The Tree of Knowledge (leading to spiritual death) and the Tree of Life (which culminates as Christian salvation in Revelation) appear to be central doctrines in Christianity (since Christ ended the sin of Adam). However, my search of the Old Testament cannot find any mention of the Tree of Life, apart from in Proverbs. Wikipedia states Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, etc, are post-Exilic in origin.

Are there scholarly views that the Creation Story, including the two Trees, are post-Exilic in origin?


Note: I did find the quote below written as a comment elsewhere:

What about Ecc., the Pslms., Song of Songs, and Prov.? None of these have the same "shape". Clearly there are different genres and genres even change within the same books in some cases. In the Word Biblical Commentary series, Gordon J. Wenham notes that the syntax of Gen. 1:1-2:4 is distinctively different from normal Hebrew narrative prose and believes it is be elevated prose in the form of a Hymn that the text invites comparison with the psalms or passages such as Prov. 8:22-32 or Job 38 (Vol 1, Pg 10). Thus it appears that the "shape" is not consistent from one end of Gen. to the other. – James Shewey Oct 30 '15 at 6:12

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    The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life are in the second Genesis creation account (Gen 2:4b-31) which is certainly pre-Exilic Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


According to the so-called "Documentary hypothesis", the Torah originated from four different primary sources:

  • Yahwist (J) : written c. 950 BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah.
  • Elohist (E) : written c. 850 BCE in the northern Kingdom of Israel.
  • Deuteronomist (D) : written c. 600 BCE in Jerusalem during a period of religious reform
  • Priestly source (P) : written c. 500 BCE by Kohanim (Jewish priests) in exile in Babylon

According to Marc Brettler ("Introduction to the Torah", in the Oxford Jewish Study Bible), the redaction of the entire Torah probably took place during, and not after, the Babylonian exile.

There may be fringe or emerging views on authorship, but it seems that mainstream scholarship on Genesis does not support any claim of the book having been written or edited in whole or in part after the exile.

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    This hypothesises already been disproved and don't have any ground to back it up
    – Enoch
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 13:27

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