Intro to Torah
(כב) וַתַּעֲבֹר הַמִּנְחָה עַל פָּנָיו וְהוּא לָן בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא בַּמַּחֲנֶה. (כג) וַיָּקָם בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא וַיִּקַּח אֶת שְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו וְאֶת שְׁתֵּי שִׁפְחֹתָיו וְאֶת אַחַד עָשָׂר יְלָדָיו וַיַּעֲבֹר אֵת מַעֲבַר יַבֹּק. (כד) וַיִּקָּחֵם וַיַּעֲבִרֵם אֶת הַנָּחַל וַיַּעֲבֵר אֶת אֲשֶׁר לוֹ. (כה) וַיִּוָּתֵר יַעֲקֹב לְבַדּוֹ וַיֵּאָבֵק אִישׁ עִמּוֹ עַד עֲלוֹת הַשָּׁחַר. (כו) וַיַּרְא כִּי לֹא יָכֹל לוֹ וַיִּגַּע בְּכַף יְרֵכוֹ וַתֵּקַע כַּף יֶרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב בְּהֵאָבְקוֹ עִמּוֹ. (כז) וַיֹּאמֶר שַׁלְּחֵנִי כִּי עָלָה הַשָּׁחַר וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אֲשַׁלֵּחֲךָ כִּי אִם בֵּרַכְתָּנִי. (כח) וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מַה שְּׁמֶךָ וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב. (כט) וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא יַעֲקֹב יֵאָמֵר עוֹד שִׁמְךָ כִּי אִם יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי שָׂרִיתָ עִם אֱלֹהִים וְעִם אֲנָשִׁים וַתּוּכָל. (ל) וַיִּשְׁאַל יַעֲקֹב וַיֹּאמֶר הַגִּידָה נָּא שְׁמֶךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לָמָּה זֶּה תִּשְׁאַל לִשְׁמִי וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתוֹ שָׁם. (לא) וַיִּקְרָא יַעֲקֹב שֵׁם הַמָּקוֹם פְּנִיאֵל כִּי רָאִיתִי אֱלֹהִים פָּנִים אֶל פָּנִים וַתִּנָּצֵל נַפְשִׁי. (לב) וַיִּזְרַח לוֹ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ כַּאֲשֶׁר עָבַר אֶת פְּנוּאֵל וְהוּא צֹלֵעַ עַל יְרֵכוֹ.

(22) So the present passed over before him; and he himself lodged that night in the camp. (23) And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven children, and passed over the ford of the Jabbok. (24) And he took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had. (25) And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. (26) And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him. (27) And he said: ‘Let me go, for the day breaketh.’ And he said: ‘I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.’ (28) And he said unto him: ‘What is thy name?’ And be said: ‘Jacob.’ (29) And he said: ‘Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.’ (30) And Jacob asked him, and said: ‘Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.’ And he said: ‘Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?’ And he blessed him there.

