A Clever Analogy

January 17th, 2013

Roger Kovaciny, a Lutheran minister serving a congregation in Ukraine, wrote the following brief review of our book, which we gratefully post here with his permission:

THE DOCUMENTARY HYPOTHESIS MADE SIMPLE

A brilliant professor contemplated the New York Times crossword puzzle he had just completed–perfectly–in his head–in twenty minutes.  Suddenly, in a flash of insight that would change the course of history, he realized that the title of it should be ignored and its actual content investigated.  After many, many weeks of laborious drudgery, he was ready to unveil to a waiting world this news flash:  This crossword puzzle had four authors and an editor!

It wasn’t quite as simple as it seemed–nothing ever is–but essentially the puzzle consisted of various snippets from lost sources by a Horizontalist, a Verticalist, an Abbreviator and a Phrasemaker.  They were woven together with great skill by a Redactor, who somehow even managed to craft an overriding narrative for the puzzle.  Half a dozen clues yielded phrases that told the story of a young man who parlayed his passion for skydiving into a business career designing and selling parachutes and skydiving gear.  He became so successful that he incorporated, but “fell,” alas, into keeping two sets of books, which resulted in him ending his career as he had begun it, in a jumpsuit.  Of day-glo orange.

Now, if you can believe that this is how a New York or Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle is constructed, you should have no trouble believing the Documentary Hypothesis, which teaches roughly the same thing about the Torah.  If you don’t, however, and would like a book that dissects, slices, dices, skewers, and exposes to utter discredit the Documentary Hypothesis, and is comprehensible by your laity as well, help is near.  The foundation under modern religious liberalism is utterly demolished by a recent book titled “Who Really Wrote the Bible?”  Eyal Rav-Noy and Gil Weinreich show how the Documentary Hypothesis is equally as preposterous as my little comparison to a crossword puzzle, and give many tables and examples of the interlocking characteristics of Bible verses that the editor would somehow have to create or preserve while weaving together snippets from hypothetical documents.  Of course, there is not the shadow of a trace of a hint of such documents anywhere except  in Julius Wellhausen’s imagination.  It is like the theory of evolution or the Jehovah’s Witness Bible translation, a monumental castle in the air with a missing foundation.

You can find it at WhoReallyWroteTheBible.com or used at Amazon.  It costs an hour’s pay or so and will take only a couple pleasant hours to read.  And with the comparison above, you can explain it to your lay people in five minutes so that they realize that the entire edifice of liberal Christianity and Judaism is like an upside-down pyramid balanced on a single rotten and crumbling, nay, MISSING brick.

Roger Kovaciny

Ternopil, Ukraine

A Review We’re Very Proud Of

August 18th, 2010

Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb is an unusually brilliant man. One of the two of us (G.W.) read some of his analysis of Biblical criticism over five years ago, before writing our book, and found it impressive and persuasive. It was an oversight not to note this in our acknowledgements section. With a Ph.D. in mathematical logic, the former professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and now senior faculty member at the distinguished Jerusalem yeshiva Ohr Somayach, Rabbi Gottlieb is more than qualified to assess the logic of Biblical criticism and he finds it wanting, to say the least.  In this very brief blog review, he calls our case against Bible criticism “sufficient to destroy the credibility of Biblical Criticism for an honest thinker.”

We’ve gotten all kinds of feedback on the book, positive and negative, but those who have not liked it have not attacked its logic; they just didn’t like its implications or its tone or the way it conflicted with their personal philosophy. You don’t really need a background in Talmudic rigor or a Ph.D. in mathematical logic to evaluate the intellectual bankruptcy of Biblical criticism; as Rabbi Gottlieb notes, an “honest” open-minded approach will do.

But, if anyone out there in Bible criticism land — a university professor or credentialed clergyman — believes he has a superior argument, please contact us through this website about setting up a debate. Shouldn’t years of writing and research on a topic predispose one to test those ideas? Shouldn’t researchers want to know if their hypothesis fails, so they can build a new and better one? Please be in touch. An operator is standing by to take your call.

P.S. Rabbi Gottlieb also praises another book, with the very same title as ours, that came out at the same time, and also seeks to refute Biblical criticism. We were completely surprised by the publication of this book, but share Rabbi Gottlieb’s assessment. Clayton Howard Ford’s book is superb, utterly devastating and, as Rabbi Gottlieb points out, surprisingly does not overlap with ours. We heartily recommend his book to any honest thinker.

Taking Judaism Seriously Again

July 21st, 2010

Jewish readers have just come off the fast of the 9th of Av, commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temples, and other sad chapters in Jewish history. L.A.’s local Jewish paper impolitely ushered in this sad period with a proposal to revise millennial mourning practices with a party (the next day), including such PC innovations as chanting Maimonides texts in their original Arabic. Here’s our response.

How should readers deal with all the contradictions in the Bible?

