FACTOID # 10: The total number of state executions in 2005 was 60: 19 in Texas and 41 elsewhere. The racial split was 19 Black and 41 White.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Biblical minimalism

The article concerns the historicity of the Bible; i.e. in what ways is the Bible historically accurate; to what extent can it be used as a historic source and what qualifications should be applied. It mostly relates to views within the academic community. The Bible (From Greek (τα) βιβλια, (ta) biblia, (the) books, plural of βιβλιον, biblion, book, originally a diminutive of βιβλος, biblos, which in turn is derived from βυβλος—byblos, meaning papyrus, from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported this writing material), is a word applied to sacred scriptures. ...


This page is not a historical description of Biblical times. For that see History of ancient Israel and Judah. In compiling the history of ancient Israel and Judah, there are many available sources, including the Jewish Tanakh (the Old Testament of the Christian Bible), other Jewish texts such as the Talmud, the Ethiopian book of history known as the Kebra Nagast, the writings of historians such as Nicolaus of...

Contents

Introduction

Religious views

Some people, especially those within Fundamentalist Christianity hold that the Bible is the Word of God, and is therefore inerrant and infallible. The Bible is therefore held to be historically accurate, even down to smallest details. Believers uphold the literal biblical account against any and all scientific claims that conflict with it, as evidenced by the claims of creation science. Fundamentalist Christianity is a fundamentalist movement, especially within American Protestantism. ... The Word of God is a common English translation of the Greek New Testament term Logos. (see there for more information). ... History is a term for information about the past. ... This is an article on wide range of beliefs in creation ex nihilo. ...


Most Christians and Jews however prefer to stress the importance of the moral and religious values inculcated in the Bible, while its accuracy as a historic reference is not necessarily a key part of their faith. Religious writers and academics often refer to the creation stories as symbolic or intentionally simplified. Judaism in particular rejects the notion of literal interpretation of the Bible, as exemplified in the views of Maimonides who taught that when scientific evidence contradicts an understanding of the Bible, we must re-interpret that verse in accord with science. This article is about the religious people known as Christians. ... Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Hebrew: רבי משה בן מיימון; Arabic: Mussa bin Maimun ibn Abdallah al-Kurtubi al-Israili; March 30, 1135—December 13, 1204), commonly known by his Greek name Maimonides, was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher. ...


Scientific views

Within the academic community, the main discussion revolves around how much weight to give the text of the Bible against contradicting evidence or lack of evidence. Generally those giving more weight to the text of the Bible, assuming its correctness unless proven otherwise and tending to interpret it literally are called Biblical maximalists, while the opposing view is Biblical minimalism. The debate between both sides is inextricably tied with modern politics. See below.


As for any other written source, an educated weighting of the Biblical text requires knowledge of when was it written, by whom and for what purpose. For example, academics estimate that the Pentateuch was written somewhere between the 10th century BCE and the 6th century BCE. A popular hypothesis points at the reign of Josiah (7th century BCE). This topic is expanded upon in dating the Bible. This means that the events of, e.g. Exodus happened centuries before they were written down, so one should be prepared — indeed one should expect — that telling and retelling through the centuries accentuated the tale, perhaps merged originally unrelated stories, and so on. Analysis of the text suggests that it was written in the Kingdom of Judah and probably reflects the political ambitions of the kingdom or of the temple. Thus for example one should keep in mind that representing Judah and Israel as a unity throughout history, separated only "recently" fitted in with Josiah's political plans for the remnants of the Kingdom of Israel. Torah, (תורה) is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or especially Law. ... (Redirected from 10th century BCE) (11th century BC - 10th century BC - 9th century BC - other centuries) (1000s BC - 990s BC - 980s BC - 970s BC - 960s BC - 950s BC - 940s BC - 930s BC - 920s BC - 910s BC - 900s BC - other decades) (3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC) Events... (7th century BC - 6th century BC - 5th century BC - other centuries) (600s BC - 590s BC - 580s BC - 570s BC - 560s BC - 550s BC - 540s BC - 530s BC - 520s BC - 510s BC - 500s BC - other decades) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events Cyrus the Great conquered many... Josiah or Yoshiyahu (יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ supported of the LORD, Standard Hebrew Yošiyyáhu, Tiberian Hebrew Yôšiyyāhû) was king of Judah, and son of Amon and Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. ... With the exception of a couple of fragments discussed below, no Bible texts that we have predate about 200 B.C.E. found among the Dead Sea scrolls. ... This article is about the second book in the Torah. ... The Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew מַלְכוּת יְהוּדָה, Standard Hebrew Malḫut Yəhuda, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵûṯ Yəhûḏāh) in the times of the Hebrew Bible, was the nation formed from the territories of the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin after the Kingdom of Israel was divided, and was named after Judah son... The Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew מַלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Standard Hebrew Malḫut Yisraʾel, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵûṯ Yiśrāʾēl) according to the Bible, was the nation formed around 1021BC from the descendants of Jacob, son of Isaac, who was given the name Israel, meaning Struggles With God. ...


Finally, an important point to keep in mind is the documentary hypothesis, which claims that our current version was based on older written sources that were lost. Most scholars accept this hypothesis. See documentary hypothesis for details. The documentary hypothesis is a theory held by many historians and academics in the field of linguistics that the five books of Moses (the Torah) are a combination of documents from different sources. ... The documentary hypothesis is a theory held by many historians and academics in the field of linguistics that the five books of Moses (the Torah) are a combination of documents from different sources. ...


