Westar Institute Bible Seminar: The Bible and History

Presentation by David McCreery

1.    Documentation re Abraham etc.:
2.    Egyptian enslavement and Joseph and Moses; no mention archeologically or historically
3.    Historical Moses and legal tradition?  No physical evidence; legal stuff is predated by Hamurabi
4.    Origins of ancient Israel and Judah; define the tribal names and historical interrelations
5.    No iron-age artifacts can confirm the historicity of David and Solomon
6.    Popular idea that Israel was the first independent state to emerge
7.    Wellhausen on the origins of the Torah/Pentateuch: Challenged the view the Moses wrote the Torah.  Wellhausen says there were 4: Yahwist, Elohist, Priestly, Deuteronomic, and
8.    The dating of some of the traditions has become problematic.  Patriarchs may be post-exilic
9.    Gunkel re myth etc.: Gunkel did a commentary on Genesis – primarily legendary.  Defined the meaning of legend and myth.  Distinctions are useful.
10.    How many voices are in Isaiah: At least 3: First Isaiah – a contemporary of Ahaz up to the Assyrians in 701; 40-55 is Second Isaiah – Exilic; Third Isaiah 56-66: Post-exilic.  Assumes the second temple has been rebuilt.  But even first Isaiah has inserted later passages.  There are at least 3, maybe as many as 10.  Third Isaiah seems to be an anthology of the followers of 1 and 2 Isaiah.
11.    American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR)
12.    No evidence for the Exodus outside the Bible

Associate Questions

1.    While the historical context is matrilineal and patriarchal, why does the field of biblical scholarship continue to ignore the importance of women in the Bible?
2.    If we concentrate on the veracity of the story, are we throwing out the baby with the bathwater (value of myth as social cohesion and personal meaning)?
3.    Do findings such as Nag Hamadi and the Dead Sea Scrolls really change our understanding of the Bible?
4.    In the 21st Century how do we understand the meaning of apocalypse: Daniel and Revelation?
5.    Why is it that fundies attach so much importance to Paul and pseudo Paul and ignore the gospels?  Is it a matter of control, especially over women?


1.    What questions are the most important to our understanding of the Bible?
2.    The foundation is the story, so the story needs to be verified.
3.    Important because of the Mosaic law

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