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My Take: It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible
April 1st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible

Editor’s note: David Hazony is the author of "The Ten Commandments: How Our Most Ancient Moral Text Can Renew Modern Life," published recently by Scribner.

By David Hazony, Special to CNN

I am a person of faith. But sometimes I like to step outside of faith and just think about things rationally. Usually this oscillation between faith and skepticism serves me well, with faith giving reason its moral bearings, and reason keeping faith, well, reasonable.

It’s a nice balancing act — except when the question of who wrote the Bible comes up. My Jewish faith tells me that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch. Reason tells me to be open to the idea that somebody else had a hand in it.

And there are definitely a few glitches in the text that back up those suspicions - notably the last eight verses of Deuteronomy, which describe Moses’ own death.

But try as I might, I just can’t believe that the Five Books of Moses were written by J, E, P and D – the four main authors whose oral traditions, biblical scholars say, were cobbled together to make the Torah. (The letters stand for the Jahwist, the Elohist, the Priestly source and the Deuteronomist. Those, we may assume, were not their real names.)

Call me an academic infidel.

I know, it’s been generations now that Bible study scholars at universities around the world have accepted as true that:

(a) the Pentateuch was composed over many centuries through these four oral traditions, which were later written down;

(b) these main texts were woven together by an editor or series of editors living around the 6th century B.C.E.; and

(c) these different traditions are detectable by scholars today, to the point where you can justify entire conferences and an arena’s worth of endowed chairs to figure out not only the source document of every scrap of biblical text, but also the gender, political inclinations, subversive intentions, height, weight and personal traumas encumbering every one of its authors.

The first two are plausible, I suppose. But the third has always struck me as pure fantasy, the point where idle speculation gives way to heavily funded hubris. Of course, if I’m right about the third, the first two lose their authority as well.

Why don’t I buy it?

It’s not just because of how stark, uninspiring and vaguely European those four letters look in a byline. Nor is it the fact that in more than a century’s worth of digging up the Middle East by archaeologists, not a single trace of any of these postulated “source texts” has ever turned up. And it’s certainly not because the scholars’ approach contradicts my faith — after all, it was the willful suspension of faith that led me to consider it in the first place.

No, faith and skepticism dwell together in my confused bosom like pudding and pie.

Rather, my rebellion against these scholars comes from experience. Specifically, my experience as an editor.

It all started a few years back when, as the senior editor of a Jerusalem-based journal of public thought, I ran into trouble on a 10,000-word, brilliantly researched essay about Israeli social policy composed by the sweetest man on earth who, unfortunately wasn’t a stellar writer.

I spent a few weeks rewriting, moving things around, adding and cutting and sweating. Finally I passed it up the chain to Dan, my editor-in-chief.

"Hey Dan," I said. "Could you take a look at this? I added a whole paragraph in the conclusion. Tell me what you think."

A few days later I got it back, marked up in red ballpoint. On the last page, in the conclusion, he had written the words “This is the paragraph you added,” and drawn a huge red arrow.

But the arrow, alas, was pointing at the wrong paragraph.

You see, it turns out that it’s not very easy to reverse-engineer an editing job. To take an edited text and figure out, in retrospect, what changes it went through — it’s about a million times harder than those tenured, tortured Bible scholars will tell you.

Language is fluid and flexible, the product of the vagaries of the human soul. When an editor has free rein, he can make anything sound like he’d written it himself, or like the author’s own voice, or something else entirely. It all depends on his aims, his training, his talent and the quality of his coffee that morning. A good editor is a ventriloquist of the written word.

That’s when I started to suspect that what Bible scholars claim they’re doing — telling you what the “original” Bible looked like — might be, in fact, impossible to do.

Think about it. My case was one in which the author, editor and reader are all known entities (in fact, they all know each other personally); the reading takes place in the exact same cultural and social context as the writing and editing; and the reader is himself a really smart guy, Ivy-league Ph.D. and all, who had spent a decade training the editor to be a certain kind of editor, with specific tools unique to the specific publication’s aims.

Not only that, but he was even told what kind of edit to look for, in which section. And still he couldn’t identify the change.

Now compare that with what Bible scholars do when they talk about J, E, P, and D. Not only do the readers not know the writers and editors personally, or even their identities or when or where they lived. The readers live thousands of years later and know nothing about the editors’ goals, whims, tastes, passions or fears — they don’t even know for sure that the whole thing really went through an editorial process at all.

