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Who Wrote the Bible? (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Richard Elliott Friedman
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Présentation de l'éditeur

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.”

Quatrième de couverture

"It is a strange fact that we have never known with certainty who produced the book that has played such a central role in our civilization," writes Friedman, a foremost Bible scholar. From this point he begins an investigation and analysis that reads as compellingly as a good detective story. Focusing on the central books of the Old Testament--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy--he draws upon biblical and archaeological evidence to make a convincing argument for the identities of their authors. In the process he paints a vivid picture of the world of the Bible--its politics, history, and personalities. The result is a marvel of scholarship that sheds a new and enriching light on our understanding of the Bible as literature, history, and sacred text.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
Par Raymond
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
The simplistic idea that the Bible is the word of God, and that every single word of it has to be trusted at face value without discussion is really very far from the real evolution of a series of epics from various origins. The Hebrew mythology has its richness, only known by dedicated analysts of the antiquity. The Book as we know it, as we have it is in fact a total remastering in one treatise, rewritten by the prophet Ezechiel and his group of priests-writers during the sixth and the fifth centuries B.C.E. to make it easier for the lay people to use for comforting their beliefs. But it definitely is a remastering of multiple origins, of myths which are now relatively well known by very few people. It is full of conflicting traditions, and its understanding is not an easy task. Especially since it is filled with symbolic images, only understood by those who know their origins. The Bible is by no means a history book, and should never be read as such.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  227 commentaires
407 internautes sur 433 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Detective Story of the Highest Caliber 3 décembre 1999
Par Timothy Campbell - Publié sur Amazon.com
I had read several books that purported to explain the origins of the Old Testament, but they tended to make assertions without explanations. Perhaps they were too advanced for me. This book, however, explains in great detail how it arrives at its conclusions.
It is great fun to read parts of the book and ask yourself: Whodunit? For example, there's one place where you are compelled to predict who wrote about the Golden Calf incident. I picked J, but the author picked E. After he explained his decision, I had to admit that he was probably right and I was probably wrong. Not so good for my ego, but an enjoyable puzzle nonetheless.
The author is careful not to overstate his case. In situations where he lacks sufficient evidence, he points this out. This level of caution makes the whole work much more credible.
I greatly enjoyed the way he explained how the political reality of the ancient Near East created pressures to write (or compile) a particular KIND of book. Prior to this, I knew that many Bible stories contained contradictions, but I didn't know why.
What is interesting about this -- though this may be lost on literalists -- is that the analysis of the Bible in no way diminishes it. Indeed, by explaining the reasons for the contradictions (rather than simply explaining-away), this book greatly increases my respect for the Bible.
I think everybody who claims to know the Bible should read this book. It's all very well to memorize chapter and verse, but if you don't know of the Bible's origins, you can hardly claim to understand all its implications.
220 internautes sur 236 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Compilation by committee 6 août 2004
Par Stephen A. Haines - Publié sur Amazon.com
Friedman keeps to a very narrow, but clearly defined, path in assessing biblical origins. He goes to some effort to restrict his thesis to identifying authors and their likely locations. The validity of events nor theology never enter the picture. Contention over inconsistencies in what has come down to us as "the" bible have raged for centuries. Scholars in the Middle Ages, he reminds us, readily noted how styles varied, accounts were duplicated and traditions conflicted. With a keen analytical eye enhanced by long experience and good scholarship, he teases a coherent picture from this confusing collection of tales. Although not all the material here is original - and how could it be? - Friedman's assemblage is soundly researched, very ably organised and presented.

The fundamental issue rests on the division of the Hebrew-speaking peoples into the "dual kingdoms" of Israel and Judah. The result was the compilation of two "histories" with different styles and priorities. Each had a different focus and approach to what was meaningful. The later confusion resulted when this pair of accounts was amalgamated into a single document and promulgated as "the" book. Friedman strongly points out that this didn't invalidate the histories, it simply meant readers of it need to understand they are reading a parallel set of accounts.

From the outset, Friedman dismisses the traditional view of Moses' authorship. There are too many implausibilities for that to have occurred - not the least of which is the description of Moses' death. Friedman contends the books are historical accounts recorded by scribes, probably court priests, of their respective kingdoms. Their style differences allow him to pin letter designations for identification - the now well-known E, J, D and P. The first two refer to how the deity was identified. The "D" is for "Deuteronomist", identified by stylistic traits, while the "P" relates to priestly genealogies. Friedman uses various highlighting techniques to demonstrate variances in the text style or content. This rather hotch-potch arrangement was later organised into the single volume by the "Redactor" [the "E" for "Editor" having already been assigned.

