You say the Bible is more than the sum of its parts.When you see it come together like this, it adds a layer of depth to your appreciation of the book. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Let's take an example: In Genesis 1, God creates humans in the divine image. At minimum, that means humans participate in the divine in a way that a cat does not. Then in Genesis 3, when the snake is trying to get the humans to eat from the tree, [the snake] uses that. His line is "if you eat from the tree, you will be like God," which presumably is a line that wouldn't work on a cat, because a cat doesn't aspire to be like God. Then you say, "wait, Genesis chapter 1--the creation in the divine image--is P, and the snake talking to Adam and Eve is J." So neither author meant this to happen, and you can't say the redactor even meant this to happen, because he's including both J and P complete, putting it together as best he can. So in a very real sense, the Bible becomes greater not only than each of its authors, but than all of them put together.

That's kind of divine inspiration right there, in a way. A fundamentalist might look at that and say, yeah, there, you see. And some of my more religious students have said that.

When you read the Bible this way, you see it not just as the genius of any one person at one time, but the genius of a whole community over almost 1000 years.