The Hidden Book in the Bible

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9780060630041: The Hidden Book in the Bible

Renowned biblical sleuth and scholar Richard Elliot Friedman reveals the first work of prose literature in the world-a 3000-year-old epic hidden within the books of the Hebrew Bible. Written by a single, masterful author but obscured by ancient editors and lost for millennia, this brilliant epic of love, deception, war, and redemption is a compelling account of humankind's complex relationship with God. Friedman boldly restores this prose masterpiece-the very heart of the Bible-to the extraordinary form in which it was originally written.

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Review:

Richard Elliott Friedman's The Hidden Book in the Bible may be the most important literary discovery of our century. Or it may be a load of guano. The Hidden Book, like Michael Drosnin's The Bible Code, makes the audacious claim that its author has discovered a secret structure of meaning in the holy texts of Christianity and Judaism. Bucking more than a century of biblical textual criticism, Friedman claims that one author, probably a lay person, wrote many of the most familiar stories in the Hebrew Bible (including the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, and David) as one unified text. The Hidden Book's introduction defends this thesis with close readings of the patterns of punctuation, word choice, sentence structure, and allusion used in these stories; the remainder of the book is a reconstruction of what Friedman says is the original, foundational text at the heart of the Bible.

Unlike The Bible Code, Friedman's book abstains from making specific interpretive claims based on its findings. Yet Friedman does draw one lesson for contemporary readers from the story he has found--perhaps the only element of this book that will escape the controversy it is sure to cause. In an age of relativism, Friedman writes, "Suddenly this work comes back from nearly three thousand years ago. And it says yes, humans have the power to make judgments of what is good and bad and right and wrong. In this story, the creator of the earth does not always reveal what is good and bad, but rather the humans take the fruit that enables them to make these judgments." --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

Richard Elliott Friedman is professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature and holds the Katzin Chair at the University of California, San Diego. One of the premier biblical scholars in the country, he received his doctorate at Harvard and was a visiting fellow at Oxford and Cambridge. Author of The Hidden Face of God, The Hidden Book in the Bible, Commentary on the Torah, The Exile and Biblical Narrative, and the bestselling Who Wrote the Bible?, Friedman is also the president of the Biblical Colloquium West. A consultant to universities, journals, encyclopedias, and publishers, he is also the editor of four books on biblical studies and has authored over fifty articles, reviews, and notes in scholarly and popular publications.

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