Thursday, May 02, 2013

Why would anyone think Joshua wrote Joshua...

... or that Samuel wrote Samuel or that Ezra wrote Ezra?

Think about it, these books are about these people.  They don't read like, "I did this," "I did that," "I said that."  They read, "Joshua did this," "Ezra did that," "Samuel said that."  In the case of Samuel, the book of Samuel in Hebrew (it's only one book in Hebrew) extends to the death of David, long after the death of Samuel.

Could God have inspired him to write about all those future events? Sure, but why would we even think anything like that? There's no reason to think that.  It doesn't say that Samuel wrote it... anywhere!

It is understandable that people argue over the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch or of the Davidic authorship of many psalms or of the Isaianic authorship of the later chapters of Isaiah.  After all, there are New Testament passages that seem to refer to Moses or David or Isaiah as their authors.

But there are no New Testament passages that refer to Joshua as the author of Joshua or Samuel as the author of Samuel. We are free to take them exactly as they seem to be--historical narratives written some time after the people they talk about had passed from the scene.


John C. Gardner said...

Hi Ken, Can you recommend a good bible commentary with either a Wesleyan or Arminian orientation?
John Gardner

Ken Schenck said...

The Nazarene Church has put together a good original meaning commentary series that is sympathetic with an Arminian view. The NIV Application Commentary series is a good one for evangelicals in general, with a slight Calvinist bent at times but solid. If I were to recommend a series to the more advanced preacher who has some facility in original languages, I would probably recommend the NICOT and NICNT series from Eerdmans.

Ken Schenck said...

BTW, we often see ourselves when we apply our thinking on a sensitive topic to a non-sensitive topic and then compare. So if the books of 1 and 2 Kings were called 1 and 2 Elijah, then the Jewish tradition would have eventually come to believe that Elijah wrote them, and we would find fundamentalist commentaries like Walvoord and Zuck arguing today that Elijah wrote them.