(א) וּמֹשֶׁ֗ה הָיָ֥ה רֹעֶ֛ה אֶת־צֹ֛אן יִתְר֥וֹ חֹתְנ֖וֹ כֹּהֵ֣ן מִדְיָ֑ן וַיִּנְהַ֤ג אֶת־הַצֹּאן֙ אַחַ֣ר הַמִּדְבָּ֔ר וַיָּבֹ֛א אֶל־הַ֥ר הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים חֹרֵֽבָה׃ (ב) וַ֠יֵּרָא מַלְאַ֨ךְ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֵלָ֛יו בְּלַבַּת־אֵ֖שׁ מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַסְּנֶ֑ה וַיַּ֗רְא וְהִנֵּ֤ה הַסְּנֶה֙ בֹּעֵ֣ר בָּאֵ֔שׁ וְהַסְּנֶ֖ה אֵינֶ֥נּוּ אֻכָּֽל׃ (ג) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֔ה אָסֻֽרָה־נָּ֣א וְאֶרְאֶ֔ה אֶת־הַמַּרְאֶ֥ה הַגָּדֹ֖ל הַזֶּ֑ה מַדּ֖וּעַ לֹא־יִבְעַ֥ר הַסְּנֶֽה׃ (ד) וַיַּ֥רְא יְהוָ֖ה כִּ֣י סָ֣ר לִרְא֑וֹת וַיִּקְרָא֩ אֵלָ֨יו אֱלֹהִ֜ים מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַסְּנֶ֗ה וַיֹּ֛אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֥ה מֹשֶׁ֖ה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר הִנֵּֽנִי׃ (ה) וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אַל־תִּקְרַ֣ב הֲלֹ֑ם שַׁל־נְעָלֶ֙יךָ֙ מֵעַ֣ל רַגְלֶ֔יךָ כִּ֣י הַמָּק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֤ר אַתָּה֙ עוֹמֵ֣ד עָלָ֔יו אַדְמַת־קֹ֖דֶשׁ הֽוּא׃ (ו) וַיֹּ֗אמֶר אָנֹכִי֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י אָבִ֔יךָ אֱלֹהֵ֧י אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִצְחָ֖ק וֵאלֹהֵ֣י יַעֲקֹ֑ב וַיַּסְתֵּ֤ר מֹשֶׁה֙ פָּנָ֔יו כִּ֣י יָרֵ֔א מֵהַבִּ֖יט אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃ (ז) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֔ה רָאֹ֥ה רָאִ֛יתִי אֶת־עֳנִ֥י עַמִּ֖י אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּמִצְרָ֑יִם וְאֶת־צַעֲקָתָ֤ם שָׁמַ֙עְתִּי֙ מִפְּנֵ֣י נֹֽגְשָׂ֔יו כִּ֥י יָדַ֖עְתִּי אֶת־מַכְאֹבָֽיו׃ (ח) וָאֵרֵ֞ד לְהַצִּיל֣וֹ ׀ מִיַּ֣ד מִצְרַ֗יִם וּֽלְהַעֲלֹתוֹ֮ מִן־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַהִוא֒ אֶל־אֶ֤רֶץ טוֹבָה֙ וּרְחָבָ֔ה אֶל־אֶ֛רֶץ זָבַ֥ת חָלָ֖ב וּדְבָ֑שׁ אֶל־מְק֤וֹם הַֽכְּנַעֲנִי֙ וְהַ֣חִתִּ֔י וְהָֽאֱמֹרִי֙ וְהַפְּרִזִּ֔י וְהַחִוִּ֖י וְהַיְבוּסִֽי׃ (ט) וְעַתָּ֕ה הִנֵּ֛ה צַעֲקַ֥ת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בָּ֣אָה אֵלָ֑י וְגַם־רָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־הַלַּ֔חַץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִצְרַ֖יִם לֹחֲצִ֥ים אֹתָֽם׃ (י) וְעַתָּ֣ה לְכָ֔ה וְאֶֽשְׁלָחֲךָ֖ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה וְהוֹצֵ֛א אֶת־עַמִּ֥י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃ (יא) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים מִ֣י אָנֹ֔כִי כִּ֥י אֵלֵ֖ךְ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה וְכִ֥י אוֹצִ֛יא אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃ (יב) וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ כִּֽי־אֶֽהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֔ךְ וְזֶה־לְּךָ֣ הָא֔וֹת כִּ֥י אָנֹכִ֖י שְׁלַחְתִּ֑יךָ בְּהוֹצִֽיאֲךָ֤ אֶת־הָעָם֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם תַּֽעַבְדוּן֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים עַ֖ל הָהָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה׃ (יג) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֜ה אֶל־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים הִנֵּ֨ה אָנֹכִ֣י בָא֮ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ וְאָמַרְתִּ֣י לָהֶ֔ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י אֲבוֹתֵיכֶ֖ם שְׁלָחַ֣נִי אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם וְאָֽמְרוּ־לִ֣י מַה־שְּׁמ֔וֹ מָ֥ה אֹמַ֖ר אֲלֵהֶֽם׃ (יד) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר כֹּ֤ה תֹאמַר֙ לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה שְׁלָחַ֥נִי אֲלֵיכֶֽם׃ (טו) וַיֹּאמֶר֩ ע֨וֹד אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה כֹּֽה־תֹאמַר֮ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ יְהוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֲבֹתֵיכֶ֗ם אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִצְחָ֛ק וֵאלֹהֵ֥י יַעֲקֹ֖ב שְׁלָחַ֣נִי אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם זֶה־שְּׁמִ֣י לְעֹלָ֔ם וְזֶ֥ה זִכְרִ֖י לְדֹ֥ר דֹּֽר׃

