A Debate With Josh Bowen, PhD, Regarding The Source Of The Pentateuch

In my own scholarship of the Bible I have often been surprised by the source of many debates that I have with people. Today was one of those surprise encounters. Dr. Josh Bowen is described as a scholar of the Pentateuch, asserting that Moses in not the author of the first five books of the Bible.

The following is Dr. Bowen’s description of himself found at Amazon:

“Dr. Joshua Bowen graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 2017, with a Ph.D. in Assyriology. He wrote his dissertation on the lamentational liturgies of the city of Kiš, and specializes in the Sumerian language. Joshua was awarded the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (D.A.A.D.) and Fulbright scholarship during the 2014-2015 academic year, allowing him to spend the year in Tubingen, Germany, working with Dr. Konrad Volk on his dissertation project.”

Like myself, Dr. Bowen frequents the discussions at Twitter, and attempts to answer questions and pose questions regarding the Bible. Dr. Bowen has done his due diligence and has earned his academic credentials. For this we owe him respect.

Concerning the Bible, Dr. Bowen and I, do not agree

On Saturday, March 19, 2022, I received a question from Josh regarding a post at Twitter that I made earlier in the morning, as follows:

“In Deuteronomy 32:48-50, God told Moses he was going to die, to prepare himself. Moses writes his own obituary in Deuteronomy 34:1-5. It’s no mystery how Moses was able to write about his own death. He recorded it before he died.”

Josh apparently saw my post and presented the following question to me:

Dr. Josh

“Can you think of any Pentateuchal specialists that would agree with you?”

My answer was the following:

“If you are describing Source Criticism, this remains a fractured field. Predominately Source-critical studies have conjectured that there is a probability that the current Pentateuch/Hexateuch insinuates multiple sources, but this posit has never been proven conclusively.”

Josh responded:

“Your failure to reference any Pentateuchal specialist is telling to me. Interesting.” *specialists

The following was my question presented to Dr. Bowen:

“Let me ask you a question: do you believe the God of the Bible exists?”

Josh responded:

“I do not.”

“Can’t wait to see where this question is leading 🙄”

My response and the follow up to my question:

“I asked you this question because your view of whether the Biblical God exists, determines your Cognitive Bias. Critical Scholarship is not inherently biased, but many scholars are. Every human being is capable of cognitive prejudice. People tend to choose their preferred conclusions and then justify their choices by often fallacious and unprovable assertions.

You, not believing that God exists, have chosen a hypothesis to explain the Pentateuch that fits that bias. Although this hypothesis cannot be proven conclusively, you reject the simple exegesis of the text themselves.

You incorrectly assert these suppositions upon unsuspecting readers, as established facts, when they are not. The evidence presented by the extant manuscript evidence for these texts, impeaches your hypothesis.”

Dr. Bowen responded:

“Good one. People have biases. Awaiting the logical progression to your fringe position being shown to be the most plausible.”

My answer:

“If your hypothesis cannot be conclusively used to explain the Pentateuch, why is the extant manuscript evidence of the actual texts, not evidence that Moses is the author?”

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To this question, there was no response from Dr. Bowen.

At the time of publication for this essay, there was no response.

The reason I asked the esteemed Doctor this question is because, what he and his other atheist colleagues are using to assert that Moses is not the author of the Pentateuch, when the extant manuscript evidence from antiquity, proves Moses wrote these texts, Bowen’s hypothesis does not prove Moses is not the author.

The entire supposition that is asserted by Bowen, comes from his Cognitive Bias that God does not exist, therefore, the Bible is not the Word of God. This view further causes the error that Moses is not the author of the Torah, causing the people who read their comments to believe the Bible is flawed and cannot be trusted.

The actual physical evidence of the surviving manuscript evidence for the Torah, proves that Moses is the true author. The Hebrew scholars of the first century have written extensively that Moses is the author. Only modern atheist scholars today, assert that Moses is not the writer of these texts, but four other unknown persons wrote the first five books of the Bible.

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If the hypothesis that Dr. Bowen is relying upon to prove Moses did not write the Torah is correct, how do you explain that preeminent Hebrew scholars in the first century, didn’t know this?

Josh Bowen and his colleagues use this hypothesis in an attempt to impugn the reliability and truth of the Hebrew Bible, which causes the entire 66 books of the Old and New Testament to be called into question. The problem for these scholars is that their hypothesis is just their opinions, their conjecture, their speculation.

Dr. Bowen has written several books where he alleges that texts from the Old Testament are flawed. This brief encounter with Josh Bowen demonstrates that he is biased, and not honest in his conclusions. The actual extant texts of the first five books of the Bible, are archeological, historical evidence that demonstrates, Josh Bowen’s conclusions about the Old Testament are flawed.

There is not a single citation in the historical record made by any Hebrew scholar, before the seventeenth century, that claims Moses is not the author of the Pentateuch. This is a modern fabrication made by atheists that exists with absolutely no evidence whatsoever to prove it is true.

If Dr. Bowen would like to continue this debate with me, he can post his arguments at the end of this essay:

UPDATE: April 25, 2022. Josh Bowen never returned to continue this debate.

