How Have Bible Critics Fallen For Bible Criticism?

May 6th, 2010

This is, sadly, a real life example of the Emperor wearing no clothes. Coming up through the academic system, clever PhD candidates learn from their mentors how to separate a J strand from an E strand. As a profession, they’ve invested hundreds of years into this system of thought with its arcane source-division rules, and no doctoral candidate’s going to get his dissertation through the committee by questioning its core assumptions. Frankly, you only get that far by internalizing the field’s core assumptions. Non-academics who see a unified document are seen as religious kooks.
But as any religious kook knows — or just anyone who grew up reading the Bible on its own terms, not as a Bible-critical jigsaw puzzle — the academics’ core assumptions are deeply flawed. For example, if the documentary hypothesis has a rock-bottom core assumption, it’s that different names for God imply different authors. But that’s just not so. “God” (“Elokim”) is a title and the name Y-H-V-H (“Hashem”) is God’s personal name. The early documentary hypothesists were ignorant of this, and everything that came after this is founded on this erroneous understanding.
Ultimately, these professors are engrossed in a thought trend that has been long lasting, but which will fade away. Homeric criticism has lost its force over time; the questioning of Shakespearean authorship has also passed its heyday. Bible criticism has had a longer run, perhaps because the Bible has been around so long or has had such an impact on society, but this field can no longer withstand the exposure of its collapsed logic.

So, Who Really Wrote the Bible?

April 21st, 2010

For thousands of years, people have believed it was Moses. Then came along the Bible critics who determined that it was actually at least four different authors: J, E, P and D. In our book, we show that J, E, P and D could not possibly have been the authors. The Bible critics’ methodology is hopelessly logically compromised. We show conclusively that their four different sources are not different at all when it comes to the unique literary fingerprint they all have in common. In other words, there was just a single author – for sure. We don’t have his copyright; we don’t have his DNA sampling. Until we have any firmer specifying information, we’re content to just call him Moses.

The Bible and the Bard

April 11th, 2010

It’s long been fashionable among intellectuals, most especially in the 19th century, to challenge the authorship of noted works such as the Bible and the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare. Could that trend finally be coming to an end? Here’s a brief post on our friend Ken Silber’s eclectic quicksilber site.

Who Should Read Our Book

April 4th, 2010

As we head into the final days of Passover, copies of our new book Who Really Wrote the Bible? are shipping to bookstores across the country and should be available within the next couple of weeks (a few copies are already available on Amazon). The book addresses four primary audiences: (1) liberal (i.e. non-Orthodox) Jews and Christians who were taught that the Bible is written by multiple authors or (more likely) have been taught by those who believe the Bible is written by multiple authors (even if their rabbis and ministers never made that point explicit). Such readers have the most to gain — in seeing the Torah in a new, awe-inspiring way: as a work whose every page is stamped with a unique literary fingerprint; (2) Orthodox Jews, who accept the Divine origins of the Torah as an article of faith, but who may not have made the effort to explore its authorial majesty. Many Orthodox Jews who are devoted learners focus much of their effort on Talmud, as if the Five Books of Moses are already well understood or less in need of vigorous intellectual effort; (3) religious Christians, whose own religious tradition is null and void if lopped off its historic foundation; the original Bible critics were anti-Semitic Christians repulsed by Judaism. Seeking to discredit it, they never imagined they’d weaken the basis of their own faith; (4) professors of Bible or religious studies, who will learn that their fundamental premises can simply not be logically sustained; such readers will be shown a new model with infinite opportunities for skilled academic investigators.

Rabbi Wolpe: The Exodus Didn’t Happen, but Let’s Eat Matzah Anyway

March 29th, 2010

Nine years ago Rabbi David Wolpe of L.A.’s Sinai Temple made headlines when he denied the historicity of the Exodus from Egypt in a Passover sermon in 2001. Now as Passover approaches once more, Wolpe has invited a dissenting voice into his synagogue: Egyptologist Galit Dayan. According to L.A.’s Jewish Journal, Dayan offered support for the Exodus from Egyptian sources, notably the Ipuwer papyrus. The manuscript, housed in a Dutch museum, laments the destruction of Egypt in a way that tracks the Ten Plagues recorded in the Bible. For the Egyptologist guild, like that of the archeologists, corroborating the Biblical account of events is the one unpardonable sin, so Dayan to her credit is sticking her neck out in her profession.

But Rabbi Wolpe wasn’t buying it, saying there’s no evidence of mass settlement activity in Israel at that time. He did offer this consolation, though:

“If you have a seder this year, you will be reenacting something thousands of years old that none of those other cultures who passed through that ancient world can do.”

So the message is: The Bible is not a reliable guide to Jewish history. But because some smart-alecky ancient ancestors fabricated a mythic exodus from Egypt, modern Jews should disrupt their lives cleaning and scrubbing, changing their diets and their dishes, taking time off of work and performing meaningless rituals.

Is there a point to celebrating Passover if the Israelites were never enslaved or liberated?

Welcome To the Who Really Wrote the Bible Blog

March 29th, 2010

Five years ago, right after Passover in 2005, Eyal and Gil started work on their book Who Really Wrote the Bible? We were dismayed by the foolishness of the consensus academic view that multiple authors living centuries apart wrote the Bible; (this is known as the documentary hypothesis). While this view rested on absurd assumptions and a mountain of contradictions, there was not a wealth of coherent responses from those who knew better. Over time it occurred to us that at stake in this badly needed debate was more than just the literary integrity of the Bible’s authorship but its relevance for contemporary society. We hope to explore these issues with our readers in future posts. We welcome your comments and feedback.