(1) Now Moses, tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, drove the flock into the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (2) An angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed. (3) Moses said, “I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight; why doesn’t the bush burn up?” (4) When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him out of the bush: “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” (5) And He said, “Do not come closer. Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. (6) I am,” He said, “the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (7) And the LORD continued, “I have marked well the plight of My people in Egypt and have heeded their outcry because of their taskmasters; yes, I am mindful of their sufferings. (8) I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them out of that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the region of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. (9) Now the cry of the Israelites has reached Me; moreover, I have seen how the Egyptians oppress them. (10) Come, therefore, I will send you to Pharaoh, and you shall free My people, the Israelites, from Egypt.” (11) But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and free the Israelites from Egypt?” (12) And He said, “I will be with you; that shall be your sign that it was I who sent you. And when you have freed the people from Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.” (13) Moses said to God, “When I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” (14) And God said to Moses, “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh.” He continued, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites, ‘Ehyeh sent me to you.’” (15) And God said further to Moses, “Thus shall you speak to the Israelites: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: This shall be My name forever, This My appellation for all eternity.

Creation of humanity times two ...

Abram Leon Sachar (1899 - 1993) was an American historian and university president. Born in New York City, his immigrant family moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1906 and (after a year at Harvard) he earned his AB and AM at Washington University. When the American Jewish community decided to start a Jewish-sponsored, nonsectarian university, he was chosen as the first president of Brandeis University, and during his tenure from 1948 to 1968 he effectively built it from the ground-up into a first-class, internationally recognized teaching and research institution, by exercising his abilities as an educator, visionary, and fundraiser.

On his retirement he became chancellor of Brandeis University. During his long career he served on numerous committees and boards, was the recipient of many honors, thirty honorary degrees, and published a number of books, including A History of the Jews (1929; 5th edn 1965) and The Course of Our Times (1972).

Rabbi Dr. Julius Mark, a longtime national leader of Reform Judaism and retired senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan, the largest Jewish congregation in the world

Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (13 December 1797 in Düsseldorf – 17 February 1856 in Paris) was a journalist, essayist, and one of the most significant German romantic poets. He is remembered chiefly for selections of his lyric poetry, many of which were set to music in the form of lieder (art songs) by German composers.

Abraham Neuman Born in Sierpc in 1873 or 1875. A painter and graphic artist, he died in the Krakow ghetto in 1942. The son of a writer, he spent his early years on a forest estate.

Abraham Geiger (24 May 1810 in Frankfurt am Main – 23 October 1874 in Berlin) was a German rabbi and scholar who led in the foundation of Reform Judaism, seeking to remove all nationalistic elements (particularly the "Chosen People" doctrine) from Judaism, stressing it as an evolving and changing religion.

Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972) was a Warsaw-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians of the 20th century.

DOUBLET: a repetition of a Biblical story - these repetitions have been one of the most compelling sources for the development of Biblical criticism by both scholars and regular readers.

(כו) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֛ם בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ וְיִרְדּוּ֩ בִדְגַ֨ת הַיָּ֜ם וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּבְכָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶ֖מֶשׂ הָֽרֹמֵ֥שׂ עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (כז) וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃ (כח) וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֹתָם֮ אֱלֹהִים֒ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לָהֶ֜ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים פְּר֥וּ וּרְב֛וּ וּמִלְא֥וּ אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ וְכִבְשֻׁ֑הָ וּרְד֞וּ בִּדְגַ֤ת הַיָּם֙ וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּבְכָל־חַיָּ֖ה הָֽרֹמֶ֥שֶׂת עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

(26) And God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’

(27) And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. (28) And God blessed them; and God said unto them: ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.’

(א) וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאָם. (ב) וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה.
(ז) וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה.

