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Nov 29 2013

Atheists sink to new depths of depravity!

Ken Ham has a new post up about how evil atheists really are.

It seems like atheists will go to pretty extreme lengths to combat the words of a God they don’t even believe exists.

Uh-oh. What have we done now? Beheaded people? Tossed them in prison for believing? Stoned them to death? Persecuted people who don’t practice sex exactly as we do? Demanded legislation to allow us to demand that everyone use contraception?

No. Worse.

A recent article from the Religion News Service reports, “Atheists use a popular Bible app to evangelize about unbelief.” The article contains interviews with a number of young atheists who have chosen to use YouVersion, one of the most popular apps around, as a way of trying to shake the faith of Christians.

That’s right! We’re reading the Bible!

He goes on to whine about atheists using “supposed contradictions” and how they’re supposed to use a “literal translation”. The implication is that it is young naive atheists who don’t understand the deepities of the Bible who are doing this, but as always, Ingersoll was there first, and he knew exactly what an evil book the Bible was.

Ministers wonder how I can be wicked enough to attack the Bible.

I will tell them: This book, the Bible, has persecuted, even unto death, the wisest and the best. This book stayed and stopped the onward movement of the human race. This book poisoned the fountains of learning and misdirected the energies of man.

This book is the enemy of freedom, the support of slavery. This book sowed the seeds of hatred in families and nations, fed the flames of war, and impoverished the world. This book is the breastwork of kings and tyrants — the enslaver of women and children. This book has corrupted parliaments and courts. This book has made colleges and universities the teachers of error and the haters of science. This book has filled Christendom with hateful, cruel, ignorant and warring sects. This book taught men to kill their fellows for religion’s sake.

This book funded the Inquisition, invented the instruments of torture, built the dungeons in which the good and loving languished, forged the chains that rusted in their flesh, erected the scaffolds whereon they died. This book piled fagots about the feet of the just. This book drove reason from the minds of millions and filled the asylums with the insane.

This book has caused fathers and mothers to shed the blood of their babes. This book was the auction block on which the slave- mother stood when she was sold from her child. This book filled the sails of the slave-trader and made merchandise of human flesh. This book lighted the fires that burned “witches” and “wizards.” This book filled the darkness with ghouls and ghosts, and the bodies of men and women with devils. This book polluted the souls of men with the infamous dogma of eternal pain. This book made credulity the greatest of virtues, and investigation the greatest of crimes. This book filled nations with hermits, monks and nuns — with the pious and the useless. This book placed the ignorant and unclean saint above the philosopher and philanthropist. This book taught man to despise the joys of this life, that he might be happy in another — to waste this world for the sake of the next.

I attack this book because it is the enemy of human liberty — the greatest obstruction across the highway of human progress.

Let me ask the ministers one question: How can you be wicked enough to defend this book?

Well, we all know…Ken Ham is pretty damned wicked.

60 comments

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  1. 1
    hexidecima

    tsk. one doesn’t need an “app”. biblegateway.com has been my choice for showing TrueChristians how wrong they are for years. it has a lovely keyword search and has about 30 versions of the bible, all there for one’s perusal and comparison.

  2. 2
    cadrpear

    It seems like atheists will go to pretty
    extreme lengths to combat the words of a God
    they don’t even believe exists.

    Funny you should say that, Kenny. I know someone obsessed with evolution who doesn’t even feel it existed. And I mean obsessed–he built an entire building just to thumb his nose at scientists.

  3. 3
    rorschach

    This book has filled Christendom with hateful, cruel, ignorant and warring sects.

    Feature, not a bug.

    It seems like atheists will go to pretty extreme lengths to combat the words of a God they don’t even believe exists.

    Always with the false premises, our Hamster. The words of Bronze Age desert nomads, rather.

    a number of young atheists who have chosen to use YouVersion, one of the most popular apps around, as a way of trying to shake the faith of Christians

    Sounds like fun and a good exercise, I’ll have to look it up!

  4. 4
    holytape

    Well, according to Ken Ham’s School of Ministry, the bible is a great tool, and you are to have a firm grasp on the bible. But we tend to forget how literal Ken’s mind is. By great tool, he means a heavy object to hit things with, and a firm grasp literally means a firm grasp. You don’t want to drop the bible when you’re hitting those dirty atheists over the head.

    Save the heathens

  5. 5
    dianne

    If the Bible is inspired by god and perfect, how come god can’t get perfect translations?

  6. 6
    randay

    hexidecima, I too have long used the “biblegateway.com”. It’ a lot of fun. For instance I ask believers to use the word search with the King James Version and type in the word “dash”. There is so much dashing going on that it could make another violent video game.

