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Off-topic: who wrote the Bible

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  • cepak2001br
    http://www.sociologyesoscience.com/davincicode/bible.html EsoscienceNews Answers: Who Wrote the Bible, When, Why was it Written? April 2, 2004: That question
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 12, 2005
      http://www.sociologyesoscience.com/davincicode/bible.html

      EsoscienceNews Answers: Who Wrote the Bible, When, Why was it Written?
      April 2, 2004: That question did not become important until after the
      rise of Greek civilization in the fourth century B.C.E. - well after
      most of the books of the Bible had been written. In contrast, the
      importance of authorship was largely an unknown concept in the
      ancient Semitic world.

      The famous Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian creation
      myth known as The Enuma Elish, the Egyptian tale The Shipwrecked
      Sailor, and the Canaanite epic literary account of the battle between
      the gods, Baal and Mot, have no authors. They have scribes who pass
      along the tradition. The scribes were first of all administrators or
      bureaucrats; they were not authors. The Classical Hebrew language
      does not even have a word that means "author." The nearest term
      would , "scribe," a transmitter of tradition and text rather than an
      author. Authorship is a concept that derives from a predominantly
      written culture, whereas ancient Israelite society was largely an
      oral culture.

      Traditions and stories were passed on orally from one generation to
      the next. They had their authority from the community that passed on
      the tradition rather than from an author who wrote a text. These
      stories and traditions were the things that fathers and mothers were
      oblige d to teach their children, as Deuteronomy 6:6-7
      commands, "Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your
      heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are
      at home and when you are away."

      The fall of the Persian Empire to Alexander the Great ushered in
      profound changes in the Near East. The age of Hellenism - that is,
      the spread of Greek language, culture, and values - brought with it
      the concept of authorship. The authority of a text came to be
      associated with its author. Jewish tradition naturally felt compelled
      to find authors for its literature in this age, although there was
      little explicit evidence about authorship in the Bible. The earliest
      Jewish text that identifies its author is the Wisdom of Ben-Sira,
      dating from the early second century B.C.E. In some places, the Bible
      indirectly would contradict later ascription of authorship. This is
      clear, for example, in the Book of Deuteronomy, which is framed as a
      third-person report of a speech by Moses and not as something that
      Moses himself wrote, "These are the things Moses said to all
      Israel . . ." (Deut i:ii). In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and
      Numbers, Moses is a character, not an author. Genesis does not
      mention Moses in any capacity. In spite of this, Deuteronomy, along
      with the other four books of the Torah, has usually been ascribed to
      the pen of Moses rather than being understood as traditions passed
      down from Moses or more generally as traditions of the Israelite
      people.

      Writing that time was both a display of state power and a tool of
      state administration. Second, writing was a gift of the gods. As
      such, writing was part of magical rituals like the Execration texts
      or the ritual of the bitter water (Num 5)- Writing was also something
      done in heaven, as with the Book of Life or the divine tablets that
      originally had the blueprints for God's earthly abode. Oral
      tradition, in contrast, was the medium of cultural continuity. Early
      Israel sang songs of their ancestors and told stories of their
      forefathers. Through proverbs and folktales and songs each generation
      received and passed on the cultural legacy of ancient Israel.

      A major transition in ancient Israel began in the late eighth century
      B.C.E. Writing became both more centralized and more widespread in
      Judah; as the society became urbanized, the economy more complex and
      the government more substantial. Writing had always been a projection
      of royal power, and now this power extended to the collection of a
      great library in Jerusalem (just as the Assyrians and the Egyptians
      were doing during this same period). King Hezekiah desired to create
      a kingdom similar to the legendary (in his days) kingdom of David and
      Solomon. The oral traditions of ancient Israel were compiled into
      written texts. The palace archives containing administrative texts of
      ancient Judah were used in composing histories of the Judean kings.
      One catalyst for the restoration of the golden age of Israel that is,
      the united monarchy of David and Solomon - was the fall of the
      northern kingdom of Israel.

