Old Testament Texts / Another Look
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10-03-2015, 05:18 AM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(08-07-2014 08:56 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  One need only delve into Babylonian mythology which was a repository for earlier Mesopotamian myths to find a lot of this OT shit. Everyone knows of Gilgamesh but there are others and we can never know how many have been lost to time.

The Ludlul Bel Nimeqi deals with a poor bastard who gets fucked over by the gods...much like "job."

http://www.piney.com/BabTabuBel.html

Quote:In about1700 B.C. a Babylonian poem treats of a mysterious affliction which overtook a righteous man of Babylon, and has been compared with the book of Job:

I'm beginning to think there is nothing original in this OT shit at all.

Yeah, Genesis is pretty blatant about it with the creation myth, then the flood myth, then they drop all pretense with the Tower of Babel myth. YHWH simply duplicates everything Enki does, then they get into Exodus and pattern Moses after Sargon of Akkad, with a bit of Egyptian mythology thrown in.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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10-03-2015, 05:01 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(12-07-2014 06:26 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  An emerging theory of Judaism is that it is phallic worship of the Tau which gives the name "Daud" or David.

Pray tell. Where is this "emerging from", and who are the legitimate scholars involved ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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15-03-2015, 02:02 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(03-09-2012 01:50 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  In his book "Jesus, Interrupted", the prominent, well-known and respected New Testament scholar and agnostic Dr. Bart Ehrman wrote:

"Scholars of the Bible have made significant progress in understanding the Bible over the past two hundred years, building on archaeological discoveries, advances in our knowledge of the ancient Hebrew and Greek languages in which the books of scripture were originally written and deep and penetrating historical, literary and textual analyses. This is a massive scholarly endeavor. Thousands of scholars just in North America alone continue to do serious research in the field, and the results of their study are regularly and routinely taught, both to graduate students in universities and to prospective pastors attending seminaries in preparation for the ministry. Yet such views of the Bible are virtually unknown to the population at large."

Ehrman is a New Testament scholar, and this applies to the Old Testament as well. The general public and especially those attending conservative and fundamentalist churches have no idea what's going on in classrooms and in major academic centers of biblical scholarship. They would be shocked if they did. In order to provide you with an insight into the current progress in their field of study, let's have a look at the works of some real scholars.

Before we get started, I want to make clear that I don't want to denigrate the efforts of those involved at a popular level, such as Dr. Dawkins and the speakers/members of Skepticon, knowing that they are supported by real scholarship and by working academics who are not involved in promoting their own ideas because they are busy teaching and writing. The public would be amazed if they knew that the views of real scholars and those of fundamentalists have little to nothing in common. I often wonder if Dawkins realizes what a great help a biblical scholar on his team would be.

The following is a brief glimpse into the works of some scholars, with respect to the Old Testament texts. I hope that it will provide you with a little context for the later developments in that culture (i.e. "Christianity").

Why were the first texts that have been voted non-unanimously into the canon of the Bible ever written in the first place?

First of all, it's impossible that a man named Moses, if he ever existed, set in a Biblical time frame, wrote the Pentateuch. In the introduction to his book "Who Wrote the Bible?", Dr. Richard Elliot Friedman points out a number of reasons that support this claim. One of them is the fact that the Kings of Edom, (they happen to be listed in the wrong order in the text BTW), as listed in Genesis, existed after Moses' death, meaning that he couldn't have known anything about them. There are a few others. One is that the phrase "there never arose in Israel another prophet like Moses, (Deut 34)" implies a later view, with an historical vantage point, which he would not have had. And one more, "These are the words which Moses spoke to the children of Israel across the Jordan" (??). But we thought he never WAS in Israel. Did he yell across the river ?

The central organizing factor of Ancient Hebrew culture and life was never the Bible. Instead, the central organizing factors were living together as a community, maintaining their political relationships and possessing their own worship centers and temples, eventually including a central Temple. The Bible didn't gain any importance until the society as they knew it began to unravel and another organizing factor was needed. Contrary to the assumptions of people today, the Bible itself was never the central organizing factor in their society. The most important factor was the family and assuring the birth of sons to carry on their line. This is difficult to imagine, in our day. There was no such thing as "religion", as a separate "feature", or "optional" part of life. There was only life. The group's god(s) were unquestionably a part of that life. That life was not organized by Bible texts. It would be like someone today, saying "Oh I think I will go practice some science, AND go to the doctor". No...you just go to the doctor. It's assumed he is a scientist. It's an assumed part of life.

The long complex historical processes and roots whereby Israel, and Judah became separated, and the waring factions of the clans, tribes, and groups of priests which resulted in the outcomes that happened are WAY too long to go into. Friedman's book does an excellent summary, both of the political-geographical events, and the historical roots of the sources, (below). NO scholar today seriously disputes the multiple source hypothesis.

The original seat, pre-kingdom, of the Arc of the Covenant, in tribal days, was at Shiloh, in central Israel, about 50-75 miles South of Galilee. Shiloh had it's own established group of priests. The long complicated, interwoven, political, and familial rivalries, both in the establishment of the kingdoms, and their associated rival priest groups is fascinating, but, again, too long to go into. However, what is in the Bible today, is a direct result of this complex human story. One simply cannot understand the Bible, without knowing that complex geo-political history. If you're interested, here is some of it. http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ble-Bull-s

Today we know that the Judean priests cooked up/assembled Genesis for political reasons in Babylon as a text for reference for the return, to provide a national story and a legal system for a basis for the return. They did it around 575-550 BCE, in order to promote political unity during a crisis caused by the exilic experience in Babylon, after having written the book of Job, (as an attempted "spiritual" response to the question of suffering). While the "Persian Imperative" is now discounted by scholars, it was probably on the right track in some ways, i.e. the unification of the waring priestly class with the Yahwist land owners into a unified, post exile state. In any case in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah it describes the Return from Babylon, with Ezra carrying two things, ... the letter from Artaxerxes giving him and the King the power to rule in his name, and the Torah of Moses --- the first time in human history what is now the beginnings of "The Bible" (The Scroll of Moses), are ever mentioned.

http://uzh.academia.edu/KonradSchmid/Pap...ent_Debate

Regardless of whether or not this was the actual impetus, it was a politically motivated document, aimed at cohesion and unification in a "created national story", today called "PR".

http://www.pphf.hu/biblikum/cikkek/kanoniz.pdf
http://www.jhsonline.org/cocoon/JHS/r354.html
http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/ind.../7322/6023
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_R._Davies (The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls)

In 1952, a team was set in place by the world-famous, preeminent scholar, archaeologist and pioneer discoverer of Holy Land historical sites and documents, Dr. William Foxwell Albright, the professor of Semitic languages at the Johns Hopkins University. Their job was to write criticisms and scholarly work concerning all biblical texts. The team was composed of the most respected biblical scholars in the US and Europe, including Dr. John W. Bailey, Professor Emeritus, New Testament, Berkley Baptist Divinity School, Dr Albert E. Barnett, Professor Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Dr. Walter Russell Bowel, Professor, The Protestant Episcopal Seminary, Virginia, Dr. John Bright, Professor, Union Seminary and many others.

