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Theology

Preface, A Case for Accuracy in the OT

0626_bible_398wA brief word concerning Old Testament history and the various information going ‘round and ‘round establishing it as mythological legend and compilations ripped off from other cultures:

Such information is hardly new and has no more merit in my regard than it did when I compiled a detailed research paper on the matter 23 years ago.

John Zande summed up the basic challenge in a couple of well-written posts over on his blog: if Moses wasn’t the historical person described in Scripture, then Jesus wasn’t the Messianic incarnation of God, and the Bible has no credibility. So, for the Christian, a line should be drawn. The patriarchs must be historical persons who lived during the times described. The genealogies leave no question as to the intended accuracy of the claims.

The prevailing wisdom holds that those “in the know” in the fields of Biblical archaeology and textual criticism, from the leading Rabbis in Israel to all the truly credible field experts, are unanimous in their findings that all evidences contradict the entirety of the Bible. This unanimity and conclusion has remained unchanged from what I can tell for at least half a century. The Bible was pretty much tossed out by the academic world shortly after Darwin published his monkey business, so whatever “findings” to discredit the Scriptures after that were a sort of afterthought.

It makes perfect sense that mainstream archaeologists (and Israeli Rabbis) would be unanimous in their rejection of Biblical historicity. Such is the nature of paradigms. Those whose findings are acceptable, are credible; those whose findings deviate, are not. Since all credible experts support the paradigm, the paradigm is therefore proven to be correct. No one else, therefore, is to be taken seriously. So, if I wanted published and accepted by my peers and wished to make a go of it in the field, then I would reinforce the paradigm. Otherwise, my career would be relegated to the fringes.

A case for accuracy: at least 40 kings can be corroborated by archaeological finds, from ten nations (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, etc.) whose names are mentioned not only in the Hebrew Masoretic text (the Old Testament), but are also found on monuments of their own time. Thus, we have a good bit with which to reference the Bible. We also have a basis for comparing the Bible to other literature. Of the 40 kings having an archaeological corroboration, every single name is transliterated in the Hebrew Masoretic text exactly as it appears on the archaeological artifact — syllable for syllable, consonant for consonant, every single name. Additionally, we find that the chronological order of these kings is precise. Every name in the Hebrew Masoretic text, some of which go back to the book of Genesis and before the time of Hammurabi, appears in its correct order, with the correct spelling, in the correct time, as attested by the archaeological artifacts and period literature.

To put that in perspective, the librarian of Alexandria, perhaps the greatest scholar of his era (circa 200 BC), listed the names of 38 Egyptian kings. Of these, only three or four are recognizable when compared to their respective archaeological artifacts, though none are exact. This same scholar also made a list of the kings of Assyria. In only one case does the name clearly resemble the name on the artifact, and that name is not spelled correctly. The only way most of the names can be ascertained and then matched up with an artifact is by intrinsic evidence and cross-referencing with other regional literature. And then Ptolemy, who listed 18 kings — not one is spelled correctly, and most are spelled so badly that we wouldn’t make them out at all without intrinsic evidence and cross-referencing.

We find this same pattern in every other piece of literature extant. The scribe of Assurbanipal misspelled his names. The Pseudo-Callisthenes, in their list of the companions of Alexander, whose every name is unrecognizable. Abulfeda, the author of the Arab ante-Islamic history, misspells his names. The same is true of the lists of Manetho, Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, Africanus, Castor, and so on.

The only historical literature of antiquity that has demonstrated accuracy with regard to archaeological verification is the Hebrew Masoretic text and the Majority Greek text of the New Testament. Nelson Glueck — a preeminent archaeologist in that region — remarked: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.” [Rivers in the Desert; History of Neteg] Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society of America, 1969.

Before getting into the matter of the patriarchs, I thought it worth mentioning in preface. Digging into the world of the ancient Hebrews and the Old Testament text is a complicated matter, but I wanted to go ahead and put it in perspective, stating categorically that the Hebrew scribes were not flippant in what they handed down. I have no doubt they gave no less attention to what these kings said and did. That the Hebrew writers transliterated at least 40 names (that we know of) with such accuracy and conformity to philological principles is proof enough for me, at least, of their thorough scholarship and access to the original sources.

I realize this is not going to win me any credibility with my atheist friends or too many others, but it is what it is, I suppose. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe not. **shrug**

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About Quackzalcoatl

Phoneticist, Palindrologist, and freelance Sharknadologist. Inventor. Ruler of 2-acre lakes and small streams.

Discussion

181 thoughts on “Preface, A Case for Accuracy in the OT

  1. It’s not exception that some names and places match the stories in the biblical texts. The authors weren’t writing a fairytale, they were trying to pen something believable. Tom Clancy’s, The Hunt for Red October” has many real place names, like Washington and Moscow, and much of the technology cited is real… this doesn’t make Tom Clancy’s story factual.

    Great problems arise in the text when places are named that didn’t exist at the allotted time, but did exist in the 7th and 6th Century BCE… when the stories were written. Take the purchase of the Cave of Machpelah. The people mentioned in this story did not exist in 1800 BCE, when the purchase was allegedly made, but they did exist in the 7th Century, when the story was written.

    Posted by john zande | 3 December, 2013, 6:38 pm
    • And before you ask me “which people” (which is a fine question) i can’t now find the article that details it. It was one of Professor Herzog’s (i think) and involved one or a few of the peoples mentions: the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaims, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, Jebusites, Hivites, Moabites, Edomites, Pheresites, Ammonites… etc. etc. Whatever the case, they didn’t exist at the time.

      Still, the important point to make is that we should expect some names and places to be real… it was meant to be believable, and no doubt does contain some actual history in it. It be ludicrous to suggest it didn’t. However, as Proffesor Amihai Mazar (the self-described “moderate conservative” and nephew of the celebrated Israeli archaeologist, Benjamin Mazar) from the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, said, “Currently, there is broad agreement among archaeologists and Bible scholars that there is no historical basis for the narratives of the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan, nor any archaeological evidence to make them think otherwise.” That last point is important: nothing has emerged to change anyone’s mind.

      Posted by john zande | 3 December, 2013, 7:13 pm
      • That people from Asia and Canaan migrated into Lower Egypt beginning in the 19th Century BC. during the Second Intermediate period is a fact. That these people were expelled from Egypt circa 1540 BC. is a fact. That the chronology of the the Scriptures adding the 450 years of Acts 13:20 to the 40 years in the wilderness, 40 years of King Saul, 40 years of King David, and 4 years of King Solomon to the laying of the cornerstone of the temple in Jerusalem in 966 BC also points to an Exodus in circa 1540 BC. is a fact. That Jericho was destroyed according to Kenyon in circa 1540 BC. is a fact. That the last two Hyksos Pharaoh’s lives support the Biblical story of Moses and the Exodus is a fact. That the loss of 600 chariots by the last Hyksos Pharaoh enabled the Theban Pharaoh to force the Hyksos out of Lower Egypt in circa 1540 BC. is a fact. That the tribe of Israel was able to become the predominant force in Canaan by the late 13th Century BC. is a fact.

        Posted by Marc | 3 December, 2013, 10:26 pm
        • Lots of “facts” there. Any reason why these “facts” have been missed by just about every biblical archaeologist in the world? Marc, even maximalists concede there is positively no evidence whatsoever for the enslavement/exodus/conquest story. Even the Encyclopaedia Judaica concludes that the entire Exodus narrative was “dramatically woven out of various strands of tradition… he [Moses] wasn’t a historical character.” Orthodox rabbis are now even admitting it! The only place where there is a valid and on-going debate is whether Judah had an established urban population before the 7th century BCE. That’s it.

          Now, rather than re-write everything, i just did a post on all this which does talk about the Hyksos. Please read it. It’ll teach you about how Jewish Rabbis perceive the stories.

          http://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/of-course-what-you-say-is-true-but-we-should-not-say-it-publically-13/

          Posted by john zande | 4 December, 2013, 5:51 am
          • These facts have not been missed by biblical archaeologist John. The story and times of the Hyksos are mostly agreed upon. The destruction of Jericho in circa 1540 BC attested to by Kenyon is mostly agreed upon. That the Merneptah Stele records that the Israelite were settled in Canaan by 1200 BC. is agreed upon. That the books of Exodus and Joshua are based on an oral tradition that predates their writing by hundreds of years makes the use of hyperbole and embellishment very likely. However to dismiss the stories in these books as myths, requires more evidence than is available.

            In the paragraph of your essay regarding the Hyksos you state, “but it must be underscored that of the biblical descriptions and there application to the authentic historical Jews nothing matches.” John the timing of the movement of people out of Canaan and into Lower Egypt matches the Biblical account. That the tribe of Israel was only a very small number of the influx in the 19th Century BC., and a small number of the exodus in the 16 Century BC. accounts for the lack of “Israelite” specific archaeological evidence. It is interesting to note that the reigns of the last two Hyksos Pharaohs, Apophis c. 1595 to c. 1555 BC., and Khamudi c. 1555 to c.1545 BC could very well match the story about Moses in the book of Exodus. One also has to consider that something changed in the balance of military and political power that enabled the Theban Pharaoh Ahmose 1 to expel the Hysos in c 1540 BC. The destruction of the Pharaoh Khamudi’s army, and perhaps is own death, in pursuit of the Israelites would explain the events, as well as match the written account of Exodus.

            Posted by Marc | 4 December, 2013, 11:16 am
            • Oh, the Hyksos are well known. They were not Canaanites, and their expulsion predates the alleged Exodus by nearly 500 years. Now, it seems you’re just playing games by 1. changing the dates of the Exodus, and 2. changing the name of the people who left, and the reason why. That’s kinda’ hilarious.

              Marc, are you suggesting Jewish Rabbis and just about every serious University archaeological department on the planet (from Professors to students) is involved in some great conspiracy? May I ask you, who is coordinating this conspiracy, and what is their ultimate goal?

              Posted by john zande | 4 December, 2013, 12:06 pm
            • Here, i’ll give you a simple challenge: present a SINGLE reputable archaeologist (preferably an Israeli who holds current tenure and has led digs and has had peer-reviewed papers published on those digs) who will categorically state, in writing: “Moses was a real historical character, the Jews were in Egypt, there was an exodus of some 2 million people followed by a triumphant military conquest of Canaan.”

              This challenge extends to find a SINGLE non-Orthodox rabbi who’ll also commit to this statement. Actually, if you can find even an Orthodox rabbi who’ll state this, in writing, I’d be suitably impressed.

              Posted by john zande | 4 December, 2013, 12:11 pm
              • I’ve seen Kitchen before. I’m sorry, but he’s an evangelical Christian whom no one seems to listen to.

                As for Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb, where does he commit to the statement?