(If anything, the same textual redundancies, narrative glitches, awkward word choices and so forth that the scholars claim are the telltale signs of an editing process are, in my experience, very often the opposite: the surest indicator that an author needs an editor, desperately. If the text was edited, it was done very poorly.)

As with any field of research that tries to reconstruct the distant past, biblical scholars get things wrong on a daily basis.

And that's OK: Getting things wrong is part of the nature of reconstruction. Whether you’re talking about the origins of galaxies, dinosaurs, ancient civilizations, medieval history or World War II, the conclusions of all historical research come with a big disclaimer: This is the best we’ve got so far. Stay tuned; we may revise our beliefs in a couple of years.

With biblical scholars, however, you often feel like they’re flying just a little blinder than everyone else. At what point does a scholar’s “best guess” become so foggy as to be meaningless?

The Five Books of Moses take place somewhere in the second millennium B.C.E., centuries before our earliest archeological corroborations for the biblical tales appearing in the Book of Joshua and onward. We have no other Hebrew writings of the time to compare it with. So all that scholars really have to go on is the text itself — a wild ride on a rickety, ancient, circular-reasoning roller-coaster with little external data to anchor our knowledge of anything.

This would be fine, of course, if there weren’t so much riding on it.

With other fields, we usually don’t have our own dinosaur in the fight. But with the Bible, it’s not just the scholars duking it out with the clergy. There’s all the rest of us trying to figure out what to do with this stupendously important book — either because it anchors our faith, or because it contains enduring wisdom and the foundations of our cultural identity.

Where does that leave us? Some people, sensing their most cherished beliefs are under siege, will retreat to the pillars of faith — whether that faith is religious or academic. Either it was Moses, or it was J, E, P, and D. End of discussion.

As for the rest of us, it may raise questions about whether we really ought to care that much about authorship at all, or instead just go with Mark Twain’s approach. “If the Ten Commandments were not written by Moses,” he once quipped, “then they were written by another fellow of the same name.”

Using our reason means sometimes admitting there are things we just don’t know, and maybe never will.

Maybe that’s all right. After all, isn’t it enough to know that the book is really important, that it has inspired love and hate and introspection and war for thousands of years, that it is full of interesting stories and wisdom, poetry and song, contradiction and fancy and an unparalleled belief in the importance of human endeavor - in the possibility of a better world - despite the enduring and tragic weaknesses that every biblical hero carries on his or her back? That it is an indelible part of who we are?

Isn’t that enough to make you just read the thing and hope for the best, forever grateful to Moses, or that other fellow by the same name?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Hazony.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • History • Judaism • Torah

soundoff (2,549 Responses)
  1. all of you all dont know the real truth!!!!

    TOO LATE SHALL BE THERE CRIES ................................I DENOUNCE ALLL ROMAN PAGAN DEMONS.......

    April 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Feel better now?

      April 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  2. Paul

    How do you know it false or fiction? And if you admit some parts are true then you are saying some parts of it are true.

    "all of you all don't know the real truth!!!!"
    – PAUL I ASK YOU WHO ARE TEH JEWISH PEOPLE REALLY????

    Depends on who you ask I suppose on strong definition of Jew.

    Would anyone say it's completely false? The Bible doesn't get respect as it should. Does anyone have the nuts to say that Jesus didn't have good things to say? Was he made up?

    April 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • EZNY

      I can easily say Jesus as described in the Bible did not exist. There is no proof of his existence. What if Jesus was a euphemism for a splinter group of Jews that did not want to follow the ruling class in Israel. Or just a made up name to protect people from persecution so they can blame the boogeyman for incident.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • chuck

      @EZNY – To say that there is "no proof of his existence" just goes to show that you can't think or prove anything for yourself. All of your comments follow the lines of someone that was told by a prof. somewhere – this is why the Bible is false or this is how you debate Christianity. Can you prove George Washington existed? How? The same way you prove Jesus existed. On your line of thinking – I can say Washington never existed – does that make it true? Of course not. So, how about you go do some of your own research and see what you come up with.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Can you prove George Washington existed? How?'
      By opening his sarcophagus and seeing his body.

      Actually EZNY said no proof of Jesus 'as described in the bible' existed, which is a pretty accurate statement. In other words, a guy who could walk on water and raise people from the dead.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Magic

      This purportedly omniscient "Jesus/God" left very poor evidence of 'his' existence. Being omniscient and all that, he would have known that these NT writings would have been easily disputed and disbelieved... not to mention, mistranslated, mistranscribed, misinterpreted and misunderstood.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Entil'zha

      Are we blaming God for the goof ups of man?