(יז) וּמֵעֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע לֹא תֹאכַל מִמֶּנּוּ כִּי בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְךָ מִמֶּנּוּ מוֹת תָּמוּת. (יח) וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים לֹא טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָאָדָם לְבַדּוֹ אֶעֱשֶׂהּ לּוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ. (יט) וַיִּצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים מִן הָאֲדָמָה כָּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה וְאֵת כָּל עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיָּבֵא אֶל הָאָדָם לִרְאוֹת מַה יִּקְרָא לוֹ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָא לוֹ הָאָדָם נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה הוּא שְׁמוֹ. (כ) וַיִּקְרָא הָאָדָם שֵׁמוֹת לְכָל הַבְּהֵמָה וּלְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּלְכֹל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה וּלְאָדָם לֹא מָצָא עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ. (כא) וַיַּפֵּל יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים תַּרְדֵּמָה עַל הָאָדָם וַיִּישָׁן וַיִּקַּח אַחַת מִצַּלְעֹתָיו וַיִּסְגֹּר בָּשָׂר תַּחְתֶּנָּה. (כב) וַיִּבֶן יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת הַצֵּלָע אֲשֶׁר לָקַח מִן הָאָדָם לְאִשָּׁה וַיְבִאֶהָ אֶל הָאָדָם. (כג) וַיֹּאמֶר הָאָדָם זֹאת הַפַּעַם עֶצֶם מֵעֲצָמַי וּבָשָׂר מִבְּשָׂרִי לְזֹאת יִקָּרֵא אִשָּׁה כִּי מֵאִישׁ לֻקֳחָה זֹּאת.
(1) And the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. (2) And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.

(7) Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

(18) And the LORD God said: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.’ (19) And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them; and whatsoever the man would call every living creature, that was to be the name thereof. (20) And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. (21) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof. (22) And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. (23) And the man said: ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’
Rashi comments on the second story saying:

and He caused a deep sleep to fall upon him. The listener may think that this is another story, but it is only the detailed account of the former. Likewise, in the case of the animal, Scripture repeats and writes (below verse 19): “And the Lord God formed from the ground all the beasts of the field,” in order to explain, “and He brought [them] to man” to name them, and to teach about the fowl, that they were created from the mud.

Baruch Spinoza...

Bento (in Hebrew, Baruch; in Latin, Benedictus: all three names mean "blessed") Spinoza was born in 1632 in Amsterdam. He was the middle son in a prominent family of moderate means in Amsterdam's Portuguese-Jewish community.

At the age of seventeen, he was forced to cut short his formal studies to help run the family's importing business.

And then, on July 27, 1656, Spinoza was issued the harshest writ of herem, or excommunication, ever pronounced by the Sephardic community of Amsterdam; it was never rescinded. We do not know for certain what Spinoza's “monstrous deeds” and “abominable heresies” were alleged to have been, but an educated guess comes quite easy. No doubt he was giving utterance to just those ideas that would soon appear in his philosophical treatises. In those works, Spinoza denies the immortality of the soul; strongly rejects the notion of a providential God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and claims that the Law was neither literally given by God nor any longer binding on Jews.


Spinoza denied that Moses wrote all, or even most of the Torah. The references in the Pentateuch to Moses in the third person; the narration of his death and, particularly, of events following his death; and the fact that some places are called by names that they did not bear in the time of Moses all “make it clear beyond a shadow of doubt” that the writings commonly referred to as “the Five Books of Moses” were, in fact, written by someone who lived many generations after Moses. Moses did, to be sure, compose some books of history and of law; and remnants of those long lost books can be found in the Pentateuch. But the Torah as we have it, as well as as other books of the Hebrew Bible (such as Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) were written neither by the individuals whose names they bear nor by any person appearing in them. Spinoza believes that these were, in fact, all composed by a single historian living many generations after the events narrated, and that this was most likely Ezra. It was the post-exilic leader who took the many writings that had come down to him and began weaving them into a single (but not seamless) narrative. Ezra's work was later completed and supplemented by the editorial labors of others. What we now possess, then, is nothing but a compilation, and a rather mismanaged, haphazard and “mutilated” one at that.