    “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand”.

    –Mark Twain

  7. 7
    playonwords

    I think Mark Twain was as good via Salon “Mark Twain hated God

    From “Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2″
    Tuesday, June 19, 1906

    About the character of God, as represented in the New and the Old Testaments.

    Our Bible reveals to us the character of our God with minute and remorseless exactness. The portrait is substantially that of a man—if one can imagine a man charged and overcharged with evil impulses far beyond the human limit; a personage whom no one, perhaps, would desire to associate with, now that Nero and Caligula are dead. in the old Testament His acts expose His vindictive, unjust, ungenerous, pitiless and vengeful nature constantly. He is always punishing—punishing trifling misdeeds with thousand-fold severity; punishing innocent children for the misdeeds of their parents; punishing unoffending populations for the misdeeds of their rulers; even descending to wreak bloody vengeance upon harmless calves and lambs and sheep and bullocks, as punishment for inconsequential trespasses committed by their proprietors. it is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere. It makes Nero an angel of light and leading, by contrast.

    Perhaps Ken would have preferred the bible to remain in Latin

  8. 8
    Bronze Dog

    Put simply, Ham is deflecting the issue. We’re not fighting his god, we’re criticizing injustices and absurdities advocated by religious humans. If they’d stop using their political clout against us, we’d be less motivated to talk about their religion and better able to get on with our lives.

  9. 9
    Thomas Holtz

    There are basically only two sorts of people who have read the entire Bible: atheists and theologians. Make of that what you will…

  10. 10
    rorschach

    If the Bible is inspired by god and perfect, how come god can’t get perfect translations?

    He just keeps picking the wrong mediums, like that Mohammed fella a millenium and a half ago. Chose the illiterate chap sitting in a cave for Ramadan to write down his revelations, instead of the guy’s literate and successful merchant wife. In an area of the world that had no standardised script at the time, no less.

  11. 11
    Bronze Dog

    hexidecima, I too have long used the “biblegateway.com”. It’ a lot of fun. For instance I ask believers to use the word search with the King James Version and type in the word “dash”. There is so much dashing going on that it could make another violent video game.

    For a moment, I was confused by your comment, thinking you meant the sprinting definition. Then I realized you meant the kind with rocks and other hard objects.

  12. 12
    Eamon Knight

    Arguing, using examples from the Bible, that the Bible isn’t true is “pretty extreme lengths”? Only now using mobile media? Seems like Ken goes to pretty extreme lengths to make his complaints as alarmist as possible.

  13. 13
    jnorris

    Its about time we atheists went to new depths of depravity. The old depth was getting quite, well, old.

  14. 14
    uzza

    “Bible scholars typically look for literal translations,” and “A literal translation provides the same meaning today that people would have understood when the Bible was written,” three thousand years ago before people had an inkling of modern sciences like biology, astronomy, psychology, and so on. Yep, exactly.

  15. 15
    holytape

    “A literal translation provides the same meaning today that people would have understood when the Bible was written”

    Because ancient languages never used idioms, metaphors or poetic language that were unique to that time. place and dialect…. oh, wait. That’s not true.

  16. 16
    Richard Smith

    If researching a subject of discussion represents such a depth of depravity, then it’s pretty safe to say that Ken is shallow, indeed.

  17. 17
    smhll

    I am going to want to use the word ‘deepities’ several times in a sentence today, just for grins.

  18. 18
    Chengis Khan, The Cryofly

    “…Ken Ham is pretty damned wicked.”

    Oh, did you put a period after that sentence…? Yes you did, I see it now, but it is too small.

  19. 19
    PZ Myers

    All credit for the incredibly useful word “deepity” goes to Dan Dennett.

  20. 20
    peterh

    @#7:

    The portion of the bible Twain seems to allude to was originally in Hebrew; this would mean two quite unrelated, difficult languages for the deepists* to master. They have a hard enough time with English – and realizing their various English versions of scripture are loaded with examples of the translator’s dilemma in addition to the originals’ textual problems. (*Am I correctly sensing the appropriate context for our new word?)

  21. 21
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @holytape:

    “A literal translation provides the same meaning today that people would have understood when the Bible was written”

    Because ancient languages never used idioms, metaphors or poetic language that were unique to that time. place and dialect…. oh, wait. That’s not true.

    It has really only been since the metaphor was invented during the outrageous years of the 1920s that Shakespeare became popular. Looking back at his language now, he almost seems to be poetic.

    Truth is he was the first chemist to discover lysergic acid, and all that crap doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  22. 22
    Eamon Knight

    Which “literal translation” does the Hamster have in mind? The KJV, New American Standard, New International Version? All of those have pretty strong street-cred among evangelicals.

