FOOD FOR THOUGHT: "Ignore the urge to reject. Start discussing."
YOU ARE IN DARKNESS.
|old testament page 1|
REFORMERS ARE AT WORK
Reformers rewrote Israel's history. Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings were revised according to the new ideology. Theeditors of the Pentateuch have added passages to the older narratives of 'J' and 'E' giving the Exodus myth a Deuteronomist interpretation, as a result of which YHVH became the author of a holy war in Canaan. Amazing isn't it? There is not a single divine author around. Writers are human beings.
After the exile,'P' wrote and inserted his thoughts into the Pentateuch. He gave his interpretation to the events described by 'J' and 'E'. He did not stop there and added two new books, Numbers and Leviticus. The 'glory of god', which would become a very important idea in the history of god also belongs to him: Man and woman can only see an afterglow of the divine presence, that is the glory (kavod) of YHVH. This glory(!) is thought to have left its mark on the face of Moses when he came down from the 'mountain': "His face shone with such an unbearable light that Israel could not look upon him." The writer 'P' was not very happy with the Exodus story, he did not like the idea of an anthropomorphic god. Therefore he wrote his version of the Exodus story, and since he could not imagine YHVH accompanying the sons of Israel during their wanderings, he had the glory of YHVH - not YHVH himself - fill the tent where he met Moses. 'P's most important contribution to the Old Testament was of course the account of creation(!) in the first chapter of Genesis. His source was Enuma Elish. 'P's world is not divine - not composed of the same stuff as YHVH. Separation is the key notion in 'P's theology. Temple was central to 'P's Judaism, and sabbath has acquired a new significance with his theology. Elohists' style is not as powerful as Yahvists. Their god or rather gods (because elohim is plural) have withdrawn to their celestial place; they are much less human-like; they communicate with man only from the clouds via messengers or in dreams. In the Elohists' writings a great friendship towards the tribes of Joseph and Ephraim is evident, and this has led to the thinking that the Elohists may have lived in mid-Palestine possibly in the times of either David or Solomon. But according to a more widely accepted opinion Elohists have come after 750 B.C., and may have lived only among the tribes of Joseph and Ephraim and collected their traditions. The stories of Abraham presenting Saray as his sister, and of Ya'kub misleading his father-in-law belong to the Elohists.
'Elohim' was plural originally, which is taken as an evidence of the notion of a plurality of gods in the beginning. This word must have acquired a singular meaning later on thanks to monotheists, who must have realized that this description in the Old Testament - which is accepted as a revelation by the sole god - was giving the 'wrong' impression and needed a reinterpretation fitting the essence of the new understanding. Especially Moses ben Maimonides interpreted elohim in a singular context to rectify the problem caused by the incompetence of the editors of the Old Testament. In Genesis 6:2 appearing in the earliest Hebrew texts we saw elohim in the plural: "The sons of gods (bene ha-elohim) saw the daughters of men that they were fair."But in the later modern texts it is translated in a singular context. Who are these 'bene elohim' - the sons of gods? According to the Oxford Companion to the Bible they are the divine members of god's heavenly host. This title, the sons of gods are not strange to us. They show themselves in the Ugaritic mythology. There gods were called as a whole the 'children of El'. There are sons or children of gods also in the Phoenician and Ammonite inscriptions. They refer to the subordinate or lesser deities of the pantheon. This shows that the term was widespread in the western Semitic beliefs. A couple of questions: Who changed the meaning of elohim from plural to singular? Wasn't it a human being or a group of them. Why do you think they did it? The community of tribes necessitated the establishment of a unity to become a nation, and this process undoubtedly needed a single god and not a multitude of supreme overseers as seen around the region. This is another dimension which shows that both the original texts of the Old Testament and the amendments were done by the human beings, hence there is nothing divine.
