It seems that our Someone thinks that itâ€™s about time to set the record straight. For many thousands of years, before the written word became a reality, this Someone has been talked about. Even early man knew that a Someone had to be there. How else could he explain the perfect order and also the temporary chaos of his world. Even he did not believe that all of this, that he was witness to with all his senses, could be accidental. All of this had to be under some conscious control. He suspected a super entity that he called God. Of course, he described this God in the terms that he understood. Actually, he did not really believe that a single Entity could be responsible for all of this. He even gave these numerous entities names that he understood.. Names that related to the parts of nature that each supposed entity controlled. Each isolated group of early man had their own names for their super entity or entities.
Early man was not stupid. If he believed in one or more super identities, then he supposed that this or these entities needed to be somehow controlled. How like poor man to even suppose that he could somehow control such a super being. Appeased is a more delicate word. Since they didnâ€™t know what a super entity was like, they assumed, that he could be appeased in the same manner that a high ranking mortal man would like to be appeased. Gifts, adoration, and downright abject submission were tried. Since, sometimes these seemed to work, they kept using these appeasements. High ranking mortal men also had rules that they expected to be unquestionably obeyed by their subjects. It was therefor assumed that their super entity (ies) also had their own rules. Since they had no way of knowing what these rules were, special men were assigned the duty of communicating with the super entity (ies). Of course, the rules they came up with were not from the entity at all but since, he said they were, they were accepted as the entityâ€™s commandments.
When the written word came into being, the names and responsibilities of these super entities were now written down for all to know. The only well known record that has come down to us from the old days was written down by a theocratic group of people. These writings were considered sacred and were therefor protected. Most of these people (at least the males) were literate because they were expected to take turns reading what they called the sacred scriptures. These scriptures were eventually compiled into what we call the Old Testament of the Bible. In a non-theocratic culture these writing would have been called a history. These documents did show that this select group of people had managed to reduce the number of super entities or deities into a single deity.
The written word did not improve much on the oral traditions of describing this Deity in terms other than human. The Deity was also required to be appeased and, the implied rules or commandments had to be obeyed, similar to the previous oral tradition. The people selected by this Deity to write the various books were all too human. They were given the assignment but, were not told exactly what to write. They had no other means of describing this Deity except with a language that was originated to define the everyday life of normal everyday human beings. They also had all their acquired knowledge to select from, including old oral inputs and tales they had encountered from far away lands such as Sumeria .
Actually, they were no better off than I am. For example: The present first book of the Old Testament was compiled by a redactor â€œRâ€, an Aaronid priest who selected and joined the writings of four individuals. There most likely were many more than four writings he could have chosen from. The oldest writing was from a writer â€œJâ€ who called God â€œYahwehâ€ and is dated at between the 10th century and 722 BC. The next oldest was from a writer â€œEâ€ who called God â€œElohimâ€ and is dated as probably between 922 and 722 BC. The next writer was from the Priestly class â€œPâ€ and is dated as before 587 BC. The final selected author â€œDâ€ lived well after â€œJâ€ and â€œEâ€. They were all very human even though they were â€˜selectedâ€™ by that Someone who knew exactly what they were going to do.
I knew you were going to ask how I came by this information or how do I know that the information is correct. The answer is that Iâ€™ve read about this research into the origin of Old Testament in many places. These are not guesses but the actual theoretical result of extensive research by individuals and organizations that I consider above reproach. Not to worry. The pope, Pius XII, in 1943, not only okayed but, urged academics, to do this type of research in his encyclical â€œDivino Afflante Spirituâ€.
Edited by baloneydetector#zero, : Change title to upper & lower case
quote:Quote: You refer to the ancient Israelites, and their Hebrew Scriptures that form the core of the Judeo-Christian canons. This assertion, though, is not true. Other 'well-known records' exist. Others have existed in the past. Why this exclusive focus on Hebrew literature and no other?
You're right of course. The general info is for any ancient culture but, I have not concetrated on those records because I have not familiarized myself with them.
quote:Quote: Or even more appropriate - Myths. Not only that the myths of the creation and flood exist in cruder forms that are over 2000 years older than the earliest OT sources. The interesting part is that normally intelligent humans beings can be convinced that these myths are some sort of dictation from God and represent actual events.
Normally intelligent humans will swallow anything. There are as many different religious edifices here as there are streets. More are coming--no wonder the elephants are disappearing.
Indeed, most of Genesis is simply a rehashing of local Mesopotamian creation myths which can be found throughout the region in the various cultures. Many of the "mysteries" in the biblical creation story are cleared up when compared to the longer full versions.