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Heimdall

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About Heimdall

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    Co-founder of ExC.net
  • Birthday 03/01/1942

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    Archaeology, history, religious debate

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    The Creator

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  1. Hey Buddy, just in the neighborhood and though that I would say hi....Looks like things are going good here...sorry I haven't been around but got into the history/archaeology gig and been a bit busy.

    1. webmdave

      webmdave

      Was just thinking about you this week and wondering how things were going for you. Glad you are busy and doing well. 

       

      Miss your inciting snark. ?

  2. The End of the World is a common belief among all religions, but the Christians have really made a “career” of End of the World predictions: 2800 BCE – An Assyrian clay tablet declares, “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days, there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common. 634 BCE – Many Romans believe Rome will be destroyed 120 years following it founding as foretold by twelve eagles that once appeared to Romulus, each believed to represent 10 years, 6th Century BCE (actually written in 2nd Century BCE) – The Book of Daniel predicts the End of Time. He declares, “ I kept looking in the night visions and behold, with the clouds of heaven, one like the Son of Man was coming [7:13]. The author also mentions that many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. [12:2] Early 1st Century CE??? – Jesus declared, “This generation shall not pass away until all will be fulfilled.” Early Christians believed the End would occur during their lifetime. Jesus also said, “Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” [Matthew 16:28] 66-70 CE – The Essenes, a Jewish ascetic sect with apocalyptic beliefs, man have interpreted the Jewish revolt against the Romans as the final battle. 70 CE – The founder of the founder of the 19th century Opeida sect, John Humphrey Noyes, claimed the Second Advent had already taken place with the fall of Jerusalem (naturally, with only believers seeing it). Late 1st Century CE – The Book of Revelation foretells an apocalypse followed by the creation of a new heavens and a new earth. The ecstatic Montanists held that Christ was to arrive during their generation and was to appear at Pepuza, in Phrygia (in modern Turkey), designated by the group as “New Jerusalem”. 247 CE – As Rome celebrates it’s thousandth anniversary, persecutions increase against Christians, making many of them believe the world was coming to an end. 365 CE – The famous Christian saint, Hilary of Poitiers, believes the world would end this year. 380 CE – A North African sect, the Donatists, asserted this year marked the End. Late 4th Century – St. Martin of Tours declared, “There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established, already in his early years he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power.” 500 CE – Julius Africanus (160-240) theorized that the world would end approximately 6000 years after the creation of the planet, hence the Second Coming would occur around 500 CE – The Christian apologist Irenaeus as well as Hippolytus also held to 500 CE as the date of the return of Jesus Christ. 793 CE – The Spanish monk Beatus of Lieband prophesied the end of the world on Easter eve 793, causing the present crowd to panic. Everyone fasted throughout the night and were relieved to discover they were alive and well the next day. 848 CE – The prophetess Thiota believed 848 was the final year. 970 CE – Catharingian felt they had calculated the exact date of the end of the world, with Christ’s arrival set for Friday, March 25 970 – for coincidentally both the celebration of the Annunciation and Good Friday shared this very same date. Furthermore, they were confident that this day also marked Adam’s creation, Isaac’s sacrifice, the Red Sea’s parting, both Jesus’s conception and crucifixion. They figured how could the End of Days manage to miss such a well-established tradition? 992 CE – Bernard of Thuringia believed the consummation of all things would occur in the year 992. 1000 CE – Many Christians in late antiquity and during the early medieval period (including St Augustine) were sure that the year 1000 marked the end of the world. Panic gripped many in western Europe and some people even left their homes to wait for the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem. 1033 CE – When Jesus did not arrive a thousand years after the date of his “calculated” birth, various Christian mystics asserted that the end would occur a thousand years after his Crucifixion. The entire early eleventh century was a period of constant rumors that the end was near (as recorded by the Burgundian monk Radulfus Glaber). 1100 CE – Somehow the year 1100 became the next year believed to mark impending doom for all humanity. 1184 CE – Rather than Christ, 1184 was the date set for the arrival of the Antichrist. 1186 CE – john of Toledo foresaw the end of the world as encoded within the cosmos, noting that the planetary alignment occurring in Libra on September 23, 1186 would spell certain doom. 1200 CE – Once again, the end predicted based on the neatness of the numbers matched in hundreds. One of the advocated of this date was Italian mystic Joahim of Fiore (1135-1202), but he also added the end could happen as late as 1260. 1284 CE – It is recorded that Pope Innocent III expected the Second Coming to occur 666 years following the rise of Islam – and so calculated the year 1284. 1290 CE – Followers of Joachim of Fione decided their mystic really meant 1290 to mark the End. 1306 CE – Establishing the idea that the beginning of the Millennium began with the advent of Roman emperor Constantine’s reign in the year 306, Gerard of Poehide(in 1147) determined the release of Satan would occur about 1306. 1335 CE – Not willing to give up on their teacher’s calculations, the followers of Joachim of Fiore extended his predictions to 1335. 1366 CE – French ascetic, Jean de Roquetailiade determined the Milennium would start between 1368 and 1370, with the Antichrist’s arrival set for 1366. 1367 CE – Militz of Mromeriz, a Czech archdeacon, asserted the End would occur around 1367. 1378 CE – Once more, the followers of Joachim of Fiore (now called Joachites) cam up with yet another date – this was set by Arnold of Vilanova, in his De Tempore Ativento Antichristia in his reinterpretation, the antichrist’s reign would begin in 1378. 1420 CE – The Taborites (directly related to the Hussites of Bohemia) predicted the finality of all things to occur in 1420 and calculated this event right down to the month, February. The main proponent of this belief was the Czech prophet Martinek Hausha. 1500 CE – Enamored by the mystique of the double zeros, 1500 became the next target date of the end. 1524 CE – According to certain English astrologers, the end of the world would begin in London on the first of February. The report is that 20,000 people fled their homes, expecting the first sign to be a giant flood. February 1st ended up being a relatively calm, rainless day. Because of the planetary alignment with Pisces, astrologer Johannes Stoeffler determined the End (again with a flood because Pisces was considered a water sign) would occur on Feruary 24th. 1532 CE – Aviennese bishop by the name of Frederick Nausea believed the end was near when he heard about crosses dripped in blood manifesting beside a comet. 1533 CE – During this period in general, a group called the Anabaptists began to predict the end of the world on various dates. The End occurring in the year 1533 was advanced by their prophet Melchior Hoffman, who thought Christ would first come to Strasbourg. According to his theology only 144,000 people would be saved, with everyone else burned by fire. 1534 CE – Another Anabaptist, Jan Matthys, calculated the End on Easter Day, April 5, 1534. Only those at Munster would survive the impending destruction. 1583 CE – At exactly noontime on April 28th 1583, with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, Christ was supposed to come again, at least that’s what astrologer Richard Harvey thought. 1600 CE – It is recorded that Martin Luther believed the world would end before 1600. 1603 CE – Tomasso Campanella, a Dominican monk, had this hot notion that the sun would collide with the Earth this year. 1648 CE – A rabbi from Smyrna, Turkey, by the name of Sabbatai Zevi calculated using the Kabbalah that the Messiah would appear this year and that his Messiah was indeed him! 1666 CE – The Great Fire of London this year only encouraged Christians and Jews alike to believe the End was at hand; in a rare display of ecumenical apocaplyptism. Jews believed the Messiah was to appear and Christians expected the second coming of Christ. Christians simply figured that the first 1000 years represented the millennium and that if they added the number of the Beast, 666 to this number, they would reach the time of the Apocalypse. 1694 CE – The German prophet Johann Jacob Zimmerman believed Jesus would return this year in the New World, after intensive biblical as well as astrological studies. He gathered pilgrims to accompany him to America, known as the Woman of the Wilderness, but died before they could leave. Johannes Kelpius took Zimmerman’s place and led everyone to the Americas, but Jesus never appeared. 1697 CE – Famous witch hunter Cotton Mather believed the End out occur this year. 1733 CE – Long before, Sir Isaac Newton predicted the End for this year. 1736 CE – William Whiston of Cambridge said the Apocalypse would happen on October 13, 1736, destroying the Sodom of what was London of his day. 1757 CE – Emanuel Swedenborg in a mystical vision, was told 1757 was the big year! 1763 CE – George Bell, a follower of John Wesley, prophesied that this year marked the End. 1792 CE – The Shaker’s designated apocalyptic year. 1805 CE – Presbyterian minister Christopher Love, in the 17th century foresaw this as the final year. 1814 CE – Joanna Southcott, the 64 year old virgin prophetess, believed October 19th would mark the day of the re-birth of Christ and that she was chosen to hold the new baby Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus was to be born on Christmas Day. While she did look pregnant, she wasn’t and actually died of dropsy on Christmas Day. 1834 CE – First date set by William Miller for the End. 1836 CE – Second date set by William Miller. 1843 CE – Third date set by William Miller. 1844 CE – Fourth year set by Miller – and set for March 21st, but after no arrival, re-set for October 22nd. 1856 – The Crimean War was believed by many to be the Battle of Armageddon predicted in the book of Revelation. 1874 CE – Charles Taze Russell, founder of the group that eventually became the Witnesses of Jehovah, proclaimed that Christ had indeed returned this year – But spiritually speaking. 1881 CE – The End of the World according to some Jehovah Witnesses. 1891 CE - Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, estimated in 1825 that the Second Coming would occur in about 56 years which brings it to this year. 1896 CE – Michael Boxter, in his book, The End of This Age About the End of This Century, set the Rapture for this year, with 144,000 real Christians worth of this journey. 1900 CE – The Brothers and Sisters of the Red Death, a Russian cult, believed this year was the End of the World – specifically on November 13th. In this belief, over 100 committed suicide. 1908 CE – a grocery store owner in Pennsylvania y the name of Lee T. Spangler believed the fires of Hell would consume the earth this year. 1910 CE – Many believed Halley’s Comet was the sign of the End of the World. Some even claimed that the comet was poisonous and took “comet pills” to protect themselves. 1914 CE – Some Jehovah Witnesses saw World War I as the Battle of Armageddon. 1919 CE – Meteorologist Albert Porta believed the conjunction of six planets would trigger a magnetic tug that would destroy the earth on December 17, 1919. 1925 CE – The angel Gabriel appeared before Margaret Rowan and told her the world would end on Friday the Thirteenth. Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, believed the Rapture was a scheduled to occur this year. 1939 CE – World War II was seen as the beginning of the End of the World. 1953 CE – Agnes Carlson, founder of the Canadian Sons of Light, predicted this year as the End. 1954 CE – Dorothy Martin, leader of the Brotherhood of the Seven Rays, predicted a giant flood would destroy the Earth on exactly December 21, 1954. 1959 CE – The Founder of the Davidians, Victor Houteff, believed the End was near, but after his death, his wife Frances established the date as April 22, 1959. Many gathered on Mount Carmel near Waco, Texas, but nothing happened. 1966 CE – The Nation of Islam believed sometime between 1965 and 1966, the apocalypse would happen destroying the United States. 1967 CE – According to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Kingdom of Heaven was to be established this year. 1970 CE – In his book “The Late Great Earth”, Hal Lindsey said that the End of the World was taking place now. 1973 CE – The guru of the Children of God, David Berg, believed the United States would be destroyed by a comet this year. 1981 CE – Chuck Smith of Cavalry Chapel of TV fame predicted the world would end in this year. 1988 CE – In his book, “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988”, Edgar Whisenam argued that Jesus would return on Rosh Hoshana, between September 11 and 13. 1989 CE – Since Jesus did not return in 1988, Whisenam revised his figures, because of a anomaly in the Gregorian calendar, to this year. 1990 CE – Whisenam next predicted this year as the End. 1991 CE – Whisenam tried again, predicting this year as the End. 1992 CE – In a fourth try, Whisenam predicted this year. 1993 CE – Figuring that the odds were with him, Whisenam predicted this year. 1994 CE – In his last try, Whisenam predicted this year and when this year came and went, quite trying….His book sales had tanked by then! Heaven’s Gate has not been mentioned. Along with several other recent cults and predictions, but this will show you why non-Christians take Christian worries and predictions of the End with a grain of salt and a sarcastic laugh! Incidentally for those worrying about 2012, the Mayan’s did not predicate the End of the World.
