Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Review: Who Wrote The Bible

Richard Friedman's Who Wrote The Bible is an absolutely fascinating read. Richard gives the laymen a view into the word of textual analysis that's been done against the Torah (Old Testament), and essentially outlines the 5 individuals who he believes wrote it. He even goes so far as to name the people when possible.

The whole notion that 5 people put the Torah together, is viewed by some, as being completely heretical. However, the evidence that he provides is both strong, and quite sensible. For example, he suggests that stories like Noah's Ark are actually the combination of two author's stories. He's able to separate the two on the page (rendering one in regular font, the other in italic) - and the fact is, the two stories read quite sensibly.

If you're at all familiar with the bible, I think you'll really enjoy reading this book. Sure, it may challenge some of your beliefs, but no more than say taking a Biology course has to challenge your belief that G-d created you. Friedman is aware that what he's discussing will come across as potentially diminishing to Jews, Christians and Muslims, but I think he does a great job of showing respect here.

Ignorance isn't the answer - just like Jews don't need to fear scientists, they certainly don't need to fear linguists. If anything, your appreciation for the Bible will probably increase when you consider the remarkable way Friedman suggests it was constructed.

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