The Bible

When was the Bible written?

The Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, which is called the Book of Books because of its profound influence, was written thousands of years ago. Scholars disagree about exactly when or how the books were written, but it is generally accepted that the earliest parts of the Bible originated during the time of Moses (or Moshe), the Hebrew prophet and leader, about the fourteenth to the thirteenth century B.C. Moses is believed to be the author of the first five books of the Bible, called the Pentateuch or the Law of Moses. The books include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These are believed to have been revealed to Moses by God.

Scholars believe that much of the material in the Bible was recited aloud as part of an oral tradition long before it was written down, which complicates the matter of assigning dates to the various books. The books of the prophets (Joshua, Isaiah, Samuel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc.) are believed to have been written and collected during the kingdoms of Israel (c. 1020–722 B.C.) and Judah (c. 933–586 B.C.) and shortly thereafter.

Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs), Ruth, Ecclesiastes, and Chronicles were written in the time of King David and King Solomon during the tenth century B.C. or shortly after 1000 B.C. The books of Job, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah are believed to have appeared between 600 B.C. and 100 B.C.

The 27 books of the New Testament, upon which Christianity is based, were written on papyrus scrolls, none of which remain. Dating the writing of the New Testament is difficult but the historical events referred to in the books indicate they were written shortly after the time of Christ and probably before A.D. 100.

Jews and Christians consider the Ten Commandments to be the summary of divine law, handed down by God to the prophet Moses.

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