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. George

    Since there is no verified evidence that Moses existed, wondering about the author is a moot point.
    The Old Testament is a really rather horrific book that is about nation building. The New Testament is about a movement in
    reaction to the failed Jewish rebellion. When you take the magic out of the story, it's purpose becomes obvious.

    July 15, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      I know the Readings and such around Moses' literature within the Manifesto of the KJVB and its' Abridged Lecturing Affiliations are; (as You assume) "Nationbuilding" Proticals for Future Prodigies' whose Adjudicated Beneficiaries yet are Floundering in Their Unswerving Conditioning. Only when the Tides of Change swell Dramatically Against their Grainfedness, will These Prodigies Abdicate their Stouten Autism and Declare their Oblique Unpardoned Presumptions null and Void.

      "The New Testament is about a movement in reaction to the failed Jewish rebellion."

      This "New Testament" Theosophy you telltake as being a "movement" has been slowly Amassed throughout Time and is Only Now Amassing It;s Arterial Preciousness In Amalgams wherewith Their Leadership Movement is Without Borders of Decentralization's Knowable by the Commonalities of Manliness or Womanhood.

      July 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  2. TheyNotHim

    The bible is not the word of god.

    He came to me in a dream and told me this...bade me to spread this message to all who will listen.

    Have you heard?

    July 13, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  3. pookie

    The first five books of the Bible were written by Moses, Aaron and sister Miriam. Miriam tends toward satirizing her brother's myopic insistence upon religious rituals and arbitrary rules that are always subject to change...for him. Aaron's Deuteronomy is the earliest written work detailing the apocalypse. Moses' beautiful prose still stumps scientists and pseudo-intellectuals the world over as he somehow neglected to write all those data sets down regarding creation during the years while his mother secretly nursed him at the Pharoh's palace where he grew up. The End.

    July 13, 2011 at 4:13 am |
  4. Avser Bastian


    July 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  5. Avser Bastian

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    July 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  6. __._

    "I contend that we are both agnostic. I simply have knowledge of one less god than you. When you understand why you doubt all other gods, you will understand why I doubt yours."

    July 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Hevy Dee

    White men can't jump.

    July 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  8. joe

    if you choose to base your life on the commands of a "higher power", then I would think you would want to confirm that those commands did in fact come from a higher power.

    If we don't even know who put pen to paper, how can we even being to investigate if their motives were pure or where their source material came from?

    For believers though, it doesn't matter. Believers will continue to believe regardless of what is known or unknown, regardless of what is real or imagined.

    July 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • joe

      One moderate response is "I read the bible and decided to follow its wisdom, regardless of wether it is the direct word of god or not."

      I respond: then you are deciding what is moral, what is wise, and what is good. You do not follow a religion, you are the author of your own standards and you coincidentally found a book that agrees with you.

      This is significantly different from being a christian. If you eventually encountered a passage in the bible that you did not care for, you can dismiss it. Contrast that with an actual believer who must submit to the judgement of the religion, even if it seems unreasonable to the individual. The believer simply believes that he is more fallible than the religion, and so lets it guide his decision making process. That is why, for an actual believer, determining authenticity is a serious concern.

      July 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  9. Disciple Mikey

    The fact is that the author of the Bible is God himself. Moses and the other writers of the scriptures are no more the author than a secretary who types an email for her boss. We can only assume who actually penned the books based on certain evidence. No one pays attention to the fact that although many men were used to pen the words, it still has the basic theme and ideas throughout. Thats because it is ispired by God. Despite what a lot of people tell you, the Bible never once contradicts itself. Many people have made that accusation but have never been able to actually show me an example. There have been many archeaologic discoveries that prove the Bible as a trustworthy source. not to mention its scientific and prophetic accuracy. Juist think about it, so many atheists claim that Christians are brain washed but anyone will tell you that a true Christian is a very reasonable person in every other aspect. Is their claim that its just in their faith that they become brainwashed and unreasonable a coincidence? Now think about what motive someone has in NOT believing in God. Perhaps they need an excuse for not wanting to answer to anyone. these are ideas that are adopted by people that fit into their lifestyle, whereas a true Christian changes HIMSELF and makes a transformation to adhere to God's standards.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • joe

      "Now think about what motive someone has in NOT believing in God."

      Yes, let's think about that. What motive might someone have that would cause them to not have faith in something that cannot be tested or proven? Surely some sinister desire must prompt that TOTALLY unjustified disbelief, nothing else makes sense!

      Ok, hey – lets even assume I can somehow convince myself to believe something without any concrete evidence. Which god should I pick? My blind faith could apply equally well to any religion, yet religions disagree – leaving me with no clear, rational choice even in that case. "oh just have faith in the christian god!" well thats all fine and good, but there's no reason I should have faith in him and not, say, zeus.

