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Richard Elliott Friedman is a biblical scholar and the Ann and Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgiamarker. He joined the faculty of the UGA Religion Department in 2006. Prior to his appointment there, he was the Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization: Hebrew Bible; Near Eastern Languages and Literature at UCSDmarker from 1984 until 2006. Dr. Friedman received his Th.D. in Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard Universitymarker in 1978; Hebrew Bible from Harvard University in 1974; M.H.L., Jewish Theological Seminarymarker in 1971, and B.A., University of Miamimarker in 1968. He is a winner of numerous awards and honors, including American Council of Learned Societies Fellow. He was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridgemarker and the University of Oxfordmarker; and a Senior Fellow of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem. He participated in the City of David Project archaeological excavations of biblical Jerusalem.

He is probably most famous for his work Who Wrote the Bible?, a description of the Documentary hypothesis. The book was praised for its scholarship, accessibility, and conciliatory tone.

Origin of the P source

Richard Elliot Friedman is of the view that the P Source of the Bible was composed during the time of Hezekiah. P for instance “emphasizes centralization of religion: one centre, one altar, one Tabernacle, one place of sacrifice. Who was the king who began such centralization? King Hezekiah."

According to Friedman, and others who follow the theories of Julius Wellhausen regarding the formation of Israel's religion, P is the work of the Aaronid priesthood. They are the priests in authority at the central altar – not Moses, not Korah, nor any other Levites. Only those descended from Aaron can be priests. Friedman then goes on to say “P always speaks of two distinct groups, the priests and the Levites. Who was the king who formalized the divisions between priests and Levites? King Hezekiah." Chronicles reports explicitly:

“Hezekiah assigned (Hebrew יעמד) the priests and Levites to divisions — each of them according to their duties as priests or Levites. ( )”

Friedman writes that the “Aaronid priesthood that produced P had opponents, Levites who saw Moses and not Aaron as their model. What was the most blatant reminder of Moses power that was visible in Judah? The bronze serpent 'Nehushtan'. According to tradition, stated explicitly in E, Moses had made it. It had the power to save people from snakebite. Who was the king who smashed the Nehushtan? Hezekiah.”


  • Who Wrote the Bible? (Harper San Francisco) (1987) ISBN 0-06-063035-3
  • The Bible with Sources Revealed (Harper San Francisco) (December 1, 2003) ISBN 0-06-053069-3
    • A translation of the Pentateuch into English with the different sources highlighted in different font styles and colours.
  • The Hidden Book in the Bible (Harper San Francisco) (September 1, 1999) ISBN 0-06-063004-3
  • Commentary on the Torah (Harper San Francisco) (April 1, 2003) ISBN 0-06-050717-9
  • The Hidden Face of God (Harper San Francisco) (December 13, 1996) ISBN 0-06-062258-X


  1. Friedman, Richard Eliot (1997) "Who Wrote the Bible" (Harper)

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