      This final destruction vindicated the house of David, which had
      struggled for centuries with its northern neighbor. As many refugees
      from the north flooded into Jerusalem, Judah accommodated not only
      these new citizens but also their traditions. Some of their prophetic
      traditions, as in the Book of Hosea, were edited in the Judean royal
      court. These also were understood to vindicate Judah. A history of
      Israel was written as though Judah and Israel were one kingdom,
      though even this account acknowledges that the "united" Israel was
      but a fleeting historical moment. Nevertheless, this ideology of one
      kingdom of the twelve tribes of Israel was embodied in the literature
      of the late eighth century. This literature both preserved and
      created the golden age of David and Solomon. This great literary
      flourishing, albeit short-lived, was the beginning of biblical
      literature as we know it. The political vision 6"f Hezekiah took its
      military expression in a revolt against Assyria in 705 B.C.E. The
      Assyrian king Sennacherib crushed this revolt in 70-1 B.C.E. and with
      it all dreams of a new golden age under the sons of Hezekiah. Judah
      then struggled as a vassal of Assyria until the demise of the
      Assyrian Empire in the days of King Josiah (r. 64o-609 B.C.E.).

      The second major phase in the literary formation of the Bible came in
      the days of King Josiah in the late seventh century B.C.E. The use of
      writing for mundane economic and administrative purposes had
      continued unabated from the days of Hezekiah. Literacy had spread
      throughout the fabric of Judean society. Soldiers could read and
      write. Craftsmen were literate. Whereas writing had previously had a
      restricted role in society, the spread of writing into everyday life
      meant that now writing could become a tool for subversion of the
      centralized power of the government. Texts were no longer only the
      products of the palace or the priests. A turning point for biblical
      literature was the assassination of King Amon (r. 642-640 B.C.E.);
      the "people of the land" set up the boy-king, Josiah, at the tender
      age of eight years old, on the throne in Jerusalem. Influenced by
      the "people of the land" and his family connections in the rural
      foothills of Judah, Josiah instituted political and religious reforms
      that were directly aimed at the cultural influence that urbanization
      and northernization had had in the days of Hezekiah. Writing became a
      tool, as in the Book of Deuteronomy, for critiquing the vision of
      Hezekiah. Solomon was not a great king according to the
      Deuteronomists, but a king who violated the divine law as recorded
      in "the book of the covenant" (compare i Kgs iii with Deut 17:14-2-
      0). The Deuteronomists advocated a return to the traditional religion
      of their forefathers. Of course, this tension between the urban and
      the rural, between the central palace and the rural elders, must have
      always existed. However, the Deuteronomic revolution gave the rural
      elders a written voice. Ancient writings, which had been elevated as
      literary propaganda in the days of Hezekiah, were turned on their
      head. Writing becomes a typical mode of expression in the latter days
      of the Judean monarchy. Biblical literature realized its apex in the
      last decades of the Judean monarchy.

      The end of the great independent literary flourishing came swiftly.
      The lull between the fall of the Assyrian Empire and the rise of the
      Babylonian Empire lasted only as long as the reign of Josiah (r.
      640609 B.C.E.). When Josiah died in battle at Megiddo at the hands of
      the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco, with him died the hope for an independent
      Judean kingdom.

      The Babylonians quickly assumed control of the region; three military
      campaigns, in 597, 586, and 5811 B.C.E., were punctuated by
      destruction and exile. The royal family led by King jehoiachin
      submitted to the Babylonians in 597 B.C.E. and were taken into exile
      where they were apparently treated relatively well. Those who
      remained and resisted the Babylonians did not fare quite as well. The
      Babylonians pillaged the region, and Judah was depopulated by
      destruction, exile, and flight until the land was nearly uninhabited.
      Judean captives worked as slaves on the canal projects of Babylon
      while the Judean royal family and their entourage lived in relative
      ease in the southern citadel in the city of Babylon. Because of all
      this the exilic period was a period of retrenchment for biblical
      literature. The writing and preservation of biblical literature
      returned to the hands of the royal family. The continuity in the
      royal family of Jehoiachin reached to the end of the sixth century
      B.C.E. continuing even after the fall of Babylon to the Persian king
      Cyrus in 539 B.C.E. Under the Persians, a descendent of Jehoiachm,
      Zerubbabel, assumed leadership of those who returned to Jerusalem in
      the late sixth century. However, Jerusalem and Judah were but shells
      of their former selves. The land was ravished by war and depopulated.
      As part of the royal family's claim to leadership in the restoration,
      Zerubbabel helped rebuild the Temple (completed in 5-15 B.C.E.).
      Shortly thereafter, however, Zerubbabel and the royal family
      mysteriously disappeared. The biblical literature of the exile and
      early post-exilic periods mostly complete and update earlier works.
      The great shift from orality to textuality that began in the late
      Judean monarchy suffers an enormous setback in the devastation of
      Jerusalem and Judah. The conditions in which literacy and textuality
      could flourish disappeared.

