The Hidden Book in the Bible: Restored, Translated, and Introduced by Richard Elliott Friedman Hardcover – 1 Oct 1998
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"Richard Elliott Friedman is that rare biblical scholar who is both able to address a broad audience and willing to raise large speculative issues about the Bible...a challenging, exhilarating theory that will force biblical scholars to rethink some basic assumptions...a bold thesis that should give everyone pause." -- Robert Alter, the "New York Times Book Review""A brilliant piece of scholarly detective work...Friedman's book blows like a fresh breeze through the halls of biblical study."-- "Publishers Weekly""[Friedman's] work is poised to produce one of those once-in-a-generation breakthroughs, after which the field of study can never look the same again."-- H. G. M. Williamson, Regius Professor of Hebrew, Oxford University --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Richard Elliott Friedman is the Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia and the Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization at the University of California, San Diego. One of the premier biblical scholars in the country, he received his doctorate at Harvard, was a visiting fellow at Oxford and Cambridge, and was a senior fellow at the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem. He is the author of The Disappearance of God (published in paperback as The Hidden Face of God), The Hidden Book in the Bible, Commentary on the Torah, The Bible with Sources Revealed, The Exile and Biblical Narrative, and the bestselling Who Wrote the Bible?. He works in Akkadian, Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Ugaritic, French, and German. He was an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow and was president of the Biblical Colloquium West. His books have been translated into Hebrew, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and French. He has been interviewed by CNN s Larry King and on NPR s All Things Considered and Morning Edition and Radio Times and Talk of the Nation. Articles and citations of his work have appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Time, Newsweek, and other print media. He was a consultant for the Dreamworks film The Prince of Egypt, for NBC The Eternal Light, for A&E Mysteries of the Bible, and for A&E Who Wrote the Bible?, for PBS Nova: The People of the Covenant: The Origins of Ancient Israel and the Emergence of Judaism, for European television's ARTE The Bible Revealed, and for PBS The Kingdom of David. A consultant to universities, journals, encyclopedias, and publishers, he is also the editor of four books on biblical studies and has authored more than fifty articles, reviews, and notes in scholarly and popular publications. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Professor Friedman's book is organized in three parts: introduction, a new translation into English of the entire 'hidden' Hebrew text, and scholarly notes to document and support the thesis of the author-translator. It is best to read the three parts in order. The first part describes the origin of the idea and the years of research and discovery that led to the identification and concatenation of all the parts of the 'hidden' book. The second part is the actual translation of the Hebrew text into English, and carries the title, 'In the Day", which is the translation of its first word.Read more ›
In the Introduction, Friedman relates how he discovered this text, the reasons for considering it one unified work and where it is found in the Bible. He explains the sources called J (this work), E, D and P as used by biblical scholars plus words, phrases, images and themes that appear in J and nowhere else. In essence it is a tapestry of interactions between God and mankind. He considers the identity of the author, speculating that she/he lived in the Kingdom of Judah most likely in the latter 9th century BC, was probably a lay person and may have been female.
Friedman's approach to the translation was to stick close to the original Hebrew, opting for consistency in the English, retaining idioms when their meaning is clear and using the Tetragrammaton instead of its substitutes. Some of the intricacies will be of interest only to the linguist but I found them fascinating. Footnotes have been kept to a minimum whilst difficult words and passages are explained elsewhere so that the reader is not distracted.
The narrative itself flows with a remarkable rhythm.Read more ›
Most of the book is the Bible itself without the other sources so you can read through the J sections uninterpreted. At the end of the book he goes through the reasons; some of his conclusions seem very tenuous to me! He downplays the suggestion that J might have been written by a woman- and this is his most startling conclusion I think and I love this idea... to me it makes much more sense than the Yahwist Bible being written by a man- certainly matriarchal overtones are everywhere once you know this incredible 'pointer'. In the end you can re-read about 4 books of the Bible in this one book (I must confess I skipped a few parts...) Impeccable scholarship and a most interesting read as the Bible always is.
