Category Archives: The Old Testament As History Or Story

The Old Testament As History Or Story: A Reflective Approach

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Dr Stavrakopoulou with some iconography referencing YHVH & Asherah together.

Entry 5

It is certain that YHVH, the God of the Israelites, had a consort in Asherah. Biblical scholars, Christine Hayes and Saul Olyan, suggest this is a remnant of polytheistic practices among the Israelites and as these stories found their way onto parchment they were essentially redacted into monotheism.[1] What is striking about the fact those around this time considered this a legitimate relationship between YHVH and Asherah, is that this appears very early in Israelite history; at least the 8th century BCE. And there are hints, remnants still in the Hebrew bible that suggest that Asherah was worshipped alongside YHVH (2 Kings 23:6). So the fact it is not more obvious in the Hebrew bible actually lends weight to Olyan and Hayes’ hypothesis. [2] Continue reading

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The Old Testament As History Or Story: A Reflective Approach

Entry 4

Often the Genesis creation narratives (Genesis 1—2:4a and 2:4b—25) receive criticism for what they’re not—scientific accounts of the beginning of the world. Aside from imposing unfair contemporary standards onto authors of antiquity, this criticism is out of place in a plethora of research and literature that treats Genesis as exactly that; a piece of literature from antiquity, and not a scientific account of creation. Dawkins argues that biblical scholars “pick and choose which bits of scripture… to write off as symbols or allegory” and that “Such picking and choosing is a matter of personal decision.”[1] Continue reading

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The Old Testament As History Or Story: A Reflective Approach

Entry 2

English: Manasseh's Sin and Repentance; as in ...

Manasseh’s Sin and Repentance; as in 2 Chronicles 33:1-13

Often the poetry found in the Hebrew bible in books other than Psalms, The Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Job and Proverbs; are only obviously poetry once pointed out. Biblical scholar Christine Hayes explains, in her work on “Form Tradition and Archaeological Correlations with History“, many of these Hebrew bible books were sung aloud and so it was easier to sing poetry.[1] Continue reading

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The Old Testament As History Or Story: A Reflective Approach

Entry 1: An Introduction

English: Hebrew Bible, Jer. 27

Hebrew Bible, excerpt of Jer. 27

Many years ago I read two books that began to shape my understanding of the Hebrew Bible as history or story. Both were popular works written by robust critical scholars Richard Elliot Friedman and Israel Finkelstein, Who Wrote the Bible and The Bible Unearthed respectively.[1] Friedman established the then mainstream critical scholarly views on the authorship of the Torah in a way that was accessible to those without a degree in bible studies.[2] Finkelstein and Silberman ventured down a bolder, more provocative path in their popular work. Coming from a much more fundamental version of Christianity both books would shake the foundations of my understanding about who wrote the bible and its place in history.[3] This would begin to shape not just my views, as I explored these texts further, but how I approached bible study. Continue reading

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