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Genesis (not the band)

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Genesis (not the band)

Old 10-09-05, 01:58 AM
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Genesis (not the band)

We were talking about evolution over in Politics and went off on a tangent about who wrote the Pentatuach (aka the Torah or the first five books of the Old Testament)
Originally Posted by JasonF
http://education.yahoo.com/homework...stament/32.html

The easiest way to see that the Pentatuach is composed of multiple interwoven narratives is to start reading at the begining. Genesis 1:24-27 (part of the P narrative) describes God creating the animals before God creates man while Genesis 2:18-19 (part of the J narrative) describes God creating the animals after God creates man. Similarly, the P narrative describes God creating man and woman together, while the J narrative describes God creating man first, then later creating woman.
Originally Posted by kvrdave
You actually read it that way? Keeping in mind that the chapters and verses were given numbers by men to help find places, etc. (though with reasons), it seems a little hard to argue much on that basis. However, if one were to, the first thing to look at would be Genesis 2:1 to see if we have actually started something new. That verse is "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. (NASB)" So when you are reading Gen 2:18-19, it is already with the frame of reference established...thus everything was created. Genesis 2:4 even gives you a nice little wrap up of it...."This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven."
Just so we're all on the same page, here are the passages in question, using the NASB translation.

So the question is this -- is Genesis 2:4 the wrap-up of Genesis 1-2:3 or is it the begining of a second creation tale? It sure seems strange to lay out the seven days of creation, and then immediately follow it with "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground...." It seems to me that it's relatively unnatural to read Genesis 2:4 and forward as being of the same cloth as Genesis 1-2:3.

Originally Posted by kvrdave
When you get to 2:18-19 you read...."18 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. " Where you see this as a evidence that it now shows that God created the animals after man, it seems obvious to me they it is saying that God HAD made them "out of the ground." It is a past tense "formed" instead of "created," which in Hebrew is bara, which is a verb to define "creation" but is only attributed to God. When man creates something, like a building, an alter, a poem, etc. etc., it is never bara, as that verb form of "create," it is only used when God creates something.
Or is the different verb an indication of a different author? Sure, you can find a way to make them consistent -- the Pentatuach wouldn't have lasted as long as it did if some snot-nosed guy on the internet could unravel it -- but to some extent, you've got to jump through hoops. I mean, I've read some of the same explanations you probably have (e.g. "no shrub of the earth" is consistent with "The earth brought forth vegetation ..." because after Genesis 1 there were plants and shrubs, but until the rain came, they hadn't grown.)

Originally Posted by kvrdave
Crap, I could write an awful lot about this, but I hate to get this thread going in yet another direction. Start a new thread about Genesis, and I will happily be a part of it. But I will say that I think it is very disingenuous to say that "Biblical scholars today almost universally agree that the Pentateuch is composed of at least four separate and distinct narratives written by different persons who were widely separated historically." I would certainly want to know of the source of that. Aside form something like The Jesus Seminar, I can't think of any groups that almost univerally agree on that.
First of all, I should emphasize that the "Biblical scholars today ..." language isn't mine, it's from that Yahoo page I pulled up. I don't know enough about what Biblical scholars think to make a statement like that. But I will say that I think we should distinguish between those who study the Bible from a religious perspective and those who study it from a scholastic perspective -- and I'm not sure if scholastic is the right word; I'm just trying to distinguish between a minister or rabbi or someone like that, who may be very learned, but will have one set of preconceptions and a professor in a religious studies department, who will approach the text with a different set of preconceptions. Based on the one religious studies class I took in college, my sense was that among the latter group, the idea that the Pentatuach is 4 texts woven together is not a controversial topic. But I could be wrong.
Old 10-09-05, 02:07 AM
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Religious talk in the otter.This should be good.
Old 10-09-05, 02:13 AM
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"We"?
Old 10-09-05, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
So the question is this -- is Genesis 2:4 the wrap-up of Genesis 1-2:3 or is it the begining of a second creation tale?
Isn't that exactly what is done in Genesis 1:1? "In the begining, God created the heavens and the earth." Then the next few chapter go back and into detail over that statement.

