Section 1: Origins -- Genesis 1-11
The first 5 books of the Old Testament constitute the Pentateuch ("5 scrolls"), or in the Hebrew Bible, the Torah. They cover the time period from Creation till the death of Moses. We are not going to recount the entire contents of these Scriptures, only the portions that deal with topics of race or God's people. Each book will be considered separately, and then we will summarize the Pentateuch's teachings on race.
There is endless controversy as to the date and authorship of the Pentateuch, of its oral and written sources. Conservative believers ascribe most of the books to Moses in the 15th C BC, while modern critics trace them to multiple sources of varying antiquity, but assembled as late as the 5th C BC. This is a spread of nearly 1000 years! This scholarly dispute is outside the scope of this course, but it should be observed that those who propose the more recent dates are also most likely to hold a low value of the accuracy of the texts. The Bible is considered to be a collection of "stories," legends, or even "myths."
This course is not a critical study of the Bible, and we uphold the divine authorship of these books. Though we cannot definitely ascribe them all to Moses, yet we believe in their antiquity, accuracy and authority. If this were not so, what reason would we have to obey the Bible's teachings on race?