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. Bernie

    This is not a good article. Of course, it is important to know who wrote "The Book." If it was man made., then why follow it and put your life on it? Find a book that has never been changed. The book that was, and still is, the WORDS OF GOD, then follow it. We were not in this world before, then God made us. God makes us die, then God can easily wake us up again. So look for the truth, trust your instinct, follow it and abide by it. It will protect you from hell. Such a book is a sure guidance for mankind. Does anybody know what book that is still original from God that has never been modified?

    April 1, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • jen

      I do not believe in hell therefore I will not be going there.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • richunix

      Oh yes it has and NUMEROUS times......hell the virgin birth ws changed from the hebrew text to read as "young girl" to a "virgin girl" in oder to give the reader that this his birth was a devine birth (cica 200ce) source the Catholic Monk Augustine. I could go on for hours he number of changes that occured. Leta start with the First Council of Nicaea. when the vote was 368 to 365 in agreeing that the Nazarene was of devine birth and hence a God. Go figure

      April 1, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Jason the Pendleton Rat

      I think you are slightly off. The original Hebrew meant "woman of marriageable age", which in the ears of the Hebrew listeners of the time would have rung a bell, because of the story from Isiiah in which King Ahaz's concubine becomes pregnant during a national political emergency, the point being that the child was the sign that god was still with his people, and had absolutely nothing to do with an unnatural birth. You are totally correct, this is but one example of things being completely changed, and misunderstood.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  2. Dan

    His entire "revelation" of how editors are fallible is BS. His boss did exactly what he was supposed to! He didn't Identify correctly which paragraph was written by who (connect paragraph A to writer A, same for Paragraph B and writer B), but he identified that there were two distinct writing styles (there's paragraph A and B). That's exactly what biblical scholars do.

    Stupidest thing I've read on CNN in a while.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • richunix

      This is what you are looking for:

      Argument from authority (also known as appeal to authority) is a fallacy of defective induction, where it is argued that a statement is correct because the statement is made by a person or source that is commonly regarded as authoritative. The most general structure of this argument is:

      1.Source A says that p is true.
      2.Source A is authoritative.
      3.Therefore, p is true.

      This is a fallacy because the truth or falsity of a claim is not related to the authority of the claimant, and because the premises can be true, and the conclusion false (an authoritative claim can turn out to be false). It is also known as argumentum ad verecundiam (Latin: argument to respect), argumentum ad potentiam (Latin: argument to power), or ipse dixit (Latin: he himself said it).

      April 1, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Jason the Pendleton Rat

      Holy Crap, I am so totally impressed.
      Finally, ONE blogger here who actually knows something about what he's talking about.
      So many of the arguements here fall under the "reductio ad adsurdam" formula, almost none relate to the details of article
      which is supposed to be the subject of today's posting. Thanks. Wow!

      April 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  3. richunix

    For all you religious pundits, why not us GOD correct name as the word GOD is of 6th century Germanic origins. The using of the word give the reader the belief of omnimportance. Because using names like YAHWEH, Hasheim, Jehovah sound no better or worse than HERA, ZEUS. Funny through time we use Roman months name and Norse Gods and German names for weekday…but no Christian days are used.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  4. Katie

    As a former college newspaper editor, I do understand what he means by how hard it can be to truly know who wrote what. Even in novels, a good writer can make you believe that the person telling the story is anyone they want you to think it is. However, were those who first transcribed what is now the Bible incredibly skilled writers and editors? How long did they even have a written language at that point? Were they trying to craft an elegant story (in which case the entire credibility of the Bible goes out the window even more than it already has), or were they simply trying to get the words on paper, in which case I doubt they took time to consider writing style, if they even had any.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  5. james

    Who do you say Jesus is? It is written The Bible was God inspirted written by man.
    Who do you base your faith/trust/truth on? Who wrote that opinion?

