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Is the Tanach written in the exile in Babel?

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2/1/2016 11:59:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
The vast majority of Bible scholars would say that Daniel's so-called 'prophecies' fit with actual events so well only because Daniel was written after they happened, not before. The alternative view - that they are actual magical foretellings of the future - tends to be held principally by televangelists and religous writers, (ie not many theology professors.)


The prophecy of Daniel 9 ended in the year 70. That means that Daniel must be written after the destruction of the second Temple in 70.

This is of course total nonsense, because the Septuagint, the LXX, was written centuries before that, and it gives an accurate translation into Greek of the whole Hebrew Bible.

So saying that Daniel is written after the destruction of the second Temple only proves that that person has no idea what he is talking about.

Specfically, the academic consensus is that while Daniel is set in the 7th century BC, it was actually written some 500 years later.

That is then still more than 200 years before the events which are so accurately described in Daniel 9.

In fact, if you start with the wikipedia article it begins to go into the reasons why someone in 200BC would forge a story from 500 years before. There are reasons why the OT was written down and developed as it did - but telling honest truth wasn't one of them. For example the story of Exodus (another thread) was part of a deliberately and consciously created pseudo-history of the Jews largely composed during the Babylonian exile... its interesting stuff because the OT is less about history than psychology and the power of propaganda.

Excerpt from Sing You Righteous by Rabbi Avigdor Miller

Student: It is difficult to believe in traditions which began so long ago. For Jews who lived 2000 years ago it was much easier to be believers.

Rabbi: Then let us step back 2000 years.

Student: How?

Rabbi: Do you find it difficult to believe that 2000 years ago there lived a writer named Josephus who saw the second Sanctuary and that in the generation before him there lived a writer Philo of Alexandria?

Student: There can not be the slightest doubt about those two. There books written in Greek have been exclusively been in non-Jewish hands for 2000 years, as the ancient Gentile chroniclers declare.

Rabbi: Then 2000 years of believe are lifted of your shoulders.

Student: How?

Rabbi: Since there is not the slightest doubt that Philo and Josephus wrote their works 2000 years ago, and since it is unanimous knowledge that they recorded all the facts of the Torah-history and named the books of the Scriptures, then this is equivalent to being alive 2000 years ago.

Thus 2000 years are clipped off, and your burden of believing is 2000 years lighter.

Student: You mean to say: I stand now with Philo and Josephus, I view the past from their vantage point. This certainly takes a heavy load off one's shoulders. But the question remains: how did Philo and Josephus know that the events of which they wrote, which transpired long before their time, were true?

Rabbi: When these two wrote about the exile of their nation to Babylon, some 500 years before their time, and of the return of part of the nation to the land of Israel where they erected the Second Sanctuary, did they have any cause to doubt the truth of these facts?

Student: In view of the fact that they were prominent public men, and wrote of these matters which the entire nation had experienced as recently as five centuries ago and which were universally known, it is certain they could not have invented such facts in which the entire nation could have contradicted them. The Jews in the land of Israel all spoke the Aramaic tongue which they had learned during the Babylonian exile, and they unanimously stated that they had returned from Babylon.

Rabbi: Josephus describes very large Jewish communities in Babylon in his days, and he states as a matter of fact that they came from the land of Israel at the destruction of the First Sanctuary (Tempel). Could he have made such public statements if the large Jewish communities in Babylon would contradict them?

Student: I can see the unquestionable certainty of the fact that the Babylonians conquered Judea and exiled the Jews to Babylon. But how does that prove the truth of the Torah?

Rabbi: Which of the Jewish communities was older, the Jewish community of Babylon, or the community of Jews in the land of Israel?

Student: Since it is certain that the nation had been exiled to Babylon, and from there part of the Jews returned to Israel, then it follows that the Babylonian Jewish community was older than its daughter-colony which departed to return to the land of Israel.

Rabbi: Did the Babylonian Jews possess the Scriptures? The Scriptures relate that Ezra in Babylon became a great teacher of the Torah (Ezra 7:10) "The book of the law of God" (ibid 7:12, 21), and that he came to the land of Israel to teach the Torah. The book of the Torah is frequently mentioned not only in Ezra's time when in Babylon, but throughout the Scriptures (Josh 8:31, 34, 23:6, 24:26, II Kings 14:6).

It is also mentioned as being in the hands of those who returned from Babylon but throughout the Scriptures (Joshua 8:31, 34, 23:6, 24:26, II Kings 14:6). It is also mentioned as being in the hands of those who returned from Babylon to settle in the land of Israel. (Ezra 6:18, Nechemiah 8:1, 3, 8, 18; 9:3, 13:1).

Student: How can I know that this is so?

Rabbi: Remember that you are standing with Philo and Josephus in time.

Student: True. But how could they know that this was true?

Rabbi: How do you know that Colombus discovered America?

Student: That is 1) recent history, and 2) is documented, and 3) is accepted by all.