The Realistic approach

If the Bible's historicity is to be taken seriously then the Realistic approach should prevail. God did not create man in his own image but it was man that created God. Realistically the God of the bible has to be created by man and if so how.


Eusebius the early Church Father offers us a simple explanation regarding the orgin of the religions of the Phoenicians, Egyptians and Greeks. Presenting evidence from Greek translations of original Phoenician texts that date to before the Phoenician Gods were known he shows that the Phoenician Gods were actually their own kings and ancestors who were deified because of some contribution they made to general civilisation that their people saw as being important. After many years of reworking by the Hierophants the religious texts became almost unrecognisable until ancient copies of the original sources were discovered which showed the changes that had been made to turn history into mythology.


In the first two books of Preparation of the Gospel Eusebius quotes from Porphyry's, Against the Christians which quotes the Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos and concludes that the Greek religion originated from the same historical source as the Phoenicians and that the Egyptian religion came about in a similar manner, the basic point being that the names of historical ancestors were regarded as divine. If the religion is pealed back then you will get the original history.


Eusebius was unwilling to apply the same methodology to his own religion. If the Phoenician Gods were past kings then what about the Jewish God or Gods. Take a look at the Septuagint version of Jeremiah for instance. In Jeremiah 24:7 the king of Egypt (Necho) is portrayed as the original ruler of the land from the Nile all the way to the Euphrates including Syria-Palestine and this land is taken away from him by the King of Babylon. Three paragraphs later in 27:2-12 (equivalent to 34:2-12 in the KJV) the same land is being discussed but this time the king of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar is given the land by the LORD ie. the Jewish God. Using this approach, it becomes clear that the Jewish God has been created out of historical events. Pharaoh Necho is defeated militarily by Nebuchadnezzar and this is recoded both in Babylonian texts and by Herodotus and is forced to sign a treaty handing over all that he posses to the east of the Nile to the king of Babylon. The bible makes out that God has given Nebuchadnezzar this land but we know it was Necho who had it in his possession to give.


Take another instance. The Books and Kings and Chronicles consistently describe the kings of Israel and Judea as doing evil in the sight of the LORD, ie. the Jewish God. Realistically a king would never stand for this kind humiliation so the Jewish priesthood would never have been allowed to write such a thing at the time it happened or at any time during the duration of the two kingdoms whose kings were descended from each other. So who wrote the texts then. Historically Syria-Palestine was either a vassal of Egypt or of Assyria. In the time of the kingdoms of Israel and Judea it was an Egyptian vassal. Egypt controlled the land and took tribute. Sometimes the tribute was shared with Assyria and if the local kings rebelled the king of Egypt the king of kings would be angry. So who realistically had the motivation to claim that the kings of Israel and Judea did evil in the sight of the LORD if not the king of Egypt and his envoys the biblical Prophets.


It is only through the Realistic approach that the bible can be considered as history and any historical sense can be made of it.


Old Testament/Hebrew Bible

Genesis

The Biblical creation story, up to and including the deluge, is generally regarded as a myth by most scientists and many religious believers (i.e., non-creationists). The arguments raised come from cosmology, geology, evolution (in particular fossil evidence), and textual analysis of the Bible itself— it is argued that this evidence indicates that the described events, if taken literally, are scientifically impossible. This is an article on wide range of beliefs in creation ex nihilo. ... Cosmology is the study of the large-scale structure and history of the universe. ... Geology (from Greek γη- (ge-, the earth) and λογος (logos, word, reason)) is the science and study of the Earth, its composition, structure, physical properties, history, and the processes that shape it. ... Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory Although generally, evolution is taken to mean any process of change over time, in the context of life science, evolution is a change in the traits of living organisms over generations, including the emergence of new species. ... FOSSIL is a standard for allowing serial communication for telecommunications programs under DOS. FOSSIL stands for Fido Opus SEAdog Standard Interface Layer and was made by a group of Fidonet sysops to make their software work on different machines. ...


If the number of Biblical generations from Adam to Abraham are counted they are found to add up to 21 with Noah being the 10th in line from Adam. A look at the figures for the ages of these first 10 patriarchs shows at first sight that they are ridiculously too long. How can Adam live 930 years and how can Noah be 950 years old when he dies. But what if instead of years these figures are taken as lunar months. 930 lunar months is 75 years (multiplying by 19 and dividing by 235 based on the Metonic Cycle) and 950 luner months is 77 years. There is nothing out of the ordinary with these ages. The bible states that Adam begat Seth when he was 230 which if taken as lunation's equates to about 19 years which again is quite resonable so if for simplicity we take each generation as 20 years then a chronology can be roughly constructed for the first 10 biblical patriarchs spanning 200 years. If we assume an equal time for the next 10 patriarchs whose "years" look like they have been tampered with if we compare the Hebrew, Greek and Samaritan texts together with the text of Josephus then it is possible to place the period of the first 20 patriarchs somewhere between 1800 and 1400 BC (see later on for the derivation of the later baseline). This means that Noah would date to about 1600 BC and this is very close to the time of the Thera Eruption of 1628 BC which is known to have caused a tsunami that flooded the entire region of the Aegean and reached all the way to Cyprus. Not only does a 1600 BC date for Noah's Flood corresponded to the date of the Thera Eruption but according to Tatian chapter XXIX the date of the Ogygian deluge which flooded the whole of Greece according to Plato dates to 400 years before the traditional date of the Trojan War or approximately 1600 BC at the time of Inachus which is the same time as Noah. If 25 years are taken per generation the date of Noah is pushed up to 1650 BC which is even closer to the date of the Thera Erruption. The Bible states that Noah has three sons and that the Greeks were descended from his son Japheth whose namesake in Greek mythology Iapetus (see Josephus Atiquities) also lived at the time of Inachus.