But I will say that I think we should distinguish between those who study the Bible from a religious perspective and those who study it from a scholastic perspective -- and I'm not sure if scholastic is the right word; I'm just trying to distinguish between a minister or rabbi or someone like that, who may be very learned, but will have one set of preconceptions and a professor in a religious studies department, who will approach the text with a different set of preconceptions.
Obviously, I would have a problem with that. You have effectively said that we should look at scholars who have studied it but have no religious persuasion. Many scholars of the Bible will have a religious persuasion, yet we can't use that in the argument because the only argument that is fair is to use those who don't believe it? I wonder which way they will tend to think? Can there not be people who study it from both perspectives?

That is like me saying that we should discuss a theory in mathmatics, but not actually consider the opinion of anyone who sees it from a mathmaticians view, isn't it? If not, how is it different?

Based on the one religious studies class I took in college, my sense was that among the latter group, the idea that the Pentatuach is 4 texts woven together is not a controversial topic. But I could be wrong.
Let me say, that I have studied a lot. I don't just read stuff from people that believe the same thing I do, nor do I just stick with religious people. However, this is probably the first I have ever heard (that I recall) of the idea that Genesis was written by several people, especially in just the first few chapters.

But as an example, in the 1950s, it was not a controversial topic in many universities and non religious (and some religious) studies of the Bible that the book of Daniel was written after the predictions made (in fact the earliest manuscript was around the 9th century, iirc), and that is how they managed to be correct. The Dead Sea Scrolls put an end to that idea because it was included in there, and I think they were carbon dated to around 450 BC (might be 250 BC, I don't recall off hand). So, I guess if one were to believe there was a bias in those who do believe that Genesis is what it claims to be, would it be so hard to believe that there is bias in those who study it but don't believe it?
Old 10-09-05, 02:20 AM
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Old 10-09-05, 02:23 AM
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I've only ever been taught in school that both the Old and New Testaments are hodgepodges of different stories, traditions, and myths. That's not to say there's nothing original, but to take one example, Judaism is not the only religion to have a flood story. And regardless of what blakader might say, Zoroastrianism was an influence on Christianity, as, many scholars believe, was the now apocryphal Book of Enoch.

Also: It's no problem to read interpretations by people who believe, so long as their beliefs don't prejudice them to purposely twist the evidence. Of course some scholars who don't believe might have an agenda to discredit the Bible, but some who don't believe are simply looking for what best fits the evidence, no matter what the answer.

Or, put it this way: If a scholar believes and admits it was written by different authors, it provides evidence that it's not the word of god, just some stories put together. If someone who doesn't believe has evidence it was all written by one person, this doesn't affect their lack of faith, as even if one person wrote it, that's still no proof that the words came from god. So it seems as if the non-believing scholars would have less to lose in claiming one or multiple authors, while a believing scholar would have quite a bit to lose in claiming multiple authors.

Last edited by Supermallet; 10-09-05 at 02:27 AM.
Old 10-09-05, 02:29 AM
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What does this have to do with the Sega Genesis?
Old 10-09-05, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
That's not to say there's nothing original, but to take one example, Judaism is not the only religion to have a flood story.
This comes from nothing more than my own stupid thoughts on the subject. The fact that there seems to be a flood story in nearly every ancient society reinforces the idea that there was a major flood. The trick is in finding out which is true. I don't believe in a global flood (nor do I believe the Bible teaches that), but it does make one have to figure out which came first, and whether or not they are discussing the same flood. We tend to take written account first, but that is "iffy" when we look at archeology for several reasons. The most obvious is how hard and unlikey it is for written records to be preserved, but the other is that when you see that many cultures has rich oral histories, it becomes impossible to place them chronologically with any real accuracy.
Old 10-09-05, 02:33 AM
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Well, I wasn't talking about the flood in particular. It was just to make my point that neither Judaism or Christianity just sprang out of the ether, with no ties to any pre-existing religion. As far as I know, the only people who claim that there are no inconsistencies in the Bible are people who believe it's the true word of God. And then I find that those people often don't know their Bible verses very well.
Old 10-09-05, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by U6C84
What does this have to do with the Sega Genesis?
Absolutely everything. Both failed miserably.
Old 10-09-05, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Absolutely everything. Both failed miserably.
Old 10-09-05, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
As far as I know, the only people who claim that there are no inconsistencies in the Bible are people who believe it's the true word of God. And then I find that those people often don't know their Bible verses very well.
Odd, I would make that claim, but find that people who believe that there are inconsistancies know very little about the Bible. Often they get hung up on the particular words used in one translation rather than looking at original text. Or they look at a single verse without looking to those just after and before as well.

