Old Testament Texts / Another Look
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18-03-2015, 02:50 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
I don't have any doubts that it's mythology. What surprises me is that anyone has ever believed it is history.

Surely someone must have asked themselves where an ex slave nation got so much gold?

Exodus 32:2
New International Version
Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me."

I understand that fundies daren't question - that would mean questioning their entire faith. The most amusing quote I've read so far concerning the origin of all that much gold was that.... "the Egyptians gave it to the slaves to make them leave Egypt quickly" Undecided

But why do otherwise intelligent people not question? if they were reading a history book with the bible's plot inconsistencies they would consider it to be very badly researched and poor scholarship. They would certainly consider it to be a terrible narrative.No
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25-03-2015, 11:57 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
I found a little Catholic book in the course of moving house. Belongs to my wife, I think. It is intended to summarize the whole Bible for children so I read it, or a big chunk of it, because it is all the same.

The Old Testament is a "history", beginning with the creation of the world, then life, Adam and Eve, and then it is just a long history of the "rulers" of this so-called "people" who descend from Adam and Eve. What I found incredible about reading it in this form is that all the leaders of this people were plainly psychopaths. It reads like a list of characters who resemble Al Capone, Hitler and Stalin.

Samson, for instance, made a bet about a honey comb he found in a lions mouth. He lost the bet so he murdered thirty people and used their property to pay off his bad debt. He is described as a "good and noble" man!!?? Solomon had 700 Queens and another 300 wives but he "strayed" from god by lighting incense. Hey at least we have something in common because I like incense too.

David committed adultery and sent the woman's husband to the front line where he died. I think he apologized to god so god let him off by agreeing to do something to David's son, I think. I can't remember because they are all the same. One king made a census of the population and then regretted it so he apologized to god and god gave him three choices of punishment. He chose a pestilence on his people which killed 70,000 people.

Not only is the Old Testament pure fiction, it reads like some kind of brutalistic tales of horror intended to scare the hell out of people. It reminds me of the kind of campfire stories I heard as a kid at summer camp about some psycho who had escaped from a local mental institute. The purpose was just to scare everyone so they would keep quiet at night.

Why anyone would give this any credence or respect is completely beyond me. What is more astonishing is that anyone would actually want to trot this stuff out as the basis for a "nation" to which they claimed membership. I am embarrassed to be from an ethnic group and country which still has a Queen whose ancestors were beheaders and was told she was given her "people" by god to rule over.

I'm more than ever convinced that Christianity is a hoax but was intended to wrap up a very simple "secular" principle of "do unto others as you would have done unto you" in a story about a well known person and imbue him with mythical, paganistic attributes to sell this concept to a large pagan cult.

IMHO the Old Testament is the story of how a people who lead their lives according to the dictates of Alfa male leaders who think "god" is like them, end up dissolving away to nothing whereas the New Testament is a Greek inspired, probably Epicurean, antedote to this which puts the "logos" or reason as its central concept.

On another note, I see that New York has now made two Muslim holidays official school holidays. One is the Sacrifice of the Goat.

I have to say this is one "hellofanidea" which could only come from the US. I walk down our local streets, living as I do in a Muslim country, after the Sacrifice of the Goat and I have to watch out I don't stumble over severed goat heads. I wonder if New York Schools are going to have a goat sacrifice, sort of like a Christmas pageant? http://www.ibtimes.com/new-york-city-may...ol-1835754

So, please excuse me if I don't bow down with "great respect" for a lot of the ideas coming out on this forum. By their "fruitcakes" you shall know them, I think is the appropriate message the US gives out.
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09-06-2016, 10:31 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
I am going to spend a lot of time disputing this... but let's start here...

Quote: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, ...

"...it is impossible that a man names Moses wrote the Pentateuch."
Nothing to back up the claim! Just a blanket statement. What makes this so impossible? There were men called מֹשֶׁה‎‎. It was (and still is) a pretty common name! And, the Pentateuch WAS written! What about these two observable facts makes it impossible that they happened simultaneously?

