Author Topic: Did Moses write Torah?  (Read 1907 times)

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Offline Raafat

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Did Moses write Torah?
« on: January 22, 2018, 06:21:29 PM »
Hi,
I' Raafat an Egyptian ex-muslim, now an Agnostic, who recently has bee looking into Christianity.

I was looking into the copilaton of the Bible and it struck me how much human was the process and almost all the Scholars label many many books of the Bible as "anonymous" .

One thing that really stands out, to me, is the exodus story. Nowhere other than the bible mention it, no one mentions moses too. Why is that?

How could moses write his death account?

Has anyone here heard of JDEP theory of the supposed origin of the Torah?

A question urelated to the above, what do Orthodox believe regarding age and formation of the universe ad the theory of Evolution, you'd be very close to Catholicism I suppose.

Looking forward to reading from you.
Who knows I might be a convert soon.

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 06:51:50 PM »
Well, the idea that he wrote of his death prophetically has been around in Christian and Jewish History. But I'm not sure if it's strictly speaking needed. It could be that it was an inspired add on by somebody (Joshua, for example).

But the more important question is, what does it take for something to be a "Book of Moses?" Personally, I tend to think that as long as a substantial portion of the Torah was adapted at least from oral material (there's a lot of 19th Century logocentrism underlying the JEDP, ancient cultures didn't have that same emphasis) that he helped pass down, it doesn't really matter what redactors or scribes had their hands on it in the ensuing centuries or who put it down in the manuscript forms that eventually crystallized for us.

As for why there's no mention of an Exodus in the surrounding history, it is a little more difficult I admit. Though keep in mind that there's a lot we don't know about Bronze Age history in general.

The evolution and earth age questions have a lot of threads here, including what I think is the longest on the site.

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Offline Raafat

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 09:09:34 PM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.


We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2018, 09:51:32 PM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

And if we prove it did come from Moses, we still can't say for sure that he wasn't just a fraud or a nutcase falsely claiming to speak for God. You'll never completely get away from the need for faith.

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.

That might be an issue for Protestantism with its reliance on Sola Scriptura, but Orthodoxy relies on both written and unwritten traditions to bolster one another's authority. How do we know this is what Moses really thought? By the authority of the Holy Spirit working Himself out in the lives of believers throughout history.

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

Why? The Hyksos took over Egypt and ruled it for several centuries, but we don't even know for sure who they were or where they came from (insert Spinal Tap scene here). The Hittites were completely unknown outside the Bible until the mid-19th Century and then references to them started flooding in. Likewise, why would you expect to find a lot of references to some nobody client population that the Egyptians let live in a ghetto for a couple of hundred years? Just because the Torah makes a lot of them (considering they are its subject and all) doesn't mean that anybody else cared much.

If the Plagues, the Red Sea episode, etc. really happened it would also have been quite embarrassing for the Pharaohs (who tended to deface the monuments of their predecessors every time a dynastic line changed), not least of all because of the "contest of gods" angle. So, I'm not sure that it's really as surprising as you're making out. There is a possibility that Moses got rolled into the story of Osarseph somehow and that's about all I'd really expect personally, veiled references.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2018, 11:54:40 PM »
keep in mind that there's a lot we don't know about Bronze Age history in general.
Exactly! This obvious fact should be engraved on every argument about the historicity of the OT.

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.
The Merneptah Stele and the Ipuwer Papyrus are something. It may seem not enough, but the whole historiography of this period is too shady, as Volnutt has exemplified.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 11:59:55 PM by RaphaCam »
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2018, 12:16:48 AM »
On the point about the death of Moses, something I noticed just now.

Quote from: I Chronicles 29:29-30, ESV
Now the acts of King David, from first to last, are written in the Chronicles of Samuel the seer, and in the Chronicles of Nathan the prophet, and in the Chronicles of Gad the seer, with accounts of all his rule and his might and of the circumstances that came upon him and upon Israel and upon all the kingdoms of the countries.

The problem? Samuel dies at the beginning of I Samuel 25, six chapters from the end of the first of two volumes. Yet the entire set has come down to us with the man's name on it. Apparently some of the ancients were not so exacting about this sort of thing as we can be.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 12:21:17 AM by Volnutt »
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 12:36:21 AM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

And if we prove it did come from Moses, we still can't say for sure that he wasn't just a fraud or a nutcase falsely claiming to speak for God. You'll never completely get away from the need for faith.

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.

That might be an issue for Protestantism with its reliance on Sola Scriptura, but Orthodoxy relies on both written and unwritten traditions to bolster one another's authority. How do we know this is what Moses really thought? By the authority of the Holy Spirit working Himself out in the lives of believers throughout history.

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

Why? The Hyksos took over Egypt and ruled it for several centuries, but we don't even know for sure who they were or where they came from (insert Spinal Tap scene here). The Hittites were completely unknown outside the Bible until the mid-19th Century and then references to them started flooding in. Likewise, why would you expect to find a lot of references to some nobody client population that the Egyptians let live in a ghetto for a couple of hundred years? Just because the Torah makes a lot of them (considering they are its subject and all) doesn't mean that anybody else cared much.

If the Plagues, the Red Sea episode, etc. really happened it would also have been quite embarrassing for the Pharaohs (who tended to deface the monuments of their predecessors every time a dynastic line changed), not least of all because of the "contest of gods" angle. So, I'm not sure that it's really as surprising as you're making out. There is a possibility that Moses got rolled into the story of Osarseph somehow and that's about all I'd really expect personally, veiled references.
it's by no means sure the Hittites mentioned in the Bible are the indoeurooean population of Anatolia.
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 12:38:03 AM »
Hi,
I' Raafat an Egyptian ex-muslim, now an Agnostic, who recently has bee looking into Christianity.

I was looking into the copilaton of the Bible and it struck me how much human was the process and almost all the Scholars label many many books of the Bible as "anonymous" .

One thing that really stands out, to me, is the exodus story. Nowhere other than the bible mention it, no one mentions moses too. Why is that?

How could moses write his death account?

Has anyone here heard of JDEP theory of the supposed origin of the Torah?

A question urelated to the above, what do Orthodox believe regarding age and formation of the universe ad the theory of Evolution, you'd be very close to Catholicism I suppose.

Looking forward to reading from you.
Who knows I might be a convert soon.
Moses is as historical as Homer.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 02:45:45 AM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

And if we prove it did come from Moses, we still can't say for sure that he wasn't just a fraud or a nutcase falsely claiming to speak for God. You'll never completely get away from the need for faith.

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.

That might be an issue for Protestantism with its reliance on Sola Scriptura, but Orthodoxy relies on both written and unwritten traditions to bolster one another's authority. How do we know this is what Moses really thought? By the authority of the Holy Spirit working Himself out in the lives of believers throughout history.

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

Why? The Hyksos took over Egypt and ruled it for several centuries, but we don't even know for sure who they were or where they came from (insert Spinal Tap scene here). The Hittites were completely unknown outside the Bible until the mid-19th Century and then references to them started flooding in. Likewise, why would you expect to find a lot of references to some nobody client population that the Egyptians let live in a ghetto for a couple of hundred years? Just because the Torah makes a lot of them (considering they are its subject and all) doesn't mean that anybody else cared much.

If the Plagues, the Red Sea episode, etc. really happened it would also have been quite embarrassing for the Pharaohs (who tended to deface the monuments of their predecessors every time a dynastic line changed), not least of all because of the "contest of gods" angle. So, I'm not sure that it's really as surprising as you're making out. There is a possibility that Moses got rolled into the story of Osarseph somehow and that's about all I'd really expect personally, veiled references.
it's by no means sure the Hittites mentioned in the Bible are the indoeurooean population of Anatolia.

There must have been some connection if the names are so similar, even if they aren't exactly the same. The name "Hittite" was still only heard in the Bible for Millennia.
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Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline RobS

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2018, 09:23:59 AM »
There's no doubt multiple authors were involved in its composition that spanned centuries. However it was common in the ancient world to take on a persona or following a tradition that can be "traced" back to a figure like Moses. So the authorship of "Moses" doesn't necessarily have to reflect a single author. Its the same way with the Psalms. Many of the Psalms were held by Israel as the supreme musical expression of its spiritual life. The multiple composers could attribute them back to King David because he was legendary for his gift of music and Israel held him in high regard. So it doesnt matter if he didnt write a single psalm nor if Moses wrote anything. We can't think of authorship in the modern sense.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 01:11:06 PM »
Has anyone here heard of JDEP theory of the supposed origin of the Torah?

It was considered dated when I studied it 15 years ago.

Not saying I don't believe in some form of authorship criticism, it's just that JDEP is a hangover from the 1970s. Not sure what the current favored model is.

There's no doubt multiple authors were involved in its composition that spanned centuries. However it was common in the ancient world to take on a persona or following a tradition that can be "traced" back to a figure like Moses. So the authorship of "Moses" doesn't necessarily have to reflect a single author. Its the same way with the Psalms. Many of the Psalms were held by Israel as the supreme musical expression of its spiritual life. The multiple composers could attribute them back to King David because he was legendary for his gift of music and Israel held him in high regard. So it doesnt matter if he didnt write a single psalm nor if Moses wrote anything. We can't think of authorship in the modern sense.

+1

That's why I don't get too bent out of shape about pseudepigrapha in the New Testament.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 01:12:31 PM by Agabus »
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Offline Raafat

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 07:05:07 AM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

And if we prove it did come from Moses, we still can't say for sure that he wasn't just a fraud or a nutcase falsely claiming to speak for God. You'll never completely get away from the need for faith.

But at least we can have a discussion of why this guy is to be trusted. But if we don't even know who the writer(s) is/are then it makes the whole thing doubtful.

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.

That might be an issue for Protestantism with its reliance on Sola Scriptura, but Orthodoxy relies on both written and unwritten traditions to bolster one another's authority. How do we know this is what Moses really thought? By the authority of the Holy Spirit working Himself out in the lives of believers throughout history.

Why would a reliance on the scriptures solely hurt anything? I guess it is a very reasonable position, after all it is the only inspired thing. (I'm not taking sides or speaking about Traditional vs Protestant Christianity. I'm just speaking my mind.)
The reliance on tradition to say the scripture is true is not a strong argument, there are many many tradition though. 

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

Why? The Hyksos took over Egypt and ruled it for several centuries, but we don't even know for sure who they were or where they came from (insert Spinal Tap scene here). The Hittites were completely unknown outside the Bible until the mid-19th Century and then references to them started flooding in. Likewise, why would you expect to find a lot of references to some nobody client population that the Egyptians let live in a ghetto for a couple of hundred years? Just because the Torah makes a lot of them (considering they are its subject and all) doesn't mean that anybody else cared much.

If the Plagues, the Red Sea episode, etc. really happened it would also have been quite embarrassing for the Pharaohs (who tended to deface the monuments of their predecessors every time a dynastic line changed), not least of all because of the "contest of gods" angle. So, I'm not sure that it's really as surprising as you're making out. There is a possibility that Moses got rolled into the story of Osarseph somehow and that's about all I'd really expect personally, veiled references.

But we know that the Hyksos existed we don't know any of the details, but we know something happened in broad lines. They lift signs, somethings here and there mentioning them.  Maybe they didn't care about the "inferior race" but they wrote about other races in other lands too, but they didn't write ANYTHING about the Protoisraelites? The Hitties were known where? Where were they found?

If they really happened then something would mention them, they obliterated previous histories yes. But they couldn't destroy it completely. Else, how could we know about the first Dynasty while there was second dynasty.

Offline Raafat

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 07:08:03 AM »
keep in mind that there's a lot we don't know about Bronze Age history in general.
Exactly! This obvious fact should be engraved on every argument about the historicity of the OT.

We don't know many, but somethings are just too big to be obliterated.

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.
The Merneptah Stele and the Ipuwer Papyrus are something. It may seem not enough, but the whole historiography of this period is too shady, as Volnutt has exemplified.

They're enough for me. I'll have a look at them.
Thanks for mentioning them.

Offline Raafat

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 07:13:14 AM »
There's no doubt multiple authors were involved in its composition that spanned centuries. However it was common in the ancient world to take on a persona or following a tradition that can be "traced" back to a figure like Moses. So the authorship of "Moses" doesn't necessarily have to reflect a single author. Its the same way with the Psalms. Many of the Psalms were held by Israel as the supreme musical expression of its spiritual life. The multiple composers could attribute them back to King David because he was legendary for his gift of music and Israel held him in high regard. So it doesnt matter if he didnt write a single psalm nor if Moses wrote anything. We can't think of authorship in the modern sense.

Then it is a human document as it gets? What prevents anyone from playing with them then? If whatever I write has authority I don't have?

If we can't be so sure of anything why one ought to believe it? If it has morals, many other writings have morals too. What makes them stand out and be the uttering of God?

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 07:16:30 AM »
Has anyone here heard of JDEP theory of the supposed origin of the Torah?

It was considered dated when I studied it 15 years ago.

Not saying I don't believe in some form of authorship criticism, it's just that JDEP is a hangover from the 1970s. Not sure what the current favored model is.

It is alive and kicking and to my understanding is the accepted theory in general.

There's no doubt multiple authors were involved in its composition that spanned centuries. However it was common in the ancient world to take on a persona or following a tradition that can be "traced" back to a figure like Moses. So the authorship of "Moses" doesn't necessarily have to reflect a single author. Its the same way with the Psalms. Many of the Psalms were held by Israel as the supreme musical expression of its spiritual life. The multiple composers could attribute them back to King David because he was legendary for his gift of music and Israel held him in high regard. So it doesnt matter if he didnt write a single psalm nor if Moses wrote anything. We can't think of authorship in the modern sense.