If the patriarchs from Adam to Abraham are assumed to be real people, possibly kings who ruled in the region of Adana in Asia-Minor the basis for Eden which is mentioned in the bible as being to the west of the Tigress and Euphrates, then a possible chronology is as follows.


1850 BC +/-100 years Adam


1625 BC +/-50 years Noah


1400 BC Abraham


The Patriarchs

The Patriarchs are Abraham, his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. The Biblical narratives about them are generally held to be myths, that is stories that take place in the past, but serve to communicate moral truths in the present. Several Biblical passages narrate realistic and detailed cultural traits of the 2nd millennium BCE, as corroborated by archeology, fueling the debate.) No archeological evidence supporting the person of the Patriarchs was found, nor was it likely to expect archeological proof for the existence of a single household in the 18th century BCE. The archeological evidence corroborating the early Fertile Crescent cultural practices (cf. the use of houshold amulets or contractual clauses regarding servants), mostly surfaced during the last century, point to a very old narrative, while some of its ethical undertones are regarded by skeptics as later interpolations. The Patriarchs, known as the Avot in Hebrew, are Abraham, his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. ... Abraham (אַבְרָהָם Father/Leader of many, Standard Hebrew Avraham, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAḇrāhām; Arabic ابراهيم Ibrāhīm) is the patriarch of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. ... Isaac or Yitzhak (יִצְחָק He will laugh. ... This article needs cleanup. ... For the computer game, see Myth (computer game). ...


The best clue for dating Abraham and the patriarchs descend from him lies in Genesis 14:1-2 which names 9 kings who ruled in the regions of Syria-Palestine who fought against each other at the time of Abraham.


"[LXX Genesis 14:1] ¶ And it came to pass in the reign of Amarphal king of Sennaar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, that Chodollogomor king of Elam, and Thargal king of nations, [14:2] made war with Balla king of Sodom, and with Barsa king of Gomorrha, and with Sennaar, king of Adama, and with Symobor king of Seboim and the king of Balac, this is Segor."


A Babylonian Inscription deciphered by Professor Pinches (see Eastman's Revised Bible Dictionary) also bares the names of Eri-Aku (Arioch or Erichthonius) King of Pontus, Kudur-laghghamar (Chodorlahomor) King of the Elamites and Tuduchula (Thadal) King of Nations, and tells of a campaign by these monarchs in Palestine against Khammu-rabi (Shemeber, Khammu-rapaltu or Kadashman-Khrabe) King of Babylon


Identify the kings and you have the date for the time of Abraham.


Three of these kings can be identified with known historical figures dating to the El-Armana period.


Thargal king of Nations is probably Thdkaliya/Tudhalia III king of the Hittites c.1400-1380 BC (and if not him his processor Tudhalia II who ruled a generation earlier).


Sumobor the king of of Zeboim is probably Kadashman-Enlil aka. Kadashman-Vul the king of Babylon c.1375 or Kadashman-Kharbé c.1415-1390.


Amarfal king of Senner is probably Eriba-Adad aka. Eriba-Vul the king of Assyria c.1392-1380.


Some people have misidentified Amarfal with Hammurabi (Khammu-rabi) the Babylonian king of c.1800 BC but this cannot be possible since the bible sates that Amarfal was on the same side as Arioch, Chodorlahomor and Thadal but the tablet says these people were enemies of Khammu-rabi, therefore he cannot be Amarfal. Josephus also says in Book 1 of his Antiquities that Amarfal/Amraphel was an Assyrian commander.


Using the ratios of the ages of the biblical patriarchs the flowing timeline can be derived.


The Bondage in Canaan


1426.75 BC Abraham leaves Haran and travels to Egypt with Sara and Lot after a famine takes hold


c.1420-1405 Lot settles in Sodom


1408.5 Chodollogomor king of Elam and 3 allies enslave 5 enemy kings


1405 War breaks out between the 9 kings and Abraham rescues Lot after he is captured when Sodom is attacked. Abraham’s descendents in the 4th generation given the land.