Setting his thesis within a well-defined chronology, Friedman shows how the various authors had previously material to draw on producing their own accounts. With no possibility of retrieving the sequence, we have only the results passed down to us. This situation explains many of the inconsistencies, since Judaic scribes had different sources than those in Israel. They also, apparently, had different agendas to follow. Almost from the beginning, for example, there are differences in the roles of Moses and Aaron. Friedman lists other variations with their probable origins.

Friedman's book is the best current example of what has become known as the "Documentary Hypothesis". This phrase stands in contrast with the idea of "divine origins" of the collection. As examples of historical literature, the books of the Hebrew Bible merit serious investigation and analysis. Friedman, picking up from French and German studies of the past two centuries, has performed a significant task. He writes well, doesn't engage in idle speculation, and, perhaps most important, condemns none. The authors he discusses were products of their time. He recognises that, keeping the authors clearly within their contemporary context. An excellent book, worthy of anybody's attention. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
122 internautes sur 133 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Eloquent popularization marred by some special pleading 23 mars 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Richard Elliott Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible has a lot going for it. It is probably the clearest guide for the lay reader to the "Documentary Hypothesis" -- the notion that the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, were not written all at one time but assembled from at least four major sources composed at different times and under different circumstances. This idea, which was first proposed in late eighteenth century France and developed by Julius Wellhausen in the nineteenth century, allows one to see the religious traditions of ancient Israel as historically evolving from a nature cult, through centralized worship and sacrifice, to a text-based ethical religion. Friedman tells the story of the composition of the Torah with great clarity and verve, in a way that a reader lacking Hebrew can understand. Occasionally I find Friedman's exposition to be marred by what might be called "special pleading." Friedman will have a novel idea and will present it in a way that seems quite convincing, but since he doesn't really present the alternatives other scholars have considered, I sometimes feel he is pulling a fast one on the less learned reader. He has a theory, for example, that the E document (composed in the Northern Kingdom around the 9th century BC) was written by a priest at the old site of Shiloh, in the tribal area of Ephraim. He supports this by the Golden Calf episode in Exodus 32-34. This text attacks Aaron, and so, he argues, it couldn't have been written in the southern kingdom of Judah, where the priesthood was descended from Aaron. But it also presents idolatry in terms of a Golden Calf, and the Calf was the symbol Jeroboam used in place of the Cherub in the alternative temples he set up in the North at Dan and Bethel. Friedman argues that a priest of Shiloh would have no ties to Aaron, and would be jealous of the successful priesthood in Bethel, and so would have precisely the ideology required to write the story that way. That works, though, ONLY if the story is all of one piece written by a single narrator. But many scholars think (on the basis of linguistic evidence) that this part of Exodus was put together by an editor who was combining the narratives from the J (southern) and E (northern) traditions after the destruction of the northern kingdom by Assyria. If that is the case, you don't have to imagine an alienated priest from Shiloh at all. The connivance of Aaron in rebellion and idolatry could be from the E (northern) document, and the Golden Calf symbol could be from the J (southern) document, skillfully edited together by the JE editor. Hypotheses should be as simple and plausible as they can be. I'm from New York, and when I hear hoofbeats outside my window, I think "horses" (there's a riding stable down the block). I don't think "buffalo." Sometimes I think Friedman hears too many buffalo.
33 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fantastic Introduction to Biblical Scholarship 4 avril 2007
Par Joshua G. Feldman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
If you have any interest in the history of the near east, or the content of Old Testament's Pentateuch you owe it to yourself to read Richard Friedman's "Who Wrote the Bible". This book is a bit of a miracle in that it 1) grounds the reader in the history and scope of biblical scholarship, 2) logically builds the arguments for the documentary hypothesis from source material in a logically transparent way, 3) achieves the first two while being incredibly brief and compulsively easy to read. I'd venture to say that this book is a page turner. I had trouble putting it down (and no troubles picking it back up again). Lovers of the Bible will literally gasp as revelations of the text's origins are revealed and troublesome passages explained historically.