In the Introduction, Friedman relates how he discovered this story, the reasons for considering it one unified work and where it is found in the Bible. He deals with the different sources called J (this work), E, D and P as used by biblical scholars plus words, phrases, images and themes that appear in J and nowhere else in the Bible. In essence it is a tapestry of interactions between God and mankind. He speculates on the identity of the author, asserting that she/he lived in the Kingdom of Judah most likely in the latter 9th century BC, was probably a lay person and may have been female.
Friedman explains his approached to the translation; he stuck close to the original Hebrew, opting for consistency in the English, retaining idioms when their meaning is clear and using the Tetragrammaton instead of its substitutes. Some of the intricacies will be of interest only to the linguist but I found them fascinating. Footnotes have been kept to a minimum whilst difficult words and passages are explained elsewhere so that the reader is not distracted.
The narrative itself flows with a remarkable rhythm.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I never read the "Book of J", so this is the first time I have had the chance to see the Yawhist Texts put end to end. The adding of additional material into "the book of J" is controversial. Nonetheless it's a fascinating read.
I have one item of concern with the adding of the Material. Just because passages are similar does not mean that they are attributed to the same hand. While the case is strongly made that certain passages _ARE_ related due to word choice and theme, it doesn't mean that relationship is one of authorship. It is entirely possible that the passages can be inter-related with word choice and theme and still be written by different people. It is an age-old technique to gain respectibility of your work/point by mimicking something that came before, and letting readers catch on to it. For example, the Book of Matthew, intended for Jewish readers, is divided into five major "parts", similar in design to the Torah. Jesus and his family flee into Egypt to escape Herod because of Herod's killing of First Borns is at about the same placement as the Book of Exodus in terms of Matthew's progression vs. Torah Progression, and that was done on purpose. It was to make Jewish people _SEE_ the connection of Jesus to themselves. In spite of the similarities here, nobody claims that the Book of Exodus and Book of Matthew were written by the same person. It's just a deliberate similarity--one author mimicked the themes of another on purpose.
The same thing can happen in the Book of Kings vs. the Cain and Able story--one author ties his work into the significance of another. It doesn't necessarily mean both are written by the same person.
Nevertheless, even _IF_ the various passages were written by different people, SEEING THE PASSAGES LINED UP/LINKED IN THE WAY THE _HIDDEN BIBLE_ DOES IT BRINGS OUT THEMES AND MEANINGS WE WOULD OTHERWISE MISS. For that reason by itself, the Hidden Bible would be worth the read, regardles if the Author is one person or several. There are other reasons to be sure, but in the end the themes still hold regardless of authorship.
All in all, the reader will feel as if they are seeing an extremely unvarnished and unedited version of ancient Israel's history for the first time, and if you really enjoy an in-depth look at the construction of the Torah, as well as the court era of the old testament, this work will not disappoint you. One warning though: be prepared, if your academic skills lie elsewhere, to read it twice because Friedman will put you through your paces in terms of the biblical expertise required of you to understand his thesis. Additionally, I would recommend that you read "Who Wrote The Bible" as a prelude to this book.
But in this wonderful book Professor Friedman after years of work and study uncovered the Hidden book within the Bible, the story by J. Here is the first great prose of mankind. Shorn of all the additions heaped on it by editors with their own agendas you now have a work of beauty. It is more like Homer or Shakespeare. I never thought, I not only would understand the story of the Hebrews from creation to King Solomon, but would truly enjoy reading it. Boiled down to 222 pages of beautifully printed text, Professor Friedman calls this version "IN THE DAY" taken from the first three words of this new revision of the Book of J. He shows why his translation works by as he says "presenting the text of the original as carefully as possible. This translation is made from Hebrew original sources. This is a big departure from for example the King James version that used Greek translations that muddied the works even further.
Let me quote Freidman. "Readers have an opportunity to see the first great prose writer's full achievement; an epic work of the struggle between God and humans. and between good and bad." Professor Friedman is one of the most interesting biblical writers actively writing today.