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When Was The Ot Written?


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Simple question; how old is the OT? I know for a definite fact that it isn't the oldest literature in history.

 

I should also ask about the historicity of Israel, was it ever as large as purported in the Bible? Did it hold up against it's neighbours or was it just a small state with an opressive monotheistic god? The conquest of Joshua did not happen, that I do know.

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The Old Testament was created by Ezra after the captives returned from Babylon.  Emphasis on the legitimacy of the Jerusalem temple was purely self service on Ezra's part.  It placed him in charge of the new cult.  The Old Testament was woven together using source material from many other religions - both local and Babylonian.  There was a small kingdom of Israel just before the Babylonian conquest.  However David, Solomon and Saul were probably more like bandit leaders.  Before that Israelis were refugees who were fleeing the Sea People invasion.  In order to get away they moved to hilltops and mountains that had never been occupied before.

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As far as manuscript dating, Job is the oldest book, as MM said all of it was written after the Babylonian exile.

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Simple question; how old is the OT? I know for a definite fact that it isn't the oldest literature in history.

 

I should also ask about the historicity of Israel, was it ever as large as purported in the Bible? Did it hold up against it's neighbours or was it just a small state with an opressive monotheistic god? The conquest of Joshua did not happen, that I do know.

 

The date of the OT is the most fascinating puzzle of all. Sometimes it seems to preserve really old information, but most of the time, its overall narrative scheme is pretty much identical to Herodotus' Histories, which must have influenced it, and therefore it was written after 430 BCE.

 

The Bible doesn't show up in the historical record until the third or second century BCE, so it's probably not much older than that. The authors did, however, preserve some very old information, and this -- combined with the anonymous authorship and omnipotent narration -- fools the reader into thinking they are actually reading something from the tenth or ninth century BCE.

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As the others have pointed out, the OT was written long after many of the events that allegedly occurred that are mentioned in it. Those early events and generations, prior to Solomon and David (who did write some of the books), were remembered through oral tradition. So you can imagine how many of the stories and legends might have morphed through the centuries. And who knows how many variations there might have been. Maybe some more people with formal knowledge in OT studies will chime in.

 

David did not write any of the books. 

 

I doubt that there's much oral tradition behind the text. Especially if you take in a date after 430 BCE for Primary History (Genesis-2 Kings), that would mean at least 500 years of oral history for David, Saul, and Solomon. Much more likely that the authors just invented those stories. 

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As far as manuscript dating, Job is the oldest book, as MM said all of it was written after the Babylonian exile.

 

The date of Job, like all of the OT, is highly speculative. Theologians like to think that it's old, because parts of it resemble verifiably old Babylonian wisdom literature, plus there isn't any emphasis on Israel's destiny. On the other hand, the writing is much more sophisticated and philosophical than the rest of the OT. 

So once again we have a strange admixture of the old and the new, making it impossible to date with any precision. 

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As far as manuscript dating, Job is the oldest book, as MM said all of it was written after the Babylonian exile.

 

The date of Job, like all of the OT, is highly speculative. Theologians like to think that it's old, because parts of it resemble verifiably old Babylonian wisdom literature, plus there isn't any emphasis on Israel's destiny. On the other hand, the writing is much more sophisticated and philosophical than the rest of the OT. 

So once again we have a strange admixture of the old and the new, making it impossible to date with any precision. 

 

There's also linguistic reasons to believe Job is old - the form of its Hebrew have more conservative features than most other books of the Bible. It is possible to reliably determine whether a version of a language is more or less conservative without any subjectivity entering into the issue, and by and large, more conservative is very likely to indicate older.

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This is an excellent book that covers your questions:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

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This is an excellent book that covers your questions:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

 

Not in my opinion. It's a good introduction to the Documentary Hypothesis, but not much else. A far more critical and skeptical book than Friedman's is this one:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Israelites-History-Tradition-Library-Ancient/dp/0664220754/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1406588760&sr=8-2&keywords=niels+peter+lemche

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This is an excellent book that covers your questions:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

 

Not in my opinion. It's a good introduction to the Documentary Hypothesis, but not much else. A far more critical and skeptical book than Friedman's is this one:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Israelites-History-Tradition-Library-Ancient/dp/0664220754/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1406588760&sr=8-2&keywords=niels+peter+lemche

 

I took the view that the OP was asking as a novice, not a more seasoned academic; therefore, I offered a book more geared to what I perceived my audience to be.

