Book Of J

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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In The Book of J, Harold Bloom draws the controversial conclusion that J, an alleged author of one of the strands of the Bible, was a woman residing in the court of King David. As court historian, she supposedly retold familiar stories passed down from generations while adding her own dash of satire and perspective on the aristocratic community. The Redactor later accumulated incompatible texts from several authors, including J's, and blended them into what is today the Bible or Torah. One must keep in mind that in the process of compilation, R sorted and eliminated conflicting and "outrageous" accounts, one of which is the creation story. In J's version, the warrior-like Yahweh battles and defeats a sea serpent, while in P's (Priestly) vision Yahweh is an omniscient and transcendent creator. If it were not for R, what we have today of J's archive would be more complete. And if it were indeed true that J had been a genius novelist who added her own twist on the traditions, the Judaism and Christian religions would be quite different because J's purpose of writing these stories was not religious but literary, despite the revision of her texts into "creeds and churches".

Any religious person persuaded by this view would have his or her faith severely shaken for it essentially points out that the foundation of Judaism and Christianity is nothing but edited whimsical fiction. In J's strand of the Genesis, Yahweh is portrayed anthropomorphically, with human physical attributes and personality. The child-like way in which He creates Adam and the rage that prompts Him to wipe out the world with water are both examples of the countless similarities between Yahweh and Man. Perhaps religion stems from an underlying narcissistic desire for Man to deify and worship himself.