  3. A Unexplained Mysteries forum member recently questioned my posting of the evils that Christian has perpetrated against Christian and even disbelieved a quote of a high rank Christian just before the sacking of a Christian town. So here is a little history of the “Albigensian Crusade” Taking the murder of Peter of Castelanu, the church legate, in 1209 CE as an excuse, Pope Innocent declared that the Albigensian (a sect of Christianity that taught among other things that the Church had deviated from the teaching of Jesus from the 3rd century onward) Count of Toulouse, Raymond, was responsible. Innocent then rang the call to arms, threatening any Nobel or Knight that refused to answer this call with excommunication and other ecumenical punishments. Since the major benefit (for the attackers) of 13th century warfare was unlimited looting, there was no need of threats, especially since the Albigensian towns were among the most prosperous in Europe. Needless to say, the nobility of northern France jumped at the chance to plunder the wealthy south and supported the church’s crusade (yes, a crusade against other CHRISTIANS). This crusade lasted 2 decades and resulted in the death of thousands of Christians at the hands of their brothers in religion! It was contemporarily reported that 20,000 knights and 200,000 foot soldiers led by the bloody Abbot of Citeaux, Arnold and the notorious adventurer Simon de Montfort (familiar to all with any knowledge of English history), descended upon the Albigensians. On June 24th 1209 the campaign began at the first large Albigensian town, Beziers. In his Dialogus Miraculorum, Caesarius of Heisterback recorded that when the Abbot of Citeaux was asked how to distinguish between the heretics and the true Christians he responded, “caedite eos…novit enim Dominus qui sunt eisu “(Show mercy neither to order, or to age, nor to sex…Cathar or Catholic, kill them all…God will know his own). Reporting to the Pope, Abbot Arnold reported they had indeed spared neither rank, age or sex and had massacred 20,000 people. Some historians put this figure at 40,000. 6000 alone were said to have sheltered in the Catholic Church of St. Madeleine and were probably mostly Catholics. It was burned and all inside were murdered. These actions were repeated in each Albigensian town taken, All the inhabitants were put to the sword without distinction of rank, age or sex. Albigensian clergy were met with unbridled ferocity, Simon de Montfort diligently incinerated the heretics, 140 at Minerve, 300 at Lavor, 60 at Le Casses and on and on. It was written of de Montfort that” he ought to wear a crown and be resplendent in the heavens, if by abolishing honor, by making pride victorious, by stimulating evil and extinguishing good, if by killing women and slaughtering infants, one can in this world achieve salvation in Christ.” Raymond VI offered a peace in 1211, so Innocent stopped the crusade after two years of almost unparalleled butchery, but then yielded to the greed of de Monfort and the crusaders and the fanaticism of the monks and reopened it, prolonging the massacres for another 18 years. The Albigensians were still so strong after two years of the most brutal carnage that, when the pope renewed the crusade in 1214, a fresh hundred thousand “pilgrims” had to be summoned. It proves the scale of the heresy. Today Christian writers dispute these things, but they are recorded in the bragging words of the Catholics of the time. Innocent boasted that they took five hundred towns and castles from the heretics, and they butchered every man, woman and child in each town when they took it. Noble ladies with their daughters were thrown down wells, and large stones flung upon them. Albigensian knights were hanged in batches of eighty. How could Catholic knights, footsoldiers and monks commit such atrocities, so fearful, as they were, of eternal retribution in the fires of hell? Because Innocent III had granted them absolution in advance as an incentive to do their worst. And they did! “The accounts of the cruelties and abominations of this crusade are far more terrible to read than any account of Christian martyrdom by the Pagans, and they have the added horror of being indisputably true”. - H G Wells, Crux Ansata "The Albigensians had defied the Church’s authority, rejected its teaching, and in general thought and acted for themselves. For these sins there was no mercy. The custodians of Christianity unhesitatingly burnt their fellow men persuaded that being burnt to death in a half hour of torment was better than the eternal torment of hell fire. This monstrous belief is still alive among Christians." - M.D. Magee :yes:
  4. Here is something that I have been working on for a while. I have tried to be as unbiased and objective as I can (some say that isn’t very much) and I hope you enjoy it. I apologize for the length, but it is a rather hefty subject - Mako After a century and a half or more of archaeological excavations in both the Near East and Palestine (in particular), there has not been one single tiny shred of evidence to support the Exodus or the Conquest. This fact was instrumental in the statement made by the Syrio-Palestian archaeologist and biblical scholar William Dever (Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Arizona) that the Exodus was a “Dead Issue” (Encyclopaedia of Archaeology in the Near East, Vol IV (1997) pp 391-2.) The fact has become very evident to anyone with any expertise in the field that it is not possible to harmonize the Judea-Christian bible with the archaeological date (actually with the lack thereof) in regard to the Exodus event. In an attempt to determine if the Exodus was an actual historical event, scholars use literary and archaeological sources. In establishing the historicity of the Exodus, the first thing to determine when it was said to have happened. 1 Kings 6:1 gives the date of the Exodus as follows: “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD.” By synchronizing the characters mentioned in the bible that are known from external sources and by using the biblical genealogies, we can work out the date of Solomon’s reign. By the aforementioned method, we arrive at the date of 967 BCE for the 4th year of Solomon’s reign, giving us a date of 1447 BCE for the Exodus. It needs to be mentioned now that King Solomon is mentioned only in the Bible, nowhere outside the Bible in any inscriptions or texts, nor has a signle stone of this “Temple” been found anywhere either. The bible portrays the enslavement, Exodus, and Conquest as huge events. Events that involved millions of people and many different nations. Abundant literary sources from that time period are available to scholars The enslavement, Exodus, and the Military Conquest of Palestine as portrayed in the Bible are described as huge events involving millions of people and many different nations. Scholars now have at their fingertips an abundant amount of literary sources from the very time that the Bible claims that the Exodus, the desert wanderings, and the Conquest of Palestine happened. Regarding the Literary sources, the Hebrew Bible is the only text that mentions the Enslavement in Egypt, the Israelite Exodus, and the Military Conquest of Palestine. However, the Hebrew Bible is not the sole source we have for reconstructing the background of Syria-Palestine in the early 2nd millennium BCE onwards. The Egyptian Execration texts, c. 1800 BCE, written on potsherds and describing many different enemies of Egypt (including Palestine and Phoenica) are the earliest important texts. As North points out in his “The History of Israel” p. 113, it is through these texts that we learn divers information, such as the names of princes and places, and by studying these names and how they are formed, we arrive at clues of their ethnic origins and the ethnic structure of the population. Assuming that the bible’s dating is correct, then 1800 BCE is not much later than the tme Joseph rose to a high position within the Pharaoh’s court. Probably contemporary with the Execration Texts, or nearly so, are the Mari Texts. These are the extensive archives of the Kings of Mari, containing legal, economic and political correspondence of the Kings of Mari and provide extensive information about contemporaneous Syria. The Amarna Letters, written mainly in Akkadian, were found in the ruins of a site built by Akhenaton in the first part of the 14th century BCE and describes the political situation in the Egyptian sphere of influence during the Late Bronze II period. Of the 382 known tablets, 350 are letters of correspondence between various kings and vassals to the Pharaoh. Although some of these letters are from nations independent of Egypt (Babylon, Mittani, Alasia (Cypus?), Assyria, Arzawa and Hatti (Hittites mentioned in the bible), most are from vassal living in Syria-Palestine. Some 150 of the letters come from Palestine proper and only a small minority originated in Egypt. (John C.H. Laughlin, Archaeology and the Bible, pp84-86) Even though they are, by biblical chronology, contemporary with the Exodus and Conquest, the Amarna letters are strangely silent, not only of those matters, but of anything that the Hebrew bible claims happened in this area. The very fact that none of the other texts we have, the Nuzi tablets and the Ugarit texts (which contains many of the Psalms and Proverbs found in the Hebrew bible, 300 years before the existence of the Israelite people), are aware of an Israelite people, even though these cultures left tens of thousands of records from the very place and time that the Hebrew bible says all sorts of wonderful epic events happened. In all of the extant texts of the Near East of that time period, we have no mention of anything at all about Israel, the characters of the Bible or even one single event reported in the bible! Therefore it is very evident that contemporary literary sources do not support the Hebrew bible’s dating of the Exodus, etc. Since it can’t be shown by contemporary literary sources that the Exodus, Conquest or even Israel existed during period, the next logical step would be to look for the earliest mention of “Israel” outside of the bible. On the victory stele of Pharaoh Merneptah (ca 1207 BCE) is the first known mention of “Israel” but whether this is the Israel of the Hebrews is questionable. In the list of enemies vanquished in Merneptah’s campaign in Palestine, the mention of “Israel” does indeed occur, but it is the only name that is preceded by the Egyptian determinative that represents a people and not a land. The other names are all acknowledged as lands, this suggests that the “Israel” mentioned on the stele has not yet settled in Palestine. Attempts by such scholars as F.J. Yurko and Roland de Vaux to show that the “Israel” mentioned on the stele was the people that were once in Egypt were absolute failures. Problematic for these scholars is that the battle with Merneptah is not mentioned in the bible at all! An honest conclusion is that all that can be said for certain about the Israel in the Merneptah stele is that at the end of the 13th century BCE an Egyptian scribe listed a group of people living in Canaan that were collectively known as “Israel”. (J Maxwell Millar and John J Hayes, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah SCM Press, London 1986, p68) Also, it is reasonable to say that there is no way to link the “Israel” in the stele to any form of religious worship or even if this “Israel” is related to the “Israel” that supposedly emerged under David and Solomon some 200 - 300 years later (Niels Peter Lemche Hebrew, in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, 1992 vol 3 p95). In conclusion, if the Merneptah Stele actually referred to the biblical Israel, it would evidentially be referring to a relatively new group in the Palestinian scene, not yet a nation. If the Exodus has taken place in the 15th century BCE, Israel would have surely been a settled nation in Palestine for 250 years or more later and would have been mentioned in many external texts prior to the Merneptah Stele. So all that we can really say is that we have a huge amount of texts that illustrate the political and social background of the ancient Near East, yet the Israel of the bible and the events associated with her entry onto the world stage are totally ignored by recorded history Facing the dearth of literary evidence of both the Exodus and Conquest, we need to look for any archaeological evidence to support such historical events. Remember that the “Conquest” cannot be separated from the Exodus; it is, according to the Hebrew bible, the last of a three part redemptive action by Jehovah – Exodus/wanderings/Conquest. (Dillard and Longman, “An Introduction to the Old Testament”, 1978) . Therefore, 40 years after the Exodus from Egypt, after wanderings in the desert (Sinai), there should be evidence of at least two things at the end of the 15th century BCE: First, evidence of widespread conflict and destruction in those cities mentioned in the bible. Those cities that were supposedly conquered by the Israelites under Joshua. Second, such signs as new settlements, a new material culture (such as a culture with strong Egyptian influences, such as the Israelites would have had after 400 years of enslavement), and finally the sudden cessation of the conquered peoples material culture would be indicative of the entrance of a new population into Palestine. Close scrutiny of the archaeological record finds no support for either of these two claims at the end of the 15th century BCE, the period we would expect to find an Exodus and Conquest by the chronology offered by the bible. Nor is there any archaeological evidence to support any Hebrews being in Egypt in that century or any of the preceding or subsequent centuries. There is no archaeological evidence of a large body of peoples wandering the Sinai for 40 years. Consequently, nothing exists to support the Exodus, the Wandering nor the military Conquest of Palestine during the 15th century BCE. Since our search for a 15th century Exodus was futile, is there anything, any clue to suggest that the Exodus occurred, but not when the bible says it did? Exodus 1:11 does