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68 Reddit comments about Who Wrote the Bible?:

u/vfr · 77 pointsr/atheism

That search is what made me atheist. The truth is that there is no true history of the bible. It's long lost, a mystery. For instance, we have no idea who wrote the gospels.. .totally anonymous. We don't know who wrote the OT... At best we know Paul's letters and a few other books, and we know when certain things were added or changed (for instance the famous John 3:16 was added by a monk later on).

If you want some insight into the history of Christianity, here are some links. It's a messy world filled with 2000 years of apologetics muddying the waters.

http://www.reddit.com/help/faqs/atheistgems#HistoryandLiteraryAnalysis (specifically this one: Examining the Existence of a Historical Jesus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvleOBYTrDE )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenical_council#List_of_ecumenical_councils

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne (responsible for converting most of Europe... by the sword. Dealth penalty for having any pagan items, sacked whole villages, etc). more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I_and_Christianity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroaster

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_mythology

Now, if you want some good books... I recommend:

http://www.amazon.com/Lies-My-Teacher-Told-Everything/dp/0684818868

http://www.amazon.com/Misquoting-Jesus-Story-Behind-Changed/dp/0060738170

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353/ref=pd_sim_b_6

Any other questions?

u/HaiKarate · 40 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Freeman -- breaks down the composition of the first five books of the Bible, and why it seems a little funky to the average reader (hint: multiple authors and editing for each book).

The Bible Unearthed -- One of the top archaeologists in Israel today demonstrates why the foundational stories of the Bible can't be literally true.

A History of God -- Explains the known history behind the idea of the god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and how that idea evolved from polytheistic roots.

The above three books would represent where most Bible scholars are on the issue of the historical authenticity of the Bible's stories.

u/tazemanian-devil · 22 pointsr/exjw

Hello and welcome! Here are my recommendations for getting those nasty watchtower cobwebs out of your head, in other words, here is what I did to de-indoctrinate myself:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.


For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline..

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

Another great source is the youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/WastedP0tential · 20 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You wanted to be part of the intelligentsia, but throughout your philosophical journey, you always based your convictions only on authority and tradition instead of on evidence and arguments. Don't you realize that this is the epitome of anti – intellectualism?

It is correct that the New Atheists aren't the pinnacle of atheistic thought and didn't contribute many new ideas to the academic debate of atheism vs. theism or religion. But this was never their goal, and it is also unnecessary, since the academic debate is already over for many decades. If you want to know why the arguments for theism are all complete nonsense and not taken seriously anymore, why Christianity is wrong just about everything and why apologists like Craig are dishonest charlatans who make a living out of fooling people, your reading list shouldn't be New Atheists, but rather something like this:

Colin Howson – Objecting to God

George H. Smith – Atheism: The Case Against God

Graham Oppy – Arguing about Gods

Graham Oppy – The Best Argument Against God

Herman Philipse – God in the Age of Science

J. L. Mackie – The Miracle of Theism

J. L. Schellenberg – The Wisdom to Doubt

Jordan Sobel – Logic and Theism

Nicholas Everitt – The Non-Existence of God

Richard Gale – On the Nature and Existence of God

Robin Le Poidevin – Arguing for Atheism

Stewart Elliott Guthrie – Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion

Theodore Drange – Nonbelief & Evil



[Avigor Shinan – From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends] (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0827609086)

Bart Ehrman – The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

Bart Ehrman – Jesus, Interrupted

Bart Ehrman – Misquoting Jesus

Burton L. Mack – Who Wrote the New Testament?

Helmut Koester – Ancient Christian Gospels

John Barton, John Muddiman – The Oxford Bible Commentary

John Dominic Crossan – Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography

Karen Armstrong – A History of God

Mark Smith – The Early History of God

Randel McCraw Helms – Who Wrote the Gospels?

Richard Elliott Friedman – Who Wrote the Bible?

Robert Bellah – Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age

Robert Walter Funk – The Gospel of Jesus

u/NomadicVagabond · 18 pointsr/skeptic

The two best books for getting a basic understanding of the writing and transmission process of the Bible are:

Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? for the Hebrew Scriptures

Burton Mack's Who Wrote the New Testament? for the Christian Scriptures

u/[deleted] · 15 pointsr/exjw

It's a bunch of gobbledygook about the generations and the kingdom and all of that. It's all nonsense. In my humble opinion, you need to de-indoctrinate yourself to fully remove these types of fears. Not sure if I've shared this post with you before, but here's what I did personally:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.


For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline..

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

Another great source is the youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

Another way to clear out the cobwebs is to read and listen to exiting stories. Here are some resources:

https://leavingjw.org

Here is a post with links to a bunch of podcasts interviewing JWs who've left

Here's another bunch of podcasts about JWs

Here is a great book from Psychotherapist and former JW Bonnie Zieman - Exiting the JW Cult: A Helping Handbook

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

To go further down the rabbit hole, watch this series.

Here's a nice series debunking most creationist "logic".