June 28th, 2010

The Bible critics point out hundreds of seeming contradictions, as if that helps make their case. But such apparent contradictions don’t support them at all. If there really are contradictions, why did R (the redactor) keep them in? Actually, as we show numerous times in the book, most of the apparent contradictions disappear when the Bible is read as it’s meant to, from beginning to end, with the understanding that one scene builds on information introduced earlier — in other words, when it’s read like any other book. When read properly, the “hundreds” of problems become just a small few. We don’t have all the answers, but that’s fine. These are exactly the kinds of questions that are ripe for honest investigation.

Eyal and Gil on Michael Medved — Today

June 17th, 2010

Eyal and Gil will be talking about our book Who Really Wrote the Bible? on the Michael Medved radio show this afternoon (6/17) from 1-2 pm (Pacific Time). This show has close to 4 million weekly listeners and is our biggest forum yet. In Los Angeles, the show broadcasts on KRLA – 870 AM. If you’re not in LA, you can find a station near you. Or you can listen live online by going to and clicking on the yellow button at the top that says “Listen Live Free.” The broadcast will be archived and available to listen to afterwards.

How is Christianity Harmed by the Documentary Hypothesis?

June 3rd, 2010

A religion consists of two things — a theology and a set of values. Christians therefore have a religious faith, which includes their belief that Jesus will bring about their individual salvation, and they have a Jewish-influenced value system. Without that value system, which comes from the Torah, Christians will know what to die for but not what to live for. Belief in Jesus as their savior addresses their afterlife aspirations, but what do they do between birth and death?

Many of the leading proponents of the documentary hypothesis, including Wellhausen, dismissed Judaism as a soul-killing legalistic religion lacking the supposedly higher spirituality of Christianity. They thought that belittling the Bible would only serve to deepen the chasm between Judaism and “true religion.” But a tree cannot stand after it has been severed from its roots, and so too Christianity has been rooted out of its historic base. The beautiful cathedrals of Europe, as is well known, are generally empty except for American tourists while new mosques keep going up.

It’s not surprising that in America, where Christianity was transplanted prior to the advent of the documentary hypothesis, and where the Old Testament was always emphasized, Christianity remains vibrant. But even in America there has been a lessening of the moral authority of the Bible in the broader culture, particularly among the highly educated where the academic view of the Bible has had more impact through universities, for example.

Interview Tonight on Talkline Radio Show

May 26th, 2010

Those in the New York area can hear Eyal and Gil speak about the book this evening between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m (EDT) on WSNR 620 AM. Zev Brenner’s Talkline show, which is targeted to Orthodox Jewish listeners, can also be heard live on the Internet.

Congratulations, Eyal!

May 23rd, 2010

Shortly after becoming the proud parent of a new book, Eyal is today the proud father of a new boy (and fifth child)! Congratulations to Eyal, his wife Tzippy, and the entire Rav-Noy family!

Radio Days

May 19th, 2010

In the past few days, we’ve commenced our first radio interviews. Gil’s first two interviews are linked below, and we’ll try to get Eyal’s up as soon as we can. There’s been a lot of initial interest in this book on Christian radio, and that is reflected here. The first interview is on a Catholic show based in Erie, PA and the second one is an Evangelical Protestant show based in Houston.

The first one is worth hearing for the hilarious faux pas Gil made on his maiden interview. It’s right at the beginning and much laughter among both host and guest ensues. If you listen to the second interview you can hear just how seasoned Gil has become.

And as we contemplate the topic of the Torah’s authorship, we wish our Jewish readers a happy Shavuot holiday (which celebrates God’s — not J, E, P, D or R’s —  giving the Torah to the Jewish people).

What to Make of Jewish Religious Leaders Who Subscribe to the Documentary Hypothesis

May 17th, 2010

A just published article on our book quotes Eyal as saying that taking apart the documentary hypothesis can cause “a religious earthquake.” He goes on to say: “If we take the authorship of the Torah seriously, then the value system of the Torah will reassert itself.” Nowhere is this more true than in the non-Orthodox movements of Judaism, whose leadership is trained in the documentary hypothesis. Ordinary Jews who attend these synagogues and who revere the Torah would be shocked and upset to know their religious leaders do not ascribe the same authenticity and import to the Torah as they do.

So how is it that Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist rabbis embrace the documentary hypothesis? Why would they dedicate their lives to their religion if they believe in a theory that undermines Judaism’s foundational text?
These are good people, who are motivated to do good. Given this drive, it’s natural for them to have wanted to become Jewish leaders. In the largely secular world from which they come, they are very quickly introduced to the documentary hypothesis in their career training; (the documentary hypothesis is actually taught in their seminaries). Once the Torah is seen as the work of many men who invented the stories, and not the work of Moses, the respect accorded the Torah must necessarily change. 

Maybe some of the Torah’s values are out of date; maybe it espouses bad values in some instances. But these people want to do good. So they will substitute what they think is good for what comes from the Torah.

So the question becomes, where do you get your values from? The New York Times or the Torah? Readers of our book should get a copy into the hands of Reform and Conservative rabbis they know, and especially to young rabbinical students, so that they too tether their true desire to do good to a Torah that is not seen through the distortion of academic Bible criticism.