was no identifiable book of the Pentateuch before Deuteronomy. This is believed to be the Book of Law that was said to have been found in the Temple during the reign of King Josiah - around 622 BCE. In fact, some of the books, such as Genesis, would not really take on the form we now know until during and after the Babylonian Exile.

The earliest works completed more or less in their current form may include the Book of Hosea and the The Book of Amos.

For more information on the authorship of the Pentateuch, please visit:

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Q: What is the oldest book of Bible?
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