                Posted by john zande | 4 December, 2013, 7:09 pm
              • See, though, how circular this gets? Only “secular” (non-affirming) archaeologists are considered credible, regardless their credentials or amount of field work. So it’s rather impossible to meet that criteria and affirm the Bible.

                The Rabbi’s statements can be found here: http://ohr.edu/2053

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 4 December, 2013, 9:06 pm
              • You can offer up Kitchen. He’s an Egyptologist, hasn’t actually led any digs, can’t say anything about the Exodus or the Conquest, but he believes the Jews were in Egypt. Cool. You can now decide if you believe him or not. I’ve only just heard of him in the last few weeks, and the only place I’ve seen his name repeated since then is within evangelical circles. This tells me a lot. Sorry, but evangelical Christians have an atrocious history of confirmation bias, and evangelical money has corrupted otherwise good archaeologists like Mazar.

                Rabbi Gottlieb is offering a spirited defense, but he still doesn’t commit to any clear statement. He’s making excuses. Trust me, if the archaeological finds matched he’d be singing their praises! I’ll take his points as they fall:

                He claims contradictory sources might be wrong. Sure, but it’s an excuse.

                I’ve heard the “The Egyptians wouldn’t record a defeat” argument over and over again. You can decide if it sounds reasonable, bearing in mind if the biblical account is true then nearly half of Egypt’s entire population (2 million people) upped and left (which would have left a god awfully large hole in their tax revenues), and they would have lost a great swath of their professional land army, which would have left them utterly defenseless and open to invasion.

                His idea of myth-formation is not solid. Like I said, the authors weren’t writing a fairytale. Tom Clancy wasn’t writing a fairytale, either. Same principle. Remember, Judah was marketing this story as a justification for a northern land grab.

                It’s now known Jericho’s walls have fallen three times. A recurring event, no doubt passed down through tradition and so easy to explain it finding its way into the story. Jericho, though, is just one city. The Conquest narrative is a tad more complicated and covers much, much more land and many, many more cities.

                By the biblical dates the Exodus was 13th or 12th Century BCE, Conquest 12th or 11th Century. There is absolutely no evidence for these dates. Christians (do remember its only really Christians offering this defense) have been forced to move the dates way back to the 16th and 15th Centuries. This enables them to claim the Hyksos expulsion (ignoring the fact the Hyksos WERE NOT Jews, WERE NOT slaves and DID NOT escape… ie. Completely different story). This, however, adds 400 to 500 to Judges (an impossibility), means extensive interaction with kingdoms which only came into existence much later, and simply ignores the fact that Syria and Palestine were under Egyptian military rule at the time.

                All in all I don’t see the rabbi willing to commit to the statement, rather just offer excuses for why the story doesn’t match.

                Quack, the question you have to ask yourself is why would Rabbi’s today openly admit the story is myth? They are the ones with the most to lose, the ones with the greatest investment in the story being true. If there was a pattern, no matter how obscure, which corroborated the narrative they’d be behind that pattern and pointing to it. There simply is no pattern.

                Posted by john zande | 5 December, 2013, 6:32 am
          • John, 500 years would place the exodus at c. 1040 BC. The dates that have had the most support are 1446 BC. because of 1 Kings 6:1, the mid 13th Century BC. because of the mention of the cities having a similar name as Pharaoh Ramesees II. On what do you base your assertion that the Hyksos did not include Canaanites?

            Regarding your question about the Rabbis and academics, I think Quack did a good job of explaining the paradigm.

            Posted by Marc | 4 December, 2013, 12:35 pm
            • Marc, let’s just leave it with the challenge. Present a SINGLE Rabbi or reputable (real) Archaeologist (with tenure in a “real” university) who’ll commit, in writing, to the above statement.

              If there’s any credence to your position then surely this should be an easy task, right?

              Over to you…

              Posted by john zande | 4 December, 2013, 12:41 pm
          • John, Because we are discussing issues that can really only be evaluated as possibilities and probabilities, certainties will never be proven.

            Regarding expert witnesses, you have yours and I could probably create a list based on my own criteria, not yours. In court proceedings, the jury often looks beyond the testimony of “expert witnesses,” and applies common sense and logic. In the court of public opinion, your hope of unraveling the faith of billions based on the opinions of your “expert witnesses,” is likely to go unfulfilled.

            Posted by Marc | 4 December, 2013, 5:03 pm
            • “issues that can really only be evaluated as possibilities and probabilities”

              Odd, you sounded pretty certain of your Hyksos theory, despite the fact that it bears about as much resemblance to the biblical narrative as E. B. White’s, Charlotte’s Web, bears to evolutionary biology.

              Still, the challenge stands. Present a single Rabbi and Archaeologist who’ll commit to the above statement, in writing, and you’ll impress me no end.

              Posted by john zande | 4 December, 2013, 5:19 pm
          • Well I thought I was offering a probability, not a certainty John. I just look at what we do know to be true and try to connect the dots because I believe that although the Scriptures are not inerrant, they are a reliable revelation of God as Creator and physician of the fallen human condition.

            Posted by Marc | 4 December, 2013, 5:45 pm
          • Please be more specific John.

            Posted by Marc | 4 December, 2013, 6:15 pm
  2. An illuminating “brief word”. Thank you both

    Posted by paulfg | 3 December, 2013, 6:56 pm
  3. Even if the basics concerning Exodus and Moses etc turned out to spot on, that still leaves all the miraculous stuff to explain.
    Here you have the ”natural way”, as often evidenced by those wonderful National Geographic type documentaries about how strong winds would have forced the Red Sea apart allowing all those Israelites to leg it across.or how that naughty little dinoflagellate karenia brevis or whatever it is called made the Nile turn red etc etc.

    Well, this too is fine, I have no real problem with the natural explanation, or even accepting that a million and more people went traipsing across the desert for 40 years, enacting the longest real life edition of Survivor ever. Mark Burgess would be proud.

    You see, atheists really couldn’t give a monkeys uncle if it turned out that every bible based archaeological claim turned out to be true and good old Albright was hailed as the New Improved Indiana Jones making all those other 2nd rate Archaeologists look like a bunch of dicks.

    God’s Mates 1.. Atheists 0

    In fact it would be so cool if it turned out that Moses and Joshua really were the effin’ meglomaniacal despotic perpetrators of cruelty, torture and outright genocide.
    Their handiwork would likely be on a par with the “best “of them, would it not? I mean, wiping out a whole nation including cows and even grass! That is some heavy s***.

    Joshua would ROCK in the murder and mayhem stakes.
    Because you see, that would definitely piddle on any God Backed -Theory you lot have been carting around for a bizillion years.

    So be be my guest. Knock yourself out, why don’t you? You go ahead and prove that it is all archaeologically true just as the bible says. From plagues of locusts and frogs to wiping out all the kiddies in Canaan and raping all their women.

    The floor is all yours….

    This could turn out to be the greatest show in town.

    Okay you can start now, I’m comfy.

    Dim lights, start music.

    Hey, is there any popcorn?
    Sssh! It’s about to start.

    Oh, look. There’s Abraham. What’s he doing with that donkey?
    Ooooh, that is gross!
    .

    Posted by Arkenaten | 4 December, 2013, 9:46 am
  4. I’m not a biblical scholar, nor am I all that concerned with the O.T., though its easy to find ‘ holes ‘ in various O.T. books stories.

    The jewish story of Genesis is rubbish ! Before Adam and Eve chose to know evil they MUST have been perfectly righteous, sothen knowing eternal life, and could NOT have been born into any material place.

    The jewish story of Job is rubbish ! The abused child has EVERY RIGHT to accuse the abusive parent, in this context, the jewish god Yahweh.

    Not too much a surprise, the ancient jewish culture decided there only be a single God, and it was the will for and author of the terribly harmful and killing life-order matertial life is, and will always be, relative to matters limited term of being.

    All are welcome to my blog ; it’s a ‘ static ‘ blog, but I do edit my posts from time to time.
    gjpaul.wordpress.com Here’s some posts you may find interesting : A Theory of Universe, Some Evidences of Soul, Rebuke of Protestant Faiths .

    Posted by GJPaul | 4 December, 2013, 6:23 pm
  5. What is odd, if not funny, is that until fairly recently the general view and the orthodox view regarding this particular issue were similar, if not the same.
    The Exodus happened as described in the bible. Maybe the miraculous portions of the tale were smiled at benignly but the actual event was generally agreed upon by one and all.

    Along comes science. in the form of archaeology and pretty soon this universal acceptance is blown out of the water.

    These days only orthodoxy – and largely Christian orthodoxy in the form of Evangelicals and Creationists and other assorted biblical literalists – consider the bible tale to be true.
    Sadly the vast majority of these are ignorant of the current state of affairs and rely on the fallacious word of their religious leaders.

    Some of these Orthodox Christians , a very small minority, have come to realise that certain aspects of the Exodus and Canaan Conquest as it stands in the bible simply don’t add up and , more specifically, the details surrounding the captivity and escape from Egypt.

    Hence there is now a third</em. theory involving the Hyksos and shifting the timeline to accommodate it.
    While this might offer up at least a group of semitic peoples that left Egypt it certainly does not account for a figure of around 2 million souls.

    So even if we go with the revisionist dates there is still nothing which ties in with the bible, leaving this third group scrambling – as is often the case – to tie up a myriad of loose ends. The bible speaks of slaves, and a lot of them, and there were certainly not around 2 million Hyksos in Egypt.

    However, if one takes the bible out/em> of the picture for a moment and simply look at what evidence there is concerning the settlement of Canaan, including the archaeological finds that have been uncovered – pottery etc, then the answer is staring us in the face.

    There never was an Exodus or a Moses in the first place, and this is what the vast majority of the scholastic world from all disciplines ( including many religious people ) is telling us.

    In fact, the only ones in the 21st century who are defending the biblical version are those with an Orthodox theological motive.

    Posted by Arkenaten | 5 December, 2013, 8:29 am
    • True, hardly any academics or “recognized” archaeologists are going to substantiate the Exodus or the Conquest. They have a vested interest not to. Personally, if I chose a career in that field, I would likely stick to the paradigm and try to make as many anti-bible finds as possible, because that’s where the money and prestige is to be found.

      People tend to publicly convey sentiments which will likely gain favorable feedback. For instance, the fact that privately, almost half the US population believes in Genesis as factual — yet, publicly, I would guess less than 20 percent would admit this so as to avoid ridicule.

      Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 5 December, 2013, 12:12 pm
      • Come’on, Quack…. you’re drifting off into “conspiracy” territory here.

        If you want to see how a rabbi squares the circle of myth but still believe in a god read up on Wolpe’s thoughts.