Categories: Archeological Confirmation, Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics, Bible, Common objections by Atheists, Controversy, Destruction of the Canaanites, Exegesis and Hermeneutics, Inability to perceive evidence for God, Jesus is God, Jesus is the Messiah, Josh Bowen, Literary authenticity of the New Testament, Principles of Biblical Interpretation, Reliability of the Bible, Robert Clifton Robinson, Why God Allows Evil

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6 replies

  1. Really! What difference does it make as to authorship? The Bible is the Divine work and Word of God!


  2. Dear Mr. Robinson,

    Your rebuttal to Charles Branz made my day today. It was nice to read that you,
    having biblical acumen, refer to the possibility/probability of divine
    intervention as early as this year. Yes, The Rapture is upon us imminently.

    What you are actually indicating is that people shouldn’t be squabbling about something that
    really doesn’t address their own unbelief problems. The people who deny Moses, etc.,
    are smoke-screening their own inability to address their personal faith in God.

    To the atheists: The human brain produces brain wavelengths. Just because we can’t see
    them doesn’t mean our brains aren’t functioning. It’s the same with God.

    Steve Rodak

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What really makes the difference who is right? It all comes down to salvation, that comes ONLY through Jesus Christ!
    1What do you believe?
    2Why do you believe what you believe?
    3Where do you get your information?
    4How do you know it’s true?


    • Charles.

      For people who already believe and have no doubts about their faith, you are right, these discussions are not that important. For people struggling to believe under the mountain of lies purported today by atheists, it matters tremendously.

      I have been teaching the entire Bible for over four decades, and up until the last ten years, there was not much opposition from critics. They really didn’t care what people believed. Most people understood that the Bible is the Word of God, and that Jesus is who He claimed to be in the New Testament. In the last decade the world has fallen into rebellion and unbelief.

      Paul wrote to Timothy about the days we are living, and told him: “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.” ~2 Timothy 3:1-4

      I have not seen the evil, rebellion, vile behavior, and total disregard for God and the Bible, that I am seeing and hearing today. The Gospel is under attack and although the Lord said that He does not need us to defend Him, He is certainly pleased when our love propels us to defend the Gospel. Jude wrote that he wanted to address other issues when he penned his letter, but at that time, there was also a need to defend the Gospel.

      The world is filled with men and women who obtain a PhD in Biblical studies, only to use that title to try and dismantle the integrity and reliability of the Bible. For two thousand years the Bible has been trusted, relied upon, honored, and respected. Today, it is reviled, disrespected, and regarded as untrue by critics. The truth and reliability of the Bible hasn’t changed, but the hearts of people have changed.

      My role was formerly to teach the Bible to students. I have had to change my role in my older years, to teaching people how to defend the historical reliability of the scriptures. This necessitates debate with atheists on occasion. Those who are cordial and willing to talk honestly about the subject, I will engage with.

      Josh Bowen is a young man who achieved an academic status, but he was taught incorrectly that Source Criticism is the appropriate method for evaluating the Bible. It is not. As believers we acknowledge what God said about His word; it is perfect, has no need of human critique, or alteration. God gave it to us to be read, studied, believed and lived. And in some cases when it comes under attack, defended.

      There is no evidence anywhere that the Bible is not all true; only the opinions of critics who assert it is not true, but provide no evidence to validate their claims.

      From the look of things in the world today, we are very likely in the last days of the last days. I believe that Russia will move further into Europe and draw in the NATO nations, along with the United States, into a global war. This war will not be like former wars where conventional tactical weapons are used. Putin is obviously fully under the control of satan now, and it has always been the desire of satan to destroy the world.

      In the Old Testament, satan is called “the destroyer.” It is certain that we have seen his work already through Putin and this is only going to get worse. God will not allow man to destroy the world by a nuclear war, because He has already told us that Jesus will destroy the heavens and the earth, at the end of His one thousand year reign on earth. This will take place immediately after the seven year Tribulation.

      This present conflict, in my opinion, may lead us to a war that will include the exchange of ballistic nuclear weapons. It takes less than 10 minutes now, to destroy the entire world, once hypersonic ballistic nuclear weapons are mutually launched. I think this war will likely bring the entire world to that point by the end of August of 2022.

      Before the hour when the war will become nuclear and the earth will be destroyed, Jesus will appear, as He promised, as Paul told us He would, and remove everyone who loves Jesus and waits for His return.

      If a billion people suddenly disappear from earth, all war will stop, and the world will pause to consider what has just happened.

      I have studied, researched, lectured, taught, and published books about the days we are living. Certain specific events were necessary before we could really be in the last of the last days. If the Lord does not return now, and this is possible, then whenever He does decide to come, He will have to recreate the exact same events we are seeing now.

      I don’t think it is likely that these same events will ever happen again. I could be wrong, because we don’t know the day or the hour, only the signs that we see, but September-October, during Rosh-Hashanah, would be a prime time for Jesus to take His church home. I wrote a few books about this event, as it is tied to the seven feasts of Israel. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the first four feasts at His first arrival on earth. The final three will be fulfilled at His return. The next event is the Feast of Trumpets, that takes place later this year.

      The people who don’t believe the Bible, or that Jesus will come again, will scoff at this and continue to live their lives. I am sure that my critics will have a field day with this post. We are at the precipice. I have never seen events like those we are seeing now. I think we are near the end of this present world.

      So in answer to your question as to whether this debate is really that important; I think it is. Time is short, the Day of the Lord is at hand, the coming of Jesus is nearer now that it has ever been. So, yes, it is important that we defend the Gospel and prove the Bible is true, till the last day.



  4. Hy,
    did he really not respond or did you delete his respond like you are deleting my question that you willingly refuse to answer?



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