+1

That's why I don't get too bent out of shape about pseudepigrapha in the New Testament.

I repeat my point what gives them their supernatural authority then?

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2018, 08:19:18 AM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

And if we prove it did come from Moses, we still can't say for sure that he wasn't just a fraud or a nutcase falsely claiming to speak for God. You'll never completely get away from the need for faith.

But at least we can have a discussion of why this guy is to be trusted.

It would be a completely fruitless discussion when we have people impugning his character (calling him a fascist, an ethnic cleanser, a schizophrenic, or whatever) on the basis of the things that are written down even with doubts as to how much of it really happened or can really be connected to Moses.

But if we don't even know who the writer(s) is/are then it makes the whole thing doubtful.

Authority in Traditional Christianity does not ultimately derive from any one person (not even Catholics say that about the Pope). It comes form the Holy Spirit- the true and final author of Scripture. Even if the Torah was written by the nastiest man who ever lived, it could still be inspired by God and useful for leading people to Him.

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.

That might be an issue for Protestantism with its reliance on Sola Scriptura, but Orthodoxy relies on both written and unwritten traditions to bolster one another's authority. How do we know this is what Moses really thought? By the authority of the Holy Spirit working Himself out in the lives of believers throughout history.

Why would a reliance on the scriptures solely hurt anything?

Because it reduces the people of God collectively to bystanders who have no actual bearing on the truth. When you have the evidence of the Holy Spirit working through the living tradition of the faithful, you don't have to rely as much on arguments about this or that feature of the dead letter (not that it isn't still important, but it becomes less than all-encompassing).

But admittedly that's just my own opinion derived from where I am personally on my spiritual journey. I could be wrong.

I guess it is a very reasonable position, after all it is the only inspired thing. (I'm not taking sides or speaking about Traditional vs Protestant Christianity. I'm just speaking my mind.)
The reliance on tradition to say the scripture is true is not a strong argument, there are many many tradition though.

It can make things a little more complicated than just having to rely on arguments about manuscript criticism, yes. But within each of the Apostolic Churches, the larger elements of the faith based on the Ecumenical Councils and Fathers that each Church accepts are at least pretty clear. Of course, there's always going to be debates about more peripheral issues and day to day praxis.

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

Why? The Hyksos took over Egypt and ruled it for several centuries, but we don't even know for sure who they were or where they came from (insert Spinal Tap scene here). The Hittites were completely unknown outside the Bible until the mid-19th Century and then references to them started flooding in. Likewise, why would you expect to find a lot of references to some nobody client population that the Egyptians let live in a ghetto for a couple of hundred years? Just because the Torah makes a lot of them (considering they are its subject and all) doesn't mean that anybody else cared much.

If the Plagues, the Red Sea episode, etc. really happened it would also have been quite embarrassing for the Pharaohs (who tended to deface the monuments of their predecessors every time a dynastic line changed), not least of all because of the "contest of gods" angle. So, I'm not sure that it's really as surprising as you're making out. There is a possibility that Moses got rolled into the story of Osarseph somehow and that's about all I'd really expect personally, veiled references.

But we know that the Hyksos existed we don't know any of the details, but we know something happened in broad lines. They lift signs, somethings here and there mentioning them.

Why is your prior that nothing at all happened? That doesn't seem very reasonable. Accounts like this aren't usually completely made up, I don't think most skeptics even argue that about the Trojan War. Maybe the Torah (and the Iliad) bears very little resemblance to what actually went on, but the idea that the Egyptians and the early inhabitants of the Levant had some contact and a rocky relationship that probably involved some slavery on one side or another doesn't seem at all outside the realm of possibility to me.

Not that I think that faith needs every jot and tittle of Biblical history to be exactly, 100%, correspondence theory true. As long as there's no positive evidence that it could not possibly have happened, I don't really think there's a problem. But maybe I'm a rube, heh.

Maybe they didn't care about the "inferior race" but they wrote about other races in other lands too, but they didn't write ANYTHING about the Protoisraelites?

Yeah, but again there's a lot of gaps in our knowledge of the Bronze Age. I feel like you're moving the goalposts here. What is it that you would call minimal evidence of someone's mere existence? It's not like they were powerful enough to leave monuments everywhere like the Hyksos.

The Hitties were known where? Where were they found?

The Hittites were a powerful kingdom of what is today south and southwestern Turkey. Even if the Hittites mentioned in the Bible are not the exact same Hittites (it's debated), I would still argue there must have been some connection if the names are so similar and the Bible was still the only evidence of this name until archaeological evidence began coming in from Turkey in the 19th Century.

If they really happened then something would mention them, they obliterated previous histories yes. But they couldn't destroy it completely. Else, how could we know about the first Dynasty while there was second dynasty.

They couldn't erase the existence of the entire Dynasty, yes. But that doesn't preclude us from knowing barely anything beyond a name about some individual Pharaohs. The existence of an entire multi-century dynasty is not quite the same thing as a few weird occurrences involving a slave population that led to some deaths.

Like I said, why would you expect to find a whole lot of references to what would have been an embarrassing incident if it actually happened? Where do you expect to find it memorialized, on the walls at Karnak?

Or, again, maybe someone did write about it somewhere and we haven't found the evidence yet because we don't have everything that ever got written down in Ancient Egypt.
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Offline Raafat

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2018, 03:39:48 PM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

And if we prove it did come from Moses, we still can't say for sure that he wasn't just a fraud or a nutcase falsely claiming to speak for God. You'll never completely get away from the need for faith.

But at least we can have a discussion of why this guy is to be trusted.

It would be a completely fruitless discussion when we have people impugning his character (calling him a fascist, an ethnic cleanser, a schizophrenic, or whatever) on the basis of the things that are written down even with doubts as to how much of it really happened or can really be connected to Moses.

Because then we are discussing the character presented not the actual character. If we can't be so sure of the guy and he might be a liar given the characteristics given to us, then his document may be fraudulent. If we can't even make the connection to him, then it makes it very very doubtful.

But if we don't even know who the writer(s) is/are then it makes the whole thing doubtful.

Authority in Traditional Christianity does not ultimately derive from any one person (not even Catholics say that about the Pope). It comes form the Holy Spirit- the true and final author of Scripture. Even if the Torah was written by the nastiest man who ever lived, it could still be inspired by God and useful for leading people to Him.

First, how can one get so sure about the divine origin of the writings? If he's so nasty and the divine origin of his writings are only left to faith. What evidence is there that the holy ghost even exists? Why would he/she/it utilise such a doubtful human?

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.

That might be an issue for Protestantism with its reliance on Sola Scriptura, but Orthodoxy relies on both written and unwritten traditions to bolster one another's authority. How do we know this is what Moses really thought? By the authority of the Holy Spirit working Himself out in the lives of believers throughout history.

Why would a reliance on the scriptures solely hurt anything?

Because it reduces the people of God collectively to bystanders who have no actual bearing on the truth. When you have the evidence of the Holy Spirit working through the living tradition of the faithful, you don't have to rely as much on arguments about this or that feature of the dead letter (not that it isn't still important, but it becomes less than all-encompassing).

But admittedly that's just my own opinion derived from where I am personally on my spiritual journey. I could be wrong.

May you elaborate on this point. I'm not so sure that I understand.

I guess it is a very reasonable position, after all it is the only inspired thing. (I'm not taking sides or speaking about Traditional vs Protestant Christianity. I'm just speaking my mind.)
The reliance on tradition to say the scripture is true is not a strong argument, there are many many tradition though.

It can make things a little more complicated than just having to rely on arguments about manuscript criticism, yes. But within each of the Apostolic Churches, the larger elements of the faith based on the Ecumenical Councils and Fathers that each Church accepts are at least pretty clear. Of course, there's always going to be debates about more peripheral issues and day to day praxis.

So the difference between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is just managerial and day-to-day? I highly doubt it. Is the tradition infallible then?

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

Why? The Hyksos took over Egypt and ruled it for several centuries, but we don't even know for sure who they were or where they came from (insert Spinal Tap scene here). The Hittites were completely unknown outside the Bible until the mid-19th Century and then references to them started flooding in. Likewise, why would you expect to find a lot of references to some nobody client population that the Egyptians let live in a ghetto for a couple of hundred years? Just because the Torah makes a lot of them (considering they are its subject and all) doesn't mean that anybody else cared much.


If the Plagues, the Red Sea episode, etc. really happened it would also have been quite embarrassing for the Pharaohs (who tended to deface the monuments of their predecessors every time a dynastic line changed), not least of all because of the "contest of gods" angle. So, I'm not sure that it's really as surprising as you're making out. There is a possibility that Moses got rolled into the story of Osarseph somehow and that's about all I'd really expect personally, veiled references.

But we know that the Hyksos existed we don't know any of the details, but we know something happened in broad lines. They lift signs, somethings here and there mentioning them.

Why is your prior that nothing at all happened? That doesn't seem very reasonable. Accounts like this aren't usually completely made up, I don't think most skeptics even argue that about the Trojan War. Maybe the Torah (and the Iliad) bears very little resemblance to what actually went on, but the idea that the Egyptians and the early inhabitants of the Levant had some contact and a rocky relationship that probably involved some slavery on one side or another doesn't seem at all outside the realm of possibility to me.

Not that I think that faith needs every jot and tittle of Biblical history to be exactly, 100%, correspondence theory true. As long as there's no positive evidence that it could not possibly have happened, I don't really think there's a problem. But maybe I'm a rube, heh.

Because things didn't happen by default. If one makes a claim that something happened, they must prove it. If substantial portions of the story are made up then why would I care to give it a divine origin? If it didn't happen like this then what is the point? Who gave the two ten commandments then? Yes they had rocky relationships at some time but if that's all there is to the story then I can say it is a lie.

Maybe they didn't care about the "inferior race" but they wrote about other races in other lands too, but they didn't write ANYTHING about the Protoisraelites?

Yeah, but again there's a lot of gaps in our knowledge of the Bronze Age. I feel like you're moving the goalposts here. What is it that you would call minimal evidence of someone's mere existence? It's not like they were powerful enough to leave monuments everywhere like the Hyksos.

There lots of gaps about our knowledge, yes, but we can make a very very very very rough timeline of happenings. They were not powerful but very numerous, their overseers might have written a thing or two about them.

The Hitties were known where? Where were they found?

The Hittites were a powerful kingdom of what is today south and southwestern Turkey. Even if the Hittites mentioned in the Bible are not the exact same Hittites (it's debated), I would still argue there must have been some connection if the names are so similar and the Bible was still the only evidence of this name until archaeological evidence began coming in from Turkey in the 19th Century.[/quote]

If they only share a somewhat similar name then may be they're related roughly or some scribe took the name and made some events. Very inspired to me.

If they really happened then something would mention them, they obliterated previous histories yes. But they couldn't destroy it completely. Else, how could we know about the first Dynasty while there was second dynasty.

They couldn't erase the existence of the entire Dynasty, yes. But that doesn't preclude us from knowing barely anything beyond a name about some individual Pharaohs. The existence of an entire multi-century dynasty is not quite the same thing as a few weird occurrences involving a slave population that led to some deaths.

Like I said, why would you expect to find a whole lot of references to what would have been an embarrassing incident if it actually happened? Where do you expect to find it memorialized, on the walls at Karnak?

Or, again, maybe someone did write about it somewhere and we haven't found the evidence yet because we don't have everything that ever got written down in Ancient Egypt.
At least we have the names. I can't say that the death of every firstborn in Egypt is just "few weird occurrences involving a slave population that led to some deaths." IT IS HUGE.

I don't expect a whole lot of references to the incident just a hint here or there, that's it. And no I'm not expecting to find it written of the walls of Karnak. Funny idea I'll pay  visit to the temple and see for myself.

Forget about Egypt now. Did any Levant nation who were supposedly moved mention something like this happening?

Offline Alpha60

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2018, 06:18:46 PM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

Raafat, I fear you are somewhat missing the point.  Obviously, it is axiomatic that St. Moses did not write the portion of Deuteronomy describing his death; no one has ever claimed that.  I recall reading somewhere that some of the Jews are of the opinion that the Torah was edited by Joshua, who presumably wrote that section, owing to stylistic similiarities between the Torah and Joshua.

This by no means makes the books of Moses the works of an imposter.  Nowhere do these books actually claim that the interconnecting, editorial prose is of Mosaic origin.  Rather, what is claimed, and I believe, legitimately claimed, is that the words attributed to Moses were spoken by him.  As far as the account of creation in Genesis (which, rather uniquely among creation stories of the world religions, works very well as a sort of metaphorical-analogocal explanation of the actual process of he Big Bang and evolution; compare the Genesis creation account with, say, the creation myths of the ancient Aztec religion or the ancient Finnish religion (contained in the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic), for a case in point.   Or, for that matter, compare the Genesis account with the Islamic account of creation; Genesis works as a poetic explanation of creation via cosmic and biological evolution for people who had no idea what evolution was and lacked the intellectual faculties and disposition to accept such a theory, whereas the Islamic account in which Adam is formed from a clot of blood simply makes no sense.

I fear you are also missing the point on another level: the Orthodox Church is not a sola scriptura church, in contrast to Protestantism.  I will expound upon this in response to your next point:

Quote

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.



We are very well acquainted with the historical processes that lead to the formation of manuscript traditions.  In the case of the Old Testament, over a period of about a thousand years, two dominant text types emerged: the Septuagint, which is the Old Testament translated from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek, but which is partially attested to in Hebrew by some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Masoretic Text.