      The Persian period was a dark age for biblical literature. The
      Persian province of Yehud was depopulated, impoverished, and
      geographically isolated. The once great city of Jerusalem remained
      mostly in ruins, even though some semblance of a temple had been
      rebuilt. Even the Hebrew language saw a decline, as Aramaic language
      and letters began to replace Hebrew as the language of the Jews. In
      the shadow of the Persian Empire, faithful priests who served in the
      Jerusalem Temple preserved biblical literature. For the most part,
      the work of the priests was not the composition of literature, but
      its preservation. This meant that they added the editorial framework
      to some biblical literature. The great poems of the Book of job, for
      example, were given an editorial prologue and conclusion. The prIests
      shaped the Psalms into a five-part book that paralleled the Five
      Books of Moses (or, Pentateuch). The priest Ezra was an ideal
      exemplar of the new priesthood. Ezra was both a secular and religious
      leader who was trained in the courts of the Persian kings and served
      in Jerusalem with their support. From the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah,
      which were among the few biblical books actually composed during the
      Persian period, it is clear that Ezra was trained in the Aramaic
      scribal chancellery. Ezra and the priestly leadership were both the
      guardians and the teachers of the sacred texts. As such, they
      controlled the authoritative texts. This secular priestly leadership
      continued to the end of the Second Temple period and the Roman
      destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. It is clear that in the late
      Second Temple period the priestly leadership explicitly rejected the
      authority of oral tradition. Undoubtedly, they did so because it
      undermined the scriptural authority that they could claim as the
      teachers of Israel. The Rabbinic leadership that followed the
      destruction of the Second Temple would mark a decisive break with
      this model of secular leadership by priests and with its rejection of
      oral tradition.

      In the third century B.C.E., Jewish literature would again begin to
      flourish under the cultural renaissance of Hellenism. Egyptian
      Hellenistic rule brought peace and relative prosperity back to
      Jerusalem. The city began to grow again. But the canon of biblical
      literature was largely closed. For the most part, the Bible was no
      longer being written. Rather, it was being copied, translated,
      paraphrased, commented upon, and embellished in every conceivable
      way. The literati were largely composed of the priests and the
      Levites. By the end of the third century B.C.E., students at Jewish
      schools in Jerusalem were studying the Scriptures as exemplified in
      the proverbs of the priestly schoolmaster Sirach. By the mid-third
      century, the Scriptures were being translated into Greek by priests
      in the Egyptian Diaspora. The Dead Sea Scrolls include Hebrew
      manuscripts dating to the third century B.C.E. pointing to the active
      copying and transmission of the Hebrew Scriptures. Neither Rabbinic
      Judaism nor early Christianity, in contrast, would number their early
      adherents from among the scribes. They were not dominated by social
      elites or by learned priests. Rather, they were lay movements and
      emerged out of the unlearned and unschooled. As a result, they would
      reflect the authority of both the oral tradition and the teacher.

      It is hardly surprising that early Christianity, with its roots among
      the common people, should show some distance from writing. In its
      attitude toward writing, early Christianity is a close sibling of
      Pharisaic Judaism orthodoxy.

      So overall one could say that there was ebb and flow to oral
      tradition and sacred texts that began with the Josianic Reforms. The
      written word traveled a rocky road to its eventual place as sacred
      text and the standard for religious.

