The Bible and History

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Considering only the names of the authors that appear with their writings, the Bible is a collection of 66 individual books that was written over a period of approximately 1,500 years; roughly from the time of Moses (the Pentateuch) to some time shortly after the ascension of Jesus Christ (Revelation). Some legitimate argument can be made, however, that the earliest writings significantly predate Moses and are perhaps almost as old as creation itself. Specifically, that the literary structure of the book of Genesis is unique among the Pentateuch in that it is divided into a series of narratives framed around the genealogy of the significant character of each narrative. While Moses could indeed have written Genesis using this unique literary framework, the fact that the other books of the Pentateuch show no similar structure does seem to indicate that Moses was not the original author of most of Genesis but was, in fact, an editor of earlier documents presumably written by each section's significant character or one closely associated with him or his history.

If it is true that Moses was the editor of works predating him by thousands of years, then it follows that the Bible spans all of human history from its very beginning through to the first century after Christ. And if we also consider prophecy as part of the Biblical record of history, then the Bible's narrative doesn't end with Revelation but continues on into the events of which Revelation speaks, in which case the Bible's coverage of human history extends from the beginning of our existence into eternity.

The impact upon the Bible scholar can be profound. Once we see that the Bible, rather than acting as a commentary on human history (both recorded and discovered through archaeology), is instead the subject of which recorded history is the commentary we will begin to view the Bible as being of critical importance to our understanding of human history. We will begin to see the Bible not as a light to more fully illuminate what is already known through research, as it is currently seen, but as the source in which all other histories find their light.