I like to read about ANE (ancient Near Eastern) history, especially that part of it where the antecedents of our judeo-xian worldview can be traced. In a blog devoted to studies of the Hebrew bible and OT tradition, specifically, a post where the borrowings of genesis from the Gilgamesh epic were being discussed, one scholar conceded that: "My own research suggests that the ancient Hebrews creatively drew from the
creation myths of the ANE world, and reinterpreting them with a "new twist," invented a loving, caring, God in contrdiction to the fickle, quarreling, and un-caring gods of the source-myths."

My jaw practically dropped to the floor.

The entire post: http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2000-January/006066.html

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I wonder whether ancient Israel was better for human rights than other countries in that area at the time. For the Jews I mean - probably they treated non-Jews terribly just as other cultures did at the time.

The nature of God (loving or not, etc.) in a society is related to how the people treat each other. 

Also, it's related to how life treats people.  People are going to envision God differently if most children never get to grow up, if there are plagues and massive hunger, etc. etc. 

So that's why I was wondering about life in ancient Israel. 

I believe what the scholar conceded in his research that ancient Hebrews "invented a loving, caring, God." That's enough to say it all right there. Of course, the Old Testament god was not so loving and caring until the centuries past and he was looked at in the rose glasses of the faithful. Today he is nothing but "love."
In my lifetime I have heard many people say "that man upstairs, he can just do anything he wants to." In other words, watch out or god will zap you.
I'm sure the churches still work you with the crucifiction and the sacrifice of christ. This is done in a way as to make you feel guilty. It was your sin that nailed him to the cross. What a sacrifice. He dies and ends up preaching in hell, then comes alive again before the 3 days are up. Beyond that, he knew what was going to happen before it did happen. What's the difference between life and death here? It was all more like an assignment or a holiday.
Oh, that's right. It was a holiday called Good Friday. Some cry because he was killed and others are happy because his death gave them life, and we go back and forth, back and forth, not knowing whether to cry or be happy. Make up your frigging minds!

I think that Israel Finkelstein't "The Bible Unearthed" demonstrates that Yahweh was the God of nomadic pastoralists and it was Josiah who kicked out all other Gods they worshiped to bring together the Judaic people under one God.

So the Old Testament was a political ploy.

The myths were copied from the Babylonian myths in the 4th century BCE and given a Judaic flavor by introducing Judaic names and places, some of those near Egypt were named to summon a degree of authenticity to the stories of Moses and Joshua, which supposedly happened around 1300 BCE, but, the authenticity is dismissed by the fact that most of those villages/towns named, did not exist prior to 700 BCE and Jericho was completely abandoned during the supposed time of Joshua, so no such conquest could have taken place, as it was a ghost town for over a century.

According to Robert Sapolsky, the Megalomaniac, war like, Us vs Them type of Gods arose from nomadic pastoralists who felt the need for a God to help them fight off poachers and predators to protect their livestock and themselves.

Thus Yahweh was born from pastoralists and adopted by the Judaic nation as a protector God to unite the a nation.

This appears to be the most probable origin of Judaism and thus Moses and Joshua never existed, they were made up by scribes in the 4th century BCE to concoct a national identity and history for the captive Judaic people, again for the purpose of giving them an identity.

A nation needs an identity to create unity, this was the reason for the fabricated tales in the Old Testament / Torah. 

Even a false identity is better than none at all.

Thus the reason why Ezra and his fellow scribes created the Torah/O.T.

Christianity and Islam were born from this false history of Judaism.

Thus the prophecies that Jesus attempted to fulfill were false, so he died for nothing but a mythical tale.

Muhammad, concocted his Islam also based on a false premise.

Thus the most likely truth about Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

It's amazing how far their concocted national identity has ventured.

Ezra would be proud of how thousands of years later, people still believe his propaganda!

:-D~

That's all correct, Bud. Actually there was no battle of Jericho. It was more like a melding of peoples over a period of time.

Because the Israelites were a group that arose from within Canaanite society rather than the conquerors the Bible claims them to be, the Canaanite Elohim or sons of God were more likely forerunners rather than parallels.  Also,  though El Elyion is usually translated as "God Most High" or some such, a few scholars have argued that it means "God of the Mountains," and of course in the OT whenever a prophet meets with God he does so on a mountain, and also many Israelite kings, particularly Josiah in the seventh century BCE, embark on crusades to destroy the various "high places" (altars to other Canaanite gods) and stamp out idol worship.  When Yahweh reveals himself to the patriarch (can't remember offhand if it was Abraham, Jacob, or Moses), He says that He is the god the Israelites' ancestors knew as El, thus co-opting Canaanite myth into Hebrew monotheism.

From your post: "the children of El, a probable parallel to the biblical 'sons of God."

I didn't disagree with your post.  The Israelites, despite the Exodus and the walls of Jericho and all that baloney, were most likely originally Canaanites, not a separate group from, as Genesis states, the city of "Ur of the Chaldees," a fur piece south of Israel.  In writing the Hebrew Scriptures several centuries after the (supposed) time of Moses and Joshua, they incorporated elements of Canaanite polytheism, which had to be accounted for and then eliminated.  So God says to Moses that he appeared to Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac as "God Almighty," which many scholars have said is a bastardization of a literal Hebrew term meaning "God of the Mountain."  God here tells Moses that He did not tell his forebears that his name was really Yahweh or Jehovah (Ex 6:2-5).  So El, the Canaanite god associated always with high places, becomes Yahweh, and later, in the Deuteronomistic history, the destroyer of the high places, the pagan shrines.

Aside from the parallel vs. forerunner thing, I'm puzzled as to why you thought the information I added was an attempt to refute your post.

Mark Smith is a pretty good source for information about Canaanite influence on early Judaism.

Craig

I read that children in kibbutzes, who are communally reared, tend not to become religious. 

Perhaps religiousness is transmitted through the parent-child bond.

Perhaps it is the result of being raised in a bubble.  It takes a village ti raise a child. Wonder how many African villages could fit into a non-denominational megachurch?

From my bible reading, the old testament god did not consider himself loving.  He repeatedly described himself as a jealous and vengeful deity.  Anyone who says otherwise is making up a fantasy out of whole cloth, to serve their own agenda.

The bible is nothing if not contradictory. The OT god sticks up for his people, when he feels like it. Not a likeable character when you read the whole thing.

Trying to look into this, I read a section of a book that said Jehovah was an improvement on the Assyrian idea of God.

Something like, the covenant of Jehovah was with everyone in the Jewish nation, not just the king, and everyone was equal before Jehovah in a sense.  I don't remember exactly, but I think that was the gist of it. 

So Judaism might have had a stronger sense of individual human dignity than the religions it came from. 

It's hard to google this, though. 

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