      April 1, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      There were mentions of Jesus by his contemporary historians though not to validate all the texts of course, but there are many who think the "miracles" were included in the books to attract the weak minded masses in hopes that at least some would understand the deeper moral stories behind the flash, even if only in the distant future.

      For 300 some years or more, there were many Christain sects though who thought Jesus to be only an enlightened man, probably where Islam got the ideas from; there were sects who believed Jesus was part human and part God; sects who thought he was all man until the crucifixion; and sects who thought he was all spirit clean and simple so to speak. So there was always confusion about the omnicient part. And there is a verse which says you can blaspheme the son and the father but not the Holy Spirit, which could mean the God in everything.

      Or being omnicient he would have realized the wide varieties of people and that some differences would appeal to some more than the others, attracting more followers overall; and perhaps later as we became less stupid we would better reconcile the wheat from the chaff. On the other hand he may have just realized we were all so stupid that we would all need the different versions forever and who cares about those weak minded that don't want to try and understand.

      April 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  3. all of you all dont know the real truth!!!!

    LOLOLOLOL @RAN

    April 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  4. Ran

    Oh heavenly father, please save us from your people...

    April 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Oh heavenly father, please save us from our selves...forgive us for we sure as ...don't know what we do.

      April 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Ran: Oh heavenly father, please save us from our selves...forgive us for we sure as ...don't know what we do.

      April 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  5. all of you all dont know the real truth!!!!

    ARK OF TEH COVENANT IS IN ETHIOPIA FOOLS..............

    April 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • EZNY

      Yeah I read the Templar books too.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      More than just the templar books indicate the same. Only they won't let you in to really see it.

      April 1, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      More than just the Templar books indicate the same. Only they won't let you in to really see it so it probably just as much a farce as those Roman dudes are claimed to be.

      April 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  6. all of you all dont know the real truth!!!!

    JESUS = SERAPUS

    THE TRUE CHRIST WAS NOT BLONDE HAIR BLUE EYED.........LOLOLOLOLAHAHHAAHQHWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA WHAT A JOKE KEEP BELIEVING IN LIES.......ROME GOT YALL TRICKED.......THIS PLACE WILL BE JUDGED AN IF U ALLL DONT REPENT FOR UR FORE FATHERS SINS THE SAME DESTRUCTION WHAT YOU ALL BROUGHT UPON US MAY REVISIT YOU

    April 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      And what destruction might that be that we brought upon you?

      April 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  7. Jesus Christ Offers Salvation

    To All Atheists, Agnostics, Non-Believers, God Haters & Hate Spewers,

    "WHY do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?"

    "The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying," "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us." – Psalm 2:1-3

    Sadly, you are all mistaken and your fight against God and His people is in vain. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins (see John 3:1-21, Acts 2:38) and through His life, death, and resurrection offer eternal life to whosoever will. However, if you don't repent of your unbelief and Believe on Jesus Christ, you will be the one burning in Hell. According to the Bible, there are no Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Jews, Gentiles, Animists, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, etc. in Heaven. They are all burning in Hell for not accepting God's FREE gift of Salvation through Jesus' death/blood atonement on the Cross at Calvary. You can be "Good" in this life and "believe" anything you want, but it doesn't change the reality that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. If anyone dies Believing in Jesus Christ for their Salvation, then they are in Heaven right now. If, like most people, they die believing in no God, good-works or some other man-made idol (Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Saints etc.) then they are burning in Hell. (Revelation 21:8)

    The choice is yours – (Acts 2:38) Repent, Believe get Baptized on the name of Jesus Christ and be Saved. Otherwise perish. If you don't want to hear the Truth, don't get angry at Christians (we're just the messengers informing you what the Bible says), get angry at yourself for rebelling against God Almighty.

    And Yes! Seeing that you enjoy living a godless life everyday of the week and you don't make time for God or attend church on Wednesday's or Sunday's consider yourselves preached too!!

    Seek salvation while you can.

