[b-hebrew] Tithing and Wellhausen

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Dec 28 14:58:00 EST 2007

Stoney Breyer:
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 
character, Jacob/“Israel”.
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.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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