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Truth behind The Bible


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#1    ali smack

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:42 PM

I think everyone is in agreement that most of the characters in The Bible are real historical people.
But which stories are real and which ones are not?
I hope i'm not offending any religious people here.
I'm just interested in knowing people's opinions on this?


#2    Norbert Dentressangle

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:07 PM

I think a general rule of thumb seems to be that Genesis and everything up to the adventures of Moses (the first five books, the Pentateuch*) is in the realm of the mythological, but from about Joshua onwards historically verifiable characters do begin to emerge.

* That's not to say that the general pattern of these events,(e.g. the Exile in Egypt and the return to the Promised Land) didn't happen, just that the principal characters are probably mythological, which is the same way that any culture describes its pre-history.
** Of course, if you do look at it this way, you may have to consider that the Law was not actually handed down to Moses on tablets of stone & so is unalterable because it's the word of God, but it may have been devised by human beings, so you can understand why people would be anxious to insist that it did lterally happen.

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#3    Frank Merton

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:23 PM

I don't know that there is any way independent of the OT to show that even the Davidic Dynasty is historical.  The OT as we have it seems to have been put together from earlier documents (how much earlier is hard to say) by priests returning from the "Babylonian exile" under Persian dominance and was done mainly to create a justification for their occupation of this land and to create a great history for their people.  It is almost impossible for anyone today to say what is history and what was fable.


#4    Ogbin

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:15 PM

If the Word of GOD isn't real then why are so many people always trying to disprove it?  You have to believe it or not, there is no halfway.


#5    Mystic Crusader

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:39 PM

View PostOgbin, on 19 February 2013 - 06:15 PM, said:

If the Word of GOD isn't real then why are so many people always trying to disprove it?  You have to believe it or not, there is no halfway.

You could look at the bible(s) like I do,  as the rantings of a raving narcissistic madman hell bent on causing as much suffering and destruction on mankind as possible.  You could look at the bible(s) as being a deadly poison to society that will accomplish nothing more than our own destruction.  Maybe I shouldn't care, it isn't like they do.

Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason that “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous execution, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God."
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#6    White Crane Feather

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:48 PM

View PostOgbin, on 19 February 2013 - 06:15 PM, said:

If the Word of GOD isn't real then why are so many people always trying to disprove it?  You have to believe it or not, there is no halfway.
You don't have to do anything of the sort. You can believe parts that might be be true, you can wholeheartedly believe in a spiritual concept like "do on to others", and on the next page you can believe another thing is total crap. I get to choose what I believe or not. Halfway, quarter way, 1/16 way 1/32 1/64 1/128 2/256.........

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#7    scowl

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:59 PM

View Postali smack, on 19 February 2013 - 02:42 PM, said:

I think everyone is in agreement that most of the characters in The Bible are real historical people.

The more I look into this, the more it looks like most of the characters in the BIble are fictitious. The superpower Kingdom of Israel certainly never existed as described in the Old Testament. It looks more and more like a collection of legends, mythology and highly embellished stories of actual people.


#8    Talion

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:26 PM

Sumerian literature antedates the text of the Bible, of the iliad and odyssey, and of the Rig-veda and Avesta by more than a millenium.
The texts of the Bible have been modified, edited, and redacted by compilers and redactors with varied motives and diverse points of view.
Not so our Sumerian literature; it has come down to us as actually inscibed by the ancient scribes of four thousand years ago.

"The ANUNNAKI created (at least) two distinct hybrid humans: one, the fully-functioning demi-god (as described in the Old Testament): the other, a ‘dumbed-down’, more manageable ‘drone’ version (but still, crucially, with godlike abilities latent within it’s DNA). The story goes that the descendants of both versions populate the Earth today with, inevitably, one version ruling the other…"

#9    scowl

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:47 PM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 19 February 2013 - 03:07 PM, said:

I think a general rule of thumb seems to be that Genesis and everything up to the adventures of Moses (the first five books, the Pentateuch*) is in the realm of the mythological, but from about Joshua onwards historically verifiable characters do begin to emerge.

I haven't read of anyone discovering any evidence of Joshua's conquests which created the large Kingdom of Israel. All evidence suggests that Jewish cities existed among cities of other cultures in Canaan but had no power over the region. This is even suggested in the BIble when it refers to cities full of "foreigners" in Israel. Joshua may have been some guy that led an attack on a neighboring city and the story was embellished to become a series of glorious battles.


