Patty David had a good follow up question on the Facebook edition of the third Chicago Statement post (hope you don't mind me responding this way :-). I thought I would dedicate a whole entry to the question of Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the gospels, and the Chicago statement.
Here is her thought, "Is it too simplistic to hold that Genesis became 'inspired' at the time Moses put the Pentateuch together (presumably during the wilderness wanderings if you're not a JEPD advocate)? If Moses indeed met with God for 40 days on Mt. Sinai and in the tabernacle, isn't it at least plausible that God is the one who told him which accounts to include (maybe even 'tweaking' them so that what was written was actually true)? And wouldn't the Israelites have at that time, when God commanded them to keep the book of the Law, begun to view this material as inspired and authoritative?"
Here's what I am arguing for:
1. In my opinion, we don't even get into any really thorny issues if we consider the legal material of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy to go back generally to Moses. In other words, when Jesus says in Matthew 8, "Go offer the gift Moses commanded you," we believe that part of Leviticus does go back to Moses.
But here's my thought here. Believing this does not require us to conclude that Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy in their current form was compiled by Moses. From a standpoint of inductive Bible study, none of these books want to be read as if they were written in their current form by Moses, since Exodus through Deuteronomy are about Moses. And Genesis doesn't mention or have anything to do with Moses.
I put it this way in my earlier post: Thinking that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, given the way it is written, is a little like thinking that Jesus must have written the gospels since they are about Jesus.
Another problem is that the earliest instances of the Hebrew language we know of date from about 1000BC. In other words, it is not at all clear that Hebrew existed in anything like the form it appears in our Pentateuch at the time of Moses.
So in answer to your question, I don't have a problem per se with the idea of God telling Moses which traditions to include in the Pentateuch. The question is whether all this material was assembled in this way at the time. Jeremiah doesn't even seem to be aware of Leviticus!! (Jer. 7:22). A good argument can be made that when Joshua and Kings refer to the book of the Law, they only mean Deuteronomy or part of Deuteronomy (cmp. Deut. 31:26 with Josh. 1:8). It is only from the time of Ezra that we find the phrase, "the Book of Moses," presumably including the books we now think of as the Law (Ezra 6:18).
As far as Israel is concerned, they seem to know almost nothing of the fine points of the Law from the times of the Judges to Josiah. Even Elijah violates the Law regularly by offering sacrifices outside of Jerusalem. I find it hard to believe he had a clue he was doing something wrong. The same with Gideon and a host of others who seem to offer sacrifices with no clue they should only be doing it at the tabernacle.
So my first point is that I don't think there is much to worry about in terms of inerrancy if we at least believe the legal material goes back to Moses but was put into its current form later. Of course it's not hard to see from the data of the last two paragraphs why some have suggested that some of the material does not actually go back to Moses, when it would seem that the vast majority of spiritual leaders of Israel were vastly aware of very key items (like only sacrificing in Jerusalem, the sacrificial rules of Leviticus) until the time of Ezra!! See my third point below.
2. I'm also convinced that we tend to bring a literary worldview to documents that were part and parcel of an oral world. Oral cultures tend to pass on tradition with core material that stays fairly constant, with a good deal of variety around the edges. So it is no surprise to me that, for example, we have some minor variations between Deuteronomy and Exodus when they treat exactly the same material.
In the same way, something might be 100% inspired, inerrant, infallible, the greatest truth that holds the secret to everything... and if I am not capable of understanding that, it means nothing to me. The most important moment of inspiration, from the standpoint of any individual reading Scripture, is the moment of reading it. I hope you will hear what I'm saying when I say that the original inspiration of Scripture is completely pointless if we as readers are not inspired today to read it in the way God is speaking to us today.
The fact that we as Protestants--especially outside the holiness and Pentecostal traditions that are open to "more than literal" meanings--have spent so little time thinking about this part of the equation demands some fundamental hermeneutical rethinking!
3. I see no problem with #1 as far as inerrancy. In the name of truth, as I've written in post #3, I think we need to give our Old Testament scholars room to explore more canonical models of reading the Old Testament without necessarily forcing them to think a certain way about the precise historicity of the material. I want to allow this because 1) they're not stupid or faithless, 2) we want to listen to the texts more than to preconceptions about what they can and cannot tell us, and 3) because the original meaning really does turn out to be secondary to the canonical meaning, which is not located in the ancient near east, but a) in the New Testament use of the Old and b) in the Christian use of the whole.
Those are my thoughts today, open for critique, correction, and affirmation :-)