    April 1, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • EZNY

      Jesus historically was probably a Jew that was fighting against the Roman lapdogs running Israel at the time, the Pharisees etc. Jesus saw these guys making a ton of money of the people through religion and fees and then letting the Romans do what they like. Jesus rocked the boat and starting turning people away from following the rules and strictures demanded by these VIPs (Very Important Priests) and they put him to death for it. Now that I have explained Jesus. IS there any other fantasy I help you with.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  6. PI

    I have noticed that these belief articles are always so long and with bad "if then" logics. I guess it takes so many words to confuse others.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  7. NN

    Allah has written all the holy books. But everything is changed over the years. Quran is the only holy book, where you can't find a single letter change. If you don't believe me, you can verify it by yourself.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Michael

      Ah, yes, Islam...changing the world one body at a time.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Katie

      As silly as you are, the Quran is the most historically accurate of the holy books out there, where you can point to definitive authors.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • jen

      another book of fairy tales. all religion is just that.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Frida

      Someone should really verifies if Koran or Quran, the book of Islam, is and has always been authentic. We have the technology. It is a good challenge for us. Anybody?

      April 1, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • EZNY

      Remember the Koran was only written in 400 AD based on Judaism and Christianity. Which means the source material is the the fairy tale. IT was written by a deranged guy who herded camels and goats. They worship a rock that fell out of the sky in Mecca. There goes that "authentic" "accurate" feeling.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  8. Justin

    Charles said "I often wonder how people are so eager to believe that man landed on the Moon but they are so sure that the Bible is a fairy tale."
    Are you joking? That was 42 years ago. We have video and first-hand accounts. Men who landed on the moon are still alive today. We have proof that man-made objects are still on the moon. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills reading some of these comments.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  9. Chris

    My faith leads me to believe that the reason that so many people debate this subject of who is the author is because that is exactly what Satan wants.

    I have faith that the Bible is 100% without error even today (and yes I have seen the hundreds of verses that poeple have pointed out as supposedly contradivtory which are not if you understand them). The God that I trust is both powerful enough and merciful enough to ensure that His Words are true and uncompramized by man.

    The author of this article has placed himself and his chief editor in comparison to an all mighty God who does not make mistakes and who has the power to guide men to ensure that His Word will remain true forever. That is totally "humanly foolish".

    April 1, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Huh

      How do you explain all the dinosaur fossils, or the evidence of man dating back tens of thousands of years?

      April 1, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • jen

      so if incest if evil and against god, how did adam and eve have children who had children who had children???
      the bible constantly contradicts itself.
      pure fiction.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • vtxrider

      100% without error? Does that mean I can sell my children into slavery for being disrespectful? How about stoning my neighbor that does not observe the sabbath? Give me a break.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • George

      So well said!

      April 1, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Chris

      In reply to your question.... I do not know how to explain the dinosuars or the dug up bones. The Bible did not mention that dinosaurs did not ever exist so that is not an issue to me. Man having been dated back further than what would be expected based on the Bible is sometimes difficult. I am a man of science. Studied if for many years all the way through college yet I found that science was full of guesses and that many mistakes have been made. The fosils of what we have determined to call "man" does not mean that they are of the "man" that we are today. The "man" that God created. Those fossils do not resemble us, they resemble apes and if you believe that we came from apes then you may have a point. I do not believe in the evolution of man from apes. There are too many gaps in that theory for me to base a faith on that. We were created with minds that can and that do seek to know our creator. Do we know that the creatures that those bones belonged to did as well? Or were they just animals.

      Your questions are tough but they do not remove God nor the truths of the Bible. We just don't have all of the answers yet.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Chris

      It is obvious to me that you do not understand the Bible as a whole. You do not understand what God was trying to do with the Israelites. You do not understand the covenant that He made with them. You do not understand what it means to observe the sabbath. Your argument is not valid unless you understand all that is to be learned from the Bible.

      God does not want you to sell your children into slavery, He wants you to TEACH them. He does not want you to stone your neighbor, He wants you to love them.