Despite the fact that many centuries separated the publication of the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text, the variance between the two is remarkably slight.  Indeed, you really have to be paying extremely close attention to even notice the differences.  What is more, none of the varitions between the two texts have any real, tangible bearing on doctrine; its more of a case of aesthetics.  The Eastern Orthodox Church has historically preferred the Septuagint, however, there is one very prominent Eastern Orthodox Bible scholar by the name of Eric Jobe who strongly prefers the Masoretic text, and indeed he has made rehabilitating the reputation of the Masoretic text a major aspect of his academic work.  This is right and proper, because St. Jerome used Hebrew texts which were later organized into the Masoretic text some centuries after his death when translating the Latin Vulgate Bible.

Quote
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.


Well, frankly, Islam is not Christianity.  The early history of Islam after the death of Muhammed is fraught with violent sectarian conflicts, power struggles between warring factions eager to succeed Muhammed, for example, the faction loyal to Ali, the faction which became the Ummayids, the Kharijites, who killed Ali, et cetera.

There is nothing like this in the early history of Christianity.  Christians were historically the non-violent victims of persecution, by the Roman Empire, first under the auspices of Paganism, and then under the banner of Arianism.  Indeed, it was not until the fifth century that sectarian violence began to occur between Christians, at the instigation of the heresiarch Nestorius.

Later, tragically, sectarian violence in Chrstianity became commonplace, but there has always been a substantial element within the Christian faith which has objected to and resisted the temptation to engage in sectarian violence, and over the course of the 18th-20th centuries, the incidents of sectarian violence have been subsiding (first, with the peace between the Lutheran, Calvinist and Catholic states in Europe, then with the begrudging tolerance by the Czarist Holy Synod that illegally controlled and oppressed the Russian Orthodox Church for the Old Believers, and then in the 20th century wih widescale reconciliations between different denominations thanks to the Ecumenical Movement.   There is nothing like the Ecumenical Movement in Islam; 500 hears from the death of Muhammed, sectarian violence between the Sunnis and Shiites was an extremely well established aspect of Islamic life.

The point should also be made that Christianity, unlike Rabinnical Judaism or Islam, is not a legalistic religion.  Sunni, Ibadi, and Shia Islam each have their own opinions about which hadiths are valid, and furthermore, there are, if memory serves, differences of opinion on the validity of hadiths even within specific fiqhs, or schools of jurisprudence, within Sunni and Shia Islam.  All of this is of vital importance, because these traditions about the life of Muhammed play a vital part in the definition of Sharia law.

Orthodox Christianity does have canon law, but these canons are very limited, merely governing the qualifications for various sacramental services such as ordination and holy matrimony.  What is more, in most cases, bishops have the authority to derogate from the canon law on the basis of what we call oikonomia, where they feel it is neccessary to procure the salvation of souls.  There is no Christian equivalent to the Sharia; the Torah is preserved in scripture as a guide to moral behavior, but we have nothing like the vast Jewish Talmud, huge commentries and elaborate rules designed to preclude even the accidental violation of the Torah, which completely misses the point.

To their credit however, the Jews at least do not have the remarkable history of brutality, corruption, sectarianism, and contempt for religious minorities, that characterizes a typical Sharia court.

Quote

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.


This argument is frankly rather silly.  Rome had as many as a million slaves, yet one would be hard pressed to find any monuments dedicated to them anywhere in the Roman Empire.  Indeed, our entire knowledge of Roman slaves comes from Roman writers, who were prolific, and who frequently discussed slavery both in the context of fiction and historical writing. 

Thus, the story of Spartacus, who attempted a revolt not unlike the flight from Egypt, but who alas, was a Pagan, and did not benefit from supernatural interventions from God, is preserved, largely in the form of Roman propaganda intended to demonize him and portray him as a terrorist, while lauding as a hero the evil, miserly and cruel figure of Crassus, who brutally suppressed the slave’s rebellion.  One will find many statues of Crassus, some depicting him as deified, if memory serves, in the Roman Empire, but no monuments, at least that I am aware of, dating from the Roman Empire, commemorate Spartcus, who was an enemy lf the state.  For the Romans to erect a monument in honor of Spartacus would be a bit like the US erecting a monument in honor of Osama Bin Laden.

The same conditions apply to Egypt.  The flight of the Jews was a disaster for Egypt; the fact that the Egyptian government did not sunsequently collapse as a result of the various plagues inflicted upon it and the loss of its armies can only be attributed to divine intervention.  However, I think it would be fair to say that the flight of the Israelites represented the beginning of the end for Egypt as a major world power, for within the next thousand years, they would be invaded by the Assyrians, plundered by the Sea People, and ultimately suffer the indignity of being conquered by Alexander the Great, with an ethnically Greco-Macedonian royal familiy replacing the native Egyptian dynasty, and the capital moved to Alexandria.

It should therefore be no surprise that no monuments were erected in Egypt to Moses, whereas on the other hand, one would fully expect monuments to Moses to exist in ancient Israel.

It must also ne stressed that in the second millenium BC, at the time of the flight of Moses, Egypt was much less of a literary society than Rome during the era of Spartacus and Crassus.  Writing as a skill was limited to the priestly caste; the Demotic script, if memory serves, had not yet appeared, so the system of writing was the awkward and obscure hieroglyphic text.  It seems very likely that Moses, on account of the horrors inflicted upon Egypt as a result of his leading Israel to its freedom, was subject to what the Romans later referred to as Damnatio Memoriae, that is to say, the Egyptian priests who alone produced and controlled the written record of those epochs might well have been ordered to omit all mention of Moses from their texts.
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Offline Raafat

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2018, 02:45:11 PM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

Raafat, I fear you are somewhat missing the point.  Obviously, it is axiomatic that St. Moses did not write the portion of Deuteronomy describing his death; no one has ever claimed that.  I recall reading somewhere that some of the Jews are of the opinion that the Torah was edited by Joshua, who presumably wrote that section, owing to stylistic similiarities between the Torah and Joshua.

This by no means makes the books of Moses the works of an imposter.  Nowhere do these books actually claim that the interconnecting, editorial prose is of Mosaic origin.  Rather, what is claimed, and I believe, legitimately claimed, is that the words attributed to Moses were spoken by him.  As far as the account of creation in Genesis (which, rather uniquely among creation stories of the world religions, works very well as a sort of metaphorical-analogocal explanation of the actual process of he Big Bang and evolution; compare the Genesis creation account with, say, the creation myths of the ancient Aztec religion or the ancient Finnish religion (contained in the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic), for a case in point.   Or, for that matter, compare the Genesis account with the Islamic account of creation; Genesis works as a poetic explanation of creation via cosmic and biological evolution for people who had no idea what evolution was and lacked the intellectual faculties and disposition to accept such a theory, whereas the Islamic account in which Adam is formed from a clot of blood simply makes no sense.

I fear you are also missing the point on another level: the Orthodox Church is not a sola scriptura church, in contrast to Protestantism.  I will expound upon this in response to your next point:

So in the first portion of your statement here. You say that the Torah are not the very words of Moses and the documents scholars reference are his work?
Yes there's stylistic similarities between Joshua and Deuteronomy but what about the rest of the Pentateuch? The whole starting point of the theories is that they vary in their writing styles.

Another thing here. I see a rather liberal approach and comfort when you say that oh, well, may be someone just added this or that or it is actually a redaction from previous documents. Where the sacred here?

I come from an Islamic background in which the scripture is not edited with such liberty so that you know what gives me the "What the ... moments".

To be fair here the Islamic account creation the way that is presented these days is a rather general outline of the Genesis creation account. And no Adam was not made from a clot of blood. Quran states many times that he's from dirt/mud/pottery.

Quote

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.



We are very well acquainted with the historical processes that lead to the formation of manuscript traditions.  In the case of the Old Testament, over a period of about a thousand years, two dominant text types emerged: the Septuagint, which is the Old Testament translated from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek, but which is partially attested to in Hebrew by some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Masoretic Text.

Despite the fact that many centuries separated the publication of the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text, the variance between the two is remarkably slight.  Indeed, you really have to be paying extremely close attention to even notice the differences.  What is more, none of the varitions between the two texts have any real, tangible bearing on doctrine; its more of a case of aesthetics.  The Eastern Orthodox Church has historically preferred the Septuagint, however, there is one very prominent Eastern Orthodox Bible scholar by the name of Eric Jobe who strongly prefers the Masoretic text, and indeed he has made rehabilitating the reputation of the Masoretic text a major aspect of his academic work.  This is right and proper, because St. Jerome used Hebrew texts which were later organized into the Masoretic text some centuries after his death when translating the Latin Vulgate Bible.

I guess the difference is rightly attributed to the work of translation. Of course, the textual variations are due the lingual variations between Old Hebrew and Aramaic on the one side and Greek on the other.

But this doesn't give me a clue about who authored these books or their history or anything for that matter. The Septuagint, therefore Pre-Protestant Bibles for the most part, include 9 more books no one knows why are they there. The Jews never considered them Canon or Scripture. Even the early church debated them. Why were they skeptical of them?

Again this doesn't answer the question.

Quote
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.


Well, frankly, Islam is not Christianity.  The early history of Islam after the death of Muhammed is fraught with violent sectarian conflicts, power struggles between warring factions eager to succeed Muhammed, for example, the faction loyal to Ali, the faction which became the Ummayids, the Kharijites, who killed Ali, et cetera.

You are close to being right there.

There is nothing like this in the early history of Christianity.  Christians were historically the non-violent victims of persecution, by the Roman Empire, first under the auspices of Paganism, and then under the banner of Arianism.  Indeed, it was not until the fifth century that sectarian violence began to occur between Christians, at the instigation of the heresiarch Nestorius.


Making their traditions there doubtful because they might be reactionary as Muslims' traditions were.

Later, tragically, sectarian violence in Chrstianity became commonplace, but there has always been a substantial element within the Christian faith which has objected to and resisted the temptation to engage in sectarian violence, and over the course of the 18th-20th centuries, the incidents of sectarian violence have been subsiding (first, with the peace between the Lutheran, Calvinist and Catholic states in Europe, then with the begrudging tolerance by the Czarist Holy Synod that illegally controlled and oppressed the Russian Orthodox Church for the Old Believers, and then in the 20th century wih widescale reconciliations between different denominations thanks to the Ecumenical Movement.   There is nothing like the Ecumenical Movement in Islam; 500 hears from the death of Muhammed, sectarian violence between the Sunnis and Shiites was an extremely well established aspect of Islamic life.

I'm not I'm getting your point here.

The point should also be made that Christianity, unlike Rabinnical Judaism or Islam, is not a legalistic religion.  Sunni, Ibadi, and Shia Islam each have their own opinions about which hadiths are valid, and furthermore, there are, if memory serves, differences of opinion on the validity of hadiths even within specific fiqhs, or schools of jurisprudence, within Sunni and Shia Islam.  All of this is of vital importance, because these traditions about the life of Muhammed play a vital part in the definition of Sharia law.


Yes you're correct.

Orthodox Christianity does have canon law, but these canons are very limited, merely governing the qualifications for various sacramental services such as ordination and holy matrimony.  What is more, in most cases, bishops have the authority to derogate from the canon law on the basis of what we call oikonomia, where they feel it is neccessary to procure the salvation of souls.  There is no Christian equivalent to the Sharia; the Torah is preserved in scripture as a guide to moral behavior, but we have nothing like the vast Jewish Talmud, huge commentries and elaborate rules designed to preclude even the accidental violation of the Torah, which completely misses the point.

So you're free to make-up laws or break them if the situation calls for it? It is not bad in itself. The only example I know of is that you allow divorce and remarriage.

To their credit however, the Jews at least do not have the remarkable history of brutality, corruption, sectarianism, and contempt for religious minorities, that characterizes a typical Sharia court.
That is blatantly wrong, see how Rabbinical courts of different denominations view each other and how they treat members of the other denominations.

Quote

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.


This argument is frankly rather silly.  Rome had as many as a million slaves, yet one would be hard pressed to find any monuments dedicated to them anywhere in the Roman Empire.  Indeed, our entire knowledge of Roman slaves comes from Roman writers, who were prolific, and who frequently discussed slavery both in the context of fiction and historical writing.

See? Someone wrote about them. They weren't any monuments dedicated to them because, well, they're slaves, but, there are signs they were there.

Thus, the story of Spartacus, who attempted a revolt not unlike the flight from Egypt, but who alas, was a Pagan, and did not benefit from supernatural interventions from God, is preserved, largely in the form of Roman propaganda intended to demonize him and portray him as a terrorist, while lauding as a hero the evil, miserly and cruel figure of Crassus, who brutally suppressed the slave’s rebellion.  One will find many statues of Crassus, some depicting him as deified, if memory serves, in the Roman Empire, but no monuments, at least that I am aware of, dating from the Roman Empire, commemorate Spartcus, who was an enemy lf the state.  For the Romans to erect a monument in honor of Spartacus would be a bit like the US erecting a monument in honor of Osama Bin Laden.

There again you missed my point, I'm not looking for Egyptians honoring the Jews. I'm looking for any mention of them or the supposed happenings and any signs that they were there.

