Friday, September 24, 2010

Origins of the Bible

Although I have been doing the same thing, in searching out the origins of the Bible, this is not my work. It did not get a lot of discussion at the original post site, so I am reposting to see how others think about this subject.

After discovering the actual fraudulent beginnings for the Book of Mormon I have become very curious about other religions beginnings. The Bible, because of its relationship to Mormonism, particularly intrigues me. The actual orgins are fascinating.

As I have been reading over the last year or so something occurred to me. The Bible is actually a result of the geographic location of the Canaanites at the crossroads of three continents. The Bible originated with the Canaanites who gradually morphed into the Israelites sometime between 400-700 BCE. The stories in the Bible are collections of older myths from the surrounding cultures. Those who originate from that region possess DNA that indicates they intermixed with the many groups of people who traversed the lands they wandered for centuries.

"While the Jews of today are connected historically and religiously to the Jews of ancient Israel, the DNA evidence also indicates that a significant amount of Jewish ancestry can be traced directly back to their Israelite/Middle Eastern ancestors. However, these ancestors represented a heterogeneous mix of Semitic and Mediterranean groups, even at their very beginnings. The Israelite Kingdom arose in the 11th century BCE in an area between modern-day Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Current archaeological evidence indicates that the Israelite kingdom arose out of the earlier, Bronze Age Canaanite culture of that region, and displayed significant continuity with the Canaanites in culture, technology, language and ethnicity (Dever 2003, pp. 153-154).

While the Canaanites were a Western Semitic people indigenous to the area, they appear to have consisted of a diverse ethno-cultural mix from the earliest times. It is from this diverse group that the evolution of the Israelites occurred. Although little is known about these groups, they probably included some of the following populations:

1. Amorites: Western Semites like the Canaanites. They were probably the pastoral nomadic component of the Canaanite people.
2. Hittites: A non-Semitic people from Anatolia and Northern Syria.
3. Hurrians (Horites): A non-Semitic people who inhabited parts of Syria and Mesopotamia. Many kings of the early Canaanite city-states had Hurrian names.
4. Amalekites: Nomads from southern Transjordan. Even inimical references to this group in the Hebrew Bible "tacitly" acknowledge that the Israelites and Amalekites shared a common ancestry.
5. Philistines: Referred to in ancient texts as "Sea Peoples." They invaded and settled along the coasts of ancient Canaan. Their culture appears to stem from that of Mycenae.

(Dever 2003, pp. 219-220)."

"As far as we can see on the basis of the archaeological surveys, Judah remained relatively empty of permanent population, quite isolated, and very marginal right up to and past the presumed time of David and Solomon, with no major urban centers and with no pronounced hierarchy of hamlets, villages, and towns." -- p. 132

"There is no trace of written documents or inscriptions, nor of the Temple or palace of Solomon, and buildings once identified with Solomon have been shown to date from other periods. Current evidence refutes the existence of a unified kingdom: "The glorious epic of united monarchy was -- like the stories of the patriarchs and the sagas of the Exodus and conquest -- a brilliant composition that wove together ancient heroic tales and legends into a coherent and persuasive prophecy for the people of Israel in the seventh century BCE" (p. 144).

"...most of the Israelites did not come from outside Canaan - they emerged from within it. There was no mass Exodus from Egypt. There was no violent conquest of Canaan. Most of the people who formed early Israel were local people - the same people whom we see in the highlands throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages. The early Israelites were - irony of ironies - themselves originally Canaanites!"-Finkelstein and Silberman

Numerous encounters over several centuries led to the adoption of other cultures myths and intertwining these myths into a loose collection. The occasional traveler probably stayed and the occasional Canaanite probably left with the travelers.

I personally find the actually origins more interesting than the mythical tales. It is actually a reflection of the evolution of most cultures around the world. Isolation is actually VERY rare in the course of human history.

One comment

This is important info that hundreds of millions of people need to read and become familiar with. I think it is very cool that archaeologists are bravely finding and telling the truth about these Bible-based myths, golden calves and shibboleths. Maybe in the future the planet can actually become free of the concept of "chosen people", "god's favored children", etc..