provide a small clue directing us towards another date. It mentions the store cities of Pithom and Rameses and suggests that the Exodus must have happened some time after the commencement of work on these cities. The building of the “Estate of Rameses” cannot have been before 1304 BCE, as no pharaoh before that was ever called Rameses. The date of Rameses II’s reign in the High Chronology is 1304-1238 BCE, Middle 1290-1224 and the Low 1279-1213. (Baruch Halpern The Rise of Ancient Israel Biblical Archaeology Society, Washington 1992 p.90) There is no doubt that the “Estate of Rameses” was named after Pharaoh Rameses II, the inscriptions found at the site itself are evidence of this. (I believe that a thread named “there’s more evidence for Rameses II than there is for Jesus” might be an interesting addition to this forum, one that might generate good debate.) Originally called Avaris and the capital of the Hyksos, the city of Rameses was rebuilt by Sethos I and then by Rameses II, and called “the House of Rameses” by the latter, this tradition continued only until the 11th century BCE, after which it was called Tanis (John Bright, A History of Israel p.119). Scholars has suggested that the references to Pithom and Rameses in Exodus could be anachronistic; in my opinion it definitely s an anachronism! Even if the reference to Rameses is accurate (highly unlikely), the mention of Pithom is still anachronistic. According to the passage in Exodus, Pithom is seen as a city comparable to Rameses. An impossibility, since the name Pithom was only used as the name of a city in the Saite period (ca 7th century BCE) onwards (strangely enough the OT wasn’t put to parchment until 2 centuries or more later). The meaning of Pithom is “the house of Atun” and was only used for temples and temple estates of that god and was never connected with cities prior to the 7th century BCE (Niels Peter Lemche, Is It Still Possible to Write a History of Ancient Israel? in V Phillips Long, Israel?s Past in Present Research, p.398). Besides this, archaeologists working at Tell el-Maskhuta in north-eastern Egypt have found clear evidence that this was the ancient city of Pithom and that it was founded by Pharaoh Necho II between 609-606 BCE, a good survey of this can be found in J.S. Holladay?s The Wadi Tunrilat Project. The Excavations of Tell el-Maskhuta. Malibu CA 1982. The two cities mentioned in Exodus can not be supported by archaeology as having existed or been occupied at the same time, one part of the reference seems to be from the 2nd millennium BCE and the other from the 1st millennium BCE. (Millar and Hayes, page 69) This is not the single anachronism in the Exodus myth if a mid 15th century BCE date demanded by the Hebrew bible is adhered to. According to the 20th and 21st chapters of Numbers, the Exodus group wander around Edom and Moab (incidentally this month’s Biblical Archaeology Review has an article on Edom and copper mining, I unfortunately have not had time to read it yet), two kingdoms that were unknown before the 13th century BCE (Bright, p121). Taking the Rameses reference as being a memory of an authentic event, there would be a much better case for the Exodus, Wandering, Conquest as occurring in the 13th century BCE. The Israelites left Egypt, wandered for 40 years in the desert and entered Palestine by means of a military conquest, at least that is what the Bible (written about 700 years later) tells us. The Merneptah Stele tells us that there was a group (not a nation) in Palestine know as “Israel” by the time of Pharaoh Merneptah’s campaigns (late 13th century BCE) and archaeology does offer some slight evidence to this. As pointed out by Dr. Israel Finklestein in his recent book, there was a sudden appearance of hundreds of new settlements in the central hill country of Palestine in the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age. As he also pointed out, the material culture was identical to that of the Canaanites, with the possible exception of the absence of swine bones. However, since the biblical narratives do associate the Israelite tribes specifically with the central hill country, it is at least plausible that they are somehow connected to these settlements. But the archaeological record indicates that they are Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of the sudden appearance of hundreds of new settlements in the central hill country of Palestine at the Late Bronze Age / Early Iron Age transition. However, there is nothing that has been discovered so far that has identified the new settlers by name. But if we take into account the evidence of the Merneptah Stele, which places an ?Israel? in Palestine at the end of the 13th century, and also the biblical narratives that associate the Israelite tribes specifically with the central hill country, it is at least plausible that the Israelites were connected in some way with the sudden appearance of these new settlements. However, it should be emphasized that scholars only promote a 13th century Exodus, not for good evidence for it, but only at that time would it be plausible! As a historical reference for reconstruction Israel’s origin, the bible is simply to unreliable to use! Internal evidence gives us good reason to reject the bible as a reliable source of history. For example, the number of the people making up the Exodus group, a totally ludicrous number, verging on the absurd. If taken literally, the claim is that a group of 70 people (Exodus 1:5) multiplied into a nation of 2-3 million in around 430 years verges on the impossible! We know that this is impossible to achieve in 430 years, it is even more absurd to expect this population growth in four generations (Genesis 15:16). John Bright in his A History of Israel states in a footnote on p.130 that “The reader can figure that two and a half million people marching in an old fashioned column of fours would extend for some 350 miles!? We know that this would stretch all the way across the Sinai Desert and back again, the numbers involved in the Exodus, if the event happened at all, must be smaller. Indeed, the word used for “thousand” (‘elef) can be translated as a tribal subunit, which would drastically reduce the numbers involved. A. Lucas in “Palestinian Archaeology Quarterly 1944, pp 164-166, has a much more realistic figure. He estimates on the basis of the modern industrialized rate of population growth in Egypt, that 70 men could produce 10,363 offspring in 430 years. It must be realized that such a rate of population growth can to be only as a result of industrialization, urbanization, technological and medical advances. There are further conflicts in the biblical Exodus myth concerning the length of enslavement in Egypt. In Exodus 12:40 – 41 we are told 430 years, in Genesis 15:13 we see a round 400 years and then in Genesis 15:16 it is stated they were in Egypt for four generations (M. Noth, “The History of Israel: p114), 75 people multiply to 2 million in four generations is just a little bit far fetched! Contrary to what some websites promote, archaeology makes a mocker of a great deal of the bible. When Yigael Yadin excavated Hazor, he believed he had found evidence that the Israelites had destroyed the city, which he believed this to be evidence that confirmed Joshua 11:10-11 10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed, and he burned up Hazor itself. Most archaeologists today date the destruction of Hazor to 1250 BCE, which appears to be a bit early to have involved Joshua (Dever in Shanks p.31). The reason for this is that at the site of Lachish a destruction level was dated to 1220 BCE, this would fit the Joshua account. But recently, scarabs of the later Ramesside pharaohs have been found which means that this particular destruction level has now been dated to 1150 BCE or later. It is impossible that Joshua could have led both these campaigns, which were over 100 years apart; in fact, neither of these destructions can be linked with any confidence to the Israelites (Dever in Shanks p32). I truly believe that we will never find any evidence for the Exodus myth cycle through archaeological sources and unless more literary material is found, it is not possible to show any evidence through the written word (other than the bible) of the cycle. It is, however, looking more and more like these events (enslavement, exodus, wanderings and conquest) are pure inventions of a later period of Israelite history. It seems to be little more than a myth created to advocate the Israelite’s right to the land at a time that this right was challenged. So both the myth of the promise by God of the land (Genesis 12:1) and the conquest were merely creations to support the Israelite claim to the right to live in Palestine. While apologetic sites make the claim that the events of the bible have been confirmed time and again by archaeology. This basically untrue, archaeology cannot explicitly tell us anything about any Bible event it can only imply that things were possible, Binford calls this inference justification, we can justify the inference that these events happened by using archaeological data, but you really have trouble proving anything with certainty. For example, you could find dozens of trumpets beside the walls at Jericho, that doesn’t mean that the trumpets had anything to do with the walls tumbling down. Because the Bible is a product of faith, its main aim is not to report and record historical facts, this is why the biblical texts cannot be always be harmonized with archaeological remains. In conclusion, this is just a very brief outline of some scholars’ opinions regarding the Exodus and other events. This is a massive area of research, and none of the leading scholars support the Bible as being totally accurate, the best they do is promote the Bible as having “kernels” of history within it. Every single book I have read on this subject has massive problems to overcome as soon as the author attempts to harmonize the Bible accounts with the archaeological data
  5. Recently on another website a raging Fundie posted that the collapsed walls of Jericho were positive proof of the truth of the bible. He tried to use outdated material from Dr. Bryant Wood to show that Watzinger and Kenyon's dates were out of kilter. Here is my response.... There have been only 3 major excavations at the site of the “biblical” Jericho, all during the 20th century. The first was by Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger during the “dig seasons” of 1907, 1908, and 1909. Based on the findings of this dig, the conclusion was that Jericho was unoccupied during the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 BCE), which would have precluded the fanciful myth of “and the walls come tumblin’ down”! In the 1930s John Garstang (a really fantastic individual who did much to regulate Palestinian archaeology, but unfortunately one of the old school who dug with a shovel in one hand and the bible in the other) questioned these results and conducted his on expedition where relying on extant scarabs and pottery shards dated the end of the occupation of the town at 1400 BCE (affirming the biblical account of Joshua and the Israelite conquest). However, modern archaeologists discount his conclusions and his methods of dating. The third and final major excavation of Jericho was conducted by Dame Kathleen Kenyon in the 1950s using the most modern methods, revised the previously published dates of Garstang, concluding that the massive destruction by earthquake and resulting conflagration occurred around the middle of the sixteenth century BCE (very close to the conclusion of Watzinger earlier). In 1990, Bryant Wood, director of the Associates for Biblical Research asserted serious problems with Kenyon’s chronology. Wood strongly asserted the destruction of Jericho at around the year 1400 BCE, which would again line it up with the biblical story found in Joshua. What Wood attempted to do was redate the destruction of Jericho (City IV) from the end of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1550 BCE) to the end of the Late Bronze Age I (c. 1400 BCE). Presently the evidence strongly confirms Kenyon’s dating of Jericho (City IV) to the Middle Bronze Age and Wood’s attempt to redate this occurance to coincide with the supposed Israelite conquest has been rejected by all but a very small group of historians. It is clear that the question is one of chronology. When was City IV Jericho destroyed? The scholarly consensus says ca. 1550 B.C., Wood says ca. 1400 B.C. What source can we turn to to settle this dispute? In 1990, when Wood first published his claims there was only one radiocarbon measurement available for Jericho. It was from a piece of charcoal dated by the British Museum to 1410 BCE plus or minus 40 years. Unfortunately, this date was later retracted by the British Museum, along with dates of several hundred other samples. The British Museum found that their radiocarbon measurement apparatus had gone out of calibration for a period of time, and thus had yielded incorrect dates during that period. The corrected date for the charcoal sample from City IV turned out to be consistent with Kenyon's ca. 1550 B.C. date for the City IV destruction. The corrected date no longer supported Wood's proposal, , but it was insufficient to falsify the proposal. Radiocarbon dates on charcoal give the date the wood grew, not the date it was burned. To be consistent with Bryant Wood's proposal, the wood which burned to produce the charcoal sample would need to have been cut from a living tree 150 years prior to the destruction. Of course, this is not impossible. As mentioned earlier, no other radiocarbon dates from samples from City IV Jericho were available in the early 1990's. In 1995, however, results were published by Hendrik J. Bruins and Johannes van der Plicht from high-precision radiocarbon measurements made on eighteen samples from Jericho. Six of these samples were charred cereal grains from the City IV destruction. Bruins and van der Plicht didn’t set out to disprove Wood's thesis, their stated purpose was to contribute "toward the establishment of an independent radiocarbon chronology of Near Eastern archaeology." The resulting measurements were 16th century BCE (1525 BCE plus or minus 25). Bruins and van der Plicht recognized the results of their work held a serious implication for Wood's theory. They devoted only one sentence to this implication: Further, the fortified Bronze Age city at Tell es-Sultan [Jericho] was not destroyed by ca.1400 BC, as Wood (1990) suggested. As is evident the radiocarbon measurements strongly support the chronology advanced by Kenyon long before the radiocarbon measurements were made. This radiocarbon evidence falsifies Wood's theory. City IV was destroyed ca. 1550 B.C., not ca. 1400 B.C. City IV Jericho was not destroyed by Joshua. The chronology of Jericho is by no means the only problem associated with the traditional biblical chronology of the Exodus and Conquest. For example, even if Wood's chronology of Jericho were viable, the complete absence of fortified habitation at et-Tell (identified by almost all scholars with the biblical Ai) for 1000 years prior to the traditional biblical chronology date for its destruction by Joshua is still left to be explained. And the archaeological and historical data from Egypt must also be explained. These depict Egypt as a stable, properous nation at the very time the traditional biblical chronology date for the Exodus says Egypt should be a nation devastated by plagues. Having settled the dispute over the date of City IV Jericho's destruction and having demonstrated that Wood's chronology is not valid, we are left with the problem we started with. Traditional biblical chronology conflicts with the archaeological/radiocarbon chronology of Jericho. Traditional biblical chronology places the date of the Conquest of Jericho at a time when there was no city at Jericho. In fact, as noted in the preceding paragraph, traditional biblical chronology of the Exodus and the Conquest is plagued by such problems. Partially extracted from The Biblical Chronologist, Vol 2, No. 3