The same conditions apply to Egypt.  The flight of the Jews was a disaster for Egypt; the fact that the Egyptian government did not sunsequently collapse as a result of the various plagues inflicted upon it and the loss of its armies can only be attributed to divine intervention.  However, I think it would be fair to say that the flight of the Israelites represented the beginning of the end for Egypt as a major world power, for within the next thousand years, they would be invaded by the Assyrians, plundered by the Sea People, and ultimately suffer the indignity of being conquered by Alexander the Great, with an ethnically Greco-Macedonian royal familiy replacing the native Egyptian dynasty, and the capital moved to Alexandria.

Yes it would have been a disaster, given it happened, yet nothing mentions those things. God hated the Egyptians from the narrative I see, why would he intervene to save them?
I can hardly make connection between the flight of Jews and the fall of Egypt because the time gap is simply too large and invasions by foreign powers simply happen all the time.

It should therefore be no surprise that no monuments were erected in Egypt to Moses, whereas on the other hand, one would fully expect monuments to Moses to exist in ancient Israel.

It must also ne stressed that in the second millenium BC, at the time of the flight of Moses, Egypt was much less of a literary society than Rome during the era of Spartacus and Crassus.  Writing as a skill was limited to the priestly caste; the Demotic script, if memory serves, had not yet appeared, so the system of writing was the awkward and obscure hieroglyphic text.  It seems very likely that Moses, on account of the horrors inflicted upon Egypt as a result of his leading Israel to its freedom, was subject to what the Romans later referred to as Damnatio Memoriae, that is to say, the Egyptian priests who alone produced and controlled the written record of those epochs might well have been ordered to omit all mention of Moses from their texts.

And the average person in the Roman empire was not able to read or write but still we have many records on things Romans would like to delete from history.

And again there was the Hieratic text that existed before the Demotic, so if the Hieroglyphs were the only problem then I see no reason they wouldn't use the other system.

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2018, 12:31:34 AM »
Oral tradition may sometimes be more trustable than written. How many kings of the past couldn't even read, yet participated in their rich cultures and traditions? One or two manuscripts may easily be forged, the memory of thousands is a much harder thing to falsify.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2018, 12:50:08 AM »
Oral tradition may sometimes be more trustable than written. How many kings of the past couldn't even read, yet participated in their rich cultures and traditions? One or two manuscripts may easily be forged, the memory of thousands is a much harder thing to falsify.
it's usually that the memory of thousands is based on a couple of. manuscripts not the other way around.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 12:51:41 AM by augustin717 »
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2018, 02:06:54 AM »
I did a google search, "Who wrote Genesis?", and the google answer was Moses. True story.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2018, 12:54:50 PM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

And if we prove it did come from Moses, we still can't say for sure that he wasn't just a fraud or a nutcase falsely claiming to speak for God. You'll never completely get away from the need for faith.

But at least we can have a discussion of why this guy is to be trusted.

It would be a completely fruitless discussion when we have people impugning his character (calling him a fascist, an ethnic cleanser, a schizophrenic, or whatever) on the basis of the things that are written down even with doubts as to how much of it really happened or can really be connected to Moses.

Because then we are discussing the character presented not the actual character. If we can't be so sure of the guy and he might be a liar given the characteristics given to us, then his document may be fraudulent. If we can't even make the connection to him, then it makes it very very doubtful.

Well, there's always the "history is written by the victors" fallback. Even if we had Moses's signed diary with an impeccable provenance, people would still find quite a lot of room to question his portrayal of himself, I'm sure. We'd be back at square one.

But if we don't even know who the writer(s) is/are then it makes the whole thing doubtful.

Authority in Traditional Christianity does not ultimately derive from any one person (not even Catholics say that about the Pope). It comes form the Holy Spirit- the true and final author of Scripture. Even if the Torah was written by the nastiest man who ever lived, it could still be inspired by God and useful for leading people to Him.

First, how can one get so sure about the divine origin of the writings? If he's so nasty and the divine origin of his writings are only left to faith. What evidence is there that the holy ghost even exists? Why would he/she/it utilise such a doubtful human?

Why would God choose somebody like David who murdered a man to steal his wife (according to the story)? Maybe it's a paucity of better candidates. Maybe it's to show us that "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9) I don't know.

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.

That might be an issue for Protestantism with its reliance on Sola Scriptura, but Orthodoxy relies on both written and unwritten traditions to bolster one another's authority. How do we know this is what Moses really thought? By the authority of the Holy Spirit working Himself out in the lives of believers throughout history.

Why would a reliance on the scriptures solely hurt anything?

Because it reduces the people of God collectively to bystanders who have no actual bearing on the truth. When you have the evidence of the Holy Spirit working through the living tradition of the faithful, you don't have to rely as much on arguments about this or that feature of the dead letter (not that it isn't still important, but it becomes less than all-encompassing).

But admittedly that's just my own opinion derived from where I am personally on my spiritual journey. I could be wrong.

May you elaborate on this point. I'm not so sure that I understand.

I guess it is a very reasonable position, after all it is the only inspired thing. (I'm not taking sides or speaking about Traditional vs Protestant Christianity. I'm just speaking my mind.)
The reliance on tradition to say the scripture is true is not a strong argument, there are many many tradition though.

It can make things a little more complicated than just having to rely on arguments about manuscript criticism, yes. But within each of the Apostolic Churches, the larger elements of the faith based on the Ecumenical Councils and Fathers that each Church accepts are at least pretty clear. Of course, there's always going to be debates about more peripheral issues and day to day praxis.

So the difference between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is just managerial and day-to-day? I highly doubt it. Is the tradition infallible then?

I didn't say it was. There are dotrinal differences like the role of the Pope, the question of the Filioque and who it effects the doctrine of the Trinity, merit theology, the validity of the notion of Purgatory, and others. Likewise, there are differences between the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Churches, and the Assyrian Churches. One has to choose which creed they want to convert to. But once they do, the strand of tradition they've chosen is pretty consistent with itself, at least on major doctrines.

Is the tradition infallible? More or less. I would say on major doctrinal issues, yes. I'm not sure whether the historicity of Moses qualifies as such, though. I could be wrong, of course.

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

Why? The Hyksos took over Egypt and ruled it for several centuries, but we don't even know for sure who they were or where they came from (insert Spinal Tap scene here). The Hittites were completely unknown outside the Bible until the mid-19th Century and then references to them started flooding in. Likewise, why would you expect to find a lot of references to some nobody client population that the Egyptians let live in a ghetto for a couple of hundred years? Just because the Torah makes a lot of them (considering they are its subject and all) doesn't mean that anybody else cared much.


If the Plagues, the Red Sea episode, etc. really happened it would also have been quite embarrassing for the Pharaohs (who tended to deface the monuments of their predecessors every time a dynastic line changed), not least of all because of the "contest of gods" angle. So, I'm not sure that it's really as surprising as you're making out. There is a possibility that Moses got rolled into the story of Osarseph somehow and that's about all I'd really expect personally, veiled references.

But we know that the Hyksos existed we don't know any of the details, but we know something happened in broad lines. They lift signs, somethings here and there mentioning them.

Why is your prior that nothing at all happened? That doesn't seem very reasonable. Accounts like this aren't usually completely made up, I don't think most skeptics even argue that about the Trojan War. Maybe the Torah (and the Iliad) bears very little resemblance to what actually went on, but the idea that the Egyptians and the early inhabitants of the Levant had some contact and a rocky relationship that probably involved some slavery on one side or another doesn't seem at all outside the realm of possibility to me.

Not that I think that faith needs every jot and tittle of Biblical history to be exactly, 100%, correspondence theory true. As long as there's no positive evidence that it could not possibly have happened, I don't really think there's a problem. But maybe I'm a rube, heh.

Because things didn't happen by default. If one makes a claim that something happened, they must prove it. If substantial portions of the story are made up then why would I care to give it a divine origin? If it didn't happen like this then what is the point? Who gave the two ten commandments then? Yes they had rocky relationships at some time but if that's all there is to the story then I can say it is a lie.

The fact that such an ancient story exists at all would seem to me to indicate that something happened. Maybe the details are fudged, maybe Moses is a composite character like Osarseph. But there's likely still a core there.

But even if it is all made up, it's still an important story for what it has to teach us about faith and can still be divine in that sense. The Ten Commandments can still be valid moral precepts no matter what their origin.

Maybe they didn't care about the "inferior race" but they wrote about other races in other lands too, but they didn't write ANYTHING about the Protoisraelites?

Yeah, but again there's a lot of gaps in our knowledge of the Bronze Age. I feel like you're moving the goalposts here. What is it that you would call minimal evidence of someone's mere existence? It's not like they were powerful enough to leave monuments everywhere like the Hyksos.

There lots of gaps about our knowledge, yes, but we can make a very very very very rough timeline of happenings. They were not powerful but very numerous, their overseers might have written a thing or two about them.

Might have, yes. But again, we don't have everything they ever wrote. You're being awfully apodictic about a situation that we don't even have all the evidence on.

The Hitties were known where? Where were they found?

The Hittites were a powerful kingdom of what is today south and southwestern Turkey. Even if the Hittites mentioned in the Bible are not the exact same Hittites (it's debated), I would still argue there must have been some connection if the names are so similar and the Bible was still the only evidence of this name until archaeological evidence began coming in from Turkey in the 19th Century.

If they only share a somewhat similar name then may be they're related roughly or some scribe took the name and made some events. Very inspired to me.[/quote]

Even if so, it's still an example of our archaeological knowledge being too imperfect to make the kind of sweeping conclusions about what didn't happen that you're making.

If they really happened then something would mention them, they obliterated previous histories yes. But they couldn't destroy it completely. Else, how could we know about the first Dynasty while there was second dynasty.

They couldn't erase the existence of the entire Dynasty, yes. But that doesn't preclude us from knowing barely anything beyond a name about some individual Pharaohs. The existence of an entire multi-century dynasty is not quite the same thing as a few weird occurrences involving a slave population that led to some deaths.

Like I said, why would you expect to find a whole lot of references to what would have been an embarrassing incident if it actually happened? Where do you expect to find it memorialized, on the walls at Karnak?

Or, again, maybe someone did write about it somewhere and we haven't found the evidence yet because we don't have everything that ever got written down in Ancient Egypt.
At least we have the names. I can't say that the death of every firstborn in Egypt is just "few weird occurrences involving a slave population that led to some deaths." IT IS HUGE.

Is it? How many are we talking here, a few thousand families? Lower five digits? Plagues and mass die-offs happened all the time back then, especially in a land so dependent on the annual flooding of the Nile. I'm sure there were several comparable famines that we haven't heard about due to the records not surviving.

Forget about Egypt now. Did any Levant nation who were supposedly moved mention something like this happening?

What do you mean by "moved?"
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2018, 01:08:28 PM »
Yes, it is absolutely certain the great and holy Prophet Moses authored the Pentateuch; liberal scholars who say otherwise are simply opening the path to modernism. It is a shame when Christians don't realize that, for e.g. liberal theories like Markan priority (against the unanimous testimony of the early Christians who tell us St. Matthew the Apostle wrote first, and around 42 A.D.) are invented to cast doubt on the historicity of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Similarly, liberal theories denying the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, containing so important and such fundamental truths necessary for the salvation of all, are intended to cast doubt on the historicity of God's glorious deliverance of His people. All the Prophets, all the Apostles, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, all the Fathers, all the early Councils that treat of the Pentateuch, in brief, all of Christian and Jewish tradition before the 17th century, speak of it as personally authored by the Prophet Moses.

P.S. I hope I don't have to put out a disclaimer here that I'm Catholic not Orthodox. I just saw this on passing through and felt compelled to respond. Here's a scholarly article treating the question in the depth it deserves and proving well the correct conclusion. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11646c.htm

Quote
We shall consider the subject first in the light of Scripture; secondly, in the light of Jewish and Christian tradition; thirdly, in the light of internal evidence, furnished by the Pentateuch; finally, in the light of ecclesiastical decisions.

Testimony of Sacred Scripture

It will be found convenient to divide the Biblical evidence for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch into three parts: (1) Testimony of the Pentateuch; (2) Testimony of the other Old-Testament books; (3) Testimony of the New Testament ...

We need not show that Jesus and the Apostles quoted the whole of the Pentateuch as written by Moses. If they attributed to Moses all the passages which they happen to cite, if they ascribe the Pentateuch to Moses whenever there is question of its authorship, even the most exacting critics must admit that they express their conviction that the work was indeed written by Moses. When the Sadducees quote against Jesus the marriage law of Deuteronomy 25:5, as written by Moses (Matthew 22:24; Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28), Jesus does not deny the Mosaic authorship, but appeals to Exodus 3:6, as equally written by Moses (Mark 12:26; Matthew 22:31; Luke 20:37). Again, in the parable of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:29), He speaks of "Moses and the prophets", while on other occasions He speaks of "the law and the prophets" (Luke 16:16), thus showing that in His mind the law, or the Pentateuch, and Moses are identical. The same expressions reappear in the last discourse addressed by Christ to His disciples (Luke 24:44-6; cf. 27): "which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me". Finally, in John 5:45-47, Jesus is more explicit in asserting the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch: "There is one that accuseth you, Moses. . .for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" Nor can it be maintained that Christ merely accommodated himself to the current beliefs of his contemporaries who considered Moses as the author of the Pentateuch not merely in a moral but also in the literary sense of authorship. Jesus did not need to enter into the critical study of the nature of Mosaic authorship, but He could not expressly endorse the popular belief, if it was erroneous.