There is a lot of confusion among scholars regarding Edom and Idumea. If you are referring to Idumea, then yes... Moses got it wrong. But he was referring to Edom (Esau)! And the simple fact is, the Tanakh is the only reference that exists of this kingdom. So, for someone to say it is wrong is to say that person has better information (which by the way, he doesn't offer). And again, offering that they were out of order, since the Tanakh is the only reference we have of this, it would have made a lot more sense to say that it didn't exist than to say he got it wrong!

I will continue reading...
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09-06-2016, 10:42 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
Quote: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.

Not sure who your audience is here, but yeah, these are pretty commonly known facts. The "Bible" didn't really exist until the 15th century. Before that you had a various scattering of "scripture" and the Vulgate (common book) that existed from the 4th century.

I think you are missing a really important point about Hebrew life in this time! There was no hell... there was no heaven... there was no afterlife. Even after the Law was written down, it had nothing to do with setting out a means for getting to "heaven". There was no "morality" about the 10 commandments or the Law! It was about (as you said) growing the community, but most of all setting themselves apart!

Example. Leviticus 11 talks about eating shell fish being an abomination. First you have to ask, what is so immoral about eating shell fish? But, there is a more fundamental question than that... they were roaming through the desert! Who among them had ever SEEN a shell fish??? That was stuff they ate where they had been and where they were going. The point was not to establish "moral guidelines", it was about separating themselves from their future countrymen!
Another example is Leviticus 18 which talks about sexual morality...only it had nothing to do with morality and everything to do with ensuring that more babies were born! Grow the nation! (and, an element of "don't do what they did" - Egyptians had a habit of marrying their sisters)...
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10-06-2016, 10:57 AM (This post was last modified: 10-06-2016 11:24 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(09-06-2016 10:42 PM)aserwin Wrote:  I think you are missing a really important point about Hebrew life in this time! There was no hell... there was no heaven... there was no afterlife. Even after the Law was written down, it had nothing to do with setting out a means for getting to "heaven". There was no "morality" about the 10 commandments or the Law! It was about (as you said) growing the community, but most of all setting themselves apart!

I'm missing nothing. I'm well aware of that.

Quote:Nothing to back up the claim! Just a blanket statement. What makes this so impossible? There were men called מֹשֶׁה‎‎. It was (and still is) a pretty common name! And, the Pentateuch WAS written! What about these two observable facts makes it impossible that they happened simultaneously?

No. The Pentateuch was "assembled" from multiple traditions by multiple editors. Even a rank beginner knows that.
It was not "written". How could Moses write about his own death and burial ? Apparently you never heard of the "Documentary Hypothesis". Weeping

Quote:Example. Leviticus 11 talks about eating shell fish being an abomination. First you have to ask, what is so immoral about eating shell fish? But, there is a more fundamental question than that... they were roaming through the desert! Who among them had ever SEEN a shell fish??? That was stuff they ate where they had been and where they were going. The point was not to establish "moral guidelines", it was about separating themselves from their future countrymen!
Another example is Leviticus 18 which talks about sexual morality...only it had nothing to do with morality and everything to do with ensuring that more babies were born! Grow the nation! (and, an element of "don't do what they did" - Egyptians had a habit of marrying their sisters)...

All assertions. No scholarly references.
They were never 'roaming through the desert'. The Exodus never happened. ALL the laws and restrictions came from the culture, and were written into the Bible. The Bible gave them nothing. They were already in Canaan. It appears you don't even know the basics here from archaeology and history. Why would they leave Egypt for the desert only to move into another territory the Egyptians already controlled. Sorry. It's all mythology.

Quote:There is a lot of confusion among scholars regarding Edom and Idumea. If you are referring to Idumea, then yes... Moses got it wrong. But he was referring to Edom (Esau)!

