We’re studying source and form criticism of the Pentateuch. Orthodox Christianity has it that Moses is the author, and it was written around 1300 BC. Super smart Germans in the late 1800s AD developed a hypothesis that super smart westerners continue to support that these first five books of the Bible are comprised of material from several sources and authors and with nefarious, political agendas anywhere from 1100 BC to 500 BC.
First question: Does it really matter? Yes. One illustration of why it matters–Jesus of Nazareth is recorded as saying “As Moses wrote…” Things start crumbling if Jesus Christ lied.
Second question: Is humility a virtue (and therefore worth aspiring toward)? Much of the doctrine of this school revolves around orienting the student’s focus during our lifetimes. Are we to be centered on the human or God? Boldly claiming that despite the fact that there is no empirical evidence confirming the “documentary hypothesis” and millenia of tradition rejecting it that you are confident that Moses did not write the Pentateuch is a “human” or a “self-centered” perspective. On the other hand, concluding that while it’s important to account for the Pentateuch’s claims against the archaeological record, a spirit of humility in the concession that thousands of years of tradition probably counts as passing the test of time is “God” centered.
There seems to be a undertone that only academically incapable minds would reasonably conclude humility is the best course. But I’ve been going to school with you, living with you, and listening to you for a total of thirty-four years now. And I’ve out-performed all but the brightest of you–when I’ve cared to–according to the ways we sinners have developed to measure such things. And yet I hear most of you questioning my academic prowess in my confession of humility and vote for “God” centered-ness.
Just a passing thought that intrigued me during class today. On to the opening pages of A New Catholic Catechism and not enough sleep. Wish me luck.