The Apostles too felt convinced of, and testified to, the Mosaic authorship. "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith to him: We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write." St. Peter introduces a quotation from Deuteronomy 18:15, with the words: "For Moses said" (Acts 3:22). St. James and St. Paul relate that Moses is read in the synagogues on the Sabbath day (Acts 15:21; 2 Corinthians 3:15). The great Apostle speaks in other passages of the law of Moses (Acts 13:33; 1 Corinthians 9:9); he preaches Jesus according to the law of Moses and the Prophets (Acts 28:23), and cites passages from the Pentateuch as words written by Moses (Romans 10:5-8; 19). St. John mentions the canticle of Moses (Revelation 15:3).

Witness of Tradition

The voice of tradition, both Jewish and Christian, is so unanimous and constant in proclaiming the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch that down to the seventeenth century it did not allow the rise of any serious doubt. The following paragraphs are only a meagre outline of this living tradition.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2018, 01:13:42 PM »
There's a few things I wanted to add to my former post, but the edit time limit got me so I'll post the modified version here. Sorry.


So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

And if we prove it did come from Moses, we still can't say for sure that he wasn't just a fraud or a nutcase falsely claiming to speak for God. You'll never completely get away from the need for faith.

But at least we can have a discussion of why this guy is to be trusted.

It would be a completely fruitless discussion when we have people impugning his character (calling him a fascist, an ethnic cleanser, a schizophrenic, or whatever) on the basis of the things that are written down even with doubts as to how much of it really happened or can really be connected to Moses.

Because then we are discussing the character presented not the actual character. If we can't be so sure of the guy and he might be a liar given the characteristics given to us, then his document may be fraudulent. If we can't even make the connection to him, then it makes it very very doubtful.

Well, there's always the "history is written by the victors" fallback. Even if we had Moses's signed diary with an impeccable provenance, people would still find quite a lot of room to question his portrayal of himself, I'm sure. We'd be back at square one.

But if we don't even know who the writer(s) is/are then it makes the whole thing doubtful.

Authority in Traditional Christianity does not ultimately derive from any one person (not even Catholics say that about the Pope). It comes form the Holy Spirit- the true and final author of Scripture. Even if the Torah was written by the nastiest man who ever lived, it could still be inspired by God and useful for leading people to Him.

First, how can one get so sure about the divine origin of the writings? If he's so nasty and the divine origin of his writings are only left to faith. What evidence is there that the holy ghost even exists? Why would he/she/it utilise such a doubtful human?

Why would God choose somebody like David who murdered a man to steal his wife (according to the story)? Maybe it's a paucity of better candidates. Maybe it's to show us that "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9) I don't know.

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.

That might be an issue for Protestantism with its reliance on Sola Scriptura, but Orthodoxy relies on both written and unwritten traditions to bolster one another's authority. How do we know this is what Moses really thought? By the authority of the Holy Spirit working Himself out in the lives of believers throughout history.

Why would a reliance on the scriptures solely hurt anything?

Because it reduces the people of God collectively to bystanders who have no actual bearing on the truth. When you have the evidence of the Holy Spirit working through the living tradition of the faithful, you don't have to rely as much on arguments about this or that feature of the dead letter (not that it isn't still important, but it becomes less than all-encompassing).

But admittedly that's just my own opinion derived from where I am personally on my spiritual journey. I could be wrong.

May you elaborate on this point. I'm not so sure that I understand.

I guess it is a very reasonable position, after all it is the only inspired thing. (I'm not taking sides or speaking about Traditional vs Protestant Christianity. I'm just speaking my mind.)
The reliance on tradition to say the scripture is true is not a strong argument, there are many many tradition though.

It can make things a little more complicated than just having to rely on arguments about manuscript criticism, yes. But within each of the Apostolic Churches, the larger elements of the faith based on the Ecumenical Councils and Fathers that each Church accepts are at least pretty clear. Of course, there's always going to be debates about more peripheral issues and day to day praxis.

So the difference between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is just managerial and day-to-day? I highly doubt it. Is the tradition infallible then?

I didn't say it was. There are dotrinal differences like the role of the Pope, the question of the Filioque and who it effects the doctrine of the Trinity, merit theology, the validity of the notion of Purgatory, and others. Likewise, there are differences between the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Churches, and the Assyrian Churches. One has to choose which creed they want to convert to. But once they do, the strand of tradition they've chosen is pretty consistent with itself, at least on major doctrines.

Is the tradition infallible? More or less. I would say on major doctrinal issues, yes. I'm not sure whether the historicity of Moses qualifies as such, though. I could be wrong, of course.

My point above about the importance of tradition is that it requires a certain level of continuity. The Catholic, Orthodox, etc. Churches might be at one another's throats but if the Christian God exists at all we I think that we can be sure that He's represented by one of them. Arianism, Gnosticism, and other ancient dissident sects didn't survive, which wouldn't make any sense if they were guided by any kind of a deity.

Protestantism, on the other hand, basically cuts itself off from any sort of continuity with the past. It has to "play catch-up" using only the written sources. So, it would seem to me that a Johnny-come-lately creature of the Renaissance is really unlikely to be the true church and if so, then by default its beliefs based only on the text will only be accurate by coincidence.

But when one at least acknowledges some authority to the unwritten beliefs of one or another strand of people that has survived through the millenia till today, one has a little more leeway to believe in something like the Exodus even if the archaeological evidence is not as clear as they would like. Make sense?

Now, obviously none of this matters if Christianity as a whole is false, but that's a slightly different argument, isn't it?

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

Why? The Hyksos took over Egypt and ruled it for several centuries, but we don't even know for sure who they were or where they came from (insert Spinal Tap scene here). The Hittites were completely unknown outside the Bible until the mid-19th Century and then references to them started flooding in. Likewise, why would you expect to find a lot of references to some nobody client population that the Egyptians let live in a ghetto for a couple of hundred years? Just because the Torah makes a lot of them (considering they are its subject and all) doesn't mean that anybody else cared much.


If the Plagues, the Red Sea episode, etc. really happened it would also have been quite embarrassing for the Pharaohs (who tended to deface the monuments of their predecessors every time a dynastic line changed), not least of all because of the "contest of gods" angle. So, I'm not sure that it's really as surprising as you're making out. There is a possibility that Moses got rolled into the story of Osarseph somehow and that's about all I'd really expect personally, veiled references.

But we know that the Hyksos existed we don't know any of the details, but we know something happened in broad lines. They lift signs, somethings here and there mentioning them.

Why is your prior that nothing at all happened? That doesn't seem very reasonable. Accounts like this aren't usually completely made up, I don't think most skeptics even argue that about the Trojan War. Maybe the Torah (and the Iliad) bears very little resemblance to what actually went on, but the idea that the Egyptians and the early inhabitants of the Levant had some contact and a rocky relationship that probably involved some slavery on one side or another doesn't seem at all outside the realm of possibility to me.

Not that I think that faith needs every jot and tittle of Biblical history to be exactly, 100%, correspondence theory true. As long as there's no positive evidence that it could not possibly have happened, I don't really think there's a problem. But maybe I'm a rube, heh.

Because things didn't happen by default. If one makes a claim that something happened, they must prove it. If substantial portions of the story are made up then why would I care to give it a divine origin? If it didn't happen like this then what is the point? Who gave the two ten commandments then? Yes they had rocky relationships at some time but if that's all there is to the story then I can say it is a lie.

The fact that such an ancient story exists at all would seem to me to indicate that something happened. Maybe the details are fudged, maybe Moses is a composite character like Osarseph. But there's likely still a core there.

But even if it is all made up, it's still an important story for what it has to teach us about faith and can still be divine in that sense. The Ten Commandments can still be valid moral precepts no matter what their origin.

Based on my arguments above, personally I believe the Exodus is more or less literally true and I don't really see compelling archaeological reason not to. I'm just saying that a more liberal take might be possible.

Maybe they didn't care about the "inferior race" but they wrote about other races in other lands too, but they didn't write ANYTHING about the Protoisraelites?

Yeah, but again there's a lot of gaps in our knowledge of the Bronze Age. I feel like you're moving the goalposts here. What is it that you would call minimal evidence of someone's mere existence? It's not like they were powerful enough to leave monuments everywhere like the Hyksos.

There lots of gaps about our knowledge, yes, but we can make a very very very very rough timeline of happenings. They were not powerful but very numerous, their overseers might have written a thing or two about them.

Might have, yes. But again, we don't have everything they ever wrote. You're being awfully apodictic about a situation that we don't even have all the evidence on.

The Hitties were known where? Where were they found?

The Hittites were a powerful kingdom of what is today south and southwestern Turkey. Even if the Hittites mentioned in the Bible are not the exact same Hittites (it's debated), I would still argue there must have been some connection if the names are so similar and the Bible was still the only evidence of this name until archaeological evidence began coming in from Turkey in the 19th Century.

If they only share a somewhat similar name then may be they're related roughly or some scribe took the name and made some events. Very inspired to me.[/quote]

Even if so, it's still an example of our archaeological knowledge being too imperfect to make the kind of sweeping conclusions about what didn't happen that you're making.

If they really happened then something would mention them, they obliterated previous histories yes. But they couldn't destroy it completely. Else, how could we know about the first Dynasty while there was second dynasty.

They couldn't erase the existence of the entire Dynasty, yes. But that doesn't preclude us from knowing barely anything beyond a name about some individual Pharaohs. The existence of an entire multi-century dynasty is not quite the same thing as a few weird occurrences involving a slave population that led to some deaths.

Like I said, why would you expect to find a whole lot of references to what would have been an embarrassing incident if it actually happened? Where do you expect to find it memorialized, on the walls at Karnak?

Or, again, maybe someone did write about it somewhere and we haven't found the evidence yet because we don't have everything that ever got written down in Ancient Egypt.
At least we have the names. I can't say that the death of every firstborn in Egypt is just "few weird occurrences involving a slave population that led to some deaths." IT IS HUGE.

Is it? How many are we talking here, a few thousand families? Lower five digits? Plagues and mass die-offs happened all the time back then, especially in a land so dependent on the annual flooding of the Nile. I'm sure there were several comparable famines that we haven't heard about due to the records not surviving. And how many people in Egypt would even have connected such a die-off to the ramblings of some crazy dissident slave leader?

Don't let the fact that Exodus is hyper focused on the spiritual importance of Moses blind to the fact that the Egyptians might not have seen him as all that noticeable or important.

Forget about Egypt now. Did any Levant nation who were supposedly moved mention something like this happening?

What do you mean by "moved?"
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2018, 02:22:31 PM »
I think Christ did not encourage too much analysis of the Old Testament. He wants us to keep His commandments. The golden rule and love of God and neighbor are His summation of the old covenant. It is what it is but it points to Him among the people where God would become incarnate. Obviously the Gospel calls for a transformation in how we are to live. Christ clearly preserved the moral code but added mercy and forgiveness to anyone in the hope for repentance to the moment of death.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 02:23:31 PM by recent convert »
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2018, 08:54:10 PM »
Oral tradition may sometimes be more trustable than written. How many kings of the past couldn't even read, yet participated in their rich cultures and traditions? One or two manuscripts may easily be forged, the memory of thousands is a much harder thing to falsify.

And is subject to the many alterations of the human memory too.

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2018, 08:55:42 PM »
Oral tradition may sometimes be more trustable than written. How many kings of the past couldn't even read, yet participated in their rich cultures and traditions? One or two manuscripts may easily be forged, the memory of thousands is a much harder thing to falsify.
it's usually that the memory of thousands is based on a couple of. manuscripts not the other way around.

To be fair this is not always the case but it happens too often to ignore.

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2018, 08:56:37 PM »
I did a google search, "Who wrote Genesis?", and the google answer was Moses. True story.

Hahahaha, very smart indeed.

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2018, 08:58:38 PM »
I think Christ did not encourage too much analysis of the Old Testament. He wants us to keep His commandments. The golden rule and love of God and neighbor are His summation of the old covenant. It is what it is but it points to Him among the people where God would become incarnate. Obviously the Gospel calls for a transformation in how we are to live. Christ clearly preserved the moral code but added mercy and forgiveness to anyone in the hope for repentance to the moment of death.

Yes but if the OT fails, the whole Christian religion fails as well.
If they considered scripture and it was not, then they weren't divine guided after all.

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2018, 09:08:38 PM »
Yes, it is absolutely certain the great and holy Prophet Moses authored the Pentateuch; liberal scholars who say otherwise are simply opening the path to modernism. It is a shame when Christians don't realize that, for e.g. liberal theories like Markan priority (against the unanimous testimony of the early Christians who tell us St. Matthew the Apostle wrote first, and around 42 A.D.) are invented to cast doubt on the historicity of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Similarly, liberal theories denying the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, containing so important and such fundamental truths necessary for the salvation of all, are intended to cast doubt on the historicity of God's glorious deliverance of His people. All the Prophets, all the Apostles, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, all the Fathers, all the early Councils that treat of the Pentateuch, in brief, all of Christian and Jewish tradition before the 17th century, speak of it as personally authored by the Prophet Moses.

P.S. I hope I don't have to put out a disclaimer here that I'm Catholic not Orthodox. I just saw this on passing through and felt compelled to respond. Here's a scholarly article treating the question in the depth it deserves and proving well the correct conclusion. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11646c.htm

Quote
We shall consider the subject first in the light of Scripture; secondly, in the light of Jewish and Christian tradition; thirdly, in the light of internal evidence, furnished by the Pentateuch; finally, in the light of ecclesiastical decisions.

Testimony of Sacred Scripture

It will be found convenient to divide the Biblical evidence for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch into three parts: (1) Testimony of the Pentateuch; (2) Testimony of the other Old-Testament books; (3) Testimony of the New Testament ...