#10    flbrnt

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:31 PM

A Syrian inscription refers to "The House of David" so David at any rate can be considered historical. There is no independent verification for earlier figures but it is interesting that Moses has an Egyptian name meaning "son of". The Tel El Amarna letters refer to "Habiru" or Hebrews invading Canaan while it was part of the Egyptian Empire. The date is wrong for the Israelites but the Edomites, Moabites and Ammonites were also Hebrew tribes and were established before the Isrealites got there. The Egyptians kept them from Canaan so they settled in Jordan and the Israelite tribes had to pass through their territories.


#11    scowl

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:38 PM

Just because an inscription says "House of David" doesn't mean all the stories about David in the Bible must be true. We don't even know if it refers to the Biblical David or even to real living David.

The contents of the El Amarna letters are confusing and are still debated, especially the reference to "Habiru".


#12    Doug1o29

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:52 PM

View Postali smack, on 19 February 2013 - 02:42 PM, said:

I think everyone is in agreement that most of the characters in The Bible are real historical people.
But which stories are real and which ones are not?
I hope i'm not offending any religious people here.
I'm just interested in knowing people's opinions on this?
The Big Two (Moses and Jesus) appear to be based on composites of people who really lived.  Take a little from this person's life, add a little from another's and throw in somebody else and you have a fictional character, who none-the-less is based on historical people.

In the case of Moses, the historical prototypes are:
1.  Ahmose I.  First Pharoah of the 18th Dynasty.  The list of Moses' "ancestors" is the king list of Ahmose' predecessors in the 16th (Hyksos) dynasty.
2.  Djehute.  A great man - great enough that the Egyptians turned him into a god - the ibis-headed Djehuti.  He was a supervisory priest of On and best-friend to Hatshepsut's (Pharaohs' daughter's) lover, Senemet.  He was the one who killed an Egyptian and hid the body in the sand - a would-be assassin named Ptah-Sokar.  When called to account, he fled to Canaan (Joppa).  The "Prince of Egypt" part of the story derives from him.
3.  Osar-Seph, leader of a slave revolt at Avaris/Ramses.  He was also a priest of On, caught in Seti I's roundup of "lepers and other unclean people."  For thirteen years he and his people "despoiled the Egyptians."  He was involved in a confrontation with Seti (who wasn't actually a Pharaoh yet) over a curse visited upon Egypt by the gods.
4.  Amenmesses (Josephus called him "Messui.").  A renegade Pharoah, grandson of Ramses the Great.  His older brother, Seti II, was the heir to the throne, while Amenmesses was sent to Thebes to command the army against rebellious tribes from Nubia.  When his father, Merneptah, died, Amenmesses took advantage of the situation and declared himself Pharaoh.  Seti got the other princes to support him and sent an army against Thebes.  Amenmesses was defeated and just disappeared, BUT:  Wadi Hammamat provides an easy route from Thebes to the Red Sea and the mining operation at Serabit al Khaddim was on the opposite shore.  Twenty-one years later, a man named "Moses" appeared leading an expedition in Sinai - a man with military experience and knowledge of the mining operations in Sinai.  Seti's first-born son, Seti-Merneptah, died of disease, leaving his younger brother, Siptah, to become Pharaoh.

I'm still working on Jesus.  There appears to be a number of people who would serve as prototypes for Jesus in the same way that various people served as prototypes for Moses.  In addition, there were dozens of people named Jesus, so every time one of them did something noteworthy, it got added to the story.  Again, the result would be a work of fiction that was based on real people.

On the subject of real people:  Baalam, the priest with the talking donkey, was a real person whose existence was confirmed when his name was found on a wall at Hisban in Jordan.

Papias states that he heard John, the Apostle, speak.  Irenaeus says that Origen was a student of John (But I can't find anything in Origen's writings that confirms this.).  Papias also says that he spoke with "the daughters of Philip."  The Apostle Thomas, on the other hand, appears to be a conflation of Jesus' follower and the disciple of Apolonius of Tyana (That is, if Jesus actually had such a disciple.).