Rabbi: The return from Bavel together with the Torah was even more recent history to Philo and Josephus. It is also documented by the statements in the Scriptures which I quoted, besides the fact that the entire Scriptures document themselves and date the time of their creation. The Scriptures are also documented by the writings of Ben Sira (who lived in the early days of the Second Sanctuary) who enumerated all the books of the Scriptures and dated them. The Septuagint also documents the Scriptures, and the Scriptures are also documented by the two books of the Maccabees. In all these sources, as well as the writings of Philo and of Josephus, it is clear that all these facts about the Scriptures were accepted by all, and that there was not the least doubt that the Scriptures came from Babylon. This is in addition to the most obvious fact of all: that the unanimous tradition of the Jewish nation, as mirrored by the entire Talmud, testifies to the authenticity of the Scriptures. But Philo, Josephus, the books of the Maccabees, the Septuagint and Ben Sira speak to us through the Gentiles, who have guarded these books for 2000 years and more. In addition, the fact that the Samaritans possess the Five Books of Moses and the book of Joshua is an important testimony.

Student: Why? Is it not possible that they received these books from the Jews at some time during the Second Sanctuary?

Rabbi: They were bitter enemies of the Jews from the very beginning of the Second Sanctuary, when the Jews rejected their offer to aid in erecting the Sanctuary. Josephus records their unfailing hostility thenceforth. The Talmudic sources state this fact clearly, but even Josephus and the other non-Torah sources testify to the bitter hostility of the Samaritans from the early days of the Second Sanctuary forward.

Student: Then the only possible time that the Samaritans could have received their Scriptures from the Jews was before the beginning of the Second Sanctuary.

To be continued bs"d
Please be advised that everywhere in your translation of your OT when it is written "the LORD" with all capitals, then in the original Hebrew it says the four lettered name of God: Y-H-W-H. That name appears almost 7000 times in the Hebrew Bible.
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2/1/2016 11:59:37 AM
Posted: 2 years ago

Rabbi: Yes. We are now no longer standing side by side with Philo and Josephus, but we are now 400 years before them, and we stand together with the Samaritans who are already in possession of the Books of Moses and a garbled book of Joshua.

Student: Why did the Samaritans fail to receive the later books of the Scriptures?

Rabbi: This very significant fact demonstrates the time when the Samaritans received their Scriptures. The Samaritans were brought from Cutha by the conqueror Shalmanesser to settle in the land of the Ten Tribes. The Ten Tribes had broken away from Judah immediately after Solomons reign, when the books written by the prophet Samuel (Judges, Samuel and Ruth) were yet new, and when the sole long established books were the Five Books of Moses and the book of Joshua. After breaking off, the Ten Tribes would not accept any new books of the Scriptures from Judah. They broke away from the house of David, and it is therefore understandable that they had no interest in the Psalms of David, Solomon's Proverbs and his other books, or in the books written by David's patron prophets Samuel. Gad, and Nathan (the books of Judges and Samuel).

The latter books of the Scriptures were composed in Judah after the break off and were certainly not accepted by the Ten Tribes. After the Ten Tribes were exiled by Shalmanesser, a number of them still remained in the land (II Kings 23:20, II Chronicles 34:9) and these taught the new settlers from faith the religion of Israel (II Kings 17) and gave them the Five Books of Moses and the book of Joshua.

Student: Therefore we stand now side by side with the Ten Tribes, from whom the Samaritans received the Five Books of Moses and the book of Joshua. It is certain that the Samaritans didn't invent these books.

Rabbi: That would be laughable, for the Jews would not accept the Torah from the Samaritans, despised aliens and bitter enemies. From the fact that the Samaritans settled in the land of the Ten Tribes and were taught the Torah by the priests of the Ten Tribes (ibid.), and from the fact that the Samaritans possess non of the later books after Joshua, it is clearly evident that they received their Scriptures from the Ten Tribes. Thus it is plain that the Ten Tribes were in possession of the Five Books of Moses and the book of Joshua. This is in addition to the open internal testimony of the Scriptures that the Ten Tribes possessed the Torah and obeyed it: they observed the Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh, (II Kings 4:23; Amos 8:5); they required two witnesses to accuse a man, and they imposed the death penalty of S'kilah for the sin of blasphemy, and they executed the sinner outside of the city (1 Kings 21:13), all in accordence with the laws of the Five Books of Moses. They excluded lepars from the city (II Kings 7:3) according to the Scriptural law, unlike the neighbouring people who did not expel lepers (II Kings 5:1-5). The Torah is mentioned by the prophets in the Ten Tribes as something commonly known (Hoshea 4:6, 8:1, 8:12, Amos 2:4).

Student: Could anybody claim that the Ten Tribes composed the Five Books of the Torah?

Rabbi: That would be ridiculous. The pious people of the land of Judah, who clung to Jerusalem and the Sanctuary, would accept no Torah from the wayward Ten Tribes who possessed the golden calves and worshipped at forbidden altars and who had priests who were not of the seed of Aaron. Besides, the Ten Tribes had a history of steady deterioration from the beginning, and nothing like a Torah could have been produced from the break off onward.

Student: Could someone claim that the Torah was invented by a Judean after the secession of the Ten Tribes?

Rabbi: That would have been impossible. After the breakaway from Judea, the Ten Tribes would accept no Torah from the Judeans. When Jerobeam led away the Ten Tribes in their secession from Judeah, he took along the Five Books of Moses and the book of Joshua because they had already for a long time been in the possession of the entire nation.