The team of 124 clergymen and scholars came mostly from conservative, mainline universities and churches for the most part, the likes of whom will never be seen again in one place, whose names evoke the utmost and deepest respect, even if one completely disagrees with their religious views. They wrote the huge 13 volume set, now considered a valuable rare book, called "The Interpreters Bible". Today it is usually kept under lock and key in seminaries and libraries. This set includes an introduction to scholarship and looks at every single verse and word in the Bible, discusses their origins and possible meanings from various points of view. It has been updated in the 1990's, but the original scholarship is still the central fundamental summary of knowledge, which summarized scholarship from the Medieval period (1850's -1950's) and is therefore considered to be an interesting historical snapshot. It is also an assurance that these absolutely respected leading intellectuals from the 20th Century scholarship, of whom most were religious, have agreed to have each other's names associated with their own and that they felt comfortable with what each other were saying in an academic setting and commanded world-wide respect as conservative, careful, and sincere, life-long teachers, academics and scholars.

On page 15 of "The Interpreters Bible", Dr. Herbert F. Farmer, Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University wrote about the indispensability of the texts, their importance and how the "truth" of them should be approached, after an exposition of the traditional conservative Christian view of person-hood, sin and the salvific actions of Jesus (aka Yeshua ben Josef), known as "the Christ" in human history.

"The reason has to do with the evidence afforded by the texts themselves, and calls for fuller treatment. Scholarly research into the texts themselves, has convincingly shown that they cannot be accepted in detail as they stand."

He then continues by discussing the details of what a "faith document" is and how it differs from what we would consider an historical text today. The next chapter, authored by Dr. Arthur Jeffrey, Professor of Semitic Languages at Columbia, deals with the formation of the Old Testament canon. He wrote what is seen as the fundamental insight in modern Biblical Study and summarized the central academic position of every mainline, respected, and credible center of Biblical scholarship in the world today :

"Historians can merely state that a canon of scripture is not something given, but something humanly devised. From the historical point of view, the canon is the result of human decision as to which among the religious writing existing in a community are those in which it recognizes the authentic voice of religious authority speaking to man."

This is affirmation that what ultimately is included in a Biblical text, is a subjective reflection of the experience of an already believing, religious community, meaning that it's purpose is to reassure them of what they already believe in. The content of the texts does not consist of "externally received" information. It is information they already possessed and the community accepted as a reflection of their prior experience, and belief.

There are three important things to understand about this shocking statement. First of all, humans decided what would go into the texts. Secondly, the process of inclusion was, in general, a community decision. Third, both in the Christian and Hebrew culture, the community stood as the decision maker and guardian/gate keeper,of what went into a text. Last but not least, the decisions were never made by individuals, acting alone.

Judeo-Christianities, by historic definition, only come and exist in groups/communities. A decision reflected a community's collective experience of what it determined to be it's authentic faith experience of God's work among them. They believed that the process of this "determination"/discernment actually constituted the activity of God among them, in their community, as a bottom up, collective experience, i.e. the working of the Holy Spirit. The authority for their textual decisions was the experience of authenticity of and by the community. This is the actual undisputed methodological approach to texts which ended up in the Bible. The communities received and authenticated texts, based on their beliefs, which were already in place. The texts were not accepted as "new information". If the text did not reflect what they thought was an "authentic" (historical) experience, they would not be used or included in the final text. Is is of utmost importance to understand the direction of reception and authentication.

To sum it up, the texts did not contain any new information received from God, the authentication was done by an already believing community, as an affirmation that the text reflected their communal experience(s). They wrote the texts to confirm their beliefs.

This raises the question of "circularity". What came first, the chicken or the egg ? If I affirm a text as authentic, based on what I already believe, and throw out the ones that I don't agree with, then continue claiming that it teaches me the truth, it is obviously only going to teach me what I already know. This community-based authentication is somewhat difficult for modern humans to completely wrap their heads around, since the modern/post-modern concept, especially in America, of "rugged individualism" as a value (system), which underlies all of this present day culture, as is not always "seen", as it is so ingrained as an assumption, in the Hollywood Era, e.g. the "post John Wayne" culture.

This community decision process is also the historical basis for what came to be known as "heresy". Heresy was a minority view, in a community, which the majority sincerely saw as inauthentic. Heresy was also a community-generated phenomenon, based on a communal experience of authenticity. Unfortunately, this is also the useful working standard for the definition of "cult". If a belief system arises, which is not a community-authenticated system, then the criteria are clear. The new system may be a system, but historically, it is not how Christianity developed. There are exceptions to this method of historical, community-generated authentication, such as Mormonism, because their texts were written by an individual, not by the judgement of a community that shared the same experiences.

This poses an important challenge to authority systems which posit that authority is a "top down" process, (such as Roman Catholicism), because it shows that they stand as essentially non-historical, and outside the traditional process of revelation, (bottom up), in the face of their own development and non-biblical, in terms of the development process. Judgements about these things are not made by these scholars mentioned above. However, they are considered to be fairly obvious.

The Canon
So what is a "canon" and what does it mean ? The word canon is a translation of the Greek word "κανών", which strictly translated means "reed" or "straight rod". It is usually said to be a "rule" or "measuring stick". The actual word translates to "reed" and was a unit of measurement in Ancient Greece. The word thus is a standard for strict "comparison". That which is canonical passes the test of "strict comparison" to a text which was accepted as authentic or to what a community accepted and agreed was their authentic experience. The first known use of the was by Origen Adamantius, an Alexandrinian theologian and scholar who lived in the early Third Century.