    I mostly read the latter two, back when, and they include marginalia noting MSS variants (like the missing end of Mark) and alternate translations. And none of it gets you out of eg. the two accounts of Judas’ death, or the timing of the Last Supper relative to Passover (the Synoptics say one thing, John another), or the polygamy and concubinage, or the genocides, to mention but a few of the narrative and moral problems with the Bible. Those aren’t a problem of bad translation or paraphrasing, they’re right there in text. And noticing those things, again and again, over the years, was what cured me of literalism.

  23. 23
    Amphiox

    If God wrote the Bible, and God designed human language, and God created the human brain, why did he not write the Bible in words that would translate exactly to the same thing no matter what language is used? Why did he not design all the human languages so that the Bible could be translated exactly into all of them? Why did not not design the human brain so that all humans could instinctively read the special language of the Bible, and understand exactly what it means?

    If he exists, then there is only one inescapable conclusion. God WANTS every human to interpret the Bible differently.

  24. 24
    Owlmirror

    Dennett coined “deepity” to refer to a rather carefully-worded concept:

    Generally, a deepity has (at least) two meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound, but is essentially false or meaningless and would be “earth-shattering” if true.

    [...]

    Dennett argues that theology is full of deepities, and notes that the sophisticated theological statement “God is no being at all” is equivalent to “no being at all is God.” Other deepities he refers to are “God is Being itself” and “God is the God beyond God.”

    Does the bible itself contain deepities, as so defined? I’m not sure that it does. It contains things that are trivial and true, and things that might well be deep if they were true (instead of being scriptural fiat), but these are not, as best I can recall at the moment, made in the same statement.

  25. 25
    robro

    rorsach @ #3

    The words of Bronze Age desert nomads, rather.

    Iron Age, not Bronze, and no desert nomads. The Amorite hypothesis was discredited years ago. The patriarchs and the Exodus and Conquest of Canaan stories are literary fictions. The OT was written by priest-scribes of settled agricultural communities of the Persian-Hellenistic era (and mostly the later) who had no problem “re-visioning,” if not outright inventing stories for their theological and political purposes.

  26. 26
    LykeX

    I wonder if there are any sects out there who have just gone the full mile and claim that the entire bible is an atheist hoax to make Christians look bad. If not, dips.

  27. 27
    Eamon Knight

    @24: Agreed; I don’t think PZ is using the term “deepity” correctly (unless he’d like to supply an example).

  28. 28
    woggler

    If, as Mr Lie claims, we atheists actually really do believe in his god, why does he spend so much time trying to convince us his god exists?

  29. 29
    johnlee

    “And meanwhile in the aisles
    Of the churches with style,
    They’re singing their songs to the Lord
    And the preacher is carping that for failure on Earth
    Heaven will be your reward!”
    Alan Hull (‘Poor Old Ireland’)

  30. 30
    grasshopper

    Eric MacDonald recommended E-Sword as his offline biblical reference tool. It is downloadable from http://www.e-sword.net/.

    It has multiple bible versions for side-by-side comparison of texts, a great search feature, and a built-in reference library, amongst other useful features.

  31. 31
    grasshopper

    Further to my post @30, the reference library, and multiple bible versions must be downloaded via the download menu item after e-Sword is installed.

  32. 32
    Enopoletus Harding

    @ robro #25

    of the Persian-Hellenistic era (and mostly the later)

    -I think there are no more than a dozen or so Biblical scholars that would agree with this exact statement. Though there certainly is Perso-Hellenistic material in the OT (for example, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles are Hellenistic in date and some minor prophets are Persian-era), a good portion of the OT (for example, Kings, most of Joshua&Judges, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel) dates from either the Exilic or pre-Exilic period.

  33. 33
    tbtabby

    Depraved Christians molest children and enforce a code of silence to protect molesters from prosecution

    Depraved Muslims rape underage girls and then have them stoned to death for it.

    Depraved atheists read the Bible and point out the inconsistencies in it.

    One of these things is not like the others…..

  34. 34
    Paulino

    Oh! These vile new atheists from the XIX Century!

  35. 35
    Acolyte of Sagan

    4.
    holytape
    29 November 2013 at 9:58 am (UTC -6) Link to this comment

    Well, according to Ken Ham’s School of Ministry, the bible is a great tool, and you are to have a firm grasp on the bible. But we tend to forget how literal Ken’s mind is. By great tool, he means a heavy object to hit things with,…

    Off-topic, but that reminded me: British comedian Frank Skinner once told a true story about how he’d got a ganglion on his wrist, and on showing it to his doctor was advised that it required no medical treatment, all he need do was hit it with a Bible. Despite having undergone a fairly recent return to faith himself (he later said that it was a coping mechanism for his battle with alcoholism), he thought the advise sounded like superstitious nonsense. A few days later he’d gone to see a hospital consultant on an un-related matter, but mentioned what his doctor had advised. His consultant replied with something along the lines of ‘What a load of archaic nonsense! You don’t need to hit it with a Bible….any heavy book will do the job’.