      "I contend that we are both agnostic. I simply have knowledge of one less god than you. When you understand why you doubt all other gods, you will understand why I doubt yours."

      July 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Kyle

      Your God is violent, cruel, and petty. That is reason enough for me not to follow him.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • jack d


      July 14, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Sally

      That is a default Christian "explanation" regarding atheists that has no basis in reality. Most atheists are in fact extrordinarily moral people- they simply do not *need* religion or a Bible to tell them how to behave with respect towards their fellow man. I do not know a single atheist who is not kind to their family and friends, and even strangers. I don't know any atheists who lie, cheat, steal and kill, using the excuse that "there is no God". Your assertion is patently false, and in fact the majority of atheists are more well versed in Christianity and more knowledgeable about the Bible than many Christians. And as for Christians-I know so many who cheat on their spouses, men who frequent strip clubs and lie about it, criminals who purport to find God then go out and commit new crimes- people cheating the welfare system who attend church every Sunday, who use their "Christianity" as a way out of their "sins". Confess, it'll all be better! He will forgive you!

      The idea that a Christian who regularly wrongs those around them will be rewarded, while an atheist who lives a moral life and treats those around them with kindness and generosity will burn forever, is a concept that I can't wrap my brain around.

      I'm sorry sir, but you are wrong.

      July 15, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Disciple Mikey

      The fact is you, nor anyone else, has a single shred of proof, other than the circular statements contained in it, that your tribal supernatural being, wrote or inspired, your book of tribal mythology. It is a piece of bad fiction, with uncertain authenticity and contains errors, and therefore should not be considered the work of an inerrant, ominiscient god. THERE ARE NO GODS!

      July 15, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      Same old tired, hateful, biased Canadian manure that you're always shovellin' Ace. I really loved Canada – land of the loonies and goonies.

      July 15, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Ah the bully is back. Please explain how I am wrong, and perhaps more interestingly, how the believers, with their 2000+ year old same old tired, hateful, biased christian manure that they're always shovellin' are right.

      July 15, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  10. w parker

    Joseph Stalin, ex Communist Dictator of Russia: "America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its Patriotism, its Morality and its Spirital Life." Liberalism has done more to undermine these principles than all the communist countries in history combinend!!

    July 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • joe

      on an equally related note: monkeys like wearing hats.

      July 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • JoeNavy

      For real? Have you ever even bothered to look up any supporting information, what so ever, for that pile of Crap you just spewed?
      Here, let me help you out. there are people in the world who actually care about supporting arguments with raw data.
      "Data correlations show that in almost all regards the highly secular
      democracies consistently enjoy low rates of societal dysfunction, while pro-religious and antievolution
      America performs poorly."

      July 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  11. Timmy

    The word Bible means collection of books. If a persons wants to live by a collection of books from Genesis to Revelation than so be it. Everyone lives their life by some collection of books. No one is truly a free thinker. Everyone is copying or imitating someone whether its a large number or small. If you are leader you will have followers. If you are a follower than you have a leader somewhere. Its just the facts of life!

    July 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  12. allfaith

    Everything that you've discussed points to the great ties between organized religion and culture. For ages, religious bodies have been the social welfare services of empires. The question becomes, 'is religion the consideration of morality or is it the discipline of living morally?' It may appear that there is little difference, but living a moral life does not necessitate a discussion of the fact, it merely requires a positive focus. Someone who is living morally does not need to hear anyone tell them of the fact. They accept it.

    July 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  13. Tricia B.

    It seems to me EVERYONE is missing the big picture believers and non believers alike! If there is one thing in the bible that ALL people can agree on believers and non believers alike is this one little scripture–Prove all things; hold fast that which is good, (I Thessalonians 5:9). If you are a believer prove that what you believe is right prove that your religion is the right true one. If you are a non believer prove that your scientific theories are ablsolutely right as well. There are nothing but bickering anymore about religion verses non religion and lots of name calling, while BOTH sides are just as guilty as the other one says that religious people dont listen to non religious people cause it dont fit in their so called faith, BUT the non religious do the same thing! Its rediculous, while I find false on both parties, they for one have never really proved the theory evolution in all the forms and it still baffles scientist today cause they cant seem to fit all the pieces together to really prove it from creation to now. There are still sooooo many holes in scientific theories its unreal, while on the other hand false christianity is running rampant in the world. It seems to me NOBODY has a clue!! So like the scripture says prove all things!! Thats what im trying to do and as a past agnostic trying to prove whether religion exisits or not im finding after proving my theories im wrong about alot of things and learning alot of truths along the way.

