When was Genesis written, and who wrote it?

This is an interesting question. On one hand I agree with those who postulate a Mesopotamian origin to Genesis 1-11, since virtually all the stories have parallels in Mesopotamia, on the other hand I reject the notion that it was written in the Babylonian exile, for the story of the Tower of Babel has parallels to the Sumerian story of Enmerkar, a story not in circulation after the mid 2nd millenium BC. This in my mind suggests great antiquity to at least some of the genesis stories. I would suggest then that the earliest parts of Genesis were written by the patriarchs, or Amortites, in Mesopotamia, and edited together at a later date, possibly by Moses.

With no easy answer. Even reading Genesis in English you get a sense that there was more than one author’s hand at work.


I have read some people’s opinions about what is feasible and not feasible… And this is where things can get pretty shaky - - on matters of personal opinion.

So … @Reggie_O_Donoghue, what exactly do you find in the O.T. version of Genesis 1-11 that would not have been “accessible” in Pagan myth after the Exile?

I ask because there have been centuries where people thought the idea of crossing the Red Sea (or even a part of the Red Sea) was just mythical material…

and then Napoleon and his guard of Cavalry do it twice in a single day! And almost drowned in the process.

So… what are these clues that give you pause?

I just said, parallels to a Sumerian story not in circulation at that time.


You also once insisted that there were parallels between Days 1, 2, 3 and 4,5,6 … which, in fact, there were not. Or, maybe it would be more fair to say, there are parallels in those days, but not parallels sufficient to establish that the firmament must mean “empty sky”.

So… you’ll have to excuse my desire to see these “parallels” spelled out. Maybe you just think there are parallels.


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