There is only one inconsistancy that I can think of (and won't tell you ), and I have decided to take your approach....give it time, and it will be answered.
Old 10-09-05, 03:13 AM
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Well, I used to go to a Jewish school (where we would sometimes read the Bible in Hebrew), then took comparitive religion classes in both high school and college, as well as doing my own research during my own crisis of faith (ending with me becoming atheist), and I do agree some of it is a translation problem, but as far as I know, aside from the inconsistencies, the biggest reason scholars think the Bible was written by different authors is because the books have different writing styles, even in the original language.

P.S. Don't ask me to do any translations of Hebrew words, I've forgotten all that I learned about the language, except that "Lo mitchashek li" means "I don't feel like it."
Old 10-09-05, 03:46 AM
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Sega!
Old 10-09-05, 09:04 AM
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http://www.elliemae.com/products/los_genesis.asp ?
http://www.genesisscuba.com/ ?
Old 10-09-05, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
I've only ever been taught in school that both the Old and New Testaments are hodgepodges of different stories, traditions, and myths. That's not to say there's nothing original, but to take one example, Judaism is not the only religion to have a flood story. And regardless of what blakader might say, Zoroastrianism was an influence on Christianity, as, many scholars believe, was the now apocryphal Book of Enoch.
Well you have said this a couple times with no evidence to support it. Here is more evidence against it and to say there a couple of things similar is not the same as saying there is an influence.

I have chosen the title "close but no cigar" for this essay because of all the figures chosen by mythicists so far that I have looked at, old Zoro comes in closest to fitting their bill. Some of the things listed above are actually true and confirmed by scholarly literature -- and a couple of them come from sources that Zoroastrian scholars suggest go back to a source predating Christianity. But that's the mythicists getting 10 out of 100 on a test where before they got zeroes, or claiming a "100% increase" in a salary that went from one dollar a year to two dollars. Some of these I find no confirmation at all for; others come from sources that are way, way too late -- even as late as the 10th century! Our main source for details on Zoro is the Avesta, a collection of sacred texts which was put in writing between 346-360 AD [Herz.ZW, 774] and of which we have manuscript copies only as early as the 13th century [Wat.Z, 56 -- and note to conspiracy theorists: blame Alexander the Great and the Muslims for the destruction of Zoroastrian literature]. Some of the material probably comes from a time before the Christian era, but most of this is reckoned to be hymns and some basic information [Rose.IZ, 17] that was part of the oral tradition. The rest seems likely to have been added later, and for good reason, as Rose notes [ibid., 27]:

The incorporation of certain motifs into the Zoroastrian tradition in the ninth century CE could indicate the conscious attempt of the priesthood to exalt their prophet in the eyes of the faithful who may have been tempted to turn to other religions.
In other words, if we see a "Jesus-like" story in these texts, especially this late, we have a right to suspect borrowing -- but in exactly the opposite way that Acharya supposes!

I usually start these by saying a little about the subjects themselves. A key issue seems to be, "When did Zoroaster actually live?" Interestingly enough there has even been a few "Zoroaster-mythers" who said (as Bultmann said of Jesus!) "nothing can be said" of the historical Zoroaster [Rose.IZ, 15]. J. M. Robertson, who also stumped for a mythical Jesus and a mythical Buddha, took up the Zoroaster-myth (to which a Zoroastrian scholar responded, "I have myself indeed divined and published the argument by which Mr. Robertson's successors fifty years hence will irrefutably prove him a myth") [Wat.Z, 11]. One Zoroastrian scholar did go along with the idea eventually, but died before he could justify his position. At any rate, most of the sources I consulted prefer a date around 600 B.C., though one scholar has suggested a date as early as 1700 BC [Yam.PB, 414].

