For thousands of years, the prophet Moses was regarded as the sole author of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch. According to Biblical tradition, Moses was divinely inspired to write down foundational events in the history of the world: the creation of man, the worldwide flood, the laws as they were handed down from Mt. Sinai, and the cycle of Jewish deliverance, enslavement, and liberation from Egypt.
However, these stories--and their frequent discrepancies--provoke questions: why does the first chapter in Genesis say that man and woman were made from dust, while the second asserts that woman was made from man's rib? Why does one account of the flood say it lasted forty days, while another records no less than one hundred? And why do some stories seem sympathetic to the plight of southern Judah, while others seem sourced from northern Samaria?
Originally published in 1987, Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? joins a host of modern scholars who believe that the Bible was written by four distinct voices--separated by borders, political alliances, and particular moments in history--then edited by a single scribe. Rather than cast doubt onto the legitimacy of the Bible, Friedman uses these divergent accounts to illuminate a text that was written by humans for humans and reveal a God who chooses to speak through real people. Friedman's seminal and bestselling text is a comprehensive and authoritative answer to the question: just who exactly wrote the Bible?