Anachronism is not permitted

A_Nony_Mouse
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Anachronism is not permitted

                   Anachronism is not permitted

In rejecting the ides of divine involvement in the creation of the bible
stories, particularly the OT, the material can be fit into the spectrum of ancient literature. Fit into this spectrum we cannot have the use of a literary style before the invention of that style. A style that appears
before its time is an anachronism. The dating must be wrong. The  date must be changed to after the form appears in history.

The most compelling example is the literary style we call history. We have several books of the bible which are considered the historical works because they use that style. We also know when the style of writing history was invented down to a couple decades. The historical books cannot be dated prior to the invention of the style.

The style is conceded to have been invented by Herodotus in the mid 5th c. BC within a decade or so of 450 BC. He traveled in the lands east of Greece which were part of the Persian empire seeking trading opportunities. His writings are also noteworthy in that while traveling he was in the land called Palestine by the local people. They are also noteworthy they make no mention of the "Jews" or any people who could have been them.

After his books became popular other writers began books about history but incorporating their own idea of what such a book should include. Herodotus started it and the idea evolved afterwards.

As there is no significant question as to the dating of the writings of
Herodotus, ca. mid 5th c. BC, this presents a problem with dating the Old Testament material. Believers date the Old Testament material no younger than the 6th c. BC and many put some of the material centuries older.

The problem is obvious. If we take the datings chosen by the believers Herodotus, the inventor of history, did not invent it. Rather unknown person or persons were the original inventors of writing history. Not only that we find in the historical books material with the type of content used by historians who came after Herodotus.

This would not present much of an issue if the origin of the Old Testament material were Mesopotamia, Egypt or Persia. These lands had traditions of writing and the invention of literary forms going back thousands of years prior to even the earliest Old Testament creation date which attributes the first five books to the mythical Moses.

Believers would attribute the creation of this material to people in the hill country of Palestine. There is no known intellectual or literary tradition of any kind in this region down to modern times. Believers require divine intervention to explain these literary accomplishments because they appear centuries ahead of their time.

The proper skeptic to the contrary observes the known invention of these literary techniques and dates the creation of the OT material containing them after they were invented elsewhere. Thus up front we have the earliest creation of the historical books of the Old Testament after Herodotus moving them to no earlier than the mid 5th c. BC.

But this requires his writings in Greek to have had immediate circulation among the intellectuals in the hill region of Palestine. As above there is no evidence of any intellectual tradition found in the region down to modern times. Because of the absence of such traditions it is not reasonable to suggest they took his idea and incorporated their own ideas of what a history should contain. Thus we have to conclude they were written after later Greek historians.

It is not reasonable to assume instant adoption of the ideas of a Greek culture. Nor is there any evidence of Greek literature or culture in the region until after Alexander who conquered the region in the late 4th c. BC. Thus the creation of the historical books can be no earlier than the 3rd c. BC. Those who want them composed earlier and in bibleland require divine intervention in their creation.

One possibility is these stories could have been created by those educated in Greek culture earlier than the 3rd c. but they would not have been the native people of bibleland unless we can show a major Greek influence in the region prior to that. There is no evidence of such an influence. In fact we find to the contrary.

When we examine the influence of Greek culture in this region and the reaction of the native population to it to see when it could have been created to eliminate this possibility. We find the reaction of the people of bibleland to Greek culture, i.e. what we consider the precursor of our civilization, to have been uniformly negative. This is adequately documented in the first three books of Maccabe. We find the influence of Greek civilization in Egypt and Syria but only in the coastal cities of Palestine. We find the hill country of Palestine, Maccabean territory to be as resistant to civilization as the Taliban of today.

There is another problem. The most common language of the Old Testament which goes by the misnomer of Hebrew. The only evidence Hebrew is other than an invented liturgical language is found in a handful of non-scriptural documents found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. That is slim in comparison to everything else written in Phoenician and Aramaic save for documents dealing with the ruling Greeks and later Romans.<sup>1</sup>

Thus we have the "Hebrew" Old Testament in a language which was never in common use. We also have the Septuagint in Greek which apparently appeared in Alexandria which has none of the problems of creation previously recited. Alexandria became the center of Greek culture. It appears to have had a significant population who identified with the people of the hill country of Palestine.