Using the fact that archaeology has proven that the domestication of camels did not occur in the Ancient Near East until after 1000 BCE, the fact that camels have not been portrayed on pottery, ceramics, buildings and decorations earlier than 1000 BCE, (except on royal buildings), we know they were not a regular, general part of their culture. That and the fact that the Sea Peoples (aka Philistines) did not arrive in the Levant until about 1200 BCE tells us that the dating of any possible Genesis as real history is impossible before that. We know from location citing, that the Patriarchs were not related, and that the priest-authors invented the "family" of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, meaning that the Patriarchs are mythological, as well as unrelated. Camels were used in the Southern trade route to Arabia, where they transported the gum, ointments, tragacanth and labdanum mentioned in Genesis. The trade was at it's height around 700 BCE, making it the approximate likely date for Joseph, in case he ever existed. That being said, he was probably a myth as well.

How do we know that? Because Genesis is a conflation of J-1, the Yahwist-1 source, with J-2, E, and P. The "4 source hypothesis" was originally proposed by the French phsyician Jean Astruc in his monumental work, published in 1753, which forever changed our view of the Bible and the way it was written. His discovery forms the basis of present day scholarship by every mainline Biblical Studies department in the world and is confirmed by most scholars, including Dr. Cuthbert Simpson, who was Sub-Dean and Professor of Old Testament at the General Theological Seminary, in the US, in his chapter of Albright's Interpreter's Bible.

The most important early historical person we know of in the history of Isra-EL is Deborah. She organized the tribes (Judges 5) in combating their neighbors. Judaism should therefore rather be called Debra-ism. She is the Mother of the Nation and actually existed, whereas Abraham did not.

Jean Astruc noticed that the name of God alternated in the Genesis text and he and scholars in the years to follow, were able to figure out what the probable source documents were. They separated the ones that were used by the Judean priests, who combined the J-1 (Yahwist doc) with J-2 and E (Elohim doc) and added their own P (Priestly) material. There is also evidence for further work, which is called "R" for "redactor". This multiple source "hypothesis", has been accepted by scholars for hundreds of years, except for a very small radical fringe of fundamentalists who refuse to accept the facts that are lying right in front of them. The reason Abraham was created as "Father of the Nation", is that he was associated with local geographical sites from the Kingdom of Judah. The Judean priests were trying to centralize and give importance to their own location in Judah by making Abraham hold primacy of importance, thus giving Judah, (and themselves) primacy. This is all proven by the archaeology. There is another theory which proposes that since J is more concerned with women, women's issues and more sensitive to women, that at least one of the major authors of J was a female. Dr. Richard Elliot Friedman does not discount this. In fact, in his book "Who Wrote the Bible?", written in 1987, Dr. Friedman raised the question of whether or not J was a woman. In comparing J with E, he pointed out that the J documents originate from the Judean court, "from a circle in which both men and women had a certain status. The possibility of J being a woman is thus much more likely than with E. More important, the J stories are, on the whole, much more concerned with women and much more sensitive to women than are the E stories."

This became what is known in Biblical scholarship as the Source Hypothesis, or Documentary Hypothesis. There is no longer any dispute in scholarly circles about this hypothesis. Why ? Because it it confirmed by 6, independent sets of supporting evidence.
1. The linguistic dialect in each source is known, and can be documented as separate by decades, or longer.
2. The terminology for the same idea, person, object, or place is different in each source.
3. The content of each of the sources is different.
4. The "flow" of the story works if the source materials are combined.
5. The same known sources are similar or connect to the same known sources in other books.
6. The inferred political motivations for each source matches the material and it's apparent goals.

A lot of the J traditions came from Sumeria, the Enuma Elish and the Gilgamesh Epic. They were used as sources for the Creation myth and the Flood myth.

The mythic origins: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...=salvation

Archaeology has scientifically proven that the Genesis environment, as described in the Bible, was around 700 BCE (first video).

It is fascinating that King Jeroboam, the first king of Isra-EL in the North, as opposed to Judah in the South, installed golden calves in the temples of Yahweh around 925 BCE, in Dan and Beth-EL. This means that they were acceptable (at least for a while), that Moses' traditions obviously would have had to be formed later and also that the "golden calf" theme resonates later in the Exodus story as unacceptable is also useful for dating purposes. (second video)

http://thethinkingatheist.com/forum/gsea...&sa=Search
http://www.bib-arch.org/e-features/canaa...stines.asp



There are no original Old Testament texts known to historians. There are very few in existence which are even 1000 years old. The ones that exist today are

1. The Masoretic text, which is almost the same as the texts found at Qumran, though it does have some significant differences. However, since the Qumran texts date from only a couple hundred years later, that is not all that surprising.

2. There is another version in Leningrad, called Septuagint, which is Greek.

We know that deception was considered as acceptable by the Church Fathers as an "ends justify the means"-morality. This means that whatever they say about the Bible is unreliable.

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/lying.htm

In many cases, they simply would have no way of knowing anything about a culture which they were not a part of.

In Part 2, I will discuss more about the extant texts, and the views of the Church Fathers.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?sea...ersion=WLC



The original texts of the Pentateuch/Hexateuch were formed from the (J-1/J-2)+E+D+P sources. Actually, the "D" source is sort of a misnomer, and it was written once for one purpose. It's origin is the simplest of all, as we know the one writer/compiler, but the rest is a very complex process. Every time there is an alteration from those using the P source, the texts were changed. There are thousands of these. I will try to make a list of the more significant ones.

Deuteronomy was simply written at King Josiah's command, (or was revised and included at his command), and then the priests said they just happened to "find" it during temple restorations. They made it up from scratch. Though it's important to understand one thing. The laws in it, meaning all laws and regulations in the Bible, came originally from the culture, and not the other way around. This has important implications for believers today. If they understood that the culture was the driving force, instead of god's command, things would look very different with respect to some issues that are being discussed today. Scholars agree with this.

"Already extant law codes, were placed under religious sanction, not the other way around"
(Dr. Arthur Jeffrey)

The law was not given by religion. Religion appropriated already extant law and custom.

So, what do Dead Sea Scrolls tell us? Not much, as they come only a few hundred years later, (500 - > 200 BCE), 400-300 BCE was only 100 years later.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls ,
http://espliego.wordpress.com/2012/08/26...a-scrolls/ ,
http://www.bibleprobe.org/compare.html

The attempt to say that the Dead Sea Scrolls prove inerrant transmission from thousands of years is simply wrong. The original texts were not written that long before.

