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Author Topic:   What is the oldest religious text?
Member (Idle past 3304 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005

Message 46 of 56 (248865)
10-04-2005 2:00 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by arachnophilia
03-19-2005 10:23 PM

one thing is certain: it is NOT monotheistic.

the tradition date for the authorship of genesis/exodus is about 1250 bc, the hypothetical time of moses. (they were in fact written much later)

moses was preceeded in egpyt by akhenaten (amenhotep 4) by about 100 years. he was the first historical leader of a monotheistic religion. he of course turned about 2000 years of egyptian polytheistic tradition on its head. so, uh, polytheism goes back a lot longer monotheism.

The commonly defined definitions of monotheistic and polytheistic religions and theologies are often very linear. They fail to explain the inherent meanings ascribed to certain theistic concepts by their own standards and impose a rigid paradigm by which they can be filtered into cartasian ensembles. However, by their own exegesis, Egyptian and Hindu (really we should say Dravidians, Hinduism is a later social perversion based on a caste system) texts, interpret their various "gods" as manifestations or attributes of one single deity. The fact that monotheism in this case doesn't take on a judeochristian shell doesn't discount as being such. Simly another form of monotheism. But there are several references in these texts to suggest an earyl monotheistic outlook, more complex, more detailed and more sophisticated perhaps. But monotheism nonetheless.

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Member (Idle past 1798 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004

Message 47 of 56 (249280)
10-05-2005 9:13 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by ausar_maat
10-04-2005 2:00 PM

Hi,AM, and welcome (if you haven`t been greeted already).
Wasn`t the polytheism of Egypt tied in with various stars, whilst Aknaten reduced it to one (the Sun). If you follow Salibi, he proposed a polytheistic origin to Yahweh with El Elyon, El Shaddai, El Olam, etc., tribal 'object' gods (a mountain, shrine,place,etc.).
IOW, gods of the sky versus gods of the earth.
Re Hindu/Dravidism. Doesn`t that belief have 10,000 gods. Or are they all attributes?
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Member (Idle past 3304 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005

Message 48 of 56 (249337)
10-06-2005 12:16 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by Nighttrain
10-05-2005 9:13 PM

Re: Polytheism
thank you for the greeting,

As I mentionned,
There are several references in these texts (Vedas, Book of Coming Forth by Day of Egypt) to suggest an early monotheistic outlook, more complex, more detailed and more sophisticated perhaps. But monotheism nonetheless.

In the case of Hinduism, Capra correctly points out that it's multiple gods are in fact, by these texts' own accounts, a reference to -a- one God's multiple manifestations, told in the forms of stories and mythologies with loose and broad meanings. Also, the idea of monotheism among the Ancient Egyptians or Kamui, is closer to the way we would need to approach the principles governing subatomic particles, in the sense that they view the world and God's relationship to it in a wholelistic oneness. Tales and myths are used to detail these interractions abstractly, sort of like you would try to explain the duality of electromagnetic radiation, which can be both particle and wave at the same time, depending on your point of view. Therefore, symbols are used.

Akhenaton rebelled primarely against the fact that this meaning became lost, and felt, by most historical records, that the priesthood had become corrupted. He hated the fact that gods or the Neteru, were used to stimulate profit. So sought to destroy these images, in order to return focus on God's oneness. In that sense, we find some pararelles between what he attempted to do and what the Israelite Prophets attempted to do among their own people. In fact, some of Akhenaton's Hymns can be found textually "utilised" in passages of the Bible's Book of Palsms.

But overall, it is not, at surface level at least, the same concept of monotheism as found in western religions, so we shouldn't try to cramp them into a category of polytheism just because it is convenient to do so. I recommend research on the subject, as in all things. But most importantly, interpretation from their Clergy's perspective and not western theological standards.

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Member (Idle past 413 days)
Posts: 48
From: Delhi, Delhi, India
Joined: 07-04-2007

Message 49 of 56 (527330)
09-30-2009 9:32 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by hoaryhead
08-30-2005 6:23 PM

Re: Modern Reference Encyclopedia
1) Hinduism - c. 1500 BC.

Source I believe would be Max Mullar and his Aryan Invasion. He was not only wrong, he fudged his data deliberately.

Mahabharata contains astronomical data that is EITHER observed or BACK CALCULATED by SUPER super brains. It points to at least 5100 BP.

Ramayana is still older. Its data points to time about 6000 BP.

Vedas are still older. But hold on. We have already gone earlier than 6000 BP, when the world was allegedly created.