Being the repository Alexander designated for the knowledge of the world in the form of the great library of Alexandria if there was source material needed for the creation of the Old Testament it was certainly to be found in Alexandria. Nothing has been found in bibleland either in ancient inscriptions down to the Dead Sea Scrolls which could qualify as source material. Nor is there any ancient mention of the existence of such materials.

This may not appear important but any repository of documents has many times more material than would be considered important in later years as no one could know what to preserve. So it is not just the absence of source material for the Old Testament books. It is the absence of tens of times more material which in later years would turn out to be unimportant.

Searching through old records is also looking at it through the eyes of what a book on history should contain. This view of history did not appear until Roman times. In fact some could argue it did not appear until Gibbon with The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

In the final analysis we do know that our present day idea of what
constitutes the history of a people requires surviving ancient records, uncovered ancient inscriptions as well as extensive archaeological finds. We know there are no relevant ancient inscriptions relative to the Old Testament to be found. The ancient people of bibleland did not invent archaeology. They could not have produced historical narratives of the region.

If people from the hill country or people who identified with the hill
country had written the Old Testament there  were limited languages available. If by people in the hill country then they had only Phoenician or Aramaic available. If by people who identified with the hill country, those in Alexandria, they had Greek. The anomaly is the traditional form of the Old Testament is in the language religious tradition calls Hebrew.

Relating to this matter we have only two items to guide us. The first is the religious tradition of the ancient creation of the Old Testament in Hebrew starting with Moses which we have seen to be false. The second is a known forgery, the Letter of Aristeas. From the letter comes the myth of a translation of the original Old Testament into Greek and the time frame in which it occurred.

As this letter is a forgery nothing in it can be taken as related to actual events. Among these are when the Greek translation was made, when the Greek version was known in Alexandria. Perhaps the most important things which is found only in the forgery is that the Greek version<sup>2</sup> is a translation of an original in another language.

What this other language might have been we have no way of knowing. We know it cannot have been Hebrew as there is no evidence that language was ever in use. We do not know what script it was written in but if in the present day Hebrew script then it could not have existed until that Aramaic script came into  use<sup>3</sup>. At the time given in the forged letter Aramaic was not yet in use in the hill country and of course there is no evidence Hebrew was ever in use. That leaves an unsatisfying and puzzling Phoenician as the remaining possibility.

Many explanations for this have been concocted from the absurd to the needlessly complex. These have all had the purpose of making the religious tradition of the origins of the Old Testament appear plausible. But as we have seen the religious tradition is not plausible starting with Moses writing in Hebrew.

Once that idea is eliminated there is no religious tradition left. Biblical archaeologists do not create religious tradition. Unlike real archaeologists those of the biblical persuasion concoct (the only credible adjective) explanations which do the least harm to the discarded religious tradition. Thus while they will more or less clearly state Moses did not write the Torah nor even exist much less use Hebrew they are hell bent to establish the creation of the Old Testament as far back as can be claimed with a straight face.

These days believers put it about a century before Herodotus because that is the earliest times it is even remotely possible for the existence of writing in the hill country. But for the reasons previously discussed that is a century before it was possible because writing history was still in the future. It is also several centuries before we can say it is plausible without suspending disbelief.

There is a simple explanation which can explain everything that is known from surviving records and archaeology. This requires doing what has already been done when the religious traditions of place, age and language of the original text were discredited. For place we insert Alexandria, for age the 2nd c. BC and for language we have Greek.

In this case the people who wrote the Old Testament would be those in Alexandria who identified with the hill country of Palestine writing in Greek as their daily language and using the resources of the library for their source material. This simply addresses every problem which existed with the religious tradition. It is also much simpler than the convoluted inventions of biblical archaeologists who try to do the least harm to discredited religious tradition.<sup>4</sup>

As is discussed elsewhere the Old Testament does not address the religion of the people of the hill country. It addresses a Yahweh cult which is foreign to the religion of the people who had both Astarte and Yahweh as their primary gods and the rest of the Phoenician/Ugaritic pantheon as secondary gods.