    July 6, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • Sally

      I don't believe we as humans are meant to know the truth about what lies beyond. We will find out when we get there.

      July 15, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  14. Doc4Subs

    It really does not matter who wrote what, it does matter that it has been used as a weapon of oppression, exclusion and violence by a variety of churches all the while preaching love,peace and inclusion.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • MRsluggo

      Agree completely. Most all wars are started due to religion. Get an education and think for yourself, not what others preach.

      July 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  15. 14Mickey

    The Atheist Trolls are certainly out in force today. If one of them was able to put an intelligent and respectful comment together, they might actually be taken seriously. Being "rational" implies not expressing yourself in a nasty and emotional kind of way, so really, none of your comments are rational.

    The Bible was written by many people, some of whom are listed and many who are not. The Jews, Protestants and Catholics each have different books in their Bible. As a Christian who is not a fundamentalist, I always recognized these facts. I believe in God, and I don't think any living person is qualified to know as much as fundamentalist believers and fundamentalist Atheists think they know. Psychologically, militant Atheists and Fundamentalists of any religion are the same, with the same kind of thinking and motivations. Both have lost the ability to think or the sense of wonder of our world. Neither believe in science either.

    June 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • JoeNavy

      The Christian Trolls are certainly out in force today. If one of them was able to put an intelligent and respectful comment together, they might actually be taken seriously. Being "rational" implies not expressing yourself in a nasty and emotional kind of way, so really, none of your comments are rational.

      -See what I did there?

      "Both have lost the ability to think or the sense of wonder of our world. Neither believe in science either."
      Do you even know what an Atheist is? And did you know that there are direct correlations showing Smarter people are less religious? Seriously I'll link some studies.

      July 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  16. upstateBill

    If it all actually happened it would be in non-fiction in the library. They foresaw that it was fiction many many years ago.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  17. dugee

    How arrogant can a person be? "I have been an editor and I personally find this type of editing difficult therefore it must be written by God".
    That is still pretty much a human endorsement. Like all true believers he drank the 'kool-aid' of a shared mythology and is not interested in a rational discussion.The facts , as it were, of any mythology are not to be meddled with. It is for the elite priesthood to interpret and explain to us for example that wiping out entire populations in Jericho and Ai was the work of a fair and just deity.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • fkruis

      I think he is just saying it does not matter to him who wrote, because no matter what it is important to him. He is not getting God involved with it.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  18. Mike Peralta

    Read Volume 1 of The Prophetic Book Series, I AM COMING. This Series Contains Urgent Messages From God – yes from God Himself through prophecy – about the soon Rapture and Tribulation.
    You can download the free ebook from http://www.smashwords.com
    Use the search phrase: I Am Coming
    Some prophetic words from Jesus in I Am Coming, Volume 1 :
    “This is your LORD. Time is short. Time is running out. The clock is ticking. I must come soon. Life will never be the same. You have the power to choose. Life is in your hands. I will not wait forever on MY people. This is serious. If you stay you will die. If you leave, you must leave with Me.”
    “You must choose life or death. I come quickly. MY hour is near, the hour I retrieve MY Bride. She is ready. All is ready. The hour is close at hand. Be ready. Look for ME.. Only the pure of heart will see MY face, MY beautiful face. MY heart is broken for those who will be lost.”
    “Save yourselves, turn and surrender. The hour is close at hand. All will be dark soon, but the Bride will be safely put away. Be the Bride: turn, repent, come to ME. I am gentle. I am kind. MY words are soft and tender. I am a gentle God. MY people see, MY people know I am love. I spare no expense for MY children. Love is MY moniker. This world is going to die out soon. Soon it will all be over. Repent while you still can. Please come to ME, I am waiting. These are your last opportunities. You choose: life or death.”
    “Choose against ME and discover that you have made a move that has eternal consequences. You will never see ME again. You will never hear MY voice. You will never experience MY ways: I am LOVE. I am HOPE. I am KINDNESS. I am PEACE. I am WISDOM. I am KNOWLEDGE. I am STRENGTH. I am SAFETY. I am BLISS. I am JOY. I am TRUTH. I am GREATNESS. I am LIFE. I am ADORATION. I am all the good things you enjoy in this world. Hell does not have these things. It will be never-ending sad futility.”
    “MY children who are in hell have no hope. They will not find hope or love again. They are experiencing the worst things. Some of MY children have witnessed hell and speak of it. Many have been there for short times and experienced its anguish. But there is nothing worse than an eternity apart from ME, your MAKER. I am sorry for their loss, but MY Word is clear and the people are without excuse if they choose against ME and find themselves in hell.”
    “Now I am putting forth MY final pleas and I am warning you about the horror to come. .. MY people left will have to go through the worst imaginable things. I want them to know that the choice they are making now has severe consequences if they choose against ME... It will be very hard for those who want to turn back to ME. The choice now is easy. Later it will be very difficult. Choosing for ME will be very hard after I take MY people home. Come with ME now. Follow ME now. Save yourself. Time is running out. Don’t waste precious moments. Turn, turn, turn NOW. Repent! Lay your life down before ME. Give ME everything. I will save you. Now is the deciding hour. Time is running out.”
    “I, GOD, I, JESUS am waiting for your answer.”

