Genesis JEDP ???

Walter Mattfeld mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com
Sun Sep 3 13:45:40 EDT 2000


Dear Liz,

My research on who Japheth is in Noah's blessing has concluded that he is
Cyrus or the Persians. My research has also concluded that Madai (the Medes)
derive their Japhethic descent in Genesis based on Greek myths about Medus,
an Athenian Greek who founded the Median Empire (Cyrus being his
descendent), still later, ca. 499-490 BCE the Persian royal court is
producing political propaganda, asserting that Greece is to be invaded to
reclaim the royal patrimony from the Athenians, who denied Medus his
kingdom, forcing him to flee to Asia and found Media.  Quite naturally, I
conclude that Genesis' Japhethic descent for Madai, if based on Persian
Royal Court Propaganda of ca. 499-490 BCE, suggests that Ezra (an offical at
the Persian Court, who would be exposed to this political propaganda) is the
most likely person to have written Genesis and the portrayal of Madai (the
Medes) as Japheth's descendents (Japheth being the Greek Titan Iapetos).

I am aware of scholarly arguments that Sirach (2nd century BCE) doesn't
mention Ezra (he mentions Nehemiah), causing some to conclude Ezra is not a
real historical character. My problem with this line of thinking is that ca.
312 BCE Ptolemy I captured Jerusalem on a Sabbath, knowing the Jews would
not defend themselves and violate that day's holiness. Yet, paradoxically,
the books of Nehemiah and Ezra (which, I understand, were originally one
book) portray the Jews who returned from Exile as violating the Sabbath,
carrying loads, engaging in purchases with foreign merchants (Phoenicians at
Jerusalem), and marrying foreign women. Yet, all this is condemned in the
Torah ! What is also surprising is that when the people are called into an
asembly to hear the Torah, they are portrayed as crying and being upset,
realizing they have violated God's law codes. I get the impression from all
this, that until Ezra read the Torah to them in Jerusalem, they had no
knowledge of Torah. In other words, Torah is Ezra's invention, he created
the codes insisting on Sabbath observances and non-marriage to foreigners.
He also created the story that the Torah had been found by Josiah in the
course of Temple repairs. Remember, no-one is alive to dispute Ezra about
what was acceptable worship before the Exile. They were scattered in the
Exile, with no functioning priesthood to say what was right or wrong in
observances.

So, something happened, that galvanized the nation, turning Sabbath
violaters into observant, compliant worshippers. That something had to have
occured before 312 BCE. For a nation to turn from violaters to observers of
the Sabbath, suggests to me that a period of time had to exist, over which
reverence for the Sabbath developed to such a degree, it was unthinkable to
defend oneselves from the Greeks. I would suggest at least three maybe four
generations at the minimum, say ca. 5th century BCE for Sabbath observance
to begin to be inculcated into the national mindset, as portrayed in the
book of Nehemiah. If reverence for the Sabbath began with the 5th century
BCE, manifesting itself in a Jewish refusal to fight the Ptolemaic Greeks in
the following 4th century BCE, then I see nothing amiss in understanding
Ezra and Nehemiah as real persons, responsible for turning the nation
around.

An interesting anomaly preserved in Ezra's Primary History (Genesis to 2
Kings) is the statement that Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho's walls in
fulfillment of Joshua's curse, setting up its gates and walls with burial
offerings of his own sons. Yet, the archaeological sources that I have
consulted, have stated that there is no Iron Age wall at Jericho. The last
wall is ca. 1540 BCE.  If my sources are correct, then we have an anomaly.
Under what circumstances could the author state a wall existed, when it
fact, it never did, and pull the wool over everyone's eyes ? Only if the
generation who went into Exile was all dead, would it be possible for the
next generation, never having lived at Jericho, to swallow hook line and
sinker, the idea the city had a wall erected in the 9th century BCE (King
Ahab's days) that remained in place until the Exile of 587 BCE. This
suggests then, that the Primary History is a creation of either the late 6th
or the 5th century BCE. Who, in 458 BCE, in Ezra's days, would know whether
or not Jericho had an "Iron Age Wall" ? No one ! The ancient tell of Jericho
was never resettled. The returning Jews settled nearby, but not on the
abandoned tell itself.

Ezra had the approval and backing of the Persian Royal Court. His Torah
would unite the feuding, in-fighting Jews who had been left behind by the
Babylonians and the other competing versions of how to worship Yahweh, held
by Jews who returned, worked on the Sabbath, and married foreign women. By
having a "definitive written book," claiming Moses wrote it, and no one to
dare challenge "the sweetheart" of the Persian Royal Administration
(remember he had Persian power to kill any Jew in Abar-nahar who opposed his
Torah), the field was swept bare of all opposition. From now on only ONE
FORM OF WORSHIP WOULD BE LEGITIMATE, Ezra's Torah.

So, the Persians were willing to back Ezra and the setting up of a
Priesthood to act as a proxy in governing the Jews under a Persian appointed
Satrap. They wisely refused to allow a King to be restored fearing open
rebellion (the Samaritans alerting them to the dangers probably of the whole
world coming to kneel at God's Throne at Jerusalem, so Deutro-Isaiah,
66:18).

All the best,

Walter

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
Walldorf by Heidelberg
Baden-Wurttemburg
Germany




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