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/matthewdreeves · 11 pointsr/exjw

Hello and welcome! Here are my recommendations for de-indoctrinating yourself:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Watch this talk from Sam Harris where he explains why "free will" is likely an illusion, which debunks the entire premise of "the fall of man" as presented by most Christian religions.

Watch this video on the Cordial Curiosity channel that teaches how the "Socratic Method" works, which essentially is a way to question why we believe what we believe. Do we have good reasons to believe them? If not, should we believe them?

Watch this video by Theramin Trees that explains why we fall for the beliefs of manipulative groups in the first place.

This video explains why and how childhood indoctrination works, for those of us born-in to a high-control group.

Another great source is this youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

Next, learn some science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne.

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.

Watch this series where Aron Ra explains in great detail how all life is connected in a giant family tree.

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Learn about critical thinking from people like [Michael Shermer] (http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_on_believing_strange_things?language=en), and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline.

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker.

Watch this Ted Talk by Hans Rosling, the late Swedish Statistician, where he shows more evidence that the world is indeed becoming a better place, and why we tend to wrongly convince ourselves otherwise.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that we can use to become more knowledgeable people.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/witchdoc86 · 8 pointsr/exchristian

Mark S Smith - The Early History of God
(warning - a bit more scholarly than the other more populist books below)

https://www.amazon.com/Early-History-God-Biblical-Resource/dp/080283972X

Avigdor Shinan - From Gods to God

https://www.amazon.com/Gods-God-Debunked-Suppressed-Changed/dp/0827609086

The Bible Unearthed - Israel Finkelstein

https://www.amazon.com/Bible-Unearthed-Archaeologys-Vision-Ancient/dp/0684869136

Who Wrote the Bible, and The Exodus - Richard Friedman

https://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

https://www.amazon.com/Exodus-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0062565249

u/OtherWisdom · 8 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

> What are some of the best books to read on this subject?

IMHO, the following two books would be considered good references:

u/tylerjarvis · 7 pointsr/Christianity

The 4-source theory (or the Documentary Hypothesis) holds that Genesis (along with the rest of the Pentateuch [First 5 books of the Bible]) were written by 4 different authors, and later compiled into the book that we have.

The 4 sources are JEDP, J is the Jahwist, E is the Elohimist, D is the Deuteronomist, P is the Priestly Source.

I'm assuming you're writing about the flood narrative in Genesis, which is generally accepted to be a Jahwist text, thought to be written around 950 B.C.E.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis

Use this to get legitimate sources.


There's also the traditional belief that Moses wrote the book of Genesis, which would place it at about 1250 B.C.E., but nobody really puts a whole lot of stock in that anymore.

Personally, I don't particularly buy the 4-source theory as it stands, as it seems to be an unnecessary explanation. It seems to me that the Pentateuch is a collection of Ancient Near Eastern myths compiled by one author, probably around 500 B.C.E. That's probably why you have some similarities with works like Gilgamesh and the Enuma Elish, because they all draw from the same oral traditions.

Anyways, I would look for sources on Wikipedia. Your best bet for good, solid information is on the documentary hypothesis. Let me know if you have any other questions, I'll see what i can do to help.

EDIT: Richard Friedman might be a good source. He has a few books that are accessible to the layperson. Particularly Who Wrote the Bible?.

I'd also recommend a few commentaries on Genesis. The best one I've read is the JPS Torah Commentary on Genesis by Dr. Nahum M. Sarna. It's got a lot of Hebrew stuff in it, but you can still get some good information about the Jewish interpretation of Genesis.

Good Luck.

u/AngelOfLight · 7 pointsr/atheism

Tangentially related to the Christian/Pagan thing, Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? and Randall Helm's Gospel Fictions both demonstrate how the Bible arose as an amalgam of ancient myth and oral tradition. I believe Dan Barker also covers some of that ground in Godless.

u/President_Martini · 7 pointsr/exchristian

The actual purpose of the tree of life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and humans in the garden of Eden.

  1. The snake is just a snake. It's never mentioned that it was Satan, anywhere in the Bible. Theologians went through some great lengths to conclude that The Lucifer and King of Babylon passages in the Bible were talking about Satan. The idea is terribly convoluted and a lot of the details (armor of jewels, admired and respected in the garden of Eden and so on) are ignored.

  2. The reason humans were made. We were to tend to the garden. Nothing else. It's says it directly in Genesis 2. There's plenty of mythology from that era that describes the creation of life out of mud (golems). It's a great part of ancient Jewish mythology and that region in general.

  3. Genesis specifically says that the tree of life is used to make sure that the animals and man live forever. It's a fountain of youth. Plenty of myth surrounding items that do just this.

  4. Genesis also says that the forbidden tree is the food for the gods, in this case, the god in Genesis 2 (different from the god in Genesis 1). It is meant for the superior beings. The creators.

    Put all these things together, and what you have is a classic myth with your typical "servant takes from the master and gets into deep shit" plot.

