I no longer believe that Moses exclusively authored Genesis.
Somebody is undoubtedly writing me a letter at this very moment—or informing social media. All caps. NOEL HAS FALLEN FROM GRACE!!!
Because Genesis is a biography. There are precisely four official gospels of Yahshua. Matthew. Mark. Luke. John. Each tells the story of the same person. And every telling is slightly different. This is sometimes due to witness testimony. That is not to say that the author did not write his particular gospel. It simply means that a compilation of sources has informed how he pieced the narrative together. Regarding Genesis, I’ve actually agonized over this question for years. Did Moses write Genesis through a direct revelation from Elohim, or did he compile his work from any number of extra sources?
Well, both, actually.
And believe it or not, Genesis doesn’t leave us in the dark. We’ve been staring its authors in the face all along.
The first book of Torah may be compiled by as many as 20 different authors—or perhaps the better word is sources—all of whom are directly related to Moses. In modern terms, the book is basically like a family quilt, uniquely stitched together over several generations. The very first relation is our creator, Elohim.
It’s really quite fascinating when one stops to consider that ancient clay tablets from Mesopotamia contain “colophon phrases” at the end of their respected stories, which would essentially include the name of the tablet’s writer. A colophon phrase always ends the story. It’s kind of like watching a movie which promptly says THE END, and then lists the writer and director. This is important, because Genesis includes several such colophon phrases, except here we shall refer to them as “toledoth phrases.”
Let me explain.
Toledoth is the Hebrew word for “generation.”
As in, “these are the generations of ”such and such person.
Genesis contains a dozen such transitions.
The very first toledoth phrase occurs in Genesis 2:4, when Moses records, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created.” From the perspective of an ancient Mesopotamian writer, we can glean some very important information. Everything before Genesis 2:4 was directly dictated from Yahuah Elohim. This is important in understanding what comes next.
Because Genesis 2:5 begins a second creation account, and entire generations have argued over its implications.
Were there two Adams?
The second toledoth phrase occurs in Genesis 5:1, when Moses records: “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” So, Moses is telling us that he’s gleaned this information— everything from Genesis 2:4 to 5:1—from a book, apparently written by Adam. I’ll rephrase this, so as to spare possible confusion. Though the first creation account was written by and from the perspective of Yahuah Elohim, the second creation account, starting in Genesis 2:5, was written from the perspective of Adam.
Sorry evolutionists. Mystery solved.
The third toledoth phrase occurs in Genesis 6:9. “These are the generations of Noah.” So, Noah. Those who dismiss the sons of Elohim taking human wives account in Genesis 6 as something not holding the integrity of the surrounding text need understand that Moses is indeed pulling from another source. Maybe even Enoch.
The fourth toledoth phrase in Genesis 10:1 tells us that he’s pulled from Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Once again, understanding the identity of four separate contributing authors clears up a lot of confusion, because we can now understand why there are so many repeated phrases in chapters 6 and 7. Moses is not a confused old man. He’s actually comparing notes from three, maybe four different diaries.
The fifth toledoth phrase in Genesis 11:10 belongs solely to Shem, this time excluding his father and two brothers. Shem lived for an additional 500 years after the flood, and it becomes quite clear by the information provided that Shem took an interest in chronicling his expanding family, particularly during the confusion of tongues.
The sixth toledoth phrase can be found in Genesis 11:27. It includes the days of Peleg, and ends abruptly with the authors death. The author is the mysterious Terah.
The seventh toledoth phrase chronicles the life of Abraham and yet ends in Genesis 25:19 with “And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son.” From what I can tell, Abraham is never accredited as ever having written anything. Rather, Isaac was writing about the life of his father— and his own binding.
An eighth very short toledoth phrase is inserted into Genesis 25:12, and is attributed to Ishmael. Interesting.
A ninth toledoth phrase in Genesis 32:19 has Jacob detailing his own troublesome life.
A tenth toledoth phrase is inserted into Genesis 36:1, apparently borrowed from the writings of Esau. Again—Genesis is a family patchwork quilt.
And finally, after another great length, an eleventh toledoth phrase is attributed to the twelve sons of Jacob in Exodus 1:6. The mere idea that the fathers of the twelve tribes would author their own stories falls directly in line with the Testament of the 12 Patriarchs.
Let me be clear here—
I am not stating that Moses is striped of his authorship. So, please spare social media and your congressman a letter. But he wasn’t exactly in a trance either. Rather, the consistent usage of toledoth phrases informs me that he very likely compiled information for the first of his five books, and has listed his sources. Did he copy his sources down word for word, or did he write in his own literary style? That I cannot say. But that is the very thing an author who writes biographies would do.
Though it is true that all Scripture is Holy Spirit breathed, it is also a history book. It’s the history of a family, carefully written down and narrated by the very people who watched the stories unfold. And it stretches all the way back to the start of the family tree.
Its very first eye-witness records for us: “In the beginning….”