One Primary History


I am really leaning toward the belief that Genesis through II Kings (minus Ruth) was written by one single author after the Babylonian Exile. Now before you burn me at the stake let me explain a few things.

I was exploring the unity of the Pentateuch (Genesis thru Deuteronomy) by examining the common themes, issues and overall writing style. To get a broader scope of things I dipped into Joshua and it seemed like it was written by the same author that wrote the other books in the Pentateuch. So I researched it on the internet to see if anyone else thought so. I did find a reference to one scholar that thought there was a chiastic structure that ran through Genesis to Joshua. But I also found another website that talked about the unity of Genesis thru II Kings (minus Ruth) which is called the “Primary History”. Although the views on that website were a bit liberal (it seems to think of the Bible as myth), it did present interesting ideas about the unity of the Primary History and evidences that it was written by one author. He points out similar themes that run throughout such as being exiled to the east (Adam and Eve, Cain, the Israelites).

I also found evidences on my own which includes Israelite king references before there was a king of Israel:


Genesis 36:31
These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned


And a sort of chiastic structure that runs throughout on a broad scale:


Genesis-Judges: Calling of a nation (Abraham), Exodus, various judges

ISamuel-IIKing: Calling of a king (David), Exile, various kings


I thought about how there are various references in the Gospels about how Moses wrote the Penteauch. However, the Primary History could have included what Moses wrote so technically that is correct. This is not to be confused with the JEDP theory but more similar to the Tablet theory.

I asked Dr. Ramey over at inthebeginning.org and he said, “It is clear to me from reading the Hebrew text that there were different authors of Genesis – 2 Kings. The grammar and syntax varies. This is very pronounced by reading the text in the original.” But isn’t that what JEDP theorists say about Genesis? And yet Dr. Ramey uses chiasmus to disprove the JEDP theory. Regardless, I am still interested in it and would like to learn more both for and against it.

If it were true that it was written by one author it would be a bit ironic since much of the New Testament was written by one author (Paul). Who might the author of the Primary History be? I don’t think we could ever find out for sure but it was probably a priest or scribe. Ezra has been suggested since he did find the book of the Law. But I think Jeremiah could be a possibility since the last chapter in Jeremiah and II Kings are almost exactly the same. Jeremiah also uses the phrase “void and without form” in regards to Jerusalem, which harkens back to Genesis 1. However, that is further speculation.

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