Cults can be invented easily. We have seen that in the cult of Allah by Mohamed as well as the modern examples of the Latter Day Saints and Scientology. In those times there arose the cults of Jesus, Mithra, Sol Invictus, Simon Magus and Apollonius of Tyana among others. These met with varying degrees of success. What they have in common is having arisen in the presence of many gods or in modern times many sects of Christianity for the LDS and Scientology.

In any event whether the Yahweh cult arose in Alexandria or Jerusalem is an uninteresting question so far as the rise of the cult as all differences are purely speculative. There is simply no surviving documents on the subject other than the forgery. But the forgery itself was created or introduced to support the position of Jerusalem as the origin showing at that time it was supposed the origin was in Alexandria.

The trappings of the cult, its imaginary history, its use of Greek literary and historical forms, the earliest known version of the stories first being mentioned as written in Greek and the library resources mitigate in favor of Alexandria. That the non-Greek version appears in what can only be described as an invented liturgical language using a vowelless subset of the Aramaic alphabet instead of in the Phoenician or Aramaic language is not in favor of Jerusalem. Both mitigate against Jerusalem.

The idea of the sacred books of a religion being created elsewhere deems a bit strange to us primarily because we were raised with this now discredited religious tradition. But telling the stories of another land is far from uncommon and, in the case of Atlantis, equally long-lived and devoutly believed by many and is the source of endless mystical inspiration and searching to this day. As to inspiration the story of Troy in the Iliad is equally stimulating as was the Aeneid telling the origin of the Romans. There is nothing inherently incredible about people in Alexandria inventing tales about their homeland.

As to this being a new idea, far from it. The Letter of Aristeas was forged to respond to this same idea in the 1st c. AD. Were there no question of its origin in Jerusalem there would have been no need for the forgery. It was promoted by Josephus, a priest of the Yahweh cult writing in Greek no less. As this is the only ancient source on the origin of the Old Testament the subject cannot be credibly discussed beyond this.

As to these being considered sacred works there is no evidence of that in any surviving document. In Antiquities, Josephus retells many of the Old Testament stories including material which is not longer exists such as Moses having been a prince of Egypt and leading successful military campaigns against Nubia. The idea Moses was a prince is contrary to the current version of Exodus which at best has him a grandson of the king. Josephus makes no distinction between what is presently considered sacred and the other material.

This is parallel to the known situation in early Christianity. There were
literally dozens of bogus epistles and gospels and no one knows how many other types of bogus documents. But the idea of bogus does not appear to have existed as condemnation and elimination of the non-true documents does not start until the 4th c. AD and then mainly addresses gnostic materials. It is unlikely the Yahweh cultists did anything different. Both apparently prized the Book of Enoch in the 1st c. but neither included it in their canons.

=====

<sup>1</sup>The name Hebrew is used based upon the religious tradition that Moses was a real person who wrote the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. As Exodus concerns the Hebrews in Egypt the language of Exodus was presumed to be their language and thus called Hebrew. There are other problems with this tradition but they were not known at the time the name was given.

Because of this religious tradition the pre-Aramaic written material found in the hill country of Palestine is called archaic or proto-Hebrew instead of proto-Phoenician from which it has no substantive difference. The only two scripts used by the natives of the region are Phoenician and Aramaic. The modern "Hebrew" script and the "Hebrew" of the Old Testament is not materially different from the Aramaic script.

<sup>2</sup>Even though the letter is a forgery we can glean one interesting fact from its creation. It relates a near miraculous translation which is lauded for its accuracy and faithfulness to the supposed Hebrew original. There is no hint of erroneous translations in ancient times.

When we compare the current Samaritan holy books we find they largely agree with the Greek and disagree with the Masoretic Hebrew. Christianity also was based upon the Greek version and has doctrines such as a virgin birth, virgo v alma, and other differences between the Greek and the Masoretic. The Masoretic is the accepted form of the Hebrew bible. It first appears in the 11th c. AD. This suggests the Masoretic version introduced differences to undercut Christian doctrine.

<sup>3</sup>Phoenician dominated the region prior to Alexander's conquest of Tyre. Tyre had been the center of Phoenician trading civilization which extended across the entire Mediterranean Sea. After its fall the center of its civilization moved to Carthage where the language came to be known as Punic. So the rise of Aramaic in the region would not have been until the 3rd c. BC.

