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Who Wrote the Bible?

A book by Richard Elliott Friedman

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Provocative title. Really great research

  • Jun 10, 2011

I grew up knowing Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, and also knowing he probably didn't write the account of his death. I grew up knowing four different people wrote the four gospels, and wondering why God didn't combine them into one. And then I read Richard Elliot Friedman's book, Who Wrote the Bible. Now I'm convinced that quite a few other people besides Moses had a hand in those first three books, and very human hands combined their various accounts into one. As a Christian, I believe those human hands and minds were guided by God. But what's fascinating about this book is seeing how those hands can be found in the text, how word-choice, topic and history combine to lead a serious researcher to serious conclusions.

At places I found myself stopping and taking notes. Now who was D again and which bit did he "write"? But that's probably me being slow to work it out. The author searches for the names of particular writers and compilers, and leads the reader on a fascinating path through linguistics and history. I'd definitely recommend this book for anyone who's curious about those "to this day"s (which day?), repeated stories and curious name-changes in the Old Testament.

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June 11, 2011
I know what you mean about growing up and being taught specific things about the Bible. This sounds like another good read.
About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth ()
Ranked #42
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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About this book


"J," "P," "E," and "D" are the names scholars have given to some authors of the Bible, and, as such, they are very important letters to a lot of people. Churches have died and been born, and millions of people have lost faith or found it, because of the last two centuries of debate about who, exactly, wrote the canonical texts of Christianity and Judaism. Richard Elliott Friedman's survey of this debate, inWho Wrote the Bible?, may be the best written popular book about this question. Without condescension or high-flown academic language, Friedman carefully describes the history of textual criticism of the Bible--a subject on which his authority is unparalleled (Friedman has contributed voluminously to the authoritativeAnchor Bible Dictionary). But this book is not just smart. Perhaps even more impressive than Friedman's erudition is his sensitivity to the power of textual criticism to influence faith.--Michael Joseph Gross
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ISBN-10: 0060630353
ISBN-13: 978-0060630355
Author: Richard Elliott Friedman
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: HarperOne
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