When was the Old Testament written

No, this isn’t meant to be in GD. I’m looking for factual information here, only (even if factual information about disputed, unresolved, or faith-based theories). Basically, can anyone give me a good rundown of what current biblical scholarship says about the history of the Hebrew Bible as a text? Primarily, I’m interested in a secular perspective, but certainly factual information about religious beliefs on the matter is entirely relevant, though let’s all try not to actually debate the merits of these approaches.

Basically, it seems to be something I’m woefully uninformed about, and my attempts to learn more have generally left my eyes glazing over, noticeably more so than even the similar subject of the authorship of the Gospels (although if anyone has links to an especially good synopsis, I’d probably find it enlightening). Hopefully, you guys can provide an easily approachable introduction to the subject.

Mods: I’d really like to keep this devoted to factual information about what biblical scholars say, and humbly ask you to try to nudge the discussion into GQ territory in preference to moving the thread, should things start getting all debatey and stuff. But, of course, it ain’t my board…

Go to homepage for this site and search “who wrote the bible” or get “The Bible Unearthed” by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman.

:smack: I was pretty sure Cecil never covered it, but never thought about the Staff Reports. Looks like I’ll be reading through at least a huge five-parter (and keeping my fingers crossed). Thanks.

Dex and whatsisname that fell out the window did a terrific job on that. Bump the thread if you end up wanting data for specific books – several people have ready references for that sort of detail.

Over there is Bob the Bridge Builder and next to him is Phil the Farmer, but fall out one window and…

Just for ref, Old Testament is covered in Parts 1 - 3:
Part 1: Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1985/who-wrote-the-bible-part-1
Part 2: Histories – Judges, Kings, etc: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1986/who-wrote-the-bible-part-2
Part 3: Prophetic and Wisdom books: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1987/who-wrote-the-bible-part-3

New Testament in Part 4: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1988/who-wrote-the-bible-part-4

And the final compilation (decisions on which books to include): http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1989/who-wrote-the-bible-part-5

Meanwhile, Moderator Hat on: Polycarp, a comment like “whatsisname that fell out the window” is pretty much a personal insult that doesn’t belong here. Eutychus did a great job on those reports with me (I basically handled Old Testament and he handled New) and snide little asides are not called for.

FWIW, I assumed **Polycarp **was teasing gently, not insulting. Further FWIW, I don’t have a clue to what window or what person he was referring to. Maybe if I did, I’d see the gross insult.

Email me if you feel the desparate, overwhelming need to know. It doesn’t need to be discussed here.

Perhaps it could be discussed in the BBQ Pit.

Just to set matters straight, Eutychus who is a member and former staff here, and whose username I couldn’t remember at the time, adopted it after the story of the guy in Acts of that name who fell asleep during one of Paul’s sermons and fell out the window. It was a (misguided) pun on that – I couldn’t remember the name Eutychus but did remember where he’d gotten the name from. I had forgotten all about the incident you apparently think I was referencing (and which I agree ought to be left to e-mail if touched on at all).

Personal apologies to Eutychus for the unintended insult.

OMG. Did a mod just get whooshed?

Yes, a mod got whooshed. My apologies, to Polycarp and everyone. I didn’t recall that the historical/mythic Eutychus fell out a window, so I took it as a somewhat snide comment about our Member Eutychus who has been a signifcant contributor to SDSAB and to the Message Boards, etc.

My apologies all round.

And, FWIW, I neither read into nor felt that there was ever any ill-will in Polycarp’s mention of my recent accident. :smiley:


“Recent accident”? It was nearly 2,000 years ago!