    Back on-topic:

    5.
    dianne
    29 November 2013 at 10:14 am (UTC -6) Link to this comment

    If the Bible is inspired by god and perfect, how come god can’t get perfect translations?

    Never mind the translations, it couldn’t even remember what order it created the Universe in.

  36. 36
    Azuma Hazuki

    Clemens (Twain) and Ingersoll are my heroes :)

    Some recent observations on Christian apologetics:
    – A lot of it is more for Deism than Christianity, or even theism
    – All of it eventually seems to devolve into presuppositionalism
    – ALL of it ignores uncomfortable things they don’t want to deal with, like the ethology of primates (Fouts’ work, primarily), human sexuality, the entire corpus of evolutionary biology, astronomy, and some types of philosophy and logic.

    It’s such a waste, and their God-concept is unworthy of the title. They’re idolators; the simple-minded ones have an idol of wood pulp (Bible) and the more sophisticated ones worship their own mind-vomit.

  37. 37
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Why did he not design all the human languages so that the Bible could be translated exactly into all of them? Why did not not design the human brain so that all humans could instinctively read the special language of the Bible, and understand exactly what it means?

    To be fair, the Evangelicals I’ve known have said that’s exactly what speaking/praying/singing in tongues was for. To be equally fair, they’ve never managed to come up with a comprehensive translation.

    Halamaloozalah!

  38. 38
    robro

    Enopletus @ #32

    …there are no more than a dozen or so Biblical scholars that would agree with this exact statement…a good portion of the OT…dates from either the Exilic or pre-Exilic period.

    I suppose that what you truly mean is that there are many Biblical scholars who would not agree with my statement. Of that I’m sure you are right. I studied with Biblical scholars who believe that the Pentateuch was written by Moses in the middle of the 15th century BCE, including his own death…and so on. I’m sure we can narrow the field that disagree to serious, academic Biblical scholars and if we narrow further to those who marshall evidence and well thought out arguments then there might only be some few dozens in that class as well.

    I don’t have any survey information on who might agree, of course. However, from what I’ve seen in surveys and bibliographies by Thompson, Lemche, and others there is quite a list of scholars contributing to numerous lines of evidence that the OT writings are not what we have believed them to be, including their ages, purposes, and provenances, and that the process of creating them didn’t begin until after the beginning of the 6th century BCE…after the Babylonian conquest of Palestine (Jerusalem fell in either 597 or 587 BCE). It’s reasonable to think that it couldn’t have really begun until after the rise of the Persians (mid-6th). But I confess, the archeological evidence these writers present along with their analysis and logical arguments is very compelling to me, so perhaps I’m biased.

  39. 39
    anchor

    “If, as Mr Lie claims, we atheists actually really do believe in his god, why does he spend so much time trying to convince us his god exists?”

    I surmise that he and all the other like-minded soldiers that rush to “His” defense do it out of an overpowering sensation of empathy.

    They feel sorry for an omnipotent and omniscient character, the putative creator and infallible ruler of the universe…because his feelings* be mighty hurt by them nasty atheist bullies who have the cruel audacity to regard ‘Him’ as a figment of the human mind.

    *self-projection alert — [Parents are ever-vigilant to be protective of their brain-child. You dis 'God', and by golly, you be dissing them personally. Parents are so cute when they identify with their spawn. They are obliged to preserve their creation at all costs. It elevates their sense of relevance, bestows on them importance and a stature with respect to all competing interests and potential enemies that they are a force to contend with. Beware, or one may incur its Wrath. Its a sacred tradition of paranoia parenthood you know. It has a name. It's called 'God'.]

  40. 40
    anchor

    oops, I forgot to blockquote the head remark – from #28 woggler

  41. 41
    stevenhansmann

    Ingersoll is a god. Funny how almost knows anything about him. A. Freaking. god. No one has dissected, then pithed christianity in particular, and religion in general, better than him.

  42. 42
    playonwords

    About “Deepity” is definitely a useful word but someone has got to write the filk for Skepticon, my thought was to re-use a pretty racist song.

    “Deepity do-dah, Deepity Yay!
    “My Oh my! what a wonderful day!
    “Plenty of flim-flam coming my way,
    “Deepity do-dah, Deepity Yay!