You'll want to take a Bible and a fist full of different colored highlighters and then code the text for the different narrative voices (a handy appendix shows you exactly which passages are in which narrative). Then you'll want read the Bible again in a whole new way, with the originally compound confusing Biblical texts deconstructed and made clear by reading each narrative voice separately. Not only does Friedman's text tell you how to decode the Bible, but it also explains the historical context for each narrative voice - the motivations for their approach - and ideas about how, why, and by whom, the different voices were so artfully assembled into the Bible we know today.

Whether you end up buying Friedman's hypotheses or not - this book will stimulate you and transform your understanding of the world of the Old Testament and the nature of the Bible itself. This is on my short list of books I'd consider "mandatory reading" for any educated person. The import of the Bible is so pervasive (not only to followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) - but also - culturally to places that are affected by followers of those faiths (i.e. the entire planet, except for certain interior areas of Asia). This book shines a big old searchlight down into the murky depths of the Torah.
21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Fascinating Account on the Documentary Hypothesis of Pentateuch 6 juillet 2006
Par Didaskalex - Publié sur Amazon.com
Holy Writ and Oral Lit:
In the last two centuries, archeological discoveries and recovery of ancient Middle Eastern writings, exposed astounding biblical parallels with some of those ancient texts. Hebrew/Aramaic language scholarship, digging their roots in Proto-Sinaitic and Proto-Canaanite, developing alphabetic inscriptions, which changed in letter shape from Paleo-Hebrew to Aramaic script, proposed a far more extended oral transmission period of scripture than was presumed earlier. Because of the continued hot debate on 'who wrote the Hebrew Bible,' and redefining revelation in light of above discoveries, millions of Jews and Christians have questioned their faith.

Documentary Hypothesis:
Questions about the books of Moses started in the 18th century by German Protestant scholars. This hypothesis proposed by Wellhausen, has developed to gradually become an established theory among Bible experts, including Catholics. It postulates, basically, that redactors recomposed the Torah by combining at least two earlier source texts (J, E) which were then edited and/or revised at least partly by later editors (P and/or D).
The hypothesis argues that the collections of memorized traditions took written form both in biblical Israel (E: the Elohist, describes a human-like God El) and in Judah (J:Jahwist, a human-like God Yahweh), shortly after their separation into two kingdoms. Rival priestly allegedly wrote these collections: the priests of Shiloh (in Israel) wrote E; while the Aaron priesthood (in Judah) wrote J. Many have proposed a female author for J, and some have thus argued the case for seeing her as a mere member of the tribe of Judah; various details in the J source allegedly convey typical ancient feminine perspectives. The king of Israel had removed the priests of Shiloh (Levite like the Aaron clan) from power and set up an alternate new religion version, instead. E allegedly reflects these circumstances by describing stories appearing to condemn the changes.
After the fall of Israel to the Assyrians, the refugees from Israel brought E to Judah, and to assimilate those refugees into the Jewish population, a scribe combined the text with J, producing JE, in preference to keeping both texts separate. Scholars speculate that the writer of JE may have found it vital to retain most of both J and E, to avoid that listeners (or readers) complain about missing or different texts, thus avoiding schisms.
A few generations later, scholars believe the Shiloh priesthood wrote a more favorable law/code to their reform (P) and conspired with King Josiah to reveal it discovered in the temple. The scribe who composed D (Deuteronomic text) made minor additions to it to reflect the extended history, and to iron out the flaws in the original presentation of Josiah and the permanence of Judah.

A Devoted Scholarship:
Friedman continues his search in 'The Hidden Face of God' (1996) attempting to explain why in the Biblical God becomes gradually less encountered; "Gradually through the course of the Hebrew Bible ... the deity appears less and less to humans, speaks less and less. ... all other signs of divine presence become rarer and finally cease," Friedman writes.
He then claims in a later study; The Hidden Book in the Bible, (1999), that one lay author, wrote most of the early stories in the Hebrew Bible (Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, ...) as one unified text. He defends this thesis with comparison of the writing patterns, word choice, and allusion composing those stories.

A Fascinating Account:
Richard Friedman's surveyed this debate, carefully sifting through available biblical archaeology and research papers on the original writers of the Five books of Moses, is a fascinating popular account, may be the best ever written, about this subject. Friedman describes the history of Biblical textual criticism, on which he has contributed voluminously. He writes with clarity and authority, his engaging style turns the dry inquiry into a lively story, making it an attractive introduction for beginners and lay.

Power, Politics, and the Making of the Bible: An Introduction
The Documentary Hypothesis
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