Richard E. Friedman does so many things right in this book. His analysis is convincing, his translations are powerful and accurate, he keeps his postulations small and he gives all the details on the difficulties and possible problems in separating the various authors.
I'm not a religious person, but recognize the historical, social, cultural and religious impact of the bible.
The premise, and it has been known for more than 150 years, is that the first five books of the Bible, previously attributed to Moses, were actually written by several authors. Not only that, but by recognizing the stylistic differences and the different perspectives, it is possible to almost completely unravel the passages by different authors. With more analysis, it's possible to tell which were written first, and where and when these authors lives. In some cases, Richard Friedman actually names the author or editor of the piece. While nothing can be 100%, he gives good reasons for his conclusions.
I loved the book and enjoyed almost everything about it. Some of his passage translations were impacting and have become my new favorites.
My biggest criticism was with the footnote numberings. Really, I had almost nothing bad to say about the entire book.
I can highly recommend this to anyone who has even a passing interest in the history of the Bible. A reveal to be sure.
My favorite biblical quote from Friedman, a re-translation of Deuteronomy 31
"16 When you are lying with your fathers, this people will rise and will whore after alien gods of the land onto which they are coming, and they will leave me and break my covenant which I have made with them.
17 And my anger will burn against them in that day, and I shall leave them, and I shall hide my face from them, and they will be devoured, and many evils and troubles will find them.
And they will say in that day, 'It is not because our God is not among us that these evils have found us?'
18 But I shall hide my face on that day because of all the wrong that they have done, for they turned to other gods."