In spite of the disputed dates of thelaws of Hammurabi one can safely say that they are earlier than even the oldest sections of the Old Testament. Authors of the Old Testament have allegedly copied a lot from them. The law defined in Deuteronomy is nothing original, but basically a simplified version of laws of Hammurabi. The name 'Deuteronomium' means the repetition of the law. Its language resembles the language of the rabbis which we meet in Talmud later on. In Deuteronomy there are references to separation between the people and kohanim (priests), and between the state and kohanim. It is understood that together with the writing down of the Deuteronomy, Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges and Kings were also revised, and those sections which are not acceptable and/or against the politics of the day and in open contradiction with the monotheism were either deleted or softened. These happened following the return from the Babylonian exile, around the end of 550 B.C. Again we should ask: Who made these changes? Who were behind these acts? Human beings of course. There is nothing divine here.
Judaic Law has reached its final form with the sections which are said to have been written by the kohanim (priests). These are thought to be the mutual efforts of a school of people. Ezra the priest was in this group. They have revised all the books of Moses, the Pentateuch, and presented their rules as belonging to Moses. The Leviticus, and the section from Exodus 25 to Numbers 10 are written by this group of people.
They are known to have lived under the Iranian rule. The book of Leviticus is about the Levitical priesthood, with the main outlines of Israel's sacred calendar. When taken together Exodus and Leviticus summarize the establishment of Israel as god's people on contract. They also tell us about the enactment of the cultic and other laws that were to mark Israel's life as a people on contract.
Especially with the discovery and decipherment of the Sumerian clay tablets we have realized that the hymns, proverbs, and phrases in the Old Testament have their origins in Sumer. A lot of things written in the Old Testament were written not by the Israelites but were copied and adapted from other texts originally written in other languages. In his book titled The Inquirer's Text Book, Robert Cooper relates his 13 conferences where he looks at the Old and New Testaments critically. According to him the studies on the Old Testament were conducted when the deciphering of the cuneiform script has only just begun and no one had known anything about the clay tablets and Sumer. Robert Cooper wrote, "The first five books of the Old Testament could not have been written by Moses himself because papyrus was not in use then and the texts were written on stones." According to the famous Jewish philosopher Spinoza, the first five books of the Old Testament - Pentateuch - must have been written at least 100 years later than the return from the Babylonian exile.
Again Robert Cooper points out thatthe book of Proverbs in the Old Testament could not belong to king Solomon; it is a collection of sayings belonging to another nation, and the name of Solomon is inserted later, because we read in Proverbs 25: "These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out." Hezekiah lived 250 years later than Solomon, and Robert Cooper asks: "There have been no written material on this subject, so how did they know that these phrases belonged to Solomon?"
Now let us have a look at theSongs of Solomon: No one knew why this section of obscene poems was included in the Old Testament. Taken as they are, they had no relationship either to the belief system or to history. When the Sumerian clay tablets in Istanbul Archaeological Museum were read, all the pieces fell into their places. Because it has become clear that these songs in the Old Testament were originally the hymns sung at the Sumerian new year celebrations. Sumerians had an agricultural economy. They believed that if goddess Inanna married god Dumuzi there would be abundance. The Sumerian poets and writers have created a long legend based on this idea. This legend has come to us written on the Sumerian clay tablets. According to this invented story Inanna marries Dumuzi, Inanna descended to the underworld, she could not come up, god of wisdom promises to send someone to substitute Inanna, Inanna comes up, and looking for her husband Dumuzi, finds him sitting on his throne and enjoying himself, she is enraged, she gives her husband to jinns, then regrets her decision, takes the matter to the assembly of gods, there they decide that Dumuzi's sister the goddess of dreams should stay in the underworld for half a year, as a result of this Dumuzi spends the winter in the underworld, then comes up and unites with his wife Inanna. This occasion was celebrated by the marriage of the king of the day and the chief priestess, thus the new year began. The 'songs' in the Old Testament was written to be sung during these celebrations, where the king and the chief priestess sung them to each other. These celebrations and ceremonies which make up the Sumerian fertility cult are described today as the sacred marriage ceremonies. This fertility cult is understood to have continued until the time of Yshua (Jesus) and even later times. Many texts which are not related to the belief system were excluded from the Old Testament but these songs have remained. The reason may be their acceptance as sacred. The story in Ezekiel 14 looks like related to the efforts of erasing from the records the Sumerian goddess of love, Inanna (she is known as Ishtar in Akkad, Ashtarte in Israel, Aphrodite in Greece, and Venus in Rome) and her cult. The stories in the Old Testament, in the song of Solomon 1:2-4, 3:11, and 4:9-11 prove that these ceremonies took place even during the reign of king Solomon.
