If Deuteronomy was the first book we know of, when and how was the rest of the Torah written? Does it have older components in it?

Here is some thinking about the dating of the Torah. Documentary Hypothesis: First, a bit about the documentary hypothesis, which is the earliest and best-known theory of authorship (besides the Moses authorship theory). Dating from the 18th and 19th century, the hypothesis argues that the Torah was written by four authors: The E author and […]

How can scholars know if biblical books were written pseudonymously? Couldn’t they have had someone write their story for them?

The answer to your “pseudonymous” question is complex and varies with the figure. For example, we suspect that the gospels were all ascribed to the apostles long after they were written. One reason for that is that you don’t see them attributed to these people until the 2nd century CE. Another is that the gospels […]

What inspired the first creators of the Bible to write down what was happening and the history behind the creation?

The answer to your question about what inspired biblical writers depends on whether you look at the creation of the text through a lens of scholarship (you can probably tell I do) or a lens of faith. Certainly Deuteronomy states that God told Moses to write down “these words” (meaning Deuteronomy or the whole Torah, […]

How do we know which disciples could read and write, or not? What other sources outside of the Bible tell us this? For example, Matthew was a tax collector before following Jesus, so would it not be reasonable to assume he could also read?

You are correct that Matthew was a thought to be a tax collector, and such people were probably able to read but not write—at the time these were separate skills. . You’ll notice, by way of illustration, that Paul dictates his letters to a trained scribe.  (Some argue that Jesus would not have been able […]