    “P Z Myers at my shoulder
    “Cries out ‘This is actual,
    “Deities are counterfactual’ …”

  43. 43
    Owlmirror

    However, from what I’ve seen in surveys and bibliographies by Thompson, Lemche, and others there is quite a list of scholars contributing to numerous lines of evidence that the OT writings are not what we have believed them to be, including their ages, purposes, and provenances, and that the process of creating them didn’t begin until after the beginning of the 6th century BCE…after the Babylonian conquest of Palestine (Jerusalem fell in either 597 or 587 BCE). It’s reasonable to think that it couldn’t have really begun until after the rise of the Persians (mid-6th).

    Mm. Not really; it’s much too late.

    Why would the writings have otherwise preserved the remnants of conflicts between different factions of priestly lineages that really only existed as separate groups with literacy and social power prior to the Persian era? Why would the later priests have written down works containing the vastly different agendas in the narratives (making sacrifices anywhere vs. making sacrifices only at the cult center), in a few cases interlacing two very different narratives, rather than creating a unified work reflecting the social concerns of their own time? Why would this late priesthood have a whole long work describing the rise of a perfectly righteous king (Josiah) of the Assyrian/Babylonian era, in contrast to everyone else prior to (and succeeding him), rather than simply creating a narrative of how important their own priesthood was?

    No, a late date of actual composition of the various documents of the bible, rather than the redaction of extant written narratives already considered to be sacred (despite their various conflicting agendas), makes no sense.

    What do these “Hellenistic era” supporters say about the work of Assyriologists with respect to Israel/Judea?

  44. 44
    jnorris

    Amphiox at #23:

    If God wrote the Bible, and God designed human language, and God created the human brain, …
    If he exists, then there is only one inescapable conclusion. God WANTS every human to interpret the Bible differently.

    That’s easy Amphiox , the Bible has it covered by the story of the Tower of Babel.

  45. 45
    Azuma Hazuki

    Well, some bits of it are definitely written after the time they pretend to be. I saw a good analysis of Daniel, I forget by whom, showing that it had to have been written by about 165AD but no earlier (I think, I know it was in the Maccabeean time period) because all the prophecies in it are accurate right up to that point (LOL).

    Then there’s the anachronisms in the NT such as the word “synagogue” for a place of prayer, which is post-second-temple-destruction (thus placing the earliest Gospel post-70AD at the earliest), Carrier’s skillful exhibition of Luke-Acts quoting Josephus and not the other way around meaning those date from post-90AD or later, and so on.

  46. 46
    Azuma Hazuki

    Sorry, 165BC for Daniel.

  47. 47
    playonwords

    @ Owlmirror #43

    Sorry, but the inclusion of elements in a tale from prior to the origin of that tale does not make the date of origination earlier.

    Consider the tales of Arthur, Robin Hood and Cuchulain they include elements of historical fact from times earlier than the many inventors of those stories. Another way to look at it is the use of actual historical trivia from the late 18th early 19th century in the Sharpe books does not make the character of Richard Sharpe a real person.

  48. 48
    punkypine

    Hahahahaha!!! That’s all I have. (And deepities? Priiiiiiceless.)

  49. 49
    Owlmirror

    playonwords@47:

    Sorry, but the inclusion of elements in a tale from prior to the origin of that tale does not make the date of origination earlier.

    As criticisms for an earlier date of composition go, that’s pretty inane. In fact, what does it even mean?

    We know that the description of the heroic, empire-building conquests of King David are completely bullshit, because there’s nothing in the archaeology of Judea or of the contemporary states of Egypt and Assyria that supports such an extraordinary claim of such enormous military, political, and economic expansion.

    But there are references in Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian records to events in and conflicts with later Israelite and Judean kings . . . so why are those ignored by the late-daters?

    There’s also the point of the anti-Aaronid and anti-Mushite narratives embedded in in the OT. If someone suggested an 18th-century date for the composition of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and a counterargument brought up the inclusion of the political factions of Black and White Guelphs and Ghibellines in the narrative in support of an early 14th-century date of composition, it would be ridiculous to handwave that away by calling those references the “inclusion of elements in a tale from prior to the origin of that tale”.

    Does a better counterargument even exist?

  50. 50
    playonwords

    Because the “late daters” are saying that including elements from a time prior to composition does not make the time of composition early. It is not being said that there were no early records or orally preserved tales just that the inclusion of such records into a narrative does not make the composition of that narrative early.

    The parallel is with the Sharpe stories where Cornwell did much research into the period and included much unnecessary detail all of which was documented at the time. An even closer comparison could probably be made with the romances of Sir Walter Scott.