1402.5 BC Ishmael is born to Abraham


1396 BC The birth of Isaac foretold to Abraham. Ishmael is circumcised


1396 BC Sodom is destroyed but Lot and his daughters escape.


1396 BC Abraham stays with Abimelech


1395.5 BC Isaac is born to Abraham


1394.25 BC Tharrah dies


1383 BC Abraham attempts to sacrifice Isaac


1376.5 BC Sara dies


1376.5- Abraham marries Keturah


1375.5 Isaac marries Rebecca


1365.5 Twin sons Jacob and Esu are born to Isaac. Keturah and her children leave Abraham


1358 Abraham dies


c.1347.5 Easu sells Jacob his birthright


c.1347.5 -1345.5 A famine occurs and Isaac stays with Abimelech


1345.5 Esau marries Adah/Judith and Bashamath


c.1345.5-1334 Esau takes Mahalath one of Ishmaels daughters as his wife after Jacob tricks Isaac to give him his brothers blessing


1334 Ishmael dies


1327 Jacob goes to Charran to work for his uncle


1323 Ruben is born to Leah


1322 Levi born


c.1321 (1340-1300) According to Josephus Herakles marries one of the daughters of Afer son of Abraham and Keturah


1320 Joseph is born to Rachael and Dinah is born to Leah


1317 Jacob leaves Charran


1317-1312 Jacob and Esau are reunited


1312 Dinah is raped


1311.5 Joseph is sold by his brothers to a trade caravan


1305.5 Isaac dies


{c.1305 Mittani falls to Adad-Nirari of Assyria} The Mitanni (also, more correctly, Mittani) was the name of the Hurrian population in West Asia in the second millennium BC, around the Khabur River in upper Mesopotamia, and, most notably, to a ruling dynasty of maybe Indo-Aryan origin who dominated that population during the 15th and 14th centuries...


1305 Joseph made chancellor of Egypt and marries Asenath


c.1304 Manesses is born


1301.5 The years of plenty end and famine begins



(sources: The Bible Septuagint and Hebrew texts, The Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus. Note: Biblical "years" and the biblical ages of the patriarchs are not taken literally but the ratios between the "years" are used instead.)


Exodus

The historicity of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt is a matter of some speculation. Looking for hints in the extensive Egyptian records, some scholars identify the Israelites with the Hyksos, Asian tribes that inhabited Egypt in the 17-16 centuries BCE. Others suggested the Apir which are reminded occasionally between the 15th and 11th centuries BCE. The earliest known reference to "Israel" (c 1200BCE), is the "Victory Stele" (or "Merneptah Stele", referred to erroneously as the "Israel Stele") of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah, in which among other victories it is recorded that "Israel is laid waste; his seed is not". Egypt continued to rule the area until the 10th century BCE. Some researchers have speculated that the stories of Exodus simply reflect the liberation of Israel from the Egyptian yoke in the land of Israel as presented in the Merneptah Stele, although the validity of the Stele's claims of victory is questionable. Supporting the idea, however, that Israel began as roving nomads as suggested in Exodus is Donald Redford, whose research indicates of a band of roving people- the Shasu- included among their number a Yahwistic group, providing a potential origin for the nation of Israel. An Israelite is a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, descended from the twelve sons of the Biblical patriarch Jacob who was renamed Israel by God in the book of Genesis, 32:28 The Israelites were a group of Hebrews, as described in the Bible. ... The Hyksos were an ethnically mixed group of Western Asiatic people who appeared in the eastern Nile Delta during the Second Intermediate Period, and formed the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Dynasties (ca. ... Habiru or Hapiru was the name given by various Sumerian, Egyptian, Akkadian, Hittite, Mitanni, and Ugaritic sources (dated, roughly, from before 2000 BC to around 1200 BC) to a group of people living in the areas of Northeastern Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent from the borders of Egypt in Canaan... In a vascular plant, the stele is the central part of the root or stem containing the vascular tissue. ... The Merneptah Stele is the reverse of a stela erected by Amenhotep III written by Merneptah. ... Merneptah (occasionally: Merenptah) was pharaoh of Ancient Egypt (1213 – 1203 BC), the fourth ruler of the 19th Dynasty. ... Shasu is an Egyptian term for nomads who appeared in the Levant from the 15th Century BC all the way to the Third Intermediate Period. ...


Some have attempted to relate various plagues to historic events, notably the volcanic eruption in Thera in the 17th century BCE. See Ten plagues for details. The book of Exodus (שמות), chapters 7:14 - 12:42, recounts the story of ten plagues (Eser Ha-Makot עשר המכות in Hebrew): 10 disasters, executed against Egypt by God, in order to convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. ... View from the top of Thira Santorini is a small, circular group of volcanic islands located in the Aegean Sea, 75 km south-east of the Greek mainland, (latitude: 35. ... The book of Exodus (שמות), chapters 7:14 - 12:42, recounts the story of ten plagues (Eser Ha-Makot עשר המכות in Hebrew): 10 disasters, executed against Egypt by God, in order to convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. ...


The number of Israelites stated in the Bible, 600,000 adult males, is widely viewed as extremely unlikely. While the population of ancient Egypt is uncertain, this figure equals or exceeds the lowest estimates for the period, and it would constitute a majority of Egyptians by most calculations. [1]  (http://nefertiti.iwebland.com/people/#rem2) A common suggestion is that the word "thousand" should be interpreted here as meaning "family", which gives a figure much more compatible with the historical record. (The record shows significant periodic movements by Asiatic populations in and out of Egypt, in particular retreating to the fertile Egyptian delta in times of drought.) Researchers however differ widely in their opinion on the true number, and indeed if the event ever took place.