        Posted by john zande | 5 December, 2013, 12:49 pm
        • Not conspiracy so much as understanding the nature of paradigms. We’re taking our best guesses here, regarding times and places and specific individuals over 3,000 years ago. I’ve been studying this stuff since I was a hatchling, and I’m still not sold on much of it. Too many experts with too many differing opinions on such little amounts of information. No matter what conclusions are drawn, it will never be conclusive. Such are the limits of ancient archaeology.

          Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 5 December, 2013, 1:37 pm
          • The bible is quite specific when these events happened: the genealogy is given, and it doesn’t fit. In fact, no period fits, not without altering the narrative so greatly that it is no longer recognisable.

            Ark made a tremendously good point the other day: Christians are the first to crow about scholarly consensus regarding a historical Jesus, yet then simply ignore the consensus regarding the OT. Which is it?

            Posted by john zande | 5 December, 2013, 1:51 pm
  6. True, hardly any academics or “recognized” archaeologists are going to substantiate the Exodus or the Conquest. They have a vested interest not to.

    What an asinine thing to say.

    The vested interest, financial as well as theological, lies with those archaeologists of a religious bent. or the bent religious archaeologists if you prefer. especially where funding is concerned.
    ”Spade in one hand bible in another”. Sound familiar?

    The Israeli archaeologists have their whole culture at stake so stop being a bloody fool, Quack.
    Furthermore, there are enough Christians who also consider the Exodus etc fiction. Notables like Devers for one.

    Albright couldn’t square away anything with the bible and neither will any archaeologist looking to match the biblical tale with reality.

    Please don’t write such trite, Quack, it makes you look like a real plonker.and any vestige of credibility you might have been secretly harboring flies out the window.

    Posted by Arkenaten | 5 December, 2013, 2:55 pm
    • Right. So if I’m starting out in the field of archeology, I can go one of two ways. I can go for credibility and acceptance among scholarship, or I can milk the funding of religious groups looking for some good PR. It’s not exactly an objective science.

      Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 5 December, 2013, 4:09 pm
      • Stop having a tantrum.

        There is no objectivity if one is guided in such a field by erroneous doctrine.
        That is just plain downright irresponsible.

        Besides, it is not as if it is a new path to tread , now is it?
        Albright has “been there done that and ”didn’t get the T shirt”
        Much of his work this particular area of archaeology is often considered the benchmark of how not to do it.

        But I have mentioned before that it really would be okay if all your archaeological wet dreams came true and the Exodus was proved to have happened.
        I would actually be grinning from ear to ear simply because all you has to do now was demonstrate all the miracles of god intervention and from the off I would be pissing my pants with laughter.

        As John keeps saying, produce a single non orthodox Rabbi that will state the Exodus and Moses is factual.

        Posted by Arkenaten | 5 December, 2013, 4:18 pm
      • You could always just dig and then date and then weigh the data… Like good archaeologists 😉

        Posted by john zande | 5 December, 2013, 5:57 pm
  7. Well, seems I haven’t been banned from this blog….yet..lol.

    How’s your search for ”proper” archaeologists that can dig in the dirt while referencing the bible? Any luck yet?

    Posted by Arkenaten | 8 December, 2013, 5:28 am
    • Ark, I am curious to hear what the archaeologist that you and John hold in such high regard have to say about the number of Hyksos that were expelled from Lower Egypt, and how many settled in Canaan over what period of time.

      Posted by Marc | 8 December, 2013, 9:18 am
      • The expulsion of the Hyksos is not in question. Again, the Hyksos were NOT Canaanites, and their date of being kicked out (1556) flatly contradicts the biblical chronology. Simply changing the dates AND the people doesn’t even work because then you have to deal with the awkward fact that Canaan was under Egyptian military rule at that time, yet no mention is made of this in the Conquest narrative. PLUS, if we accept the 1500 date then kingdoms mentioned in the Conquest narrative weren’t even in existence at the time!

        Just admit it, Marc… It was all inventive myth which took from various strains of tradition. If there were any hint of truth in the narrative there would be an observable pattern of evidence. There simply is none. Here, take this story: “My humble mother bore me secretly. She put me in a basket of rushes and sealed me in with asphalt. Then she put me into the river…. The river held me up, and carried me to Akki, the irrigator who drew water from the river for the people. As he dipped his jug into the river, Akki carried me out. He raised me as his own son.” Sounds familiar, right? It’s not Moses, rather King Sargon.

        Posted by john zande | 8 December, 2013, 9:36 am
        • Apparently, floating babies down the river was the ancients’ equivalent of dropping a baby off at the fire station.

          Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 8 December, 2013, 3:57 pm
        • John, I have asked you before to prove your assertion that the Canaanites were not numbered among the Hysos. I also gave you a biblical chronology based on Acts 13:20 that would place the exodus at 1540 BC. Are you paying attention?

          As to your point about Egyptian hegemony of Canaan after the expulsion of the Hysos in circa 1540 BC, this is not in dispute. It took over 330 years from the exodus in 1540 BC. for the tribe of Israel to grow in influence in Canaan to the point that the Egyptians would even bother to mention them.

          Regarding cultural myths, were is your proof that the Sargon story was not the basis of the decision to put Moses afloat in the basket?

          Posted by Marc | 8 December, 2013, 6:33 pm
      • You keep going on and on about the Hyksos. Why?
        Nobody, is denying they were in Egypt, nobody is denying they didn’t invade Egypt, nobody is denying they weren’t rulers and weren’t an integral part of ancient Egypt, and nobody is denying there weren’t eventually kicked out on the semitic arses.

        Now, if you have a salient point to make the stop fairy dancing and make it.

        Posted by Arkenaten | 8 December, 2013, 1:13 pm
        • I have made several salient points in this thread Ark. The biblical chronology based on Acts 13:20 fits the chronology of the expulsion of the Hysos and the destruction of Jericho. The reigns of the last two Hysos Pharaohs fits the chronology of Moses’s interactions with the two Pharaohs as recorded in Exodus. The end of the reign of the last Hysos Pharaoh could have been as a result of his pursuit of the Israelites, creating a political and military opportunity for the Theban Pharaoh to expel the Hysos from Lower Egypt.

          I will offer one other very salient point regarding this whole issue, and that is the size of the tribe of Israel in relationship to the other people living in the area at the time. There were 75 males that came into Egypt, so there were probably a total of less than 200 people numbered as Israelites. At the time of the Exodus there could not have been 600,000 males and a total of millions considering all of Egypt’s population was probably three million. What we probably had were 600 men of military ages and their families, perhaps a total of less than 5,000 people. With the movement of perhaps hundred of thousands of Hysos out of Egypt within a short period after the exodus of the Israelites, how could any archaeological findings be definitive?

          To assert that the patriarchs and Moses did not exist because that needle in the haystack has not been found, is at best laughable conjecture, and more likely just pure bullshit put out by people with an agenda and a paradigm.

          Posted by Marc | 8 December, 2013, 7:14 pm
          • It is a search for a needle among several possible haystacks.

            Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 8 December, 2013, 8:25 pm
            • That is exactly right Quack. There are a hell of a lot of haystacks between Ur, Haran, Canaan, Egypt, and all the real estate in between.

              If these folks that John keeps promoting as authoritative were really objective, they would simply state that no archaeological evidence exists to support the 15th and 13th Century BC. exodus models. To assert that their work is definitive proof that the patriarchs and Moses did not exist undermines their credibility.

              Posted by Marc | 8 December, 2013, 10:21 pm
          • Marc, you have changed the story so much that it is no longer even recognizable.

            Now, Acts is New Testament, written by Christians and therefore worthless… and it’s been debunked as fraudulent, anyway. Please read The Acts Seminar Project. Here are the group’s main findings

            In sum:

            • The Acts narrative is worthless as history of first century Christianity, but quite informative as history of second century Christianity;
            • it provides us no reason to believe that Christianity began in Jerusalem — the Jerusalem centre of the faith was a myth created for second century ideological reasons;
            • some of its characters are fictional and their names symbolic;
            • Acts was created as a type of Christian “epic” (coherent and literary throughout, not a patchwork quilt of diverse sources) and as such, we have reasons to believe, is no more historical than Homer’s or Virgil’s epics;
            • the author did, indeed, know of the letters of Paul;
            • and finally, one of its main reasons for being written was to counter Marcion’s “heresy”.

            http://vridar.org/2013/11/22/top-ten-findings-of-the-acts-seminar/

            Posted by john zande | 9 December, 2013, 5:00 am
          • To assert that the patriarchs and Moses did not exist because that needle in the haystack has not been found, is at best laughable conjecture, and more likely just pure bullshit put out by people with an agenda and a paradigm.

            As I have mentioned to you , and a few others, before. It would be wonderful if the archaeological record actually turned up trumps re your Hyksos theory. It really would.
            But as has been pointed out to you already….on numerous occasions, this is a flat out impossibility based on the time frame you are proposing.
            That’s the first thing.
            There is no mention of Hyksos slaves.
            That’s the second.

            Canaan was already under Egyptian control.
            The number of people that fled Egypt would have been around 1.5 to 2 million. In a country with a total population of around 4 million to shed around 50% of its population it has been asserted by some experts in demographics this would have likely caused an economic collapse.
            No such event is even alluded to in any records whatsoever.

            So, on to your salient point.

            the last Hyksos Pharaoh could have been as a result of his pursuit of the Israelites, creating a political and military opportunity for the Theban Pharaoh to expel the Hyksos from Lower Egypt.

            And yet you have offered no evidence to back this up at all.

            So why would anyone run with this speculation as opposed to the view of pretty much every respected archaeologist and scholar in the world?

            What possible motive could the world’s leading Israeli archaeologists, and Rabbis have?
            You keep mentioning a motive and an agenda but fail to say what it is.

            And what possible motive could the rest of the world’s leading archaeologists, including a few note christians have for this grand conspiracy you seem fixated with?

            But even if what you speculate, against all evidence, is true you then have to explain the divine nature and intervention of your god.
            On that score i wish you luck!

            RFLOL

            Posted by Arkenaten | 9 December, 2013, 5:54 am
            • This reminds me of the joke about the two guys standing together at the urinal. One guy looks over at the other guy’s business and says, “who you going to please with that little thing?” The other guy replies, “ME!”

              Posted by Marc | 9 December, 2013, 10:25 am
            • That argument was anticlimactic. I was reading, patiently waiting for an opportunity to add something that you and John left out, but it ended abruptly and then you fell into an exchange of gay jokes. That was shitty.

              Posted by R. L. Culpeper | 10 December, 2013, 1:44 am
              • Perhaps you can answer the question about how many Hyksos there were relative to the approximate 3 million population of Egypt at the time, what were their origins, and where did they go when they were forced out of Egypt?