Source: Nadler, Steven, "Baruch Spinoza", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/spinoza/>.
The Documentary/JEDP/Graf-Wellhausen Theory:

Julius Wellhausen, a German Biblical scholar of the 19th century published a theory on Torah origins that became known by three names: The Documentary Hypothesis, the JEDP Theory, and the Graf-Wellhausen Theory (because it contained many of the ideas of Karl Heinrich Graf.

The JEDP theory asserts that the Torah is an edition comprised of the careful and skillful
blending of at least four different kinds of documents.

1) “J” document. “J” was written about 850 BCE by an unknown writer from Judah. The main feature of this unknown Judean writer is that he frequently referred to God by His personal
name, YHVH (yud hey vav hay) or Jehovah

2) “E” document. “E”, was written about 750 BCE by an unknown author from the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The distinguishing feature of this unknown author was his use of Elohim (alef lamed vav hay yud mem-sofit) for the name of God.

3) "D” document. "D" was most likely composed by Hilkiah, the High Priest under King Josiah of Judah in 621 BCE. “D” stands for Deuteronomy.

4) “P" document. referring to the sections of the Torah dealing with the Priests, was written in various stages from Ezekial to Ezra, “ ‘the ready scribe in the Law of Moses’ under whose guidance the latest priestly sections were added to the Torah.”




http://thetorah.com/torah-four-questions/thetorah.com

Taking a step back from the debate, Rabbi Farber takes a look at four important questions about Torah min Ha-Shamayim and surveys how they have been answered in the past and in modern times.


TORAH MIN HA-SHAMAYIM: A GUIDE TO THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Rabbi Zev Farber, Ph.D. – TABS Fellow


Introduction

In every generation new ideas and information force Jewish thinkers to reevaluate traditional principles. For some it was Aristotelian philosophy, for others it was the scientific revolution. In our time, modern academic Bible scholarship and the disciplines of history and archaeology pose serious challenges to traditional interpretations of Torah mi-Sinai (Torah given at Sinai) and Torah min Ha-Shamayim (Torah from heaven). There are difficulties with the historicity of many of the biblical narratives, with the single authorship of the Torah and even with the morality of some of the Torah’s laws and stories. These problems have spawned much reflection among traditional Jewish thinkers, who wish to follow the path of the great sages of the past like Maimonides, who found ways to bridge the gap between traditional and current thinking in their times.

I try to take some steps in this direction in an earlier post, but my goal here is different. In this piece, I wish to outline the questions and show that they have been answered in more than one way by traditional authorities throughout Jewish history, through today.

The Questions

Beginning with the premise of Torah Min ha-Shamayim—that the Torah is of divine origin—the following piece will explore the following four questions.

  1. Do the stories of the Torah need to be believed as history in the sense of an accurate record the actual past, or can they be mnemohistory, i.e. stories a culture reveres about its past?

  2. Is it essential to believe that the Torah was written by Moses and not any other prophet?

  3. Must the Torah reflect only one story line or one point of view?

  4. Must the Torah’s revelation be perfect as it is, or can it be seen as crafted for the period of time in which it was initially revealed with the intention that it would be enhanced as society progressed?

These four questions have been debated for centuries and pre-modern and modern thinkers have offered varied responses to them. As is the case with many issues, Jewish Tradition (mesorah) does not offer a single definitive answer.

THE RAMBAM'S THIRTEEN PRINCIPLES
OF JEWISH FAITH

1. I believe with perfect faith that G-d is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.

2. I believe with perfect faith that G-d is One. There is no unity that is in any way like His. He alone is our G-d He was, He is, and He will be.

3. I believe with perfect faith that G-d does not have a body. physical concepts do not apply to Him. There is nothing whatsoever that resembles Him at all.

4. I believe with perfect faith that G-d is first and last.

5. I believe with perfect faith that it is only proper to pray to G-d. One may not pray to anyone or anything else.

6. I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.

7. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses is absolutely true. He was the chief of all prophets, both before and after Him.

8. I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses.

9. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be another given by G-d.

10. I believe with perfect faith that G-d knows all of man's deeds and thoughts. It is thus written (Psalm 33:15), "He has molded every heart together, He understands what each one does."

11. I believe with perfect faith that G-d rewards those who keep His commandments, and punishes those who transgress Him.

12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. How long it takes, I will await His coming every day.

13. I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when G-d wills it to happen.