I'm really glad that this work is being done and published to the world in my lifetime. Coming to understand how scriptures are written and edited within cultures and societies has been liberating for me. The "Bible veil" is beginning to wear exceedingly thin, and may soon tear away from the mass mind altogether. I look forward to a freer world for our descendants


Jeff said...

There was no violent conquest of Canaan.

Actually, excavations at the sites of the Canaanite cities of Bethel, Beth-she-mesh, Debir (Tell Beit Mirsim), Hazor and Lachish have all revealed signs of violent destruction during the 13th century BC. All were well-fortified.

Jeff said...

Joseph was taken to Egypt before the Israelites ever became slaves in Egypt, and Joseph's court seals have possibly been found in Avaris. Also found, A "cry out" to "L", one of the first letters indicating the Hebrew God has been found inscribed on Egyptian walls.

Regarding the Exodus and the Israelites being slaves in Egypt, in 1761, Barthold Niebuhr, a German explorer, found a huge cemetery with tombs and a sepulcher atop an inaccessible mountain called Sarbut-el-Khaden. Inscriptions were found on the tombs and inside the sepulcher. (Voyage en Arabie, tom. i. p. 191). Niebuhr offered his doubts that the inscriptions were made by Egyptians, as no carved inscriptions were ever found in Egypt; rather, they were partial to painting images on plaster. He also found legible inscriptions, not only on the tombs, but also within a small temple carved out of rock, all found to be of the same written language as the Hebrew Exodus inscriptions. In another book, Niebuhr remarked "the wonderful preservation of the inscriptions upon this soft sandstone, exposed as they have been to the air and weather during the lapse of so many ages. On some of the stones they are quite perfect" (Niebuhr, Biblical Researches, vol. i. pp. 113-114). He found, as in the other Sinai inscriptions, that the hieroglyph-like writings were significantly different in form from Egyptian hieroglyphics, yet sharing similarities nonetheless. Also, no mention of Egyptian gods or common Egyptian symbols are to be found in the mountain-top graveyard.

In addition to all of this, Niebuhr found numerous engravings of quails on the tombstones "standing, flying and apparently, even trussed and cooked" (Rev. Charles Forster, Sinai Photographed [London: Richard Bentley, 1862], p. 62) and noted that the Bedouins refer to this graveyard as the "Turbet es Yahoud" (grave of the Jews). This corresponds to the biblical account where Hebrews died from a plague. According to the classic historical work, "The Annals of the World," first published in 1658 (originally published in Latin) and written by the highly-educated and well-traveled historian and scholar James Ussher, which gives the chronology and history of the early world, and which is considered not only a literary classic and masterpiece, but also an accurate historical reference:
"238. God gave the people quails for a whole month, not just for a day as he did the year before. {Ex 16:12,13} He sent a most grievous plague among them. That place was called Kibrothhattaavah, after the graves of those who lusted after mean. {Nu 11:31-34 Ps 78:26-31 Ps 106:15}" (p. 43)

Jeff said...

after the graves of those who lusted after mean.

Sorry, should be "meat," not "mean."

Jeff said...

Also, compare the biblical description about the events surrounding the escape from Egypt, with the following ancient inscriptions found on different cliffs in the Wadi Sidra area of the Sinai (Wadee El-Mukattab, Sinai) [Wadi Sidra is a possible natural route the Jews may have chosen in the Sinai after escaping Egypt. The exact route remains uncertain.]:

"The wind blowing, the sea dividing into parts, they pass over."

"The Hebrews flee through the sea; the sea is turned into dry land."

"The waters permitted and dismissed to flow, burst rushing unawares upon the astonished men, congregated from quarters banded together to slay treacherously being lifted up with pride."

"The leader divideth asunder the sea, its waves roaring. The people enter, and pass through the midst of the waters."

"Moses causeth the people to haste like a fleet-winged she-ostrich crying aloud; the cloud shining bright, a mighty army propelled into the Red sea is gathered into one; they go jumping and skipping.
Journeying through the open channel, taking flight from the face of the enemy. The surge of the sea is divided."

"The people flee, the tribes descend into the deep. The people enter the waters. The people enter and penetrate through the midst.
The people are filled with stupor and perturbation. Jehovah is the keeper and companion."