                Posted by Marc | 10 December, 2013, 10:05 am
              • Marc, there are no numbers for Hyksos. There are, however, very firm numbers for the Hebrews: 600,000 men, plus women, children and livestock; about 2 million in total. Ark has already pointed out that if that number left Egypt the economy would have collapsed and she would have been open to invasion. Egypt didn’t collapse and there was no invasion.

                And please, don’t quote Acts, for I will just ignore it.

                Posted by john zande | 10 December, 2013, 10:24 am
              • Sorry RL… Marc has his little theory, yet can’t seem to explain why only he (and other evangelical Christians) are the only ones who seem to profess it.

                Posted by john zande | 10 December, 2013, 10:23 am
              • No need to apologize, John. I’m relatively new to this area of history, as you probably know, so I’m interested in seeing if my ideas and knowledge relative to this subject are accurate.

                Posted by R. L. Culpeper | 10 December, 2013, 7:54 pm
              • If you had bothered to read my earlier post John, you would have noticed that I made the point that the numbers of Hebrews leaving Egypt were 600 families or clans totaling less than 5,000 people. This number makes sense considering the tribe of Israel only numbered 75 males when it entered Egypt. Numbers in the Scripture are often symbolic, so only a novice would read them literally.

                And please don’t quote the worthless Jesus and Acts Seminar rubbish.

                Posted by Marc | 10 December, 2013, 10:35 am
              • How many Israelites left Egypt during the Exodus: 600,000 OR 625,550? (Ex 12:37 vs Ex 38:26; Num 3:39)

                There are two contradictory traditions relating the number of males that left Egypt in the Exodus. The older Elohist tradition relates that there were 600,000. This number is revised upward by the later Priestly writer to 625,550.

                The reason for this revision is unclear. Perhaps the Priestly writer fabricated it in order to lend verisimilitude to the earlier tradition’s too round of a number. Another Priestly text tells us that there were 603,550 non-Levite males (Ex 38:26) and 22,000 Levite males (Num 3:39), thus totaling 625,550.

                In either case, just as there were 400 years of captivity in the earlier sources and 430 in the Priestly version (#32), so too here with the earlier 600,000 and P’s 625,550.

                http://contradictionsinthebible.com/600000-or-625550/

                funny, i don’t see 6,000 anywhere there… Do you, Marc?

                Posted by john zande | 10 December, 2013, 11:03 am
              • Don’t you think, though, if it was such a concerted effort to synthesize and manufacture a religious tale with all those editors, that those peeps would’ve edited this enough to at least cross their t’s?? I haven’t looked the verses up yet, but generally such obvious discrepancies have easy solutions (without resorting to apologetics).

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 10 December, 2013, 1:33 pm
              • Personally, i think the Hyksos do explain the Exodus narrative, but not as Marc is so desperately trying to make fit. Perhaps, just perhaps, a Hyksos family settled in the Canaanite hills and their story (as exotic as it was) slowly (over many, many generations) got interwoven into the bands oral tradition. What happened in 700-600 BCE was that story got supercharged. No Jewish scholar today even dares say Moses was a real historical character (he wasn’t), and the exodus narrative simply doesn’t fit reality, even with a Marc-like imagination.

                Posted by john zande | 10 December, 2013, 2:00 pm
              • Nah. Za Hyksos has nossing za zoo wis za Exozus. Za Exozus happens jus as za Bible says. (I am German now, BTW…)

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 10 December, 2013, 4:35 pm
              • John, Are you conceding that the archaeologists whom you put so much trust in cannot determine the number of Hyksos in Egypt?

                Posted by Marc | 10 December, 2013, 10:57 am
              • I think we are making some progress in this discussion John. Regarding the numbers used in the Scriptures, I am sure that you are aware that the Hebrew word for thousand can have other meanings, and that a thousand can also be symbolic for a large quantity or fulness.

                If the population of Egypt was 3 million at the time in question and only half lived in Lower Egypt, what would be a reasonable population of Hyksos necessary to take control? Could 10 percent, or 150,000 Hyksos control 1,500,000 Egyptians?

                Given that the population of Egypt doubled during the 500 years between the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period and the middle of the New Kingdom Period, would not the growth of the tribe of Israel from less than 200 to 5,000 in even less time be exceptional?

                From the perspective of the big picture of the Hyksos expulsion, 5,000 Israelites is a needle in a haystack. That the Egyptians who controlled Canaan would make mention of Israel in the early 1200’s BC., Indicates that something of significance happen in the intervening 330 years.

                Posted by Marc | 10 December, 2013, 5:23 pm
              • Marc, you will have to forgive me as I’m afraid this is not my area of emphasis, and therefore I can only provide a very rudimentary degree of value to this discussion. I do not presume to be affluent in the sphere of Judaic developmental history. My expertise – for lack of a better word – consists of early Christian developmental history; specifically centering on the historicity of Jesus and the socio-political influences that drove Christian thought.

                However, I am familiar enough with the topic to provide an opinion, which I’m afraid will amount to a reiteration of John and Ark’s points. At the risk of sounding redundant, here is what I have taken from this discussion:

                A very succinct summary of your claims:

                1. The Hyskos conquest, reign and subsequent supplant (c. 1500 BCE) supports the biblical account of a Semitic race being present in Egypt. Although their specific origin is unknown there is a general consent that they were Semitic.
                2. Moses, being an Egyptian name, further supports that the Jews were once in Egypt – the Levites are the only Semitic tribe to exhibit Egyptian names.
                3. The archeological evidence for the destruction of Jericho (c. 1500 BCE) further supports the biblical account of the exodus.
                4. Although they (the Israelites) destroyed Jericho shortly after their exodus from Egypt, and although Syria was under Egyptian control following the supplant of Hyskos hegemony, the Israelites were of minor importance, and thus they went unmentioned until the Merneptah stele (c. 1200 BCE).

                Hopefully I captured those correctly. If I didn’t I’m sure you will let me know. Also, I’m sure I left many things out.

                So, my first issue centers on P1. That is, you assert that 75 Israelite males came into Egypt, which would have amounted to roughly two hundred people total. Upon their exodus that number was likely around 5,000, which accounts for the absence of mention within Egyptian or independent historical accounts. How do you connect the presence of the Hyskos to the presence of Israelites? That the Hyskos were Semitic does not necessarily mean that Levites were among them (by the way, the Levites were more closely associated with Judah, not Israel). And, why would a mixed race of Semitic peoples enter Egypt, conquer it, and then subjugate a subgroup from within them into slavery?

                P2 can, in my opinion, be explained by the proximity of the two peoples. That is, the Levites came from Southern Syria, which was obviously closest to Egypt. For this reason they were also more closely associated with Judah. However, the first evidence we have of the Levites entering Judah also demonstrates that they were still polytheists. They gradually evolved into henotheists and then monotheists after their captivity in Babylon, so the notion that monotheists exited Egypt and conquered Canaan is incongruous with the period between their polytheistic origins and monotheism.

                If a group of slaves, moreover, that had just escaped Egyptian captivity came upon an Egyptian controlled city – Jericho – and sacked it, we should expect to see records of this in either (1) Egyptian sources, or (2) sources from the enemies of Egypt. Now, if the Egyptians failed to record this because it was unfavorable, I can understand, but such an event (the escape of slaves and conquest of an Egyptian controlled city) would have been an extraordinary event that Egypt’s enemies could not have ignored as an opportunity for propaganda. Whether they were 5,000 strong or 600,000 strong is inconsequential, and in fact, the former would only bring more attention to the event – a small band of people defied the most powerful nation in the area.

                This brings us to the period between 1500 and 1200, which lacks evidence of a strong, united Jewish front – one capable of a persistent and overwhelming conquest. Archeological evidence points to a gradual assimilation between hill tribe Hebrews and Canaanites throughout this period. Confederations of Hebrew tribes don’t appear in the archeological record until the twelfth century as a result of the Philistine invasion. At this point Judah and Israel were still polytheists, they disagreed on numerous fronts, and they were only loosely connected by cultural similarities. They were not powerful nations as the Bible suggests, but rather, poor agricultural and herding societies.
                Thus, they were not in positions of power until after Israel made a pact with the Phoenician coastal cities, thereby increasing their wealth and prestige. This, however, didn’t occur until the reign of Omri (c. 800 BCE) in Israel and Josiah (c. 600 BCE) in Judah – the latter coinciding with the construction of the Torah.

                I’ve already written far more than I intended at left out quite a bit, so I’ll allow for you to respond.

                John and Ark, I hope you will correct me wherever I went wrong.

                Posted by R. L. Culpeper | 10 December, 2013, 7:51 pm
              • Sounds good. I’d direct you to the population data published by Finkelstein, link below. This is unchallenged and helps get a good visual.

                http://www.academia.edu/2275513/Finkelstein_et_al._2012_Reconstructing_Ancient_Israel_Integrating_Macro-_and_Micro-archaeology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_Vol._1_133-150

                Also, Jericho’s walls have fallen three times. By the dates provided in the bible itself Jericho wasn’t even occupied at the time of the conquest, rather had been abandoned some 300 years earlier. Apologists ignore this, as they also ignore the striking absence of any other city (villages, really) falling at the same time.

                Herzog identifies many problems and is a bit of a one-stop shop for information, including the Kingdoms which simply didn’t exist if we’re to take the Hyksos theory, yet are mentioned in the biblical account.

                http://en.cyclopaedia.net/wiki/Ze,-ev-Herzog

                Professor Carol Meyers of Duke University is also an excellent source and considered one of the leaders in the field.

                Seriously, the only area where there is an honest debate going on in biblical archaeology is whether Judah had an established urban population prior to 800/900BCE. Below is a good article on it (Ark found it), in which Professor Amihai Mazar (the self-described “moderate conservative” and nephew of the celebrated Israeli archaeologist, Benjamin Mazar) from the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, said, “Currently, there is broad agreement among archaeologists and Bible scholars that there is no historical basis for the narratives of the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan, nor any archaeological evidence to make them think otherwise.” The article is long, but it’s well worth the read.

                http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/the-keys-to-the-kingdom-1.360222

                Posted by john zande | 11 December, 2013, 5:47 am
              • Thanks for the references, John. I’m in the middle of the haaretz article and it’s fascinating!

                Posted by R. L. Culpeper | 11 December, 2013, 7:33 pm
              • Good to hear from you RLC. I will try to answer your very thoughtful questions.

                Regarding the relationship between the tribe of Israel and the other Semitic tribes that made up the Hyksos, I think it has to do with timing. The drought conditions that brought Israel to Egypt, effected many people in Syria and Canaan. The political weakness of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period also contributed to the influx of Semitic tribes into Egypt. If Israel arrived early during this period and developed friendly relationships with the Egyptian authorities, they may have been viewed as potential enemies by the Semitic tribes that followed. This and their high fertility and low death rate may have set them apart as a threat to the growing Hyksos influence. The Hyksos leaders dealt with this threat by enslavement of the Israelites.

