It was first thought that Moses was the main author of the Pentateuch (Ex - Deut) as he would have been a firsthand witness to most events. Today, however, it is commonly known that he most probably was not the author. Scholars have been analising the text of the Old Testament for decades and now attribute the scriptures to a variety of sources. "Many scribes had a hand in producing the book over time. not the author." (Witherup, 1989, p. 55)
Upon close examination, four main sources were determined to be authors of the Pentateuch with three of these sources attributing to the book of Exodus. These distinctions have been pointed out in a variety of texts which recognise these sources as 'Yahwist', 'Elohist' and 'Priestly' all abreviated to J, E and P traditions respectively (Boadt, 1984; Brown et al., 1989, 1992; Browning, 1996; Crotty, 2003; Dillard & Longman, 1984). Each letter represents an individual or group of writers. Brown et al. (1989) further state that "Another telling arguement was the recognition of doublets (the same event related twice), such as the call of Moses (Ex 3, 6)" (p. 4) The different vocabulary and names used and the varying of style and content within the Pentateuch also points to different authorship. This distinction between these different sources came about by looking at the scriptures, breaking down the text which " attemps to get behind the existing final form to what existed before. Thus, one can isolate certain literary forms, whether in oral or written tradition, which have been incorporated into the larger framework." (Brown et al., 1992, p. 13)

The events of the Exodus were around 1250BC therefore we can assume that the Pharaoh mentioned in this book is that of Rameses II as he was ruler of Egypt during this time in history (1279 - 1213/2BC). (Witherup, 1998)

Being that the Pentateuch is the only source of information (Browning, 1996) as there isn't any evidence that the Exodus occured, outside the Bible (Crotty, 2003), the estimation of when the book of Exodus was written is based the Priestly tradition. "The Book of Exodus reached it's present final form during the sixth century exile or soon thereafter, with the final shaping of the Priestly tradition." (Keck, 1994, p. 680) The writing of the Exodus developed between the tenth and eighth centuries. (Witherup, 1989) Yahwist tradition is thought to be written in the tenth or ninth centuries BC and the Elohist tradition is thought to be developed in the ninth or eighth centuries BC (Brown et al.,1992; Browning, 1996) Overall, it is agreed that it wasn't until the time of exile that the Pentateuch was a complete Torah (book of laws).

The Yahwist tradition was thought to be written "in the south of the country" (Browning, 1996, p. 193) and Brown et al. (1989) mentions Judah. While the Elohist tradition was thought to come from an editor in Israel ( Browning, 1996) from the Northern Kingdom (Brown et al. 1989).