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By Harold Love

Contemporary literary scholarship has visible a shift of curiosity clear of questions of attribution. This publication is the 1st finished literary survey of the sphere to seem in 40 years. It revisits a couple of well-known controversies, together with these in regards to the authorship of the Homeric poems, books from the previous and New Testaments, and the performs of Shakespeare. Written with wit and erudition, the examine makes this interesting box available for college kids and students.

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The importance of Simon’s work lies not so much in his questioning of attributions, which were of little concern to him, as in his insistence on the collaborative nature of the process by which the sacred writings had been compiled.  His view was one of texts that grew and matured through history within a sanctifying social framework. Simon expressed interest in the view of the Jewish scholar Isaac Abravanel that Samuel had compiled Joshua and Judges and that Jeremiah had written Samuel and Kings – this being simply an extension of the theory of ‘public writers’.

Simon’s work, and that of freethinkers such as John Toland who drew on his findings, pointed towards what are still active traditions of Biblical scholarship known as Source Criticism, Historical Criticism and Redaction Criticism. Source criticism concerns itself with the preceding documents drawn on for particular Biblical books as we now have them. It was apparent from an early date that Genesis incorporated two separate accounts of the Creation and the Flood and used two different names for God in different passages.

In the two most recent volumes, edited by Dennis Rhodes and Anna Simoni, an authority is always given for an attribution, Historical survey  although in most cases it is simply a library catalogue (chiefly the British Library and the Library of Congress). The only attempt made to generalise about the materials collected are observations on the ways by which authors devised pseudonyms (often using ingenious transformation of their own names) and some common-sensical remarks on the reasons why authors should omit their names from their books: Anonymous and pseudonymous books and pamphlets may be grouped, in the first place, according to the motive which led to the suppression of the author’s name.

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