If you have not seen theses, you should know about these two scholars.




As for the legal injunctions, don't forget that anything found in a Biblical legal code/commandment/injunction is there not because it was "received" from god, but because religious legal injunctions appropriated already extant, secular/cultural codes and systems, and not the other way around. There is no "original" or "free-standing" or "divinely transmitted" law from (a) god, which originated/operated independently from the culture.



http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily...ble-story/

Here's where Yahweh came from: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ght=yahweh

That's how the Bible came about, kids.

The texts were not actually assembled into one discrete book set, called "Ta Biblia", until much later and some still argue about what belongs in, and what should be out. I'll talk about that next time.

Part 2 will take up Exodus, and a few other OT topics, such as the "goof" of "prophesy", and then I'll move on to a brief sample of scholarship for the New Testament, that Ehrman presumes, as he's so familiar with things, he forgets that us lay people are nowhere near as knowledgeable as he is. It might be useful to have a summary for us in one place that we can use as reference.

At some point it, would be useful to review what the philosopher Richard Porty (Princeton) said about Semiotics, as well as the other greats in that field, and review the logic of unspoken premises, as they are rampant in any discussions of these things.

http://www.pathoslearning.com/doa/logic_...n_demo.pdf

Here is a link to my thoughts on the texts that relate to the issues of same-sex behaviors, and how they relate to the (supposed) laws in the Genesis, and Leviticus.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...d+gomorrah


Thanks to Vosur, and DLJ for helping to edit, and re-write this. Anyone who has suggestions for additional points, and edits, PM me, I'll see what I can do to work them in.

Not bad, Bucky boy, not bad.

Much of that stuff I already knew, but some of the perspectives in there provide new views from other scholars with very interesting twists.

Well done.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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15-03-2015, 08:58 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(15-03-2015 02:02 PM)Free Wrote:  
(03-09-2012 01:50 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  In his book "Jesus, Interrupted", the prominent, well-known and respected New Testament scholar and agnostic Dr. Bart Ehrman wrote:

"Scholars of the Bible have made significant progress in understanding the Bible over the past two hundred years, building on archaeological discoveries, advances in our knowledge of the ancient Hebrew and Greek languages in which the books of scripture were originally written and deep and penetrating historical, literary and textual analyses. This is a massive scholarly endeavor. Thousands of scholars just in North America alone continue to do serious research in the field, and the results of their study are regularly and routinely taught, both to graduate students in universities and to prospective pastors attending seminaries in preparation for the ministry. Yet such views of the Bible are virtually unknown to the population at large."

Ehrman is a New Testament scholar, and this applies to the Old Testament as well. The general public and especially those attending conservative and fundamentalist churches have no idea what's going on in classrooms and in major academic centers of biblical scholarship. They would be shocked if they did. In order to provide you with an insight into the current progress in their field of study, let's have a look at the works of some real scholars.

Before we get started, I want to make clear that I don't want to denigrate the efforts of those involved at a popular level, such as Dr. Dawkins and the speakers/members of Skepticon, knowing that they are supported by real scholarship and by working academics who are not involved in promoting their own ideas because they are busy teaching and writing. The public would be amazed if they knew that the views of real scholars and those of fundamentalists have little to nothing in common. I often wonder if Dawkins realizes what a great help a biblical scholar on his team would be.

The following is a brief glimpse into the works of some scholars, with respect to the Old Testament texts. I hope that it will provide you with a little context for the later developments in that culture (i.e. "Christianity").

Why were the first texts that have been voted non-unanimously into the canon of the Bible ever written in the first place?

First of all, it's impossible that a man named Moses, if he ever existed, set in a Biblical time frame, wrote the Pentateuch. In the introduction to his book "Who Wrote the Bible?", Dr. Richard Elliot Friedman points out a number of reasons that support this claim. One of them is the fact that the Kings of Edom, (they happen to be listed in the wrong order in the text BTW), as listed in Genesis, existed after Moses' death, meaning that he couldn't have known anything about them. There are a few others. One is that the phrase "there never arose in Israel another prophet like Moses, (Deut 34)" implies a later view, with an historical vantage point, which he would not have had. And one more, "These are the words which Moses spoke to the children of Israel across the Jordan" (??). But we thought he never WAS in Israel. Did he yell across the river ?

The central organizing factor of Ancient Hebrew culture and life was never the Bible. Instead, the central organizing factors were living together as a community, maintaining their political relationships and possessing their own worship centers and temples, eventually including a central Temple. The Bible didn't gain any importance until the society as they knew it began to unravel and another organizing factor was needed. Contrary to the assumptions of people today, the Bible itself was never the central organizing factor in their society. The most important factor was the family and assuring the birth of sons to carry on their line. This is difficult to imagine, in our day. There was no such thing as "religion", as a separate "feature", or "optional" part of life. There was only life. The group's god(s) were unquestionably a part of that life. That life was not organized by Bible texts. It would be like someone today, saying "Oh I think I will go practice some science, AND go to the doctor". No...you just go to the doctor. It's assumed he is a scientist. It's an assumed part of life.

The long complex historical processes and roots whereby Israel, and Judah became separated, and the waring factions of the clans, tribes, and groups of priests which resulted in the outcomes that happened are WAY too long to go into. Friedman's book does an excellent summary, both of the political-geographical events, and the historical roots of the sources, (below). NO scholar today seriously disputes the multiple source hypothesis.

The original seat, pre-kingdom, of the Arc of the Covenant, in tribal days, was at Shiloh, in central Israel, about 50-75 miles South of Galilee. Shiloh had it's own established group of priests. The long complicated, interwoven, political, and familial rivalries, both in the establishment of the kingdoms, and their associated rival priest groups is fascinating, but, again, too long to go into. However, what is in the Bible today, is a direct result of this complex human story. One simply cannot understand the Bible, without knowing that complex geo-political history. If you're interested, here is some of it. http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ble-Bull-s

Today we know that the Judean priests cooked up/assembled Genesis for political reasons in Babylon as a text for reference for the return, to provide a national story and a legal system for a basis for the return. They did it around 575-550 BCE, in order to promote political unity during a crisis caused by the exilic experience in Babylon, after having written the book of Job, (as an attempted "spiritual" response to the question of suffering). While the "Persian Imperative" is now discounted by scholars, it was probably on the right track in some ways, i.e. the unification of the waring priestly class with the Yahwist land owners into a unified, post exile state. In any case in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah it describes the Return from Babylon, with Ezra carrying two things, ... the letter from Artaxerxes giving him and the King the power to rule in his name, and the Torah of Moses --- the first time in human history what is now the beginnings of "The Bible" (The Scroll of Moses), are ever mentioned.