                Regarding the Levites, they constituted one of the twelve tribes of Israel and were responsible for the religious order among the rest of the Israelites. Given the lack of archaeological information regarding such a small group, I question your assertions regarding the religious beliefs of any of the twelve tribes of Israel during the time in question.

                Jericho was one of many city states in Canaan in circa 1540 BC. According to the work of Kenyon and others, the population of Jericho was probably less than three thousand at the time. The conquest of 3,000 in Jericho by the 5,000 Israelites at a time when perhaps 100,000 other people were being expelled from Egypt would not be of much importance in the big picture. It is interesting to note however, that at a point in the 14th Century BC. the city states of Canaan did send a letter appealing for help in repelling invaders to the Pharaoh in Egypt.

                Although Israel had gained prominence in Canaan by 1200 BC., It was after the collapse of the Kingdom of David that the House of Israel and the House of Judah became divided. The House of Israel in North Canaan was invaded and conquered in 722 BC. by the Assyrians and the House of Judah in South Canaan was invaded and taken into captivity by Babylon in 586 BC.

                Posted by Marc | 10 December, 2013, 11:24 pm
              • Marc, I asked you to connect the Hyskos presence with the emigration of Israelites, not postulate unfounded theories. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but there really is no other way to address this:

                “If Israel arrived early during this period and developed friendly relationships with the Egyptian authorities, they may have been viewed as potential enemies by the Semitic tribes that followed. This and their high fertility and low death rate may have set them apart as a threat to the growing Hyksos influence. The Hyksos leaders dealt with this threat by enslavement of the Israelites.”

                This is simply conjecture. You can modify the size of the Israelites at the risk of demonstrating biblical errors if you wish, and in the process account for the absence of any mention between their arrival in Egypt and subsequent exodus, but it’s all conjecture, and it’s in opposition to archeological evidence.

                “Regarding the Levites, they constituted one of the twelve tribes of Israel and were responsible for the religious order among the rest of the Israelites. Given the lack of archaeological information regarding such a small group, I question your assertions regarding the religious beliefs of any of the twelve tribes of Israel during the time in question.”

                For a period the Levites, for instance, worshiped a Semitic snake god called Nehushtan (2 Kings 18), which was later destroyed by King Hezekiah. The Yahweh cult is first seen as being worshiped in Shiloh by the Levites (perhaps originating with the Kenites in the South) and we have evidence that Yahweh had a wife for a time, named Asherah, as evidenced by inscriptions found at Khirbet el-Kom and Kuntillet Ajrud, and found in 2 Kings 23. Ugaritic tablets are also very informative with respect to Jewish polytheism.

                “Although Israel had gained prominence in Canaan by 1200 BC., It was after the collapse of the Kingdom of David that the House of Israel and the House of Judah became divided. The House of Israel in North Canaan was invaded and conquered in 722 BC. by the Assyrians and the House of Judah in South Canaan was invaded and taken into captivity by Babylon in 586 BC.”

                This assumes that they were united to begin with. Why would they be different houses, under the control of on dynastic family if they were originally unified, and only later divided? Saul and David were leaders of two distinct “nations.” They created an alliance only to see David abandon Israel and side with the Philistines. After the Philistines crushed Israel and Saul committed suicide, David took advantage of the situation and subjugated Israel, and then turned against Philistia. After the death of David’s successor, Judah lacked a strong leader to keep them united, and the stronger Israelite confederation went its separate way (C. 930). I don’t know if this is what you’re referring to when you say “the collapse of the Kingdom of David,” but his dynastic family continued to rule in Judah just as they had prior to the temporary unification.

                Posted by R. L. Culpeper | 11 December, 2013, 12:32 am
              • Hey now, Asherah was Baal’s bitch, not Yahweh’s. Baal the sun, Asherah the moon. Yahweh had too much smiting to do to have time for a wife.

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 11 December, 2013, 12:55 am
              • Yahweh came to be associated with El (God), whose wife was Asherah, so naturally Yahweh took her as a wife as well. She was a fertility goddess, and like other Semitic gods her name was not personal, but referred to the symbols she represented (groves of trees, fertility).

                Remember to take into account the evolution of pantheons…

                Baal (Master or Lord) was originally a storm god like Yahweh, and like Anat, was the child of El and Asherah.

                Posted by R. L. Culpeper | 11 December, 2013, 1:06 am
              • Ah, that. I think perhaps religious diversity would better explain this matter, meaning that some believed Yahweh had a wife, while many others did not. The Bible tells us (on nearly every page of the Deuteronomistic History) that many Israelites rejected the “orthodox Yahwism” of the prophets, opting for alternative worship of Yahweh. Finds like those at Kuntillet Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qom point to such diversity, but not necessarily to “orthodox polytheism” in Israel which then later evolved into “orthodox monotheism.” These objects do not make such a narrow case. All they can actually tell us is that, at some point during the biblical period in Israel, someone believed Yahweh had a wife. That makes sense, since I can’t think of a time when everyone in any religion believed lock-step with everyone else.

                But there are other things to consider:

                1. Yahweh and “his asherah” = Yahweh had a wife. In this view, the term “asheratah” is taken by many to be a proper name (Asherah) plus a third person masculine suffix (translated “his”). The problem with this is, as a rule, proper personal (or deity) names in Hebrew and other ancient Canaanite texts, do not have such pronoun suffixes. This basically rules out “asherah” as the goddess accompanying Yahweh right from the start. Even if we presume that this rule can be broken so that we have “his [Yahweh’s] Asherah,” what does that mean? That at least one scribe at one place in Canaan apparently believed the divine couple was married. But other options that don’t break the rules of normal Hebrew and Semitic morphology make better sense.

                2. “His asherah” refers generically to a goddess wife, not specifically “the” goddess Asherah. This is sort of “Plan B” for some who want a goddess wife but know that #1 above violates Hebrew morphology.

                3. “His asherah” refers to a shrine, not a deity. This makes sense, since “asherah” in the Bible refers to a shrine, or pole (sacred tree) that was the symbol of Asherah (Deut 16:21). Again, this would point to one of many forms of Yahweh worship.

                4. “His asherah” could point to a tree object associated with Yahweh himself, not asherah at all. Yahweh was associated with a “tree of life” (the garden of Eden story). Yahwism tended to absorb the attributions of other deities — including goddesses — into Yahweh. One of the theological (polemic) tactics used by biblical writers was to take the attributes or epithets of a foreign deity (like Baal) and conceptually apply them to Yahweh, thereby asserting that Yahweh was the true god of XYZ, not this other deity that bears that title. When it came to goddesses, this was also the case, and so Yahweh could be identified with a goddess symbol, yet not be actually associated with any actual goddess.

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 11 December, 2013, 2:04 am
              • I think those alternative explanations are inconsistent with everything we have observed relative to the development of religions across multiple cultures and spanning multiple eras. It assumes that Judaism developed in some sort of a vacuum, absent outside influence and contrary to our understandings of cultural diffusion. That they appropriated gods and beliefs from the surrounding societies is entirely congruous with the evidence (which is far more prevalent than what I have provided) that we have. To proffer alternatives, and to presume that they were always monotheists is to essentially plead for an unwarranted exception.

                Posted by R. L. Culpeper | 11 December, 2013, 7:40 pm
              • Yeah, but you’re approaching it from a supposition that there was no primary source, no central truth. And that’s fine. And I understand that completely.

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 11 December, 2013, 7:45 pm
              • Again, that would be equivalent to pleading for an exception…

                “All of the other gods, religions, etc. were false, but this one is not…”

                Evidence is necessary before exceptions can be made.

                Posted by R. L. Culpeper | 11 December, 2013, 8:59 pm
              • Sounds logical enough.

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 11 December, 2013, 10:13 pm
              • Asherah was the wife of El, the head of the Canaanite pantheon. The point that Yhwh was placed with her has been explained as the Yahwehist priests trying to supplant El during a period of henoism.

                Posted by john zande | 11 December, 2013, 6:04 am
    • Yeah, I’ve come across some interesting chaps. It’s inspiring me to organize my own dig expedition. I just need a little funding… I guess I need to take an online course and get some credentialing! Write some books, make a “controversial” documentary…

      As far as banning people, I’m far too desperate for readers. Personal insults and degrading witticisms all have a certain entertainment value, I think. It’s all good. 🙂

      Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 8 December, 2013, 3:54 pm
      • It’s is important to develop a thick skin if you wish to enter blogland as a ”Christian on a Mission”, even if that mission is to “find oneself”

        I must say you have a very interesting blog style. One minute you are the bon vivant full of witticisms, on your own spot and over on blogs like John’s place then you are all spiritual, godly and Jesus buddy bible friendly on places like Chialpha’s blog.

        Reminds me of the joke about a bloke who offers a woman in a bar $10,000 to sleep with him. She says she might consider it. Then he drops his offer to a $1000. She is furious and says,
        “Do you think I am a whore?”
        ‘”Oh, we have already established that. Now we are just haggling the price.”

        Posted by Arkenaten | 8 December, 2013, 4:03 pm
  8. My argument is quite a bit different… My question is, WHY does Christ’s existence hinge on whether the old testament is 100% true or not? Why does Moses have to have existed for Christ to have existed? (Not that I’m discounting those things…) To me, even if Moses didn’t exist, Christ came to the Israelites as the Son of God, using their belief systems so they would understand. Of COURSE he would use their narratives, what THEY believed to be true so that He could help them understand the greater purpose. I have always believed that God is beyond our understanding… He’s infinite, vast, beyond our comprehension. Yet, He can make ways for us to understand PARTS of Him, the ways that He wants us to live, and shows us that we matter to Him. Why couldn’t God have been using the Israelites narratives, their strongly believed histories (whether they were accurate or not), to show them glimpses of Himself? He wouldn’t just come down and cast off all of their beliefs. Most likely they would turn away in fear or confusion. He used what they “knew” to show them a little more of Himself, and to possibly steer them in the right direction? You know “Hey guys, let’s stop with all this war, judgment, hypocrisy, and exclusion nonsense… Let’s try love, mercy, and forgiveness instead… Try and help one another out…Oh you need more convincing? Ok, well then I’ll suffer and die for you. Is that convincing enough for you?” When Jesus came, he turned the Jewish culture upside down, all in an attempt to redirect the path of humanity.

