Thursday, September 26, 2019

The World According To The Bible

As I read and re-read and re-re-read the Bible as part of my personal projects, I'm finding two things:

1. The scripture-as-myth exegesis makes a lot more sense than the scripture-as-literal-history exegesis does.

Two things that make me lean towards scripture-as-myth are one, that there are many people with functional names that typically make sudden or short-lived appearances to advance a storyline (Rebecca, to tie, who mothered twin sons, Nabal, fool, who conveniently insults David in 1 Samuel 25, or Eve, to give life) and then conveniently disappear from history almost as fast as they appeared, and two, the lack of precise details regarding significant events. Where exactly was the Garden of Eden? How high and where exactly was the Tower of Babel? The Levite and his concubine in Judges 19 - why does no-one in the story have names?

You see, there are very few details we can actually use to corroborate these retellings with, and with the details we do have, an agnostic look doesn't support the Bible-as-literal-history account.

2. The world as known to the ancient Hebrews was limited as far as the authors knew their geographical neighbours.

There are no mentions of tribes and cultures on the other side of the world (American Indians, Indian Indians, Eskimos/Inuit, Mayans, et al) and the only mention of Africans goes only as far as Egypt and Ethiopia (which happened to be major cultural centres).

This becomes a problem because the Hebrews were apparently the beloved people of the creator of the universe - did God not bother to say something to Moses along the lines of, "Hey Moses, how about we give a shout-out to the Austronesian-speaking peoples of South-East Asia? I love them too, you know!" to which Moses replies "Who and where? There's no evidence for them. They don't exist!".

This becomes even more of an embarrassment in Isaiah 34:1-2 (NIV), which proclaims a time of reckoning and punishment for the whole earth and all that is in it.

Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter.

I don't remember the aborigines of Australia having ever faced judgement or having their armies wiped out by God. Nor the Zhou dynasty of China. Nor the Parisi of northern Britain.


It's almost as if the Jewish writers of the time knew ONLY about a world that extended as far as they could see their regional neighbours.

So either God can't communicate the truth of his created world to his beloved people, or God was intended to simply be the local deity for the Hebrews in much the same manner as the Canaanites around them - then Zoroastrianism came along...

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Until next time, stay healthy, stay positive, and Go Tiges!!!!!

- Damien

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