  6. This is a little different, it is something that I didn't write or research for a change. I found it somewhere on the internet sometime back and don't really remember where. I wish I could, I would like to correspond with the author, I admire his work. I think you folks will enjoy this but it is a little lenghty. It might provide some ammo against KJV fundies: What is the Bible anyway? Most Bibles inform the reader in their introductions that ‘Bible’ means a collection of books, from the Greek word biblia. However, I would say that we should stop referring to ‘a collection of books’ as THE Bible and begin to refer to them as A Bible. Anyone who looks into the history and development of the Bibles that we have today knows that there is a vast range of Bibles to choose from. Even if we are only talking about the English translation, we still have a wide range of Bibles to choose from. If I use myself as an example, as someone who has no religious attachments and is only studying the Bible (at the moment at least) as a collection of ancient texts, can I go to a bookshop and buy THE Bible? This may appear to be a bit of a silly question but if I elaborate then you can see the dilemma facing the non-attached enquirer. For a start, which version would I buy? I could choose from the King James Version widely known as the Authorized Version (AV), or I could have a nice Revised English Bible (REB), a New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), or perhaps a New Jerusalem Bible (NJB), or even the Good News Bible (GNB), this is just a small amount of the variety of Bibles on offer. So how would I go about picking a Bible? One of the first things I would notice is that not all Bibles have the same contents; some have more books than other versions for example. Some have an Old Testament section that is much longer than others, and some even have an entire section devoted to the ‘Apocrypha’, which is missing from other versions. Anyone comparing the NJB with the AV may be surprised just how much longer the NJB is, it is also much longer than the NIV as well. Even individual Bibles are available in longer and shorter versions; this is especially true of the REB and the NRSV. Assuming that you can get your hands on the longer REB and NRSV you may be very surprised at just how different the Old Testament sections will be. The NJB contains more books than the AV of King James, the REB is again contains more books than the NJB and finally, the NRSV contains yet more books! So we have already four alternative versions to choose from but it gets more complicated, the bookshop may just happen to have a copy of the GNB for Catholics, or a Jewish translation of the Old Testament published by the Jewish Publication Society of America. This latter version would cause more confusion if, for example, it was compared to the AV you would discover that from 2 Kings onwards the books appear in a different order. Of course this is down to the differences between how the various producers of Bibles since the Reformation have viewed the Old Testament books and the Apocrypha; this has caused some tremendous variety of Bibles to choose from. The division between the Old Testament and the Apocrypha goes way back to disputes in the early church as to whether the Hebrew or the Greek versions of the Old Testament was to be accepted as authoritative. The Hebrew version is essentially the same as the Old Testament that is found in today’s Protestant Bibles, but again these are in a slightly different sequence. The Greek version is known as the Septuagint and is longer than the Hebrew version as it contains books that were not originally written in Hebrew or books for which the original Hebrew was no longer available. The Greek version triumphed over the Hebrew version and the Latin Vulgate, which contained the longer Greek version, became the standard version for the Western Church until the Reformation. During the Reformation there was a renewed interest in translating the Bible from its original Hebrew and Greek into languages such as German and English and this is where more confusion enters the scene, what could be done about those books in the Septuagint that had no Hebrew predecessor? Well Andreas Karlstadt argued that it should only be the works that existed in Hebrew that were canonical, and he designated the rest as Apocrypha. Luther put Karlstadt’s idea into practice when he compiled a Bible in 1534, in which the Apocryphal books were placed after the Old Testament and prefaced by the comment that these books were not on the same level as Holy Scripture but were useful and good for reading. The first printed Bible by Myles Coverdale included all Luther’s books except the Prayer of Manasseh, but in a different order yet again. The first English Bible to include the Prayer of Manasseh was Matthew’s Bible of 1537, which was produced by John Rogers working under the pseudonym of Thomas Matthew. Coverdale and Rogers had laid the foundations for the order of the books of Protestant Bibles, and soon after there appeared the Great Bible (1539), the Geneva Bible (1560), the Bishop’s Bible (1568), and eventually, the Authorized Version of 1611. You would think that all these aforementioned permutations of different versions would be enough to give anyone choosing a Bible a headache, but it gets worse! In the 17th century the Apocrypha came under attack and people started producing Bibles without the Apocrypha. For example, an edition of the 1640 Geneva Bible has no Apocrypha and the Westminster Confession of Faith declared in 1648 that the Apocrypha were no longer to be used in the Church of God. The Bible then was stilled played around with and altered as much as two thousand years after the first books were written, so much for the perfectly preserved word of God, it appears that it has been tampered with more than any other collection of books in the history of the world. There is even more problems encountered whilst trying to decide which Bible to buy when it is discovered that, in regard to the Apocrypha, what we have read so far only concerns the Protestant Bibles in English. Whilst the Apocrypha was demoted to a subordinate text during the Reformation, the council of Trent affirmed the equal status of the Apocryphal books with the rest of the Old Testament books in the Roman Catholic Bibles. However, the aforementioned Prayer of Manasseh and 1 and 2 Esdras (called 3 and 4 Ezra) were not included. The 1611 KJV (AV) is the Bible preferred by some Protestant groups verging on fundamentalism, I am sure a lot of us have experienced the psychosis known as King James Onlyism, which usually involves a complete lack of knowledge of the history of the evolution of the KJV by the deluded individual. While the AV initially included the Apocrypha, the Protestant groups that advocate the AV reject the Apocrypha, and therefore demand for the AV has only been a demand for the Old and New Testaments. It was difficult to purchase a copy of the AV with Apocrypha until Oxford University Press recently reissued the AV with Apocrypha in 1997 (Authorized King James Version, with the Apocrypha, World Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997). Since the NIV is used by principally conservative churches with their traditional rejection of the Apocrypha, this version was, until recently only available without the Apocrypha. The New Jerusalem Bible though is a Roman Catholic Bible, with the Apocrypha integrated into the Old Testament rather than set aside into an appendix. So if I was to go and try to buy THE Bible I really cannot be sure what I should be buying. I have all these different Bibles, Protestant Bibles, Catholic Bibles, and at least one Bible that claims to represent Protestants, Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox churches (RSV). I suppose if the differences were just down to the differing amount of books in each Bible them it wouldn’t be that bad, but the truth is there are some major differences in the books that are included in all Bibles. First of all there are some textual differences to take into consideration. To find out how these textual found their way into the Bibles it is necessary to find out where the texts originated. The Bibles of the 16th and 17th centuries CE were obviously translated from earlier texts, but how early were they, how close to the events they describe were they written? The Old Testament in the Bibles mentioned earlier, was translated mostly from a medieval Hebrew text of the 10th century CE, the Apocrypha was based mainly on medieval Greek manuscripts of the Septuagint and the New Testament has such a wealth of manuscripts available, some as early as the second century CE, that the catalogue of their various readings and the decision as to which are closest to what the biblical writers wrote would take months of typing to cover. But for this exercise, to examine some textual differences, the New Testament will provide the examples. When the New Testament part of the Revised Version was published in 1881, the readers of the AV were absolutely horrified, they were upset because many of passages that they were familiar with are missing from the RV. A good example of one of these revisions is the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11:2-4, the RV contains a much shorter version, a version that is supported by texts that were written much earlier than the ones used for the AV. KJV of Luke 11:2-4: And he said unto them, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” The RV version: And he said to them, "When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation”. The authors of the AV obviously were using an erroneous text, or they employed poetic license, when they translated these verses into English. This is not an isolated example, there are far more, like this one from The Gospel of John, which has a section missing at 5:3-5 in the RV. The AV John 5:3-5: In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. The RV version: In these lay a multitude of them that were sick, blind, halt, withered One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. Even the St. Paul is not spared from the erroneous recordings of the AV; a reference to his conversion account in the AV has been shown to be embellished. AV of Acts 9:5-6: “And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” The same example from the RV: “And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The most infamous variation can be found at 1 John 5:7 AV: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. In the RV however, this verse is numbered verse 8 and reads `For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one.' This is quite a significant variation. A person could quite easily buy a RV of the Bible and be under the impression that the three that bear witness in heaven are the Spirit, the water and the blood, imagine how confused that person could be if a AV user comes along and gives them their check list of the three that bear witness? The reason for these differences is that the AV is a translation of a printed edition of the Greek New Testament that first appeared in Paris in 1550. In a later edition of this text (1633) published by Elzevir in Leyden , it was claimed that it was ‘the text which is now received by all’. This led to it being known as the Textus Receptus or ‘Received Text.’ The truth of the matter is that the Textus Receptus was based upon comparatively late manuscripts of the New Testament and in between the AV (the KJV of 1611) and the New Testament of the RV (1881), the much earlier Codex Sinaiticus was discovered in 1844 by Tischendorf in the Monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai. Scholars had also gained access to the Codex Vaticanus in the Vatican library. The Bibles produced since these discoveries are based on texts that were written much closer to the time of the events that they portray, the Bibles that are based on the Textus Receptus are using texts that have been produced at a relatively late date and when compared to the earlier texts it can be easily shown that the texts used by the Receptus include material that is not in the earlier texts, because of these embellishments in the later texts, the earlier texts should be given priority. Hence, the AV and the other Bibles that are based on the Textus Receptus are not as accurate as the modern day Bibles. Another example of the inferior quality of the KJV can be found in the heading to the ‘Letter to the Hebrews’. The KJV records The epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews, there isn’t a scholar on the planet who now believes Paul wrote this letter, in fact Pauline authorship was disputed by a few giants of the early Church (Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian). As well as these textual differences there are also problems of a linguistic nature. Because of the high regard in which the AV was held, some revisions have sought to remain within the literary tradition of the AV. Among the directives given to the translators of the NRSV by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA in 1980 was that they should ‘continue in the tradition of the King James Bible’, ‘but to introduce such changes as are warranted on the basis of accuracy, clarity, euphony, and current English usage’. The NRSV is thus a self-confessedly literal translation in the tradition of the AV. A totally different approach has been adopted in the Good News Bible. Based upon Noam Chomsky's theory of transformational grammar as worked out by Eugene Nida, the GNB aims to be a ‘dynamic equivalence’ translation whose aim is to make upon modern readers the impact made upon the original readers. (Whatever that may mean) These questions aside, the translation theory underlying the GNB gives priority to the culture of the target language (the language into which the Bible is being translated) over the source language, and to direct speech over reported speech. It is also based upon research into the target language, and into the particular level to be used. One linguistic factor that has affected all recent translations is the matter of gender-free language. Versions such as GNB, REB and NRSV have tried to avoid the third person masculine ‘he’, ‘his’ and ‘him’ wherever possible, as well as ‘man’ and ‘men’, with the NRSV doing this most consistently. Psalm 1 in the RSV is a fairly literal rendering of the Hebrew: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners?.” The GNB treats the passage differently: “Happy are those who reject the advice of evil men, who do not follow the example of sinners.” The GNB simply introduces changes ‘man’ to ‘those’ in an attempt to avoid offending women. The REB takes the ‘politically correct’ route as well when it states: “Happy is the one who does not take the counsel of the wicked for a guide.” The use of gender-free language is an attempt to be sensitive to the culture of the target language; however, this sometimes obscures the true meaning since the original Hebrew is certainly not gender free. There are also doctrinal issues to be considered between the different versions. The NIV quite openly states that it represents the churches that are committed `to the authority and infallibility of the Bible as God's Word in written form'. One problem with the NIV is that it blatantly changes the text in order to create a better degree of harmony between verses. A good example is Genesis 1-2:4a and 2:4a-25, that these are two different accounts of creation has been accepted by critical biblical scholars for well over a hundred years. The differences are down to the fact that they originate from two different literary sources, but the NIV refuses to accept this and shamelessly changed the text that links the two Genesis myths. The AV reproduction of Genesis 2:19 is, “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field.”, this translation is followed by all major English versions, but giving rise to the problem that, according to chapter 1, God has already created the various types of animal. The NIV harmonizes chapters 1 and 2 with its rendering, `Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field.' A pretty silly way of trying to avoid an obvious contradiction, as this editing actually draws attention to it. If there isn’t a problem with the earlier texts why did the NIV bother to change it? Another controversy caused by the rise of biblical criticism in the 19th century was how to translate and interpret texts in the Old Testament that were understood in the New Testament as prophecies relating to Jesus. There are dozens of examples of desperate attempts by the evangelists to try and make as much as possible in the Old testament relate to Jesus in some way and perhaps the most famous one is in Matthew 1:22:23 Isaiah 7:14 is cited as follows: All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: `Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel'. This was largely how the older English versions (AV and RV) translated Isaiah 7:14, in spite of the fact that the Hebrew word rendered as `virgin' at Isaiah 7:14 meant `young woman'. Critical commentators on Isaiah 7:14 argued that what mattered in translating the passage was not how it was understood in the New Testament but what it must have meant in the time of Isaiah, i.e. `young woman'; and this is what is found today in the RSV, NRSV, NJB, REB and GNB. In the 19th century, commentators who said that the reference in Isaiah was to a young woman who was alive at the time when the prophet was speaking were accused of denying the virgin birth of Jesus and of undermining the inspiration and unity of Scripture. The same charges can still be heard today. The NIV, while not necessarily endorsing these charges, none the less renders Isaiah 7:14 in accordance with its usage in the New Testament: `The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.' Another passage, which while not directly quoted in the New Testament was traditionally seen as a prophecy of Christ's crucifixion, was Psalm 22:16b, translated following the ancient Greek translation (the Septuagint) as `they pierced my hands and my feet', although the Hebrew literally means `my hands and my feet were like a lion's'. Most modern versions attempt to render the Hebrew rather than the Greek. The NRSV has `my hands and my feet have shriveled', which is probably the exact opposite of what the Hebrew is trying to convey which is that, in the Psalmist's emaciated state, his hands and feet look grotesquely large and claw-like. The REB has `they have bound me hand and foot'. Even GNB's `they tear at my hands and feet' removes the allusion to the Passion narrative. The NIV retains the connection with the Passion in its rendering, `they have pierced my hands and my feet'. The NIV is a travesty, its sole intent is to harmonize the biblical texts and to over exaggerate the so-called references to Jesus in the Old Testament. I personally wouldn’t touch the NIV or the KJV with a barge pole. So I would like to propose that we stop using the term ‘The’ Bible and start using the term ‘A’ Bible. The bottom line really is that we do not know for certain what exactly the ‘Word of God’ is, any bible that we have today is the end product of a long and varied evolution, there are too many manipulations of the text by interested parties for it to be a reliable document. Biblio: Kummel W G The New Testament: The History of the Investigation of its Problems SCM Press, London 1972. Morgan R Biblical Interpretation Oxford University Press, 1988 Rogerson, J W An Introduction to the Bible, Penguin Books London 1999. Rogerson J W & Davies P The Old Testament World Cambridge University Press, 1989. Wilson G H The Editing of the Hebrew Psalter Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1985
  7. The ancestral Semitic peoples from whom sprang the various Canaanite peoples, the Babylonians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and the Hebrews borrowed the Sumerian pantheon, substituting Semitic names for the various gods and goddesses. Maintaining the general structure, including the separation of the Divine Progenitors and the Assembly of Gods, the various peoples substituted their chief god for the king of the Assembly. A good example is the Babylonians, the chief god was El and his children were known as the Elohim, who individually presided over their individual stars, planets and earthly estates. Chief among the Babylonian Elohim was Marduk, originally the Thunder God and represented by the planet Jupiter. Know simply as Ba’al (Lord) to the Canaanites, his true and secret name Hadu was known only to his priests. Ba’al’s chief rival was the storm god Yamm, whose secret name was Yaw (also Yawu in some texts). The similarity of the name Yamm (Yaw/Yawu) and Yahweh (short form Yah) has led some scholars to speculate that the two (Yamm and Yahweh) are the same god, especially since Ba’al is shown in the bible as Yahweh’s chief competitor (mirroring the rivalry between Ba’al and Yamm in Canaanite mythology). As did their Canaanite relatives, the Hebrew held idea that the name of their god (in this case Yahweh) was too sacred for common usage and instead referred to him as “Lord”, which was adonai or baal in Hebrew. Having become a separate peoples from the Canaanites during the Great Mycenaean Drought and the following aftermath of the civic collapse caused by that natural occurrence, the probability of Ba’al and Yahweh being the same deity is quite strong, especially considering the parallels between them. Most likely Yahweh is the Hebrew equivalent of the Canaanite Ba’al. He (Yahweh) was originally a son of Ba’al, as attested by a document from the library of the city of Ugarit (discovered in the 1920s). It reads sm, bny, yw, ilt, which translates as “The name of the son of God is Yahweh” (KTU 1.1 IV 14). This is borne out in Deuteronomy 32:8-9: “When the Elyon (another name of El and the name used in the Hebrew language version) apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of gods (i.e., each god controlled one nation of people0; Yahweh’s own portion was his people, Jacob (i.e., the nation of Israel) his allotted share.” That Yahweh ruled as as the preeminent god over El’s other children is repeatedly asserted in Psalms. In the Hebrew language version of Psalms 86:8, we are told that “There is none like you among the gods, O Yahweh” and in Psalms 89:5-7, we see more specifically that the gods in question are the sons of El, met as the Assembly of the God; “The heavens praise your wonders, O Yahweh Your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh? Who among the sons of god is like Yahweh? A god feared in the council of the holy ones, Great and awesome above all that are around him? A major step towards monotheism was the elevation of the term Elohim to the role of a personal title (Elohim) form the supreme God. It was in the post-exilic temple-state that those involved in Temple worship of Yahweh in Jerusalem that the first usage occurred as exemplified in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth…”, a text that was likely first written for use in the Temple cults. No longer is it the collective Elohim who are involved in the creation, but Elohim (the Supreme God), who is portrayed as the Creator. The name Elohim retains the plural suffix – im, but its use for a single god is indicated by the verb form of “created” being in the singular vice plural. Despite the official recognition of Yahweh’s supremacy as the Elohim, the term of elohim was still used to refer to the pantheon of lesser gods, that included the gods of the other Semitic nations (these gods being the offspring of El who stood above them all). It is especially notable in Psalm 82’s early declaration of the Hebrew religion’s emphasis on justice and morality, "El has taken his place in the Divine Council; in the midst of the elohim he holds judgment: `How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." The Hebrew God, El, speaks scornfully of the gods of the Assembly, "They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken" and speaks prophetically to them, "I say, `You are gods, children of the Most High [i.e., of El, himself], all of you; nevertheless you shall die like mortals, and fall as one man, O princes." Though El, the Father of the gods, is supreme, this is clearly not the "monotheism" of our modern understanding. Much of the primary information in the above is from Dr. Peter Crapo’s volumous works, combined with the findings of such archaeologists as Dr. Finklestein of Israel.
  8. Something that I ought to add to this little posting is the manner in which we arrive at the dating of John’s death. Josephus appears to imply that John’s death occurred in the year 36 CE, which is 6 years later than given in the NT and well after the accepted date of Jesus’ crucifixion. The dating hinges on the battle between Aretas, King of Petra and Herod. This battle was the result of two different occurrences, the first being a border dispute between Judea and Petra and the second being the divorce of Aretas’ daughter by Herod, in order to marry his brother’s ex-wife Herodias. Daddy Aretas did not take kindly to the Judean “cad” kicking his little girl to the curb for some “painted floozy” that also happened to be a relative by marriage. Josephus reported that the quarrel with Aretas sprang up at about the time Herod’s brother Phillip died (34CE) and that his other brother (Agrippa0 had gone to Rome in 36 CE (the year before the death of Tiberius). Soon after the battle between Herod and Aretas (which totally destroyed Herod’s army), Tiberius ordered the Syrian Governor Vitellius to attack Aretas, whereupon he marched through Judea with his army, pausing in Jerusalem to placate the Jews and to sacrifice at a festival (probably Passover). On the fourth day of his stay in Jerusalem, Vitellius learned of Tiberius’ death on the 16th of March 37 CE. This would put the battle between Aretas and Herod in the winter of 35/36. Indications are that the action by Vitellius against Aretas must have occurred between his campaign against the Parthians, at the behest of Tiberius, and the death of Tiberius. According to Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius, the Parthian war occurred in 35/36 CE. Ironically, Herod assisted Vitellius in negotiations between Tiberius and the Parthian king, Pharaates. This Vitellius is the same Vitellius that removed Pontius Pilate and send him back to Rome sometime in 36CE.