Easu was a myth. Just like ALL the patriarchs. You have no clue whom the editors were referring to. Dr. Richard Elliott Friedman disagrees with you, and you do not have his credentials, as do many others. He says they were referring to Edom. In the future, ANY claim or assertion by you needs a non-fundamentalist scholarly reference.






Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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10-06-2016, 11:24 AM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(09-06-2016 10:42 PM)aserwin Wrote:  The "Bible" didn't really exist until the 15th century. Before that you had a various scattering of "scripture" and the Vulgate (common book) that existed from the 4th century.

Uh, the Vulgate was "The Bible". The canon was well-established already in the 4th century, and the Vulgate contains all the same books as any modern Catholic Bible. One of the earliest English-language Bibles (the Douay-Rheims) was a direct translation from the Vulgate, and even the first editions of the KJV contained all those same books. "The Bible" existed long before the 15th century -- it just hadn't been widely printed or translated into English yet.
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10-06-2016, 11:35 AM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretic_Text

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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10-06-2016, 12:43 PM
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(10-06-2016 10:57 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(09-06-2016 10:42 PM)aserwin Wrote:  I think you are missing a really important point about Hebrew life in this time! There was no hell... there was no heaven... there was no afterlife. Even after the Law was written down, it had nothing to do with setting out a means for getting to "heaven". There was no "morality" about the 10 commandments or the Law! It was about (as you said) growing the community, but most of all setting themselves apart!

I'm missing nothing. I'm well aware of that.

Quote:Nothing to back up the claim! Just a blanket statement. What makes this so impossible? There were men called מֹשֶׁה‎‎. It was (and still is) a pretty common name! And, the Pentateuch WAS written! What about these two observable facts makes it impossible that they happened simultaneously?

No. The Pentateuch was "assembled" from multiple traditions by multiple editors. Even a rank beginner knows that.
It was not "written". How could Moses write about his own death and burial ? Apparently you never heard of the "Documentary Hypothesis". Weeping

Quote:Example. Leviticus 11 talks about eating shell fish being an abomination. First you have to ask, what is so immoral about eating shell fish? But, there is a more fundamental question than that... they were roaming through the desert! Who among them had ever SEEN a shell fish??? That was stuff they ate where they had been and where they were going. The point was not to establish "moral guidelines", it was about separating themselves from their future countrymen!
Another example is Leviticus 18 which talks about sexual morality...only it had nothing to do with morality and everything to do with ensuring that more babies were born! Grow the nation! (and, an element of "don't do what they did" - Egyptians had a habit of marrying their sisters)...

All assertions. No scholarly references.
They were never 'roaming through the desert'. The Exodus never happened. ALL the laws and restrictions came from the culture, and were written into the Bible. The Bible gave them nothing. They were already in Canaan. It appears you don't even know the basics here from archaeology and history. Why would they leave Egypt for the desert only to move into another territory the Egyptians already controlled. Sorry. It's all mythology.

Quote:There is a lot of confusion among scholars regarding Edom and Idumea. If you are referring to Idumea, then yes... Moses got it wrong. But he was referring to Edom (Esau)!

Easu was a myth. Just like ALL the patriarchs. You have no clue whom the editors were referring to. Dr. Richard Elliott Friedman disagrees with you, and you do not have his credentials, as do many others. He says they were referring to Edom. In the future, ANY claim or assertion by you needs a non-fundamentalist scholarly reference.






Which makes the "Jewish" people a product of a fraud and no different from any other tribe kicking about the Near East.

As I pointed out above, the Old Testament stories are about an "Aryan" feudal dynasty which ends up in Egypt and then Jerusalem. These people are, from everything in the Old Testament, a vile bunch of racist, bigamistic child abusers and slave masters.
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10-06-2016, 12:48 PM (This post was last modified: 10-06-2016 10:45 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Old Testament Texts / Another Look
(10-06-2016 12:43 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  
(10-06-2016 10:57 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  I'm missing nothing. I'm well aware of that.