    "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

    And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.- Jeremiah 29:11-13

    "....they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. " – Acts 17:11

    What doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. – Deuteronomy 10:12

    "....THE fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good...". – Psalm 53:1

    "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

    "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

    "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

    "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

    "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. "

    "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." – John 3:16-21

    "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." – Revelation 21:4

    "Your loving-kindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like a great deep. O LORD, You preserve man and beast. How precious is Your loving-kindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings." – Psalms 36:5-7

    Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said,....'?" – Genesis -3:1

    ".....Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. " – Genesis -3:4

    "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." – Genesis -3:5

    "Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples." – Matthew 9:10

    "And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" – Matthew 9:11

    "Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." – John 5:14

    "She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." – John 8:11

    April 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • EZNY

      You might be a fanatical raving lunatic if.......

      April 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'According to the Bible, there are no Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Jews, Gentiles, Animists, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, etc. in Heaven'
      catholics? interesting.

      'If you don't want to hear the Truth, don't get angry at Christians '
      ah so you dont include catholics as christians. interesting again.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Now what about all those verses you didn't quote. Ever consider them much?

      April 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Jesus Christ Offers Salvation

      @ EZNY

      Wow! Is that all you got?

      @ Cedar Rapids

      I don't find it interesting at all, its fact! What kind of bible do you read? If you're a Catholic Mary worshiper and Catholic Idol worshiper my guess is that means you also.

      @ God is All aaahh

      I'd quote the entire bible if it would fit on here...which particular verse are you looking for?

      April 1, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Glad you included the Christians at the start of your rant, by saying "hate spewers". Lots of hate and worse in that nasty Christian book of evil.

      April 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      @Jesus Christ Offers Salvation

      For just a small a start, why does the New Testament start off proving that Jesus descended from David, if Jesus was the son of God not man? Does this infer that we are all children of God with the same dual nature or that Jesus was just a man?

      1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
      2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
      3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
      4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
      5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
      6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her [that had been the wife] of Urias;
      7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
      8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
      9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;
      10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;
      11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
      12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
      13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
      14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;
      15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
      16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
      17 So all the generations from Abraham to David [are] fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon [are] fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ [are] fourteen generations.

      Why David, a man who lusted after his General’s wife, had an affair with her, then sent the general on a suicide mission so he could have the General’s wife for himself? Doesn’t that make Jesus the product of murder and adultery (not that we probably all aren’t somewhere along the line)?

      There were also roughly 14 generations by these very rough calculations between Jesus and Mohammed. Interesting.
      -----------
      19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

      I thought God the father was the father. This says the Holy Ghost. Is not the Holy Ghost everywhere; within and without? Again does that not make us all the children of God, even and especially, if the trinity are truly one?
      ------
      Mat 9 13Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

      enough said
      -----
      Mat 9 16No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved

      Isn’t 2000 years enough to make a wine skin old? Didn’t they actually try to put the New Testament into the context of the old wineskin of the Old Testament after the resurrection, despite what Jesus said above?
      ---–
      Mat 9 35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom

      Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for,***** behold, the kingdom of God is within you*****.

      Psalms 145:3 Thy KINGDOM [is] an everlasting KINGDOM, and thy dominion [endureth] throughout all generations.

      Daniel 7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a KINGDOM, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his KINGDOM [that] which shall not be destroyed.

      Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

      Mark 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

      If the Kingdom of God is within us as Jesus said, through the Holy Ghost, wouldn’t casting it into hell with us bring on the eternal damnation of the doing or maybe even thinking about or condemning people to the casting?

      April 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  8. Tom R

    Hanzony is right it doesnt matter who wrote the bible. Because its fiction. There is probably some factual parts to it. But most is either complete hog wash or gross exaduratation.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • EZNY

      I've always thought of a priests way to explain natural phenomenon and historical facts in a moralistic way to control the uninformed masses to do as directed by the priesthood and in turn the king.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      The uninformed masses have spoken.

      April 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  9. all of you all dont know the real truth!!!!

    PAUL I ASK YOU WHO ARE TEH JEWISH PEOPLE REALLY????

    April 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  10. all of you all dont know the real truth!!!!

    AND ON TOP OF THAT ISLAM WAS CREATED BY THE ROMANS/JESUIT PRIESTS......ALLL OF THIS IS DONE TO KEEP TEH TRUE CHOSEN BLINDED AN MAINTAIN THE CONTROL OF THE WORLD WITH THE HAND OF THE WICKED......

    April 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      What you be smokin'? Jesuits only came into being about 500 years after Mohammed (PBU). The Westerm Roman Empire ended about 2-300 years before, though there were still Eastern Romans in Constantinople Turkey called Rumi. If you had said Islam was created from Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism and other religions in that time period it would have been more believable.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  11. Paul

    The Bible is more than a collection of made up stories. It does tell about the history of the Jewish people...

