The Authorship of Joshua
Joshua was the successor of Moses and the one who led the Israelites into the promised land of Canaan. The sixth book of the Bible, the book of Joshua, was supposed to have been written by him. Like the tradition of Moses authorship, this attribution of authorship does not stand up to critical scrutiny.
- We will begin by noting that references to Joshua are made in the third person.
- And, just like some passages in the Pentateuch, we have some rather artless passages that betray a time of composition long after the events it was supposed to described:
And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood, and they are there to this day.
We see the same phrase to this day in Joshua 5:9, 7:26, 15:63. A phrase such as to this day used in the context of the above passages can only mean that a long period has passed between the events described and the actual writing.
- The final conclusive evidence is the presence of the account of Joshua's death in the book that was supposedly written by him.
Joshua 24:29-30 |
And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
Now, how on earth could Joshua have written about his own death? And the last sentence in the passage quoted also mentioned that Israel lived right "all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua". This means that the passage above could not have been written until all of Joshua's contemporaries had died.
Another tradition has been proven wrong: Joshua did not write the book that was named after him.
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|1.||Paine, The Age of Reason: p124-126|
Anderson, A Critical Introduction to the Old Testament: p58
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