1) In what language would Moses have written in a savage desert? It could have been only in Egyptian, for from this very book it can be seen that Moses and his people were born in Egypt. It is probable that he spoke no other language. The Egyptians did not yet use papyrus: they engraved hieroglyphs on marble or wood. It is even said that the tables of the ten commandments were engraved on stone. Five volumes must have therefore been engraved on polished stones, which required prodigious effort and time.
2) Is it likely that men skilled enough to engrave the five books of the Pentateuch on marble or wood would have been available in the desert in which the Jewish people has neither a shoemaker nor tailor, and in which the god of the universe was obliged to work a continual miracle to preserve the Jews' old clothes and old shoes? It will be said that there were craftsmen enough to make a golden calf in one night, and then reduce the gold to powder, an operation impossible in the tabernacle, which they embellished with thirty-four columns of brass with capitals of silver; to weave and embrodier linen veils, hyacinth, purple and scarlet; but all this in itself reinforces the view of the adversaries. They reply that they would have been impossible to do such elaborate work in a desert, where everything was lacking; that they should have begun making shoes and tunies, that those who lack nescessties so not indulge in luxueries; and that it is a self-evident contradiction to sau that there were metal-founders, engravers, embroiderers when they had either clothes nor bread.
3)If Moses had written the first chapter of Genesis would all young people have been forbidden to read the first chapter? Would so little respect have been showen to the legislator? If it was Moses who had said that god punishes the inquity of the fathers to the fourth generation, would Ezekiel have dared to say contrary?
If Moses had written Leviticus could he have contradicted himself in Deuteronomy? Leviticus forbids a man to marry his brother's wife. Deuteronomy orders him to do so.
Would Moses have spoken in his book of towns which did not exist in his time? Would he have said that towns were west of the Jordan when from his point of view they were east of it?
Would he have assigned forty-eight towns to the Levites in a country in which there have never been ten towns, and in a desert in which he had always wandered without having a house?
Would he have prescribed rules for Jewish kings when not only did this people have no kings but held then in horror, and it was not probable that they would ever have any? Come! Moses gave precepts for the conduct of the kings who did not regin until 800 years after him, and said nothing for the benefit of the judges and pontiffs who succeeded him.
Does not this refection lead us to believe that the Pentateuch was composed in the times of the kings, and that the ceremonies instituted by Moses had been merely a tradition?
- Could he really have said to the Jews: 'I have made you leave the land of Egypt to the number of 6,000 warriors under the protection of your god'? Would the jews not have answered him: 'You must have been very timid not to have led us to the Pharroh of Egypt; he could not oppose us an army of 200,000 men. Egypt has never had that many soldiers in the ranks. We would easily have vanquished them, we would have been the master of this country. What! the god who speaks to you butchered for our pleasure all the first-egypt, which makes, to avenge us, 300,000 men dead in one night if there were 300,000 families in that counrty, and you did not help your god! and you didn't give us this fertile country which couldn't be defended! you made us leave Eygpt like thieves and cowards to perish in the desert, between the precipices and the mountians! You could at least had led is to direct route to this land of Canaan to which we have not right, which you promised us, and which we haven't yet been able to enter.
'It would have been reasonable for us to travel for the land of Goshen along the Mediterranean to Trye and Sidon. But you made us cross almost the whole of the isthmus of Suez, you made us re-enter Egypt, go beyond Memphis, and we are now at Baal_Zephon, or the shore of the Red Sea, turning our backs to the land of Canaan, having walked eighty leagues in the Egypt we wanted to avoid, and finally close to perishing between the sea and Pharaoh's army!
'Had you wanted to deliver us to our enemies would you have taken another route and other measures? You say that god saved us by a miracle, the sea parted to let us pass, but after such a favour should we have been made to die of hunger and weariness in the horrible deserts of Etam, Kadesh-barnea, Marah, Elim, Horeb and Sinai? All our fathers perish in these frightful solitudes, and forty years later you tell us that god took particular care of our fathers!'
That is what these grumbling Jews, these unjust children of Jewish vagabonds who dies in the desert, could have said to Moses, if he had read them Exodus and Genesis. And what would they not have done and said when he came to the golden calf? 'What! you dare to tell us that your brother made a golden calf for our fathers when you were with god on the mountain, you who tell once that you spoke with god face to face, and then that you saw him from behind! Still, you were with this god, and your brother moulded a golden calf in a single day and gave him to us to worship; and, instead of punishing your unworthy brother, you make him our pontiff, and you order your Levites to butcher 23,000 men of your people! Would our fathers have tolerated victims by bloodthirsty priests? You tell us that, not satisfied with this incredible butchery, you had another 24,000 of your wretched followers massacred because one of them had gone to bed with a Midianite, although you yourself married a Midianite. And you add that you're the kindest of men! A few more examples of this kindness and nobody would have been left!
'No, had you been capable of such cruelty, had you been able to practice it, you would have been the most barbarous of all men, and no suffering would have sufficed to expiate so strange a crime.'
These more or less, are the objections made by scholars to those who think that Moses is the author of the Pentateuch. But they are answered that the ways of god are not those of men; that god tested, led and abandoned his people out of a wisdom unknown to us; that the Jews themselves have believed for more than 2,000 years that Moses is the author of these books, that the church which succeeded the synagogue, and which is also infallible, has settled this point of the controversy, and that learned men should be silent when the church speaks.
Several learned men have held that the Pentateuch could not have been written by Moses.
Was there really a Moses? If a man who gave orders to the whole of nature had really existed among the Egyptians, would not have such prodigious events have played a leading part in the history of Egypt? Would not Sanchoniathon, Manetho, Megasthenes, Herodotus have spoken of him? The historian Joesephus collected all possible evidence in favour of the Jews. He dared not say that any of the authors whom he cited had said a single word about the miracles of Moses. Really! the Nile was changed to blood, an angel slaughtered all of the first born in Egypt, the sea parted , its waters were suspended on the right and left, and no author mentioned it! and all of the nations forgot these prodigies! and only a little barbaric nation of slaves told us these stories, thousands of years after the event!
Who then was this Moses who was unknown to the whole world until the moment Ptolemy had the curiousity to have the writings of Jews translated into Greek? For many centuries oriental fables attributed everything to Bacchus that the Jews have said about Moses. Bacchus had crossed the Red Sea on dry feet, Bacchus had changed the waters into blood, Bacchus had every day worked miracles with his rod. All of these events were sung in the Bacchus orgies before there was the slightest intercourse with the Jews, before it was known that these wretched people had books. It is not probable in the highest degree that this people, so new, wandering for so long, so recently known, established so late in Palestine, took over the Phoenician fables with the Phoenician language, and embroidered them still further , as do all crude imitators? So poor a people, so ignorant, so unaware of all the arts, could it do anything but copy its neighbors? Is it not well known that everything was Phoenician, even to the name of Adonai, Ihaho, Elohi or Eloa which means god in the Jewish nation?