    April 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • EZNY

      A history that cannot be verified by other societies that were in existence at the same time until after the creation of the Kingdom of Judea? Interesting. A history that does not explain what happened to their most famous relics like the Ark of the Covenant. Seems more like a highlight reel than a history.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Jesus Christ Offers Salvation

      @ EZNY

      A 4,000+ yr. old civilization that outlived all civilizations around it and its people are still in existence today!.....Point out another people from the same area and same time period that is still in existence today.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Point out another people from the same area and same time period that is still in existence today.'
      Erm egypt, greece, i guess Italians would count as romans from off the top of my head.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • EZNY

      Cedar Rapids stop making sense you'll annoy the faithful. You may even be labeled a heretic

      April 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'EZNY – Cedar Rapids stop making sense you'll annoy the faithful. You may even be labeled a heretic'
      True.
      Of course you can argue that if the jews left egypt to to find their own place then egypt must be far older than even that. I suppose however that Rome itself is really only about 3000 years old but you can easily claim that the culture that founded it would have been older.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Okay folks. No one is any more special than anyone else. Feelings like that tend to lead to things like holocausts. EZNY and Cedar Rapids need to study history a little more, but the purity of the faith and the people is a bit exagerated as well.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  12. all of you all dont know the real truth!!!!

    well let me say this you are all right cuz it wasnt andybody black because it definitely was constructed to benefit the kazar israeli russian Jew.... it wasnt designed for black people.....and besides HISTORY WILL TELL U ALL THAT HEBREW PEOPLE WERE NOT FROM RUSSIA ......LLOOLOLOLOLOLOOO

    THE ORIGINAL HEBREWS WERE DARK SKINNED COMPLEXION .....MOSES WHOM YOU ALLLL LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE SO MUCH WAS A BLACK MAN ...............

    THE PROOF IS WHEN HE DOUBTED THE MOST HIGH AN PLACED HIS HAND ON HIS BOSOM AN THE MOST HIGH TOLD HIM TO REMOVE HIS HAND AN THEN HIS SKINS PIGMENT BECAME WHITE AS SNOW......SO IF HE WAS WHITE B4 HOW COULD HE HAVE TURNED WHITE AGAIN???? HE MUST HAVE BEEN FROM A DARK COMPLEXION .....TO THEN HAVE HIS HAND RESTORED TO ITS NATURAL COLOR .........THE ISRAELIS KNOW THE TRUTH.........

    April 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Actually my skin is kind of pinkish not white, so perhaps it could have turned the color of my skin after being white as snow. And actually I have Native American blood in me and some of those ancestors fought with British during the revolution and some were captured and made to work and live on the plantations as slaves, so we could be related if your ancestor took that route.

      Point isn't what color anyone one is, but what is in their hearts. It wouldn't have mattered what color Moses, Jesus or any of the prophets were, only that they taught the truth as best the could, to the audience they were speaking. Peace.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  13. ck1721

    If there were no names at all, it would make no difference in the message. The entire bible is a collection of stories, assemled over hundreds of years, that completely tell one larger story of sin and God's completed plan for redemption. I'm not as concerned about evidence of the author/editor as I am about all of the evidence found which backs up stories as facts (Such as the actual cylinder on which the order to rebuild the temple in Jersalem was enscribed). Most people who criticize the bible have never read it cover to cover. Imagine reading only pieces of a book from a single author and forming an opinion of it based on that limited knowledge.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Unfortunately pick and choose just the bible verses that only fits your current needs is a game the church started a very long time ago and promotes eternally. So its not unusual so many others do the same. Unfortunately we now live in a time of 30 second TV commercial span attentions, I fear the practice will only get worse. It affects politics just as bad or even worse. No one want understanding because you can't easily manipulate people who know things fully.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  14. Eric G.

    Well, if there is no proof who wrote the Bible.......... I did it............ Not proud of it.......... Not my best work........ But, I do want my royalty checks.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • EZNY

      I've got a bone to pick with you. On page 1 paragraph 4 line 6 of the New King James Version of Nicea it says..........

      April 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  15. Paul

    I wonder why the Bible is so scrutinized where as any other ancient text isn't as much. Even texts that aren't religious.