When so many people write so many things; when so many things are copied from other sources; when so many different cultures are involved there's bound to be contradictions and discrepancies. I have brought to your attention many questions related to the Old Testament. Here are some more:
Moses' father-in-law has three different names, Jethro (Exodus), Reuel (Exodus), and finally Hobab (Judges). We are told that Moses married to Zipporah/Tsippora, the daughter of a Midianite priest. Therefore, either Moses had three wives, thus had three fathers-in-law; or there were two other persons in the Old Testament who were also called Moses (It was explained earlier); or maybe this father-in-law had three names; or one Moses had married twice so he had two fathers-in-law, making three in total. This is ridiculous!
Read Numbers 12:1: "And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman." What is this? Didn't he marry Tsippora/Zipporah the Midianite as we were told in the Exodus story? Either he has married again in the meantime and this Ethiopian woman is his second wife together with Tsippora, or Tsippora may have died, or they were separated or divorced. Maybe Midianites were Abyssinians or Midian in reality may have been Abyssinia(!). If there were two characters called Moses as we discussed earlier then one of the wives may have been an Ethiopian.
Another riddle: What do you understand from the "darkness over the land of Egypt" ? It could have been a sandstorm which blocked the sunlight. But only the Egyptians suffered from it while the Israelites in bondage in Egypt did not. Why?.
Then check the strange short story in Exodus 4:22-26: Who met whom? Who was cross with whom and why? Who did Zipporah/Tsippora circumcise? Whose life was saved by the operation? Who wanted to kill whom? God is furious with whom?
That's not all! How could Moses describe his own death? Deuteronomy 34:5-6 tells the story: "So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor; but no man knew his sepulchre unto this day." The first sentence seems to belong to god because god is speaking in the previous paragraph and the natural conclusion for god is to continue telling the story; and also god is the one who orders Moses to go up mount Nebo and die there; someone might interpret this first sentence as indicating the existence of another human being. Someone who heard god's order to Moses, so this witness is narrating the events. The second sentence is strange; "He buried him." Who buried whom? If Moses was the author of the first five books, he must have written his death and burial. So either he buried himself(!) or as a dead person his spirit watched(!) his body being interred by an unnamed someone, and wrote down the occasion.. Which one? Were there two people both called Moses, so both the person interred and the person who interred him were called Moses, thus "he buried him"? Did god bury Moses Or someone else? The writers of the Old Testament must have forgotten to invent the person who did the interment, or there was a specific person there, who was left out accidentally in one of the editorial works carried out on the book. At the end of the last sentence we read the words, "unto this day." Unto which day? It is obvious that someone - a human being - has written this fairy tale. Therefore he must be referring to the date of his writing the story. The reporter is neither YHVH nor Moses, but an individual or a group of people. There is nothing divine here. One can see the nonsense clearly.
THE FIRST ELEVEN CHAPTERS
The scholars agree on the fact that there is no existing evidence, archaeological or otherwise for the first 11 chapters ofthe book of Genesis (How could there be, when the only evidence we have is in the form of electrical impulses in our brains?).
There is nothing concrete to support the creation story;
There is nothing credible to prove the existence of Eden;
No one has found a single evidence to point to the existence of the global flood or the tower of Babel.
Why? Because the 'evidence' we are looking for was in the brains of the inventors and writers of these stories. Unfortunately they are not with us anymore. Inventors of the stories were the Sumerians, and the developers were the Zoroastrians. Unfortunately they also are all gone. There were no witnesses around who have actually watched the events taking place. The only witnesses are in the codebooks. Were they real, historical, or invented? No one can tell.