"Their enemies weep for the dead, the virgins are wailing."

The sea flowing down overwhelmed them. The waters were let loose to flow again."

"The people depart fugitive. A mighty army is submerged in the deep sea, the only way of escape for the congregated people."

Interested said...

Since I have not studied this very much I am still learning. However, it seems that those who do study it disagree.

Rick b said...

Interested said However, it seems that those who do study it disagree.

People who study evolution cannot agree on what happened or how it happened. does this mean it is false since they cannot agree? I dont think so, well I believe it is false but thats another story.

Interested said...

No Rick of course not. I was attempting, perhaps poorly, to conceed to Jeff because I do not know the facts or even the research behind his statements.

As to evolution, scientist do disagree on parts of the evolution process but the core is well established and what they don't know they admit that they just don't know. Someday we my find that there truly is a creator; if so science will document it and move on the the next challenge. That's how science works; always changing to assimilate new information.

I am reading a great book right now; one I hope will help me to understand those processes more. The book is "Only a Theory" by Ken Miller. I have only started it but I find it well written and easy to understand; unlike so many others.

Interested said...

"Actually, excavations at the sites of the Canaanite cities of Bethel, Beth-she-mesh, Debir (Tell Beit Mirsim), Hazor and Lachish have all revealed signs of violent destruction during the 13th century BC. All were well-fortified."

Jeff can you give me some information on these excavations? When? and Who made them?

Interested said...

Jeff I find a lot of information on Karsten or Carsten Niebuhr who made a voyage to Arabia, et. al. I believe Barthold is his son. What I cannot find is an english translation of his work. Any help you can offer?

Jeff said...

Hi Interested,

I haven't had much free time lately to devote to blogging and going online, and I probably won't be able to spend much time here, but here is an attempt for now to at least give a small, partial answer.

As just one example, the site of Hazor (Tell el-Qedah/Tell Waqqas) is called by excavators "the Lower Canaanite City." Yigael Yadin (Hazor I, Jerusalem) is one of those who have disclosed on the Lower Canaanite City the earliest stratum dated at the second part of the Middle Bronze Age [ca. 1750 B.C.]. Professor Aharoni (Yahanan Aharoni, The Land of the Bible) is one of the team that excavated the Tell. The Lower Canaanite City in the Late Bronze Age has three main strata, each of which ends with a destruction layer. In a report regarding the destruction of the gate built on the gate of Middle Bronze II and before the final destruction of Hazor, so presumably belonging to the destruction of about 1400 B.C., Yadin wrote: "This gate must have been destroyed in a violent conflagration, traces of burnt bricks of its inner walls and the ashes of the burnt beams still cover the floors in thick heaps." (Yigael Yadin, "The Fourth Season of Excavation at Hazor," Biblical Archaeologist, XXII, February, 1959, 8-9.) A paragraph later they spoke of the end of Stratum 1B in terms of "its destruction." General Stratum I (Late Bronze IIB, ca. 1300-1260/30) likewise ends in destruction. The report concluded: "This destruction should be related (according to Yadin) to the Israelite Conquest." (p. 165).

As you noted, Interested, Carston and Barthold were father and son. French and Dutch translations of Niebuhr's narratives were published during his lifetime, and a condensed English translation of his own three volumes, prepared by Robert Heron, was published in Edinburgh in 1792, under the title "Travels through Arabia". A facsimile edition of this translation, as by "M. Niebuhr", was published in two volumes by the Libraire du Liban, Beirut. I think you can find some examples here:

Anonymous said...

As for the crossing of the Red Sea, Ron Wyatt found a land bridge u nder the sea at Nuweiba. He photographed chariot wheels and other artifacts at that site.
He also found the real Mt. Sinai at this site
28.566361° 35.334240°
It overlooks a 5000 acre plain. There is an altar, grave, pillars, and not far away is the Rock of Horeb or split rock where Moses made water gush forth at this site, 28.728190°35.239984°
If you still think the Bible is myth, check out Noah's ark at this site, 39.440590° 44.234166°
There is much more proof of its accuracy. I didn't believe before I saw all this stuff. These are the 'stones crying out' as Jesus predicted.