    June 13, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Unbeliever

      Please tell me you're kidding.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Tricia B.

      Sorry read your bible again there is NO rapture to take place. The rapture is fictional, brought about by false christianity of the white horse in revelation. If you let scripture interpret scripture you will find that when its time for God to save his elect few from the tribulation it will be by fleeing into mountains not a secret rapture. The reward of Gods people is to inheret the earth not go to heaven. There are many scriptures to support this theory verses no scripture supporting a rapture. It is said that God will bring a new jerusulem to earth where Jesus will sit on the throne and become the king of the earth not the king of heaven. please read the bible not what other people write before making comments to help spread false christianity, thats why there are so many confusions in religion and why sooooo many wont turn to the truth and the big picture. If you read the bible itself and ask God for understanding you will see the remarkable big picture fit together like an unmistakeable and unconfusing puzzle.

      July 6, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Tricia B.

      Also find one scripture in the bible to support an ever burning hell? Cant? cause there isnt one God is not sending sinners to ever burning hell he is sending them to the grave. Hell means grave. Romans 6:23: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." And heaven isnt our reward in the afterlife either for there are scripture upon scripture that says that we will inheret the earth! And one more thing there is NOBODY in heaven or a supposed hell NOBODY!!! For when we die we return to the earth to rest till the second coming of the Lord!! Please I dont know where you found this book at but please please read the bible instead!! While there was some truth to it there was alot of false as well

      July 6, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Sally

      Geeze, so he loves us, but if we struggle with belief for whatever reason, we will suffer forever and ever?

      Do you have children? Take one of your children and throw them in the fireplace. Know that they will never die,they will only suffer, forever. Could you do that to your child?

      Is that kindness? Is that gentleness? Is that LOVE?

      July 15, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  19. William Demuth

    Of course it doesn’t!

    Anything that threatens the illusions of the indoctrinated are deemed immaterial.

    Modern science is rapidly discrediting the very foundations of this author’s belief system, yet he is still in denial.

    Science and religion are locked in a death struggle, and it seems the believers need to extinguish the greatest achievements of rational thought to protect their Stone Age fantasies.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • glenn robert

      Mr. Demuth is at least one up on the Christians as he believes his book was written by humans. Having your book written be God presents problems. An excellent analysis of the old and new testaments was written by Issac Asimov who wrote on many factual subjects. He dealt with the bibles historical inconsistencies and language, not as a religious matter. His being an Atheist had no bearing on the subject.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Really?

      I find the above comment surprising. To call the interplay between science and religion a "death struggle" ignores the fact that both are ultimately human methods of understanding the 'truth' in the world around us. In fact, I would argue that many scientific theories are a belief system as well – proven correct or false over the years, it does not matter... what matters is their influence in affecting human understanding of the world around us for a specific period of time.

      June 30, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  20. dugee

    Wow! The arguments to convince himself are certainly not better than the years of biblical scholarship he is attempting to discredit. There is much in the literature which does indeed show pieces of earlier writings, not to mention a complete copy of the story of Noah in Sumerian literature. Sigmund Freud in his book, Moses and Monotheism postulates that there may have been no exodus at all. It is not mentioned in any Egyptian sources. What is in Egyptian sources is an eviction of 'asiatics'(decendants of the Hyksos) by Ahmose and Thutmose. 'The Bible Unearthed' by Asher and Finklestein shows that many of the events which are alleged to have happened can not have taken place or that the story has been modified to suit a political agenda.
    The simple fact is that the Bible is one of the best looks into an ancient culture and those who foolishly treat it as fact do it a disservice.
    The fact is

    May 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • rusty benson

      as a man who converted away from Christianity after converting to it: i can say this is just a dumb book that is full of lies, contradictions, and flip flopping. it is purposely bent to the will of every individual. none can respect others beliefs, only force everyone to live there way no matter who or waht they are or where from. it is a cancer. and if jesus was here again he is a heretic and a false prophet and was nothing special... many prophets did miracles. i would be first in line to crucify him again as a heretic

      June 30, 2011 at 7:13 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.