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According to traditional Jewish thought, who authored the twenty-four books of the Tanach?

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According to the Talmud (Bava Basra 14b-15a), the authors were the following (order based on the Gemara there):

  • Torah (Pentateuch) - Moshe (Perhaps Yehoshua wrote the last 8 Pesukim)
  • Yehoshua (Joshua) - Yehoshua (Finished by Elazar Ben Aharon and Pinchas)
  • Shoftim (Judges) - Shemuel
  • Shemuel (Samuel) - Shemuel (Finished by Gad Hachozeh and Nasan Hanavi)
  • Melachim (Kings) - Yirmiyah
  • Yirmiyah (Jeremiah) - Yirmiyah
  • Yechezkel (Ezekiel) - Anshei Kenesses Hagedolah
  • Yeshaya (Isaiah) - Chizkiyah et al.
  • Sheneim Asar (12 Minor Prophets) - Anshei Kenesses Hagedolah
  • Rus (Ruth) - Shemuel
  • Tehillim (Psalms) - David and various prior authors ("10 Elders")
  • Iyov (Job) - Moshe
  • Mishlei (Proverbs) - Chizkiyah et al.
  • Koheles (Ecclesiastes) - Chizkiyah et al.
  • Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs) - Chizkiyah et al.
  • Eichah (Lamentations) - Yirmiyah
  • Daniel - Anshei Kenesses Hagedolah
  • Esther - Anshei Kenesses Hagedolah
  • Ezra - Ezra
  • Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles) - Ezra and Nechemia
  • (Nechemia (Nehemiah) - Nechemia)

Note that these attributions are not absolute in the Jewish tradition, and there are various other (acceptable) opinions. For some further reading about this I would suggest Abarbanel's Introduction to Yehoshua, where he discusses this Talmudic passage at length. See also the Rishonim and Acharonim on this Gemara, which refine some of the Gemara's statements (e.g. what Chizkiyah actually wrote).

  • Slight amendment to who wrote the Torah - There's a dispute regarding the last parsha about Moshe's death. Some say it was Yehoshu'a, some say it was Moshe. Similar ideas would occur with verses that seem out of place, for example, the 2nd to last verse in parshat hamahn (manna) that mentions that they ate the mahn for 40 years. That could not have been written by Moshe exactly at the time that the mahn first fell. – DanF Feb 1 '18 at 16:00
  • Re - Shmuel writing his own book - How is that possible considering that the majority of both books mention events occurring after his death? Re Mishlei, Kohellet and Shir Hashirim - I thought they were all written by Shlomo (King Solomon). Esther - not written by Mordechai and Esther? – DanF Feb 1 '18 at 16:01
  • @DanF feel free to edit in the "final 8 Pesukim" comment (if I don't first...). However, even if you are correct about the other Pesukim (which is very likely), Chazal don't say that here, and I would consider alternate authorship of those not "traditional Jewish thought". Re: the other authors of those books, I'll try to edit now based on the continuation of the Gemara, which takes some of your points into account – רבות מחשבות Feb 1 '18 at 16:40
  • @DanF for Mishlei, Koheles, Shir Hashirim, and Esther, they all seem to be narrations of what happened/had been said by the people you mentioned, which could mean that the content was from earlier, but was rewritten somewhat by those later authors (Anshei Knh"G/Chizkiyah Vesa'yaso). – רבות מחשבות Feb 1 '18 at 16:46
  • While this source is certainly the most famous one in "the velt", it is a) not really an accurate answer regarding authorship, more like redaction b) doesn't take the rest of the gemara into account, and c) isn't even universally agreed upon. I can't vote this up. It's almost misleading sitting here unqualified. – Double AA Feb 1 '18 at 16:48
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The Babylonian Talmud (Bava Batra 14b, 15a) informs us who wrote each book in the Tanach.

You can refer to both the Talmudic citations I've linked to or this handy chart I made.

  • While this source is certainly the most famous one in "the velt", it is a) not really an accurate answer regarding authorship, more like redaction b) doesn't take the rest of the gemara into account, and c) isn't even universally agreed upon. I can't vote this up. It's almost misleading sitting here unqualified. – Double AA Feb 1 '18 at 16:49

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