    Posted by James82 | 12 December, 2013, 8:54 am
    • Hi James. Moses non-existence doesn’t impact a historical Jesus at all. It does, however, impact on Jesus’ credibility. Of course, you could argue Jesus (if he existed) was playing along saying Moses existed, but i’d ask you, why? What purpose did it serve? Had he actually said “You know, Moses was a fictional character invented by the Yawehist priests about 600 years ago…” he would have really left an impressive piece of evidence. He didn’t, however, say that because its clear he had no idea… and having no idea of basic regional history is not really “god-like” is it?

      Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 9:13 am
      • Why would that make it clear he had no idea? He used several quotes attributed to Moses, but as far as I know, never made any claim to his historicity or not. The Hebrew scriptures were sacred to the Jews, of course Jesus would use those words to inspire or sway them. It does nothing to his credibility because he quoted ancient texts anymore than it ruins someones credibility these days who would quote Shakespeare.

        Posted by James82 | 12 December, 2013, 9:53 am
        • John 5:45: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.”

          That’s a pretty definitive statement: Jesus believed Moses was a real person. It’s a monumental blunder.

          Here, this post deals with it:

          http://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/jesus-appalling-credibility-problem-6/

          Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 10:08 am
          • Yeah I found that one after I wrote my statement. It still doesn’t insinuate that Jesus didn’t know what he was talking about, and he could still have been using their literature to relate to them. Also, as Chi has pointed out on her blog, no evidence CURRENTLY is known of, but that doesn’t mean none will be found in the future. Lack of evidence is not, in itself, evidence.

            Posted by James82 | 12 December, 2013, 10:17 am
            • Ah, well there is the total absence of hard, macro evidence, but there is an absolute wealth of soft, micro evidence… namely settlement and population patterns in Israel. As Rabbi Wolpe said: “It’s not the departure but rather the arrival evidence [lack thereof] which is most telling.”

              Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 10:25 am
              • Again, you are clinging to “lack of evidence” as your source of “evidence.” Lack of evidence is not evidence, for all you know, they just haven’t found anything yet. Besides, it’s irrelevant to me. I don’t believe the non-existence of Moses affects the existence of Jesus at all, nor do I believe ONE verse “Moses wrote about me” destroys Jesus’s credibility, which you seem to believe. You have such a strong conviction that you’re right, but it’s really based on flimsy support and a lot of opinion.

                Posted by James82 | 12 December, 2013, 10:32 am
              • By “flimsy” you mean over a century of extensive archaeological work… work so convincing that the majority of Jewish Rabbis today admit their very own foundation narrative is pure fiction?

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 10:41 am
        • Are you trying to say Jesus was only interested in the Jews? Aren’t Christians at pains to imply his was a “universal,” inclusive message for all people? If this were true he couldn’t (shouldn’t) have cared less about ruffling a few Jewish feathers. Meant nothing to him, especially considering Moses was fiction. he would have only speaking the truth… and, again, would have left an incredible piece of evidence for his alleged divinity.

          Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 10:11 am
          • No that’s not what I’m saying at all. I believe I stated that Jesus came and turned the Jews belief system upside down in a way that transformed the face of humanity. He changed a set of beliefs that were exclusive, to a set of beliefs that were inclusive to the entire world. Why were the Jews the jumping off point? I have no idea, but believe he could have used ANY belief system he wanted to had the whim taken him.

            Posted by James82 | 12 December, 2013, 10:19 am
            • No he didn’t. The Jews remained Jews. Some in the northern diaspora got converted but the early church was in Syria and Turkey. Israel never changed its theological course.

              Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 10:27 am
              • “The Jews remained Jews” implied that no Jews converted to Christianity. They may not have referred to themselves as Christians at that point, but they certainly broke away from traditional Jewish tenants. ALL of the original converts were Jews.

                Posted by James82 | 12 December, 2013, 10:29 am
              • We have absolutely no evidence of a church in Israel. Acts say there was, in Jerusalem, but no evidence has been found for it. Paul’s letters aren’t to churches in Israel, rather small communities in Syria. Where was the first church epicenter? Modern day Turkey. Did some Jews become Christians? Perhaps, but there was clearly no “movement” of any noticeable size. Jews remained perfectly Jewish.

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 10:37 am
              • On the day of Pentecost 3,000 Jews were baptized in Jerusalem. Nicodemus and other Jewish leaders were early converts. Paul shared the Gospel with the Jewish community first in the cities he visited.

                Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 10:51 am
              • Ah, a claim from Acts written in the late 2nd Century CE… highly dubious!

                If, however, it were true why then, Marc, isn’t there any evidence of a church in Israel?

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 10:54 am
              • John, Your assertions about the Book of Acts have little basis in fact. Opinions remain opinions, and very few people give much weight to the opinions of the Jesus or Acts Seminar folks.

                Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 11:43 am
              • I find all Christian literature highly dubious. Forging historical documents typically doesn’t fill people with confidence.

                You haven’t, however, answered the question: where is the actual evidence for a church in Israel?

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 11:53 am
              • The info produced from the Acts and Jesus seminars is about as useless as a poop-flavored lolly pop.

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 12 December, 2013, 4:02 pm
              • Given the historical realities of the times in question, it is silly to expect any archaeological evidence of people meeting and worshiping in private homes.

                Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 12:11 pm
      • If Jesus said Moses existed and that he wrote the Torah, then Moses existed and wrote the Torah. Duh. Jesus, being God, would know. John, stop being silly.

        Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 12 December, 2013, 3:14 pm
    • Hi James, Archaeology will never be able to prove the non-existence of the patriarchs and Moses because of the needle in the haystack reality. Archaeology can cast great doubt upon the 15th and 13th Century BC model of the Exodus, but the 16th Century BC model fits the historical reality and Scriptural narrative too close to be dismissed on the grounds that there is no specific archaeological findings identifying Moses or the Israelites.

      Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 10:29 am
      • Good Lord, man, you’re now pushing it back to the 16th century!!?? You are aware, aren’t you, that Abraham supposedly lived in 1800 BCE. You play with biblical history like $arah Palin plays with American history.

        Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 10:45 am
        • You really do not read any of the responses, do you John? The discussion has already established that the historical date of the expulsion of the Hyksos, the destruction of Jericho, and the probable exodus of Moses and the Israelites was circa 1540 BC. The last I checked that would be the 16th Century BC. Your chronology for Abraham is based on the same errors as the earlier dates for the exodus.

          Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 11:00 am
          • I think its been established that you’re just making conjecture and wild assumptions which flatly contradict the biblical narrative…. and Jericho’s walls fell three times, Marc… and where are the other cities allegedly sacked by Joshua?

            Are you going to produce me a single archaeologist who will back you up? I did ask for one, didn’t I? Surely you can produce a SINGLE reputable archaeologist who agrees with you?

            Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 11:05 am
            • John, Please produce a single archaeologist or historian that does not believe that the Hysos existed in Lower Egypt and were expelled in circa 1540 BC. You want to cling to the earlier exodus models because the archaeological evidence is so overwhelming is casting doubt. Don’t be silly about Jericho, you know we are talking about Kenyon’s chronology of circa 1540 BC. My assumptions have considerable basis in established history and the Biblical narrative, as I have shared in this thread. Even you admitted earlier in this thread that the Hyksos explained the exodus narrative.

              Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 11:30 am
              • No one’s doubting the Hyksos, and please don’t put words in my mouth. I said the story of Hyksos probably filtered into the oral tradition of the Canaanite hill villagers.

                Let’s make something perfectly here… You’re saying the bible is completely and utterly wrong. It’s chronology is in error, its population numbers are laughable, and the entire narrative is backwards. NOTHING in it, according to you, is accurate… but you have found the truth. Tell me, Marc, if it’s so very clear, as you claim, why haven’t Jewish Rabbis accepted this version of events? Wouldn’t Rabbis be the first to leap onto this as some verification of their own narrative? Why haven’t they, Marc?

                Surely you have an answer to this question…

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 11:40 am
              • No John, I have never said the Bible is completely and utterly wrong. What I have said is that numbers often have symbolic meaning in the Scriptures. The Jewish Rabbis only consider the Masoretic Text as authoritative. As a Christian, I consider the New Testament as authoritative. This is why the chronology based on Acts. 13:20 is given the most credibility. As it adds up to 574 years from the laying of the cornerstone of the Temple in 966 BC., the exodus happened in 1540 BC.

                Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 11:59 am
              • No, Jewish Rabbis don’t consider the Masoretic Text authoritative. They consider it myth… even Orthodox rabbis are beginning to admit this fact. Do please catch up.

                Still, you haven’t answered the question. If what you say is true, then why, Marc, haven’t Jewish Rabbis leapt on it as certain evidence for the validity of their own foundation narrative? What is possibly holding them back? These are men and women who think about this stuff EVERY DAY! Their careers are dependent on it… so why, Marc, don’t they agree with your theory?

                Please explain… or are you suggesting there’s an elaborate Jewish conspiracy going on to thwart Christians?

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 12:29 pm
              • “Defending a rabbi in the 21st century for saying the Exodus story isn’t factual is like defending him for saying the Earth isn’t flat. It’s neither new nor shocking to most of us that the Earth is round or that the Torah isn’t a history book dictated to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.”
                -Conservative Rabbi Steven Leder, Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 12:33 pm
              • What a dumb thing to say. The earth is clearly trapezoidal. Go outside and have a look.

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 12 December, 2013, 4:07 pm
              • Here in Brazil it’s kinda’ oblong, and green.

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 4:12 pm
              • I need to visit. Never been to Brazil. Been to Peru and Argentina, but not to Brazil.

                Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 12 December, 2013, 4:14 pm
              • It’s a diverse country, caters to many needs.

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 4:24 pm
              • While you’re explaining the Rabbis clear lack of understanding of history could you also explain Christianity Today’s (evangelical) Kevin D. Miller who admitted: “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.”

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 12:39 pm
              • It is no news to Christians that there has been a 1900 year ongoing effort on the part of Jewish Rabbis to discredit Christianity. No Jewish Rabbi would give credibility to the Book of Acts by taking the chronology of Acts 13:20 seriously. This is one reason they are stuck on the earlier exodus models.

                Regarding Kevin D. Miller, he is obviously ignorant of much of what has been discussed here. The needle in the haystack reflects the archaeological truth of this matter.

                Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 12:59 pm
              • Ahhh, so you ARE suggesting there’s an elaborate and malicious Jewish conspiracy going on! How utterly dastardly and mischievous of them!

                Well, I’m glad you, and you alone can see through it, Marc…. The truth will surely set you free!

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 1:12 pm
              • John, Please send some warm air North. We are freezing our asses off in the upper Mid-West.

                There is no conspiracy regarding the Rabbis, just a matter of history and Rabbis doing what would be expected of them. However I suspect that many of the Rabbis would rather throw the patriarchs and Moses under the bus, than ever give credibility to any part of the New Testament and the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah.