      God did not ever intend man to be sold as slaves. Man did that because of greed. God just gave the rules so that "slaves" could be redeemed. It was man that disobeyed those rules.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • EZNY


      Did you grow up in an ultra religious household. All of those "things" left out of the bible are the reason educated thinking rational people see it just as a collection of stories. There is no Adam and Eve or Noah. If there is a question as to the accuracy of a scientific statement it remains a theory. Science starts with theories that are proven or disproven. If a theory is the only rational explanation that does not have concrete facts it remains a theory.

      On the other hand, you are starting with the BIBLE IS FACT. This is not rational nor is it intelligent. If you start off with the theory that the Bible is fact and must be disproven then you have more faith than brains. Since there is no record of the Israelites until after Ramses II how can you prove that the BIBLE was not written by priests of a startup monotheistic religion that came out of Egypt the same time as the fall of the monotheistic Aton Religion of Egypt that was destroyed by the priests of Anubis when they rose back to power with the death of Akennaton and Tutankammon. How do you explain the recent science that points to asteroids detroying Soddom and Gamorrah. How do you explain evidence of the end of an ice age flooding the mesopotamian plains. These were all natural events that were interpreted by men to mean God was watching and putting a moral spin on it. I'm sure these same uneducated people would look at a Hurricane as a sign from God that punished New Orleans for "sin", but educated people are smarter than that.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  10. Michael

    The Bible tells you who wrote it if you would have ever take the time to read it. Your ignorance shows you have not completely read the Bible to see this answer. 2 Peter 2:20-21 – "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." Who wrote it? The Holy Spirit.

    Also, "Science Rules", the Bible is real, not fiction. Funny how it's April Fool's Day and the Ps 14:1 says the fool has said in his heart there is no God. You...sorry to say, are a fool. Enjoy your holiday!

    April 1, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Chris

      I know its frustrating. But we do not called those who do not believe fools in such a harsh way. We pray for their hearts! When we run into someone that has a hard heart towards Christianity, calling them fools surely does not help to soften that heart.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Michael

      The Bible said it not me. I just repeated it Chris quoting Scripture. Can't soften what the Word of God says. 🙂

      April 1, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • EZNY

      You are the fool to believe in the word of man. Men wrote the book and are interpreted by man for their own ends. God does not need your faith. God does not need your love. If a man is a good man and harms none would he go to heaven? by the strict interpretation of the Bible No not without faith. But how righteous is the God you believe that would make the good man suffer while allowing the evil man who believes in God but does evil deeds and is only good and repents for the reward of heaven. If you are confused it's because what I am using is logic.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Michael

      Spoken like a true fool EZNY. Thanks for sharing!

      April 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  11. Steve Brinkhoff

    The 10 Commandments are our most "ancient moral text"? Really? 10,000 years before the Bible was written, several large civilizations had sophisticated written legal codes, including laws against murder, theft, etc. Another blind, dumb Christian.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • ebccrosswalk

      In case you missed it... the author's Jewish, not a Christian. Just sayin'

      April 1, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  12. SteveW928

    OK, so I kept reading. Yes, it does get better and is worth reading. Yes, JEPD-scholarship is a bunch of bunk. It starts with a presupposition and applies it to the text. Until the last couple paragraphs he does a very good job.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  13. Scott

    Religion is like astrology in so many ways. A very elaborate system of rules and regulations built around a core of nonsense.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • George Greek

      Excellent Scott... EXCELLENT!!!

      April 1, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  14. Infallibility

    I don't think it matters whether Moses or J, E, P, and D wrote the first five books of the Bible but what DOES matter is whether or not God inspired the Bible. And the Bible isn't just a "good book to read" – it IS reality. Same with Jesus – He wasn't just a "wise man" who had "good teachings." He said he was God. If that wasn't true, then he was a lunatic.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Andy Anderson

      That's called a 'false dichotomy' and it's a logical fallacy. If you're going to post under the name 'infallibility' you would do well to get your logic straight.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Odie Colognie

      I think you should check you New Testament. Jesus never said he was God. (What does that even mean?) He asked the apostles in a couple of the gospels, "WHo do you say I am"? They said he was the Son of Man. The idea that a human being could be or have a divine nature never entered their bronze age minds.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  15. chuck