    So Yaweh creates a garden. Calls it Eden. It's not the world, because Genesis 2 tells us exactly what land on earth it covered, which was somewhere around where Iraq currently is. He makes man, specifically so that he can tend to his brand new garden that he's making. Then he starts churning all these animals out from the ground, and Adam is naming them as they come out from the mud. Yaweh then realizes that Adam needs a helper, so he makes him one.

    Then the part that we all were frequently reminded about happens (snake, tree, Eve, Adam, fig tree loincloths, etc.) but here is the best part:

    Gen 2: 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

    Two things here: First, the snake wasn't lying. Adam and Eve did become like gods. Second, the fruit on the tree of life sustains the gods, as is indicative by the very words of Yaweh himself.

    So a quick summary of the whole second and third chapter: Yaweh made a garden for himself to hang out. The tree of life kept his minion gardeners (man and woman) alive for as long as he wanted to maintain his weekend getaway, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil was Yaweh's tree to eat from. It wasn't put there to give us some freedom of choice as we so frequently hear about. So the minions decide to eat what the gods eat and they are kicked out, doomed to fade into nothing. To turn into the dust they once were (or I guess specifically what Adam was. It never really tells what happens to Even except for wanting to have a man and having painful births). Also notice that there's no mention of hell. The story was written long before hell was even a concept in early Jewish beliefs. The only people that actually lived forever where those that were taken up by Yaweh in a chariot to chill with him. The rest of us just stop existing.

    This, and the rise of dualism during the Babylonian Exile are my two favorite things to discuss with Christians, if I ever have the chance. I also find the Documentary Hypothesis to be extremely fascinating. I recommend checking out Who Wrote the Bible if you get a chance. It actually makes the Bible fascinating, for a change.
u/Nicoon · 6 pointsr/atheism

There are several books on the topic:

u/wingsup · 5 pointsr/exjw

http://www.bartdehrman.com/
You can find any of these books on Amazon.
Karen Armstrong A history of God.
I loved this book. "who wrote the bible, by Elliot Friedman
http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353
Spelling Edit

u/EvilTony · 5 pointsr/worldnews

This book Who Wrote the Bible is a really interesting take on the subject. As far as I can tell it's completely objective and doesn't attempt to address the validity of religion.

IIRC analyzing the book (the Old Testament specifically) like any other reveals at least 4 different "voices" that suggests at least 4 authors, and numerous contradictions. For example the 2 versions of Noah's flood that appear in the Bible are compared side-by-side and they're quite different, etc.

u/extispicy · 4 pointsr/Christianity

The documentary hypothesis is definitely alive and kicking! There will always be scuffles dating assigning specific passages, but that the OT has been heavily edited is not in question.

The go-to introductory book is Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible?, though I think his insistence of the dating of DP/PD is falling out of favor. The companion book "The Bible with Sources Revealed" has the text written in different fonts so it is easy to visualize. (Or you could try here.)

u/samisbond · 4 pointsr/todayilearned

JasonMacker is correct, they were indeed monolateral polytheistic.^1 What Algenib is talking about is simply what some forms of modern Jewish interpretation cover, but he should have been more clear in his post, as many people seem to think this meaning exists within the text, which we know it cannot.^a

---
References:

|^1 “Israelite Religion”, H. W. Attridge, ed., The HarperCollins Study Bible, (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), pp. xliv-xlv

Notes:

|^a I recommend HarperCollins Study Bible or The New Oxford Annotated Bible - both will go over the subject in great lengths - but any scholarly study Bible will do.


Further Readings:

Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

"In the Beginning", A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/katsuhira_nightshade · 4 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Academic Biblical studies encompass a very broad range of subjects, but I'll try to cover a bunch here. In my opinion, though many people who frequent this subreddit may protest, the best overall introductory text to Higher Criticism of the O.T. would be R.E. Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible?. Although Friedman holds a number of fringe views and the vanilla Documentary Hypothesis has overall fallen out of favor (though there has been a recent revival of it), this is definitely the best-written and most entertaining introduction to the basic theory (I read through the entire thing in about 3 days). If you're looking for more on DH after that, Joel Baden's book, The Composition of the Pentateuch, is much more scholarly and explains the logic behind source division using numerous test cases (providing both the original Hebrew and translation).

For literary studies, just start with Robert Alter. I'm not really sure if this falls under the category of "academia" or is what you were looking for, but it's certainly an interesting analysis of how the Bible (both as a whole and by source division) tells its stories.

The only book I've read on the foundation of the Bible in the mythology of surrounding cultures is Tim Callahan's The Secret Origins of the Bible, which wasn't written by a scholar, but the author sources just about everything he writes; think of it as a Wikipedia for Biblical mythology--not entirely trustworthy, but fine for reference and finding further information. This one's also the only book on this list that has information on the New Testament as well.

Finally, make sure to check AcademicBiblical's wiki! It has tons of resources including videos, articles, etc. that can help you out.

