A new book of the Bible is discovered. What's in it?



I invited some members of my congregation to weigh in on this question. Some had no interest in the biblical era or its legends. One countered that "additional books for our Bible are being discovered--and written--every day as we develop new ideas, insights, reflections and interpretations of our experiences and the world around us." But for those who liked the idea, I was struck by a common theme: The books they championed were not just lost but had obviously been suppressed and censored.

One person said that this "missing book" would contain the same stories of the Bible but told from the perspective of the other--women rather than men, the Egyptians rather than the Israelites. Another suggested that the book was by an unknown prophet, also a woman, "who recognizes that everything always changes, that biblical explanations should not be frozen in time but change with it. She goes on to give guidelines about how this idea applies."

Another member attributed the hidden book to Moses, who reveals that, while wandering one day in the desert, he realized that God was a heat-induced hallucination or trick. Still, the morals he discovered--which, he now understood, came from inside, not from a guy in the sky--still hold. It took amazing bravery for Moses to discover this truth and share it. But in the end his message was suppressed by the priestly/ rabbinic class that feared loss of control.

And finally, one member speculated that the lost book was "The Book of Levity" that "stresses the importance of taking all other books with a grain of salt, or sand, whichever the reader prefers."

Rabbi Peter Schweitzer

The City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism

New York, NY


After he had bid the Israelites farewell, Moses climbed the mountain as God had commanded, and the Lord allowed him to see from one end of the land to the other, the land He had promised to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob. And Moses lay down upon the grass atop the knoll and prepared to die. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Get up from off of the mound, for your time to die is not yet. Verily, I have prepared for you a steed upon which you shall ride to wherever you see fit and wherever your heart desires. And you shall dwell there in peace and enjoy the remainder of your days on the earth. And you shall be fed and shall be given drink and be gladdened in your heart and never lack. And as for the Israelites, it shall be written for them that you have been buried by the hand of the Lord which took them out of the Land of Egypt, but...

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