Saturday, February 14, 2004

RICHARD ELLIOTT FRIEDMAN, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at UCSD, is interviewed in Beliefnet about the Documentary Hypothesis (the theory of sources behind the Pentateuch):

"The Editorial Team Behind the Bible"

Friedman has recently published The Bible with Sources Revealed. Here's a blurb on it from Frontlist Books:

For centuries, biblical scholars have worked on discovering how the Bible came to be. The consensus that emerged from experts of various traditions was the Documentary Hypothesis: the idea that ancient writers produced documents of poetry, prose, and law over many hundreds of years, which editors then used as sources to fashion the books of the Bible that people have read for the last two thousand years.

In The Bible with Sources Revealed, Richard Elliott Friedman offers a new visual presentation of the Five Books of Moses, unlocking their complex tapestry of sources. Different colors and type styles allow readers to easily identify each of the distinct sources, showcasing Friedman's highly acclaimed and dynamic translation.

I haven't read this one but Friedman's earlier book, Who Wrote the Bible?, laid out clearly the compelling case for the Documentary Hypothesis. I think he tends to overinterpret the evidence in terms of how well we can reconstruct the ancient sources of the Pentateuch and their social context. But anyone doing serious work in the field agrees that there are sources behind the Pentateuch and that they date long after the time of Moses, and Friedman's work is a good introduction to the basic problems, whether or not one agrees with him on the specifics.

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