A longer than you could want exposition of the subject is here.

http://www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.htmlThe opening lines are:

As we know for a fact that the Old Testament could not possibly have been written in bibleland by the people living in bibleland it is of interest to examine where it was created and by whom.

There is a fundamental difference between belief and knowledge. People believe the darnedest things. Belief is a matter of choice. Knowledge is based upon what is experienced through the senses.

Disagreements with this based upon sophistry are not of interest. Abstraction from immediate, primary experience does not change the source of knowledge.

Hundreds of millions of people believe many things about the Old Testament. But when it comes to knowledge the situation is much different.

  • No one knows why the books of the Old Testament were written.
  • No one knows who wrote them.
  • No one knows when they were written.
  • No one knows the original language in which they were written.
  • No one knows when the idea they were religious works started.
  • No one knows when they became a component of a religion.
  • No one knows why any particular selection of books was made.

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That's an interesting premise - and a lot of material to work through.  I'll certainly keep scanning through it.  Just one question though:  I've heard several lectures by people well versed in ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek, indicating that it is clear the Septuagint is a translation - things like Hebrew idioms being translated literally and not holding up well in Koine Greek, some Hebrew nouns, for which there were no KG equivalent, being spelled out in the Greek alphabet.  These people weren't the sort trying to preserve the religious standing of the text, either - most were Atheist/agnostics who were lecturing on errors made in the translation and how they've carried over into modern day Christianity.  How do you respond to such claims?

One has to ask how they know which is the idiom and which is the translation.

We first note when it comes to "hebrew" the OT is the only example. So there is nothing to compare it with. So far as I can find Koine Greek is almost only found in Alexandrian Egypt with sparse examples from other places.

If I avoid arguing to a pro-bible conclusion I start with the only source claiming the Greek is the translation which is the forgery of Aristeas. It can be dated to roughly the time of the Maccabes fighting a proxy war for the Ptolemys against the Seleucids. (Likely everything you have heard about the Maccabes is a lie. See Josephus, Wars of the Jews, book 1.) And that is about the oldest date that can be assigned to the Septuagint stories.

Without debating which is the translation this is when the stories were invented.

From another source, Hebrew is Greek, Yehuda Bauer, preface by Prof. Saul Levin, Becket Publications, Oxford, 1982 the case is well made. While the author is an attorney Prof Levin is a linguist. The material goes on endless with excruciatingly boring detail. It may be wrong but not crackpot. To make it short this Hebrew is a pidgin of Aramaic and Greek. The script, the font, is 1st c. AD Aramaic not something special for "hebrew."

But going back to the original Koine issue it was that the "hebrew" expressions in the Greek were the evidence. Then in the late 1880s Koine Greek was discovered and the "hebrew" was found to filled with Koine Greek idioms and phrases. Whereas there are no other examples of this "hebrew" all the rest from the region being Aramaic and now thousands of examples of Koine Greek which way does the argument go for which is the translation?

The Ptolemys did support the revolt. They did build an entire city that was a copy of Jerusalem for him to rule. It became a real city and was such a pain in the ass in putting down the 76 revolt Titus had to destroy it. There were certainly Judeans in Egypt as a consequence of the Maccabean revolt. Finding a few common idioms that did not easily translate is no surprise.

OR we can look at Judea that was not literate until after Greek rule and imagine illiterate people in an illiterate culture created and preserved a half million words of material over centuries.

I do not have complete or conclusive answers as yet. I may not find them. The material may no longer exist. But there are some absolutes such as no literate culture and no hebrew existing outside of these stories.

And as background the idea of a "hebrew" language is nonsense per se. Once there is no Moses or Joshua there is no group to move into the region. Judea is just another hillbilly area of Palestine-Syria. And as there is no biblical Israel found in archaeology so also no Hebrews nor Israelites. And no Philistines or Canaanites for that matter. Judeans do not appear in history until Pompey arrives in the region. Samaritans, Galileans and Idumaeans were conquered by the Judeans and forced to adopt their Yahweh cult. Again, read Josephus.

To be honest, that is a lot more detailed history than I care to study even if I were to limit myself to what the mainstream scholars have to say on the matter.  In the end, I'm not attached to it one way or the other.

As far as I know, the overwhelming view is that there was no Hebrew Moses or Joshua as described in the Hebrew texts.  From a linguistic standpoint, however, the Semitec languages are well demonstrated to have common roots.  Then we are left with the parallels between Genesis and The Epic of Gilgamesh.  My understanding was that it all points to the Hebrews being a few backwater tribes that moved west, two of which eventually merged.

The evidence of this abounds in the text itself.  If one were to write Genesis from scratch, what would be the point of the doublets?  Literary analysis clearly shows, even in English, that two versions of the same mythology were stitched together.  It would be rather convoluted to create the entire history twice, fabricating both versions of the mythology, only to then redact them together to make it look like two tribes merged when the entire point of the merger was to make it look like they had always been one people.

Nothing personal but you have been reading from the wrong crowd. There is ZERO evidence of any story in the OT and maybe a couple were inspired by real events but have no factual relation to them. That goes from Adam through David, Solomon and mythical temple through the mythical captivity and Babylon and all later events.

The wrong crowd wants argumentation. The rational crowd accepts only physical evidence.

The supposed doublets are argumentation but the evidence raises the obvious issue? How could ILLITERATE people create singlets or doublets or anything? How could people who were ILLITERATE until some time in the 3rd c. BC at the earliest have created anything in writing?

Why should I have to explain doublets when they refuse to explain how illiterate people could write? Watch for the circular argument, the stories themselves are evidence of literacy. Literate cultures have the most documents as contracts, legal documents and decisions, and laws and edicts in roughly that order of commonness with religious documents as the least number. In bibleland we are supposed to accept the religious was the only thing.

The only thing we find in bibleland before the Greek period are merchant agreements on broken pottery. The area was so illiterate they never developed anything just for writing. Not even clay tablets which of course are dirt cheap. And what writing there in the region are a few inscriptions in Phoenician suggesting itinerant scribes something like the traveling lawyers in the early US like Abe Lincoln. Two of them are funerary inscriptions referring to Yahweh and Ashara, the god and goddess of the region.

As to how much there is to it, a lot less than you have been fed slowly over the years by believers. The simplest is if they want a biblical Israel only physical evidence of an Israel describes in the bible is acceptable. No argumentation is acceptable. This is EXACTLY what is required for all other ancient civilizations.

As to main stream scholars they come in two categories. There are real ones and there are bible believers. It is the same with archaeologists, real ones who play by the rules of the science of archaeology and the believers with a bible in one hand and a shovel in the other.

Usually it is simple to tell the apart. The real ones will use dates. The fake ones will say things like, in the time of King David. The real ones describe what is found. The fake ones describe things as examples of something biblical.

Perhaps I'll talk to you again in ten years when you've matured enough in your deconversion so as to be less prone to such knee jerk reactions.   If you want, you can go back and read what I wrote (take a few breaths while you do) and actually try to formulate a coherent response to what I said.

(Hint: I stated specifically that the scholars I mentioned were Atheist/agnostic and that they were in general agreement that there was no Moses, at least not as written.)

Your call.


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