And Apolonius of Tyana appears to be the prototype of the Apostle Paul.   Apolonius was sometimes called "Pol."  Tyana and Tarsus are two small towns only 25 miles apart.  As a child, Apolonius' family moved to Tarsus, thus making him "Pol" of Tarsus.  Paul's missionary journeys very nicely reproduce Apolonius' travels, but the order is reversed.  And several of Paul's "authentic" letters are consistent with the teachings of Apolonius.

In the Book of Acts is a reference to "most excellent Felix."  "Most excellent" was a title used for Roman authorities and, possibly, for prominent churchmen, as well.  Felix was appointed governor of Egypt in 151 AD; if Acts was referring to him, it puts a date on Acts.  The Book of Luke is dedicated to "most excellent Theopilus."  Theophilus was Patriarch of Antioch from 169 to about 183 AD.  Historians debate whether Theophilus or Irenaeus was the first to mention the Book of John by name.

Then there's "Caesar Nero" whose number in Jewish numerology is:  666.  Jesus' ministry is supposed to have begun in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, the Roman Emperor.  And then there's Pontius Pilate.

So, YES:  Many of the people mentioned in the Bible were real people.  But some were also conflations of real people.
Doug

Edited by Doug1o29, 20 February 2013 - 07:56 PM.

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#13    Doug1o29

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:16 PM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 19 February 2013 - 03:07 PM, said:

I think a general rule of thumb seems to be that Genesis and everything up to the adventures of Moses (the first five books, the Pentateuch*) is in the realm of the mythological, but from about Joshua onwards historically verifiable characters do begin to emerge.
There was a major flooding event in Egypt during the reign of Semerkhet, sixth Pharoah of the First Dynasty.  The world's first earth-fill dam collapsed during his reign and was never rebuilt.  What's left of it is still standing.  Apparently, the Nile cut a new channel around Memphis.  Later Pharaohs filled the old channel, making the new one permanent.  Part of Cairo stands in the old channel.

About this same time (c. 2800 BC) there was a major flooding event in the Tigris-Euphrates valley.  It was apparently part of a world-wide climatic disturbance (Bristlecones from California show a growth disturbance from 2807 to 2801 BC.).  Author Bruce Massey has dated the event to "on or about May 10, 2807 BC."  He says that is the date of an asteroid impact in the Indian Ocean that created a tsunami that swept the Persian Gulf and created massive floods as water boiled by the heat of the impact rained out of the atmosphere.  He points to Berkel Crater on the ocean floor as the source.  The crater has not been dated; the impact could have happened then, or a million years earlier.

Sumerian accounts were probably the source of the Bible's version of the story.
Doug

If I have seen farther than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants. --Bernard de Chartres
The beginning of knowledge is the realization that one doesn't and cannot know everything.
Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance. --Hippocrates
Ignorance is not an opinion. --Adam Scott

#14    Mr Walker

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:02 AM

Arcahaology and history have confirmed a  great deal of the 'history" within the Old testament, using the same historical methods cross refernces and evidences used n all historical studies. Absolute scientific quality proofs? No but then no history can be confirmed in that way and certainly no prehistorical events. The following document ,makes an interesting read and illustrates the nature of an historians work in this area.

http://www.biblicals...ogy_wiseman.pdf

This has some specific examples

http://www.equip.org...y-of-the-bible/

As does this

http://pleaseconvinc...cally-verified/

Of course these articles come from partial sources, but the facts within them remain.  And this is only a tiny fraction of known and proven historical  facts about old testament times  Biblical archaeology is conducted not just by believers but by some of the most recognised professional  men and women in the world BECAUSE it is such a rich field of endeavour. Many of them are agnostic or atheist.

Edited by Mr Walker, 23 February 2013 - 02:03 AM.

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With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

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#15    AquilaChrysaetos

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:35 AM

View PostHavocWing, on 19 February 2013 - 06:39 PM, said:

You could look at the bible(s) like I do,  as the rantings of a raving narcissistic madman hell bent on causing as much suffering and destruction on mankind as possible.  You could look at the bible(s) as being a deadly poison to society that will accomplish nothing more than our own destruction.  Maybe I shouldn't care, it isn't like they do.

You can look at certain atheists the same way.

Why can't we discuss belief / non-belief like civilized individuals? Do we have to result to vulgarity and Stereotypes?

It's not like I'm trying to spit in your face, but atheists like you sure seem to love to spit in mine.

Jesus Christ - Matthew 28:18-20 said:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

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