Genesis is thought to have been compiled between the 10th and 5th centuries B.C. Now let us have a look at the first 11 chapters:
Chapter 1. God creates the world in six days and rests on the seventh day (sabbath).
Chapter 2-3. Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and are later expelled from Eden.
Chapter 4. Cain slays his younger brother Abel.
Chapter 5. Generations of Adam.
Chapter 6-9. Noah, his family and lots of animals survive the flood that covered the Earth.
Chapter 11. Humans build the tower of Babel. God scatters them and creates different languages.
Then Av'ram enters the scene:
Chapter 12. Av'ram departs from Haran, goes to Egypt.
Chapter 13. Av'ram leaves Egypt.
Chapter 14. The battle of the Kings
Chapter 15. Av'ram converses with his god.
Chapter 16. Saray, Hagar, Ish'mael.
Chapter 17. God makes a covenant with Av'ram to make him the father of nations, changes his name to Abraham.
Chapter 18-19. Unable to find ten just man god destroys Sodom and Gommorrah, despite Abraham's pleas
Chapter 22. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son I'zak. Abraham prepares to obey but I'zak is spared.
Chapter 25. For some stew Esau, son of I'zak, sells his birthright to his twin brother Ya'kub.
Chapter 27. To receive his father's blessing Ya'kub impersonates Esau.
Chapter 32. Ya'kub encounters an angel, and they wrestle. The angel renames Ya'kub, Israel (was he an angel or the god himself?).
Chapter 37. Joseph, Ya'kub's favourite child is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.
Chapter 41. In Egypt, Yosef (Joseph) correctly interprets the pharaoh's dreams and rises to power.
Chapter 43-46. Yosef is reunited with his brothers and father after they come to Egypt seeking food.
Chapter 47-50. The twelve tribes of Israel settle in Egypt. Ya'kub and Yosef die. The exodus is prophesied.
THE STYLE AND LANGUAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Oldtestament uses descriptive methods. The language is abstract and very rich in images. This characteristic of the book is pushed to the front by the beneficiaries of the belief system on every occasion with the aim of defending the existence of the invention called the supreme overseer: " What is written in the book should be taken symbolically" they say. Of course it should be! Check the pages titled SUPREME BEING in this site, where you will read the main theme of the beneficiaries of the belief systems: The rule is: The supreme being is beyond the grasp of the human intellect, only his manifestations can be seen and experienced by the 'primitive' humans. This mystery must be preserved. That is why the writers of the Old testament stick to all those puzzling descriptions. In other words the ambiguity is intentional. Do you need an example? Read the story on the attempted sacrifice of I'zak by his father Abraham. The sacrifice is commanded by god. Abraham obeys. But the attempt is stopped by god at the very last moment (Genesis 22). Could anybody tell what this story is all about? No! But when one reads the orginal source story of Bahram the Mandai on the pages titled THE SABIAN BELIEF SYSTEM and PROPHET ABRAHAM in this site one immediately understands that the Genesis narrative was borrowed from the story of Bahram the Mandai of the Mandaeans (Sabians), where Bahram was about to offer his son to planet Saturn, but seeing that Bahram was totally repentant, Saturn sends an animal to be offered and Bahram's son was spared.
This is the trace of an ancient primitive rite.
It could be the continuation of another ancient practice - the blood baptism.
The story is there to emphasize how strong the faith of Abraham was. The strength of this faith is cited as an example for the believers. It is a test of faith for Abraham. After all, it is written in Genesis 22: " God tempted Abraham."
The Old Testament is the Judaic scripture containing the history of the Jews and all the centuries of Hebrew thought. The Old Testament begins with the creation(!) of the Universe and the human race. Then man sins (here the male is tempted by the female who is thought by the males as the 'evil(!) personified'); then a sequence of events follow leading up to the global flood; then comes Exodus. then adoption of YHVH; then the Promised Land - Canaan etc.
Old Testament page 3