the J author (was: Babel)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Nov 8 00:42:55 UTC 2002

At 4:55 PM -0500 11/7/02, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>I've never heard this authorship story.  Enlighten us!  (Off-topic, I know.
>. . .)

Harold Bloom, author, editor, and literary critic par excellence (and
a member of the Yale faculty since time immemorial) has been arguing
since the publication of _The Book of J_ (Grove Wiedenfeld, 1990)
that the "J author", generally credited with writing most of the
interesting parts of the Old Testament, including the best parts of
the Torah (first five books), was a woman in the court of David in
the 10th c. BC(E).  Whence Jim's "her" and "the woman who" below, I
assume.  Bloom's move was, to put it mildly, not well received by
traditional Biblical scholars.  Of course for Bloom these traditional
scholars are heirs to the heritage of the "P" writer (or priestly
redactor), i.e. the bad guy, the anti-poet.  Some see Bloom as
attempting to disarm the legions of his feminist critics; if so, it
didn't work.  (I sat in on a faculty seminar he gave here before the
book was published, when he was presenting material that he ended up
publishing as _Ruin the Sacred Truths_ (1989) and he was quite
consistent in his references to the J author as "she" at the time.
But maybe he was just practicing.)


>At 02:32 PM 11/7/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>>At 2:26 PM -0500 11/7/02, James A. Landau wrote:
>>>Note that Abraham is supposed to have come from "Ur of the
>>>Chaldees" which is
>>>in Babylonia.  Also J (the woman who wrote the Adam and Eve story) when
>>>mentioning the four rivers of Eden, feels the need to describe three of them
>>>but assumes her audience knows what the Euphrates is.
>>Ah, Jim is a (Harold) Bloomian!  I wonder how many others he's
>>convinced about J's true identity.

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