Aphekah - Composition

Composition

Joshua, like most of the Bible, is anonymous. The Babylonian Talmud, written in the 3rd to 5th centuries CE, was the first attempt to attach authors to the holy books: each book, according to the authors of the Talmud, was written by a prophet, and each prophet was an eyewitness of the events described, and Joshua himself wrote "the book that bears his name". This idea was already rejected as untenable by John Calvin (1509–1564), and by the time of Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) it was recognised that the book must have been written much later than the period it depicted.

There is now general agreement that Joshua was composed as part of a larger work, the Deuteronomistic history, stretching from Deuteronomy to Kings. In 1943 the German biblical scholar Martin Noth suggested that this history was composed by a single author/editor, living in the time of the Exile (6th century BCE). A major modification to Noth's theory was made in 1973 by the American scholar Frank M. Cross, to the effect that two editions of the history could be distinguished, the first and more important from the court of king Josiah in the late 7th century, and the second Noth's 6th century Exilic history. Later scholars have detected many more authors/editors than either Noth or Cross allowed for.

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