No. The Pentateuch was "assembled" from multiple traditions by multiple editors. Even a rank beginner knows that.
It was not "written". How could Moses write about his own death and burial ? Apparently you never heard of the "Documentary Hypothesis". Weeping


All assertions. No scholarly references.
They were never 'roaming through the desert'. The Exodus never happened. ALL the laws and restrictions came from the culture, and were written into the Bible. The Bible gave them nothing. They were already in Canaan. It appears you don't even know the basics here from archaeology and history. Why would they leave Egypt for the desert only to move into another territory the Egyptians already controlled. Sorry. It's all mythology.


Easu was a myth. Just like ALL the patriarchs. You have no clue whom the editors were referring to. Dr. Richard Elliott Friedman disagrees with you, and you do not have his credentials, as do many others. He says they were referring to Edom. In the future, ANY claim or assertion by you needs a non-fundamentalist scholarly reference.






Which makes the "Jewish" people a product of a fraud and no different from any other tribe kicking about the Near East.

They invented their national history, like everyone else at the time. "Fraud" is Presentism. When you go to school you'll learn what that means.

Quote:As I pointed out above, the Old Testament stories are about an "Aryan" feudal dynasty which ends up in Egypt and then Jerusalem. These people are, from everything in the Old Testament, a vile bunch of racist, bigamistic child abusers and slave masters.

No scholar on the face of the Earth agrees with that crap.

Be sure the nurse knows where you are. Almost time for pills, dear. You'll be OK. *pats on head*

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16-06-2016, 06:35 AM
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.


I thought I would give you the benefit of the doubt, that you might be open minded. But, nope, sorry.

I was talking to a security guard a few years ago waiting for some "event", in Scotland, and we got talking about some religious things, I can't remember what. He then said to me "look ups Ur of the Chaldees". I had no idea what he was talking about but then when I did look it up I realized that this is where Abraham was supposed to have come from.

That makes Abraham a Keltoi. The Ur which he is said to have come from is now Sanliurfa in southern Turkey, near the newly discovered Goblecki Tepe. This is the home of the Armenians, who the Turks drove out or suppressed. Turks are Sumerians, Armenians are Sumerians. These people built pyramids, they worshipped Hayek, a big warrior figure.

Josephus says the Jews came from Armenia. The old Testament says they went back to Armenia, which extended down to modern Isreal and built a city named after Heru.

The Old Testament is a false history. It doesn't say what or who this God guy is, the big man in the sky. It doesn't explain what "heaven" is.

None of the words "Jew" (meaning a monotheist), "Hebrew" (meaning "over" ie., Hiber, Hyper, Iber, uber) or "Israel" (meaning "those who wrestle with God), denote an ethnicity and the "Iberu" ended up in the two Iberias, Georgia and Spain.

All of this Old Testament history is the reworking of the history of theproto-Europeans who occupied the Near East a few thousand years ago and fails to discuss the fact that these people were pagan phallic, star worhsippers, probably because the "nation building" that BB talks about needed revamping because it was so ridiculous.

All of the scholars mentioned in the post are Jewish or mainstream and I can't see one of them who addresses genetic, DNA, issues which have recently been raise, climatic studies or soil studies produced by NASA infra-red photography, all of which is readily available and shows that the people of "Sham", the other name for Syria, (Shemites) were nothing more than sheep farmers who eventually decamped for pasturers greener as Mesopotamia turned into a malaria infested hell hole, which it is today.

"God created Hell, but he was disappointed...so he created Mesopotamia"..Arab Proverb.

Ultimately, no one on this planet has any real interest in this area. It is an arid, cultureless sink hole out of which people fled for thousands of years, and for good reason. Hanging on to some ancient books to define one's cultural identity as coming from here... well.... why would you? It's trying to create a national narrative out of the fact that your ancesters crawled out of the arsehole of the planet.
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