      And two issues shaped the path of this road. The first was the give
      and take between orality and literacy. As literacy became more
      prevalent, textuality became more plausible. That is to say, the
      better people could read, the more the written word could serve as
      guidepost for religious orthodoxy. The second was the competition
      between orality and textuality as modes of authority. Orality and
      literacy were stages along the same road, whereas orality and
      textuality was the fork in the road. The road more traveled was oral
      tradition, where the community and the teacher provided education and
      defined authority as they had for generations. The new road was
      textual authority. This was a road built by the government with the
      support of the social and religious elites.

      The Great War with Rome destroyed the power of the priests and the
      social elites. In 66 C.E., the Jewish masses led by messianic Zealots
      revolted against the Roman Empire. Within four years, the revolt was
      quelled, the city of Jerusalem destroyed, and the Temple burned in a
      great conflagration. More importantly perhaps, the aristocratic
      leadership of the Temple was also destroyed. Although Sadducees did
      not support the revolt, the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem
      destroyed their base of power. Parenthetically, the religious sect at
      Qumran was also destroyed by the Romans at this time. These two
      groups that best represented the religious authority of the text were
      wiped out along with the Temple by the Romans. With their demise,
      traditional orality would reassert itself.

      Both early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, which grew of the lay
      classes, struggled with the tension between the sacred text and the
      authority of the oral tradition in the aftermath of the destruction
      of the Temple. Although they acknowledged the authority of the
      written Scriptures, they also asserted the authority of oral
      tradition and the living voice of the teacher. Christianity, however,
      quickly adopted the codex. In fact, early Christianity was quite
      innovative in its adoption of the codex. This fact probably
      encouraged the authority of the written Scriptures in the early
      Church. Judaism, in contrast, was quite slow in adopting the codex
      and even today it is a Torah scroll that we find in a synagogue ark.
      Eventually, Judaism too would cloak its oral tradition in a written
      garb. Still, a fierce ideology of orality would persist in Rabbinic
      Judaism even as the oral Torah and the written tablets were merged
      into one pre-existent Torah that was with God at the very creation of
      the world.
    • IAMoraes@aol.com
      ... This guy is veeeerrrrrry good when he remembers to write well, which is not often. As far as I know it takes a freemason to write this badly. He does
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 14, 2005
        In a message dated 2/12/05 12:15:01, cepak2001br@... writes:

        >http://www.sociologyesoscience.com/davincicode/bible.html
        This guy is veeeerrrrrry good when he remembers to write well, which is not
        often. As far as I know it takes a freemason to write this badly. He does
        make some good points on the "tech war" between --or rather, around-- oral and
        textual differences; I predict these "tech wars" are about to start again,
        except between words and though. I have always been a bit unsure of the accuracy
        of a few of his analyses because I neither understand nor know anything about
        ancient history.

        Do vague impressions that refuse to come to the surface matter? (I was
        hoping Paulo would have something to add at this point! Emergency, P: HELP(:-))))
        Here is a graph that causes them but I won't have the intelligence to know
        what these vague impressions are...
        >>The Great War with Rome destroyed the power of the priests and the social
        elites. In 66 C.E., the Jewish masses led by messianic Zealots revolted against
        the Roman Empire. Within four years, the revolt was quelled, the city of
        Jerusalem destroyed, and the Temple burned in a great conflagration. More
        importantly perhaps, the aristocratic leadership of the Temple was also destroyed.
        Although Sadducees did not support the revolt, the destruction of the Temple and
        Jerusalem destroyed their base of power. Parenthetically, the religious sect
        at Qumran was also destroyed by the Romans at this time. These two groups that
        best represented the religious authority of the text were wiped out along with
        the Temple by the Romans. With their demise, traditional orality would
        reassert itself.<<
        I am sorry that this is so pretentious, but... this sounds familiar!


        This site remains one of my favorites of all time --it is for **readers**
        too. Open your eyes, folks:
        >>http://www.sociologyesoscience.com/<<

        Ivan AM -Newark
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