We need not show that Jesus and the Apostles quoted the whole of the Pentateuch as written by Moses. If they attributed to Moses all the passages which they happen to cite, if they ascribe the Pentateuch to Moses whenever there is question of its authorship, even the most exacting critics must admit that they express their conviction that the work was indeed written by Moses. When the Sadducees quote against Jesus the marriage law of Deuteronomy 25:5, as written by Moses (Matthew 22:24; Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28), Jesus does not deny the Mosaic authorship, but appeals to Exodus 3:6, as equally written by Moses (Mark 12:26; Matthew 22:31; Luke 20:37). Again, in the parable of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:29), He speaks of "Moses and the prophets", while on other occasions He speaks of "the law and the prophets" (Luke 16:16), thus showing that in His mind the law, or the Pentateuch, and Moses are identical. The same expressions reappear in the last discourse addressed by Christ to His disciples (Luke 24:44-6; cf. 27): "which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me". Finally, in John 5:45-47, Jesus is more explicit in asserting the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch: "There is one that accuseth you, Moses. . .for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" Nor can it be maintained that Christ merely accommodated himself to the current beliefs of his contemporaries who considered Moses as the author of the Pentateuch not merely in a moral but also in the literary sense of authorship. Jesus did not need to enter into the critical study of the nature of Mosaic authorship, but He could not expressly endorse the popular belief, if it was erroneous.

The Apostles too felt convinced of, and testified to, the Mosaic authorship. "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith to him: We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write." St. Peter introduces a quotation from Deuteronomy 18:15, with the words: "For Moses said" (Acts 3:22). St. James and St. Paul relate that Moses is read in the synagogues on the Sabbath day (Acts 15:21; 2 Corinthians 3:15). The great Apostle speaks in other passages of the law of Moses (Acts 13:33; 1 Corinthians 9:9); he preaches Jesus according to the law of Moses and the Prophets (Acts 28:23), and cites passages from the Pentateuch as words written by Moses (Romans 10:5-8; 19). St. John mentions the canticle of Moses (Revelation 15:3).

Witness of Tradition

The voice of tradition, both Jewish and Christian, is so unanimous and constant in proclaiming the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch that down to the seventeenth century it did not allow the rise of any serious doubt. The following paragraphs are only a meagre outline of this living tradition.

Well yeah I know that tradition for the most part considers Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. However it is doubted due to the weird mishmash language style it was written in primarily.

And no one is trying to destroy anybody's faith. They're not hating the Christian religion indeed.

I see that you are Catholic and I asked this same question on Catholic Answers and got somewhat comparable answers.

Anyways I'll see  the link and come back to you.

Thanks!

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2018, 10:02:29 PM »
I did a google search, "Who wrote Genesis?", and the google answer was Moses. True story.

Hahahaha, very smart indeed.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2018, 04:02:42 AM »
The Old Testament is scripture as affirmed by the Lord in His commands. St.Stephen clearly preaches from it in Acts 7 . The moral code in Leviticus 18-20 for ex. is evident in Romans 1,2 & 3 etc. but without the Lords commands we fall into the shortcomings of the law. While the Church could perhaps try to educate more in OT matters, the full faith is preserved in Holy Tradition.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 04:03:33 AM by recent convert »
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2018, 03:49:00 PM »
I think Christ did not encourage too much analysis of the Old Testament. He wants us to keep His commandments. The golden rule and love of God and neighbor are His summation of the old covenant. It is what it is but it points to Him among the people where God would become incarnate. Obviously the Gospel calls for a transformation in how we are to live. Christ clearly preserved the moral code but added mercy and forgiveness to anyone in the hope for repentance to the moment of death.

Yes but if the OT fails, the whole Christian religion fails as well.
If they considered scripture and it was not, then they weren't divine guided after all.

"Inaccurate historical information" does not necessarily equal "not Scripture." First you'd have to prove that God even intended to give them a history textbook in the first place.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2018, 04:51:49 PM »
There's a few things I wanted to add to my former post, but the edit time limit got me so I'll post the modified version here. Sorry.


So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

And if we prove it did come from Moses, we still can't say for sure that he wasn't just a fraud or a nutcase falsely claiming to speak for God. You'll never completely get away from the need for faith.

But at least we can have a discussion of why this guy is to be trusted.

It would be a completely fruitless discussion when we have people impugning his character (calling him a fascist, an ethnic cleanser, a schizophrenic, or whatever) on the basis of the things that are written down even with doubts as to how much of it really happened or can really be connected to Moses.

Because then we are discussing the character presented not the actual character. If we can't be so sure of the guy and he might be a liar given the characteristics given to us, then his document may be fraudulent. If we can't even make the connection to him, then it makes it very very doubtful.

Well, there's always the "history is written by the victors" fallback. Even if we had Moses's signed diary with an impeccable provenance, people would still find quite a lot of room to question his portrayal of himself, I'm sure. We'd be back at square one.
I'm not discussing the character of Moses here, there will be a specific thread about that. You can say yeah the history is written by the victors thing and It'd lead nowhere from that point on.

But if we don't even know who the writer(s) is/are then it makes the whole thing doubtful.

Authority in Traditional Christianity does not ultimately derive from any one person (not even Catholics say that about the Pope). It comes form the Holy Spirit- the true and final author of Scripture. Even if the Torah was written by the nastiest man who ever lived, it could still be inspired by God and useful for leading people to Him.

First, how can one get so sure about the divine origin of the writings? If he's so nasty and the divine origin of his writings are only left to faith. What evidence is there that the holy ghost even exists? Why would he/she/it utilise such a doubtful human?

Why would God choose somebody like David who murdered a man to steal his wife (according to the story)? Maybe it's a paucity of better candidates. Maybe it's to show us that "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9) I don't know.
I'm not so sure a God would choose someone who does such horrific things. Putting one's blind trust in such character is very very objectionable, he might as well forged his prophet-hood for material gain.

If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.
Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.

That might be an issue for Protestantism with its reliance on Sola Scriptura, but Orthodoxy relies on both written and unwritten traditions to bolster one another's authority. How do we know this is what Moses really thought? By the authority of the Holy Spirit working Himself out in the lives of believers throughout history.

Why would a reliance on the scriptures solely hurt anything?

Because it reduces the people of God collectively to bystanders who have no actual bearing on the truth. When you have the evidence of the Holy Spirit working through the living tradition of the faithful, you don't have to rely as much on arguments about this or that feature of the dead letter (not that it isn't still important, but it becomes less than all-encompassing).

But admittedly that's just my own opinion derived from where I am personally on my spiritual journey. I could be wrong.

May you elaborate on this point. I'm not so sure that I understand.


I guess it is a very reasonable position, after all it is the only inspired thing. (I'm not taking sides or speaking about Traditional vs Protestant Christianity. I'm just speaking my mind.)
The reliance on tradition to say the scripture is true is not a strong argument, there are many many tradition though.

It can make things a little more complicated than just having to rely on arguments about manuscript criticism, yes. But within each of the Apostolic Churches, the larger elements of the faith based on the Ecumenical Councils and Fathers that each Church accepts are at least pretty clear. Of course, there's always going to be debates about more peripheral issues and day to day praxis.

So the difference between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is just managerial and day-to-day? I highly doubt it. Is the tradition infallible then?

I didn't say it was. There are dotrinal differences like the role of the Pope, the question of the Filioque and who it effects the doctrine of the Trinity, merit theology, the validity of the notion of Purgatory, and others. Likewise, there are differences between the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Churches, and the Assyrian Churches. One has to choose which creed they want to convert to. But once they do, the strand of tradition they've chosen is pretty consistent with itself, at least on major doctrines.

Is the tradition infallible? More or less. I would say on major doctrinal issues, yes. I'm not sure whether the historicity of Moses qualifies as such, though. I could be wrong, of course.

Consistency is not equivalent to infallibility but it means they are not too wrong logically. But the "infallible" traditions are different from each other, even sometimes contradicting each others as you noted above some the Catholic-Orthodox Differences.

My point above about the importance of tradition is that it requires a certain level of continuity. The Catholic, Orthodox, etc. Churches might be at one another's throats but if the Christian God exists at all we I think that we can be sure that He's represented by one of them. Arianism, Gnosticism, and other ancient dissident sects didn't survive, which wouldn't make any sense if they were guided by any kind of a deity.

Buddhism and Islam a thriving nowadays, what about their deity supporting them? What about Mormonism and JWs?

Protestantism, on the other hand, basically cuts itself off from any sort of continuity with the past. It has to "play catch-up" using only the written sources. So, it would seem to me that a Johnny-come-lately creature of the Renaissance is really unlikely to be the true church and if so, then by default its beliefs based only on the text will only be accurate by coincidence.

So the the text is not enough? The supposed "manual" is not efficient on its own to give operations instructions? They made a new tradition they made major revisions but some of its doctrines are based on historical beliefs and their seminaries reference the Church Fathers quite often.

But when one at least acknowledges some authority to the unwritten beliefs of one or another strand of people that has survived through the millenia till today, one has a little more leeway to believe in something like the Exodus even if the archaeological evidence is not as clear as they would like. Make sense?

Why is that?

Now, obviously none of this matters if Christianity as a whole is false, but that's a slightly different argument, isn't it?
I'm not saying it is a false belief. But if the books it considers divine is not divine or a mishmash of any other documents it might mean aswell the founders who thought of these books as definitive and inspired didn't know what they were talking about!

We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.

How 10 plagues and and the flee of arond 1 million people with their cattle fails to be mentoned even once? It ought to have made a lasting impresson and recorded many times that by now we should have foud any mention of it.

Why? The Hyksos took over Egypt and ruled it for several centuries, but we don't even know for sure who they were or where they came from (insert Spinal Tap scene here). The Hittites were completely unknown outside the Bible until the mid-19th Century and then references to them started flooding in. Likewise, why would you expect to find a lot of references to some nobody client population that the Egyptians let live in a ghetto for a couple of hundred years? Just because the Torah makes a lot of them (considering they are its subject and all) doesn't mean that anybody else cared much.


If the Plagues, the Red Sea episode, etc. really happened it would also have been quite embarrassing for the Pharaohs (who tended to deface the monuments of their predecessors every time a dynastic line changed), not least of all because of the "contest of gods" angle. So, I'm not sure that it's really as surprising as you're making out. There is a possibility that Moses got rolled into the story of Osarseph somehow and that's about all I'd really expect personally, veiled references.

But we know that the Hyksos existed we don't know any of the details, but we know something happened in broad lines. They lift signs, somethings here and there mentioning them.

Why is your prior that nothing at all happened? That doesn't seem very reasonable. Accounts like this aren't usually completely made up, I don't think most skeptics even argue that about the Trojan War. Maybe the Torah (and the Iliad) bears very little resemblance to what actually went on, but the idea that the Egyptians and the early inhabitants of the Levant had some contact and a rocky relationship that probably involved some slavery on one side or another doesn't seem at all outside the realm of possibility to me.

Not that I think that faith needs every jot and tittle of Biblical history to be exactly, 100%, correspondence theory true. As long as there's no positive evidence that it could not possibly have happened, I don't really think there's a problem. But maybe I'm a rube, heh.

Because things didn't happen by default. If one makes a claim that something happened, they must prove it. If substantial portions of the story are made up then why would I care to give it a divine origin? If it didn't happen like this then what is the point? Who gave the two ten commandments then? Yes they had rocky relationships at some time but if that's all there is to the story then I can say it is a lie.

The fact that such an ancient story exists at all would seem to me to indicate that something happened. Maybe the details are fudged, maybe Moses is a composite character like Osarseph. But there's likely still a core there.

But even if it is all made up, it's still an important story for what it has to teach us about faith and can still be divine in that sense. The Ten Commandments can still be valid moral precepts no matter what their origin.

Based on my arguments above, personally I believe the Exodus is more or less literally true and I don't really see compelling archaeological reason not to. I'm just saying that a more liberal take might be possible.
If the details are fudged then they didn't see God, no 10 commandments were given, and no law was given and no promise was given. Yes the morale might be the same but not as authoritative, no more than a good Shakespeare play and I'm not seeing any churches making up doctrines based on his plays.

Maybe they didn't care about the "inferior race" but they wrote about other races in other lands too, but they didn't write ANYTHING about the Protoisraelites?

Yeah, but again there's a lot of gaps in our knowledge of the Bronze Age. I feel like you're moving the goalposts here. What is it that you would call minimal evidence of someone's mere existence? It's not like they were powerful enough to leave monuments everywhere like the Hyksos.

There lots of gaps about our knowledge, yes, but we can make a very very very very rough timeline of happenings. They were not powerful but very numerous, their overseers might have written a thing or two about them.

Might have, yes. But again, we don't have everything they ever wrote. You're being awfully apodictic about a situation that we don't even have all the evidence on.
What should be done now?

The Hitties were known where? Where were they found?

The Hittites were a powerful kingdom of what is today south and southwestern Turkey. Even if the Hittites mentioned in the Bible are not the exact same Hittites (it's debated), I would still argue there must have been some connection if the names are so similar and the Bible was still the only evidence of this name until archaeological evidence began coming in from Turkey in the 19th Century.

If they only share a somewhat similar name then may be they're related roughly or some scribe took the name and made some events. Very inspired to me.

Even if so, it's still an example of our archaeological knowledge being too imperfect to make the kind of sweeping conclusions about what didn't happen that you're making.[/quote]
It is imperfect but shall we throw it all down the gutter?

If they really happened then something would mention them, they obliterated previous histories yes. But they couldn't destroy it completely. Else, how could we know about the first Dynasty while there was second dynasty.