Student: Thus we have now gone backward in time so far that we are standing with Jerobeam before he tore away the Ten Tribes, and we see the Five Books of the Torah and the book of Joshua in his hands. Could it be claimed by anyone that the Torah was recent at that time?

Rabbi: That is out of the question. Had the Torah been recent at that time, Jerobeam and the Ten Tribes would not have taken it when they seceded, just as they did not take Samuel's books. That they took the Torah with them when they broke away was due solely to the fact that they had possessed it so long that it was now impossible to forsake it, although the Ten Tribes forsook the city of David and the house of David and the Sanctuary. Jerobeam's party would certainly have rejected any books written in the days of David and Solomon. Note that Solomon erected the Sanctuary 480 years after the Exodus and the Giving of the Torah at Sinai, and David's reign began over 40 years earlier. Could anyone in the time of David or Samuel have foisted the books of the Torah on the people of Israel?

Student: It would have been impossible at that time to make claims about events which transpired four centuries before unless these claims were common knowledge of the nation.

Rabbi: The Proverbs of Solomon and the Psalms of David speak frequently of the Torah and mention it as an old and nationally accepted fact. Note also that the Torah (Dvarim 2:9, 19) prohibits waging war on Moab and on Ammon. When Saul and David fought against these two nations, would such a prohibition thenceforth be written? When Ammon invaded the land of Israel in the days of Yiftach, and earlier when Moab oppressed Israel in the days of Ehud, could any prohibitions be composed forbidding any wars with these nations?

Student: Then we are already back to the days of Ehud and Eglon, the king of Moab.

Rabbi: But Ehud was the judge after Othniel ben Kenaz (Judges 3) who was a younger contemporary of Joshua ben Nun.

Student: Which puts the origin of the Five Books of Moses and the book of Joshua in the period in which they actually belong. I see, sir, that you travelled by a back road. The works of Philo and Josephus, written in Greek and cherished by the Gentiles, and the Samaritans who were the bitter enemies of Israel, and the Ten Tribes which broke away with Jerobeam, and even Eglon king of Moab, all of these you have summoned to testify. You have almost entirely omitted the Jewish tradition.

Rabbi: The most reliable of all testimonies is the accurate, honest, and unbroken tradition of Israel. 1) The Scriptures testify by their own words. 2) They also testify for each other, because every book is expressedly stated as a sequel to the foregoing books, and they corroberate the events and statements which are inscribed in other books. At innumarable points the facts and even the calculations of the books of the Scriptures can be cross-checked for accuracy. 3) Above all however, is the testimony given by our Oral Tradition, upheld by our entire nation, and recorded throughout the voluminous literature of the Talmud and kindred works. The external testimonies cited by me hitherto are true throughout, and are impossible to controvert. But no testimony can compare in vigor to that of our tradition. However, let us not desist from this form of research; for it can be useful for the erring and ignorant who respect the non-Jewish testimonies.
Please be advised that everywhere in your translation of your OT when it is written "the LORD" with all capitals, then in the original Hebrew it says the four lettered name of God: Y-H-W-H. That name appears almost 7000 times in the Hebrew Bible.
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2/1/2016 7:22:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The Tanach consists of some 20 odd books of the Bible and as such is a broad topic! I would prefer to concentrate first on the Torah, or Pentateuch. ie the first 5 books of the OT.

If you read Eliyahu's post it is very much about the internal consistency of the narrative. That consistency is perhaps less clear that Eli would have us believe, but the real problem is with squaring the Torah with extenal evidence.

The problem is that the significant events in the Torah are not supported by evidence. Rather it is contradicted by it. There is no good evidence for the Egyptian captivity nor the exodus, nor for the violent invasion of Canaan under Joshua. Sodom and Gomorra, the flood.... all unattested in the archeological record.

it is impossible to be sure why the OT was written - there are no memos of the editorial meetings, but it is clear that a major aim the Torah was written to establish in the Jewish consciousness a link with the land from which they had been exiled by the Bablylonians. The greatness of Israel/Judah was consistenly over-stated. Solomon and David were in reality minor rules over minor states. The great temple of Solomon was a largely a figment of the scribes in Babylon's imagination. The writers of Chronicles goes even further than the writers of Kings in 'bigging up' the Solomonic dynasty.

Another consistent theme in the Torah is the relationship between the Jewish people and their god YHWH. Battles and disasters are never the result of generalship or luck but refect how pleased YHWH is with his people and/or the ruler. This is theological interpretation of history is perhaps natural considering that it was written by priests with a religion purpose. not objective historians.

In the 7th century the Jewish people were a desperate remnnant, cut off from their erstwhile home and embedded in the grand spendour of the might Babylonian empire. A few centuries earlier the 10 tribes of Israel had suffered something simular at the hands of the Assyrians, and they disappeared from history. By wrigin down a scripture, the Jewish priesthood were able to maintain (or more accurately redefine) Jewish identity as a YHWHist nation with a 'god given' right to the land of Canaan. 3000 years their propaganda is still powerful, and still acusing problems.