Who Really Wrote the Bible?: The Story of the Scribes

Princeton Univ. Jun. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780691233178. $29.95. REL
Schniedewind (biblical studies, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; The Finger of Scribe) gives readers a glimpse into the lives and training of the members of ancient scribal communities who wrote the Bible. He argues that while Moses, David, Solomon, and various Jewish prophets are traditionally credited with authoring the early books of the Bible, the concept of individual authorship was developed in a later era by ancient Greeks. His deep historical research and scholarship make clear that ancient scribal communities are responsible for the Biblical texts known today. The book’s immersion in the history and culture of ancient Israel and Judah paints a picture of the lives of ancient scribes, and that’s supplemented by illustrative drawings, diagrams, and maps. Schniedewind notes that these scribes were akin to apprentices—not unlike those in medieval guilds—who specialized in the preservation and transmission of texts. He painstakingly traces the evolution of scribal communities from their roots in Egypt to their end with the Babylonian invasions and destruction of Jerusalem.
VERDICT This illuminating book aptly examines who really wrote the Bible and is accessible for both scholars and general readers.
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