    Your contrasting comparison with Dante is intriguing because Dante did not include details of which he could not be aware such as references to Protestantism or the final conquest of Constantinople whereas I believe the “late daters” can point to inconsistencies in the chronology.

  51. 51
    Owlmirror

    @50:

    Citations desperately needed.

    The “late daters” appear to be . . . Niels Peter Lemche, and two or three others.

    Is the “Thompson” referenced @#38 this guy?

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09018329908585157

    In an effort to answer the question about the ideology of biblical narrative (“What then is it if it is not history? What does the tradition do if it does not recount the past?“), this article takes up a motif and functional analysis of the polarity first expressed in Genesis 1,2 between tohu wa‐bohu (“desert nothingness”) and ruah ‘elohim (“creative spirit”) as it is used in the long discourse about tradition that is collected in the Bible. The conclusion is drawn that the reiterative ideology of biblical narrative suggests that we are dealing with on a universalist discourse on the relationship between what is real and unreal, which is rooted in a common mythological understanding implicit throughout the tradition, rather than with an historiography of an ancient Israel.

    Because if so, holy fucking postmodernist shit.

    And those are some really . . . imaginative “translations” from the Hebrew. “Tohu” means “desert? “Elohim” means “creative”? Who knew?

    I call shenanigans.

  52. 52
    playonwords

    @ Owlmirror # 51
    You are not arguing against the point I raised, you essentially say that often post-modern analyses of any literature contain plenty of of bovine excrement – an idea with which I heartily agree.

    The fact remains that there seem to be many anachronisms within the early books of the Bible and these cannot be explained purely by the interference of later editors like the Hasmodeans. As to citation I’m afraid that I cannot be bothered to fly back to Manchester Central Library and wade through 2 hefty tomes for chapter and verse.

  53. 53
    Owlmirror

    playonwords@ 52:

    You “point” was that huge anachronisms from the Hellenistic era exist in most of the OT text — and when I ask for citations, you can’t be bothered to even write what these supposed hefty tomes that explicate this claim are titled or who they’re authored/edited by.

    I’m going to try to gain access to Lemche’s “The old testament‐a Hellenistic book?” on my own, no thanks to you.

    you essentially say that often post-modern analyses of any literature contain plenty of of bovine excrement – an idea with which I heartily agree.

    Yeah, and the artiste de bullshit is apparantly one of those claiming that these supposed anachronisms exist, which does not argue for him being a particularly punctilious scholar.

    Hasmodeans.

    Hasmonaeans, with an “n”, not a “d”.

  54. 54
    playonwords

    Oh-dear-I-typed-and-posted-without-spell-checking,-this-immediately-makes-me-wrong.

    OK, the late date springs from 2 Kings where it is recounted that the Book of the Law is discovered in the Temple during the reign of Josiah, not the Pentateuch but a single book. We have a firm date for Josiah (about 640 – 610 BCE) ; unlike Moses, David, Saul and Solomon. A David might be mentioned in a conquest list of Sheshonq I but it is hotly disputed and even the date of that Pharaoh could be as late as 750 BCE. Certainly that David is not the holder of a large kingdom established by conquest for he is the conquered. Otherwise there is the Tel Dan inscription mentioning a House of David but linguistically and palaeographically it has the marks of a forgery.

    Now, the single most telling anachronism is the mention of camels in the Bible as draught animals; the problem there is that the hybrid dromedary suitable for such use was not developed until after 1000 BCE and probably did not make it to Palestine until after 800 BCE.

  55. 55
    Ichthyic

    Oh-dear-I-typed-and-posted-without-spell-checking,-this-immediately-makes-me-wrong.

    Owlmirror tends to get all testy when you challenge his assertions of knowledge regarding this particular set of ancient fictions.

    either wade through it and get involved in a lengthy and pointless debate, or drop it and move on.

    I would recommend the latter, frankly.

  56. 56
    randay

    Playonwords, I agree with your first paragraph, but the camel domestication time is not sure.so after some research, I have stopped using it. I have seen speculation that the dromadaire was domesticated in only parts of the Middle East between 1200 and 1700BCE. Others speculate an earlier domestication. But when that happened in Egypt and Palestine is unanswered. The bactrian may or may not have been domesticated in Asia earlier.

    Some Bible sites say that the mythological Abraham lived at 1812BCE. How they come up with such a specific date is a mystery. Oral transmission would have put him much earlier. More interesting, he is said to have sold his wife to Pharaoh for a bunch of goods and animals including camels making him rich. But there were few if any Hebrews in Egypt and at a later time there weren’t Hebrew slaves in Egypt and there was no Moses and no Exodus. These stories were invented during the exile between 600 and 500 BCE.