Does Persia have anything to do with Jerusalem? Zoro's faith had an idea that sounds like, and probably is, bodily resurrection, though it is most clear only in AD-dated Z texts. Did the Jews "steal" this idea while under the thumb of the Persians? There is no direct evidence either way; the Persians may have got the ideas from the Jews, and from Ezekiel or Daniel. We'll see some other general ideas they have in common as well. But in terms of borrowing, no evidence exists -- one way or the other, and a determination depends on the interpretations and datings of Zoroastrian texts. Zoroastrian scholars offer no consensus on the subject [Yam.PB, 461]: Yamauchi cites one Z scholar who believes that the Jews borrowed, another that says there is no way to tell who borrowed, and yet another who says that the borrowing was the other way. There is also a great difference in approach: The Jews buried their dead, while the Zoros exposed their dead.

Others argue that the Jewish idea of Satan is borrowed from Zoroastrianism. But Satan appears in Job, a very early book, and is nothing like the evil Zoro god Ahriman, who is a dualistic equal to Ohrmazd the good god, rather than a subordinate. Finally, it is significant that while the OT used plenty of Persian loanwords for governmental matters, they did not use any for religion [Yam.PB, 463]. The most we find is, I am told, the name of a Persian demon in the Book of Tobit!
Old 10-09-05, 05:17 PM
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If you do a simple Google search for Zoroastrianism, you'll find that many sites about it lists it as an influence on Judaism and Christianity:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/zoroastr.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroast...cal_importance
http://www.zarathushtra.com/z/article/influenc.htm
http://www.greatcom.org/resources/ha...07/default.htm

Also, if that article is your best evidence against it, it's pretty weak. The main thesis of the article is that since there are no writings that predate Christ, Zoroastrianism couldn't have been an influence on Judaism or Christianity. Not so. In those days, most religions maintained oral traditions. Writing was not the norm. The Bible itself was maintained in an oral tradition centuries before it was written down.

Also, in the other thread, you posted an article about Passover, Easter, and spring festivals which boiled down to: "Other religions focused heavily on the spring festival, so in order to gain converts, Judaism and Christianity both made up their own versions." Well, if they were actually inspired by God, they wouldn't need to make up holidays to compete with other religions. And the fact that they do take holidays and traditions from other festivals shows that they, as religions, already have a track record of taking from other religions.

So what are you arguing, blakader? That the Bible is an entirely original document, written by god?
Old 10-09-05, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
Well, if they were actually inspired by God, they wouldn't need to make up holidays to compete with other religions. And the fact that they do take holidays and traditions from other festivals shows that they, as religions, already have a track record of taking from other religions.
That's a reach.

Bah, I will watch football.
Old 10-09-05, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
If you do a simple Google search for Zoroastrianism, you'll find that many sites about it lists it as an influence on Judaism and Christianity:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/zoroastr.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroast...cal_importance
http://www.zarathushtra.com/z/article/influenc.htm
http://www.greatcom.org/resources/ha...07/default.htm

Also, if that article is your best evidence against it, it's pretty weak. The main thesis of the article is that since there are no writings that predate Christ, Zoroastrianism couldn't have been an influence on Judaism or Christianity. Not so. In those days, most religions maintained oral traditions. Writing was not the norm. The Bible itself was maintained in an oral tradition centuries before it was written down.

Also, in the other thread, you posted an article about Passover, Easter, and spring festivals which boiled down to: "Other religions focused heavily on the spring festival, so in order to gain converts, Judaism and Christianity both made up their own versions." Well, if they were actually inspired by God, they wouldn't need to make up holidays to compete with other religions. And the fact that they do take holidays and traditions from other festivals shows that they, as religions, already have a track record of taking from other religions.

