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Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Friedman
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Who Wrote the Bible? (original 1987; edition 1989)

by Richard Friedman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,381228,980 (4.04)22
The contemporary classic theNew York Times Book Review called "a thought-provoking [and] perceptive guide," Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard E. Friedman is a fascinating, intellectual, yet highly readable analysis and investigation into the authorship of the Old Testament. The author of Commentary on the Torah, Friedman delves deeply into the history of the Bible in a scholarly work that is as exciting and surprising as a good detective novel. Who Wrote the Bible? is enlightening, riveting, an important contribution to religious literature, and as the Los Angeles Times aptly observed in its rave review, "There is no other book like this one."… (more)
Member:break
Title:Who Wrote the Bible?
Authors:Richard Friedman
Info:Harpercollins (1989), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Judaica, Your library
Rating:
Tags:judaica

Work details

Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliott Friedman (1987)

  1. 20
    Holy Bible - Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) by Wartburg Project (lhungsbe)
    lhungsbe: My go-to version of the Bible. No additions or deletions. Easy to read.
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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This book was absolutely fascinating, and also very well-written!! It deserves a place on the bookshelf of any serious student of Biblical or even just ancient near-eastern history, imho.

Five authors: the J, E, P, D and R are found in a great summary of modern Higher Literary criticism of the Biblical texts known to Christians as the Old Testament, and just the Bible or TNaCH to Jewish readers. The J and E are roughly contemporary, from the time of the Northern kingdom and the Kingdom of Yehuda (Solomon's kids southern kingdom): J=Jehovah vs E for Elohim via the Hebrew names for God: two ancient texts combined into one. The P was a priestly document which accounts for the various 'where he shall place his name' lines coming up seemingly randomly in sacrifce laws, D=Deuteronomist, and the Redactor edited it all together into one document, apparently without dropping a line, and coherent enough to inspire a national narrative going forward after the Babylonian exile! Now that is beautiful genius!

Overall, I found it reassuring that various groups of writers show different but clear motivations for writing the books that began as separate works. It was quite interesting to see why and when those books could have been combined due to changing historical circumstances.

It was also surprising for me to learn of the Judean refugees in Egypt. But this does explain the presence of the Jewish mercenaries on the Nile island of Elephantine. I loved his phrase on page 144: "from Egypt to Egypt" and also possibly related to that is a reference on page 146 that I must look up: Baba Batra 15a from the Talmud Bavli (I just found this note with no other context... but here is a source ref: https://www.sefaria.org/Bava_Batra.15a ).

I found it thrilling to see the idea of Jeremiah as writing Deuteronomy, and of Ezra or his scribe Baruch as the redactor. These findings closed for me what had previously been gaping wounds based on my own problems with the inconsistencies within the Biblical texts. Now I can read and study these texts in the knowledge that it is no secret that these writings were put together for a purpose by multiple people, yet serve a purpose greater perhaps than even the redactor himself could have forseen at the time. Hope, inspiration and magnificence all come from the pages written and redated into one whole, and this is an amazing example of the Divinity that human cooperation can produce.
27 June, 12017 HE
(Holocene or Human Era)
Shira ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
The contemporary classic the New York Times Book Review called “a thought-provoking [and] perceptive guide,” Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard E. Friedman is a fascinating, intellectual, yet highly readable analysis and investigation into the authorship of the Old Testament. The author of Commentary on the Torah, Friedman delves deeply into the history of the Bible in a scholarly work that is as exciting and surprising as a good detective novel. Who Wrote the Bible? is enlightening, riveting, an important contribution to religious literature, and as the Los Angeles Times aptly observed in its rave review, “There is no other book like this one.”
  StFrancisofAssisi | Apr 29, 2019 |
This book was absolutely fascinating, and also very well-written!! It deserves a place on the bookshelf of any serious student of Biblical or even just ancient near-eastern history, imho.

Five authors: the J, E, P, D and R are found in a great summary of modern Higher Literary criticism of the Biblical texts known to Christians as the Old Testament, and just the Bible or TNaCH to Jewish readers. The J and E are roughly contemporary, from the time of the Northern kingdom and the Kingdom of Yehuda (Solomon's kids southern kingdom): J=Jehovah vs E for Elohim via the Hebrew names for God: two ancient texts combined into one. The P was a priestly document which accounts for the various 'where he shall place his name' lines coming up seemingly randomly in sacrifce laws, D=Deuteronomist, and the Redactor edited it all together into one document, apparently without dropping a line, and coherent enough to inspire a national narrative going forward after the Babylonian exile! Now that is beautiful genius!

Overall, I found it reassuring that various groups of writers show different but clear motivations for writing the books that began as separate works. It was quite interesting to see why and when those books could have been combined due to changing historical circumstances.