                I suspect that there are more folks who share my perspective than yours John, so I do not believe that I am alone.

                Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 5:12 pm
              • Oh, you’re not alone, but evangelicals only number in a few tens of millions (concentrated mostly only in the southern US)… There’s, however, 8 billion people on this planet 🙂

                I would gladly send you some warm air if i could. I’d handle some cool breezes, too 🙂

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 5:17 pm
              • For the record John, I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian.

                I guess the Summer weather down your way, can be as brutal as the Winter weather up here. A nice island in the Caribbean may be the best compromise.

                Rest assured my friend, I do not subscribe to what constitutes much of Christianity. I believe that the real “good news,” of the Gospel is a blessing upon the billions of human beings currently alive on the planet Earth, and those many billions of folks who have already reposed.

                Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 5:39 pm
        • The Bible puts the Exodus squarely in the 1450 BCE range. The conquest would then begin around 1400 BCE. Not really sure why Kitchens and others move it into the 1200s, but I don’t see anything Scriptural that would seem to indicate anything outside the 1400s.

          Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 12 December, 2013, 3:57 pm
          • Quack, i just realised The Bible Unearthed is on Youtubby. It’s hours long, but something to watch over a period. Part 2, The Exodus is really interesting… particular the segment from 20 to 28 minutes. (I won’t post the video here because its 50+ minutes long)

            Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 4:11 pm
          • Quack, The Masoretic Text of 1 Kings 6:1 placed the exodus at 480 years before the laying of the cornerstone of the Temple in 966 BC pointing to the exodus at 1446 BC.. The problem is that the Septuagint version that is based on manuscripts older than the basis of the Masoretic Text, reads that the same passage in Kings is 440 years. Because of the use of symbolic numbers, it is likely that the author of 1 Kings in the Masoretic Text, and 3 Kingdoms in the Septuagint, wanted to show an equal time between the exodus from Egypt and the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon.

            The 13th Century BC. model is based primarily on the mention of the storage cities of Rameses mentioned in the Book of Exodus. That the name of cities changed over time, and that Avaris and communities surrounding it would be given more current names in the Scriptures is very understandable.

            For Christians the use of the chronology based upon Acts 13:20 makes the most sense because it places the exodus at circa 1540 BC. This is a time of great migration between Egypt and Canaan.

            Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 6:03 pm
            • I’m sorry, Marc, but i’m completely confused as to how you’re arriving at 574 years. Nothing i’ve seen get’s anywhere even close to this.

              Here is a study on this very thing:

              Acts 13:17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
              Acts 13:18 And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.
              Acts 13:19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
              Acts 13:20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
              Acts 13:21 And from there they asked for a king. And God gave Saul the son of Kish to them, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
              The important time reference of interest is that found in verse 20 – “about the space of 450 years”. From the text above, it appears that these ~450 years refers to the period of the judges over Israel, a period which began when Israel entered the land of Canaan and lasted until Samuel announced that Saul had become king over the nation of Israel. However this view results in a problem when compared to 1 Kings 6:1,
              1 Kings 6:1 KJV And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
              In this verse we find that Solomon’s 4th year is also the 480th year since the Exodus. Knowing there was a four year co-regency between King David and his son Solomon (1 Kings 1:30-48), and that King David reigned for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4), we can date the start of David’s reign to the 440th year after the Exodus. We also know Saul reigned the 40 years prior to David (Acts 13:21), so the start of King Saul’s reign over Israel (and the end of the period of the Judges) was in the 400th year after the Exodus. We can determine in a similar manner when the period of the Judges began knowing that Israel wandered in the wilderness under Moses for 40 years following the Exodus before they entered into the land of Canaan (Numbers 32:13). It was at this point, in the 40th year after the Exodus that Moses died and the period of the Judges, beginning with Joshua, started. Thus the period of the Judges would be from the 40th year after the Exodus until the 400th year, or a total of 360 years. But this result appears to conflict with the total given in Acts 13:20, where we are told this period is about 450 years. Thus an apparent discrepancy of ~90 years, which is not insignificant. This is depicted in the timeline below:

              Post Exodus Timeline
              ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
              Year 0 – Exodus
              Year 40 – Israel entered Canaan
              : – period of the Judges (360 years)
              Year 400 – Saul became King of Israel
              Year 440 – David became King of Israel
              Year 476 – Solomon’s first year, co-regent with King David
              Year 480 – Solomon’s fourth year, temple foundation laid 480 years after Exodus (1 Kings 6:1)
              ————————————————————————————————————————————————–

              Now some have proposed including Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness, under the leadership of Moses, under the period of the Judges. But this has two problems, first, the King James Bible reading makes it appear that the 450 years starts after Israel was in the land of Canaan, so including Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness under Moses would not make sense. The second problem is that even if 40 years is added to the 360 found above, it still falls 50 years short of being ~450 years, which is still a significant difference.

              Based on this problem a different understanding for Acts 13:20 has been proposed, and that is that the ~450 years is actually the time span covering the 3 events mentioned in the proceeding verses, Acts 13:17-19, which include the sojourning of Israel in Egypt, Israel’s wandering in the wilderness, and Israel’s fighting to gain control of the land of Canaan in order to divide the land for an inheritance. This would give a total of 477 years based on the sum of the following:

              > sojourning of Israel in Egypt was 430 years (Exodus 12:40-41)
              > Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years (Numbers 32:13)
              > the land of Canaan was divided to Israel in the 47th year after the Exodus (Joshua 14:7-10, Deuter 2:14, see Appendix)

              This interpretation is actually supported by the original Greek text, which is rendered in the following manner in the LITV and YLT:

              (YLT) Act 13:20 `And after these things, about four hundred and fifty years, He gave judges–till Samuel the prophet;

              (LITV) Act 13:20 And after these things, as four hundred and fifty years passed, He gave judges until Samuel the prophet.

              Both translations follow the original Greek better than the King James translation, and show that the period of about 450 years may very well refer to the duration of “these things”, the things just mentioned in the prior three verses. This understanding of Acts 13:20 is certainly valid and is very compatible with the long sojourn view of Israel being in Egypt for 430 years, while the short sojourn view would fall far short.

              Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 6:44 pm
              • John, 450 years under the judges and 40 years in the wilderness is 490 years. When you add the 40 years under King Saul, and the 40 years under King David you come to 570 years. When you add the 4 years of Solomon’s reign before the Temple was started we have a total of 574 years. Given that most historians agree that Solomon’s Temple was laid down in 966 BC., the date of the exodus would be circa 1540 BC. The Septuagint gives the total time of Abraham and his family in the wilderness and Egypt as 430 years.

                Posted by Marc | 12 December, 2013, 7:33 pm
              • No, that still doesn’t make any sense. As the study states:

                Based on this problem a different understanding for Acts 13:20 has been proposed, and that is that the ~450 years is actually the time span covering the 3 events mentioned in the proceeding verses, Acts 13:17-19, which include the sojourning of Israel in Egypt, Israel’s wandering in the wilderness, and Israel’s fighting to gain control of the land of Canaan in order to divide the land for an inheritance. This would give a total of 477 years based on the sum of the following:

                > sojourning of Israel in Egypt was 430 years (Exodus 12:40-41)
                > Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years (Numbers 32:13)
                > the land of Canaan was divided to Israel in the 47th year after the Exodus (Joshua 14:7-10, Deuter 2:14, see Appendix)

                This interpretation is actually supported by the original Greek text, which is rendered in the following manner in the LITV and YLT:

                (YLT) Act 13:20 `And after these things, about four hundred and fifty years, He gave judges–till Samuel the prophet;

                (LITV) Act 13:20 And after these things, as four hundred and fifty years passed, He gave judges until Samuel the prophet.

                Both translations follow the original Greek better than the King James translation, and show that the period of about 450 years may very well refer to the duration of “these things”, the things just mentioned in the prior three verses. This understanding of Acts 13:20 is certainly valid and is very compatible with the long sojourn view of Israel being in Egypt for 430 years, while the short sojourn view would fall far short.

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 7:51 pm
              • What i’m saying is, why are you adding Saul and Davids combined 80 years? The dates go from Judges only.

                Posted by john zande | 12 December, 2013, 7:56 pm
              • If Acts 13:18 says about 40 years, and we accept that it is 40 years, then when Acts 13:20 says about 450 years, it is 450 years not 477years.

                After Judges Saul ruled 40 years and after Saul, David ruled 40 years.

                Posted by Marc | 13 December, 2013, 12:37 am
        • Easy, John. Sarah’s too easy.

          Posted by R. L. Culpeper | 13 December, 2013, 3:23 am
  9. Every Christian claim where it relates to their faith, be it OT or NT, starts with a few basic assumptions gleaned from the bible and considered as fact. Evidence is not required as the bible is regarded as evidence in and of itself – thus the clam it is the inerrant word of God or the inspired word of God.

    The Christian faith encompasses a number of characters for whom there is not a scrap of evidence to verify their existence.

    Imagine a few hundred years from now coming across a book featuring a Wizard who performed magic. Considered in isolation only an idiot would believe this person real, but because there is also mention of a familiar city, say, London, and a familiar personality/politician – Mandela or Obama for instance then there is a glimmer for the believer to attach reality to the Wizard.

    From this position it is merely a question of clever apologetics to make everything fit to ensure whatever outcome proponents of the Wizard’s reality require.

    Sadly though , it does not make the person who considers the Wizard an actual person any less of an idiot. In fact, hanging on to such a belief merely exacerbates the level of idiocy, especially in light of the fact there is no supporting evidence whatsoever

    Posted by Arkenaten | 17 December, 2013, 8:18 am
    • I know we have had this discussion before Ark, but because I respect your concerns about the downsides of religion, and you as a person, I will engage.

      Because I also believe that many religious folks are irrational, I understand why you question our rationality.

      For those of us who believe it is rational to view the cosmos and human beings existing for a reason, we find the concept of atheism irrational.

      Because I am too lazy to develop my own wizard and story to explain the Creation and Humanity, I decided to accept the Gospel in its most ancient form.

      I hold those who use religion as a means to control other human beings in as much contempt as you do.

      Posted by Marc | 17 December, 2013, 6:44 pm
      • Marc, if you just wanted a good creation story why didn’t you become a Hindu? That stuff is awesome!

        Posted by john zande | 17 December, 2013, 7:39 pm
        • John, I do not think that the scientific knowledge that I accept as true fits the Hindu model.

          As a father and grandfather, the concept of children rebelling against their father and needing tough love to come to their senses rings true to me.

          The God who loves us enough to become one of us through the incarnation, then is willing to sacrifice himself to guide his children in the way that leads to truth and life eternal really seems like good news to me.

          If my faith ends up being displaced, I am no more annihilated than anyone else when I die. If my faith is true, then I look forward to sharing eternal life with my family and friends; you and Ark included.

