1993-11-11: Who Wrote the Bible?

Who Wrote the Bible? (1987)

by Richard Elliott Friedman ()

I have just re-read this book. (the first report)

While reading it this time, three odd things came to mind.  First, I had no recollection of my earlier book report.  Of course, I was aware that I had read the book before, but quite a bit seemed so fresh that I wondered if I had read all of it.  I was quite impressed with it.  When I re-read the earlier book report, I was surprised to see that it included nearly everything I had found important on this reading, and that I had forgotten recording those earlier impressions.

The second odd thing was a feeling that a work could be written today, in a fantasy-like genre (a la Tolkienn or Eddings), that repeated the process that went into the formation of the Bible.  The purpose would be to promulgate in a (presumably) accessible and readable text the beliefs that I feel have been under-emphasized in recent American culture.  It occurred to me that such an effort could well lead to a form of insanity, based on obsession with socially unacceptable memes.  As I typed that sentence, I thought of Pirsig.

The third oddity was a feeling that my memory might be deteriorating, or perhaps it is failing to integrate all the material I have seen in the past three years.  In either case, it seems more important to get on with the task I have set myself.

The earlier book report did not mention Friedman’s last chapter, on the world produced by the Bible.  This time around, it seems more important to me.  He asserts that the scholarly effort to unravel the authorship of the Bible is essentially finished, and that the insights gained from the process can now be seen to be worth the concerns the process earlier raised.  From my perspective, I agree.


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