One possible timeline for the Exodus is as follows using Alexander Polyhistor as quoted by Eusebius in Preperation of the Gospel book 9, Manetho's history of Egypt as quoted by Josephus in Against Apion by Josephus, The Histories by Herodotus book 2, The Library of Apollodorus, The Bible Septuagint and Hebrew texts as sources. Note: Biblical "years" and the biblical ages of the patriarchs are not taken literally but the ratios between the "years" are used instead.


Timeline of the Egyptian Captivity and Exodus


1300.5 BC Jacob comes to Egypt


c.1293 According to Herodotus Herakles (Seti I) kills Busiris (Horemheb) and his son Amphidamus (Ramses I) after a 9 year long famine. Records from Horemheb's reign show a famine occured at this time. Herodotus was an ancient historian who lived in the 5th century BC (484 BC - c. ... Shabti of Seti, from his tomb in the Valley of the Kings Seti I was a pharaoh of Ancient Egypt (19th dynasty), the son of Rameses I and Queen Sitre and later the father of Rameses II. According to some historians, he reigned between 1291 BC and 1278 BC. According... nomen or birth name Horemheb was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypts 18th Dynasty. ... nomen or birth name Menpehtyre Ramesses I was the founding Pharaoh of Egypts 19th dynasty. ... nomen or birth name Horemheb was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypts 18th Dynasty. ...


1292 Kohath is born and Jacob dies


1272 Amram is born


1265 Joseph dies


1233 Moses is born


1225.5 Kohath dies


1213 Moses murders an Egyptian and flees Pharaoh


1203.5 Amram dies


1193 The Exodus occurs 19 years after the reign of Ramses II in the final year of the reign of an Egyptian king that Manetho calls Amenophis the son of Ramses. In Amenophis sixth year Egypt was overrun a group of exiled slaves based in Avaris (Jerusalem). Thirteen years later Amenophis, his son Seti and the unnamed king of Ethiopia expelled these invaders and took back Memphis.


1173 Moses dies


1170.5 Joshua sacks Jericho


Joshua and the Judges

The historicity of the book of Joshua was strongly suspected, as archeological research found no evidence of a massive population increase in Canaan during the traditionally calculated time dates. At this time the land had a population of between 50,000 and 100,000. Kathleen Kenyon excavated in Jericho from 1952-1958, using improved methods of stratigraphy, and found many details which would seem to conform to the Biblical account of the conquest of Jericho, but she determined that the siege took place 150 years too early for it to have been the city Joshua's army destroyed. She dated the city by the absence of a type of imported pottery common to the era around 1400 B.C. She concluded, as had Sellin and Watzinger before her that the Biblical account of the conquest of Jericho was untenable if the traditional dates were upheld. Jericho and other settlements do show signs of violent disruption (an event common on the other hand throughout early history in the area), but, so far, archeology does not suggest that the Kingdom of Israel was formed by a violent struggle, nor does archeology show the Israelite Kingdom as having existed before at the very latest 853 BC. This page is about Old Testament character. ... Archaeology or sometimes in American English archeology (from the Greek words αρχαίος = ancient and λόγος = word/speech) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains, including architecture, artefacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... This article is about the land called Canaan. ...


If the bibles own narrative is taken as a guide a possible date for the reign of Joshua and the start and end of the period of the Judges can be derived statistically by using the ratios of the biblical years.


According to Judges 3:8 and 3:10 of the Septuagint an Assyrian king named Chousarsathaim (Assur-Risilim) was handed over the rule of Syria-Palestine after the death of Joshua. This king Assur-Risilim was the father of Tiglath Pileser as stated in line 41 of the Rawlinson translation of the Inscription of Tiglath Pileser who ruled in 1114 BC. Tiglath-Pileser I and and his co-ruler Asharid-Pal-Ekur II are mentioned in the Bible in 1 Chronicles 5:6 and 1 Chronicles 5:26 (Septuagint). In the same chapter are also mentioned the 10 generations from Rueben all the way to Saul the first king of the Unified Kingdom in the late 11th century BC (1 Chronicles 5:3-10). If Assur-Risilim reigined in 1150 BC a generation before his father this would place Joshua a generation earlier and the Exodus a generation earlier still after the reign of Ramses II whose city the Hebrews were building.


Genesis 47:11 also states that Joseph places his father Jacob and his brethren in the land of Ramses as Pharaoh had commanded therefore this Ramses who the land belongs to has to be either Ramses I or Ramses II. It therefore follows that the 10 generations mentioned in 1 Chronicles 5:3-10 must fit in between the reign of Ramses I at the earliest with the reign of Tiglath Pileser I and Asharid-Pal-Ekur II who 1 Chronicles 5:26 sates carried away the tribe of Rueben about 2 or 3 generations before the reign of Saul.


Using the ratios of the years given in the bible the following timeline can be reconstructed.


