Quotes from Who Wrote the Bible?

Richard Elliott Friedman ·  304 pages

Rating: (4.6K votes)

“Gen 22:11–16a The story of the near-sacrifice of Isaac is traced to E. It refers to the deity as Elohim in vv. 1,3,8, and 9. But, just as Abraham’s hand is raised with the knife to sacrifice Isaac, the text says that the angel of Yahweh stops him (v. 11). The verses in which Isaac is spared refer to the deity as Yahweh (vv. 11–14). These verses are followed by a report that the angel speaks a second time and says, “… because you did not withhold your son from me….” Thus the four verses which report that Isaac was not sacrificed involve both a contradiction and a change of the name of the deity. As extraordinary as it may seem, it has been suggested that in the original version of this story Isaac was actually sacrificed, and that the intervening four verses were added subsequently, when the notion of human sacrifice was rejected (perhaps by the person who combined J and E). Of course, the words “you did not withhold your son” might mean only that Abraham had been willing to sacrifice his son. But still it must be noted that the text concludes (v. 19), “And Abraham returned to his servants.” Isaac is not mentioned. Moreover, Isaac never again appears as a character in E. Interestingly, a later midrashic tradition developed this notion, that Isaac actually had been sacrificed. This tradition is discussed in S. Spiegel’s The Last Trial (New York: Schocken, 1969; Hebrew edition 1950).”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

“One of the logical consequences of monotheism is guilt.”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

“Investigators found that in most cases one of the two versions of a doublet story would refer to the deity by the divine name, Yahweh (formerly mispronounced Jehovah), and the other version of the story would refer to the deity simply as “God.”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

“The document that was associated with the divine name Yahweh/Jehovah was called J. The document that was identified as referring to the deity as God (in Hebrew, Elohim) was called E. The third document, by far the largest, included most of the legal sections and concentrated a great deal on matters having to do with priests, and so it was called P. And the source that was found only in the book of Deuteronomy was called D. The question was how to uncover the history of these four documents—not only who wrote them, but why four different versions of the story were written, what their relationship to each other was, whether any of the authors were aware of the existence of the others’ texts, when in history each was produced, how they were preserved and combined, and a host of other questions. The first step was to try to determine the relative order in which they were written. The idea was to try to see if each version reflected a particular stage in the development of religion in biblical Israel. This approach reflected the influence in nineteenth-century Germany of Hegelian notions of historical development of civilization. Two nineteenth-century figures stand out. They approached the problem in very different ways, but they arrived at complementary findings. One of them,”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

“The chief pagan god in the region that was to become Israel was El. El was male, patriarchal, a ruler.”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

“no word in the Hebrew language of that period for “religion.” Religion was not a separate, identifiable category of beliefs and activities. It was an inseparable, pervasive part of life.”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

“missîm. The term missîm in Hebrew refers to a sort of tax, not of money but of physical labor. Citizens owed a month of required work to the government each year.”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

“understand better the world in which it was born and how inextricably connected it was to that world; to appreciate the wonder of how it came together; to appreciate that literary study and historical study of the Bible are not enemies, or even alternatives to one another. Rather, they enrich one another. Whether one is a Christian or a Jew or from another religion or no religion, whether one is religious or not, the more one knows of the Bible the more one stands in awe of it.”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

“There are two different stories of the creation of the world. There are two stories of the covenant between God and the patriarch Abraham, two stories of the naming of Abraham’s son Isaac, two stories of Abraham’s claiming to a foreign king that his wife Sarah is his sister, two stories of Isaac’s son Jacob making a journey to Mesopotamia, two stories of a revelation to Jacob at Beth-El, two stories of God’s changing Jacob’s name to Israel, two stories of Moses’ getting water from a rock at a place called Meribah, and more.”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

“of the story would refer to the deity simply as “God.” That is, the doublets lined up into two groups of parallel versions of stories. Each group was almost always consistent about the name of the deity that it used.”
― Richard Elliott Friedman, quote from Who Wrote the Bible?

About the author

Richard Elliott Friedman
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“Memorable among the Saxon warriors were Hengist and his wife (? or horse), Horsa. Hengist made himself King in the South. Thus Hengist was the first English King and his wife (or horse), Horsa, the first English Queen (or horse).”
― quote from 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England

“Love can fuck up desire, I’ll agree to that,” I said, and I believed that. If, on the occasions when someone I had sex with remained after orgasm, and an edge of friendship was being suggested to me—as, say, we might lie, though rarely, talking—if, then, at those times, all desire faded.”
― John Rechy, quote from After the Blue Hour

“She can't explain why she is choked up. She isn't entirely sure, other than the sweetness of Patrick's familiarity, an aching nostalgia for her youth, a reminder of all that is good, and solid, and stable. All that she once had. All that she has lost. Patrick has grown into a big man. Solid. Imposing. His embrace is all-enveloping, tight, stable. Like being held by a bear.
Safe, she thinks.
I am safe.
And almost immediately after: I have come home.”
― Jane Green, quote from Saving Grace

“He’d treated me horribly in the past, but right now…he brought color into my life. Acrylic?”
― L.J. Shen, quote from Vicious

“Lessers were fewer and farther between now than ever, and there had been sightings, by others in the Brotherhood, of a very different kind of foe.”
― J.R. Ward, quote from Blood Vow

Interesting books

The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham
The Law of Attractio...
by Esther Hicks
Into the Dreaming
Into the Dreaming
by Karen Marie Moning
The Romance of Tristan and Iseult
The Romance of Trist...
by Joseph Bédier
Exercises in Style
Exercises in Style
by Raymond Queneau
by Lauren Myracle
Peter: The Untold True Story
Peter: The Untold Tr...
by Christopher Daniel Mechling

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2023, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.