Before we dive into the various hypothesis models, it it useful to list the points that all these models (and the wider academic historical circle) are in agreement on:
- the Torah/Pentateuch is not a unified work from a single author, but is made up of sources combined over many centuries by many hands.
- the Pentateuch was not dictated to Mozes
- it is the product of a long evolutionary process
- redaction/compilation was done by several individuals over a long period of time
The disagreement over the models is solely focused on:
- the dating of the redaction and compilation moments, and
- the number of sources involved in redaction and compilation
The main models with varying sources are usually illustrated by this combined diagram:
And for most of these components we have fairly accurate dates:
- J: Yahwist (10th–9th century BCE)
- E: Elohist (9th century BCE)
- Dtr1: early (7th century BCE) Deuteronomist historian
- Dtr2: later (6th century BCE) Deuteronomist historian
- P*: Priestly (6th–5th century BCE)
- D†: Deuteronomist
- R: redactor
- DH: Deuteronomistic history (books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings)
So if your question is "when was the most recent redaction/compilation done?" it could not have been earlier than the dates for the used components. So, for example, if you follow the D† argumentation, the last redaction could not have been before the 5th century BCE.
Modern scholars generally see the completed Torah as a product of the time of the Persian Achaemenid Empire (probably 450–350 BCE), although some would place its production in the Hellenistic period (333–164 BCE), after the conquests of Alexander the Great.
Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative
By Adele Berlin
Egypt on the Pentateuch's Ideological Map