http://uzh.academia.edu/KonradSchmid/Pap...ent_Debate

Regardless of whether or not this was the actual impetus, it was a politically motivated document, aimed at cohesion and unification in a "created national story", today called "PR".

http://www.pphf.hu/biblikum/cikkek/kanoniz.pdf
http://www.jhsonline.org/cocoon/JHS/r354.html
http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/ind.../7322/6023
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_R._Davies (The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls)

In 1952, a team was set in place by the world-famous, preeminent scholar, archaeologist and pioneer discoverer of Holy Land historical sites and documents, Dr. William Foxwell Albright, the professor of Semitic languages at the Johns Hopkins University. Their job was to write criticisms and scholarly work concerning all biblical texts. The team was composed of the most respected biblical scholars in the US and Europe, including Dr. John W. Bailey, Professor Emeritus, New Testament, Berkley Baptist Divinity School, Dr Albert E. Barnett, Professor Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Dr. Walter Russell Bowel, Professor, The Protestant Episcopal Seminary, Virginia, Dr. John Bright, Professor, Union Seminary and many others.

The team of 124 clergymen and scholars came mostly from conservative, mainline universities and churches for the most part, the likes of whom will never be seen again in one place, whose names evoke the utmost and deepest respect, even if one completely disagrees with their religious views. They wrote the huge 13 volume set, now considered a valuable rare book, called "The Interpreters Bible". Today it is usually kept under lock and key in seminaries and libraries. This set includes an introduction to scholarship and looks at every single verse and word in the Bible, discusses their origins and possible meanings from various points of view. It has been updated in the 1990's, but the original scholarship is still the central fundamental summary of knowledge, which summarized scholarship from the Medieval period (1850's -1950's) and is therefore considered to be an interesting historical snapshot. It is also an assurance that these absolutely respected leading intellectuals from the 20th Century scholarship, of whom most were religious, have agreed to have each other's names associated with their own and that they felt comfortable with what each other were saying in an academic setting and commanded world-wide respect as conservative, careful, and sincere, life-long teachers, academics and scholars.

On page 15 of "The Interpreters Bible", Dr. Herbert F. Farmer, Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University wrote about the indispensability of the texts, their importance and how the "truth" of them should be approached, after an exposition of the traditional conservative Christian view of person-hood, sin and the salvific actions of Jesus (aka Yeshua ben Josef), known as "the Christ" in human history.

"The reason has to do with the evidence afforded by the texts themselves, and calls for fuller treatment. Scholarly research into the texts themselves, has convincingly shown that they cannot be accepted in detail as they stand."

He then continues by discussing the details of what a "faith document" is and how it differs from what we would consider an historical text today. The next chapter, authored by Dr. Arthur Jeffrey, Professor of Semitic Languages at Columbia, deals with the formation of the Old Testament canon. He wrote what is seen as the fundamental insight in modern Biblical Study and summarized the central academic position of every mainline, respected, and credible center of Biblical scholarship in the world today :

"Historians can merely state that a canon of scripture is not something given, but something humanly devised. From the historical point of view, the canon is the result of human decision as to which among the religious writing existing in a community are those in which it recognizes the authentic voice of religious authority speaking to man."

This is affirmation that what ultimately is included in a Biblical text, is a subjective reflection of the experience of an already believing, religious community, meaning that it's purpose is to reassure them of what they already believe in. The content of the texts does not consist of "externally received" information. It is information they already possessed and the community accepted as a reflection of their prior experience, and belief.

There are three important things to understand about this shocking statement. First of all, humans decided what would go into the texts. Secondly, the process of inclusion was, in general, a community decision. Third, both in the Christian and Hebrew culture, the community stood as the decision maker and guardian/gate keeper,of what went into a text. Last but not least, the decisions were never made by individuals, acting alone.

Judeo-Christianities, by historic definition, only come and exist in groups/communities. A decision reflected a community's collective experience of what it determined to be it's authentic faith experience of God's work among them. They believed that the process of this "determination"/discernment actually constituted the activity of God among them, in their community, as a bottom up, collective experience, i.e. the working of the Holy Spirit. The authority for their textual decisions was the experience of authenticity of and by the community. This is the actual undisputed methodological approach to texts which ended up in the Bible. The communities received and authenticated texts, based on their beliefs, which were already in place. The texts were not accepted as "new information". If the text did not reflect what they thought was an "authentic" (historical) experience, they would not be used or included in the final text. Is is of utmost importance to understand the direction of reception and authentication.

To sum it up, the texts did not contain any new information received from God, the authentication was done by an already believing community, as an affirmation that the text reflected their communal experience(s). They wrote the texts to confirm their beliefs.

This raises the question of "circularity". What came first, the chicken or the egg ? If I affirm a text as authentic, based on what I already believe, and throw out the ones that I don't agree with, then continue claiming that it teaches me the truth, it is obviously only going to teach me what I already know. This community-based authentication is somewhat difficult for modern humans to completely wrap their heads around, since the modern/post-modern concept, especially in America, of "rugged individualism" as a value (system), which underlies all of this present day culture, as is not always "seen", as it is so ingrained as an assumption, in the Hollywood Era, e.g. the "post John Wayne" culture.

This community decision process is also the historical basis for what came to be known as "heresy". Heresy was a minority view, in a community, which the majority sincerely saw as inauthentic. Heresy was also a community-generated phenomenon, based on a communal experience of authenticity. Unfortunately, this is also the useful working standard for the definition of "cult". If a belief system arises, which is not a community-authenticated system, then the criteria are clear. The new system may be a system, but historically, it is not how Christianity developed. There are exceptions to this method of historical, community-generated authentication, such as Mormonism, because their texts were written by an individual, not by the judgement of a community that shared the same experiences.

This poses an important challenge to authority systems which posit that authority is a "top down" process, (such as Roman Catholicism), because it shows that they stand as essentially non-historical, and outside the traditional process of revelation, (bottom up), in the face of their own development and non-biblical, in terms of the development process. Judgements about these things are not made by these scholars mentioned above. However, they are considered to be fairly obvious.

