NATION

PASSWORD

Who wrote the Bible?

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Who wrote the Bible?

It was written by numerous people, each writing their account to achieve their own political aim, and was eventually compiled into a single text by numerous reactors.
131
52%
It was written and compiled from numerous sources, but still reflects the key messages from God and wasn't written to achieve political aims at all.
65
26%
Mosaic authorship exists throughout the Pentateuch, the prophetic books were written by their respective prophets, and all the books were written as an accurate, monotheistic account.
19
8%
The Bible was authored by the "K" or "Knoxist" source.
4
2%
It was written by Jesus, the God-fearing middle-class white American from Texas.
17
7%
Je ne sais pas.
14
6%
 
Total votes : 250

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Nationalist State of Knox
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Ex-Nation

Who wrote the Bible?

Postby Nationalist State of Knox » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:07 am

As a Christian (well, Catholic) the question of "Who wrote the Bible" remained trivial to me: I couldn't conceive of any major theological implications if it turned out that, say, "Isaiah" didn't write the Book of Isaiah, and therefore I merely assumed that the authors of particular Biblical texts were (in most cases) the names of the texts themselves (with obvious exceptions like the books of the Pentateuch).

In my first year of secondary school, still a Catholic, we had what was called "Tutor Prayers", in which we would spend half an hour at the start of the day studying the Bible. This began my first encounter with the Book of Genesis, and of course, the natural question arose: "who wrote Genesis?" "Moses" was the answer, and he was also credited with writing all of the Books of the Law. A little confused at first, eventually the explanation of "divine revelation" made sense to me: after all, how could Moses know about the account of creation unless God had revealed it to him?

In this perfect world where Bible authorship was so uniform, there was little need to question the validity of the statements and the archeological evidence. "Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible" is an assumption common across the entire Judeo-Christian tradition, and it wasn't until, across the years, I descended into atheism that I finally began to question Biblical authorship; at least, authorship in the Hebrew Scriptures.

"How did Moses describe his own death in Deuteronomy if he was... well, dead?" was a question that had been at the back of my mind for so long. The answer to "who wrote the Bible?" becomes simple when you consider the context in which it was written, as an offshoot of the Canaanite religion, with sources from contemporary mythology as well as ancient Babylonian mythology. It isn't long before this "divinely inspired text" is exposed as little more than a compilation of various mythologies carefully edited and constructed across the centuries to advance certain political agendas.


Moses
Did Moses exist, and if he did, who was he? According to the Bible, Moses was the great religious leader who acted as God's messenger to free the Hebrew people from Pharaoh's tyranny in Egypt. However, disregarding the Bible as a reliable historical source on this matter (for reasons that should be obvious), we see little to no evidence for the existence of this "Moses"; at least in the context of the "Exodus".

In fact, the entirety of the Exodus story doesn't correspond to anything we know from history. The Ancient Egyptians did own slaves, there is no evidence that the Egyptians systematically enslaved the Hebrews, let alone carry out infanticide as a form of population control.

If we assume that the Egyptians did enslave the Hebrews, then 603,550 men, women and children would have to cross from Egypt into modern day Palestine. Not only do the Egyptians nor any other civilisation record such a migration (that would heavily impact Egypt as a whole), but the time in which it occurred would be considerably problematic for the Hebrews; this is because, based on Biblical chronology (especially considering the likelihood of the Exodus "occurring" during the reign of Thutmose III), the Israelites would have migrated from Egypt... to Egypt-controlled Canaan.

So to answer the question, no, Moses didn't exist, at least not as the Bible describes him. A more likely explanation would be that the Exodus Myth is a fabrication to explain to origins of the Hebrew people in a time when religious tradition took priority over historicity, and is most likely based on old Canaanite myths (after all, contrary to Biblical descriptions, the Israelites originate from Canaanite tribes). If a "Moses" did exist, he would most likely be an Iron Age tribal chieftain of a particular tribe, elevated to legendary status through the Exodus story.

In fact, Israel's Canaanite origins is exactly what forms the basis for the construction of the first book of the Bible: Genesis.

Beginnings in Genesis
It doesn't take much work to notice the clear narrative differences between Genesis 1 and 2; in fact, the creation story present in Genesis 1 didn't enter the Bible until much a much later date (which I'll explain later), and the majority of Genesis is formed from the old Canaanite mythology from which Israel originated.

