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Anonymous Bible writers

When examining the identity of the Bible writers, it’s obvious from the commentaries that many Bible books are written by anonymous people. This was acknowledged by the Bible scholars themselves. Here I will give some examples of these references showing this. How could we trust someone whom we don’t even know?.

 Genesis

“Historically, Jews and Christians alike have held that Moses was the author/compiler of the first five books of the OT. These books, known also as the Pentateuch (meaning “five-volumed book”), were referred to in Jewish tradition as the five fifths of the law (of Moses). The Bible itself suggests Mosaic authorship of Genesis, since Ac 15:1 refers to circumcision as “the custom taught by Moses,” an allusion of Ge 17. However, a certain amount of later editorial updating does appear to be indicated (see, e.g., notes on 14:14; 36:31; 47:11).(Source here)

Joshua

“It seems safe to conclude that the book, at least in its early form, dates from the beginning of the monarchy. Some think that Samuel may have had a hand in shaping or compiling the materials of the book, but in fact we are unsure who the final author or editor was. (Source here)

Judges

Although, according to tradition, Samuel wrote the book, authorship is actually uncertain.” (Source here)

1 and 2 Samuel

This redactor, according to Hummelauer, is the prophet Nathan; the work, however, can hardly be placed so early. Others attribute it to Isaias, Jeremias, Ezechias, or Esdras. None of these opinions rests on any solid ground, and we can only say that the author is unknown. (Source here)

1 and 2 Kings

There is little conclusive evidence as to the identity of the author of 1,2 Kings. Although Jewish tradition credits Jeremiah, few today accept this as likely. Whoever the author was, it is clear that he was familiar with the book of Deuteronomy — as were many of Israel’s prophets. (Source here)

1 and 2 Chronicles

“According to ancient Jewish tradition, Ezra wrote Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah (see Introduction to Ezra: Literary Form and Authorship), but this cannot be established with certainty. (Source here)

Psalms

(1) Jewish tradition is uncertain as to the authors of the Psalms. Baba Bathra (14 f) mentions ten; Pesachim (10) attributes all the Psalms to David. (2) Christian tradition is alike uncertain (Source here)

Isaiah

The canonical Book of Isaias is made up of two distinct collections of discourses, the one (chapters 1-35) called sometimes the “First Isaias”; the other (chapters 40-66) styled by many modern critics the “Deutero- (or Second) Isaias”; between these two comes a stretch of historical narrative; some authors, as Michaelis and Hengstenberg, holding with St. Jerome that the prophecies are placed in chronological order; others, like Vitringa and Jahn, in a logical order; others finally, like Gesenius, Delitzsch, Keil, think the actual order is partly logical and partly chronological. No less disagreement prevails on the question of the collector. Those who believe that Isaias is the author of all the prophecies contained in the book generally fix upon the Prophet himself. But for the critics who question the genuineness of some of the parts, the compilation is by a late and unknown collector. (Source here)

Ruth

The Book of Ruth is anonymous, for the name which it bears as its title has never been regarded otherwise than that of the chief actor in the events recorded. (Source here)

Job

“Although most of the book consists of the words of Job and his counselors, Job himself was not the author.” (Catholic Encyclopedia)

“The unknown author probably had access to oral and/or written sources….”(Source here)

 Song of Songs

“Verse 1 appears to ascribe authorship to Solomon. Solomon is referred to seven times, and several verses speak of the ‘king’, but whether he was the author remains an open question. (Source here)

Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth)

Most modern commentators are of the opinion that Qoheleth’s style points not to Solomon, but to a later writer.  (Source here)

Habakkuk

Owing chiefly to the lack of reliable external evidence, there has been in the past, and there is even now, a great diversity of opinions concerning the date to which the prophecy of Habakkuk should be ascribed. (Source here)

Malachi

A large number of modern authors likewise refuse to see in Malachi the proper name of the author. ….According to them, it is from this passage that the name Malachi was borrowed by a more recent author, who added the inscription to the book (Source here)

Matthew

The passing years do not make it any plainer who actually wrote our Greek Matthew. Papias records, as quoted by Eusebius, that Matthew wrote the Logia of Jesus in Hebrew (Aramaic). Is our present Matthew a translation of the Aramaic Logia along with Mark and other sources as most modern scholars think? If so, was the writer the Apostle Matthew or some other disciple?There is at present no way to reach a clear decision in the light of the known facts. (Source here)

Mark

“Although there is no direct internal evidence of authorship, it was the unanimous testimony of the early church that this Gospel was written by John Mark. (Source here)

Hebrews

“The writer of this letter does not identify himself, but he was obviously well known to the original recipients. (Source here)

1 John

“….Unlike most NT letters, 1 John does not tell us who its author is.  The earliest identification of him comes from the church fathers… (Source here)

Revelation (Apocalypse)

Perhaps no single book in the New Testament presents so many and so formidable problems as the Apocalypse of John. These difficulties concern the authorship, the date, the apocalyptic method, the relation to the other Johannine books, the purpose, the historical environment, the reception of the book in the New Testament canon, the use and misuse of the book through the ages, etc. In the eastern churches the recognition of the Apocalypse of John was slower than in the west, since it was not in the Peshitta Syriac Version. Caius of Rome attributed the book to Cerinthus the Gnostic, but he was ably answered by Hippolytus, who attributed it to the Apostle John. The Council of Laodicea (about a.d. 360) omitted it, but the third Council of Carthage (a.d. 397) accepted it. The dispute about millenarianism led Dionysius of Alexandria (middle of the third century, a.d.) to deny the authorship to the Apostle John, though he accepted it as canonical. Eusebius suggested a second John as the author. But finally the book was accepted in the east as Hebrews was in the west after a period of doubt. (Source here)

Epistle 2 Peter, Revelation and Hebrews:

Probably no book in the New Testament presents more unsettled problems than does the Epistle to the Hebrews. On that score it ranks with the Fourth Gospel, the Apocalypse of John, and Second Peter. But, in spite of these unsolved matters, the book takes high rank for its intellectual grasp, spiritual power, and its masterful portrayal of Christ as High Priest. It is much briefer than the Fourth Gospel, but in a sense it carries on further the exalted picture of the Risen Christ as the King-Priest who reigns and pleads for us now. (Source here)

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