I don't really know of any good books for Hebrew language since I've just been studying it in school my entire life. If you do seem to find a good book/course though, make sure that it's in biblical Hebrew and not modern Hebrew, as a lot of the language is very different. Having studied Arabic myself though, I can tell you that it'll give a significant leg up in learning Biblical Hebrew. For example, the way that words are constructed by fitting 3 letter roots into certain formulations is the same in Hebrew, and the vocabulary of the two languages are often close cognates. Once you've learned Hebrew, it's much easier to pick up Aramaic (I know that as well), but if you're just learning it to read Daniel/Ezra, it's not worth learning the whole language; the grammar is practically the same and the words are also similar enough, so at that point it's easiest just to fake your way through it with knowledge of Hebrew and and good translation to check against (NJPS, NRSV).

u/iammenotu · 4 pointsr/atheism

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309524934&sr=1-1

If you are interested in an academic, albeit theologian's (IIRC), point of view on reasons for differences in the bible, such as the several different versions of the creation story in genesis, the several different versions of the flood and ark story, etc., the above book, "Who Wrote The Bible" by Richard Elliot Friedman, is an excellent layman's read. It is a bit dated, but is well researched and an interesting. It is not a Christian or apologist book per se, from my memory, but a book based on Mr. Friedman's doctoral dissertation at Harvard. It only covers the contradictions from the first 5 books of the bible (the Pentateuch), but still a worthwhile read in my opinion, and can be purchased for cheap on Amazon.

u/imatexasda · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

My religion class used Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Friedman. This is not an annotated text like some of the other suggestions (i.e.- it won't go line by line and give you notes on what the context of the verse is) but rather, it's a look at the question of authorship and the context of authorship. It might be a good entry point into a study of an annotated bible.

u/--O-- · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I think it's sad how many Christians know so little about the history of their own religion and holy book. I really recommend you pick up a book on the topic... amazon has many. e.g:

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

For OT specifically, also check out the Yale Open Course on it:

http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/introduction-to-the-old-testament-hebrew-bible/content/class-sessions/

u/Sahqon · 3 pointsr/exchristian

> If not, I've been lied to and held to impossible expectations my whole life and that's hard to swallow.

You must realize that when you believed without question, you also "lied" to everybody else about the same thing. You are not a single person being lied to, you are part of a group in which likely no one is lying to anyone else, they just don't know any better (than you do), and everybody else is just confirming to the others that "of course we are right".

Read some books about the history of the religion (The Bible Unearthed or Who Wrote the Bible for the OT and the Jesus Wars for the NT are a good and rather entertaining overview), and maybe read Sagan's The Demon Haunted World to clear up some things about who believes what and why it's not necessarily a lie, but might still not be the truth. Seriously, it's about UFOs, lol.

r/academicbiblical is also good (and free), but it's sort of short answers to specific questions about the Bible. Their wiki is the best though!

u/BracesForImpact · 3 pointsr/TalkHeathen

He must support his claims with evidence. If you make the opposite claim, support yours the same way. He has cheap evangelical tools that are not experts in their field. You have both Christian and non-Christian scholars on yours.

For a good overview, I would recommend Who Wrote The Bible by Richard Elliott Freedman

u/uwootm8 · 3 pointsr/islam

Hey man.

The difference between doing history with Islam and doing history with the Bible is that Islam already had a historical critical method during its crucial years. Thanks to hadith criticism, we have information that we are absolutely sure come from the Prophet and/or his companions.

One of the principles of hadith criticism is multiple attestation. The historical critical method (that which Bart Ehrman and all other historians would also use) contain such a principle as well. If there are multiple sources we know for certain are independent (ie. they cannot get together and agree to report the same thing), then we know that the claim really goes back to the source.

This is not true with the bible. So the historical critical method would be used. Some assumptions that they have are:

  • Orthodoxy developed over time (so statements from the Prophet about future sects must be thrown out- it is simply seen as a way for sunni Islam to have fabricated the hadiths so as to discredit their opponents).

  • Principle of dissimilarity. This is reverse of the first principle I listed. It states that if there is something in the historical source (usually speaking of a religious text) that directly contradicts orthodoxy, it is probably true, because the orthodoxy would not invent this. An example would be the dubious 'constitution of medina' because it gives rights to the jews that the caliphate did not (sort of an equal standing political place). I have issues with this principle. Just because the orthodoxy did not invent it, how do you know that it was not invented by a person of heterodoxy? You don't know what this information would serve. For example, how do you know this constitution of madina was not fabricated by a jewish man wanting to raise the status of jews?

  • Anachronisms, "too convenient" etc. Basically if a text contains something that we know could only be known later, it is false.

    Also, if a piece of information is too politically convenient, then it should be disregarded. Because politicians invented it.

    (there are more principles, e.g. principle of verisimilitude)
    _____

    Now, the method is great, however the problem is is that it is only going to take you so far. A lot of these principles should be overturned by multiple attestation.

    For example, if it is multiply attested that the Prophet said X thing, yet the event itself happens to benefit a group of people, then one should simply accept that the Prophet really did said this, and these group of people, rather than inventing this tale up (because it would have been multiply attested so invention of it would be highly unlikely or impossible), simply looked back at the Prophet's words and then acted in a way so as to take benefit of it. I believe the abbassids (not sure who exactly) did this with the hadith about the army with black flags. OR it was simply a coincidence.