With the book of Genesis, two sources arise: "Jahwist" (or J) and "Elohist" (or E), which can each be identified and dated based on the characteristics of their writing. The primary feature is fairly evident thought their names: J typically ascribes God's actions to "Yahweh", the God of the Bible and Judeo-Christian tradition (translated as "The Lord" in the English Bible), and E refers to God as "Elohim" or simply "God" (yes, the English translation actually got something right).

J's writing begins in Genesis 2:4, immediately after the (then not written) creation story:
Genesis 2:4 wrote:This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when Yahweh made the earth and the heavens.

Notice the abruptness of this verse in contrast to the verses preceding it, with the "this is the account" signalling the beginning of the story, completely disregarding the chapter "preceding" it. This verse also contains the first reference to Yahweh, who had prior to this gone unnamed.

E's contributions to the Bible possess notably distinct characteristics as well as referring to God as "Elohim" rather than "Yahweh". E's Hebrew is reflective of a northern dialect often identified as "Israelian Hebrew", which is different to the southern dialect produced by J (believed to originate from Judah). When J and E are examined with respect to their allegiance to the states of Judah and Israel, respectively, certain Biblical stories begin to make sense: E, the northern author, shows favouritism to the northern tribes, often favouring Joseph in stories:
Genesis 41:41-51 wrote:41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

In this story, Joseph is given power over Egypt because he interprets Pharaoh's dreams, elevating him to a position of great power because of his wisdom. Also note the use of "God" or "Elohim", indicating E's authorship.

However, J presents Joseph in a different light, exposing his weakness and humiliating him as a victim of attempted rape (notice the reference to "The Lord" as a translation of "Yahweh"):
Genesis 39: 1-20 wrote:1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.

2 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.


By contrasting these two stories, we see certain political agendas that are promoted by the two sources, one pro-Israel and one pro-Judah/anti-Israel. Differences between the two sources don't end there, however. In the chapter known as "Abraham Tested", Abraham is commanded by Elohim to sacrifice his son, Isaac. This is where the two sources diverge; in the Elohist text, when read in isolation from J, Isaac never again appears in the story, indicating that Abraham sacrificed Isaac. However, in the combined story, Yahweh commands Abraham to stop before he performs the sacrifice. The two sections can be illustrated thus:
Genesis 22:1-18 wrote: 1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

As soon as God changes his mind (by deciding to not have Abraham kill Isaac), the narrative instantaneously switches from "God" (Elohim) to "The Lord" (Yahweh), indicating the narrative split. By saving Isaac, the author of the second half of the story (possibly J or another editor who combined the two sources) explains J's continued reference to a living Isaac after the event.

Origins in Polytheism
As stated earlier, the Israelite culture emerged out of the culture of the Canaanites. The Canaanite religion, like all religions at that time, was polytheistic. Examining some of the Gods of the Canaanite Pantheon, Gods such as "El Elyon" (God Most High) and "Athirat" (or Asherah, wife of El) present themselves as familiar, with equivalents in most contemporary religions (like Anu of the Babylonian Pantheon). Judaism (and for that matter, Christianity) is renowned as a monotheistic religion, with belief in one God, "Yahweh". Judeo-Christian tradition establishes Yahweh as the one true God, rejecting not only the authority but the existence of all other Gods. However, like all other religions at that time, Judaism was once polytheistic.

Back to the individual Biblical sources, J appears to have authored most of Exodus, once again presenting "Yahweh" rather than "Elohim". Something interesting happens, however, in Exodus 6:2-3:
Exodus 6:2-3 wrote:2 God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them.

In the English translation, this makes little sense: neither "the Lord" nor "God Almighty" are really names, they both mean God, right? What more information would "the Lord" reveal to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob than "God Almighty"? However, when the names are translated properly, the passage looks like this:
Exodus 6:2-3 wrote:2 God also said to Moses, “I am Yahweh. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh I did not make myself fully known to them.

In this, "El Shaddai" or "Shaddai" is revealed as a separate entity- a different God in other words. This passage therefore attempts to suggest that the Shaddai of Abraham and Yahweh are in fact the same God. Whilst I'll explain this fully later, it's important to keep in mind.

When Yahweh rescued the Israelites from Egypt in the mythical Exodus account, the Israelites would often abandon following Yahweh or "The Lord" in favour of false idols like Baal or Asherah:
Judges 3:7 wrote:The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.