The Canon
So what is a "canon" and what does it mean ? The word canon is a translation of the Greek word "κανών", which strictly translated means "reed" or "straight rod". It is usually said to be a "rule" or "measuring stick". The actual word translates to "reed" and was a unit of measurement in Ancient Greece. The word thus is a standard for strict "comparison". That which is canonical passes the test of "strict comparison" to a text which was accepted as authentic or to what a community accepted and agreed was their authentic experience. The first known use of the was by Origen Adamantius, an Alexandrinian theologian and scholar who lived in the early Third Century.

Using the fact that archaeology has proven that the domestication of camels did not occur in the Ancient Near East until after 1000 BCE, the fact that camels have not been portrayed on pottery, ceramics, buildings and decorations earlier than 1000 BCE, (except on royal buildings), we know they were not a regular, general part of their culture. That and the fact that the Sea Peoples (aka Philistines) did not arrive in the Levant until about 1200 BCE tells us that the dating of any possible Genesis as real history is impossible before that. We know from location citing, that the Patriarchs were not related, and that the priest-authors invented the "family" of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, meaning that the Patriarchs are mythological, as well as unrelated. Camels were used in the Southern trade route to Arabia, where they transported the gum, ointments, tragacanth and labdanum mentioned in Genesis. The trade was at it's height around 700 BCE, making it the approximate likely date for Joseph, in case he ever existed. That being said, he was probably a myth as well.

How do we know that? Because Genesis is a conflation of J-1, the Yahwist-1 source, with J-2, E, and P. The "4 source hypothesis" was originally proposed by the French phsyician Jean Astruc in his monumental work, published in 1753, which forever changed our view of the Bible and the way it was written. His discovery forms the basis of present day scholarship by every mainline Biblical Studies department in the world and is confirmed by most scholars, including Dr. Cuthbert Simpson, who was Sub-Dean and Professor of Old Testament at the General Theological Seminary, in the US, in his chapter of Albright's Interpreter's Bible.

The most important early historical person we know of in the history of Isra-EL is Deborah. She organized the tribes (Judges 5) in combating their neighbors. Judaism should therefore rather be called Debra-ism. She is the Mother of the Nation and actually existed, whereas Abraham did not.

Jean Astruc noticed that the name of God alternated in the Genesis text and he and scholars in the years to follow, were able to figure out what the probable source documents were. They separated the ones that were used by the Judean priests, who combined the J-1 (Yahwist doc) with J-2 and E (Elohim doc) and added their own P (Priestly) material. There is also evidence for further work, which is called "R" for "redactor". This multiple source "hypothesis", has been accepted by scholars for hundreds of years, except for a very small radical fringe of fundamentalists who refuse to accept the facts that are lying right in front of them. The reason Abraham was created as "Father of the Nation", is that he was associated with local geographical sites from the Kingdom of Judah. The Judean priests were trying to centralize and give importance to their own location in Judah by making Abraham hold primacy of importance, thus giving Judah, (and themselves) primacy. This is all proven by the archaeology. There is another theory which proposes that since J is more concerned with women, women's issues and more sensitive to women, that at least one of the major authors of J was a female. Dr. Richard Elliot Friedman does not discount this. In fact, in his book "Who Wrote the Bible?", written in 1987, Dr. Friedman raised the question of whether or not J was a woman. In comparing J with E, he pointed out that the J documents originate from the Judean court, "from a circle in which both men and women had a certain status. The possibility of J being a woman is thus much more likely than with E. More important, the J stories are, on the whole, much more concerned with women and much more sensitive to women than are the E stories."

This became what is known in Biblical scholarship as the Source Hypothesis, or Documentary Hypothesis. There is no longer any dispute in scholarly circles about this hypothesis. Why ? Because it it confirmed by 6, independent sets of supporting evidence.
1. The linguistic dialect in each source is known, and can be documented as separate by decades, or longer.
2. The terminology for the same idea, person, object, or place is different in each source.
3. The content of each of the sources is different.
4. The "flow" of the story works if the source materials are combined.
5. The same known sources are similar or connect to the same known sources in other books.
6. The inferred political motivations for each source matches the material and it's apparent goals.

A lot of the J traditions came from Sumeria, the Enuma Elish and the Gilgamesh Epic. They were used as sources for the Creation myth and the Flood myth.

The mythic origins: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...=salvation

Archaeology has scientifically proven that the Genesis environment, as described in the Bible, was around 700 BCE (first video).

It is fascinating that King Jeroboam, the first king of Isra-EL in the North, as opposed to Judah in the South, installed golden calves in the temples of Yahweh around 925 BCE, in Dan and Beth-EL. This means that they were acceptable (at least for a while), that Moses' traditions obviously would have had to be formed later and also that the "golden calf" theme resonates later in the Exodus story as unacceptable is also useful for dating purposes. (second video)

http://thethinkingatheist.com/forum/gsea...&sa=Search
http://www.bib-arch.org/e-features/canaa...stines.asp



There are no original Old Testament texts known to historians. There are very few in existence which are even 1000 years old. The ones that exist today are

1. The Masoretic text, which is almost the same as the texts found at Qumran, though it does have some significant differences. However, since the Qumran texts date from only a couple hundred years later, that is not all that surprising.

2. There is another version in Leningrad, called Septuagint, which is Greek.

We know that deception was considered as acceptable by the Church Fathers as an "ends justify the means"-morality. This means that whatever they say about the Bible is unreliable.

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/lying.htm

In many cases, they simply would have no way of knowing anything about a culture which they were not a part of.

In Part 2, I will discuss more about the extant texts, and the views of the Church Fathers.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?sea...ersion=WLC



The original texts of the Pentateuch/Hexateuch were formed from the (J-1/J-2)+E+D+P sources. Actually, the "D" source is sort of a misnomer, and it was written once for one purpose. It's origin is the simplest of all, as we know the one writer/compiler, but the rest is a very complex process. Every time there is an alteration from those using the P source, the texts were changed. There are thousands of these. I will try to make a list of the more significant ones.

Deuteronomy was simply written at King Josiah's command, (or was revised and included at his command), and then the priests said they just happened to "find" it during temple restorations. They made it up from scratch. Though it's important to understand one thing. The laws in it, meaning all laws and regulations in the Bible, came originally from the culture, and not the other way around. This has important implications for believers today. If they understood that the culture was the driving force, instead of god's command, things would look very different with respect to some issues that are being discussed today. Scholars agree with this.