What is internal data within Gen pointing out is from 4500 BP? ZERO

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Member (Idle past 2734 days)
Posts: 2703
From: melbourne, australia
Joined: 11-22-2008

Message 50 of 56 (527395)
10-01-2009 8:30 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Dr Jack
04-04-2005 6:01 AM

MrJack writes:

Perhaps more compelling are the cave drawings of the Australian Aboriginies, since these can still be understood by contemporary Aboriginies we have direct evidence of their meaning. Some date back 30,000 years - making Aboriginal culture the longest running continuous culture known. And the oldest surviving vulture known.

how long the aboriginals have been on the scene for is speculation

however their beliefs are not, they are still understood by aboriginies today, they call it 'Dreamtime'. The South-Eastern tribes had a belief in one god, known as father or grandfather, who is supposed to have created man and the phenomena of nature. He has a son at his side who acts as mediator between him and man

also the Pygmy peoples, who are even older than the Australian Aborigines, recognize and worship a personal and moral Supreme Being

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Member (Idle past 1666 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009

Message 51 of 56 (529100)
10-08-2009 8:39 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by RCS
09-30-2009 9:32 PM

Re: Modern Reference Encyclopedia
BP is BC / BCE, right?

BC is what we used to use - stood for "before christ" according to my teachers (AD was "ano domini" apparently?).

Now we use BCE and CE (Before the Common Era and Common Era respectively).

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Posts: 8807
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003

Message 52 of 56 (529110)
10-08-2009 9:22 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by greyseal
10-08-2009 8:39 AM

BP Before Present
Durations into the past are pretty frequently given as "before present" -- BP.
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Suspended Junior Member (Idle past 2892 days)
Posts: 20
Joined: 04-24-2010

Message 53 of 56 (557253)
04-24-2010 1:02 AM

spam deletion

Edited by AdminAsgara, : spam deletion

Inactive Member

Message 54 of 56 (564810)
06-12-2010 9:12 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Funkaloyd
03-20-2005 11:26 PM


Though I'm not sure that it qualifies as a religious text, Gods are mentioned a lot in Hammurabi's laws, which are dated to the early 2nd millennium BC.

Actually, it's been remarked before on how the Code of Hammurabi bears resemblance in ways to the Mosaic Law. According to the Scofield reference notes seen here:


21:13 bondwoman. Many features of Abraham's treatment of Hagar seem strange to a modern reader, but they are exactly in accord with the provisions of the Code of Hammurabi, the great Babylonian law code of Mesopotamia, the region from which he had come. Before the discovery of this code many critics had questioned whether so complex a code as that of Moses could have been written at so early a time. However, the Code of Hammurabi is more complex than that of Moses and comes from a much earlier period. The Mosaic Code was not derived from it, but many of the customs of the Book of Genesis show that its prescriptions were familiar in Abraham's day.

The Scofield also remarks on how the book of Job appears to be one of the oldest books of the Bible and written during this time of Abraham:


Although the book does not name its author, Ezekiel 14:14,20 and James 5:11 refer to Job as an historical person. That he may have lived in the patriarchal period is inferred from his great age, various geographical references in the book, and the absence of mention of the law and the Tabernacle or Temple. The presence in this book of lofty Biblical concepts of God, man, Satan, righteousness, redemption, and resurrection may show, in view of this probable early date; the wide extent of revelation even before the writing of Scripture.

Edited by Jzyehoshua, : provided link

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Junior Member (Idle past 2673 days)
Posts: 3
From: Tempe
Joined: 11-29-2010

Message 55 of 56 (593736)
11-29-2010 12:24 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by pink sasquatch
03-18-2005 12:16 PM

Oldest biblical Text
It is my understanding in that JOB, is the oldest biblical text.
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Member (Idle past 537 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004

Message 56 of 56 (594322)
12-03-2010 12:28 AM
Reply to: Message 55 by michaelrobin
11-29-2010 12:24 AM

Re: Oldest biblical Text
michaelrobin writes:

It is my understanding in that JOB, is the oldest biblical text.

This is perhaps what I mean by "Bible Study" not being very in-depth.

If you assume that each book of the Bible was written by its namesake (which is a stretch to begin with), and the the Torah was written by Moses, yes, Job would be the oldest... story-wise.

However, it's actually among the newest books of the old testament. How do we know? Writing style, for one. That particular kind of poetic argument just isn't found in the earliest Hebrew literature, nor are multiple points of view. For two, subject matter. The book exists to debate the Wisdom Movement. No Wisdom Movement, no book of Job: it can't come before Jeremiah, etc.

The oldest (unmodified) books of the bible are likely some of the minor prophets. I personally suspect some of the source material for the Torah might be that old, but it was compiled (and redacted) quite a while later.

You might be interested to study the structure of a Hebrew Bible. It divides its text into canonization periods. The Torah is obviously placed first, and afterward comes Judges, Samuel/Kings, the major prophets and the minor prophets, in a section called Nevi'im ("prophets"), which was canonized next. Job falls in the last section, Kethuvim ("writings") which are assorted writings that were under debate, and added most recently. There's even some thought that it was not added until after the time of Christ, as he refers to "the Law (torah) and the Prophets (nevi'im)" but not the third section. He mentions once "and the Psalms" which may be the third section in some form, or perhaps strictly just the Psalms.


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