Who Wrote the Bible and Why on Earth Does It Matter?

Apr 10

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


In this online conversation hosted by the Cornwall Library, the Religion, Race & Democracy Lab’s co-director Martien Halvorson-Taylor and writer Franny Taliaferro explore what we know about who wrote the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament as they consider the meaning of ‘writing’ and ‘authorship’ in the ancient world and our present day society. They will discuss what evidence and clues scholars pursue and how new answers are challenging long-held assumptions about the Bible. The Old Testament reflects the profundity and timelessness of human experience. It has the power to shape our sense of our own lives, to frame our fears, and to inspire our ultimate hopes. What could be more interesting than finding out who, exactly, we should thank for that?

About the Speakers

Martien Halvorson-Taylor is a part-time Cornwall resident and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. She received her B.A. from Yale University (English Literature & Language), her M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and her Ph.D. from Harvard University (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations). She co-hosts a leading podcast on global religion called Sacred & Profaneand is the author of a new Audible course, Writing the Bible. More information can be found on her website.

Franny Taliaferro is a long-time resident of Cornwall. For decades, she taught English at The Brearley School in New York City, where she first posed the question of who wrote the Bible to Martien in her 12th grade English class. In addition to her career in education, she is a book reviewer whose work has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, and various other publications. Franny, her late husband Lee, and their daughter Cassandra came to Cornwall in 1977 as summer renters and have stayed ever since.

Illustration by Ziniu Chen, UVA Communications