"Already extant law codes, were placed under religious sanction, not the other way around"
(Dr. Arthur Jeffrey)

The law was not given by religion. Religion appropriated already extant law and custom.

So, what do Dead Sea Scrolls tell us? Not much, as they come only a few hundred years later, (500 - > 200 BCE), 400-300 BCE was only 100 years later.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls ,
http://espliego.wordpress.com/2012/08/26...a-scrolls/ ,
http://www.bibleprobe.org/compare.html

The attempt to say that the Dead Sea Scrolls prove inerrant transmission from thousands of years is simply wrong. The original texts were not written that long before.

If you have not seen theses, you should know about these two scholars.




As for the legal injunctions, don't forget that anything found in a Biblical legal code/commandment/injunction is there not because it was "received" from god, but because religious legal injunctions appropriated already extant, secular/cultural codes and systems, and not the other way around. There is no "original" or "free-standing" or "divinely transmitted" law from (a) god, which originated/operated independently from the culture.



http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily...ble-story/

Here's where Yahweh came from: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ght=yahweh

That's how the Bible came about, kids.

The texts were not actually assembled into one discrete book set, called "Ta Biblia", until much later and some still argue about what belongs in, and what should be out. I'll talk about that next time.

Part 2 will take up Exodus, and a few other OT topics, such as the "goof" of "prophesy", and then I'll move on to a brief sample of scholarship for the New Testament, that Ehrman presumes, as he's so familiar with things, he forgets that us lay people are nowhere near as knowledgeable as he is. It might be useful to have a summary for us in one place that we can use as reference.

At some point it, would be useful to review what the philosopher Richard Porty (Princeton) said about Semiotics, as well as the other greats in that field, and review the logic of unspoken premises, as they are rampant in any discussions of these things.

http://www.pathoslearning.com/doa/logic_...n_demo.pdf

Here is a link to my thoughts on the texts that relate to the issues of same-sex behaviors, and how they relate to the (supposed) laws in the Genesis, and Leviticus.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...d+gomorrah


Thanks to Vosur, and DLJ for helping to edit, and re-write this. Anyone who has suggestions for additional points, and edits, PM me, I'll see what I can do to work them in.

Not bad, Bucky boy, not bad.

Much of that stuff I already knew, but some of the perspectives in there provide new views from other scholars with very interesting twists.

Well done.

Thanks. I worked on that one. It needs revising I see. But it's OK.
I also worked hard on these (kind of a summation of my views on the OT) :
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ble-Bull-s
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...=salvation
I'm kind of rethinking my view of this one, (as maybe I *do* think "exaltation" is a legitimate concept, in a non-religious sense) :
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...other-look

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15-03-2015, 09:48 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
Hey, Buck, I'm way too far behind in this thread to ever catch up but three points need to be considered.

First, this appears in a neat little book called "The View From Nebo" by Amy Dockser Marcus. This first bit is a discussion of an event in 1998 at the Babylonian Heritage Center in Iraq...I shudder to think what it must look like now. It discusses cuneiform records indicating that Judahite exiles in Babylon were not slaves or servants but fully integrated members of the empire.

[img][Image: view_Nebo_174.jpg][/img]


Second, Phillip R. Davies suggests in In Search of Ancient Israel that the OT was written to give the so-called returning exiles a rational for showing up and "resuming" their position as rulers of Judah. Davies' suggests that the whole thing was cobbled together at that time ( c 539 BC). The problem I see with this is that were the whole thing written at once and with some unity of authorship I doubt it would be as piss-poor as it is, what with duplications and contradictions. It seems more likely that various bits of local lore were swept up and the priest class was identified as the legal rulers and woven into the story. Further, it seems highly unlikely that this was a written document. More likely an oral tale such as the Icelandic Sagas.

Archaeologists have known for some time that the bible story is bullshit. The land was not depopulated and the Babylonians ruled from Mizpah which is just up the road from Jerusalem. It is unlikely that the peasants who were left behind would have given a rat's ass if the whip was being held by Judahite, Babylonian or Persian overseers. But the political situation facing Persia in the aftermath of their capture of Babylon required quiet in the West as there was a revolt in the East. A revolt in which Cyrus the Great died.

Third, the OT with its customary bullshitting ways claims that 50,000 or so Jews returned to Judah. Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein has calculated based on the area of settlement in Jerusalem...which had been burned to the ground by the Babylonians...that the number was about 400, or, 100 families. Curiously, one of Finkelstein's colleagues at Tel Aviv University, Oded Lipschits, has claimed that by his computations, the number was closer to 1,000 people. They argue back and forth about the number but only bible thumping morons claim the 50,000 number which is based on nothing more than their silly books.

In any case, it seems that a small number of people went back in the aftermath of the Persian conquest of Babylon and set themselves up as rulers under Persian suzerainty and, they remained loyal to Persia until Alexander the Great came rolling through the area.

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15-03-2015, 10:17 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(15-03-2015 09:48 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  Hey, Buck, I'm way too far behind in this thread to ever catch up but three points need to be considered.

First, this appears in a neat little book called "The View From Nebo" by Amy Dockser Marcus. This first bit is a discussion of an event in 1998 at the Babylonian Heritage Center in Iraq...I shudder to think what it must look like now. It discusses cuneiform records indicating that Judahite exiles in Babylon were not slaves or servants but fully integrated members of the empire.

[img][Image: view_Nebo_174.jpg][/img]


Second, Phillip R. Davies suggests in In Search of Ancient Israel that the OT was written to give the so-called returning exiles a rational for showing up and "resuming" their position as rulers of Judah.

We know that the "By the Rivers of Babylon they sat and wept" is BS.
Davies was not the first to say that the "whole thing" was assembled just before the Persian Emperor (Artaxerxes) "permitted" the return. He did it because he wanted a buffer-state between him and the invading Greeks, and he needed a cohesive culture (with a legal system) in place so the society would be orderly. The way he did that was by inventing the "national story", and legal system. They used sources from the old Southern Kingdom and the old Northern Kingdoms when they (the Judean priests) assembled the texts, which is why much of it is so disjointed. It was a written text, and there was no tradition of "inerant" memorized "oral tales" such as the Greeks had, as much as some religious scholars wish there were. That function simply didn't exist in ancient Hebrew culture, and the Semites were in general a writing set of peoples, (or rock chiseling people).

