IntroductionAccording to Gerald (1968) “The Pentateuch, or Torah, is the charter document of Israel's covenant faith, the foundation of Scripture and the key to understanding the biblical story Since the themes that are first struck in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy resonate throughout the Bible”. According to Malick (2005) “These books contain a chronological and theological progression” In the Pentateuch the lines between an individual book and the other marks a change in the direction of the materials. Gerald (1968) noted that “the stories of the patriarchs end at the end of Genesis (Genesis 50:1), while the story of the Israel’s people s”.
He further noted that “in (Exodus1:1) the separation between Exodus and Leviticus indicates the change from the construction of the tabernacle in (Exodus 35-40) to the induction of worship (Leviticus 1-10). Numbers starts with preparation for leaving Sinai. Finally Deuteronomy begins the speech of Moses (Deuteronomy 1:1)”ThemesThere are many themes that are discussed through out the Pentateuch, for instance Malick (2005) indicates that “God as the creator is the first theme that is highlighted in the first two chapters in Genesis i. e.
(Genesis 1-2). The theme on the beginning of sin follows there after (Genesis 3:1). Increase of the sin, world population, and finally the ruling of God over the world is discussed in (Genesis 4-11)”Malick (2005) further highlights that “The themes on faith, promise, election, covenant, and divine intervention are discussed from Genesis (12–50)”. He further noted that (Exodus 1-18) talks of divine deliverance while(Exodus 19-24) discusses the theme of Covenant and law. The themes on worship and social ethics are highlighted in (Exodus 25:1- Numbers 10:10).
(Numbers 10-21) brings in the theme of leaderships of a disobedient people through the wilderness, while arrangements for going to Jordan and conquering Canaan are the last two themes that are discussed (Numbers 22:1-Deuteronomy 34:1)”Differing understandingMajor problems of the Old Testament are the authorship and dating of the Pentateuch According to Gordon (2003) “the different sources for the Pentateuch is not a problem, the issue is the lack of consistency” He also noted that “the reason as to which the question of date and authorship of the Pentateuch is difficult to answer is that the books themselves are unspecified”.
As a result many theories and modifications of older theories have arisen in the twentieth century in attempt to solve these mysteries. The themes and authorship of the Pentateuch have being understood differently by different readers for instance, “the oldest model of Pentateuchal study presumes the Mosaic authorship of almost the whole of the text ranging from Genesis to Deuteronomy”. According to Gerald (1968) “Moses was the main author of almost all the books as well as the receiver of all the laws discussed from Exodus to Numbers, Moses was viewed as the preacher of Deuteronomy”.
For instance (Deuteronomy 31:24) states that Moses wrote “the words of this law in a book, to the very end” So generations of readers from pre-Christian times to the 19th century concluded that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch.