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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    ha. I mean, I'm probably one of the more educated on that matter (after decades of reading within the church), and I know I don't consider myself well-versed... there is just too much out there to examine. You can be a specialist in one particular area and actually know something pertinent or you can be a generalist who pulls many things together but has to be careful you read representative blends of sources.

    But the general consensus of archaeologists today does seems skeptical of Exodus as specifically portrayed in the text. It didn't help that for decades the Bible was being used to validate archaeology rather than archaeology being used to validate the Bible, so it set up an impression that "everything the Bible says is historically true" where the evidence is far more thin and ambiguous.

    Just do a Google search on it and pick up texts such as Finkelstein's. The problem more at this point is evaluating the authority of the people making the claims, so you know you can better trust their conclusions.
    I've just started learning about Biblical history myself...but how did Second Temple Jews interpret this? Also, does it really matter if it did not happen as stated in the Bible? Christians seem mostly focused on the New Testament...though reading the Old Testament/ understanding this Jewish faith is needed to understand Christianity

    This is a very complicated subject with so many sides and arguments. It's hard to wade through the less than scholarly works. Have you read any of NT Wright's books from his series Christian Origins and the Question of God?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyx View Post
    I've just started learning about Biblical history myself...but how did Second Temple Jews interpret this? Also, does it really matter if it did not happen as stated in the Bible? Christians seem mostly focused on the New Testament...though reading the Old Testament/ understanding this Jewish faith is needed to understand Christianity.
    Christians are funny... we drag the Old Testament into SOME things and people do consistently preach from it and quote verses from it, while at the same time clinging to how the OT really has been supplanted by Jesus and thus trying to simultaneously put the NT on a pedestal. In terms of history itself, though, the NT supposedly covers events over only a few decades, but the OT covers centuries.

    The funny thing is that the little bit of Jewish teaching I've heard on the Old Testament sometimes seems very different from how I was taught it within the Christian church; I find it ironic that we in essence are telling the original owners of the book that their beliefs about their own book are wrong. (My Jewish friends have said this to me as well.) The Jews also seem to allow for different interpretations among rabbi's and treat them all as valid; Christians seem much more binary about it ... either you're right or you're wrong, there is no legitimate variety when it all comes down to it. If one pastor disagrees with another, either one or both of them must be wrong.

    And this carries over into archeological interpretation as well.

    This is a very complicated subject with so many sides and arguments. It's hard to wade through the less than scholarly works. Have you read any of NT Wright's books from his series Christian Origins and the Question of God?
    I have not read anything of his within a recent enough time period to feel comfortable discussing it at length. (I'm aware of who he is and I've read books by him years ago, but nothing recent. That's an issue here, it takes a lot of time to try and develop an educated and balanced view of scriptural historicity and interpretation; I honestly don't know how laypeople living a "normal" life can manage it adequately, unless they drop a lot of other things.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  3. #13
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    Basically the scholarly field has within the past few decades entered a more minimalist phase in biblical interpretation. For some time, scholars used archaeology to validate the historical claims of the Bible. Later, different archaeologists found archaeological evidence disproving the former findings. This indicated that many historical writings in the Bible were improbable. Since then, the scholarly field has moved more towards this minimalist line of thinking, with some very radical minimalists positing that Israel was never even a real country. Recently, the pendulum has begun to swing the other way, as some scholars argue that the minimalists go to far, and that there is more historical veracity than minimalists think. Somebody mentioned Israel Finkelstein. He is a quintessential minimalist. Other scholars, like Dever, argue that the trend of minimalism will recede and that they often jump to conclusions, taking away some of the historical credit that the Bible does deserve.

    That being said, there is a lot in the Bible that cannot be historically true. Read the Flood story in Genesis--the text is made of several sources, edited over time. There are clear inconsistencies; at least one must be wrong. This alone is enough to give us reason to cast a skeptical eye on the historical writing in the Bible.

    But the problem of this thread is that the Bible is not supposed to be a history textbook. In fact, history, as the discipline with which we are familiar, did not exist in the ancient Near East. Getting the facts right was not the primary concern for the Israelites (this does not mean they always got the facts wrong either). Realize the Bible is a theological text, not simply a history book.

    Concerning the issue of Christian interpretation of the Jewish book...
    Yes Christians will disagree in details of interpretation of the OT. This is because they see Jesus as the fulfillment, not the contradiction, of the OT. The issue is linked to the issue messiah. There were differences of opinion on what the messiah is.

    None of this whatsoever takes away from the value of the book. If you read the Bible and expect to learn how to drive a car, or tie your shoes, or build a house...it won't be there. That doesn't mean it is false.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phinny5608 View Post
    Agreed. And on that note, sources on the claims about Israeli archaelogists would be helpful.
    You could also try to find archaelogical evidences of King Solomon's realm, you will find none.
    According to this, it's very likely that Salomon, David and Jesus never existed at all.

    We have no historical proof whatsoever. Faith is most of the times in contradiction with facts, especially if you interpret it literally.

    Then, what should we do with that? -just as Victor asked-
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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    I'm a Christian and I'd love to find out what the facts are saying. I'm baffled why any Christian who believes God created the universe would also believe that facts-- facts being part of creation-- are irrelevant. I've heard two authors refered to here, but the rest of what has been said I'd simply have to accept blindly, which isn't really an improvement. That's why I'm asking for sources.

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    A lot of it is self-study (short of a college education/degree). Can you Google? I don't know when someone will have time to go through their stuff and provide a list of sources, but it's kind of a back-and-forth process... one issue being that of "authority", can you trust the author you're reading, how do you know the author is correct?... and so you read something by an author and read what others say about him and determine if his ideas seem internally consistent and match other things you've read and if not, why... and then keep reading and readjusting your direction as you go.

    There are a number of sites of extreme left, right, and moderate persuasion on the issue(s) of historicity, and there's no easy way to skip around things...

    Honestly, I always liked Glenn Miller, at Christian-Thinktank.com. He tends to come out on the more conservative end of things but doesn't seem to carry the negative sorts of "conservative attitude" in how he interacts with people, and he reads a LOT, on all sides of the argument. I'm not sure how much he covers historicity specifically, he seems to focus more on textual analysis/interpretation, but I have always respected him as a human being as well as a thinker... he offers good discussion.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    You could also try to find archaelogical evidences of King Solomon's realm, you will find none.
    According to this, it's very likely that Salomon, David and Jesus never existed at all.

    We have no historical proof whatsoever. Faith is most of the times in contradiction with facts, especially if you interpret it literally.

    Then, what should we do with that? -just as Victor asked-

    That's incorrect. There have been Egyptian and at least one other artifact that I know of which indicate the existence of that "realm." A ancient slab boasting of an Egyptian triumph specifically refers to a victorious battle against "the House of David." There is more scholarly and archaeological work that indicates the existence as well.

    So while a complete absence of plausibility would fit your philosophy, it won't be that easy.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    That's incorrect. There have been Egyptian and at least one other artifact that I know of which indicate the existence of that "realm." A ancient slab boasting of an Egyptian triumph specifically refers to a victorious battle against "the House of David." There is more scholarly and archaeological work that indicates the existence as well.

    So while a complete absence of plausibility would fit your philosophy, it won't be that easy.
    Please, show it to us.

    But I only refered to the conclusion of several Israeli archaelogists (like Israel Finkelstein for instance). And so far, the verdict was without ambiguity: Isral was an almost empty land during the so-called realm of Salomon.
    So according to them, yes, it is a "complete absence of plausibility".

    And for Jesus, it's even simpler: there is a complete lack of any source concerning his existence. All the letters we have that supposedly refers to him have been proven to be either pious frauds or documents written many decades or even centuries after his "birth". There's no reliable or direct source that confirms that such a man ever existed at all. And this is even more curious when you know that the Roman administration kept their records very carefully. They would surely have mentioned such a prisoner, and such an execution.

    But I expect from believers exactly the same kind of attitude that Victor just mentioned:

    "The dissociation, denial and shooting the messenger are understandable for cognitive dissonance is emotionally painful and naturally we instinctively avoid pain.

    And in particular when we don't understand why the pain is occurring, we naturally avoid it.

    But once the cat is out of the bag. When all astronomers and all Israeli archaeologists tell us our beliefs are false, the pain is inevitable. And it is the pain of loss - the loss of our beliefs. And no matter what we do, the cat won't get back in the bag."
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  9. #19
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    Well for all who argue as those above do, there are many others who refute this. There are always new being written books in the field of Biblical scholarship so anyone reading this and interested in understanding this should not absorb these arguments as any sort of truth before they do their own research. One cannot read a few books and call it a day. As Jennifer said it is self study. An immense amount of self-study so get ready to give up any hobbies. I am almost certain I want to peruse a degree in theology so this is not really an issue to me.

    There are countless well regarded scholars who support the historically reliable Gospel and NT... or refute the arguments against a historical Jesus.

    Among them are: NT Wright, Martin Hengel, Richard Bauckham, Philip Jenkins, Paul Eddy, Gregory Boyd, Gunter Wagner , John A.T. Robinson

    Just balancing out this argument...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyx View Post

    Just balancing out this argument...
    There's absolutely nothing to balance. You're mentioning theology and theologists, while I'm refering to archaelogists and hence, real scientists (not biased bigots).

    The two fields have nothing in common. To be bluntly honest, mentioning the likes of Hengel, Bauckham or Boyd is simply ridiculous, it just shows you didn't understand the question Victor asked.

    You're just two centuries too late. After Kant, metaphysics and theology have become completely obsolete, or at least, they were expelled out of the rational world.

    Denial, denial...
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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