Interesting post at the New Chronology Yahoo Group by John Davis – talking about a TV programme featuring David Rohl.
Rohl suggested Moses used the newly developed proto-Sinaitic script to write down the Ten Commandments and to collate various Hebrew oral traditions in what we now know as Genesis. In the early 20th century, long before David Rohl was a twinkle in his mother's eye, British diplomat and amateur archaeologist PJ Wisemen proposed a similar idea. It was later taken up by his son Donald Wiseman, archaeologist and academic. He argued that the literary structure of Genesis ascribed to Moses may have been transcribing existing cuneiform documents into the new script, as opposed to drawing on oral traditions.
When you think about it that is a more logical deduction – but we do not necessarily have to agree the scribe involved was Moses. Wiseman said that each section of Genesis began, 'these are the generations of …' (Noah, Moses, Terah, Ishmael, Isaac etc). These, he thought, read like a colophon ending each tablet in a cuneiform series, referencing the author as the original name of each tablet. Each section of Genesis could have been written by a family member named in the colophon. The modern problem for the Bible reader today, Wiseman added, is that most translations put the colophon at the beginning of each section – which does not make good sense of the text. In other words, when somebody says oral traditions lie at the root of the layout of Genesis an entirely false impression is given whereas if the forerunner was cuneiform texts this provides proof of the antiquity of the Books of Moses. Cuneiform remained in use in Assyro-Babylonia all the way up to the Exile so we are not necessary talking about a long time ago – on the face of it. However, if Hebrew and Phoenician script was a commonality in the Levant during the Iron Age as a whole this suggested the cuneiform tablets involved belong to the Bronze Ages. Is this the reason why Wiseman's thoughts are not often aired nowadays? Was the text of Genesis in existence before Sinaitic scripts were in common use and if so what does this mean for a revision of history?