    Now, it must be noted that orientalists can and do apply the HCM on Islam. Keep in mind that (atleast up until the last couple of decades with new historical information and some brilliant research) many consider hadith to be forged altogether. From this you know of a group of people I would term the revisionists, and you see their arguments quoted on atheist and Christian blogs everywhere. However most of their theories, in my opinion, are really atrocious. One idea is that the group of people called "muslims" did not exist, rather the Prophet called all Christians and Jews and Pagans under the banner "mu'min". This theory is advocated by people who believe the Qur'an to be from the Prophet's time by the Prophet himself. However, the assertion is ridiculous and only works if you ignore 1/3rd of the Qur'an. Another assertion is that Mecca was not the birthplace of Islam. But such a conspiracy (who changed the 'birthplace'? Why did nobody object at all? Even if there were different sects, eg. shia, proto-sunnis, etc) would be far more difficult to believe than to accept that Islam really did start in Mecca. But then, where did the Prophet Muhammad get his information? That area, according to people who reject hadith, did not have any monotheistic religions. So it must be explained.

    I could go on and on but I'm gonna stop at that.

    >On the Jews and inventing scripture, would you say that the claim that Mosaic law is eternal, would be one of those inventions? Also, what material do you recommend in regards to investigating such fabrications?

    I am actually talking about the Pentateuch, the five books of the bible that Christians and Jews call the "Torah". These are definitely not from Musa (a.s.) as they claim it is. There is a very large amount of evidence against it. The most obvious is that its internal evidence dates it to a time far further than Moses (a.s.). I will give you a blatantly obvious examples:

    >Deuteronomy 34, the account of Moses' death, including the phrase in verse 6, "no one knows his burial place to this day."

    Clearly someone after him is writing this, or else they would not say "to this day"

    >Genesis 12:6 - Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

    But they were still there when Musa (a.s.) was alive, so obviously this statement was written after he died.

    There's a lot of proofs. Nobody doubts that Moses did not write the Torah (even Christians will say stuff like "well he wrote it and then someone later redacted it into a language the common people could understand at the time" which is silly IMO).

    I would recommend that you start here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

    But first please read the five books of Moses! I still have not yet finished this book because I'm getting through the bible. It's a great book BTW. Very good intro. Note a lot of things they say contradicts Islam, because of their assumptions that revelation isn't true / moses is probably a mythical figure or something / a lot of other assumptions which you can puzzle out yourself I think.
u/jebei · 3 pointsr/atheism

I've had a similar obsession with the bible over the years. It made no sense to me when I was part of a church but everything opened up once I realized it's one of the best insights we have into the ancient mind and I find it fun to read now.

The top response to this post says the god of the Old Testament is the same as the god of the New but that's because they are looking at it only as a religious text. Looking at it as a historical document you can clearly see a progression over time from a Polytheistic War god at the beginning who demands blood sacrifices to a Monotheistic vengeful god of a chosen few. The New Testament is clearly written with Greek/Roman influences and a kinder god that was changed in ways to better fit and grow in that society.

If you haven't read it already, a good first book on the subject is Who Wrote the Bible by Friedman. I like The Bible Unearthed by Finklestein and Ehrmann's books are good too. There are dozens of other good overviews that show the Bible's progression from ancient campfire stories to the form we see today. After reading a few, I don't see how anyone can seriously believe the Bible is the unerring word of god.

I know I'll never convince my family members that Christianity is wrong so I've focused my efforts to get them to understand the bible was written by man. Even if we grant them that a god actually spoke to Moses and Jesus is his literal son neither man wrote the words in the book. Later men took the stories and wrote them down. The books of the Torah were finalized 600+ years after Moses is supposed to have lived. The Gospels were written 50 years after Jesus is said to have died. These writers were not gods and to say they were divinely inspired is a cop-out. They interpreted what they heard but these men were also products of their times. They practiced blood sacrifice and accepted slavery nor did they have a fraction of our understanding of the world. It's why you can't take the book literally.

There may be truths in the Bible but you have to look behind the words to find them.

u/otakuman · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I can recommend Bart D. Ehrman's book "The Text of the New Testament", regarding the NT. Regarding the books of the Old Testament, I can recommend "The Bible with sources revealed" by Richard Elliott Friedman. Oh, he also wrote a book called... (drum rolls please...) "Who wrote the Bible?"

u/EarBucket · 3 pointsr/Christianity

The wiki article would be a good place to start. Richard Elliott Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? is a good popular-level look at the idea.

u/boner-of-rage · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Fair warning though: If you start to openly push back after reading up some on Ehrman and a few other sources mentioned (I posted a wiki link to stuff on the NT papyri in an above comment) and your family is as hardcore fundamentalist as they sound from your description, be ready for a shitshow.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AtheistHavens/ ---if you need to get out

Also, Richard Eliot Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? is a great introduction to the Pentateuch and the Documentary Hypothesis. For all the emphasis Christians place on the New Testament and how Jesus resurrected and everything, he clearly seems to have believed the Old Testament to have been true and accurate, per the gospel writers. Problem is that it's way more complicated and problematic when it comes to sources/verification than even the New Testament.

u/flannelpancakes · 3 pointsr/exmormon

I believe they also referenced Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Friedman. I haven't read it but I plan to very soon.

u/ThisIsMyRedditLogin · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Genesis was written by 2 people at different times and put together later. This is why it is muddled up in places.