  9. For some reason the Christ Cultists persist on insisting that the NT is accurate and inerrant. In a recent discussion on another website, I challenged a particularly vehement Cultist asshole to tell me when Jesus was born. His response was a cut and paste monstrosity from numerous Christian websites and never really set forth a date that I could grab onto. This is my response. It has been 4 days now and no rebuttal, he found other friendlier fields to play in: The problem with your posting (I really can’t figure when you think Jesus was born), other than it is a mish-mash of “cut and paste”, is that you are going to Christian sources that quote Christian sources from nearly a third of a millennium after the fact. If you had gone to the historic records and writing of persons that lived during that period, you would have discovered that with the Romans, censuses were conducted for purposes of taxation and In his account of the major events of his life, Augustus wrote that he conducted official censuses in 28 BCE, 8 BCE, 6 CE and 14 CE. Dio Cassius the Roman historian wrote that in 6 CE Caesar Augustus set up a fund to benefit the Roman military and had kings and certain communities contribute to it. He also made a sizable contribution and promised to do so each year. When this did not provide sufficient funds to keep the military going, he issued a worldwide decree that there would be a 5% inheritance tax on estates/inheritances, something beyond normal taxation. Such taxation would require a census to register transferable assets, such as land, and to record genealogies to establish “very near relatives” (Roman History LV 25:5-6). Josephus noted the effects of this decree in Judea: “Now Cyrenius, a Roman senator, and one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them till he had been consul, and one who, on other accounts, was of great dignity, came at this time into Syria, with a few others, being sent by Caesar to be a judge of that nation, and to take an account of their substance. Coponius also, a man of the equestrian order, was sent together with him, to have the supreme power over the Jews. Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus' money; but the Jews, although at the beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet did they leave off any further opposition to it." (Antiquities. XVIII 1:1). He further reported "a certain Galilean, whose name was Judas, prevailed with his countrymen to revolt; and said they were cowards if they would endure to pay a tax to the Romans, and would, after God, submit to mortal men as their lords." (Wars II 8:1). In Antiquities XX 5:2, he wrote of "Judas who caused the people to revolt, when Cyrenius came to take an account of the estates of the Jews." As Josephus noted, Caesar’s 5% tax was to be on estates/inheritances of all but the poor and near relatives, not on the people. The census attached to this taxation was also noted by Luke: "Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away some people after him, he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered." (Acts 5:37) This shows that Luke was speaking of the same census/taxation as Josephus, the 6 CE census/taxation conducted under Cyrenius (P. Sulpicius Quirinius). A listing of the Governors of Syria from 10 BCE to 7 CE are as follows: BCE 10-9 M. Titius BCE 9-6 Gaius Sentius Saturninus BCE 6-3 P. Quinctilius Varus BCE 3-1 L. Calpurnius Piso BCE 1-4 CE Gaius Julius Caesar 4-6 CE L. Volusius Saturninus 6-7 CE P. Sulpicius Quirinius The individual that served in the period of 6 – 3 BCE, P. Quinctillus Varus has often been claimed by Christians to the the “Cyrenius” of the NT, even though Quinctillus sounds nothing like Cyrenius (Greeks were noted for at least getting close to the sound of a name) and there was not a census decreed by Caesar Augustus during that period. The ironic fact is that during the campaigns of P. Sulpicius Quirinius (the real Cyrenius), Quinctillus served as a subordinate officer under his command. In order to ascertain the birth date of Jesus, several parameters must be met: Matthew reports that the birth was during the reign of Herod the Great (died 4 BCE) and Luke reports that the birth was during the census decreed by Caesar Augustus during the tenure of Quirinius as Governor of Syria (prior to the death of Herod, Judea was not part of Syria, but instead a “patron” state) and Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (reported by Luke to have started his mission in the “fifteenth year of Tiberius reign, which would be 28 CE and reported by Josephus as having been executed by Herod in 36 CE – which in itself is a problem). He would have been tried before Pontius Pilate and executed by his troops, according to Roman records and Josephus, Pilate served from 26 CE to 36 CE, being recalled to Rome in 36 CE. If these parameters can’t be met, then it is demonstrated that the gospels are in extreme error and will remove your claim of the value of the bible as a historical report. If Jesus was born during Herod’s reign, then he would have been born prior to 2 BCE, but there was no census decreed by Caesar Augustus after 8 BCE until 6 CE, plus at that time Cyrenius was not the governor of Syria. If Jesus had been born any time prior to the death of Herod, then he would have been 30 years old and starting his ministry prior to John the Baptist and would have been crucified prior to John being executed by Herod, so clearly we can rule out Matthew as having the correct information. If Jesus had been born in the year 1 CE, he would have come to John to be baptized in 30 CE, the second year of John’s ministry. But he would have been crucified 4 years before John was executed by Herod and the gospels are very specific that John died first. If he had been born during the 6 CE census, then he would have started his ministry the same year that John was executed and would have been executed by someone other than Pontius Pilate, which can rule out Luke as a valid record of history. Hmmmm, now instead of cut and pasting, YOU tell me when Jesus was born, because your bible is nearly worthless as history! - Heimdall
  10. As usual, if you study and research, you find all kinds of things under your nose; things that have been debated pro and con, with no true answer forthcoming and then the epiphany, the moment of revelation. I had this just yesterday. When trying to reconcile the 10-12 year contradiction between Matthew and Luke, concerning when Jesus was born (Matthew – during the reign of Herod, Luke when Cyrenius was governor of Syria); Christians often try to “prove” that Cyrenius (more properly P. Sulpicius Quirinius) served more than one term as governor and that he conducted a census during that first term of office. In order to understand the importance of the taxation mentioned in Luke, you have to understand the way the Roman world worked. With the Romans, Censuses were conducted for purposes of taxation and In his account of the major events of his life, Augustus wrote that he conducted official censuses in 28 BCE, 8 BCE, 6 CE and 14 CE. Dio Cassius the Roman historian wrote that in 6 CE Caesar Augustus set up a fund to benefit the Roman military and had kings and certain communities contribute to it. He also made a sizable contribution and promised to do so each year. When this did not provide sufficient funds to keep the military going, he issued a worldwide decree that there would be a 5% inheritance tax on estates/inheritances, something beyond normal taxation. Such taxation would require a census to register transferable assets, such as land, and to record genealogies to establish “very near relatives” (Roman History LV 25:5-6). Josephus noted the effects of this decree in Judea: “Now Cyrenius, a Roman senator, and one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them till he had been consul, and one who, on other accounts, was of great dignity, came at this time into Syria, with a few others, being sent by Caesar to be a judge of that nation, and to take an account of their substance. Coponius also, a man of the equestrian order, was sent together with him, to have the supreme power over the Jews. Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus' money; but the Jews, although at the beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet did they leave off any further opposition to it." (Antiquities. XVIII 1:1). He further reported "a certain Galilean, whose name was Judas, prevailed with his countrymen to revolt; and said they were cowards if they would endure to pay a tax to the Romans, and would, after God, submit to mortal men as their lords." (Wars II 8:1). In Antiquities XX 5:2, he wrote of "Judas who caused the people to revolt, when Cyrenius came to take an account of the estates of the Jews." As Josephus noted, Caesar’s 5% tax was to be on estates/inheritances of all but the poor and near relatives, not on the people. The census attached to this taxation was also noted by Luke: "Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away some people after him, he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered." (Acts 5:37) This shows that Luke was speaking of the same census/taxation as Josephus, the 6 CE census/taxation conducted under Cyrenius (P. Sulpicius Quirinius). A listing of the Governors of Syria from 10 BCE to 7 CE are as follows: BCE 10-9 M. Titius BCE 9-6 Gaius Sentius Saturninus BCE 6-3 P. Quinctilius Varus BCE 3-1 L. Calpurnius Piso BCE 1-4 CE Gaius Julius Caesar 4-6 CE L. Volusius Saturninus 6-7 CE P. Sulpicius Quirinius Now my question to Christians is, “Having been shown how the 6 CE census recorded by Josephus in his two major works (Antiquities and Wars) is indeed the one mentioned by Luke in his gospel (nailed firmly by Acts 5:37); how can you explain the 10-12 year discrepancy between Luke and Matthew and for you fundies, how can you defend the inerrancy of the bible? - Heimdall
  11. The is really a rewrite of Louis Cable's "The First Bible" with more up to date information: On the question of the origin of the Bible, many years of dedicated research and analysis by Christian and non-Christian scholars in the fields of history, literature, theology, epigraphy and archaeology have been slowly putting together a unified picture. This picture is devastating to the Evangelistic claim of biblical inerrancy, infallibility and divine inspiration. Claims that God wrote the Bible leaves his literary competency and sanity open to question! It is obvious that the Bible is the product of a large number of authors and editors over a period of nearly 1000 years, where the works were combined by the editors in ways the authors never dreamed of. Christian tradition holds that the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were written by Moses, but few if any scholars today attribute them to him, much less to any one person! The prevailing view is that these were originally four separate works, J.E.P. and D., which were combined during the Babylonian exile to form one continuous narrative. Similarly, the so-called Deuteronomistic history (Joshua, Judges, Samuel I and II and Kings I and II) is understood by the large majority of scholars to have been complied by a single individual using a group of works by many different persons as sources. These books are considered to be nationalistic fiction used to give the fledgling Temple State a heroic history to match that of their neighbors. This holds true to the group of books called the Chronicler’s history (Chronicles I and II, Ezra and Nehemiah). Although our knowledge is incomplete, we are at a point in which we can separated the various sources and in some cases identify who the author was, when they were written and why they were written. Pentateuch (having five books) is a misnomer; it originally constituted a block of eleven books (the first 10 books of the OT plus the 12th book, leaving out Ruth a book of the late Persian/early Greek period). This collection of books was the product of a number of authors writing over a broad sweep of time that extended from the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel under Omri in the 9th century BCE to the close of the Babylonian exile in the mid 5th century BCE. Analysis, both historical and literary, reveals that the Pentateuch is not the single interconnected narrative it seems, but is instead a composition four different source documents cleverly combined to appear so. This new document presents one continuous narrative chronicling, along with God’s laws, the origin and early history of the Hebrew people. The process through which the discovery was made has come to be know as the “Documentary Hypothesis” or Higher Criticism and is credited to the German historians and Bible scholars Wellhausen, Graf and Vatke. The four source documents are: J (Yahweh/Jehovah) - associated with the divine name. E (Elohim) - referred to the deity as God. P (Priestly) - legal sanctions and priestly duties. D (Deuteronomy) - the books of the early prophets. The chronological order of the source documents was determined by way of comparative analysis. J and E date to somewhere shortly before 900 BCE and are probably the earliest biblical writings, although they may have been preceded by a period of orally transmitted mythology. This is evident by the knowledge of Omri and his period but of no knowledge of the 722 BCE conquest of Israel by Assyria. The priestly source, P, was written after J and E, but before D. It’s authors are aware of the conquest of Israel, but unaware of those matters mentioned in D. This puts a date of sometime between before 722 BCE until just before 638 BCE (the reign of Josiah). D extols the virtues of King Josiah, is aware of his death at Megiddo and of the Babylonia conquest and exile that followed in 587 BCE. At this point D ends. This leaves the question, who wrote the J,E,P and D and why were they later combined. To answer these questions, we have to look at the origin of the Hebrews. Paleoclimatic records show that an unusually sever drought persisted in what is now called the middle east for the better part of the 13th century with devastating effect. As the drought persisted, people were reduced to marauding bands of stateless brigands or fleeing refugees desperately in search of food and water. Cities were abandoned and destroyed. Whole empires crumbled and vanished never to rise again. One of the empires that fell victim to this natural disaster was Canaan, referred to in the Bible as the promised land. In the 13th century BCE, an unusually severe drought affected the eastern Mediterranean area, from Greece around to the Palestinian area. This drought, called the Great Mycenaean Drought, devastated agriculture, causing the collapse of cities (nearly every Mycenaean Greek city state fell from internal and/or external strife at this time. Entire empires crumbled, never to rise again, the surviving citizens reduced to marauding bands or desperately fleeing refugees in search of food and water. Kind of a “Mad Max” sort of world , but without technology. One such empire to fall was the “promised land” Canaan. The beginning of the 12th century BCE saw the abatement of the drought and a cooler more humid climatic cycle begin. As farming and herding became once again feasible, the bands of raiders and refugees began to settle down and repopulate the area. Groups formed, developing their own ethnic and religious identities, but usually retaining dim memories of the pre-drought civilizations. This process has been termed “retribalization” by anthropologists. One such group eventually became known as the Hebrew and were more or less the retribalized descendants of the old Canaanite empire, retaining much of it’s cultural and religious features. The Hebrews were not descendants of ex-Egyptian slaves as portrayed in the Old Testament book of Genesis, which explains the total lack of mention of them in Egyptian documents. Sharing a common religion and language, the Hebrews formed into first separate tribes and then into confederations of tribes, each with it’s own territorial areas. The two pre-national confederations were that of Israel, in the north, made up of the tribe of Israel and several smaller tribes and Judah in the south, made up of the tribe of Judah and several smaller tribes likewise. Both confederations had a powerful priesthood with an established tradition, a force to be reckoned with. Without there consent, no leader could rule or make war. Each confederation had its religious center, Shiloh for Israel and Hebron for Judah. Although similar in most practices, the two groups had a basic disagreement. Judah’s priests claimed descent from Aaron, the recognized founder of their religion, while Israel’s priests claimed Moses as the founder of their faith. Thus giving the two groups the designation as “Aaronoids” and “Mushites”. As the confederations