  57. 57
    qwerty

    Ken Ham’s AiG organization has put up a billboard in Times Square telling atheists that “All He wants for Christmas is you.” Somehow it’s okay for Christians to proselytize, but when atheists do it they think it’s a big no, no.

    The deepity I could do without is: “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Really? I think not.

    When I hear this, I always think of Christopher Hitchens who said, “No one asked him [god] to do this.

  58. 58
    irritable

    Monty Python carefully examined the problem of biblical literalism:

    Spectator: I think it was “Blessed are the cheesemakers”.
    Mrs. Gregory: “What’s so special about the cheesemakers?”
    Gregory: “Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.”

  59. 59
    Owlmirror

    OK, sorry for the long delay, but it took me a while to get through Lemche, and my hands have quite literally been full with personal stuff going on.

    @playonwords:

    Oh-dear-I-typed-and-posted-without-spell-checking,-this-immediately-makes-me-wrong.

    Who made that particular claim, I ask? Merely pointing out that you have made a typing mistake has no further implications, and I certainly made no explicit claims.

    Are you overly-sensitive to criticism for some reason?

    OK, the late date springs from 2 Kings where it is recounted that the Book of the Law is discovered in the Temple during the reign of Josiah, not the Pentateuch but a single book. We have a firm date for Josiah (about 640 – 610 BCE) ; unlike Moses, David, Saul and Solomon. A David might be mentioned in a conquest list of Sheshonq I but it is hotly disputed and even the date of that Pharaoh could be as late as 750 BCE.

    Um, I have no disagreement with the above. The “late date” I was referring to was the claim for Hellenistic composition for the OT; the above seems to be referring to the Assyrian period — which is what most reasonable scholars agree is consonant with the archaeological data.

    Otherwise there is the Tel Dan inscription mentioning a House of David but linguistically and palaeographically it has the marks of a forgery.

    That’s pretty much the extreme claim of Giovanni Garbini, I see, but he has not convinced any other scholar of Semitic languages. Lemche apparently agrees with him now (or so I understand from the citation in “Philological Issues in the Tel Dan Inscription”, referencing an interview from 1998)(“Philological Issues in the Tel Dan Inscription” also states: “Most scholars date the text to the second half of the 9th century.”, just so that’s clear), but… even Lemche and Thompson were originally of the opinion (in 1994) that the inscription was sufficiently damaged and open to multiple interpretations that it had been misdated and misinterpreted. Going from there to saying that it had been forged is not supportable.

    I also note that Garbini did not publish his claims and accusations in a journal on Semitic languages or archaeology or ANE history, or any other related journal, but rather in a more general Italian journal called “Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Rendiconti. Scienze Morali”, which seems odd. As best I can tell, almost no-one seems to think that his claims have any merit.

    Ultimately, it is up to Garbini to provide a more convincing case to everyone else in the scholarly community that he is right.

    Now, the single most telling anachronism is the mention of camels in the Bible as draught animals; the problem there is that the hybrid dromedary suitable for such use was not developed until after 1000 BCE and probably did not make it to Palestine until after 800 BCE.

    Which is, again, an argument for the Assyrian period. This is not (by itself) any sort of argument for composition of the OT in the Hellenistic period — which is what the original claim was for.

    Other useful anachronisms to point out are the references to Philistines in periods before they entered the land (the beginning of Iron Age I), and the lack of references to the Egyptian forts guarding and controlling passage through the Sinai desert, the Egyptian garrisons in Israel/Canaan itself until about 1150 BCE, and the general fact that Egypt controlled Canaan for much of the period that the OT writers were writing about.

    Anyway.

    Getting back to Lemche . . . I have to admit, I had vague hopes that his paper might identify some genuine Hellenistic elements, which would certainly have been interesting, and perhaps even convincing.

    Hah.

    He’s got nothing.

    He writes about the various difficulties in locking down the dates of composition of the various books, and includes much that is in accord with the scholarly consensus about how much of the early part of the OT cannot be historical, but he seems oddly unwilling to mention the archaeological evidence that strongly implies that many of the books were composed by writers who were familiar with the Levant of the 7th and 8th centuries BCE, and who were not familiar with earlier (or later) periods, and were including elements in their narratives which derived from that familiarity.

    Instead, he writes while looking for — or rather, straining to see — Hellenistic elements, or reasons to think the works are Hellenistic.

    Here is what he says about Genesis.

