The Writers of the Bible – Lost Writtings

Writing on parchment paper.

Human writers had a hand in the writing in the composed of the Bible. “Seeing the voice of God in a text compiled by human hands.”

Anthology: a collection of literary work chosen by the compiler.  The Bible of course was made over the course of many centuries by different people, about 40 they say.  The earliest texts in the Bible  was dated before 1000 B.C.  (when was Job written?)

We have learned the collection was selective.  There were many other texts that the ancient Israelites and early Christians produced that we do not have today.


For example: Book of the Wars of Yahweh, lost document referred to and quoted in the Old Testament (Num. 21:14ff.). The book is probably a collection of early Israelite war  Book of the Wars of Yahweh, lost document referred to and quoted in the Old Testament (Num. 21:14ff.). The book is probably a collection of early Israelite war songs including hymns of victory, curses, mocking songs, and other literary genres recounting the victories of Yahweh, the God of Israel, over his enemies; it indicates that biblical books rely on both written and oral tradition. Similar to the Book of Jashar, the Book of the Wars of Yahweh is not identical with it, according to most scholars.

“From there they set out and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the desert and bounding the Amorite territory. For Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. That is why the Book of the Wars of the LORD says: ‘… Waheb in Suphah and the ravines of Arnon, and at the stream of the ravines that lead to the dwelling of Ar, which lies along the border of Moab.'” Numbers 21:14-15.


A work mentioned in a single passage of the Old Testament (Num. xxi. 14) in connection with the geographical position of Arnon. The title suggests that the book contained songs celebrating the victories of the Israelites led by Yhwh, and it seems, therefore, to have been similar to the Book of Jasher or possibly even identical with it, though there is no evidence to support the latter hypothesis. Modern scholars regard Num. xxi. 17-18, 27 et seq. as extracts from the same book (comp. Naḥmanides on Num. xxi. 14); and since some of the facts there mentioned refer to an epoch far subsequent to the Mosaic period, the last citation being supposed by Stade (“Gesch. des Volkes Israel,” i. 50) to refer to the time of Omri’s dynasty, the date of its composition is variously placed in the ninth century B.C. or in the reigns of David and Solomon (Reuss, “Gesch. der Heiligen Schrift,” p. 172). It must be noted, however, that the Septuagint, reading , renders the title of the book Πάλεμος τοῦ Κυρίου, and refers its contents to one particular war of Yhwh. The verse which is said to be extracted from the book is extremely obscure, and the words in particular are variously but unsatisfactorily interpreted. The Septuagint renders them τὴν Ζωὸβ ἐφλόγισε, apparently reading , which is unintelligible in meaning, though it evidently contains some allusion to Dizahab. Jerome, following Onḳelos, translated “he did,” although it rather means “he gave.” Among Jewish commentators only Ibn Ezra and Naḥmanides postulated the existence of a “Book of the Wars of Yhwh”; according to the former the work had been written before the time of Abraham. They also advanced the theory that Waheb was the name of a place where the Israelites had waged wars against their enemies. The Targumim understood “the book” to denote the “Pentateuch” and interpreted the passage as meaning: “Therefore it is said in the Book, the wars which Yhwh,” etc., while Rashi and RaSHBaM translated “in the act of narrating.” Sayce (“The Academy,” Oct. 22, 1892) follows the Targumim in the general translation of the passage, except that he adopts the Septuagint reading instead of , and he accordingly disposes of the theory that such a book ever existed.

“Book of the Just” mentioned in Jos. 10:13 (also with a quotation) and again in II Kings 1:17, etc. Actually, we have the titles of more than twenty such books, but the books themselves are lost.

Fourteen of them are contained in our New Testament. Now Paul certainly wrote more. We are not speaking of the apocryphal epistles ascribed to Paul. a third epistle written to the Corinthians after II Corinthians, an epistle to the Alexandrians, the epistolary intercourse between Paul and the Roman philosopher Seneca.[

But three passages in our Epistles clearly imply the former existence of Pauline letters now no longer extant. “I wrote to you in the letter not to associate with the immoral” (I Cor. 5: 9-11), …..

“see that. . . you yourselves read the letter, from Laodicea” (Col. 4:16),…..

and “to write you the same things indeed not irksome to me, but it is necessary for you” (Phil. 3.1).

Yet nothing more is known of a letter which Paul wrote to the Corinthians prior to I Corinthians, or of one “from Laodicea,” or of any other letter to the Philippians besides the canonical one.

That Paul must have written other letters besides the fourteen canonical ones appears from other considerations. Can we imagine that Paul never communicated with his faithful companions, such as Barnabas or Luke, the “dearest physician,” in their absence? And would it not be strange if he had never sent a line to the Philippians, who had come to his assistance from the beginning of his two-year captivity at Rome? The fact is that we have the independent testimony of St. Polycarp, who speaks of Paul’s “letters” to the Philippians


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