          Posted by Marc | 17 December, 2013, 9:39 pm
        • They do have the best creation stories. Without a doubt.

          Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 17 December, 2013, 11:16 pm
      • For those of us who believe it is rational to view the cosmos and human beings existing for a reason, we find the concept of atheism irrational

        And yet you have all failed to identify just what this reason is, haven’t you?

        This is probably based on fear; fear of the unknown for one, thus inventing a ‘Father Figure’ is a coping mechanism.
        Daddy says it will be alright. Daddy says there are no monsters ( other than Him , of course). Daddy says we must just believe and Do As We Are Told ( as per instructions in The Book and transmitted by Duly Appointed Officials) and we will all go to Heaven like good children.
        If we are naughty we will be Spanked. ( Read: Smitten and sent to the Naughty Step, meaning; Eternal Torture in the Fiery Pit)

        Because I am too lazy to develop my own wizard and story to explain the Creation and Humanity, I decided to accept the Gospel in its most ancient form.

        And you don’t see the irony here, Marc?
        You allow this nonsense to exert control over you, simply by accepting the ”Wizard”, be it Moses , Jesus, Paul, Mohammed as real.

        It is all about control. And self control is probably the most difficult to exercise, thus it is easier to assign ultimate responsibility to your ‘Daddy’ ( read: Made- up Deity)

        Posted by Arkenaten | 18 December, 2013, 2:56 am
        • I think you are certainly right about fear Ark. For me the fear of never being with my departed loved ones is removed by my faith.

          I believe the reason God created human beings is to share His life with us. This seems to make sense given that it is reflected in the human experience of family.

          The Heavenly Father does not view our failures to live up to our potential as a legal matter, but rather as a health matter. His judgment is a diagnosis, not condemnation. His therapies can be painful and punishing, but they are meant for healing not retribution. As creatures with free will, we can decide to refuse the diagnosis and therapy. This choice leads to eternal death. Got does not torture anyone for eternity.

          I accept this “control” as you put it, in the same way as I do that of a physician who has the capacity to restore me to health. Because this is a synergism than requires self control, you are right about how difficult yet important it is.

          Posted by Marc | 18 December, 2013, 11:17 am
          • I believe the reason God created human beings is to share His life with us. This seems to make sense given that it is reflected in the human experience of family.

            Almost immediately you begin with an assumption; that this god is real.
            For this to have any merit you first have to define your god or admit what you believe is non-evidentiary and based solely on faith, which I will accept.

            Posted by Arkenaten | 18 December, 2013, 11:26 am
  10. The only exception I would take with your original comment Ark, is the assertion that all people of faith are idiots.

    You might well regard the individual who regarded the Wizard as real,an idiot especially in the face of the (lack of) evidence.
    You would probably express genuine alarm and maybe a measure of concern for the well being of others if this person began preaching this belief as true.
    At best you might feel sympathy and consider there was something emotionally or mentally wrong.
    Why should people of religious faith be regarded differently?

    Posted by Arkenaten | 18 December, 2013, 1:42 pm
  11. All good points Ark. I would simply add that faith can be benign and harmless in some cases.

    For those who maintain a faith that wants to judge and condemn others, they are all dangerous idiots.

    For those who maintain a faith that ignores scientific facts, they are all troubling idiots.

    For those who maintain a faith that accepts scientific revelation and do not judge or condemn others, they maybe odd to a staunch materialist, but they are not idiots.

    Posted by Marc | 18 December, 2013, 5:34 pm
    • A faith that allows so many interpretations is inevitably going to be dangerous at some point.
      The benign and harmless nature does not in any way negate the serious harm that it also causes.

      Anyone who fails to recognise that it is the nature of the faith which is the problem, especially in the face of overwhelming evidence (or lack of in the specific case of this post) and is unwilling to do anything to rectify this is, sadly, an idiot, and a willful one at that, which is far worse, as it screams tacit culpability

      And lets us always remember that in religions’ long and chequered history its proponents have executed more than enough (wrong sort of) believers and non-believers alike ( and still do) to warrant the utmost disdain and disgust.

      The ridiculous deserves ridicule.

      Religion has had thousands of years to get its house(s) in order and has failed at every bend in the road. It is time for the religious to put up or push off.

      Posted by Arkenaten | 19 December, 2013, 6:55 am
  12. Ark said : ” A faith that allows so many interpretations is inevitably going to be dangerous at some point… ”

    The bible, both old and new testaments, and of many translations and interpretive versions, is understood to be a ” Living ” relationship between God and humankind. Bible scholars note at least 4 -6 different ” levels ” of context and meaning in the books and passages of the bible ; literally, metaphorically, transcendentally, symbolically, poetically, today and future, etc.

    Certainly, the multitude of ” competeing ” faiths, as catholic and protestant, orthodox and anglican, etc do, in a sense, divide the followships of Jesus, and its because the bible has contradictions and human vanity ” picks ” what it wants from the scriptures.

    The multitude of contradictions stems from the myriad of contributing sources, where some hold some historical ” facts ” concerning various persons and issues, whilst other sources offer their own opinions/ideas. A 3rd source is they which exploit the notions of God and God’s authority to ” invent ” their own material to serve their own personal ambitions, desires, values, etc.

    The christian religion serves the wealth of human identity on earth, and the protestant church issues the right for ALL believers to express their own views. Western catholics differ, in terms of econonmies and traditions, from eastern catholics, and northern hemisphere from southern.

    The bonding facts are : ones belief in the being of God, ones agreement LIFE’S God is a Loving ” person ” , and the belief in a future life, where ALL are set free from offence and illness and injustice (suffering) .

    In my sense and experience, the issues of life and society, and right and wrong, etc are overwhelmingly complex. There comes a point in time, in one’s journey of faith, for them to accept their own limitations and those of others. At this moment, one begins to actualize a global humanity and tolerance and empathy.

    In all livingkind’s destiny, God manifests itself, resurrects ALL dead souls, and the story of God and life is given to ALL.

    True, no emphatic material evidences to ” prove ” these beliefs, yet who would not want the end to the suffering in their lives and yet still live.

    Posted by Gregory | 1 January, 2014, 9:18 pm
    • In all livingkind’s destiny, God manifests itself, resurrects ALL dead souls, and the story of God and life is given to ALL.

      In this moment of understanding, ALL Souls and Hearts and Voices will open to perfect Joy, and they will join in Holy chorus, whole-Heartedly expressing their pure Love for God, and this gift of Life.

      Posted by gjpaul | 2 January, 2014, 4:53 am
    • Yesterday it was – 30 C, windchills to – 40 C. Today, a blizzard has arrived, with 15cm of snow and winds at 70 km/hr.

      ( I have severe COPD lung disease, and severe chronic diseases are cruel. I’m on O2 24/7. I find myself suffering throughout each day, and I worry what’s happening to my Heart. When people,or my cats, add to my suffering, I get angry. Adding to this, I’ve been focusing too much on the negatives around this world. I have to ” step back ” from these things, but the daily news reports are, for the most part, quite terrible. )

      ( My brother comes over once a week to take me to get grocery and renovate my home to rent it out, after I die. No grocery trip today I expect, and I’m 5’8″ at 130lbs. 2013 was a very bad year for me… 2 emergency paramedic transports to ER and hospital stays, including 2 more substantial losses in my lungs function, due to adverse reactions to foods. )

      ( Making matters worse, my brother is a me-first conservative and he hates me asking for help around my home and such ; the me-first type are the most ” tight-fisted ” with their time, money and feelings and status. In my experiences, its typical for conservatives to be coldly, often hurtfully, inconsiderate of others feelings, and so, as you might expect, I’m under alot of stress. ( Yet, I continue to laugh at funny and sweet stuff in movies and radio, and my mood is holding strong. ))

      I’m now near ” the mystic ” . (^.^)

      Posted by Gregory | 3 January, 2014, 9:15 am
      • After re-calculating all your American measures (why on earth don’t you people use the same system the rest of the world uses???) i see you’re in a bit of a mess, but i’m glad to hear you can still laugh. Anger is such a wasted emotion. And if i could send you some of this beating heat from here in Brazil i surely would. Hope you’re on the mend sooner than than you thing.

        Posted by john zande | 3 January, 2014, 9:31 am
      • Gregory,
        Your story touches me because I was my brother’s primary support during his battle with COPD several years ago. We had lost our mother to the same condition many years before. Although my brother decided not to consider it, I have a friend who just recently underwent a lung transplant and is making a steady recovery. You will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

        Posted by Marc | 3 January, 2014, 11:21 am
      • John, thankyou for your hope… btw ; my “measures ” are metric, not british, except my height and weight.

        ~ ~ ~

        Marc, your words brings me some very welcome peace.

        Loss of a be-Loved can’t find words, only music. My mother fell victim to breast cancer at 43yrs, likely from the toxic DDT pesticides used in food crops in the 50-60’s, and Drs gave her another 14 yrs. I’ve never felt more pain in all my life than when she passed.

        I daily visit 2 COPD online support forums, and the stories of us COPD’rs range from amazing courage and fortitude, to the last few days in one friend’s life.

        My brother is also under stress, knowing his younger brother is dying, and I wonder if he’s ignoring my troubles so he can avoid those thoughts and feelings. Alcoholics use drunkenness to avoid emotional stressors, and he’s been a weekly drinker since high school. ( I, however, never liked drinking, nor drinkers, but there doesn’t seem to be any way, on earth, to remove alcohol from use, no matter the uncountable number of lives hurt and destroyed by alcohol use. )

        In Canada, and my province, transplants are very very rare, and even LVR ( lung-volume- reduction) procedures haven’t been pasted by our Health Canada administration.

        ( There’s very very big big money in disease, and Drs, nurses, pharmacorps, etc all line-up to get as much as they can, even bureacrats take ” under the table ” payoffs from big pharma. True, some Drs do care about some patients, some nurses too. )

        I’m not going down without a fight. The thing about severe COPD is one can live for years with or die that very day… one never knows. I’ve learned so much from the COPD boards, and relative to factors outside my control, my decline may take years.

        Posted by Gregory | 3 January, 2014, 10:20 pm
        • Thanks for sharing these aspects of your experience Gregory. Although I know from my mother’s and brother’s experience much of what your struggling with, I think my prayers can now be more focused. May our Lord grant you visitation, warmth, high 02 levels, and low C02 levels.

          Posted by Marc | 4 January, 2014, 9:47 am
        • Gregory, your body might be failing, but thankfully we are more than these organic machines. Hang in there, my friend. Your focus on truth and the divine gives you power over sickness and death, mere stepping stones to higher things.

          Posted by Quackzalcoatl | 4 January, 2014, 4:55 pm

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