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Product details

  • Tankobon Hardcover
  • ISBN-10: 4906165281
  • ISBN-13: 978-4906165285
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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PEOPLE have been reading the Bible for nearly two thousand years. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 89 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
I was very impressed with this work. I was expecting quite a dry, academic read and was pleasantly suprised to find that it actually tells a fascinating story about how the Pentateuch came to be. It has more than enough detail to give it authority, without alienating the casual reader like myself. Friedman puts forward a well researched and quite convincing case for the identities (both general and specific) of the Biblical authors, and tells a gripping story in the process.
I'm not a religious person and I certainly wasn't looking for something to bash believers over the head with, just something that would explain the human rather than divine construction of part of the Bible. This book did it for me. The insight into the political influences and agendas of the era was quite illuminating.
Highly recommended.
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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 6 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
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 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.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Cobb on 10 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To understand what the scholarly take on the bible is this is a must read. I shan't explain again what he says (other reviewers have already done a very good job doing that) but I felt I must add..

Firstly repeating what one reviewer said, it is not the Bible, it really is just mostly the Torah, or Pentateuch. Other OT scriptures are included as asides, but certainly no New Testament. I have to say this just in case the buyer is as surprised as I was when I came to the end of the book and felt it wasn't finished.

Secondly, it is now slightly out of date. I'm quite sure that Mr Friedman is friends with Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman , and in their more recent books The Bible Unearthed, and David And Solomon they moslty corrospond to this book's theories, except one big factor- the united Israel under David and Solomon did not happen.

It is an important point and seems central to WWTB, yet with new research in the Holy Land, I think this book could do with an updated edition that accounts for this major twist.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By James T on 25 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Friedman is a notable scholar in Biblical studies. With this book he set himself the task of explaining what progress has been made in answering the question: who wrote the Bible? When we say bible, primarily we are talking here about the five books of Moses. Though, there is also a discussion of the books succeeding the Pentateuch too.

With such a vast and complex subject, Friedman has done an excellent job in creating a book the general reader could understand and enjoy. The book has the feel of a mystery adventure. You feel as if Friedman has let you into his world, and what an exciting world it is.

Friedman introduces the reader to the different hypotheses that have arisen ever since it was found that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch, due to some major inconsistencies. Who led the way in this study? Which theories have been discounted? Friedman has consolidated the work of these previous scholars, as well as his own, and is now giving us his view of who wrote the Bible.

The way he has structured the book shows great skill. He imparts his wisdom gradually. This means the reader isn't overwhelmed with information and can follow the story more easily. You fell as if you are getting closer and closer to the answer as you read on. This makes the book exciting and hard to put down.

Even if you don't know it inside out, it would enhance your enjoyment of the book if you are familiar with the Old Testament, or at least have an idea of the events it is describing. If you don't then I'd recommend The
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