[b-hebrew] Tithing and Wellhausen
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Dec 28 14:58:00 EST 2007
1. Your comments are most interesting, and I respect them.
2. As to the “proof” of my controversial view that the Patriarchal
narratives were composed in the mid-14th century BCE, it is that every key issue in
Year 14 of Akhenaten’s reign is there in the received text of the last 40
chapters of Genesis. That cannot possibly be an accident or a coincidence.
3. You specifically raised the following questions about my theory of the
case, which I shall be so bold as to answer.
(a) “Who wrote the works in question”
The first historical Hebrew, who lived in the mid-14th century BCE. For some
years, including when he composed his masterpiece, he was one of Akhenaten’s
many foreign bodyguards. (Akhenaten had to have foreign bodyguards, unlike
other pharaohs, because the native Egyptians loved the god Amen so much that
they could not be counted on to protect Amen-hating Akhenaten.) Near the end of
Akhenaten’s reign, the author of the Patriarchal narratives went back to
Canaan and resumed herding sheep and goats and living in tents.
(b) “For what audience”
There were two audiences. First, and of most immediate concern, was
Akhenaten (for the reason discussed below). Secondly was for all his fellow
countrymen, most of whom were back in Canaan living in tents and herding sheep and
(c) “To what end”
The immediate purpose of the composition of the Patriarchal narratives was to
rouse Akhenaten from his great depression over his horribly deteriorated
family situation and lack of a son as heir. The reason why it was important for
the first Hebrew to get Akhenaten back on his feet was so that Akhenaten would
not lose sight of foreign policy concerns, and would take the actions needed
to prevent the dreaded Hittites from overrunning Canaan and wiping out the
fledgling new pre-Hebrews/Hebrews.
(d) “How they came to be enshrined in a religious tradition to which they
were in many respects hostile.”
The author’s fellow countrymen, whom we can now call the Hebrews, viewed his
composition as being divinely inspired, and as having played an important part
in saving the Hebrews from the feared onslaught of the Hittites. Within a
generation or so, the composition began to be viewed as having recorded the
actual history of the first Hebrews. The deceased author himself became entwined
with his character Jacob/“Israel”. These tent-dwellers began calling
themselves “sons of Israel”. Originally, this was largely in honor of the author
himself. Yet within a few generations, it was in honor of the author’s
It indeed was a semi-miracle that the Hittites did not invade Canaan in the
mid-14th century BCE and wipe out the fledgling Hebrews. In my view, that is
why the Hebrews, from day #1, always considered themselves to be YHWH’s chosen
people. No one else seems to ask that question seriously. There must have
been something in secular history, something big, that convinced the first
Hebrews that they were right to be worshipping only one deity, even though everyone
else had many deities. In my controversial view, it must have been that they
had prayed to one deity, YHWH, to save them from the Hittites, and their
prayer seemed to have been answered, big-time.
Many, and perhaps most, of the themes in the text of the Patriarchal
narratives do not reflect mainstream Hebrew views in the 1st millennium BCE. Yet this
was by far the most ancient text that they had. And it was a compelling
text, even if many of the stories seemed strange, and seemed to reflect strange
values that no longer seemed very relevant. But everyone saw the love of YHWH
and the love of Canaan in the text, so at least on that basic level, the
Patriarchal narratives could be embraced by all the Hebrews.
That’s my theory of the case. Thanks for listening. And good luck with your
own competing theory of the case.
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