So what are you arguing, blakader? That the Bible is an entirely original document, written by god?
Yes. As Christian I believe
For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Oral tradition was part of the bibles but not all.
The gospels themselves were written within the lifetimes of the people who lived then.

The charges of copycatism are refuted and it may even be the other way and there are scholars who agree as well
I found this interesting
However, according to other scholars, the Persians may have gotten some of their ideas from the Jews, and from Ezekiel or Daniel. There are general ideas they have in common, but in terms of borrowing, no definitive evidence exists one way or the other, and a determination depends on the interpretations and datings of Zoroastrian texts. According to Edwin Yamauchi, Zoroastrian scholars offer no consensus on the subject; he cites one Zoroastrian scholar who believes that the Jews borrowed, another that says there is no way to tell who borrowed, and yet another who says that the borrowing was the other way.[4] R.C. Zaehner states "we cannot say with any certainty whether the Jews borrowed from Zoroastrianism or the Zoroastrians from the Jews or whether either in fact borrowed from each other"[5] and The Oxford History of the Biblical World states "There is little if any effect of Zoroastrian elements on Judaism in the Persian period."[6]
So the question for those who are on the fence is which scholars you choose to believe.
Old 10-09-05, 08:26 PM
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Ok, my two cents, and only two cents because I don't want to research it unless really pushed.

First, I am a Christian, but I have no problem with inconsistencies in the Bible, nor with the fact that a lot of people may have written different pieces of it.

Of course, the traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books. Personally, I think he was too busy (even over that 40 year period) to put it all together.

The most palatable theory to me is that there were TONS of verbal versions of the stories - memorized and passed on from father to son and told over and over with memorized lines.

There wasn't a lot of paper to write on....

Finally, one day, a king/judge/clerk of a stable Hebrew nation (say around the time of Kings/Judges in the bible) started collecting all the verbal stories and hired people to write them down.

The best of the verbal stories were interwoven into what we now know as Genesis/Exodus/etc. - attributing them to Moses probably sounded cool.

But if you ask me (and I know others have conjectured this) the first five books of the Bible were an amalgamation of the verbal stories and set onto paper by a King/Judge of a stable regime.
Old 10-09-05, 08:53 PM
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Actually, as far as I know, the Bible was first written down when the Jews were in exile in Babylon. So that actually takes place after the Book of Kings.
Old 10-09-05, 08:55 PM
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wasn't Khan trying to get his hands on the Genesis device?
Old 10-09-05, 09:03 PM
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Can you just bold the important parts?

How about shooting a movie? We learn best by watching religion happen on the silver screen.
Old 10-09-05, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pedagogue
How about shooting a movie? We learn best by watching religion happen on the silver screen.
That's so funny. As I read this post, I noticed the new review at the top of the page was Left Behind: World At War.
Old 10-09-05, 11:24 PM
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We've been covering this in my Ancient Near East to 200AD History class...in fact I have an exam on it, along with a spattering of stuff on Cro-Magnon/Neanderthal man, and an awful lot about Egypt. I'm reading through the critical analysis of Genesis, I'm on Genesis Chapter 23 or so right now.

Our teacher ran us through the ancient Hebrew text, showing us where in different places different words are used for god. Yahweh, Elohim, El Shaddai, etc. He explains why Elohim is used, Yahweh, etc. The Priestly, or P author, is definitely the most boring. A lot of the really boring lists of genealogy stuff are inserted from the P author, whereas the Yahwist author.
The stories were apparently oral stories, compiled by someone at a couple different points, and re-copied at some points.

My teacher's opinion is this: He didn't think that the changes made by the P author was intentionally distorting the original words - just that they didn't have a reason to copy things 100% word-for-word back then. When the P author stumbled across stuff that didn't make sense, he tried to make it make sense, because God can't be wrong, right? So when the Bible contradicted the teachings of the Temple, it must have been human error from the last author, right? Because God couldn't make an error! So the P author put it how he THOUGHT it was supposed to be without the previous human "error", to agree with the his priestly teachings, because God wouldn't contradict himself.