It was also surprising for me to learn of the Judean refugees in Egypt. But this does explain the presence of the Jewish mercenaries on the Nile island of Elephantine. I loved his phrase on page 144: "from Egypt to Egypt" and also possibly related to that is a reference on page 146 that I must look up: Baba Batra 15a from the Talmud Bavli (I just found this note with no other context... but here is a source ref: https://www.sefaria.org/Bava_Batra.15a ).

I found it thrilling to see the idea of Jeremiah as writing Deuteronomy, and of Ezra or his scribe Baruch as the redactor. These findings closed for me what had previously been gaping wounds based on my own problems with the inconsistencies within the Biblical texts. Now I can read and study these texts in the knowledge that it is no secret that these writings were put together for a purpose by multiple people, yet serve a purpose greater perhaps than even the redactor himself could have forseen at the time. Hope, inspiration and magnificence all come from the pages written and redated into one whole, and this is an amazing example of the Divinity that human cooperation can produce.
27 June, 12017 HE
(Holocene or Human Era)
Shira ( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
Excellent book. Wonderfully researched. Can be enjoyed by believers and non-believers alike. ( )
  jameshold | Jul 22, 2017 |
The contemporary classic the New York Times Book Review called “a thought-provoking [and] perceptive guide,” Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard E. Friedman is a fascinating, intellectual, yet highly readable analysis and investigation into the authorship of the Old Testament. The author of Commentary on the Torah, Friedman delves deeply into the history of the Bible in a scholarly work that is as exciting and surprising as a good detective novel. Who Wrote the Bible? is enlightening, riveting, an important contribution to religious literature, and as the Los Angeles Times aptly observed in its rave review, “There is no other book like this one.”
  tony_sturges | Jul 18, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
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This book is dedicated to
Reva A. Friedman and Laraine Friedman Linn,
with love.
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People have been reading the Bible for nearly two thousand years.
Quotations
La questione della paternità della Bibbia è menzionata in quasi tutte le introduzioni all'Antico e al Nuovo Testamento, in centinaia di commentari al testo e nella maggior parte dei corsi sulla Bibbia tenuti presso le università e i seminari. Tuttavia, se sono in molti ad avere quanto meno sentito nominare le teorie evoluzionistiche e le scienze geologiche in relazione al problema dell'età della terra, non si può dire lo stesso a proposito del dibattito sugli autori biblici. Il fenomeno si spiega, almeno in parte, con la mancanza in questo campo di scoperte sensazionali paragonabili a quelle di Darwin alle Galapagos o al ritrovamento nelle grotte di Qumran dei cosiddetti "rotoli del Mr Morto". Il progresso degli studi si deve piuttosto a lunghe e pazienti ricerche che nel corso di molti secoli hanno man mano giustapposto i tasselli di un grande mosaico, pochi dei quali hanno fatto notizia. Ma la parte di mosaico oggi ricostruita rivela finalmente la fisionomia degli artefici della Bibbia, e credo che sia importante mette a parte di questa scoperta un pubblico più vasto.
In qualunque modo si voglia interpretare la Bibbia - come opera letteraria, testo religioso, fonte storica, raccolta di massime morali (una scelta che già comporta una selezione di pubblico) - l'assenza dell'autore ci sottrae il nostro principale interlocutore.
L'insegnamento della letteratura prevede di norma alcune notizie biografiche e, se si escludono le analisi teoriche più avanzate, il rapporto tra la vita di un autore e la realtà descritta nelle sue opere è ritenuto un elemento di rilievo. [...]
È sorprendente che nel caso della Bibbia queste informazioni siano sempre state largamente deficitarie, anche a prezzo dell'intelligibilità del testo. Se, ad esempio, non siamo in grado di attribuire un certo racconto biblico a un secolo preciso, come dovremo interpretare quelle espressioni che assumono significati diversi a seconda del periodo. L'autore è stato testimone oculare dei fatti che racconta? Se non è così, come si è formato un'idea di ciò che è accaduto: attraverso fonti scritte, per rivelazione divina, creando egli stesso la storia o in quale altro modo? In che misura gli avvenimenti della vita contemporanea hanno influenzato la narrazione? La storia doveva avere fin dall'inizio il valore di Libro, sacro e autoritativo?
Rispondere a queste domande è importante per comprendere il significato del testo all'interno del suo stesso mondo, ma risalire all'identità degli autori e alle forze che l'hanno prodotto apre la via a una nuova e più ricca interpretazione moderna, di grande interesse per i credenti come per i non-credenti.
... il conflitto tra re e sacerdoti e tra pretendenti al trono che si prospetta già durante il primo stadio della storia israelitica, avrebbe assunto un ruolo decisivo nel processo di scrittura del testo biblico.
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