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Abraham to Moses The stories and their historicity.

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Presentation on theme: "Abraham to Moses The stories and their historicity."— Presentation transcript:

1 Abraham to Moses The stories and their historicity

2 Reading the Bible way.com/ way.com/ mary.info/ - one tweet per chapter, one chapter per day mary.info/

3 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Abraham (Genesis) 1900 BCE: Abraham born Abraham settles in Canaan Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1800 BCE: Jacob born

4 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Abraham (Genesis) 1900 BCE: Abraham born Abraham settles in Canaan Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1800 BCE: Jacob born Kugel: - 19 th Century scholarship: “… believed that someone (that is, J or E) who lived long after Abraham, indeed, long after the people of Israel had settled Canaan, made up these stories in order to justify that settlement…”

5 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Abraham (Genesis) 1900 BCE: Abraham born Abraham settles in Canaan Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1800 BCE: Jacob born Kugel - 19 th Century scholarship: “… believed that someone (that is, J or E) who lived long after Abraham, indeed, long after the people of Israel had settled Canaan, made up these stories in order to justify that settlement…” - 2Oth Century – first half: discovery of Ur (which had disappeared from history in the 17 th century BCE); Nuzi tablets (near Haran) reveal legal practices, customs that fit with Abraham narrative; Mari tablets mention names that are those of Abraham’s family. His life and times appear to fit uniquely well with the first half of the 2 nd millennium BCE.

6 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Abraham (Genesis) 1900 BCE: Abraham born Abraham settles in Canaan Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1800 BCE: Jacob born Kugel - 19 th Century scholarship: “… believed that someone (that is, J or E) who lived long after Abraham, indeed, long after the people of Israel had settled Canaan, made up these stories in order to justify that settlement…” - 2Oth Century – first half: discovery of Ur (which had disappeared from history in the 17 th century BCE); Nuzi tablets (near Haran) reveal legal practices, customs that fit with Abraham narrative; Mari tablets mention names that are those of Abraham’s family. His life and times appear to fit uniquely well with the first half of the 2 nd millennium BCE th Century – second half: Philistines interacting with Abraham seems anachronistic; absence of any reference to Abraham of Israel’s 8 th and 7 th century prophets; one scholar argues Abraham’s story created to reflect the Jews’ return after exile in Babylon; nowhere in the bible does it say that Abraham did not worship other Gods.

7 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Abraham (Genesis) 1900 BCE: Abraham born Abraham settles in Canaan Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1800 BCE: Jacob born

8 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Abraham (Genesis) 1900 BCE: Abraham born Abraham settles in Canaan Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1800 BCE: Jacob born Watson: - No independent corroboration for any of the early figures (although Egyptian and Babylonian kings at the time of, say, Moses are firmly established, we know of their actions, remains have been found)

9 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Abraham (Genesis) 1900 BCE: Abraham born Abraham settles in Canaan Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1800 BCE: Jacob born Watson: - No independent corroboration for any of the early figures (although Egyptian and Babylonian kings at the time of, say, Moses are firmly established, we know of their actions, remains have been found) - No archaeological evidence that Abraham ever existed

10 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Abraham (Genesis) 1900 BCE: Abraham born Abraham settles in Canaan Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1800 BCE: Jacob born Watson: - No independent corroboration for any of the early figures (although Egyptian and Babylonian kings at the time of, say, Moses are firmly established, we know of their actions, remains have been found) - No archaeological evidence that Abraham ever existed - Place names, Philistines, domesticated camels all belong to 1200 BC and after

11 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Joseph (Genesis) 1700 BCE: Joseph born Joseph sold into slavery Joseph becomes Egypt's viceroy Jacob and family move to Egypt

12 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Joseph (Genesis) 1700 BCE: Joseph born Joseph sold into slavery Joseph becomes Egypt's viceroy Jacob and family move to Egypt Kugel: - “Ancient Egyptian records reveal that Semitic peoples from the area of Canaan did indeed frequently go down to Egypt in time of famine...”

13 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Joseph (Genesis) 1700 BCE: Joseph born Joseph sold into slavery Joseph becomes Egypt's viceroy Jacob and family move to Egypt Kugel: - “Ancient Egyptian records reveal that Semitic peoples from the area of Canaan did indeed frequently go down to Egypt in time of famine...” - Western Semites known as the Hyksos, actually took over control of Egypt for a century or so (approximately 1670 – 1570 BCE)

14 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Moses (Exodus) 1500 BCE: Egyptian enslavement begins 1300 BCE: Moses born 1250 BCE: Exodus from Egypt Revelation at Mt Sinai 1210 BCE: Moses brings down second set of tablets Watson: - No independent corroboration for any of the early figures (although Egyptian and Babylonian kings at the time of, say, Moses are firmly established) - “One account has the descendants of Abraham going to Egypt and then being led by Moses, via the Wilderness, into Canaan. In the other account, the land is settled from the east, with no mention of Egypt.” (Watson, p. 156)

15 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship Moses (Exodus) 1500 BCE: Egyptian enslavement begins 1300 BCE: Moses born 1250 BCE: Exodus from Egypt Revelation at Mt Sinai 1210 BCE: Moses brings down second set of tablets Kugel: - “… the numbers seemed impossibly large for a group travelling from tiny oasis to tiny oasis.” (Kugel 2007: 204) - “silence of ancient Egyptian records” (ibid) - “… many of the sites mentioned in the account of the Israelites’ desert wanderings have been identified and excavated, but none of them has yielded anything…” (ibid) - “no evidence of Egyptian influence in the earliest settlements in Canaan identified as Israelite” (ibid, p. 205) - Expulsion of the Hyksos may be the basis for the Exodus story

16 Caveat Complex Contested


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