For the curious, check out this book.

u/ZensunniWanderer · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Should you ever find yourself in the mood, you should read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliot Friedman. It's a dissection of the first five books of the OT in the attempt to explain how they were compiled, and it reads like a mystery novel.

u/ProbablyNotJohnSaxon · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

It's a very brief survey of the subject, but I like it:

Who Wrote the Bible?

It is not at all authoritative, and some will quibble about some areas, but, overall, it gives one a good overview of what went into making the Bible happen in the form it is today.

u/lollerkeet · 2 pointsr/atheism

Who wrote the Bible. I would suggest this as a subtler, long term approach. Make them actually think objectively about the book they base all of their beliefs on. Once they begin to see it not as the word of God but as the result of centuries-long political squabbles, they will be able to wonder which parts are true and which aren't.

u/illogician · 2 pointsr/philosophy

This is only tangentially related to your question, but Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible might interest you if you haven't read it. He makes an in-depth investigation of the authorship of the Hebrew Bible and in the process, reveals a lot about the values the authors are representing. His conclusions contrast both what the average Jew or Christian of today might believe and probably also any sort of 'Platonized' conception of the nature of those religions. I think in Friedman's view, no such 'Platonization' should be conceivable because each Biblical author was writing with their own set of interests, for their own aims, to address their own contemporary problems, and it's largely a historical accident that we bind certain disparate texts together into a 'book'. The essentialists want to treat religious texts as though they just fell out of the sky one day and Friedman does a good job of putting them in a historical context with human writers and editors.

u/TheNaturalMan · 2 pointsr/exmormon

I know that there was (probably) no Moses and that the Bible is a collection of works from various Jewish sects. I was just using the TBM's vocabulary.

u/seifd · 2 pointsr/atheism

If the Bible is the word of God, it'd have certain properties. I'd expect it to be right about the history and nature of the world. All evidence suggests that it isn't. Biblical understanding of history and nature is right in line with what you'd expect from ancient people.

I would expect God to be able to keep his facts straight. The Bible does not. From what I've read, scholars seem to have a pretty good handle on who wrote the various parts of the Bible based on the agendas revealed by these contradictions.

Finally, if the Bible was the word of God, all his prophecies would come to pass. They have not.

Finally, I'd like to note that there are Biblical scholars that hold this view. They include Robert M. Price, Bart D. Ehrman, Richard Elliot Friedman, and Burton L. Mack. I guess they're all misinformed too. If only they had studied the Bible.

u/matts2 · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

This is a different issue. You are referring to the documentary hypothesis. The Torha seems to come from several different sources with different religious ideas. So there are different names for God depending on the source material. In addition early Judaism seems to have been polytheist and later transforms to monotheism. So there is acceptance of other gods at times.

u/idigdigdug · 2 pointsr/Judaism

Lots of comments here trying to argue that you're "doing Judiasm wrong" or "not hard enough" ("Of course mitzvos aren't fun... that's the point!") so I'll offer the kofer perspective.


Write:

  • Start a blog (if kids do that these days, tumblr?) and write about your thoughts and ideas. The process will help you figure out what you think. You will also get feedback from readers who will challenge you and help you sharpen and defend your point of view. Google phrases like: jewish skeptic blog, orthoprax, frum skeptic. You'll find a whole community of people asking the same questions you are.


    Do:
  • Do the mitzvos that you find meaning in. Try alternatives to mitzvos that turn you off to Judiasm. For example, I get nothing out of davening so when I go to shul I bring a book that offers some personal or spiritual growth and read that on Shabbos instead. (I do not go to shul during the week).


    Here's a bunch of stuff I've found informative in my personal journey:


    Skeptic reading:
  • On the origin of the Torah - Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman
  • On the origin of the Universe - A Brief History Time by Stephen Hawking
  • On the origin of people - Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne


    Skeptic viewing:
  • To see a pair of magicians aggressively attack illogical thought - Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (if you don't have Prime just YouTube it).
  • To see a bombastic, arrogant, smart, funny atheist debate R' Boteach - Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Debate on God - There a lots of these on YouTube. Many are worth watching.
  • Mythbusters - A good place to be entertained and learn how to attack a question/problem analytically.


    Skeptic Listening:
  • This American Life: 290: Godless America Personally, I found Act Two with Julia Sweeney particularly meaningful.
u/paleo_bear · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Who wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman is a good place to start learning about the Torah/OT.