They couldn't erase the existence of the entire Dynasty, yes. But that doesn't preclude us from knowing barely anything beyond a name about some individual Pharaohs. The existence of an entire multi-century dynasty is not quite the same thing as a few weird occurrences involving a slave population that led to some deaths.

Like I said, why would you expect to find a whole lot of references to what would have been an embarrassing incident if it actually happened? Where do you expect to find it memorialized, on the walls at Karnak?

Or, again, maybe someone did write about it somewhere and we haven't found the evidence yet because we don't have everything that ever got written down in Ancient Egypt.
At least we have the names. I can't say that the death of every firstborn in Egypt is just "few weird occurrences involving a slave population that led to some deaths." IT IS HUGE.

Is it? How many are we talking here, a few thousand families? Lower five digits? Plagues and mass die-offs happened all the time back then, especially in a land so dependent on the annual flooding of the Nile. I'm sure there were several comparable famines that we haven't heard about due to the records not surviving. And how many people in Egypt would even have connected such a die-off to the ramblings of some crazy dissident slave leader?

Don't let the fact that Exodus is hyper focused on the spiritual importance of Moses blind to the fact that the Egyptians might not have seen him as all that noticeable or important.

The Bible said all the firstborn children, if all of Egypt was a few thousand families then the few thousand deaths is huge to their numerical standard. It happened all he time but it didn't happen weirdly like this, and 10 disasters one after the other in hurry is not something usual and would go unnoticeable.  They might not care about Moses as the cause but they will care about the happenings.

Forget about Egypt now. Did any Levant nation who were supposedly moved mention something like this happening?

What do you mean by "moved?"
[/quote]

The Canaanites didn't say they were displaced from their home. In comparison the Jews in exile did record that they went to exile.

Offline Raafat

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2018, 04:53:38 PM »
I think Christ did not encourage too much analysis of the Old Testament. He wants us to keep His commandments. The golden rule and love of God and neighbor are His summation of the old covenant. It is what it is but it points to Him among the people where God would become incarnate. Obviously the Gospel calls for a transformation in how we are to live. Christ clearly preserved the moral code but added mercy and forgiveness to anyone in the hope for repentance to the moment of death.

Yes but if the OT fails, the whole Christian religion fails as well.
If they considered scripture and it was not, then they weren't divine guided after all.

"Inaccurate historical information" does not necessarily equal "not Scripture." First you'd have to prove that God even intended to give them a history textbook in the first place.

I wouldn't label it as history, eh?
Then who wrote this thing and why is he considered a prophet. Apart from the answer of because we say so.

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2018, 04:55:53 PM »
The Old Testament is scripture as affirmed by the Lord in His commands. St.Stephen clearly preaches from it in Acts 7 . The moral code in Leviticus 18-20 for ex. is evident in Romans 1,2 & 3 etc. but without the Lords commands we fall into the shortcomings of the law. While the Church could perhaps try to educate more in OT matters, the full faith is preserved in Holy Tradition.

I'm arguing why this is scripture in the first place.
I'm not yet a Christian so an argument that says because such and such considered it scripture is not really convincing to me.

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2018, 05:15:13 PM »
I am understanding that it is scripture because I believe Jesus Christ is God incarnate and that He says it is scripture. I understand the difficulty of reconciling much of the Mosaic Law with the Gospel preaching of love God and neighbor and treat others accordingly. Yet I trust in Him more than my limited intellect. There is no reason for any continuation of any shortcomings in the old law and should not have been for 2000 years. History shows the shortcomings in the law continued in fallen human nature.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2018, 09:29:11 PM »
I think Christ did not encourage too much analysis of the Old Testament. He wants us to keep His commandments. The golden rule and love of God and neighbor are His summation of the old covenant. It is what it is but it points to Him among the people where God would become incarnate. Obviously the Gospel calls for a transformation in how we are to live. Christ clearly preserved the moral code but added mercy and forgiveness to anyone in the hope for repentance to the moment of death.

Yes but if the OT fails, the whole Christian religion fails as well.
If they considered scripture and it was not, then they weren't divine guided after all.

"Inaccurate historical information" does not necessarily equal "not Scripture." First you'd have to prove that God even intended to give them a history textbook in the first place.

I wouldn't label it as history, eh?
Then who wrote this thing and why is he considered a prophet. Apart from the answer of because we say so.

What other answer is there in the end? Why should one value Scripture in any context if they aren't going to receive it? Would you believe if we had Moses's signed monograph and it was exactly like the Torah?

The primary purpose of prophecy is to proclaim that Christ is with us and is not powerless to save, not to give us random historical tidbits so we can check them with whatever secular sources our generation happens to have on hand.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2018, 05:52:49 PM »
I am understanding that it is scripture because I believe Jesus Christ is God incarnate and that He says it is scripture. I understand the difficulty of reconciling much of the Mosaic Law with the Gospel preaching of love God and neighbor and treat others accordingly. Yet I trust in Him more than my limited intellect. There is no reason for any continuation of any shortcomings in the old law and should not have been for 2000 years. History shows the shortcomings in the law continued in fallen human nature.

Yes I'm aware they're quite contradictory.
But this is not my point. I'm trying to know whether there was someone named Moses and whether he wrote Torah.

Offline Raafat

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2018, 06:01:04 PM »
I think Christ did not encourage too much analysis of the Old Testament. He wants us to keep His commandments. The golden rule and love of God and neighbor are His summation of the old covenant. It is what it is but it points to Him among the people where God would become incarnate. Obviously the Gospel calls for a transformation in how we are to live. Christ clearly preserved the moral code but added mercy and forgiveness to anyone in the hope for repentance to the moment of death.

Yes but if the OT fails, the whole Christian religion fails as well.
If they considered scripture and it was not, then they weren't divine guided after all.

"Inaccurate historical information" does not necessarily equal "not Scripture." First you'd have to prove that God even intended to give them a history textbook in the first place.

I wouldn't label it as history, eh?
Then who wrote this thing and why is he considered a prophet. Apart from the answer of because we say so.

What other answer is there in the end? Why should one value Scripture in any context if they aren't going to receive it? Would you believe if we had Moses's signed monograph and it was exactly like the Torah?

The primary purpose of prophecy is to proclaim that Christ is with us and is not powerless to save, not to give us random historical tidbits so we can check them with whatever secular sources our generation happens to have on hand.

We believe that he is a prophet because such and such. Otherwise, why should any Christian thing can be any more true or sacred than Islamic, Hindu or Buddhist for example?
I'd believe that he wrote it and then start see his claims in it and then believe.

Yes it is not about history but it utilises history and it can be somewhat judged according to it.

It is easier for you to receive it because you were conditioned to, what about me?
If God asks me to have faith blindly and he gave me some faculty of mind not to, then it is his sin not mine.

Tell me my friend why should I believe it? If for morale, well, there's many moral schools and philosophies and there some shortcomings in OTs moral teachings as well, but that is for another topic.

I hope that you see I'm not saying it is wrong but why is it right after all? 

Offline Alpha60

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2018, 11:10:49 PM »
So what says that this is an inspired word and not the words of an imposter? If I can't say for sure that t came from Moses.

Raafat, I fear you are somewhat missing the point.  Obviously, it is axiomatic that St. Moses did not write the portion of Deuteronomy describing his death; no one has ever claimed that.  I recall reading somewhere that some of the Jews are of the opinion that the Torah was edited by Joshua, who presumably wrote that section, owing to stylistic similiarities between the Torah and Joshua.

This by no means makes the books of Moses the works of an imposter.  Nowhere do these books actually claim that the interconnecting, editorial prose is of Mosaic origin.  Rather, what is claimed, and I believe, legitimately claimed, is that the words attributed to Moses were spoken by him.  As far as the account of creation in Genesis (which, rather uniquely among creation stories of the world religions, works very well as a sort of metaphorical-analogocal explanation of the actual process of he Big Bang and evolution; compare the Genesis creation account with, say, the creation myths of the ancient Aztec religion or the ancient Finnish religion (contained in the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic), for a case in point.   Or, for that matter, compare the Genesis account with the Islamic account of creation; Genesis works as a poetic explanation of creation via cosmic and biological evolution for people who had no idea what evolution was and lacked the intellectual faculties and disposition to accept such a theory, whereas the Islamic account in which Adam is formed from a clot of blood simply makes no sense.

I fear you are also missing the point on another level: the Orthodox Church is not a sola scriptura church, in contrast to Protestantism.  I will expound upon this in response to your next point:

So in the first portion of your statement here. You say that the Torah are not the very words of Moses and the documents scholars reference are his work?

Yes there's stylistic similarities between Joshua and Deuteronomy but what about the rest of the Pentateuch? The whole starting point of the theories is that they vary in their writing styles.


That would be an exaggeration.  I believe the Torah records either the original Hebrew speech, or more probably, translations or paraphrases of the actual words of Moses, and indeed of God himself, from the Paleo-Hebrew language, which is of course very close to Biblical Hebrew (much closer than Aramaic; Paleo Hebrew also featured its own writing system, from which the distinctive Samaritan script is a distant descendant, whereas at some point presumably following the Babylonian Captivity the Hebrew language spoken by the tribes of Judah, Bejamin, and the Levitical remnant transitioned to using Imperial Aramaic script, which is still used today and which most people think of when they think of Hebrew writing).

I believe ancient Israelite priests and sages compiled these sayings of Moses under divine inspiration; I think it is also very likely that Moses, being by adoption an educated member of the Egyptian nobility, recorded some of the text himself, or at the very least, dictated it, or spoke it in the forms of orations which the scribes among the Israelites recorded.  So you have those portions, and then you have certain portions of a biographical nature about Moses, such as the account of his death, which obviously were written by someone else, perhaps Joshua.

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Another thing here. I see a rather liberal approach and comfort when you say that oh, well, may be someone just added this or that or it is actually a redaction from previous documents. Where the sacred here?


Firstly, I never said anything of the sort.  I hold the books of the Old Testament to be divinely inspired prophecies of the coming of our Lord, sacred by definition.

This in turn takes us to the holiest books in Christianity: the four Gospels.  These books present overlapping narratives of the same events in the life of Christ, so to a certain extent, its up to the reader, or the Church, to reconcile the slight discrepencies that exist between the four evangelists recording of the life of our Lord.

Furthermore, it is a matter of Holy Tradition that St. John the Beloved Disciple composed his Gospel some years after the other three evangelists had completed theirs, in part in order to include several important details of the life of our Lord that Synoptic Gospels had omitted.  Does this tradition, if we accept it as fact, which I do, by the way, mean the Synoptics are to be viewed as fundamentlly flawed or otherwise deprecated?  Of course not; our holy Tradition explains that St. John focused on documenting those aspects of the life of our Lord that he personally, is the last living member of the Twelve Disciples, recalled, which had hitherto not been documented, and in turn frequently glossed over those aspects of the life of our Lord which the Synoptic Gospels had documented. 

What is more, additional details concerning the life of our Lord are to be found scattered through the Epistles, and in a manner analogous to the similiarities between the Torah and the book of Joshua, it is an established fact that the same author, who we hold to be St. Luke the Physician and Evangelist, wrote both the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.

I would also note that at least two works of New Testament apocrypha, specfically the Protoevangelium of St. James, and the Gospel of Thomas, largely agree with Church tradition (the Gospel of Thomas largely consists of sayings of our Lord also found in the Synoptics, although it also attributes to Him other statements the provenance of which cannot be trusted owing to the work’s self-identification as Gnostic in the introductory paragraph.

Then we have the incredibly complex realm of textual criticism, and also the process by which the early Church discerned which books were Sacred Scripture, which books were edifying but not divinely inspired (the Shepherd of Hermas) and which books were heretical (the Protoevngelion of Thomas, distributed not by St. Thomas the Apostle but by the disciple of Mani sent by Mani to propagate his faith in the predominantly Christian areas of Syria and Judea; Egypt at the time was largely Pagan and Mani named his disciple sent to the Egyptians “Hermes Trimestigus”, and in like manner sent a disciple named “Buddha” to India; amusingly enough, early Christian heresiologists like St. Epiphanius of Salamis, being unfamiliar with Buddhism, spent some time tryig to decode the meaning of Buddha from various Aramaic phrases; this naivete on their part has the hppy effect of proving Mani’s fraud, and demonstrating the remarkable skill of the early Church at discerning the presence of evil even when the specific cause of that evil was not readily apparent, but I digress).

Given all that transpired in the production of the Gospels and the canonical New Testament, the Gospels being the holiest books in Christianity, the successor to the Torah, liturgically and in other respects, I would be surprised if the documentation of the words of the holy prophet St. Moses was not itself a complex process, although I suspect it was less complex than the process of forming the New Testament canon primarily due to the lack of a large number of heretical sects publishing various texts attributing to Moses things which he did not write, although such sects did emerge many centuries after the canonization of the Torah.  For example, there is a grimoire, or book of magic,  blasphemously attributed to the holy prophet Moses.

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I come from an Islamic background in which the scripture is not edited with such liberty so that you know what gives me the "What the ... moments".


There have been endless debates, to the point of bloodshed, between Islamic sects, over which Hadith are authentic or spurious.  That said, in the case of the Quran, it rather helps I suppose that the entire work consisted of the oral utterances of one man, and there is some evidence (the famed “satanic verses” comtroversy ignited by Salman Rushdie when he published a novel exploring this obscure and oft-overlooked part of the life of Muhammed), that, to be very frank, he basically made it up, composimg it from bits of extant religious literature he was familiar with, much like the process used by Joseph Smith in composing the Book of Mormon.