Upon reading this verse (and other similar verses) my immediate question was "why would the Israelites do this?" After all, I had been raised believing in the monotheistic Judeo-Christian tradition, and the English translation of the Bible didn't help either. Essentially, what I perceived was happening was the Israelites abandoning the One True God who had rescued them, the one God whose miracles they had witnessed (and thus whose existence had been proven), in favour of false pagan deities whom they had no evidence for. The perspective changes when we correctly translate "the Lord" back into "Yahweh", and find out exactly who Yahweh was.

One of God's many names in the Bible is "The Lord of Hosts":
1 Samuel 15:2 wrote:Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.

Once again, this makes little sense in the English translation: what does "Lord of Hosts" actually mean? On closer inspection, one realises that this name is derived from "Yahweh Sabaoth", which would better translate as the "Lord of the Armies" or The "Commander of the Armies". This changes the entire perspective of who Yahweh is: he is the Mars or Ares of the Hebrew Pantheon, the god of war who brought plague and destruction on Egypt in order to free the Israelites and become their primary God.

When the previous verse is examined with this knowledge in mind, the Israelites' decision suddenly becomes more understandable: they're not abandoning the One True God, they're merely deciding to worship another God in the Israelite Pantheon. After all, why worship the God of War in times of peace? Surely the worship of Baal Hammon, the God of Fertility, would be more beneficial to the Israelites?

A further reference to Yahweh as the Lord of the Armies is found in Exodus 15:3:
Exodus 15:3 wrote:Yahweh is a warrior; Yahweh is his name.

And in Exodus 18:11, the existence of Yahweh as one of a pantheon of other Gods is also referenced:
Exodus 18:11 wrote:Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.

The verse doesn't suggest that Yahweh is the only God; merely that he is superior to the other Israelite deities because he was the one who rescued them from Egypt. With this polytheistic perspective, verses in the Bible that usually wouldn't make sense from the established monotheistic view suddenly do, even one of the Ten Commandments:
Exodus 20:2-3 wrote:2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

This commandment essentially means "I am Yahweh, your saviour, and you will make me your primary God because of this", explaining why he gets so worked up and "jealous" when the Israelites turn to other Gods.

With this revelation, our entire interpretation of J's text changes; he is revealed as a dedicated worshiper of Yahweh, determined to glorify him and provide justification for his continued worship. However, at this stage in the Bible's development, the Israelites are still polytheistic, possessing idols to other Israelite gods (like Baal) as well as Yahweh.

Deuteronomist
The fall of the Kingdom of Israel to Assyria was a natural consequence of Israel allying with King Rezin of Aram; Judah desperately needed an ally to prevent its defeat at the hands of the now powerful northern kingdom. The defeat of Israel in 720 BC and the consequent deportation of its population to Assyrian cities like Gozam and Nineveh caused many refugees to flee south into Judah, and with them they brought a belief in strict Yahwism.

Unlike in Israel, Yahweh worship (as the main God) hadn't become popular, but this changed with the introduction of Yahweh cults from Israel after the Assyrian invasion. Suddenly Yahwism became prominent amongst the rich landowners of Judah, eventually influencing King Hezekiah himself. Hezekiah, now a loyal follower of Yahweh, decided to promote his primary god by outlawing idolatry and worship of other gods, destroying idols and other images of gods. However, his son, King Manasseh, reversed his father's "reforms" in favour of Israelite paganism, which was also supported by his son, King Amon. Amon was ultimately murdered, and his 8 year old son, Josiah, was placed on the throne of Judah.

King Josiah's reign, however, doesn't get interesting until approximately 627 BC, the fourteenth year of his reign. At this time, Josiah ordered a High Priest (identified as "Hilkiah" by the book of 2 Kings) to renovate the Temple, but during the renovation, Hilkiah discovered a "lost" book of the law. The book discovered was an early form of "Deuteronomy", or at least chapters 5-26 of it, and was claimed to have been authored by Moses (in keeping with the tradition that Moses authored Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers).

However, in this "lost" book, a covenant with Yahweh is established:

Deuteronomy 5:2 wrote:2 Yahweh our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

3 Yahweh made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.

Alongside this new covenant, Deuteronomy 5:7-21 contains the Ten Commandments repeated from Exodus as a reminder that "you shall have no other Gods before [Yahweh]". In Deuteronomy, Yahweh also commands the Israelites to commit genocide against the various pagan tribes of Canaan:
Deuteronomy 7:1-2 wrote:1 "When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Gir'gashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Per'izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb'usites, seven nations greater and mightier than yourselves,
2 and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them; then you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them.