    To quote another example: Genesis 1. This should hardly be as controversial as the first one. In the account of the origin of the world, God first creates the light and the darkness, followed by the water and the earth, although it is better to say that God does not exactly create these elements, but he makes a kind of division between them. 16 Now, this description of the creation in Gen 1 may seemingly be read without further knowledge of the background of its author, although a number of misinterpretations have occurred, for example, that we here have a creatio ex nihilo. But if, on the other hand, we should have a look at the story of the creation of the four elements, light and darkness, water and earth, from an ancient point of view, then it is obvious that God “creates” these elements as if he wished to be in accordance with some ideas current among Greek natural philosophers from the 6th century and onwards. The creation of the light and the darkness says that God creates the hot element and the cold element. Water and earth can also be compared to two elements, respectively the dry element and the wet element. Taken together, the four basic elements of creation are simply the four elements, the hot and the cold and the dry and the wet elements. Certainly old Thales from Miletus could not have been, disappointed by these acts of God!

    That’s his entire argument. It’s apparently completely impossible for pre-modern writers to come up with light and dark and water and earth as being cosmologically significant on their own, nor could they possibly have been influenced by other cosmological myths from Egypt or Mesopotamia or other places in the Levant.

    There’s no discussion of the Enuma Elish; nor of the Ugarit or Akkadian myths. Light and dark and water and earth are — magically — the four elements of Thales.

    Sheesh.

    I could just as easily argue that Lemche is a hippopotamus, because both have four limbs.

    And here’s his take on the OT itself, as a complete work:

    The writers who invented the “history of Israel” seem to have modelled their history on a Greek pattern. The first in modern times to stress this point is presumably John Van Seters, 38 although his reference to Hecataeus of Miletus may seem gratuitous, as we no longer posses Hecataeus’ history, except in the form of rather diminutive fragments. It would be preferable to propose the history of Herodotus as the earliest point of comparison and to indicate that there are a number of similarities between the histories of Herodotus and the Old Testament. Both histories have as their beginning a perspective that encompasses the world as such, and this perspective only at a later point narrows down to include but a single nation, respectively the Greek and the Hebrew. I should like to stress this point without ignoring the many significant differences between Herodotus’s history and the Old Testament historical literature. 39 It is only my intention to indicate that the biblical historians display a knowledge of the Greek tradition, and that this could hardly have been the case before Greek historians were to become known and read in the Near East.

    Again, let’s look at what he’s basing his argument on: Both histories have as their beginning a perspective that encompasses the world as such, and this perspective only at a later point narrows down to include but a single nation. Because no other cosmology/national epic does such a blatantly obvious thing.

    Clearly, Lemche seems to be a hippopotamus, because both have heads which connect to spines which connect to the rest of their bodies. I should like to stress this point without ignoring the many significant differences between humans and hippopotamuses. It is only my intention to indicate that Lemche displays the hippopotamus body plan, and this could hardly be the case if Lemche were not a hippopotamus.

    I’m sort of wavering between thinking of Lemche as a kook who really believes this is meaningful, and a disingenuous troll who is baiting the rest of the scholarly community of archaeologists, biblical scholars, historians of the Ancient Near East, and similar.

    There are apparently scholars who think that the OT was mostly composed in the Persian period (Davies, and maybe a few who agree with him). How does Lemche deal with this contention? Well, here’s what makes me think that Lemche is most definitely a troll:

    The Persian period does not seem to meet the requirements of being the time when the historical books of the Old Testament were written down. First of all it would have to be proved that Greek authors were known and extensively read in the Persian empire, and I very much doubt that this was the case.

    I cannot imagine that he wrote the above with anything other than a trollish smirk.

    There’s a kook (or a troll) in biology named Donald Williamson who published, in PNAS, a paper titled “Caterpillars evolved from onychophorans by hybridogenesis”. This was bluntly refuted by Hart and Grosberg with a paper titled “Caterpillars did not evolve from onychophorans by hybridogenesis”. I mention this because apparently Lemche’s bait managed to hook a few scholars, and the resulting essays were collected in a work titled “Did Moses speak Attic?”, and one of those essays was titled “An End to the Confusion? Why the Old Testament Cannot Be a Hellenistic Book!”

    I’ll try and read that at some point.

  60. 60
    Owlmirror

    @Ichthyic:

    Owlmirror tends to get all testy when you challenge his assertions of knowledge regarding this particular set of ancient fictions.

    All of those that I can think of up until now who have challenged my assertions about The Big Book of Middle-Eastern Fairy-Tales have been religious people who argue for biblical inerrancy, or at least, some sort of biblical validity and approximate accuracy. Has there been anyone else?

    either wade through it and get involved in a lengthy and pointless debate,

    I’m sorry that you think that scholarship is pointless.

    or drop it and move on.
     
    I would recommend the latter, frankly.

    By all means.

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