    If you are open minded... you'd accept my close mindedness.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • EZNY

      The reason it is scrutinized compared to other ancient texts is there aren't millions of uneducated people running around starting wars and hating other people based on them.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Actually there are lots of archaeologists and others investigating texts other than the Bible. That just happens to be the one you and your society is so interested in, so you misperceive it as being the only or main one.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  16. Samuel Lacy

    Great article. A necessary addition to the authorship conversation which redounds into similar NT quagmires.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  17. Muneef

    Al-Istighfaar (Seeking Forgiveness)  
    'O my 'ilãh You are my Lord, there is no 'ilãh but You. You created me, and I am your bondservant, and I will stick to my covenant and promise [of faith and sincere obedience] to You, as to my ability. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done, I acknowledge, to You, your bounties upon me, and I acknowledge, to You, my sin. Thus forgive me, for none forgives sins except You. 
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Seekers-Of-Islam/message/88

    The Earthquakes & Natural Disasters  (part-1)   
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Seekers-Of-Islam/message/89

    The Earthquakes & Natural Disasters (part-2 )    
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Seekers-Of-Islam/message/90

    April 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  18. m

    I think one reason I could never believe in the Christian religion, is the example set by people claiming to follow it. You cannot tell me that cardinals dressing in thousand dollar robes are portraying the ideals of Christianity. You cannot tell me a president who goes to war for ANY reason is a true Christian. When I see people lend a little credibility to the religion they "follow" I'll be more receptive.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  19. Muneef

    Yes it does matter who wrote the bibles;
    As seems the verse below tells us that it does matter who written the bibles since there were among Jesus men who were disbelievers and ill hearted who schemed Jesus and his Words that he recited upon them....!

    Al-E-Imran sura 03:
    But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief, he cried: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear thou witness that we have surrendered (unto Him). (52) Our Lord! We believe in that which Thou hast revealed and we follow him whom Thou hast sent. Enrol us among those who witness (to the truth). (53) And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers. (54).

    April 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Hi Muneef. I know that some professed Christains have always been good at burning books, Christain, Muslim or otherwise. Usually anything they feel like burning because it doesn't fit the few specific words that they believe they understand to be God only words of the many, many words in the Bible. I also know the Koran states that no man can be led to religion by compulsion or something to that effect.

      What the Christains did who burned the Koran was an incredibly stupid and ignorant act, but how can Muslim's justify the rioting and deaths that often result from such stupidity?

      Please forgive me if I am crossing some forbidden boundry in asking these questions, but I know you know a lot about Koranic and other Islamic verse.

      Is there nothing said in these books about having sympathy and compassion for fools? I am hoping there is and that perhaps, some should have enough faith and trust in Allah the compassionate and merciful to start preaching those words a bit more. Just like some Christain scriptures, I'm having a little trouble reconciling the "Allah the compassionate and mercidul" phrases that start almost every Sura if I remeber correctly, much the same as the Christain "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", with what we see on the news every day. Can you help clear this up?

      April 2, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • TRUTH DOES NOT REQUIRE SHOUTING OR VIOLENCE

      Any verses at all?

      April 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  20. Jesus Christ Offers Salvation

    @ The Real Tom Paine

    What's a matter get your feelings hurt?!? And no that's not the best I got, it was a form of sarcasm...this is not about me!! What I got and what I bring is besides the point. Its about what Jesus Christ brings and what He offers to the lost. My testimony? You care nothing about my testimony, all you care about is coming on here with your insults.

    And you confirm what Christians and most importantly Jesus Christ already know...that people are full of excuses and fault others for their rebellion. You believe?!? You believe what?!? Are you one of those spineless Christians who straddles the fence? If you honestly believe that you can share your testimony with others without quoting scripture, you are deluded.

    The power of the Cross is in the scripture not your own words son get it right!

    April 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • PeterVN

      How come this scripture that you love so much so frequently demonstrates hate and has instructions to do horrid acts of violence to humans and other creatures?

      April 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • EZNY

      Jesus brings nothing. Your religion offers you salvation from the real world. It offers you a sense of connection because you are unable to make that connection with another human otherwise. It offers you an outlet for your hard earned money. It offers you a false sense of being and doing good. It offers you an excuse to not have to make a decision. It tells you you are being tested when the world doesn't work in your favor. It tells you you are being blessed when things are going well. It tells you what morals to live by. It tells you that everyone else is doomed, but not you. It tells you what you want to hear to feel better about yourself.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • God is All aaahh

      Jesus Christ Offers Salvation not the power to bully others. Your reading of the scripture is so un-Christ like its pathetic. Pray some for yourself please.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.