Suddenly, Israel's troubles are explained by a lack of faith or devotion to Yahweh, being used to explain the Assyrian conquest of Israel and eventually the Babylonian conquest of Judah.

King Josiah used this book as an excuse to enforce strict Yahwism on the people of Judah, implementing reforms outlawing the worship of Baal and Asherah. Objects to these gods were also destroyed during the reforms, ultimately establishing Yahweh Sabaoth as the national god of Judah. The monolatry commanded by Exodus had become official law. However, based on the form of Classical Hebrew used in Deuteronomy (dated to around 600 BC), as well as its contents and its convenient discovery to provide an excuse for Josiah's reforms, the generally accepted view is not that it was authored by "Moses", but rather by "Deuteronomist" or "D", a third source alongside J and E.

Later, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings were authored by D as the "Deuteronomistic History", describing the history of Israel from the death of Moses up until the Babylonian Exile. D is also credited with writing significant parts of the Book of Jeremiah, explaining Jeremiah's absence in Kings (despite supposedly living at that time).

The Babylonian Exile
By 620 BC, the Assyrian Empire had suffered a major decline in power, partially as a result of several civil wars. Nabopolassar, a Chaldean chieftain, allied himself with the Scythians, Cimmerians, Medes and Persians, defeating Assyria and establishing the Neo-Babylonian Empire. His son, Nebuchadnezzar II, continued his legacy, expanding the Babylonian Empire by seizing the remains of the Assyrian Empire. Aside from this painfully brief summary of the rise of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, what's important with regard to Biblical authorship is what Nebuchadnezzar II did next.

The "Babylonian Exile" took place in two waves: the first, after Judah revolted against Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar consequently besieged and conquered Jerusalem in 597 BC. Many high-ranking citizens were captured and taken to Babylon. The second wave was after King Zedekiah, the monarch the Babylonians had appointed ruler of Judah, rebelled against Babylonian rule, allying himself with the Egyptians. Nebuchadnezzar returned, destroyed Jerusalem's walls and Temple, and exiled much of the remaining populace to Babylon. Judah became the Babylonian province of "Yehud", ending all independence it once held as a state.

Babylonian (and later Achaemenid) control had a profound impact on Hebrew Scriptures, both ideologically and literarily. The Exile resulted in what is known as "Late Biblical Hebrew", as the exposure to Babylonian culture brought many Aramaic loanwords into Hebrew (Aramaic was the language spoken by the Babylonians), as well as various Aramaic constructions. The Aramaic influence was large enough to precipitate phonetic shifts, and even caused the Israelites to abandon their traditional Phoenician script in favour of the Aramaic one (the one still in use today).

It is at the time of the Exile that the fourth source, the Priestly Source (or "P") arises. The additions of P can be primarily identified by the attention to detail paid with regard to religious tradition and various other practices; the Book of Leviticus for example. P's elaborate and almost tedious descriptions of a list of various rules is characteristic of his (or their) writing style. For example, look at Leviticus 14, if you can bear it:
Leviticus 14:1-32 wrote:1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “These are the regulations for any diseased person at the time of their ceremonial cleansing, when they are brought to the priest: 3 The priest is to go outside the camp and examine them. If they have been healed of their defiling skin disease, 4 the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the person to be cleansed. 5 Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over fresh water in a clay pot. 6 He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. 7 Seven times he shall sprinkle the one to be cleansed of the defiling disease, and then pronounce them clean. After that, he is to release the live bird in the open fields.

8 “The person to be cleansed must wash their clothes, shave off all their hair and bathe with water; then they will be ceremonially clean. After this they may come into the camp, but they must stay outside their tent for seven days. 9 On the seventh day they must shave off all their hair; they must shave their head, their beard, their eyebrows and the rest of their hair. They must wash their clothes and bathe themselves with water, and they will be clean.

10 “On the eighth day they must bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb a year old, each without defect, along with three-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, and one log of oil. 11 The priest who pronounces them clean shall present both the one to be cleansed and their offerings before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

12 “Then the priest is to take one of the male lambs and offer it as a guilt offering, along with the log of oil; he shall wave them before the Lord as a wave offering. 13 He is to slaughter the lamb in the sanctuary area where the sin offering and the burnt offering are slaughtered. Like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest; it is most holy. 14 The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. 15 The priest shall then take some of the log of oil, pour it in the palm of his own left hand, 16 dip his right forefinger into the oil in his palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of it before the Lord seven times. 17 The priest is to put some of the oil remaining in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, on top of the blood of the guilt offering. 18 The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed and make atonement for them before the Lord.

19 “Then the priest is to sacrifice the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from their uncleanness. After that, the priest shall slaughter the burnt offering 20 and offer it on the altar, together with the grain offering, and make atonement for them, and they will be clean.

21 “If, however, they are poor and cannot afford these, they must take one male lamb as a guilt offering to be waved to make atonement for them, together with a tenth of an ephah[e] of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, a log of oil, 22 and two doves or two young pigeons, such as they can afford, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.

23 “On the eighth day they must bring them for their cleansing to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the Lord. 24 The priest is to take the lamb for the guilt offering, together with the log of oil, and wave them before the Lord as a wave offering. 25 He shall slaughter the lamb for the guilt offering and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. 26 The priest is to pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand, 27 and with his right forefinger sprinkle some of the oil from his palm seven times before the Lord. 28 Some of the oil in his palm he is to put on the same places he put the blood of the guilt offering—on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. 29 The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed, to make atonement for them before the Lord. 30 Then he shall sacrifice the doves or the young pigeons, such as the person can afford, 31 one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, together with the grain offering. In this way the priest will make atonement before the Lord on behalf of the one to be cleansed.”

32 These are the regulations for anyone who has a defiling skin disease and who cannot afford the regular offerings for their cleansing.

I could write an entire page explaining how vastly unnecessary this is; however, I'll spare you the rant. P's formal, ritualistic writing that often has a focus on purity establishes the Books of Law as what would eventually form the Pentateuch. P writes, in addition to the entirety of Leviticus, Exodus chapters 25-31 and 35-40:
Exodus 25:31-36 wrote:31 “Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. 33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 34 And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. 35 One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 36 The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.

Again, by detailing the intricate design of a lampstand, P once again demonstrates an obsession with precision and detail characteristic of his/their writing. In Numbers, P authors 1-10:28, 15-20, 25-31, 33-36, ending with the death of Moses (which was later edited to the end of Deuteronomy).

P also derives some of his edits from Babylonian Mythology, take, for example, the Babylonian Creation Myth. The account of the myth is found in the "Enûma Eliš"or "Enuma Elish", on seven tablets whose story is believed to originate from the Bronze Age. In the story, the primordial entity Apsû plots with Mummu to kill the gods, but Tiamat warns the greatest god, Ea, of their plan. Thus the gods go on to kill Apsû, much to the dismay of Tiamat, who, motivated by revenge, decides to defeat the gods. The gods then unsuccessfully attempt to defeat Tiamat, who is supported by "monster serpents" "filled with poison instead of blood", as well as "dragons" and "scorpion men". In addition to this army, she is described to have "made eleven monsters" "huge of stature". Marduk, son of Ea, eventually decides to defeat Tiamat, on the condition a council of gods is formed and he is elevated to the highest position. Marduk defeats Tiamat, and decides to split her body in half: one half to form the heavens and one for the Earth. The Sun, Moon and the Stars of the Zodiac are also created, and ultimately, the gods create man for the purpose of worship.

Compare this in parallel with Genesis 1, the chapter that didn't exist prior to the Exile. Like the chaos (in the form of Tiamat) faced by Marduk as his greatest adversary, the "void" presents itself as Elohim's adversary, where he can only achieve victory by giving it "form". Elohim creates the Heavens and the Earth, much like Marduk, as well as the Sun and Moon (one to govern the day, one to govern the night) and the stars. Elohim is also shown to create man in Genesis 1, the main difference being that the Babylonian tale cites this as the result of the work of multiple Gods rather than a single God. Of course, the natural question to ask is "why doesn't it mention anything about plant life, sea animals, birds etc like the Genesis story does?" Well, I'm sure it would, if it weren't for the fact that almost the entirety of Tablet V (the tablet that contains the creation story) is missing.

Further Babylonian influence is shown in the story of the Global Flood, drawing significant parallels with the Babylonian "Epic of Gilgamesh". Like the Genesis Flood Account, we have a hero ordered by God (in this case Ea) to construct a vessel, so to survive the flood soon to be brought by the gods. Utnapishtim, our hero, is ordered to take on board "the seed of all living creatures" as well as his family. The flood is unleashed, and the gods hide in the "firmament" (the firmament also being present in Biblical mythology), and after the storm calms, Utnapishtim grounds near a mountain. After releasing numerous birds (including a dove, like Noah), the floodwaters eventually subside.

Why would P, or indeed anyone, edit these stories in? The Babylonian Exile marked a crushing defeat for Judah and the people of Israel. Driven from their homeland to live in Babylon, many lost faith in Yahweh. P, and another similar source, one known to scholars as "Deutero-Isaiah" (who wrote at the same time as P, and whose work can be contrasted with Proto-Isaiah, who wrote chapters 1-39, and Trito-Isaiah, who authored 56 and onwards), sought to preserve Yahweh worship to prevent the Israelites from turning to the pantheon of the Babylonians. This matter was resolved easily, as we can see in chapters 40-55 of Isaiah (the section attributed to Deutero-Isaiah):

Isaiah 44:6 wrote:"“This is what the Lord says—
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God."

In monolatrism, one god is worshipped above others, but the others are not denied to even be in existence. This belief had been Judah's ever since Josiah's reforms, enforcing strict worship of Yahweh: however, this verse in Isaiah is the first allusion to monotheism in the scriptures: i.e. there are no other gods to worship. This was the perfect way to ensure loyalty to Yahweh, as now he is the only god and those of the Babylonian pantheon are merely false idols. P rewrote several parts of the Pentateuch, such as Exodus 6:2-3 (mentioned earlier):
Exodus 6:2-3 wrote:2 God also said to Moses, “I am Yahweh. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh I did not make myself fully known to them.

P explains the different god worshipped by Abraham by stating that they are the same god, merely different names, giving the excuse that he didn't make himself "fully known to them":
Genesis 17:1 wrote:When Abrams was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am El Shaddai; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.

Thus Yahweh becomes the sole god throughout the entire Bible, and by authoring Genesis 1 and part of the flood story, P attributes these stories not to Marduk, Ea, Enlil or any other Babylonian god, but to Yahweh, establishing his authority over creation. Through P, the Israelite religion had become monotheistic for the first time in its existence.


Whilst this doesn't cover every book of the Hebrew Bible, it is sufficient to deliver a point; the Bible, with authorship traditionally attributed to a single individual per book(s) (such as Moses for the Pentateuch), is instead the combination of different works by different authors, carefully edited together and crafted to achieve certain political agendas (such as Deuteronomy and Josiah). Indeed, most books in the Bible post-Kings can be dated to the post-Exilic period and beyond, such as the Book of Daniel, which, despite claiming to describe events at the time of Nebuchadnezzar II, can be dated to almost 400 years after.

Had I discovered the apparent construction of the Bible whilst I was a Christian, I have no doubt it would have accelerated the rate at which I abandoned my Christian faith. However, when I did discover this, it merely confirmed what I had already suspected as an atheist.

So, what say you NSG? Who do you believe wrote the Bible (feel free to discuss books like the Twelve Minor Prophets or even the New Testament), and what theological implications does it have?
Last edited by Nationalist State of Knox on Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Last edited by Gilgamesh on Mon Aru 17, 2467 BC 10:56am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ceannairceach » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:09 am

Loki. It was all just supposed to be a joke, and then... Well, you know the rest.
Last edited by Ceannairceach on Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Nationalist State of Knox » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:10 am

Ceannairceach wrote:Loki. It was all just supposed to be a joke, and then... Well, you know the rest.

Bloody Norse gods, eh?
Last edited by Gilgamesh on Mon Aru 17, 2467 BC 10:56am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby The Holy Therns » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:11 am

Pot wrote the Bible.

Loads of pot.
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Postby The Realm of God » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:11 am

Lot's of people wrote the Bible over a period of about 3000 years (give or take) and if anyone has books falsely attributed to them we can never know the real author, not that it matters much.
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Postby Divair » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:12 am

A short time ago, not so far away... I got bored. And so, I wrote some books to fuck with the world.

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Postby Nationalist State of Knox » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:13 am

The Realm of God wrote:Lot's of people wrote the Bible over a period of about 3000 years (give or take) and if anyone has books falsely attributed to them we can never know the real author, not that it matters much.

We can't particularly identify authors by name, but we can analyse the text to identify primarily how many authors there were and secondly which parts they wrote.
Last edited by Nationalist State of Knox on Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ceannairceach » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:13 am

Nationalist State of Knox wrote:
Ceannairceach wrote:Loki. It was all just supposed to be a joke, and then... Well, you know the rest.

Bloody Norse gods, eh?

You know how they can get.

@}-;-'---

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Postby Nationalist State of Knox » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:14 am

Divair wrote:A short time ago, not so far away... I got bored. And so, I wrote some books to fuck with the world.

You must be the original troll.
Last edited by Gilgamesh on Mon Aru 17, 2467 BC 10:56am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Divair » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:15 am

Nationalist State of Knox wrote:
Divair wrote:A short time ago, not so far away... I got bored. And so, I wrote some books to fuck with the world.

You must be the original troll.

A result of boredom.

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Postby The Holy Therns » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:15 am

Nationalist State of Knox wrote:
Divair wrote:A short time ago, not so far away... I got bored. And so, I wrote some books to fuck with the world.

You must be the original troll.


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Postby Nationalist State of Knox » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:17 am

Ceannairceach wrote:
Nationalist State of Knox wrote:Bloody Norse gods, eh?

You know how they can get.

Now you know why I'm a Babylonian pagan and not a Norse pagan.
Last edited by Gilgamesh on Mon Aru 17, 2467 BC 10:56am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Esternial » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:17 am

A bunch of guys who wanted to write a bunch of stories similar to Dr.Seuss' work, aimed to teach people about loving your fellow man and stuff like that.

Pretty much the old age version of a lifestyle magazine, poured into one single edition.

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Postby Eaglleia » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:17 am

Where's the "who knows" option?

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Postby Evil Lord Bane » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:17 am

I wrote the bible, got a problem with it?
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Postby Pravengria » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:17 am

If I remember right, the exact composition that made up the bible during most of the middle ages, was created by the Romans, who decided what went in and what didn't. The first bible however, was written by the Greeks, before being translated into Hebrew. Correct me if I'm wrong though.
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Postby Blekksprutia » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:17 am

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Postby Divair » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:17 am

The Holy Therns wrote:
Nationalist State of Knox wrote:You must be the original troll.


We are all born as trolls.

Obligatory "You merely adopted the trolling. I was born with it. Molded by it."

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Postby Nationalist State of Knox » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:19 am

Eaglleia wrote:Where's the "who knows" option?

Added.

Pravengria wrote:If I remember right, the exact composition that made up the bible during most of the middle ages, was created by the Romans, who decided what went in and what didn't. The first bible however, was written by the Greeks, before being translated into Hebrew. Correct me if I'm wrong though.

That's wrong in so many ways.
Last edited by Gilgamesh on Mon Aru 17, 2467 BC 10:56am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Skenderos » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:20 am

In the Old Testament, we know that the prophets wrote the prophet books. The Pentateuch is propbably written by several writers, but nonetheless, they all share one thing in common, these words are inspired by the Holy Spirit.
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Postby Zweite Alaje » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:20 am

Tl;dr

It was written by some Jews that got high on shrooms, duh.
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Postby Ceannairceach » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:20 am

Nationalist State of Knox wrote:
Ceannairceach wrote:You know how they can get.

Now you know why I'm a Babylonian pagan and not a Norse pagan.

Yeah, the Norse gods know why, too. That's why they mention Babylon so much in the Bible, just to discourage folks like you. *nod*

@}-;-'---

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Postby Nationalist State of Knox » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:21 am

Skenderos wrote:In the Old Testament, we know that the prophets wrote the prophet books. The Pentateuch is propbably written by several writers, but nonetheless, they all share one thing in common, these words are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Did you read the OP?
Last edited by Gilgamesh on Mon Aru 17, 2467 BC 10:56am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby The Realm of God » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:22 am

Nationalist State of Knox wrote:
The Realm of God wrote:Lot's of people wrote the Bible over a period of about 3000 years (give or take) and if anyone has books falsely attributed to them we can never know the real author, not that it matters much.

We can't particularly identify authors by name, but we can analyse the text to identify primarily how many authors there were and secondly which parts they wrote.


Perhaps, I don't agree the inconsistencies really take anything away from it as the basis of a religion (I'm deliberately speaking objectively) as it shows an account of a deities dealings with a group of humans over a rather large period of time. Sometimes it mentions what people believed at certain times, so the fact that the Israelites were polytheists for a long time does not take away anything. Especially if you use the bible in addition to tradition, reason and experience as the foundation of faith.
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