(15-03-2015 09:48 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  Archaeologists have known for some time that the bible story is bullshit. The land was not depopulated and the Babylonians ruled from Mizpah which is just up the road from Jerusalem. It is unlikely that the peasants who were left behind would have given a rat's ass if the whip was being held by Judahite, Babylonian or Persian overseers. But the political situation facing Persia in the aftermath of their capture of Babylon required quiet in the West as there was a revolt in the East. A revolt in which Cyrus the Great died.

Exactly. Only some Jews went to Babylon, and it was in waves, not all at once. The period of and after the "return" is the most interesting part of Israel's history, I think, as the old clan systems fell apart and new values were adopted

(15-03-2015 09:48 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  Third, the OT with its customary bullshitting ways claims that 50,000 or so Jews returned to Judah. Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein has calculated based on the area of settlement in Jerusalem...which had been burned to the ground by the Babylonians...that the number was about 400, or, 100 families. Curiously, one of Finkelstein's colleagues at Tel Aviv University, Oded Lipschits, has claimed that by his computations, the number was closer to 1,000 people. They argue back and forth about the number but only bible thumping morons claim the 50,000 number which is based on nothing more than their silly books.

I too am surprised that so much of this is well known and written about by famous Jewish archaeologists, yet so much of the false bullshit continues to be maintained by fundie religionists.

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16-03-2015, 01:05 AM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
Quote:Only some Jews went to Babylon, and it was in waves, not all at once.

But, were they "jews" as we now understand the term? The archaeological evidence ( See, William Dever, Did God Have A Wife?) indicates that when the Babylonians came rolling through the Judahites were fairly typical residents of Canaan. Yahweh...and his consort Asherah...may have been the boss hooters in Judah...much as Zeus and Hera were king and queen of the gods on Olympus, but this pattern of a regional deity in various cities (in Babylon it was Marduk) was well established by the 6th century BC. Davies points out that what was a localized tribal god in Judah went back from Babylon as an all-mighty Creator God...just like Ahura Mazda. And wouldn't Cyrus have been pleased with that?

As far as the texts go, we have no examples of any texts before they were written down in Greek in the septuagint. There is nothing but legend to support the tale of how that came to be written. It's just as likely that a scribe sat there and wrote it down while someone recited the tale. In fact, that is actually far more likely than the silly story of 70 scholars writing it out.

The sad fact about Judah is that it was a shithole of no significance to anyone. It had a brief period of wealth as a beneficiary of the Assyrian economic sphere and the Arabian trade but for the most part it was an arid rathole populated mainly by pastoralists. Let's all recall that when Herodotus visited the region in the 5th century the "jews" were so important that he didn't even mention them.

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17-03-2015, 02:06 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
Even before the discovery of Babylonian/Mesopotamian records and the translation of cuneiform there are still some very odd plot holes in the OT stories that past scholars never seem to have focussed on. And presumably, even if they did consider them odd, it was just too damn dangerous to comment on.

Pharaoh orders the slaughter of young male children, a slave race, then his daughter just happens to find one floating down the river, take it home, and raise it as an Egyptian priest.

So pharaoh allows his unmarried daughter, a princess no less, to bring up the offspring of a slave women and give it the best that gold and a privileged position in society can supply?

Does this sound like history...or mythology?
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17-03-2015, 02:38 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(17-03-2015 02:06 PM)Cornelia Wrote:  Even before the discovery of Babylonian/Mesopotamian records and the translation of cuneiform there are still some very odd plot holes in the OT stories that past scholars never seem to have focussed on. And presumably, even if they did consider them odd, it was just too damn dangerous to comment on.

Pharaoh orders the slaughter of young male children, a slave race, then his daughter just happens to find one floating down the river, take it home, and raise it as an Egyptian priest.

So pharaoh allows his unmarried daughter, a princess no less, to bring up the offspring of a slave women and give it the best that gold and a privileged position in society can supply?

Does this sound like history...or mythology?

I'll take "Mythology" for $400, Alex.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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17-03-2015, 03:12 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
Hello, Cornelia

Quote:Does this sound like history...or mythology?

You mean like....

Quote:Sargon, the mighty king, King of Agade, am I. My mother was a vestal, my father I knew not, while my father's brother dwelt in the mountains. In my city Azuripani, which is situated on the bank of the Euphrates, my mother, the vestal, bore me. In a hidden place she brought me forth. She laid me in a vessel made of reeds, closed my door with pitch, and dropped me down into the river, which did not drown me. The river carried me to Akki, the water carrier. Akki the water carrier lifted me up in the kindness of his heart, Akki the water carrier raised me as his own son, Akki the water carrier made of me his gardener. In my work as a gardener I was beloved by Ishtar, I became the king, and for forty-five years I held kingly sway.

Myth of Sargon

or,

Quote:Oedipus was the son of Laius and Jocasta, king and queen of Thebes. Having been childless for some time, Laius consulted the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. The Oracle prophesied that any son born to Laius would kill him. In an attempt to prevent this prophecy's fulfillment, when Jocasta indeed bore a son, Laius had his ankles pierced and tethered together so that he could not crawl; Jocasta then gave the boy to a servant to abandon ("expose") on the nearby mountain. However, rather than leave the child to die of exposure, as Laius intended, the servant passed the baby on to a shepherd from Corinth and who then gave the child to another shepherd.

Oedipus myth

or,

Quote:The Vestal was forcibly violated and gave birth to twins. She named Mars as their father, either because she really believed it, or because the fault might appear less heinous if a deity were the cause of it. But neither gods nor men sheltered her or her babes from the king's cruelty; the priestess was thrown into prison, the boys were ordered to be thrown into the river. By a heaven-sent chance it happened that the Tiber was then overflowing its banks, and stretches of standing water prevented any approach to the main channel. Those who were carrying the children expected that this stagnant water would be sufficient to drown them, so under the impression that they were carrying out the king's orders they exposed the boys at the nearest point of the overflow, where the Ficus Ruminalis (said to have been formerly called Romularis) now stands. The locality was then a wild solitude. The tradition goes on to say that after the floating cradle in which the boys had been exposed had been left by the retreating water on dry land, a thirsty she-wolf from the surrounding hills, attracted by the crying of the children, came to them, gave them her teats to suck and was so gentle towards them that the king's flock-master found her licking the boys with her tongue. According to the story his name was Faustulus. He took the children to his hut and gave them to his wife Larentia to bring up.

Romulus and Remus, as recounted by Titus Livius

Yeah. One wonders where they got such stories from!

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