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3vid3nce has a great breakdown of the writing of the OT on youtube. Perfect for the novice.. It has graphics!

 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I hope I can hunt them at my library or somewhere. Right now I'm not able to spend much cash on books (I do dislike ordering overseas too but that's a minor inconvenience) so that may have to wait for a while :)

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3vid3nce has a great breakdown of the writing of the OT on youtube. Perfect for the novice.. It has graphics!

 

 

More Documentary Hypothesis stuff. Paraphrasing the Bible to discover a "history" of Israel is a very outdated paradigm, and is always going to be a losing proposition. The Bible itself is a "pseudo-history of non-events," as one scholar put it. 

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3vid3nce has a great breakdown of the writing of the OT on youtube. Perfect for the novice.. It has graphics!

 

 

 

More Documentary Hypothesis stuff. Paraphrasing the Bible to discover a "history" of Israel is a very outdated paradigm, and is always going to be a losing proposition. The Bible itself is a "pseudo-history of non-events," as one scholar put it. 

 

 

As an intermediate step away from "Moses wrote the Torah and the OT is a history book", the DH can be useful for beginners, don't you think?  Do you have some links to material about your paradigm? I would love to be able to use them to offer newcomers.

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3vid3nce has a great breakdown of the writing of the OT on youtube. Perfect for the novice.. It has graphics!

 

 

 

More Documentary Hypothesis stuff. Paraphrasing the Bible to discover a "history" of Israel is a very outdated paradigm, and is always going to be a losing proposition. The Bible itself is a "pseudo-history of non-events," as one scholar put it. 

 

 

As an intermediate step away from "Moses wrote the Torah and the OT is a history book", the DH can be useful for beginners, don't you think?  Do you have some links to material about your paradigm? I would love to be able to use them to offer newcomers.

 

 

The DH essentially does treat the OT as a history book. Wellhausen just removed the supernatural stuff and paraphrased the rest. Little he said would be controversial in any but the most fundamentalist of churches today. 

 

A seminal text that marks the beginning away from paraphrasing the Bible for history is John Van Seters' "In Search of History" (1983). He points out what should have been obvious to Wellhausen and the higher critics, which is that the text that the Bible most resembles in the ancient world is Herodotus. 

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3vid3nce has a great breakdown of the writing of the OT on youtube. Perfect for the novice.. It has graphics!

 

 

 

More Documentary Hypothesis stuff. Paraphrasing the Bible to discover a "history" of Israel is a very outdated paradigm, and is always going to be a losing proposition. The Bible itself is a "pseudo-history of non-events," as one scholar put it. 

 

 

As an intermediate step away from "Moses wrote the Torah and the OT is a history book", the DH can be useful for beginners, don't you think?  Do you have some links to material about your paradigm? I would love to be able to use them to offer newcomers.

 

 

The DH essentially does treat the OT as a history book. Wellhausen just removed the supernatural stuff and paraphrased the rest. Little he said would be controversial in any but the most fundamentalist of churches today. 

 

A seminal text that marks the beginning away from paraphrasing the Bible for history is John Van Seters' "In Search of History" (1983). He points out what should have been obvious to Wellhausen and the higher critics, which is that the text that the Bible most resembles in the ancient world is Herodotus. 

 

Nothing about the modern form of the DH hypothesis requires the OT to be an accurate book of history in any form. If the OT is modelled on Herodotus, though, it is a history book although not a particularly reliable one. (Arguably so unreliable that it is a history book in intent only, but carried out with such terrible methodology that its content cannot be recognized as any valid history.)

 

You seem to be arguing against the very thesis you later support. And that within one and the same post.

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The OT is modeled on the style of Herodotus. That doesn't make it a history book, just a pseudo-history book. Nor am I saying that Herodotus was much more than a pseudo-history itself. 

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3vid3nce has a great breakdown of the writing of the OT on youtube. Perfect for the novice.. It has graphics!

 

Interesting video, thanks for linking it!

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