[b-hebrew] OT- perspective (was Josiah's book of the Law)

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Sun Aug 7 11:25:06 EDT 2005


Hi Titzhak,

Allow me to rephrase my thoughts and therefore make them more understandable.
When I say 'complete' I mean it in two senses.

1) Gen - Kings presents us with a chronological order of significant events 
which allow us to build a timeline of the nations history.

2) The failings of prominent charachters (both repentant and proud) are mercilessly
recorded in order for newer generations to be able to benefit from the accounts.

I DO NOT MEAN

1) It tells us the colour of Samuel's hair.
2) It tells us the size of David's waist.

Such accounts were faithfully copied by scribes who dared not embellish the accounts 
and were it not for them we would know very little about Isreal's history. The fact 
that such accounts originate with Yah and that his servants who carefully recorded 
them dared not lie gives more than adequate reason to view them as the most reliable
historic sources.

The mesha stele did not survive because faithful men of old believed that it would 
bring us spiritual benefits but because it was written on stone. This does not make 
it superior historical source. I do know, nor am I in a position to know the true 
motivations of the author(s) of the words on it but of one thing I am sure:

If there is a contradiction between its account and the account of faithful prophets,
*I* know who I'm putting *my* money on.

Study us very commendable but sometimes has the side-effect of allowing ourselves to 
fall into the trap of thinking we know better than the ancient prophets.
Studying archeological evidence can bring many rewards as it can enhance out knowledge 
of how people lived and help us to better put the valuable stories of the prophets into 
a more easily understandable context.
It can also help us to make theoretical models for the 'missing bits', which the ancient
prophets did not feel to be of great enough significance to bring us any spiritual 
benefits. But what we must always remember is that such will only ever be 'theoretical
models' and will never be a matchable replacement for the faithful words recorded for 
our benefit in scripture.
While, we know well the motivations of the author of scripture we can never be absolutely 
sure of the motivations of the authors of stele and they are therefore, by default, second 
rate sources which can only be given authenticity when backed up by the bible (NOT THE OTHER
WAY ROUND). It is doubtless that the stele present accounts the way the authors want them 
to be heard and you only need go into a pub one evening to hear all kinds of exaggerated 
accounts with all kinds of embarrasing omissions. 
What is so faith-instilling of the scriptual accounts is that the pattern we see is the exact
opposite of this pattern of human imperfection.

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