Another Creation Story

In my previous post I cited some parallels to the story of Noah and the Flood, immortalized by none other than Russell Crowe (OK, I have to admit, I never saw the film) (but I did see Gladiator – on opening day!  I had a student who was writing a dissertation that had a chapter on gladiators…) – stories of the flood in the myths of the Ancient Near East.  There were also numerous parallels in different areas around the ...

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Other Myths of the Flood from the Ancient Near East

In response to my posts on the Pentateuch, several readers have asked about how other myths from other cultures of the Ancient Near East may have influenced the biblical writers (and the story tellers who passed along the traditions before them).   Among other things, other religions of the region had stories of creation and the flood that were very similar to what you can find in the book of Genesis.  What do we know about these?

Here is what I say ...

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When Was the World Created? A Blast From the Past


Now that I’ve been talking about the Pentateuch, including its first book, Genesis, I thought it might be appropriate to offer up a Blast From the Past.   Four years ago, on July 5, 2012, I posted this account of when Christians started thinking that the world was created (Genesis 1-2) in 4004 BCE, as you’ll find in your annotated editions of the King James Bible.  This is what I said:


Creation in 4004 BCE?

In my textbook, the Introduction to the ...

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Other Literary Tensions in the Pentateuch

I have started a brief thread on the Pentateuch and why scholars think that it was not written by a single author – Moses or anyone else – but is composed of several sources later patched together.  In my previous post I started giving the reasons for thinking so, the literary tensions found in the opening chapters of Genesis.  I continue here with this theme.  Again, this is taken from my book The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction

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Literary Tensions in the Creation Account of Genesis

In yesterday’s post I began to explain why scholars have thought that the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), were not written by Moses, but later, and that they represent not a single work by a single author, but a compilation of sources, each of them written at different times.   The evidence for this view is quite overwhelming, and in the context of my textbook on the Bible, as in the context ...

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Who Wrote the Pentateuch? Early Questions of Authorship.

On to something different!  I want to move to a new blog topic for a while.  I’ve been talking about my new book – still being written! – about the Christianization of the empire – for a while, and it’s obviously the topic near and dear to me just now.  But variety is the spice of life.

Several readers have responded to me about my response to the question of the sources behind the Pentateuch – the first five books of ...

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More on Camels and Genesis

I have received some interesting responses, both in comments on the blog and privately, about my post yesterday on domesticated camels in the land of Palestine. Some readers are (re-)convinced that you can’t trust the Bible for one blasted thing; others think that it’s just a picayune point since camels are not really much of a big deal in the narratives of Genesis. So maybe I should provide a bit of background and explain what I see to be the ...

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Camels and the Book of Genesis

Something different. A long time-member of the blog, Ron Taska, has sent this along to me. Biblical scholars for years have argued that the camels one finds in the patriarchal narratives of Genesis (Gen. 12-50) are anachronistic, since camels were not yet domesticated in the times in which the Patriarchs allegedly lived. (I’m one of those scholars who doubts whether the Patriarchs of Genesis are historical figures at all; but that’s another question.) Here is some recent scientific evidence that ...

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