From Jesus to Christianity by Michael White is a historical look at the early Church and the New Testament writings in that context.

u/TheRedTeam · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I sincerely doubt you have. Read a book by a historian on the matter. I recommend this one.

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

or this one is also good.

http://www.amazon.com/Misquoting-Jesus-Story-Behind-Changed/dp/0060738170

u/canteloupy · 2 pointsr/skeptic

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

It's been investigated in depth for the OT. It's a very interesting tale.

u/moreLytes · 2 pointsr/atheism

The tale of Noah was created by sewing together two separate documents, written by the Priestly and the Jahwist sources, around 450 BCE. Note the improved internal consistency of each story, particularly with respect to:

  • the name of the deity
  • the character of the deity
  • the length of the flood
  • the number of animals
  • the linguistic idiosyncrasies

    This distinction has been known to scholars for more than a century, and in my opinion deserves a larger audience. More resources here. To learn more, I highly recommend this book.
u/jiohdi1960 · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion
u/Bilbo_Fraggins · 1 pointr/atheism

Original sin is a real problem for Christianity.

We know quite accurately the history of our development from other apes now.
The smallest population bottleneck was ~10000 humans.

There was no historical Adam. When did we receive souls, and how did we become sinful creatures? When did God give us an objective moral choice that we flaunted? Why did the Old Testament and Paul (especially in Romans 4-7) explain things in a way so different from the reality? Paul is quite clear there is no condemnation apart from the objective moral standards of the law.

Without some sort of original rule we broke, there would be no sin, and no need for us to be saved by Jesus's death. If the giving of the Jewish
law was the fall, Jesus could only have died for Israel alone, not the sins of all man, as the rest of man wouldn't in actuality be sinful.

No theologians have come up with a good explanation for this that I've found yet. Most choose to deny the facts all together to try to save the myth. Without original sin and a literal Adam, all of pauline theology falls apart.

Not to mention the genealogies in the old and new testament are wrong, Jesus and Paul talk about fictional characters as if they are real (the same evidence does in the flood story as a population botttleneck of 8), etc.

This is but a small part of the fundamentalist modernist controversy. Either there's a theistic God and an afterlife, or there isn't. Jesus was God incarnate or he wasn't. He saved us from our sin or he didn't. Fundamentalist is the name for the people who believe the answer to these questions is yes. Fundamentalism has been disproven over and over again, so badly that the've retreated from the culture at large and survive by lying to themselves.

This for me was one of the main reasons I am no longer a Christian. Because of this question I did a lot of searching into what we know about the origins of the bible, archeology and what it says about the old and new testamental period, evidence for the resurrection, etc. What I found was that everything I had been told in Christian circles was totally wrong. The more I learned, the more it became impossible for me to have the sort of faith you seem to. I struggled hard to keep it, and would still in some way like to be reconvinced as it would make my relationship with my parents and in-laws easier. My story is very similar to that of evid3nce's, you can watch his if you want to know some more of the reasons why.

u/Sigvarr · 1 pointr/atheism

For validity of the bible you can start here

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0060630353

If you are going to have a problem reading a book like that out in the open you can start with Evid3nc3 he has two episodes directly about the bible on YouTube. They are short and should get the wheels moving in your head which will most likely force you to read the above book. I suggest looking at all his videos they are amazing. They really helped me to finally shed that "the devil is temping me" feeling when I deconveted.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Evid3nc3/videos

u/iamaravis · 1 pointr/TheFacebookDelusion

Regarding who wrote the Pentateuch, I enjoyed this book.

u/iamadogand · 1 pointr/news

Some of it is political, yes. Not all of it, but more than most people realize. I'm not an expert so o have to be careful with what I state is true!

My info above mostly came from this really interesting book Who Wrote The Bible by Richard Friedman. The four authors theory is pretty well known and widely accepted. This book lays it all out in a great overview.

u/badtim · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

good intro work: http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

Friedman is a great guy, and ridiculously knowledgeable. i took a class from him ages ago at UCSD, should have taken more :)

u/ropers · 1 pointr/atheism

I'd give them this book. It's serious, it's not condescending, and it's scientific without being boring.

u/PwntEFX · 1 pointr/exmormon

Right before I left the church, I was Gospel Doctrine teacher. It was my favorite calling. I loved teaching.

Not sure what I can add to the list of pharisaical things Mormons do, but I will throw this out there if you're teaching about the OT. I just got finished reading "Who Wrote the Bible?", and it was very enlightening. Helped the OT make more sense: the short version (which I hadn't gotten from other sources) is that the Torah was a compilation of two different sources, one pro-Judah and one pro-Israel that got written after Israel was divided after Solomon died. They cut and pasted each story side by side. The compilation likely happened after the Babylonian Exile, which would have been after Lehi btw.