My teacher doesn't think that there isn't really isn't enough evidence to shows any of the stories in the bible were directly copied from another religion. Compare the Babylonian flood myth story with the Genesis flood myth story...eerily similiar. But it's not that they were likely copied - it's more like they share the same a common root - an oral story of some sort that had been passed down for centuries.


Folks, these were oral stories, passed down and eventually written down. But more than one author has had his hand on the bible that we see today - it's very clear, and biblical scholars pretty much agree, apparently.

Even if you just sit down and read Genesis yourself, ignoring the things glossed over by the English translation (like the different words for God from each author), you will see several stories obviously repeated. You will see contradictions in the story..even in the creation story. You'll see the Noah story contradict itself. You'll see 2-3 places with the same story...Abraham telling the Pharoah that his wife was his sister, with the Pharoah finding out for a certain outcome...Abraham saying the same thing to a different King, with a different outcome...and IIRC Abraham's son doing the same thing to a different leader. They are all obviously the same story but different versions. And why he says that is kind of unclear. Modern history suggests that this may likely have been because there was a ancient tradition in the tribe to give the wife the status of their sister - a process of both pros and cons.


I find it fascinating, the Bible is our best written source of Ancient history, despite it's flaws.

Here's a very good super quick summary of it: http://www.campusquest.org/resources...story_pen.html


Tradition holds that the Pentateuch is the revealed word of God, and many Jews today accept that idea, while others look to biblical scholarship for answers concerning the writing of the Jewish Bible. This scholarship has shown that the Books are based on numerous oral and written traditions that go back as far as the reign of King David, or even earlier. These oral traditions must have been circulating for quite some time when in the latter part of the 7th century, the Jewish King Josiah (640-609 BCE) first initiated the task of 'harmonizing' these traditions into a cohesive volume ultimately leading to the Hebrew Bible.


Today, it is generally agreed by biblical scholars that there are at least four distinct sources at work in the Pentateuch. The oldest strain is identified by its author, known as 'J' (after the German name for Yahweh, spelled Jahveh). J's version of Genesis and subsequent books is primarily focused on the role of God ("YHWH") as the principal force behind Israel's destiny. J is highly informed about ancient Canaanite and Mesopotamian history, for he does not hesitate to borrow from their mythology if it helps to underscore a particularly salient point.

J probably lived in the Kingdom of Judah in the 10th century, either during or after the reign of Solomon. This explains why J places great emphasis on the Davidic dynasty and the Messianic tradition as the common element that binds the nation together especially in times of trouble.

The second oldest strain is what scholars refer to as 'E', based on the author's reference to God as Elohim or "the Lord", up to the revelation in the Burning Bush. E is quite a different author. He was most likely working in the Northern Kingdom and therefore did not share J's faith in the Davidic monarchy. Rather, he focuses on the role of the prophets, particularly Moses, and the power of the Covenant as the quintessential element of the Jewish experience.

The 'D' author or authors worked primarily on the book of Deuteronomy, the focal point of the Jewish laws. It is possible that their book is the ancient source discovered by the priest Hilkiah in the archives of the Temple around 621 BCE. Deuteronomy focuses on the rites of worship to be conducted at the 'central shrine' arguably, the Temple in Jerusalem. It is therefore likely that this book also originated in Judah, quite possibly by a group concerned with codifying and centralizing worship.

Finally, the fourth distinct strain in the Five Books of Moses is called 'P', or priestly source. P is concerned with the practical application of the Mosaic Law in everyday life, particularly the laws of purity. P often reads like a catalog, with long genealogical indexes and detailed prescriptions. Clearly, the P author is less concerned with narrative style and drama, which are the superb qualities of the E and J authors.

Given these four different traditions, the scribes of the 7th and 6th centuries BCE faced a daunting challenge: how to integrate all strains into a cohesive narrative that was comprehensive, authentic and inspirational. Throughout, the awe in which they beheld their ancient sources is evident, because the scribes were loathe deleting portions that were contradictory, leaving it up to the reader to arrive at the proper interpretation.

Last edited by GreenMonkey; 10-09-05 at 11:40 PM.

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