Timeline from the death of Joshua to the reign of Saul


1158-1155.5 BC The death of Joshua are followed by years of unrest between tribes


1155.5-1153.5 The Assyrian king Cousarsathaim (Assur-Risilim) rules over Syria-Palestine


1153.5 Othniel is the first Judge


1114 Tiglath Pilaser the son of Assur-Risilim rules Assyria


1071 The Ionian migration begins


1068 The Philistines control Syria-Palestine


1053 Samson dies and Eli judges the tribes of Israel


1048 Samuel judges Israel


1036 Samuel makes Saul king


1018 Samuel dies


(sources: The Bible Septuagint and Hebrew texts, the Inscription of Tiglath Pileser I, Jerome's Chronicon, The Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus. Note: Biblical "years" and the biblical ages of the patriarchs are not taken literally but the ratios between the "years" are used instead. )


United Monarchy

Since the discovery of a 9th century BCE inscription at Tel Dan probably referring to the house of David, it is more common to assume David was a real historical figure. However, a heated debate extends as to whether the united monarchy and the rebellion of Jeroboam ever existed, or whether they are a late fabrication. Proponents of this theory point to the fact that the division of the land into two entities, centered at Jerusalem and Nablus, goes back to the Egyptian rule of Palestine in the 10th century BCE . Tel Dan is an area in upper Galilee in Northern Israel; fed by melt water from the snows of mount Hermon, it is well watered by streams and covered with lush vegetation that seems out of place amidst its arid surroundings. ... Jeroboam (increase of the people), the son of Nebat an Ephrathite (1 Kings 11:26-39), was the first king of the break-away ten tribes or Kingdom of Israel, over whom he reigned twenty-two years. ...


1016 BC David becomes king of Judea and Ishboseth rules over Israel


1014 David rules over both kingdoms


976 Solomon is king


Later kings

It is generally assumed that the Biblical account of the history of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel is historic, even if not unbiased. Archeological evidence and chronologies of neighboring countries have corroborated the general picture presented in the Bible, although not every detail. For example, Ahab's participation in the Battle of Karkar is clearly documented in Assyrian chronology. The Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew מַלְכוּת יְהוּדָה, Standard Hebrew Malḫut Yəhuda, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵûṯ Yəhûḏāh) in the times of the Hebrew Bible, was the nation formed from the territories of the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin after the Kingdom of Israel was divided, and was named after Judah son... Ahab or Achaav (אַחֲאָב Brother of father, Standard Hebrew Aḥaʾav, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAḥăʾāḇ) was King of Israel, and the son and successor of Omri (1 Kings 16:29-34). ... The Battle of Karkar (or Qarqar) was fought in 853 BC when the army of Assyria, led by king Shalmaneser III, encountered an allied army of 12 kings led by Hadadezer of Damascus. ... Assyria, a country named after its original capital city, Asshur on the Tigris, was originally a colony of Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. ...


Despite widespread belief among the academic community that no Assyrian king named Sargon (this Sargon is mentioned in Isaiah 20 as having captured Ashdod) existed, Sargon's palace was eventually discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. His capture of Ashdod was recorded on the palace walls. Fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were also found at Ashdod itself. There have been two monarchs and a comic book fictional character named Sargon: Sargon of Akkad Sargon II of Assyria Sargon the Sorceror Sargon is also the name of a series of chess-playing software programs for personal computers. ... Isaiah or Yeshayáhu (יְשַׁעְיָהוּ Salvation of/is the LORD, Standard Hebrew Yəšaʿyáhu, Tiberian Hebrew Yəšaʿăyāhû) was the son of Amoz, and commonly considered the author of the Book of Isaiah. ... Ashdod (Hebrew אשדוד; Arabic إسدود Isdūd) is a port city in Israel located halfway between Tel Aviv and Gaza, in the Greeks called it Azotos (in Latin, Azotus) after Alexanders conquest. ... Khorsabad (Khursabad), village in Iraq, 15 km northeast of Mosul, with well-preserved ruins of the large, rectangular Dur-Sharrukin. ... Ashdod (Hebrew אשדוד; Arabic إسدود Isdūd) is a port city in Israel located halfway between Tel Aviv and Gaza, in the Greeks called it Azotos (in Latin, Azotus) after Alexanders conquest. ...


Another king who was in doubt was Belshazzar, king of Babylon, named in Daniel 5. The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus according to recorded history. Tablets were found showing that Belshazzar was Nabonidus' son who served as coregent in Babylon. Thus, Belshazzar could offer to make Daniel "third highest ruler in the kingdom" (Dan. 5:16) for reading the handwriting on the wall, the highest available position. In the Book of Daniel (chapters 5 and 8) of the Tanakh or Christian Old Testament, Belshazzar is the King of Babylon, identified as the son of Nebuchadnezzar and as the last king before the advent of the Medes and Persians. ... Babylon (disambiguation). ... Daniels Answer to the King by Briton Rivière, R.A. (1840-1920), 1890 (Manchester City Art Gallery) For the song by Elton John, see Daniel (song) For the French rocket, see Daniel (rocket) See also: Book of Daniel Daniel (דָּנִיֵּאל, Standard Hebrew Daniyyel, Tiberian Hebrew Dāniyyêl) is the name...


New Testament/Greek Bible

Main article: Historicity of Jesus The existence of Jesus, known by Christians as Jesus Christ (Jesus the Messiah) and by Muslims as Isa, is accepted by the followers of two world religions, Christianity and Islam, on the basis of their respective scriptures - the Bible and the Koran. ...


