The Torah contains the first prose writing on earth. Before that there was only poetry. If it is factual, it is the first history ever written. If it is fiction, then it is the first novel. But either way it is the first. What moved a single Jewish writer to invent this new kind of text 3,000 years ago.? And what moved him or her to write these particular stories: why go all the way back to creation? Why include so many stories of brothers killing brothers? Did the author just invent the stories, or learn them from past generations, or rewrite them from songs and poetry? Above all, who were these first writers on earth who gave us the Torah?
Richard Elliott Friedman is one of the premier bible scholars in the country. He earned his doctorate at Harvard and was a visiting fellow at Oxford and Cambridge, a Senior Fellow of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Haifa. He is the Ann & Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies Emeritus at the University of Georgia and the Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization Emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Commentary on the Torah, The Exodus, The Disappearance of God, The Hidden Book in the Bible, The Bible with Sources Revealed, The Bible Now, The Exile and Biblical Narrative, and the bestselling Who Wrote the Bible? He was a consultant for the Dreamworks film “The Prince of Egypt,” for Alice Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers, and for NBC, A&E, PBS, and Nova.
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