As far as I am comcerned, the relative lack of a complex and controversial manuscript and textual history to these documents alomg with their uncontrovertef status as the fruit of a single individual, is deeply suspicious.   Authentic scripture is the work of a large number of pious saints, writing with divine inspiration over the course of more than a millenium, and also the work of the Church in sifting through the various writings, under divine inspiration, to seprate the wheat of inspired scripture from the chaff of uninspired or heretical material.

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To be fair here the Islamic account creation the way that is presented these days is a rather general outline of the Genesis creation account. And no Adam was not made from a clot of blood. Quran states many times that he's from dirt/mud/pottery.


I will at some point reread the Sura entitled “the Clot”in order to fact check that.  That said, Adam being made from pottery is even less logocal than his beimg fromed from a clot of blood.

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If the redactors or scribes relied on oral tradition, then that makes the whole document in a very dangerous position. Don't you see what heppens with written scrolls, if that is the case with the written then it follows that it is worse for oral traditins.



We are very well acquainted with the historical processes that lead to the formation of manuscript traditions.  In the case of the Old Testament, over a period of about a thousand years, two dominant text types emerged: the Septuagint, which is the Old Testament translated from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek, but which is partially attested to in Hebrew by some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Masoretic Text.

Despite the fact that many centuries separated the publication of the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text, the variance between the two is remarkably slight.  Indeed, you really have to be paying extremely close attention to even notice the differences.  What is more, none of the varitions between the two texts have any real, tangible bearing on doctrine; its more of a case of aesthetics.  The Eastern Orthodox Church has historically preferred the Septuagint, however, there is one very prominent Eastern Orthodox Bible scholar by the name of Eric Jobe who strongly prefers the Masoretic text, and indeed he has made rehabilitating the reputation of the Masoretic text a major aspect of his academic work.  This is right and proper, because St. Jerome used Hebrew texts which were later organized into the Masoretic text some centuries after his death when translating the Latin Vulgate Bible.

I guess the difference is rightly attributed to the work of translation. Of course, the textual variations are due the lingual variations between Old Hebrew and Aramaic on the one side and Greek on the other.

But this doesn't give me a clue about who authored these books or their history or anything for that matter. The Septuagint, therefore Pre-Protestant Bibles for the most part, include 9 more books no one knows why are they there. The Jews never considered them Canon or Scripture. Even the early church debated them. Why were they skeptical of them?

Again this doesn't answer the question.


Actually, we do know why the extra books in the Septuagint are included: because after a lengthy process of discernment, which took longer as it was of a lesser priority to the early Church than the question of which New Testament books were authentic, the Church determined these books were divinely inspired and like the rest of the Old Testament contained prophecies of the coming of our Lord, in some cases very explicit prophecies (see Wisdom, ch. 2).

Also, it is a myth that the Jews universally rejected these books, just as it is a myth that the Jews universally rejected the use of icons in worship (the excavated synagogue at Dura Europos, which has apparently been destroyed by the barbarians of ISIS, was painted floor to ceiling with icons, to the point that it looked rather like an Orthodox church).  These books were originally written by Jews, amd among the Jews, it is merely the Rabinnical and Karaite Jews who reject them.   The Beta Israel, the Ethiopian Jews, accept not only these books as canonical, but also several others, such as 1 Enoch, which are also acceptef as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

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Also, I come from Islamic where it has Hadith, originally an oral account, and you can't imagine how doubtful it is and it is just 240 years.


Well, frankly, Islam is not Christianity.  The early history of Islam after the death of Muhammed is fraught with violent sectarian conflicts, power struggles between warring factions eager to succeed Muhammed, for example, the faction loyal to Ali, the faction which became the Ummayids, the Kharijites, who killed Ali, et cetera.

You are close to being right there.


It would rather help old chap if you could specify which error you think I made rather than posting a vague insinuation of inaccuracy on my part.  Note by the way, I was not saying the Ummayids were the faction loyal to Ali, rather, I was merely enumeratimg them alomg with the pro-Ali, proto-Shia faction, and the Kharijites, as being different, rival factions in early Islam.

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There is nothing like this in the early history of Christianity.  Christians were historically the non-violent victims of persecution, by the Roman Empire, first under the auspices of Paganism, and then under the banner of Arianism.  Indeed, it was not until the fifth century that sectarian violence began to occur between Christians, at the instigation of the heresiarch Nestorius.


Making their traditions there doubtful because they might be reactionary as Muslims' traditions were.


Thats rather a non sequitur.

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Later, tragically, sectarian violence in Chrstianity became commonplace, but there has always been a substantial element within the Christian faith which has objected to and resisted the temptation to engage in sectarian violence, and over the course of the 18th-20th centuries, the incidents of sectarian violence have been subsiding (first, with the peace between the Lutheran, Calvinist and Catholic states in Europe, then with the begrudging tolerance by the Czarist Holy Synod that illegally controlled and oppressed the Russian Orthodox Church for the Old Believers, and then in the 20th century wih widescale reconciliations between different denominations thanks to the Ecumenical Movement.   There is nothing like the Ecumenical Movement in Islam; 500 hears from the death of Muhammed, sectarian violence between the Sunnis and Shiites was an extremely well established aspect of Islamic life.

I'm not I'm getting your point here.


My point is that whereas in Christianity, our rejection of legalism and our focus on forgiveness has led to the major denominations seeking rapprochement and reunification with one another, and the healing of schisms, in Islam, there is nothing like this; if anything, Sunnis and Shias hate each other now more than at any previous time.


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The point should also be made that Christianity, unlike Rabinnical Judaism or Islam, is not a legalistic religion.  Sunni, Ibadi, and Shia Islam each have their own opinions about which hadiths are valid, and furthermore, there are, if memory serves, differences of opinion on the validity of hadiths even within specific fiqhs, or schools of jurisprudence, within Sunni and Shia Islam.  All of this is of vital importance, because these traditions about the life of Muhammed play a vital part in the definition of Sharia law.


Yes you're correct.

Orthodox Christianity does have canon law, but these canons are very limited, merely governing the qualifications for various sacramental services such as ordination and holy matrimony.  What is more, in most cases, bishops have the authority to derogate from the canon law on the basis of what we call oikonomia, where they feel it is neccessary to procure the salvation of souls.  There is no Christian equivalent to the Sharia; the Torah is preserved in scripture as a guide to moral behavior, but we have nothing like the vast Jewish Talmud, huge commentries and elaborate rules designed to preclude even the accidental violation of the Torah, which completely misses the point.

So you're free to make-up laws or break them if the situation calls for it?


No.  Rather, the bishops can waive the strict requirements of canon law in order to save the souls of those with whom the church interacts.  For example, as a matter of economy, the early church received into communion persons in polygamous relationships, while at the same time absolutely refusing to marry a member of the Church to more than one person, and teaching that polygamy was no lomger a morally justifiable practice.

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 It is not bad in itself. The only example I know of is that you allow divorce and remarriage.

To their credit however, the Jews at least do not have the remarkable history of brutality, corruption, sectarianism, and contempt for religious minorities, that characterizes a typical Sharia court.
That is blatantly wrong, see how Rabbinical courts of different denominations view each other and how they treat members of the other denominations.

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We don't know much of their history but an entire nation ought to have made an impression. What proves they were in Egypt? There are nuerous monuments in Palestine, but almost none in Egypt.


This argument is frankly rather silly.  Rome had as many as a million slaves, yet one would be hard pressed to find any monuments dedicated to them anywhere in the Roman Empire.  Indeed, our entire knowledge of Roman slaves comes from Roman writers, who were prolific, and who frequently discussed slavery both in the context of fiction and historical writing.

See? Someone wrote about them. They weren't any monuments dedicated to them because, well, they're slaves, but, there are signs they were there.


The difference being, in Egypt, only the priests were literate, and thus only that information the state wished to preserve for posterity was preserved.

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Thus, the story of Spartacus, who attempted a revolt not unlike the flight from Egypt, but who alas, was a Pagan, and did not benefit from supernatural interventions from God, is preserved, largely in the form of Roman propaganda intended to demonize him and portray him as a terrorist, while lauding as a hero the evil, miserly and cruel figure of Crassus, who brutally suppressed the slave’s rebellion.  One will find many statues of Crassus, some depicting him as deified, if memory serves, in the Roman Empire, but no monuments, at least that I am aware of, dating from the Roman Empire, commemorate Spartcus, who was an enemy lf the state.  For the Romans to erect a monument in honor of Spartacus would be a bit like the US erecting a monument in honor of Osama Bin Laden.

There again you missed my point, I'm not looking for Egyptians honoring the Jews. I'm looking for any mention of them or the supposed happenings and any signs that they were there.


Google “Damnatio Memoriae”

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The same conditions apply to Egypt.  The flight of the Jews was a disaster for Egypt; the fact that the Egyptian government did not sunsequently collapse as a result of the various plagues inflicted upon it and the loss of its armies can only be attributed to divine intervention.  However, I think it would be fair to say that the flight of the Israelites represented the beginning of the end for Egypt as a major world power, for within the next thousand years, they would be invaded by the Assyrians, plundered by the Sea People, and ultimately suffer the indignity of being conquered by Alexander the Great, with an ethnically Greco-Macedonian royal familiy replacing the native Egyptian dynasty, and the capital moved to Alexandria.

Yes it would have been a disaster, given it happened, yet nothing mentions those things. God hated the Egyptians from the narrative I see, why would he intervene to save them?
I can hardly make connection between the flight of Jews and the fall of Egypt because the time gap is simply too large and invasions by foreign powers simply happen all the time.

It should therefore be no surprise that no monuments were erected in Egypt to Moses, whereas on the other hand, one would fully expect monuments to Moses to exist in ancient Israel.

It must also ne stressed that in the second millenium BC, at the time of the flight of Moses, Egypt was much less of a literary society than Rome during the era of Spartacus and Crassus.  Writing as a skill was limited to the priestly caste; the Demotic script, if memory serves, had not yet appeared, so the system of writing was the awkward and obscure hieroglyphic text.  It seems very likely that Moses, on account of the horrors inflicted upon Egypt as a result of his leading Israel to its freedom, was subject to what the Romans later referred to as Damnatio Memoriae, that is to say, the Egyptian priests who alone produced and controlled the written record of those epochs might well have been ordered to omit all mention of Moses from their texts.

And the average person in the Roman empire was not able to read or write but still we have many records on things Romans would like to delete from history.

And again there was the Hieratic text that existed before the Demotic, so if the Hieroglyphs were the only problem then I see no reason they wouldn't use the other system.

I will reply to this later.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2018, 11:40:50 PM »
That was one of your best textwalls ever, Alpha.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2018, 05:19:51 AM »
That was one of your best textwalls ever, Alpha.


It would have been even better had some random moron at the luxury hotel I’m staying at not decided, apparently for the pure heck of it, to illegally smoke a doobie and exhale the fumes into the smoke detector, resulting in the tower I am staying in being evacuated and the individual in question presumably trading his bed at this hotel for a cell in the county jail.  You would think the $500/night price tag would discourage such shenanigans, hoever, the staff were, as one would expect, greatly apalled, apologetic and accomodating.

At any rate, the final two paragraphs of my interlocuctor can ne dispensed with by once again referring him to the concept of damnatio memoriae, which even Rome was able to carry out to some extent, in some cases, where the literati felt inclined to cooperate with the state, and also by pointing out to him the vast difference in scale between the literary class in Egypt during the time of Moses - basically the Priests, and in ancient Rome, a much larger group including all Patrician males and all Plebian males of at least some social standing, as well as some privileged slaves, and the merchant classes, and that just within Rome proper.  Throughout the Empire, a level of literacy existed that would not be found again for more than a thousand years, or in the case of some provinces, even longer.

Raafat seeks to make an apples to apples comparison on the misconception that since Rome had (by modern standards) low levels of literacy, yet recorded various disasters, the same must apply to ancient Egypt, when that is not even remotely the case; in Egypt, only the priests were literate and only information relevant to the state and in the interests of the state to record would be recorded.  The utter humiliation inflicted upon Egypt by Moses was so severe that for the government to even admit that it happened would undermine the central premise of Pharaonic government, the idea of the Pharoah as the living God of Egypt, imbued with supernatural powers in excess of all others; to record the defeat of Pharoah at the hands of Moses would reveal Pharoah to be a mere mortal, and what is more, it would also falsify the Egyptian state religion, thus undermining the twin pillars upon which Egyptian society rested and almost certainly leading to the collapse of the Egyptian state or a radical cnange which would see the literate priestly caste and the other memners of the ruling elite, purged, possibly outright.

Thus, it was clearly in the best interests of the state to suppress the information, and more than likely propaganda campaigns and disinformation were used to downplay the various plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians.
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Re: Did Moses write Torah?
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2018, 04:09:47 PM »
It would have been even better had some random moron at the luxury hotel I’m staying at not decided, apparently for the pure heck of it, to illegally smoke a doobie and exhale the fumes into the smoke detector, resulting in the tower I am staying in being evacuated and the individual in question presumably trading his bed at this hotel for a cell in the county jail.  You would think the $500/night price tag would discourage such shenanigans, hoever, the staff were, as one would expect, greatly apalled, apologetic and accomodating.
The same happened to me today. But rather than a luxury hotel, I was just trying to buy snuff. Turns out "tobacco shops" don't really have tobacco.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Anyhow when God was asked he said Eastern Orthodox is true Church and not Catholic Church. So come home and enjoy.