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Truth behind The Bible

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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?

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.........

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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".

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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
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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

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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.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/rev-henry/19_ot-archaeology_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
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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.

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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.

Let us not go down this path. There are all too many examples of bad behavior on both sides of this issue.

Doug

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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.

I never criticized you or your religion with that post, I stated the truth as I see, the bible(s) is nothing more than the rantings of a narcissistic madman playing god who is destroying our world through his deceit and madness.

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Why on earth would you assume most people think that people in the bible are based on REAL people/events???

I truly believe that 95% of everything in the bible is completely made up. MAYBE 5% is based on "real" people or "real" events and that 5% is still quite a bit made up.

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Why on earth would you assume most people think that people in the bible are based on REAL people/events???

I truly believe that 95% of everything in the bible is completely made up. MAYBE 5% is based on "real" people or "real" events and that 5% is still quite a bit made up.

When you systematically take biblical names and try to identify them, you usually come up with a blank - there is no corroborating evidence and there is no way to know if such a person ever existed. Most such people were plausible, but there simply isn't any external evidence to confirm or reject them.

A fair number, though, are historical, a fact that can be established because they are mentioned in other writings of the time. John the Apostle is named by Papias as someone he personally heard speak. Pontius Pilate really was Prefect of Judea from 26 to 36 AD. And Tiberius really was the Emperor in 30 AD. These facts can be substantiated by reference to other writings, such as Suetonius' "The Twelve Caesars."

And then there are the conflations: a few of the characters are composites of real people: above I listed some for Moses. There are about a half-dozen different people named Jesus whose lives are eerily similar to the life of the biblical Jesus. Jesus of Lydda was crucified, for example.

What the exact balance between real people, plausible people and conflations is, I have no idea, but the plausible unknowns probably are the majority.

Doug

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Why on earth would you assume most people think that people in the bible are based on REAL people/events???

Because children in Sunday school are taught that they really did happen and to question it is sinful. If they don't have an epiphany when they get older (i.e. "What about the dinosaurs?"), then they'll go on believing that the Bible is as valid as any history book if not more valid since God cosigned it.

I've known people who continue to believe the Bible as fact despite the evidence. My favorite example was my rabidly evangelical Christian math teacher. In class we used simple trigonometry to determine how far away stars are. Naturally we came up with very large distances for some of them. Some of them were hundreds of thousands of light years away. Our math teacher was upset by the distances we were calculating and reminded us that they were "just theoretical". Why was a math teacher suddenly telling us that simple trigonometry only gives "theoretical" answers?

Later I found out why. Believers in the Young Universe need everything in the universe to be just a few thousand light years away. If they were farther away, the light from these objects wouldn't have reached us yet. Therefore these crazy distances astronomers claim simply must be wrong.

These are the people teaching your children!

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One thing's for certain. Whether if you believe in the bible or not, It seems to have some attraction to people

like bugs to light because it's got everyone talking about it.

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I truly believe that 95% of everything in the bible is completely made up. MAYBE 5% is based on "real" people or "real" events and that 5% is still quite a bit made up.

Sometimes we can look at a Bible story, explain what really happened and still not know whether to call it "made up" or not. Remember the spring that Moses made drinkable by putting a stick in it? It was the spring Ayn Musa, about four miles south of Suez. It has been known in history for thousands of years. Genesis mentions twelve springs and 70 palm trees. Ramses III used it as a water source for his fort at Suez. Josephus visited the site and found only wet sand. Napoleon went to see it and said it made terrible coffee, but he thought his army could live on it. In the 1920s two geologists (Spacek and Moon) conducted an experiment: they placed "bitter" water from one of the springs in earthen pots and allowed it to stand overnight. When they came back in the morning, the water was drinkable.

So what does that sound like? "Moses," knowing this detail, conducted a little "magic" for the benefit of his followers. His authority as God's spokesman was affirmed.

Is the Bible story made up? It's a real spring. It really has bitter (salty) water. It really can be made potable with a little magic. And once you know how it was done, like any magic trick, it's no longer magic.

Again, the basic story is true, but the details have become garbled and perhaps a little sensationalized over the centuries.

Doug

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One thing's for certain. Whether if you believe in the bible or not, It seems to have some attraction to people

like bugs to light because it's got everyone talking about it.

Like who? No one I know talks about it. Even when I hung out with church-going Christians, they never talked about the Bible and weren't interested in it. Most people accept it's pure fiction full of contradictions and disproven assertions. It does have some catchy quotable verses though.

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Like who? No one I know talks about it. Even when I hung out with church-going Christians, they never talked about the Bible and weren't interested in it. Most people accept it's pure fiction full of contradictions and disproven assertions. It does have some catchy quotable verses though.

Like all radical/extreme statements this is untrue. Reputable non religious historians and archaeologists have confirmed a great deal of the historical accuracy of the bible, as far as it is possible to do so. eg as with the city of troy in non biblical archaeology. And with the route of jason and the argonauts from greek pre history

Denial of this just makes an argument seem philosophically biased. The attractionof the bible to peole is not in its historicity or otherwise but in its recognition of basic huma truths

Edited by Mr Walker

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Like all radical/extreme statements this is untrue.

It is hardly a radical or extreme statement if you do a little reading.

Reputable non religious historians and archaeologists have confirmed a great deal of the historical accuracy of the bible, as far as it is possible to do so. eg as with the city of troy in non biblical archaeology. And with the route of jason and the argonauts from greek pre history

Nothing in the Torah has been confirmed. Much of the rest of the Old Testament is highly debateable.

Archeologists haven't uncovered much of the alleged Kingdom of Israel. Canaan was a collection of city-states with a mixture of cultures and no clear borders. This unpleasant fact is accidentally betrayed a couple of times in the Bible. Defending a Kingdom that size would have required a huge army and a large government of which we have no evidence.

There is evidence that there was a David but no evidence of a King David. There is even a collection of archeologists who do nothing but search for evidence of God's favorite king. They haven't come up with much.

There is no evidence of Solomon or his temple or his mighty reign of the Middle East. His alliance by marriage with Egypt would have been one of the most significant events of the time yet there is no record of it.

There is no evidence that Egypt ever had a large Jewish population. There is no evidence of an exodus from it or of people living in the Sinai for decades.

There is no evidence of the conquests of Joshua. There is no evidence of Jewish occupation of Jericho (which was probably abandoned at the time) or any other major cities besides Jerusalem and Samaria.

All evidence suggests that the events in the Torah are entirely myth. The Bible doesn't align with recorded history before the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions.

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