I know this is an old thread...however I thought it may be of significance to post for anyone else browsing the threads.
As a bible scholar...I would have to agree with "Bill" on the point of much earlier evidence for writings beside the bible. I know most will say "God wrote the bible, not men." This is misleading. First you have to ask: What is the bible?
In short, the bible is a collection of writings, written by men who were said to have been "inspired" by God.
Good, next question: Who collected the inspired writings and who determined if a man was inspired or not?
Certain Councils of MEN throughout history have determined this for us all. The original writings which did not make the "Bible" were still compiled in the Apocrypha and Psudepigrapha. ***Research this for yourselves...along with Athanasius' 39th Festal Letter.
So the bible (Canon) we have today is a result of various councils who determined what should be included and what should not be included...it would be great for one to study this. These same councils debated theological issues such as the "Trinity." The only reason we believe in a 3-1 Godhead instead of a 2-1 or 1-1 is because of these councils which decided 3-1 is the probable, and is also why it is soooooooo hard for layperson to explain this (because they believe what a council told them to believe...rather than study for themselves).
No onto the real issue of the bible and where its writings came from. In the scholarly realm, we have a TON of evidence for writings which come well before the time of the bible. The earliest known writings come from the Uruk in Mesopotamia which is written in the ancient Sumerian. What is fascinating is, of the 1,000s of writings collected from this era, most contain the names of biblical people in Genesis and also suggest these names come from the Habiru people, which some scholars agree are a direct reference to the Hebrews.
Contained within these writings are direct parallel structures of the writing system contained within the first five books of the bible (the torah). Even direct parallels of biblical stories are contained in these earliest known writings. So how long before Moses are these writings found: c.a. 2,000 years before Moses began to write.
What else contained in these writings? Mostly laws on how to govern a land/people, but also writings on medicine and genealogies.
It would do a person well to take this information and study it more in depth.
"For the High and Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy says this: 'I live in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the oppressed." - Isaiah57:15