A number of scholars have argued that although there may well have been a real person named Jesus, the Jesus we know from the Bible today has many elements that come from myths and religions current at the time, for example Mithraism. It is suggested that this process of assimilation is similar to the way in which peoples in Latin America and Africa have often incorporated elements of their traditional faiths into their newly-adopted Christianity. Nevertheless, from what is known of Roman Mithraism, it bears little resemblance to the features of Christianity until a few centuries afterward possibly suggesting the borrowing was in the other direction. The neutrality and accuracy of this article are disputed. ... Mithraism was an ancient Hellenistic religion, based on worship of a god called Mithras who apparently derives from the Persian god Mithra and other Zoroastrian deities. ...


They also point out that even in European traditions, such fundamentals as the traditional date of Jesus' birth (midnight 24th December) and death (Easter) are taken from pre-existng pagan practices (the winter solstice and the fertility rites of the goddess Eostre). It should be pointed out that the Bible nowhere claims that Jesus was born on Christmas Day, and Jesus most certainly did not die during Easter, since Easter is not exactly the date of the Passover, although the two do occur close together. Solstice is an astronomical term regarding the position of the Sun in relation to the celestial equator. ...


At the extreme, some scholars, most notably Earl Doherty, have suggested that Jesus never existed at all, that the character is a gestalt of numerous individuals who lived and myths that were common currency during the late Hellenistic age. The early secular references (Tacitus on Jesus, Josephus on Jesus) can be disputed, and once these are discounted little extra-biblical support for Jesus' existence remains (see Jesus). Earl Doherty is the author of The Jesus Puzzle, a work published in 2000 by the Canadian Humanist Association arguing that Jesus never lived. ... The Roman historian Tacitus wrote, in AD 116: The following is a translation of the above Latin text: But, despite kindly influence, despite the leaders generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. ... In A.D. 93, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus published his work Antiquities of the Jews. ... The neutrality and accuracy of this article are disputed. ...


Marginal views

Popular writers such as Immanuel Velikovsky, Donovan Courville and others believe that the lack of archeological attestation of biblical figures is due to errors in the traditional chronology or the dating of archaelogical strata. Velikovsky's theories were rejected outright by the scientific community and refuted in detail, see Immanuel Velikovsky. More recent theories, notably those of Egyptologists David Rohl and Peter James are viewed with cautious interest by the scientific community but have not gained widespread acceptance. Indeed, a re-dating on the order of 300 years, as they proposed, is strongly rejected by leading Egyptologists, notably Prof. Kenneth Kitchen, although a redating by lesser amounts, such as 50 years, is more widely seen as potentially necessary. Immanuel Velikovsky (June 10, 1895 – November 17, 1979). ... Chronology is the science of locating events in time. ... Immanuel Velikovsky (June 10, 1895 – November 17, 1979). ... Egyptology is the scientific study of Ancient Egypt and Egyptian antiquities and is a regional and thematic branch of the larger disciplines of ancient history and archaeology. ... David Rohl is an Egyptologist who has put forth several controversial theories concerning the chronology of Ancient Egypt and Palestine. ... Kenneth Anderson Kitchen is Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Oriental Studies, University of Liverpool, England. ...


Schools of thought

There are two loosely defined historical schools of thought with regard to the historicity of the Bible, biblical minimalism and biblical maximalism, as well as a non-historical method of reading the Bible, the traditional religious reading of the Bible.


Note that historical opinions fall on a spectrum, rather than in two tightly defined camps. Since there is a wide range of opinions regarding the historicity of the Bible, it should not be surprising that any given scholar may have views that fall anywhere between these two loosely defined camps.


Traditional and fundamentalist readings of the Bible

Some people hold that the Bible is the word of God, and is therefore inerrant and infallible. The Bible is therefore held to be historically accurate, even down to smallest details. The term God is ordinarily used to designate a singular, universal Supreme Being. ... History is a term for information about the past. ...


According to this view, historians should accept all the details given in the Bible regardless of any other evidence to the contrary. Similarly, in the field of science, the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis are held to disprove the theory of evolution regardless of any other evidence that may be produced, see creation science. Evidence is: Any observable event which tends to prove or disprove a proposition, see scientific method and reality. ... For the scientific journal named Science, see Science (journal). ... This article is about Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible. ... This article is about biological evolution. ... This is an article on wide range of beliefs in creation ex nihilo. ...


Biblical minimalism

Biblical minimalists generally hold that the Bible is an imaginative fiction, and all stories within it are of a mythic character. None of the early stories are held to have any historical basis. In this view, all of the stories about the Biblical patriarchs are mythical, and the patriarchs never existed. Further, Biblical minimalists hold that the twelve tribes of Israel never existed, King David and King Saul never existed, and that the unified Biblical kingdoms of Israel never existed.


Some Biblical minimalists, most notably Earl Doherty, have suggested that Jesus never existed, that the character is a gestalt of numerous individuals who lived and myths that were common currency during the late Hellenistic age. Earl Doherty is the author of The Jesus Puzzle, a work published in 2000 by the Canadian Humanist Association arguing that Jesus never lived. ... The neutrality and accuracy of this article are disputed. ...


Biblical maximalism

The term "maximalism" is something of a misnomer, and many people incorrectly relate this term to the fundamentalist world view. In contrast, Biblical maximalists disagree with religious fundamentalists.


Biblical maximalists accept the findings of modern historical studies and archaeology; they agree that the Bible was never intended to be used as a history textbook, and that one needs to be cautious in teasing out fact from myth. However, maximalists hold that the core stories of the Bible indeed tell us about actual historical events, and that the later books of the Bible are more historically based than the earlier books.