    Wow! Is the Bible a touchy subject or what? Hahaha - I can't even keep up with the posts I was on.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  16. Jeff

    The thing humans continue to mis is the truth about self. Once humans seek and find the truth then true freedom and universal peace and happiness is achieved. Religion has discarded the truth with the Roman and new establishment dogma to support materialism and dualism. The true teachings was outlawed by the Roman ==== The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day İznik in Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in A.D. 325. The Council was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.[2]

    Its main accomplishments were settlement of the Christological issue of the relationship of Jesus to God the Father; the construction of the first part of the Nicene Creed; settling the calculation of the date of Easter; and promulgation of early canon law.

    Man is GOD, Man is Perfect. The reason we dont accept our role is ===== we were never exposed to the teachings.

    Seeek and you shal find, Keep the mouth open to the Wisdom of Isis-Mary, Horus-Jesus...

    April 1, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  17. Bill

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

    April 1, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • richunix

      But it's better than "Simon say's"

      April 1, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  18. What do you know

    It's a book! To read it as anything more then a book is ludicrious. In 1000 years people will read "The Stand" by Stephen King and start following that as gospel. Everyone will move to either Colorado or California and be on one side or the other. Can't believe how things got so out of hand. Believe what you want but don't insist that I do.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  19. Justin

    If you think rationally when stepping outside of faith, doesn't that mean you are thinking irrationally when considering your faith?

    April 1, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Steve Brinkhoff

      Yes. Absolutely. The light has finally dawned on you, sir or madam. Enjoy this liberating moment of epiphany.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Justin #2

      " But sometimes I like to step outside of faith and just think about things rationally. "

      LOL yeah pretty much.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • D-Man

      In a way....yes. That is why it is of faith. If it could be entirely rationalized no faith would be needed. And assuming that human rationality can in fact figure everything out is a large assumption indeed. Faith is needed.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • ashley

      Though I am Christian even I sometimes have questions and doubts as well...I don't think that means I'm a bad Christian, just someone who is inquisitive and curious. It's important to know who wrote the Bible because knowing that gives validity to the text itself. If the author isn't credible, then why would you believe in what he/she is saying? Based on the few religious courses I took at college, I think 'apostolic succession' and belief in the resurrection (Paraphrasing my religion professor: 'without belief in the resurrection, there would be no Christianity') has something to do with why many educated Christians accept the Bible....I'm sure I could come up with a more definitive argument...but it's been a while since that religion class...lol. A personal reason why I believe in God is because of His grace...God's Righteousness At Christ's Expense.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  20. mike

    The Bible is just a book of fiction.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Todd

      Oh really? Maybe you should have told me that before I killed my kids for talking back to me. Oh well. Guess I'll go make more.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • jen

      I agree. It is a fairy tale taken to extremes. Fanaticism at its worst. One big cult based on nonsense.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • jim morrissey

      Exactly, a work of fiction with some exaggerated history sprinkled in. And it's laughable that anyone looks at it any other way than as an historical text/source and with a grain of salt at that. It's laughable that this is even a debate. Any real scholar would be debating on how to interpret the text not as the word of god but as the poetry of man.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Jeff

      So basically, screw historians, screw science, Moses wrote the Bible. Very very few religious people deserve the nothing they're treated to as an afterlife - that's just what happens - to everyone. You DO deserve that nothing, David, for making the lives of the reasonable, miserable. One wishes there would be just enough of something that you could find it disappointing. But no such luck. Your reward for stubborn stupidity will be the same as we atheists get for our reason and intelligence. Nothing. There's a very very good chance there wasn't a Moses, OR a J, E, P or D, so you're correct in that one sense - it doesn't matter.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • KennyG

      The Bible contains truths that no fiction could come up with. Glad you have information regarding creation, where everything came from, and other important facts of life and death. You most be well informed.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • richunix


      Roberts' popular quotation:

      “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      April 1, 2011 at 11:55 am |
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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.