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Mosaic Discourse

How the Concept of Mosaic Authorship Developed

In the Persian period, the Torah, which is made up of various law collections, was ascribed to Moses as revealed by YHWH. A parallel development was taking place in Achaemenid Persia that sheds light on this process: The sacred texts called the Avesta, that contain the law​​ (dāta) and tradition (daēnā) of Zoroastrianism​, were being collectively ascribed to Zarathustra (Zoroaster) as revealed by Ahuramazdā.

Dr. Rabbi

Yishai Kiel



The Ancient Practice of Attributing Texts and Ideas to Moses

Ancient scribes would write as if Moses was the author, or they would claim that a tradition was originally stated by Moses, but they did not intend to convey a historical fact with this description. Instead, they meant that a given tradition was “authentically” Jewish, or God’s will and that Moses would have approved. I call this phenomenon “Mosaic Discourse.”


Hindy Najman



The Wood Offering Celebration – “As Written in the Torah”

Bringing wood for the altar was an important celebration in Second Temple times. To ground this practice in the Torah, Nehemiah (10:35) describes it as a Torah law, while the Temple Scroll (11Q19) and the Reworked Pentateuch (4Q365) include it in their biblical festival calendar.


Alex P. Jassen



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