coalesced into nations (Israel in the 9th century BCE and Judah in the 8th century BCE), the two groups of priests, although fellow religionists, managed to ignore the other until the destruction and exile of Israel in 722 BCE. During this period, two separate but related sets of Holy Scriptures were written, the J document by the Judean priests and the E document by the Israelite priests. J and E do not refer to the nations, but to the name that they each called their God – J was for Jehovah (Yahweh) and E was for Elohim. These scriptures were similar in many respects but with one major difference, the hero and founder of the faith for J (Judah) was Aaron and for E (Israel) was Moses. During the time that both nations existed as independent nations, the two religions with a distant common heritage evolved along separate paths. In 722 BCE, the Assyrians conquered Israel, deporting the citizens of that kingdom to the border areas of the empire. Many Israelites die manage to seek refuge in Judah, the southern kingdom and naturally they brought their holy scripture, E, with them. At some point prior to the Babylonian exile, J and E were combined to form a “unified” scripture. This probably occurred out of the fear of an aggressive enemy sitting on the northern border of Judah and was a concession to those Israelite refugees to minimize or avoid internal strife, presenting a unified front to the Assyrians. This combination of these scriptures removed the main bone of contention between the two sets of powerful priests, leading to the unification of the two communities of Hebrews for the first time. Literary analysis has another story entwined within the JE document. This story is identified as the “P” or priestly source. The apparent reason for the “P” source is to upgrade the role of Aaron (traditional founder of the Judean religion) and downgrade the role of Moses (the Israelite religion’s founder) Evidentially the priests of Judah had second thoughts on JE, saw it as giving the Mushite priests had managed somehow to upgrade their hero Moses, while giving Aaron short shift. Their answer was the “P” version that evidence shows was written by an Aaronoid priests during the reign of King Hezekiah (circ 715-687 BCE). “P” was written in such a manner as to restore Aaron’s prestige and the Aaroniod dominance in Judean civil and religious affairs. The changes are subtle, where the E (and subsequently the original JE) source regularly says, “And God said unto Moses…”, in the “P” source it was rendered, “And God said unto Moses and unto Aaron …”. Also in “E”, the magic tricks performed by Moses in Egypt were with his own staff, in “P”, however, these tricks are performed using Aarons staff. In fact, “P” maintains that Aaron and Moses were brothers, with Aaron being the firstborn. Another important aspect of “P”; for the first time priests are portrayed as the designated intermediaries between God and the people. The last of the four sources is the Deuteronomic history, the “D” source, containing much of what became Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel I and II, and Kings I and II, those documents written to give the States of Israel and Judah a history equal to their neighbors. In syntax, grammar and literay style, “D” stands totally apart from “J”,”E” and “P”. Much of “JE” is repeated in “D” but “P” is missing, indicating a Mushite source. In his doctoral dissertation, W.M.L. De Wette discusses the “lost” holy book that during the 18th year of the reign of the pro-Mushite King Josiah (circa 622 BCE) was mysteriously discovered in the temple. Giving much needed scriptural support to his proposed religious and governmental reforms, this discovery could not have been more convenient for King Josiah, plus it was heavily pro-Mushite. De Wette argues that far from beign a lost book of the Torah, “D” is little more than a pious fraud, written and planted in the temple not long before it’s “discovery”, with the sole purpose of supporting Josiah’s reforms and enhancing the power and prestige of the Mushites! According to “D”, Josiah was the reincarnated Moses, God’s chosen leader, destined to drive out the Assyrian invaders of Israel and create a united nation containing Israel and Judah, bringing a greatness to rival the mythical one of David and Solomon. Before this became even a remote possibility, in a minor skirmish with Egyptian forces in 609 BCE, Josiah was mortally wounded with an arrow through his chest, putting an end to Hebrew dreams of conquest and glory. In 587, the Babylonians and their Egyptian allies defeated Judah and sent many of the Hebrews as captives to Babylon, beginning the 50 year long “Babylonian Exile”. As an attempt to explain why God would suddenly turn from his Chosen leader and allow not only the death of that leader, but the subsequent defeat Judah and the exile of many of it’s citizens, the “D” source was “updated” to include a Mushite priestly interpretation of the tragic and unexpected turn of events. This was accomplished in two steps; first in an act of forgery, the original author of “D” went back to the original text and added verses that prophesied the coming defeat and exile as God’s punishment for the apostasy of the Hebrew people. They had worshipped other gods so Yahweh/Jehovah had no other option, but to seek retribution. The second step was the addition of two chapters to the end of Kings II, giving a new and uninspired, pessimistic ending. The theory that “D” was written by the prophet Jeremiah, a close friend and confident of Josiah and a devoted Mushite priest, is strongly supported by both literary and historical evidence. With the defeat of the Babylonian by the Persians, in 538 BCE, the Persian emperor set the Hebrew captives free and allowed to return to Judah, a group did elect to remain in Babylon, where they had, in the best Jewish tradition, managed to establish themselves as successful business and professional people. By this time all the Mushite priests were either dead of old age or executed by the Persians as pro-Babylonian. The return of those Hebrew to Judah was, however, contingent upon a suitable “quisling” government being installed to control the populace of the Persian satrapy of Judah. This government was furnished by the Temple state set up by Ezra, the chief priest and spiritual leader (and a fervent Aaronoid) of the “Exilic” Hebrews. In 458 BCE, Ezra returned to Jerusalem bringing two important documents with him. One was a letter from Artaxerxes I, the Persian emperor, granting him the right to set up the Temple State as the puppet state for the Persian emperor. The other was “The Torah of Moses”, believed by modern scholars to be the basic Old Testament from Genesis through Kings II, presented essentially as we know it today. This “Torah” was an incorporation of “JE”,”P”, and “D”. Evidence supports the contention that the combination of the original documents was either the work of Ezra or by a group of priests and scribes under his direction, probably in Babylon. By the time of this combination, the sources texts had been around for so long and were so well known that no part of them could be deleted or changed in any major way, and since by this time it was a tradition that they were all penned by an inspired Moses, they couldn’t, in the manner of the gospels, been laid out individually. A second consideration is that for them to continue as separate documents would have probably revived the old priestly rivalries and divided a community that was struggling to reestablish itself. The only viable solution was combining the three sources into a single document to promote unity and harmony, a job that was done very skillfully, although some stories (the Creation from “J” and “E” and Noah and the flood from “E” and “P”) are separated into the two original stories. The “D” source was simply stuck on the end of Numbers without so much as a transition statement. Recent discoveries indicate that the four sources (J, E, P, D) should be expanded to include a “C” source (Chronicles I and II). This source was added probably shortly after the return from Babylon and is thought to have been written by Ezra himself, or under his direction. It presents another “Aaronoid” version of the Hebrew people, extolling the virtues and accomplishments of the mythical Solomon and the pro-Aaronoid Hezekiah, evidentially as propaganda to offset the pro-Mushite history of the “D” source that glorified the pro-Mushite Josiah in Kings I and II. It is easy to see how this method of combining the various original sources into a single volume resulted in the many redundancies, repetitions, doublets, disconnected stories and contradictions that are rife in the Old Testament. The real story of biblical origin, who (or what group) wrote or caused the various sections to be written and why has been determined through thorough scholarship utilizing modern investigative techniques. It has been shown to have evolved through a coherent natural sequence of known historical events. We can no longer perceive the Old Testament as having been dictated by God to Moses and/or other inspired individuals. Current knowledge renders such belief as absurd to the point of silly! More and more, the reliability and truthfulness of both the Old and New Testaments are being called to askance. The Old Testament give very little if any reliable historical testimony until after the Babylonian exile in 586 BCE and even though based upon earlier sources, as a whole, dates only from the re-establishment of the Jewish state in the fifth century; after the return from exile. Since there is much factual data in the Old Testament, it can not be taken seriously “The Bible is in fact a very human book in all aspects. Its writers were reacting solely to the events of their day and in that setting. They were not writing for future generations as some Bible believers maintain. Now I can understand the importance of the Bible as an artifact or a curiosity. It may even have some historical significance, though limited. What I cannot understand is how any knowledgeable person can take it seriously.” – Louis Cable, “The First Bible” sources: “The First Bible” – Louis Cable “Out of the Desert?” – William H., Stiebing “Who Wrote the Bible?” – Richard E. Friedman “The Disappearance of God” – Richard E. Friedman “The History of Ancient Israel – M. Grant B.S.J. Isserlin, The Israelites “The bible unearthed” - Neil Asher Silberman and Israel Finklestein “David and Solomon: In search of the Bibles Sacred Kings and the roots of Western Tradition” - Neil Asher Silberman and Israel Finklestein “From Nomadism to Monarchy” - Neil Asher Silberman and Israel Finklestein
  12. Let’s set the scene, you want to invest your wealth and are looking around for a good company to invest in. You find a company that makes fantastic claims, claims that show you will eventually be wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. This all sounds great and you start checking out the enterprise. It is a very old company, it’s been around for generations, and many famous people have invested in it. It owns immense holdings of property, art, money and power! It has immense influence on governments, other companies, and individuals. This is really great! Suddenly you start discovering inconsistencies; the prospectus was written by men long dead, is written in two separate sections. The oldest section contains data that has been long discredited by later science, has sections, paragraphs and statements that contradict other sections, paragraphs and statements and has portions that have been shown to be forgeries. The newer section shows a lack of knowledge of company history and a lack of knowledge of company “culture” and like the older section have internal contradictions as well as contradictions with the older section! To top everything off, there is no evidence that the company’s promised product has ever been delivered and a singular lack of evidence that the equipment manufacturing and delivering this product has ever existed! Doesn’t sound like a very good investment does it? Well, there are nearly 2 billion people that are currently invested in this outfit, we know it as Christianity! - Heimdall
  13. Since Lillith has been mentioned several times recently in several different threads, I thought I would find out what I could about her. It seems that Lillith in only mentioned once in the Hebrew bible, in Isaiah 34:14. Even there she is not named, but only mentioned as a night monster. Which actually makes sense, Lillith seems to be have originally been a Mesopotamian female night demon, preying on male children. Known to the Sumerians as ki-sikil-lil-la-ke4, a female demon, she appears in the Sumerian prologue to the Gilgamesh epic.: a dragon had built its nest at the foot of the tree the Zu-bird was raising its young in the crown, and the demon Lilith had built her house in the middle Lillith was known to the Babylonians as the Lilu, female demons that roamed the dark night killing newborns and pregnant women. Persian incantations have been found that refer to Lillith, protect against her, as below, and refe also to her divorce: You are bound and sealed, all you demons and devils and lilliths, by that hard and strong, mighty and powerful bond with which are tied Sison and Sisin…. The evil Lillith, who causes the hearts wof men to go astray and appears in the dream of the night and in the vision of the day, Who burns and casts down with nightmare, attacks and kills children, boys and girls. She is conquered and sealed away from the house and threshhold by the talisman of Metatron, the great prince who is called the Great Healer of Mercy….who vanquishes demonss and devils, black arts and mighty spells and keeps them away from the house and threshold. Amen, Amen Selah. As I said earlier, Lillith is only mentioned once in the Hebrew bible, Isaiah 34:14, then only if you understand Hebrew will you know that the Hebrew word for night monster is “lillith”. "The desert creatures will meet with the wolves, The hairy goat also will cry to its kind; Yes, the night monster* will settle there * read as lillith And will find herself a resting place." In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Songs of the Sage to be exact, Lillith is mentioned in a similar manner as in Isaiah. “And I, the Master, proclaim the majesty of his beauty to frighten and terrify all the spirits of the destroying angels and the spirits of the bastards, the demons, Lillith….. Although most scholars believe that the myth of Lillith being the first wife of Adam, there is a Hebrew tradition of putting an amulet around the neck of newborn boys, inscribe with the name of three angels, to protect them from the lilin until their circumcision. There also existed a tradition to wait awhile before cutting a boy’s hair to trick Lillith into believing the child is a girl, thus sparing it’s life. This lends some weight to the argument of Lillith existing in early Hebrew mythology, but none to her being Adam’s first wife. The first true mention of Lillith being Adam’s wife comes from “The Alphabet of Ben Sira”, written sometime between the 8th and 11 centuries CE, it tells of Lillith refusing to assume a subservient role to Adam during sex and so deserting him. She fled to the area of the Red Sea, there mating with Asmodai, the chief of demons, and various other demons she found there, creating countless lilin. Upon Adams urging, God sent three angels to bring her back to Adam. She refused, agreeing to return only after the angels threatened to kill one hundred of her demonic children a day, she countered with the promise that she would prey eternally upon the descendants of Adam and Eve, who could only be saved by invoking the names of the three angels (Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof). She did not return to Adam. Although “The Alphabet of Ben Sira” is the oldest known source of the story of Adam and Lillith, the story did not become well known until the 17th century with the publication of “Lexicon Talmudicum” by Johannes Buxtorf.. This is not, however, the only story of Lillith. She is also known as the wife of Samael (known as the seducer, the accuser, the destroyer, quite possibly the angelic name of Satan), and also as the consort of Asmodeus (known as the destroyer, king of the demons). Samael and Lillith were born as one, sikilar to the form of Adam and Eve, who were also born as one, reflecting whis is above. They were both born at the same hour in the image of Adam and Eve, intertwined in each other. Asmodeus, the great king of the demons has as a mate, the Lesser (younger) Lilith, daughter of King Qafsefoni and quen Mehetabel (daughter of Matred). I think this shows that the Myth of Lillith is just that, a late myth that came into being in the middle ages in Jewish mythology and was based on an ancient Semitic female demon.