Archaeology tells us about historical eras and kingdoms, ways of life and commerce, beliefs and societal structures; however only in extremely rare cases does archaeological research provide information on individual families. Thus, archaeology was not expected to, and indeed has not, provided any evidence to confirm or deny the existence of the Biblical patriarchs. As such, Biblical maximalists are divided on this issue. Some hold that many or all of these patriarchs were real historical figures, but that we should not take the Bible's stories about them as historically accurate, even in broad strokes. Others hold that it is likely that some or all of these patriarchs are better classified as purely mythical creations, with only the slightest relation to any real historical persons in the distant past, much like the British legends of King Arthur. King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Great Britain, where he appears as the ideal of kingship in both war and peace. ...


Biblical maximalists agree that the twelve tribes of Israel did indeed exist, even though they do not necessarilly believe the Biblical description of their origin. Biblical maximalists are in agreement that important biblical figures, such as King David and King Saul did exist, that the Biblical kingdoms of Israel also existed, and that Jesus was a historical figure.


Note, however, there is a wide array of positions that one can hold within this school, and some in this school overlap with biblical minimalists. As noted above, historical opinions fall on a spectrum, rather than in two tightly defined camps.


Israel ancient and modern

Biblical archaeology is sometimes politically controversial, especially when it touches on the United Monarchy period, as some Israelis seek to use the existence of the Kingdom as support for a Greater Israel today. Arguments against the historicity of the Kingdom (or perhaps an existence in a smaller and less impressive form), or against the historicity of a recognisable Exodus, can lead to charges of anti-Semitism, for example from Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review. Nonetheless, since these periods are fundamental to Israelis' understanding of their history, it is understandable that it is an emotive subject for some. Biblical archaeology comprises excavations and chance discoveries of artifacts representing people, places, and things mentioned in the Bible. ...


References

Sources on Biblical maximalism versus Biblical minimalism:

  • Biran, Avraham. "'David' Found at Dan." Biblical Archaeology Review 20:2 (1994): 26-39.
  • Coogan, Michael D. "Canaanites: Who Were They and Where Did They Live?" Bible Review 9:3 (1993): 44ff.
  • Harpur, Tom. 2004. "The Pagan Christ. Recovering the Lost Light" Thomas Allen Publishers, Toronto.
  • Mazar, Amihai. 1992. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000-586 B.C.E. New York: Doubleday.
  • Na'aman, Nadav. 1996 ."The Contribution of the Amarna Letters to the Debate on Jerusalem's Political Position in the Tenth Century B.C.E." BASOR. 304: 17-27.
  • Na'aman, Nadav. 1997 "Cow Town or Royal Capital: Evidence for Iron Age Jerusalem." Biblical Archaeology Review. 23, no. 4: 43-47, 67.
  • Shanks, Hershel. 1995. Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography. New York: Random House.
  • Shanks, Hershel. 1997 "Face to Face: Biblical Minimalists Meet Their Challengers." Biblical Archaeology Review. 23, no. 4: 26-42, 66.
  • Steiner, Margareet and Jane Cahill. "David's Jerusalem: Fiction or Reality?" Biblical Archaeology Review 24:4 (1998): 25-33, 62-63; 34-41, 63. This article presents a debate between a Biblical minimalist and a Biblical maximalist.
  • Thomas L. Thompson, The Bible in History: How Writers Create a Past, London 1999
  • William G. Dever, What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 2001

External links

  • The Debate over the Historicity and Chronology of the United Monarchy in Jerusalem (http://www.mediasense.com/athena/jerusalem.htm) by Ong Kar Khalsa
  • Minimalism, "Ancient Israel", and Anti-Semitism (http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/Minimalism.htm) By Philip Davies.
  • ממצאים מגויסים, in Hebrew and from a Marxist point of view (http://www.hagada.org.il/hagada/html/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3091)
  • YHWH and the 70 Thieves - The Deciphering of Ancient History (http://www.enthymia.co.uk/myths/bible/) By Argyros George Argyrou.

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Bible and history - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3878 words)
Biblical maximalists view the Biblical narrative as a starting point for constructing the history, and correct or reinterpret it where it is contradicted by archaeological evidence.
Biblical maximalists are in agreement that important biblical figures, such as King David and King Saul did exist, that the Biblical kingdoms of Israel also existed, and that Jesus was a historical figure.
Biblical archaeology is sometimes politically controversial, especially when it touches on the United Monarchy period, as some Israelis seek to use the existence of the Kingdom as support for a Greater Israel today.
The Bible and history (1296 words)
Biblical minimalists generally hold that the Bible is an imaginative fiction, and all stories within it are of a mythic character at best.
Some Biblical minimalists, most notably Earl Doherty, have suggested that Jesus Christ never existed, that the character is a gestalt of numerous individuals who lived and myths that were common currency during the late Hellenistic age, and that early secular references (Tacitus on Jesus, Josephus on Jesus) are not historical evidence (see Jesus Christ).
Biblical maximalists accept the findings of modern historical studies and archaeology; they agree that the Bible was never intended to be used as a history textbook, and that one needs to be cautious in teasing out fact from myth.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m