Why do some evangelicals believe that Joshua could have been written as late as the Babylonian exile? Why do some believe that it was earlier than this?

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The date of the writing of the book is difficult to determine. We see that there is evidence in the book of writing during the time of Joshua. However, we also see that there is evidence in the book, internal evidence to the book, which gives some time-depth to the writing. So, the book talks about how "this has been written," and it's that way "until this day," and so we see some evidence of some type of the events happening in the past and the writing about the events at a later point in time. So, if we look at something like the story of Jericho, we see, "it's like that to this day" is there in that story, and so that helps us sort of locate what's going on and what has it been like "to this day." Or talking about the conquest of the Jebusites and saying that "the Jebusites are there to this day." And so, I think we can locate the time frame of the writing of the book possibly later, even into the times of the kings, based on what we know about when the Jebusite city of Jerusalem was conquered. And so, that's some internal evidence to the book. We also see external evidence as well, and that is the linguistic makeup of the book. And so, we see that the writing of the book, the actual written words, don't look a whole lot like the Hebrew we have that we oftentimes call early biblical Hebrew, like from the Song of the Sea, Moses' Song of the Sea, or the Song of Deborah. But we see the writing much more fits into the broader writing that we see in the Old Testament that we oftentimes refer to as the Deuteronomist history And again, those books we believe are typically dated to around the time of the kings in what we call the Iron Age II time or sometime between 900 and 600 B.C.

Answer by Dr. Chip Hardy