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Hierophant

Bible Literature and History

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I had a question for the community, what do you make of the way the Bible is written in that it incorporates historical places and events? What I mean by that is what style or reasoning do you think the authors were using when writing the various books of the Bible and they incorporated kingdoms, places, or other historical events that are part of Israel's history, but then also throw in the theology that God was speaking to a leader or a prophet to conquer an area or something similar.

 

I wonder if the writing style is unique to that culture, or if we see that elsewhere in other religious traditions. I have a difficult time thinking about it and trying to figure out what the author was thinking when they wrote it. It is something I would never think to do and I am unsure of the process behind it. Off the top of my head, perhaps these are later authors who are writing about the stories they heard of Israel's history, its religious tradition, and they interwove them to produce a pseudo-history of Israel?

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How does a book using real locations prove it’s true? Lots of books mention locations that actually exist. Harry Potter is set in the UK. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods was set in real places all over the US, even using impressively specific real-life details about those places. Both stories are fantasy, even though they’re set in real locations. 

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@SarahJaneSmith

 

I was not making the argument the Bible is valid since there are some historical backdrops. I am just wondering what motivated these authors to write the way they did....what motivated them period.

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47 minutes ago, Hierophant said:

I am just wondering what motivated these authors to write the way they did....what motivated them period.

 

I can only speculate but that speculation is that they were trying to explain things for which they had no other way to understand. And they put it into contexts that fit into things they did understand. And some of it may have evolved from pure story telling, sober or otherwise.

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     This is a tough question to answer since there are a lot of authors in the bible so there's a lot of reasons for what they did.  Certainly there's no one reason.

 

     I would guess that some of them wanted, or needed, to establish a history of some sort.  A foundation story.  We can see that parts of the bible are simply "borrowed" from other cultures.  We can also see that the bible gives foundation stories to/for the eponymous place names in the region.  Odds are none of these things are remotely true but they provide explanation as to why those things are what they are.  We also know that there were issues between Judea and Israel and the bible gives reasons to explain these things even though they don't line up with what is known through archaeology.  The accuracy here is not important but rather the fact that the bible was "created" (so to speak) to pass along something more like a set of folk knowledge, propaganda (not in the modern sense of the word) and things of this sort.

 

          mwc

 

 

 

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"pseudo-history of Israel" Bingo. My current understanding from gleaning what others have posted is that much of the old testament was written during the Babylonian captivity in order to give the Jews some sense of being a distinct people, and having been chosen by that specific god. Odd things like the "star of David" had nothing to do with David, it is one of the many occult symbols that were used in Babylon and was taken as a sign of protection by the priests or those being educated in that land. Occultic things are big in Jewish history. The Golom was a demon creature that the rabbi could summon for protection or as a warrior against the foes. The myth of Daniel was also spun during that time and incorporated the local authorities, though as far as I have ever heard, there is no mention of him by his Hebrew or Babylonian name. The Exodus from Egypt appears to be entirely fictitious, given that no other account exists of multiple plagues and a supernatural fight happening, much less all of the people and animals that trekked across the desert. The feeding and watering of the animals and people are a huge problem for literalists, because they supposedly just had a rock that spouted water. It would have had to provide a LOT of water to satisfy that many people and animals daily. 

 

There is no record of the Jews slaughtering all the people groups they encountered, and would amount to multiple genocides if it were true. There was a David and a Solomon, but how much of their stories are true is a guess. 

 

Much the same is true of the gospels, clearly not eyewitness testimonies due to the non-factual reporting and the inclusion of conversations between Jewish rulers and Roman authorities to which they were not privy. No accounts exist of Jesus outside of the cult writings. Even Paul says he never met him except in spirit, and he lived in Jerusalem (if indeed he is real). 

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On 5/22/2020 at 4:11 PM, Hierophant said:

 Off the top of my head, perhaps these are later authors who are writing about the stories they heard of Israel's history, its religious tradition, and they interwove them to produce a pseudo-history of Israel?

 

You may be onto something with these thoughts.  My understanding is that there are no original writings available.  

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