Oh wait, if you're in UT, you could mention the on one hand anal way people drive (never let people in because they should have seen the yellow line) combined with utter social cluelessness (I know I'm where I'm supposed to be, so even if I'm doing 50 in the fast lane, not my problem).

u/lungfish59 · 1 pointr/atheism
u/CalvinLawson · 1 pointr/atheism

No worries, David, I totally remember what it was like being a student; the last couple weeks of any quarter were always the hardest.

I would want to add that this isn't "my position" so much as "the scholarly consensus". I'm not a theologian or a biblical scholar, I rely on those who are more educated in these matters to inform me. You'll find this is the case with most atheists you meet; we place a lot of value on the words of scholars, particularly specialists in the field we're studying.

But yes, the documentary hypothesis is fascinating. There's an excellent book on this by Richard Friedman, a preeminent scholar on this hypothesis. I highly recommend it! (because I know as a college student you've got loads of free time to read, lol!)

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353#_

Good luck on finals!

u/tkrex · 1 pointr/atheism

Remember that there are multiple ways to interpret most parts of the Bible. It's very easy to scoff at the literal view that many fundies take, but not all Christians take the bible literally. If i'm asked to swallow the creation stories in Genesis as actual accounts of how the world came into being, i can't but roll my eyes. However, when I view the creation stories in Genesis as mythology, I can appreciate them as poetry on the same level that i appreciate the mythology of ancient Greece. So, approach the bible as you would Homer or Ovid (but with less coherence to the stories).

Also, remember that the authors of the bible were usually using fictionalized or fantastical stories to relay something that actually happened. Quick example: Jonah and the whale. Though many fundies take this story as literal, it was actually written as an allegory for Israel not heeding their God's instructions. Jonah is Israel, being swallowed by the whale is Israel being taken into captivity as punishment for ignoring their deity. This type of interpretation holds for quite a few of the old testament stories.

Also, learn about how it was written, and who it was written for. Gain a sense of literary context, if you will. I recommend this book for an overview of how the Torah was written. It's actually pretty interesting.


tl;dr: If you read the bible the way fundies do, you'll end up with a poor understanding of it, just like the fundies. If you approach it as an academic, you'll understand their own sacred text better than they do themselves.

u/wifibandit · 1 pointr/worldnews

> The Bible was still legit

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.

u/exeverythingguy · 1 pointr/atheism

OT: Who Wrote the Bible

NT:Text of the New Testament - this one is quite technical

others:
Whose Bible is it?

anything by Bart Ehrman or Bruce Metzger should be interesting...

u/soundofthesun · 1 pointr/answers

stop everything and read this book. it explains a lot about origins and sources. it might even change your beliefs. ultimately they believe ezra edited the bible and made it somewhat what it is today.

u/ziddina · 1 pointr/exjw

> "Who Wrote the Bible?" by Richard Elliot Friedman beforehand

I did not do this, but by the time I'd read "The Early History of God", I was already well aware of the multiple pagan origins of [edit] much of the bible, the two creation stories in the book of Genesis, the astrological significance of the "12" tribes of Israel, the volcanic origins of some of the Israelites' god's characteristics & rituals, and more.

I'm going to check that book out, though - here's a readable preview of it:

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

Keeping in mind that amazon likes to sell books... I assume you buy used books whenever possible?

u/Aesir1 · 1 pointr/atheism

Richard Elliot Friedman also has an excellent book on the Documentary hypothesis called "Who Wrote the Bible." For those interested in reading each of the authors contributions to the Pentateuch I highly recommend "The Bible with Sources Revealed."

u/ljak · 1 pointr/Judaism

Your best bet is Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible?. It provides a layman overview of the documentary hypothesis.

If you have more time, there's a free online course from Yale that goes over the entire Hebrew Bible. The lectures are great, and refer you to a various texts you can read.

u/srg2k5 · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

>>What tangible evidence would that be exactly?

Me repeatedly telling you I don't care to talk about it anymore.

Alright Mr. Fair Shake At All Sides I will give you 4 books you should read. You say you are well versed, prove it. If you have read counter points to your beliefs, go ahead and list them for me. Otherwise you should read these 4 books:

Atheist Material:

Dawkins - The God Delusion

Harris - End of Faith

Actual Scholar Material:

Friedman - Who Wrote The Bible?

Ehrman - Misquoting Jesus

Actually Ehrman has many books, but I don't want to overload you.

Until you actually READ the counter material, you won't get anywhere.

u/slipstream37 · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Who Wrote the Bible by Friedman. http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

I only mean that it is impossible to prove that God can punish you, but convenient for a ruler to say you'll be punished after you die by going to Hell if you go against him, and therefore God.

It's the ultimate con. Why should anyone be afraid of the afterlife if their body cannot experience it?

u/Jim-Jones · 0 pointsr/exchristian

> First of all, it is a Bible study for men.

I know from that - that it is not. Real bible study is a book like Who Wrote the Bible?

It isn't listening to some con man who claims magic powers to interpret it in a way that suits his prejudices.

u/mCopps · -2 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'm not a historian but afaik the historical records of Jesus are slim to none.

Edit: as for your main question this is a bit of a side to your question but does deal with some of the issues
http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353