<sup>4</sup>Present day Christian, Muslim and Judaic believers and even those who started as members of them but who have progressed to agnostic or atheist are still attached to the long discredited religious tradition regarding the origin of the Old Testament. This attachment has few parallels outside of religion.

When evolution replaced creation only the religious tried to salvage
creation with things like guided evolution or some mysterious point in time when a soul was added, infused I think is the proper term.

That there is a crank subdivision of archaeology known as biblical
archaeology makes this perhaps the only (pseudo) scientific attempt to salvage a religious tradition which retains some measure of professional academic standing. To the impartial observer it is as whimsical creationary evolutionists.
 


Vastet
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You know we have a jew now?

You know we have a jew now? FurryCatHerder. I recommend you two start talking. Smiling

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Vastet wrote:You know we

Vastet wrote:
You know we have a jew now? FurryCatHerder. I recommend you two start talking. Smiling

HA! That would be ... interesting 

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I stopped reading at about

I stopped reading at about the second paragraph to ask what are your credentials in ancient "style" as you put it and what are your sources?


A_Nony_Mouse
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Stosis wrote:
I stopped reading at about the second paragraph to ask what are your credentials in ancient "style" as you put it and what are your sources?

Which are quite legitimate questions. My sources are ancient writings themselves. They are available to everyone. Everyone can read them and note their style and content. If one wishes to have or needs academic support then one can find them.

As an example we have the entire academic world crediting Herodotus as the first to collect material in one document which we have come to call history. This is circa 450 BC, mid 5th c. BC. After him came others with their own idea of what such material should contain. In ancient times we find references to written histories. There is no reference to anything prior to Herodotus which is considered in this genre.

Then we move into the field of religion which declares the history of the bible good guys was written a minimum of two centuries before Herodotus in a land which was barely literate and with no known accomplishments but this history by a people who do not appear in world history until the early 1st c. BC.

Does that not satisfy the meaning of the concept of an anachronism?

=====

Atheism is a consequence of rejecting religious traditions. The reasons for that rejection are as varied as there are atheists. In for a penny then in for a pound. I seek to address all religious traditions; all things which have no other foundation in evidence at all but exist only in religious tradition. The origin of stories some of which are collected in the Old Testament is one of them.

An atheist who does not reject all religious traditions is an incomplete atheist.

There is nothing but baseless religious tradition regarding the origin of these stories, when they were created, who created them or where they were created. There is not one bit of fact supporting these religious traditions.

And in fact we can identify historical times when the present traditions did not exist such as Josephus who uses a forgery to assert a claim the Septuagint is a translation of an original version albeit a translation with divinely inspired accuracy. At the same time in Antiquities he recites remarkably different versions of the stories in the Septuagint. Note this contradicts a later and still currently popular claim that the Septuagint contains major errors.

I raise those issues not to take a position in the debate rather to show the current religious tradition regarding the origin and content of the stories did not exist in the 1st c. AD. If a tradition is passed down truth it cannot have been different at that late date.

There are many other sources tantilizingly incomplete, lost, perhaps poorly recounted. I find discussions of them to be in terms of arguing their contents to the currently popular religious traditions which by a reading of Josephus did not exist as the time they were written. And as to currently popular barely two centuries ago Moses was a primary author and only in the 2nd half of the last century did a majority come to discount that religious tradition.

So when I refer to the currently popular religious tradition it is unavoidably vague as there are so many of them which are both divinely inspired and mutually exclusive. Mark Twain was of course correct regarding the true religion.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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Atheistextremist
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Vastet wrote:
You know we have a jew now? FurryCatHerder. I recommend you two start talking. Smiling

 

I think...

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I've made a general search

 

of the origins of the bible coming at it from the point of view of trying to date the invention of one god just for my own benefit and the oldest seemed to be 1000 and youngest 500, though this quest was cursory. Jewish scolars were mentioning 2000 for the OT and some were even diving back to 3000BC which I struggle to accept. Regardless, I think uncovering the origins of the bible - both books - is valuable. I'd like to know the roots of the OT.

Is it possible, though, given the miles of trouble the romans had with subduing judea, to say there was no coherent jewish nation state (I tend to think it included some people who would later be called arabs) and no coherent jewish sense of history till so late? I know Rome's influence on Judea side of the med was quite late - after the Punic Wars - so that's early 200BCs. And how much cultural influence did Carthage have in this region? You'd think rather a lot.

It's a tough area to pin down - even more then than now.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote:
of the origins of the bible coming at it from the point of view of trying to date the invention of one god just for my own benefit and the oldest seemed to be 1000 and youngest 500, though this quest was cursory. Jewish scolars were mentioning 2000 for the OT and some were even diving back to 3000BC which I struggle to accept. Regardless, I think uncovering the origins of the bible - both books - is valuable. I'd like to know the roots of the OT.

As to pushing back the date, there is no evidence Hebrew is other than an invented liturgical language. It script which is also modern Israeli Hebrew is Aramaic so we can date the invention of the idea of making "perfect" copies to after the appearance of this Aramaic script.

The idea of inventing one god is also a religious tradition without foundation in fact. The first unambiguous declaration that there is only one god (as opposed to, we have only one god) is found in the Koran.

We also know from ancient reference to temples to Ashara in three places one of which was Jerusalem in the 1st c. AD. These references are falsely translated as STRaTo's Tower instead of aSTaRTe's Temple as ByT YaHWeH is not translated Yahweh's Tower. There are NO ancient inscriptions found in bibleland which assert only Yahweh. They always mention Yahweh and Ashara as a pair. There are many other names for this pair of gods found in and around bibleland.

There is a somewhat well known Egyptian inscription from the 12th c. BC which believers want to read as Israel. The highly respected although terminally biased (biblical) archaeologist Finkelstein avoids the issue of how the word should be translated by stating, even if it should be translated Israel I have no idea what that word meant in the 12th c. BC.

Trying to push the material back even that far is an act of faith not of interperating the available physical evidence. Atheists are required to be short on faith to maintain their credentials.

Quote:
Is it possible, though, given the miles of trouble the romans had with subduing judea, to say there was no coherent jewish nation state (I tend to think it included some people who would later be called arabs) and no coherent jewish sense of history till so late? I know Rome's influence on Judea side of the med was quite late - after the Punic Wars - so that's early 200BCs. And how much cultural influence did Carthage have in this region? You'd think rather a lot.

It's a tough area to pin down - even more then than now.

If one attempts to reconstruct a context of bibleland without reference to the bible one finds a quite different reality in which the Punic wars are involved. What believers wish to call proto or archaic Hebrew cannot be differentiated from Phoenician. Without any reference to the bible these inscriptions should be called proto-Phoenician. Phoenicians were the great traders of the Med and after Alexander conquered Tyre the center of its culture moved west to Carthage.

Far from a region without identity we have a reasonably well known culture that held its own. We also have Herodotus who mentions no Judeans but makes several mentions of Palestinians -- giving the lie to the current uneducated and illiterate nonsense that the Palestinians never existed. They were alive and doing well and even listed as a separate group paying tribute to Persia, thank you very much.

Given reasonably good support for some sort of civil war although Maccabes is not generally credible regarding its events (the ayatollahs did win) the region did have a local identity, those pesky Palestinians again. The cults in the region were quite numerous and their fiefdoms quite small. Herod the Great joined the Yahweh cult centered on Jerusalem as was the custom of civil rulers in those days. He needed to do this as he was not a Judean but rather a member of a group centered about 20 miles south of Judea. Clearly if there was a Judea before it was mentioned/invented by the stories its size was a huge exaggeration even by the standards of bibleland.

As to Arabs that is a wholly meaningless concept as it has been screwed over to hell and gone by all kinds of nonsense. Simply take a look at Ptolemy's map and note there are three Arabias, Felix, Petra and Deserta. It is most anyone's call if Jerusalem is in Felix or Petra. FWIW, I vote for Petra along with the Nabateans who also had a divine couple as their chief gods. We do know for a fact the Judeans were not monotheists as religious tradition would have it. We cannot even trace the religious "tradition" of only one god further back than the Koran.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml