Hagbard Celine 23-Jun-93 09:51pm Obscure Bible stuff *************************************

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Hagbard Celine 23-Jun-93 09:51pm Obscure Bible stuff *********************************************** June 1993 I make no claims of being a Biblical scholar. However, through my experiences in a class at San Francisco State University earlier this year, I can share the following bits of info, which I believe may be of interest to EarthRite users. If you disagree with any of the information in this posting, I encourage you to respond as you see fit (short of violence, ridicule, miscel- laneous mayhem, etc.). What follows is simply a semi-refined version of my classroom notes; I am not the original source for any of what follows. If there are factual errors below (there are probably a few transpositions and typos, too), they are the result of my trying to write down as much information as I could, as fast as I could, while I had access to the information. This stuff comes from Biblical scholars all over the world and I will try to include recommended reading at the end of this scroll. In large part, this posting is about how the Bible is a highly derivative collection of unrelated stories cannibalized from other, older religions, then stitched together clumsily by later scribes, most of whom had political, xenophobic agendas. (Funny how such writings could eventually inspire the violence and hatred so many of us have experienced at the hands of supposedly spiritual people. The price of monotheism is apparently xenophobia.) I have been assured that the most historically and linguistically accurate translation of the Bible is the James Moffatt translation, published since the 1930s by Harper & Row. All references in this text (unless otherwise indicated) are references to the text as it appears, correctly translated, in Moffatt. Since I'm typing this at EarthRite Central, roughly 900 miles from my reference library, and the low-end word processor I'm using here cannot flag any potentially misspelled words, there may be some English language errors below, either ridiculous or sublime. If so, mea culpa. Please post any comments, responses to Hagbard Celine, c/o EarthRite (93:9060/208). anks! =====1 There are several creation stories in the Old Testament, not just one. One of these stories is actually a retelling of the Babylonian myth known most commonly to the Western world as Enuma Elish. If you are familiar with that myth (or even if you're not), you might want to read the following Biblical passages in Moffatt: Genesis 1:1-2 \ Psalms 74:11-17 \ Isaiah 27:1 \ Enuma Job 26:5-14 / Elish Isaiah 51:9-10 / Psalms 89:10 / This myth is roughly the same age as the myth of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, which was adapted in the Bible as the story of Noah's Ark and the flood (written roughly 1,500 years before Homer). =====2 The King James version of the Bible is so poorly translated that whole sections of it are riddled with structural and historical errors. For example, Isaiah 9:1 in the King James version says precisely the opposite of what it says in the original Hebrew. And in Isaiah 1:10, the King James version mistranslates a metaphorical reference to the story of Sodom as being a literal reference. The New World translation mixes up past, present and future tense, so that nothing in it makes any logical sense whatsoever. =====3 Despite popular belief, David wrote no more of the Bible than 1/2 of one psalm. Solomon, too, wrote virtually none of what is attributed to him. =====4 Much of the Bible was written thousands of years before there was any such thing as a Bible. In fact, the word Bible is derived from the Greek word "biblion," so the stories of the Bible were not compiled in their more-or-less familiar form until Alexander the Great had conquered what was left of Israel. The Old Testament (Tenach) was written before there was any concept of a Bible. Until the time of Jesus, what few of these writings had been compiled were known as The Law and The Prophets. =====5 Partof the Bible contradict one another because they were written by warring tribes who worshipped different gods -- Yahweh and Elohim being the most obvious example of such gods -- that were blended together by later redactors. =====6 The first chapter of Genesis was written 500 years after the second chapter of Genesis. They feature entirely different creation stories because they weren't written by the same people or about the same god. In the second chapter, man is created in desert conditions, not in a garden. Question for xians: If the Bible tells stories that are mutually exclusive, how can it be inerrant? =====7 The second chapter of Genesis was written several hundred years after the biography of King David that's found in 2 Samuel. That's why there's no religion in the biography story: it was never meant, when written, to have any religious context, content or interpretation. =====8 God has at least 15 names in the book of Genesis because the stories in Genesis actually come from many different and distinct mythologies. And remember, even these individual mythologies were mostly polytheistic. God uses the so-called "royal we" in Genesis, even though the "royal we" wasn't created until the 17th century. That's because more than one god is speaking at a time. Yahweh was a single deity, but "Elohim" translates as the plural "gods." =====9 Chapters 1 and 5 of Genesis were written by the Priestly astronomers who were Elohim worshippers; chapters 2, 3 and 4 were written by their enemies, the farmers who worshipped Yahweh. =====10 The serpent in the Genesis story is not the Devil. No such character exists in Old Testament writings. The serpent is actually the hero of the storsaving his consort, Eve, from a life of ignorance. But her creator is afraid of having equals. Although Joseph Campbell has been accused of many horrible things, he does present accurate and non- hateful information in "The Serpent's Bride and the Mother-Goddess Eve," a chapter in his book The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. The serpent is Eve's (Havah's) consort. (Havah=Yahweh). This was originally a story of goddess worship. Also, the god in this story is not the creator of all living things and the text says as much in chapter 3 of Genesis, verse 1; the text says plainly that this god did not create the serpent. =====11 Ishtar = Eve = Havah = Astarte = Ashtarot, etc. All the same character originally. The Tetragramaton has been translated as JHVH and YHWH, which is where we get names like Yahweh and Jehovah (written Hebrew has no vowels). =====12 Although Yahweh as a character is derived largely from the Midean god Yah, the word "yahweh" is very closely related to the Hebrew verb "havah," meaning "is." The goddess Havah (Eve) preceded Yahweh as a Hebrew diety. =====13 Genesis 2:16-17 -- god's first words to humanity are a lie. This doesn't bode well. Compare to heroic serpent. =====14 Genesis 2:15 -- god says the garden needs to be protected, but from what? What is this god afraid of? =====15 Genesis 2:18-20 -- having noticed that the other animals are having wanton sexual relations, Adam "examines" every single animal in the garden during his search for potential sexual partners. When he's worn out all the wombats, weasels and wildebeasts, he asks his creator to invent just one more animal. According to Rabbinical interpretation and revision of this story 1,000 years later, the mate provided to Adam was Lilith (also a goddess -- the goddess of newborn children -- from the fading matriarchal society crushed by the rising patriarchy), not Eve. =====16 The first 5 books of the Old Testament are often misnamed the Books of Moses, as if he wrote them, which he most certainly did not. These stories were part of the oral tradition for so long that they were distorted from matriarchal to patriarchal stories over time. =====17 Genesis 6 and Genesis 7 are two different stories, written hundreds of years apart, that have been intertwined. In the Moffatt translation, this contradictory doublet has been separated into italicized and Roman type. Both of these stories are about Noah and the flood, but each serves the distinct political agenda of its time. (Note that the door to Noah's ark is closed by Yahweh, with his anthropomorphic hand. At the time these stories were written, Yahweh was not yet invisible, or in any other significant way different from human beings.) =====18 The oldest myths are the (a)etiological myths, which served in their time the same function served now by science. Etiological myths are myths of origins. "Where did women come from?" is a completely different etiological myth than "Where did men come from?". Other such myths: Why does humanity have to work so hard? Why is childbirth painful? Why don't snakes have legs? Why do we work on a set schedule? Why do we wear clothing? Most of the stories in Genesis 2,3 and 4 are etiological stories, and were used to educate children. Most of these stories were at least sevehundred years old before anybody knew how to write them down -- and in those hundreds of years, the etiological myths spread from one population to another, mutating and contorting to suit the agendas of the story-tellers in each of those communities. That's one of the reasons why so many of the same basic themes are repeated in the myths of many societies/religions (and perhaps why virtually every religion begins with giants and a flood). =====19 Genesis 1 is not as etiological as Genesis 2, which explains the work week and the origin of matter. Anthropomorphic deity needs to rest at the end of a week. =====20 Genesis 3:8 -- god tromps through the garden, unaware of where Adam and Eve are hiding. This is omniscience? =====21 Genesis 3:21 -- god guts and skins animals for Adam and Eve to wear tunics. (God has to sew?) =====22 Genesis 3:22 -- the god in the Garden of Eden is vengeful, arrogant, vain, fearful, a liar, and jealous of human beings. =====23 Genesis 6: 1-4 -- angels can fornicate with the best of 'em. =====24 Genesis 6: 6-8 -- god makes a gaffe, has regrets/ self-doubt. =====25 Genesis 6:19 contradicts Genesis 7:2, re: number of animal-pairs Noah should bring upon the ark. =====26 Genesis 8:20 -- animal sacrifice -- God likes the smell of burning flesh. Later, in Leviticus, god explains the proper way to offer him an animal sacrifice for his maximum enjoyment. But then, in Isaiah 1:11, he changes his mind and gets huffy about it. =====27 Genesis 9: 18-27 -- very confusing trying to determine whether Canaan is the son or the grandson of Noah, because the story was partially re-written to justify the genocide of Canaanites (Phoenicians/Palestinians). In the original version, Noah's sons were Canaan, Shem and Japeth. But the revision introduced a new son, the cursed Ham, and made Canaan Ham's son. This hateful myth gained a new lease on life in the 19th century when it was combined with an unscientific study of differences in language andsed to justify the vicious mistreatment of African black people in the western world (because the 19th century theory said dark-skinned people were the cursed descendants of Canaan). This ridiculous theory is still in use in S. Africa. Ham/Canaan's crime, as revealed in Robert Graves' book, Hebrew Myths: When a drunken Noah exposed his genitals to his children, an outraged Canaan (Ham) castrated his father. =====28 Genesis 11:6-7 -- spiteful god =====29 Genesis 1:29 is pro-vegetarian; Genesis 4:4 is pro- carnivore -- so guess which chapter was written by the agrarian society and which chapter was written by people into animal husbandry (no, not the kind Adam practiced). =====30 Daniel is underground, revolutionary, political propaganda, -- wholly fictional -- from whence Jews derive their belief in an afterlife. Daniel was written several hundred years after the Babylonian captivity and about 170 years before the birth of Jesus. Also, Daniel is unusual for having been written partially in Aramaic (from the word "Aramaic" in Daniel 2:4 through the end of chapter 7). Daniel provides the first references in hundreds of years to political action, and so represents the beginning of a new political state in Israel. In many ways, Daniel is a "modernized" version of the story of Joseph in the final 14 chapters of Genesis. Scholars know Daniel is fictional because it was written several hundred years after it says it was; we know more about the events it claims are contemporary than the author knew. Daniel makes no historical sense because it was actually written between 168 and 165 BCE. The character Daniel is a fictional version of Judas Maccabeus, intended to inspire pious loyalism to Judas Maccabeus. The references in Daniel to Babylon are actually sly, coded references to Greece. =====31 \ 2 Samuel 1:26 \ 1 Samuel 20:41 \ Was King 1 Samuel 20:1-4 / David gay? / / =====32 me of the lost books of the Bible include the Book of the Wars of Yahweh, and the Book of Nathan, both of which are referred-to in Biblical passages. =====33 Genesis 12: 10-20 (Yahwist) is a doublet with Genesis 20:1 and Genesis 26 (Elohist), re: Abram & Sarai. Genesis 12 is Yahwist mythology and Genesis 20 is Elohist morality. (An interesting side note to this doublet: Recent archaeological excavations in Syria have proven that at the time the Yahwist version was written, wives were called "sister to the brother," because of patrilineal inheritance rights. But 500 years later, the Elohist writer didn't have that knowledge and -- thinking the older story was accepting of incest -- changed it.) When Abram's name changed to Abraham in the stories, it was because Abram means "Ram is my father," and indicated his family's worship of a non-Hebrew deity. It was politically expedient when the stories were being transcribed to change his name to Abraham, which means "father of many." Abram/Abraham was probably not an individual person -- in the stories, some scholars believe he represens a tribe of at least 70 people, all fairly closely related. (This isn't as strange as it may sound. In the Old Testament the word "Israel" can represent Jacob, or his descendents, or all Israelites, or their land/country, or just the northern part of their country.) However, a post-WWII archaeological dig in Syria seems to confirm the historical existence of Abram. =====34 Genesis 19 -- story of Sodom is about middle eastern hospitality laws, not homosexuality. =====35 Adam | Noah ___________|___________ | | | Ham Shem Japeth | | | |________ | | | Canaan Abram Lot | _____|____ | | | | Moab Ben-Ammi | Itzchak (Isaac) | | Ishmael (Jacob) | | Judah (Had 11 brothers; 12 tribes of Israel) | | (eventually) Jesus Assuming that these characters were ever real people, they were almost certainly not related by blood. But for the sake of continuity and for the sake of simplifying religious bigotry, the Bible says they WERE related by blood. Stories of characters descended from OFF the center line are xenophobic stories about people who are not Hebrew. Judah is in the center line so Jesus will descend appropriately (for dramatic impact, etc.). Since Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worshipped three different gods, it's unlikely that they were grandfather, father, and son. =====36 Genesis 32:2 is from the Yahwist account; Genesis 32:7 is from the Elohist account -- these offer conflicting explanations for why Joseph's brothers despised him. Elohist account describes behavior offensive to Elohists; Yahwist account describes behavior offensive to Yahwists. =====37 Genesis 34 is two stories, not one. These stories were later interleaved. The Priestly version of the story is the later of the two, and begins with a marriage broker, NOT a rape. The Priestly version was written 500 years after the original, at a time when Jewish self-rule had been nearly obliterated and -- as a response -- their leaders set religious laws against marrying non-Jews. =====38 Psalm 137 -- written post-David, when Hebrews were living in Babylonian captivity. This is a reverential poem about genocide, about kling foreigners. Like most of the Priestly writings, this is undiluted hatred for all things non-Jewish. =====39 The name of Isaac's god translates into English literally as "Terror." =====40 Exodus 6:2-8 is a Priestly doublet for the earlier Exodus 3, written by both Elohists and Yahwists. The Priestly version provides the Hebrew proper names for three gods. Translated into English, these are God, The Eternal, and God Almighty. Exodus 3:11 calles him Elohim. Then 3:14 calls him I-Will-Be-What-I-Will-Be (in other translations: I Am That I Am). This one is actually a Hebrew phrase in future tense: ehyeh ashohyeh, with the two H's as in Yahweh (YHWH), which means, sort of, "to become." The most natural translation into English would be "I am what I am," but the comic strip character Popeye ruined this phrase for Biblical translators. Some of god's other names in the Bible transliterate as "I cause things to come into being," "I bring war into existence," and "I will be." =====41 Exodus 2:10 -- Egyptian meaning of Moses: Like "Ramesses" meant son of Ra, and "Thutmose" meant son of Thoth, and "Ahmose" meant son of Ah (Ra, Thoth and Ah all being ancient Egyptian gods), Moses was named on the assumption that he was the son of a god, but nobody knew which one... they hadn't decided. He probably had a Hebrew name, too, but it has been forgotten. The revisionists who forget to look at Moses' name in light of his having been raied as Egyptian royalty say that his name means "removed," but they're wrong. =====42 In Exodus, god tries to kill Moses, but fails to do so because a woman outsmarts him. This is one of the most puzzling, primitive and enigmatic stories in the Bible. Exodus 2:23a \ Exodus 4:19-20 \ order in which the Exodus 4:24-26 / story should be read Exodus 2: / Why would Yahweh want to kill Moses? Probably for the same reason that Yahweh (described plainly and simply as a man) attacks Jacob in Genesis 32:22. In both stories, god fails to defeat mortal men in simple hand-to-hand combat. The Genesis account also says that Yahweh has to flee the scene of the conflict before dawn. These stories support archaeological evidence that the Hebrews appropriated Yahweh from stories in Midean mythology of a fearsome night demon named Yah, who was not visible in the daylight. The Midean story revised in Exodus features a woman resolving the crisis, which suggests it predates thiarchy. The foreskin tossed at Yahweh's feet weds Yahweh to Zipporah -- symbolic of the hymen breaking in virginal intercourse, particularly when you know that feet in the Old Testament usually represent a penile erection. Yahweh intended to rape Zipporah, but her magic confused him. The earliest version of the story probably had no infant and probably featured the circumcision of Moses (or the man for whom Moses became a stand-in in the Biblical account). =====43 Many of the "miracles" described in the Old Testament were miracles only to the people describing them, because they were witnessing various natural phenomena with which they were not previously familiar. The story of the parting of the reed sea (a low-level lake, not red at all, its English name was spelled awkwardly in the days of Middle English non- standardized spelling, leading to a prevailing mispronunciation of the translated name) was not even slightly "miraculous." A small lake (known variously as Maeotis, Bardawi, and Baudouin) is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a VERY thin strip of land, but only when the weather is clement. During inclement weather the path is completely obscured by water and is indistinguishable from the Mediterranean. The path here is a far more likely path for the Exodus than the one through the Red Sea. The story of Manna from Heaven also involves a misunderstanding. In fact, one reasonable translation of the Hebrew word manna is "What is it?".Manna is an extrusion of sap from the tamarind tree -- it comes out of the tree in the early morning, when a worm/bug has bitten the tree. Because these critters store their excrement in the manna, it becomes an unpleasant dining experience shortly after it comes out of the tree. The folks who originated the story of the miraculous manna believed it formed on the trees overnight, like dew, and therefore must be a gift from Heaven. Manna is sold in Israeli shops today under the brand name Mannite. Although it tastes something like maple syrup (before it's spoiled with bug shit), Mannite is sold as fertilizer, not food. ====44 Isaiah 6:9-13 -- god loves people so much, this is his plan: Make the minds of the people dull, make their ears heavy and close up their eyes, lest their eyes see, lest their ears hear, lest their minds understand and their health be restored. When asked how long he wants this torture to go on, god says: Till they are ruined, till their towns are empty, and their houses uninhabited, and the land left desolate... ...even if a tenth of them be spared, they too must be burned up, like stumps of oak and terebinth that have been felled =====45 The book of Joshua is entirely fictional, historians and scholars say. Ditto for Daniel (a political potboiler) and some others. =====46 The word "prophet" is a Gree mistranslation of the Hebrew word "nabi," and the mistranslated word incorrectly implies that the Biblical prophets were believed, and considered sane by their people. The opposite is true. And contemporary usage of the word "prophet" has misled many people to think Biblical prophets were predicting the future, or even trying to. All the prophets cared about was revising the behavior and beliefs of the Hebrew race in order to forstall/prevent its annihilation. Prophesy means speaking forth. =====47 Isaiah's name was really Yeshayahu. "Yahu" means god, as in Yahweh or ehyeh, and "yesh" means "to save." So Isaiah means "Yahweh Saves," but this has nothing to do with individual salvation like the "Jesus saves" slogan is meant to imply. Instead, Isaiah's name was meant as a constant reminder to save the tribe. =====48 Joshua chapters 6-10 are mas a justification of genocide. =====49 S. Israel (Judah) raised crops, worshipped Yahweh. Wrote from roughly 950 to 850 BCE. N. Israel (Ephraim) raised animals, worshipped Elohi. Wrote from roughly 850 to 750 BCE. After 721, those who survived moved to the southern kingdom and inter-married. During Babylonian captivity, Priestly writers (astronomers) wrote about Elohim and genocide from roughly 500 to 400 BCE. A few of the populationss they aspired to slaughter were the Phoenicians, the Moabites, the Philistines, the Ammonites, the Assyrians, and the Arameans (which I've almost certainly misspelled). =====50 Christians later interpreted Isaiah 7:14 as a reference to Jesus. Such interpretation is historically and grammatically absurd, since the passage is written in the Hebrew equivalent of past perfect tense. =====51 Among the groups that are purportedly part of the lost 10 tribes of Israel: the indigenous people of North America, the indigenous people of Japan, the "Anglo-Israelites" of England, and thecias (probably misspelled) of Ethiopia. =====52 2 Kings 17:21 -- now worshipping Elohim is a sin =====53 Isaiah 11 -- this poem was seminal in the development of the concept of a messiah, back when that meant an earthly king, not a holy one =====54 Isaiah 1:4 -- "Majesty of Israel" as name for a god to worship. ===55 Isaiah 1:24 -- "Hero of Israel" as name for a god to worship. =====56 Isaiah 1:12-15 -- god says this about churches: Crowd my courts no more, bring offerings no more; the smoke of sacrifice is vain, I loathe it; your gatherings at the new moon and on sabbath, I cannot abide them; your fasts and festivals, my soul abhors them, they are a weariness to me, I am tired of them. You may stretch out your hands, but I will never look at you, and thoughmay offer many a prayer, I will not listen. =====57 Hosea 2:8 -- Yahweh is growing, changing from his previous role as a god for shepherds -- new name might as well be Yahwehelohim or Yahwehadonai, since the merger has now begun between the gods of the north and the south. =====58 Hosea 2:14-15, 2:17 -- god tells Canaanite followers of Baal that he can also be such a god -- a god of fertility and agriculture, not just a god for shepherds. =====59 One of Saul's sons was Ishbaal, whose name meant "man of Baal (god.)" Ish is from the Hebrew and Baal is from the Canaanite. But later scribes changed his name in Biblical accounts to Ishbosheth (Ishibosheth?), meaning "man of shame." A similar transformation occurred in the Bible with the common woman's name Meribaal, changed by later scribes to Mephibosheth. Names incorporating both Hebrew and Canaanite words were common at this time because the two cultures had become almost indistinguishable. =====60 Hosea 2:18, 2:21-23 -- Yahweh will destroy Israel unless its people worship him instead of Elohim. =====61 When reading any of the prohetic writings (Isaiah, Hosea, Jeremiah, etc.) watch for references to Moses. You will notice that Moses gets none of the credit for freeing the Hebrew slaves of Egypt. The prophets all hated Mosaic law. =====62 No Bible prints the stories in chronological order, as they were written, because that's considered too radical, too revealing. However, the paperback edition of the Bible, as published by Houghton-Mifflin, apparently makes at least an attempt at chronology. ====63 Hosea 11:9 -- first declaration that god is more than just a particularly astute man. This idea was very slow to catch on. =====64 A jeremiad is what you say while you're shaking your fist and criticizing/shaming someone. =====65 Jeremiah 1:5 -- used by Operation Rescue-type groups: Before I formed you in the womb, I chose you; ere ever you were born, I set you apart... But they leave out the rest of the verse, because it's clearly aimed at Jeremiah and Jeremiah alone: I have appointed ya prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:6 -- god's name here is Lord Eternal =====66 Jeremiah 1:18 -- Yahweh says his army will defeat Elohim's army =====67 The book of Deuteronomy is considered the fifth book of Moses, even though it was written 1,000 years later than the other four. No one ever took the credit for writing it. =====68 Jeremiah 20:14 has an entirely fictional doublet in Job 3. =====69 Jeremiah 20:7-11 -- in modern, psychiatric terms, Jeremiah would probably be diagnosed as having schizophrenic paranoia. =====70 Jeremiah 31:27-34 -- one of the most important prophesies in the Bible, since it says sins no longer travel through the generations (i.e. sins of the father). Here, sweeping changes occur in the religion, including the abolition of organized worship, of priests, and of sins. Here, individualistic religion dawns as a response to conditions of slavery and genocide. But this law was apparently a law for the moment, with the assumption that it would be abandoned if things ever improved. What Jeremiah was proposing was a way to keep their religion alive while they were in captivity. =====71 Ezekial 1:4 -- since electron is the Greek word for amber, electricity was named for the reference to it in this passage: ...as I gazed, there was a storm-wind blowing from the north! -- a huge cloud with fire flashing out of it, and with a sheen encircling it and issuing from it, the colour of amber. But this passage continues through verse 14 and becomes interesting for an entirely different reason. In this passage, Ezekial is attempting to re-shape the religion of his people into a religion of animal-worship. Biblical animal gods appear for the first time (not the last) in Ezekial: Out of it appeared the forms of four creatures, and this was their appearance: they had the same form, each with four faces and four wings, with limbs straight and gleaming like burnished bronze, and with the soles of their feet rounded like the feet of calves. Under their wings, on the four sides of them, were human hands. As for their four faces and wings -- their wings touched one another, and their faces never turned as they moved; each moved straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces -- all four had in front the face of a man, on the right the face of a lion, on the left the face of a bull, and the face of an eagle at the back. Their wings were stretched out, one pair to touch the next Creature, the other pair to cover the body. Each moved straight forward; wherever the Spirit impelled them to go they went, never turning as they moved. Also, in the middle of the Creatures there was Something moving to and fro, like gleaming coals, like torches, a fire that gleamed and flashed out lightning. The description continues through verse 28, with references to wheels and a variety of additional, extremely peculiar appendages. Finally, dwarfed by the spectacle around him is -- ho hum -- god, sitting down and seeming unimpressive. But the description of Ezekial's vision is actually just a retread of Babylonian mythology -- remember Genesis hasn't been written yet -- and Babylon was a polytheistic soceity. Oh, and by the way, previous writers had said anyone who saw or described Yahweh -- even saw him in a vision -- would die immediately. But Ezekial didn't. So go figure. =====72 Dreams andvisions in the Bible are almost always incoherent -- yet they form the foundation of the religions based on the Bible. =====73 Ezekial's writings are -- for lack of a term used at the time they were written -- science fiction. =====74 Isaiah was not one writer. Starting in chapter 40, the book of Isaiah was written by someone scholars call Duetero-Isaiah, who was the first Biblical monotheiest. EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE WRITTEN CHRONOLOGICALLY BEFORE CHAPTER 40 OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH WAS WRITTEN BY PEOPLE WHO BELIEVED IN MORE THAN ONEGOD. (But remember that the stories in the Bible are not arranged in the order in which they were written.) So whoever Duetero- Isaiah was, s/he was showing enormous chutzpah by writing in Isaiah 44:24: ...I am the Eternal, maker of all things, I alone stretched out the heavens, 'twas I who spread out the earth; who aided me? Monotheism emerged at the nadir of Hebrew/Jewish history. =====75 Every time in the bible that reference is made to the creation of the universe, you can be pretty sure you've encountered yet another god from yet another religion. =====76 Isaiah 40:3 -- Yahweh accompanied the Jews to Babylon and now he's going to walk with them back to Israel. This prophesy is rewritten in Luke 3:4 so that John becomes the level road to Jesus and Yahweh needn't travel through the desert. The New Testament almost always garbles its references to the Old Testament, and never accidentally. =====77 Ezekial 37:1-14 -- first Biblical reference to immortality, influenced by the near-genocide of the Hebrew people and their return to JudaNot intended as individual immortality, but an immortal race. No reference to Heaven or Hell. =====78 The book of Daniel and the story of Jonah are fictional, not prophetic, and represent the failure and decline of the prophetic movement. These writings were followed by the writings of anonymous scribes attributed to famous men ohe distant past (David, Solomon, etc.), then by Priestly writing, which led into a new testament intended for Greek audiences (not Hebrew or Aramaic). =====79 The word "wisdom" in the Old Testament is often used as an oblique reference to goddess worship. =====80 What the dream means in Daniel 2:31-36: Gold = Babylonians Silver = Mideans Bronze = Persians Iron = Early Greek Empire (Alexander) Iron/Clay = Later Greek Empire (Epiphanes) Iron and c cannot alloy; clay destroys iron. Epiphanes has feet of clay and cannot maintain the empire handed to him. From 330 to 50 BCE, Greeks had a huge influence on Hebrew culture. This dream is also referential to Book One of Ahbed's (sp?) Metamorphases, a Latin consumption of parts of the Old Testament. =====81 Daniel 4:32 -- god gets another new name: The Most High. =====82 Daniel 4:37 -- god gets another new name: King of Heaven (this is the first time Heaven has been a place). =====83 Proverbs chapter 8 proclaims the dawn of a new religion, one in which men and women are equal, one with both a god and a goddess... Wisdom (a kind of religious writing) \ Hypostasis (inductive creation of new god) \ Hochma (Hebrew goddess of wisdom) \ a brief Hacham (wise man) \ vocabulary Sophia (goddess of wisdom) / lesson Gnosis (knowledge) / Sapientia / / The goddess says (Proverbs 8:22-31): The Eternal formed me first of his creation, first of all his works in days of old; I was fashioned in the earliest ages, from the very first, when earth began; I was born when ther no abysses, when there were no fountains full of water; ere he sunk the bases of the mountains, ere the hills existed, I was born, when earth and fields were not created, nor the very first clods of the world. When he set the heavens up, I was there, when he drew the Vault o'er the abyss, when he made the clouds firm overhead, when he fixed the fountains of the deep, when he set the boundaries of the sea, when he laid foundations for the earth; I was with him then, his foster-child, (alt. vers.: I was with him then, his architect,) I was his delight day after day, playing in his presence constantly, playing here and there over his world, finding my delight in human-kind. Lest you think the goddess is an innocent bystander in the cosmos, however, she also says this (Proverbs 8:12, 14-21): I Wisdom have intelligence in hand, knowledge and insight I command, counsel and skill are mine, I possess mind and might. It is by me that monarchs reign, and rulers deal out justice, by me that great men govern, and magnates rule the earth. Those who love me, I love them; those who seek me find me. I hold wealth and honour, position and good fortune; what I yield is better than the best of gold, what I bring in is better than rare silver. I deal right fairly, justly do I act, enriching those who love me, and filling their stores full. FYI: Hochma is introduced in Proverbs 1:20, and further refences follow in chapters 2 and 3 (as "wisdom"). By chapters 7 and 8, her sect (the Kabbalists) has grown in influence. Proverbs 7 is very funny, re: father's advice to his hormonally-engulfed pubescent son. =====84 Wisdom literature was an international phenomenon, and seems to have struck everywhere simultaneously, very similar from one culture to the next. All wisdom literature is centered on the concept of hochma, meaning wisdom as a human trait. Biblical wisdom literature virtually never mentions god; much more emphasis placed on philosophy/gnosticism. ==== Proverbs 31 and 32 were written originally in Arabic, not Hebrew, which tells you something of their origins. =====86 Gnosticism was lost to history until shortly after WWII. Gnostics emphasized salvation (from physical destruction) through knowledge. Gnosticism was popular for about 500 years, with the birth a Jesus marking aough half-way point. Like xianity and Isis-worship, gnosticism was one of the "mystery religions," though it was more intellectual than xianity. The earliest writings about Christ are gnostic in origin. Gnostics believedaith = ignorance. By 330 AD in Rome, gnosticism was suppressed -- which is how it stayed for the next 1,600 years. Until 1946, the only evidence to indicate there had ever been any such thing as gnosticism were the religious tracts opposing it. But in 1946, 52 gnostic documents were recovered in the Egyptian village Nag Hammadi. Similar to but broader than the New Testament. The best-known of these is the Gospel of Thomas, written c 50 BC, which features sayings by Jesus without any narrative context. Thomas was the twin brother of Jesus (some of their other siblings were James, Joses, Judas and Simon). The recovered gnostic texts have required the xian religious establishment to perform theological damage control, particularly since the gnostics never mention niggling details like resurrection, organized worship, an external god, or sin. =====87 There are two kinds of gods: higher and lower. The higher god (godhead/gottheit) is ineffable, unknowable, mysterious, both male and female, beyond any anthropomorphicization. The lower god (demiurge) has human tendencies. By these definitions, neither Judaism nor xianity has a higher god, because Yahweh and Christ are both gods with human tendencies. =====88 Proverbs 31:10-31 -- the nicest thing the Bible ever says about women. =====89 Although the characters in the book Job are all Arabic characters, the story has survived only in the Hebrew tradition, not in any Arabic language or tradition. The book of Job questions whether the Hebrew god is a just god. =====90 In Job, the first two chapters and the last chapter are Yahwist in origin. All the other chapters are Elohist. =====91 Job 1 introduce "adversary," for which the Hebrew word is satan (pronounced saa-taan). This character is in no way related to Lucifer or to the serpent in the garden. =====92 Elohim Eloah Allah Loa ? =====93 The story of Job is a metaphor for the history of Judaism to that point, and is probably thebest-written part of the Bible. =====94 Job 38-40 -- Elohim mocks Job's pain, while bragging about his own strength and efficiency. This is a snotty, malicious, ironic, sarcastic god. =====95 Mark and John -- authors are unknown; these books were written hundreds of years after the death of Jesus, whom these writers never knew. Luke and Matthew were written roughly 40 years after the death of Jesus, at the time of the ll of Jerusalem. This is not a coincidence. Another 20 years passed before anybody invented the story of a resurrection -- 60 years after the death of Jesus. =====96 Two kinds of Biblical scholarship: tendentious/religious (i.e. JPP, Impramatuer, Harper, Jovanovich) and independent/historical (JDEP -- almost always non-dogmatic). =====97 A quote from professor Waidelich of SFSU's World and Comparative Literature Department (now retired): "More than nine-tenths of the New Testament is fiction; lies, lies, lies everywhere -- that's standard." =====98 In the New Testament, the word "fulfilled" is a dead giveaway that the passage is fictional or contains recreated dialogue, particularly if uttered by Jesus. =====99 After the time of Jesus, there were five major Jewish sects: Pharisees Sadducees Essenes Zealots Christians =====100 Higher criticism says the Bible was written by mortal men who were not divinely inspired. Lower criticism examines nonce words and text in a tchnical way. These two are combined in form criticism, which is linguistic, literary criticism, looking at what words were used and what those words meant in the original context. =====101 The Jesus Seminar wasa 5-to-6-year project, probably disbanded by now, designed to combat televangelists, apocalyptics and pious platitudes with scholarly, non-theological Biblical research. Their findings and other good books are published by the: Polebridge Press 19678 Eighth St. E Sonoma, CA 95476 The Mellon Press is also asociated with the Jesus Seminar. According to the Jesus Seminar, it is fairly simple to identify which quotations attributed to Jesus are completely fabricated. The real sayings of Jesus were short, pithy, memorable, nd provocative. When speaking, Jesus used aphorisms and parables, often calling for a reversal of roles or upset expectations. His sayings are humorous, exaggerated and paradoxical. Most of the sayings attributed to Jesus were part of the pre-existing oral folklore, or were written by the church to further its agenda. Also, in history, Jesus never claimed to be a messiah, the son of god, or thbne annoited one. If anything, he said "su egeis," which is a Greek translation of an idiomatic Aramaic phrase meaning, "you said it!". KJV translates this as "thou sayest" and Moffatt translates this as "certainly," but since no witness recorded the moment, it is almost certainly fictional. =====102 One of the early church fathers, an Egyptian named Origen (185-255 AD), said -- and this is paraphrased because I don't have access to the actual quotation: =The scripture wove into the story some things that did not happen and some things that could not happen. The careful reader will detect thousands of such passages in the gospels.= =====103 Marcan Jesus \ Lucan Jesus \ These stories Johannine Jesus / are Greek myths Matthaian Jesus / Gnostic Jesus.........A Coptic (Greek in Egypt?) myth Historical Jesus......Factual =====104 St. Paul invented Christianity. He created the myth almost single-handedly. See Hyam Maccoby's book, The Mythmaker: Paul and the Inon of Christianity. Also see The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception. Paul (Saul) was an enemy of Jesus; read Acts. Paul invented anti-Semitism; read Acts 7:60, Acts 8:1-3, Acts 9:1-2. Paul wrote that God wanted the Js to kill Jesus so that people would know Jews were evil and persecute them forever. Two points to remember: Jesus was killed by Roman soldiers, not Jews; and Paul lied about his supposedly Jewish heritage in order to lend credibility to his anti-Jewish hatred. Paul wrote Romans, including 11:1, where he lies about his supposedly Jewish lineage -- his native language is Greek and he knows nothing about the birth, life, or ministry of Jesus. =====105 Acts and Luke were written by the same author. =====106 At least one passage in the gnostic Secret Gospel of Mark (see: p.329, The Historical Jesus) says outright that Jesus enjoyed participating in sexual acts with other men. =====107 Jesus was not the only messiah. In fact, there were at least 2,000 messiahs crucified. Titus bragged that in 70 AD there were 500 or more messiahs crucified every day of the year. However, only one crucified skeleton has ever been found in that area. Each Roman soldier was required to bury the men he crucified; all the stories of family participation in the burials is xian mythology. =====108 We don't know for a fact that the historical Jesus was a violent man, but Biblical passages can be used to refute xian teachings that Jesus was exclusively (or even predominantly) a man of peace. Whether those passages are historically accurate or not, they do point to an inconsistent portrayal of Jesus in the Bible and a selective portrayal of Jesus by the church. And if Jesus was perfect, he wouldn't need 20th century sugar coating. =====109 Peter was the first bishop of Rome, but even the word "bishop" goes against everything Jesus stood for, since it comes from the Greek word episcopos, meaning overseer. Jesus' re movement was based on unbrokered egalitarianism, where no one assumes dominion over peasants. The church immediately demolished the ideal of equality espoused by Jesus. =====110 Simplifying the theories of author John Dominick Crossan, author Paul Hollenbach has this to say about Jesus as radical, healer (this is a paraphrase of a parhrase): Medicine was virtually unknown among Jesus' people. Most diseases don't even have names. Jesus was a magician/healer. He was a political figure fighting oppression, suffering and squalor. He comforted downtrodden people with his words, while his hatred of the oppressive Rome grew and grew. The cases of "possession" cured bus were actually just cases of oppression. Possessiion and exorcism are common worldwide phenomena through history. Hollenbach says the phenomenon is cross-cultural and transcontemporable (sp?). The situations of social tenion that cause possession are * economic exploitation * the erosion of revered traditions * colonial domination Exorcism = revolution -- people venting their anger. Divided minds and schizoid dreams are a cry for revolution. Domination and rebellion encourage mental illness among the oppressed. Mental illness is an oblique protest against oppression. But salvation by "possession" doesn't threaten the social position ofthe oppressor. It's an ineffective protest. All those who are "possessed" are social deviants, so society says all social deviants are "possessed." This creates a symbiotic relationship when the oppressor can accuse the oppressed of being "possessed." Colonized people conspire in their own oppression if they don't fight for freedom. Insanity is an individuated symbolic revolution. (Such oppression can occur in families, too.) =====111 Beelzebub = Baal = lord of the flies. =====112 Peter, Andrew, and John were illiterate -- not authors. ====================================== R E C O M M E N D E D R E A D I N G: ====================================== A(sp?) Metamorphases (may be written in Latin) Anchor Biblical Commentary Auerbach, Elias Moses Barnstone, Willis, ed. The Other Bible Brandon, SGF Jesus and the Zealots Bultmann, Rudolf Primitive Christianity Campbell, Joseph The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology Crossan, John Dominic The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant Freud, Sigmund Moses and Monotheism Graves, Robert Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis Helms, Randel Gospel Fictions Hick, John The Myth of God Incarnate Hoffmann, R. Joseph Jesus Outside the Gospels Horsley, Richard Jesus and the Spiral of Violence: Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine Horsley, Rchard Bandits, Prophets and Messiahs Jesus Seminar The Parables of Jesus, red letter edition Jesus Seminar The Gospel of Mark, red letter edition Keller, Werner The Bible as History Meyer, Marvin, trans. The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus Miller, Robert J. The Complete Gospels, annotated schlars version Maccoby, Hyam The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity Maccoby, Hyam Revolution in Judea: Jesus and the Jewish Resistance Parrot, Andre Babylon and the Old Testament Patai, Raphael The Hebrew Goddess Robinson, XXXXX The Nag Hammadi Library Rosenberg, David The Book of J & Harold Bloom Schweitzer, Albert The Psychiatric Study of Jesus (Unknown) The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception (Unknown) The Nag Hammadi Library in English ISBN# 0-06-066929-2 LC# 77-7853 (Unknown) e Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden LC# 63-19519 (Unknown) The Historical Jesus (Unknown), Elaine The Gnostic Gospels Wolfe, Roland E. The 12 Religions of the Bible

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank