Further note to dive:
Here is a review of Lane Fox's book:
"If you are expecting a populist best seller challenging the basis of Christian faith, this is the wrong book. What you will be getting instead is a very serious and considered account of the current results of historical and linguistic research into one of most important works of mankind. As a Christian or Jew you can of course expect to be challenged, but not by the ravings of an atheist with an agenda to disprove the existence of God, but instead by a new and sober perspective on the process of the creation of the bible. Divine inspiration or not, Lane Fox allows you to keep to your own council. You will however learn that many readily accepted religious truths about authorship or time of composition of certain texts are indeed the invention of later generations. You might be also surprised as to how some facts, taken commonly as gospel today, have no foundation in the bible, let alone history, but are inventions of the medieval period. Take for example the 'Three Magi' from the Adoration: Casper, Melcher and Balthasar, allegedly three kings now buried in Cologne. Nowhere in the Bible are either their number or their names specified, and nobody in the bible mentions their royalty either. Their names appeared for the first time a remarkable 1100 years later.
There are no world changing theories put forward in this book, but it is a very insightful account into the culture and history of the early tribes of Israel and the forces and events that shaped the creation of two major religions. This subject matter is fairly complex and often in need of very thorough explanations. This makes the book somewhat strenuous to read, but to do the subject proper justice it is in my opinion a necessity. The author writes however for the layman and for the interested reader the book is not too hard to follow.
Lane Fox has in my opinion approached a very controversial subject with admirable consideration and academic skill. A book that speaks academic truths without trying to offend religious faith or push a specific agenda. Sine ira et studio, one could say."