The complexities of biblical (and extrabiblical) authorship

John has a great post over at Ancient Hebrew Poetry working through the subtleties and (in)appropriateness of the term “pseudepigraphic.”  This is a very thoughtful approach and reminded me of the chapter “Authorship in Antiquity: Practice and Perception” in Karel Van Der Toorn’s book, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible.

I’ll need to reread the post a few more times (as well as Van Der Toorn’s chapter), but I think he’s presented a very helpful rubric for use in framing this discussion!


4 Replies to “The complexities of biblical (and extrabiblical) authorship”

  1. And I’m going to have to read or reread (I can’t remember which) the chapter in van der Toorn’s book you refer to. It’s just an arm’s length away is my study here in church.


  2. Van Der Toorn really seems to do a good job of noting the many anachronisms that we tend to impose upon ancient writers when we talk about attribution of authorship. His description of the relationship between the community and the individual in ancient writing, as well as his comments about the present-day idea of “intellectual property” (often retrojected to ancient Israel) were really helpful!


    1. Andrew – if you get a second over break, I’d love to see a few quotes from Van Der Toorn. Others might as well. Sounds good!



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