  14. The Wandering Jew Recently, on another website, a thread was started on Longinus, supposedly the Centurion that stuck the lance (probably a pilum) in the side of Jesus to insure he was dead. The individual starting the thread was under the impression that Longinus was cursed to wander the earth until Christ returned. This got me to researching the story, as I knew that the individual had confused this story with that of the “Wandering Jew”. Longinus was the name given in Christ Cult legend for the Centurion, but the NT actually does not specify a rank, saying only that “When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.” We receive the name of this soldier, that early Cultists equated to the Centurion mentioned in Mark 15:39, from the Gospel of Nicodemus which tells us, “Then Longinus, a certain soldier, taking a spear, pierced his side, and presently there came forth blood and water” (Nicodemus 7:8). By legend, Longinus was nearly blind (I doubt that the Roman Army would have kept an officer with such a disability) and upon piercing Jesus side had some of the blood and water splash into his eyes, curing his affliction. Afterward Longinus converted to the Cult, left the army and was eventually was martyred (his blood sprayed into the eyes of the blind King having him executed, curing the King’s blindness). The spear became know as the “Spear of Destiny” and supposedly anyone holding it can conquer the world for good or evil. The spear head (or what is claimed to be it) now rests in the Treasure Room of Hofburg Palace, Vienna, and the shaft is supposedly is contained in one of the four pillars over the altar in the Basilica of St Peter’s in Rome. The legend of the ”Wandering Jew” is not the “cute” little harmless legend as is that of Longinus. It, instead, is an underhanded attempt by the Christ Cult to explain why Jesus did not return in the matter and time that he stated in Matthew 16:28, “There be some of them that stand here, which shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the son of man coming in his kingdom.” The only biblical authority for the Wandering Jew, other than Jesus was manhandled while in Jewish and Roman custody prior to the crucifixion, is the above verse and that of John 21:22, “If I will that he (supposedly the beloved disciple) tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” The Wandering Jew tale is an old one, dating back to at least the late Bronze Age or earlier. By Greek tradition, the poet Aristeas kept appearing among the people of the nations of the world for over 400 years. The Cultist version of this story (as the Wandering Jew) appears as early as 1228, when an Armenian bishop visited England to pay homage at the holy shrines there was entertained by the monks of St Albans. The monks had evidentially heard of the legend and asked the bishop if it were true. He replied that it was and that the man’s name was Kartaphilos, but he was know as Joseph, the name he took upon conversion to the Cult. By legend, he had been the gatekeeper at Pontius Pilate’s judgment hall and had struck Jesus as he was leaving the hall, saying, “Get a move on it.” Jesus in turn told him, “ I go quickly, but you will wait until I return!” The bishop stated that Joseph Kartaphilos was a personal friend and dined with him often. The story went on that Kartaphilos was not forever young, aging normally into a very old age, then falling into a coma as if about to die. While in the coma, he suffers an ecstatic fit, recovering the age he was when he struck Jesus. Because he remembered the entire circumstances of the crucifixion, he was considered a very holy man. Two of the St Alban monks, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, say in “Flores Historiarum” that other Armenian visitors confirmed the story in 1252. This story was also repeated by Philippe Mouskes in 1243. The problem here is that Kartaphilos is not Jewish, the name implies Greek or Roman, but this is probably the ancestral story to that of the Wandering Jew. In 1602, there was a pamphlet printed in Leyden alleging that the bishop of Schleswig had met the Wandering Jew in Hamburg in 1542. His name was Ahasuerus and followed the St Alban story almost word for word. Ahasuerus was a cobbler in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion and when Jesus paused by his shop to rest on the way to Golgotha, told him to clear off. Jesus replied, “I go quickly but you will wait until I return!”, just as with the St Alban story. As with the UFO reports today, once the story was given credence (in this case by a deceased bishop), sightings appeared all over Europe. He was known as Isaac Lakedion, in Germany as John Buttdaeus, in Spain as John Espera en Dios. Our Wandering Jew even made an appearance in Salt Lake City in 1868. This story has made it’s way into modern fiction such as Miller’s “A Canticle for Liebowitz” and Shelley’s “Queen Mab”. There are other variations of this story, such as Herne the Hunter, a Jew who would not let Jesus drink from a horse trough, but instead pointed out a hoof print from which we could drink. Legend also has it that Gypsies are condemned to wander the world because as Egyptians (the meaning of the word Gypsy, based on the misconception that Egypt was the home of the Gypsies), they refused to help the holy family in their flight into Egypt. Now that we have explored the various variants of the legend, let’s investigate the reasons (Cultists seldom initiate legends for grins and jollies) that this Wandering Jew legend would be created. It seems plain that the legend was intended as an explanation of the failure of Jesus to reappear within a generation as he promised (Matt 16:28 being one example). After the crucifixion, for the first 40 years his followers believed he would return as the leader of the armies of heaven. His arrival would conclude the r0 years of war between good and evil. With the victorious end of the war, God would As to the origin of the legend, it seems plain that it was intended to be an explanation of the failure of Jesus to reappear within a generation as he promised, Matthew 16:28 being one instance. For the first 40 years after the end of Jesus's career, his followers believed that he would return as, or with, prince Michael, the archangel in charge of the armies of heaven. His return or parousia would conclude the 40 years of cosmic conflict between the forces of light and the forces of darkness that they expected. With the conclusion of the battle and the victory of the saints and angels, the kingdom of God would begin, God would rebuild the temple and all those saintly people who had died since the beginning of time would be resurrected to live as angels on earth. By conventional dates, the 40 years would have expired sometime between 58 – 73 CE, the bishops might have been able to stall any doubts for awhile because precise dates had not been kept. Eventually though the faithful would realize nothing had happened, they could have accepted the Jewish War (66-70 CE) was a reflection of the cosmic battle started by Jesus, but for the Jews and early Cultists, the “bad guys” (the Romans)won! With no return of Jesus! The bishops were in a quandary, they had to find a way around a promise that was so clear in the Cult’s oral tradition. They first moved the Kingdom of God from the Earth to a place called Heaven, equivalent to the Greek Elysian Fields. A place accessible only after death and only to those that lived a life of faith in what was taught them by the Cult. Yet, they still had the problem that the promise of the Parousia in the lifetime of those present was very explicit! The answer, to prevent Jesus’ words from becoming a lie, was to make someone live until Jesus actually did return, thus explaining his words. The earliest followers were given the excuse that Jesus had meant that his return would not be in 40 years, but rather in the lifetime of the disciples. As long as one remained alive, no one need be concerned. Then John did that thing that all the living must eventually do, he died! This meant that the excuse given in John 21:22 was no longer viable, but John 21:23 tells us that he had indeed died by the time the passage was written and the author had to say that Jesus had not really promised it but simply said, “What is it to you if I do promise it?” None of the original Cultists were still living and the new generation had been taught the less explicit message devised by the bishops. These second generation Cultists were not as apocalyptic as the originals and readily accepted the concepts of the after life and Heaven. Unfortunately, the promises are still in the gospels, giving free rein to the doubters, skeptics or simple honest and naïve believers to question. The legend of the Wandering Jew cursed by Jesus provides a perpetual (albeit unsubstantiated) excuse, as long as some human from that generation remained alive (through a supernatural curse of God), Jesus would not have been untruthful in Matt 16:28 and other such verses. Christ Cultists, despite their devotion to their mythology, never seem to read it very clearly, transferred the curse to a betrayer. Finally, it never seemed to amaze any Christian that the Jesus cursing people in this way is out of character, just like the Jesus who curses innocent fig trees. The reason is that Jesus is a sticky plaster and sealing wax god, stuck together out of a myriad excuses. He could hardly be expected to be consistent and he wasn't, but the bishops had an excuse for that too—it was all part of the mysteries of God! I hope this will clear up the question of Longinus and of the Wandering Jew - Heimdall
  15. Did David and Solomon really exist? In Jewish Sacred Literature that was later included in the Old Testament of the Christians, we are introduced to King David of the United Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and his successor and son, King Solomon. For millennia these individuals have been accepted as historical figures of great import, yet more and more their actual existence (at least as portrayed) is being questioned. We can name all of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, we have monuments that they had created, documents of their actions, treaties they signed, mention of them by other nations and their tombs (sometimes their corpses too). We know the names of the Kings of Persia (the King of Kings), as with the Egyptians we have the monuments, documents, etc. We can repeat this with every ancient state in that area, even small city states such as Ugarit and Tyre, but when it comes to the illustrious King David and his even more venerated son Solomon, not a single shred of evidence. Not one monument, not one egotistical carving declaring that either King defeated an enemy or dedicated something to YHWH, not one document (Israelite, Babylonian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Hittite or other nation) mentions either King. Even Hiram of Tyre, supposedly a good buddy of Solomon, never mentions ol’ Sol at all. When it comes to evidence of either King, as the saying goes, the silence is deafening! It’s almost as if they never existed! Christians scurry around attempting to prove the existence of these individuals with such things as the Bytdwd inscription and the Dawat inscription of Egypt. There are several problems with the authenticity of the Bytdwd inscription, that I will not address here, that tend to be epigraphist and translation problems and then there is the problem that the last letter before a break is continued down the side of the break, indicative of a forgery. The last I heard on that was that it was being investigated. The problem with the Dawat inscription is that even creative translation can not make the inscription h(y)dbtdwt read as the heights of David as the Christians would want it to. Christians love to state that lack of evidence is not evidence of lack, a rather ridiculous saying at best. Actually lack of evidence is nearly always lack of existence, especially after an exhaustive search for evidence of existence. The very existence of the United Kingdom now seems to be on very shaky ground also. All archaeological and contemporary historical evidence shows the state of Israel came into being around the early 9th century BCE followed by the formation of the state of Judah in the mid 8th century BCE. There is mention anywhere (except in the Bible) of Kingdom of Israel, be it an independent state or part of a United Kingdom, prior to the 9th century BCE. Many Christians will wildly wave their hands at this and start babbling about the Merneptah Stele. There are two scholarly debates going on about this stela. The first concerns whether or not Merneptah actually campaigned in Canaan; the existence of a stela by his predecessor Ramesses II, about the Battle of Qadesh, indicates firm control of the Levant. This calls into question why Merneptah would have to campaign there. The second debate surrounds “Israel”. As the stela mentions just one line about Israel it is difficult for scholars to draw any information at all about Israel. The stela does point out that Israel, at this stage, refers to a people since a determinative for "country" is absent regarding Israel (whereas the other areas had a determinative for "country" applied to them). There is the thought also that at the time of Merneptah, the “Israelites” would still be wandering in the desert, not yet entering the “Promised Land”. To summarize, there is a singular lack of evidence, archaeological and historical for David, Solomon or the United Kingdom. A lack that is highlighted by the myriad of evidence available for kings and nations that were supposedly less famous and the myriad of evidence for the individuals of the “king lists” of Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, Tyre, etc and for the very nations and city states that they ruled. As with nations today, these various states of the ancient world maintained a diplomatic service that communicated with their counterparts of other nations. The dry climate of Egypt preserved the archives of the Egyptian diplomatic corps and the use of clay as a medium for inscription (baked afterwards into stone-like consistency) preserved the archives of the other ancient nations. In none of the archives excavated in all of the ancient sites, not one missive to or from David or Solomon, men that supposedly controlled an empire to rival that of their western, southern, and eastern neighbors, nor was there any addressed to (nor from) any ruler of Israel until the 9th century BCE. There is a faint possibility that the OT is glamorizing and enhancing the legend of a “Robber Baron” of a small hill country city state (possibly centered on Jerusalem), just as the Robin Hood legend of the Danelaw glamorized a robber of ancient England. Solomon seems to actually have been an Assyrian King. King Shalmaneser V (the name actually means Solomon) who sacked Samaria and sent the Israelites into captivity. Shalmaneser V is known as a great warrior and a very wise king. Evidentially the post-exilic priests of YHWH borrowed this Assyrian king as their model for the biblical Solomon. Until there is more than mere coincidental evidence of either David, Solomon or the United Kingdom, they must remain denizens of the Jewish post-exilic mythology.
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