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The Old Testament

Uploaded by Admin on Jun 03, 2000

The Old Testament is a compilation, and like every compilation it has a wide variety of contributors who, in turn, have their individual influence upon the final work. It is no surprise, then, that there exist certain parallels between the Enuma Elish, the cosmogony of the Babylonians, and the Book of Genesis, the first part of the Pentateuch section of the Bible. In fact, arguments may be made that other Near Eastern texts, particularly Sumerian, have had their influences in Biblical texts. The extent of this 'borrowing', as it were, is not limited to the Bible; the Enuma Elish has its own roots in Sumerian mythology, predating the Enuma Elish by nearly a thousand years. A superficial examination of this evidence would erroneously lead one to believe that the Bible is somewhat a collection of older mythology re-written specifically for the Semites. In fact, what develops is that the writers have addressed each myth as a separate issue, and what the writers say is that their God surpasses every other. Each myth or text that has a counterpart in the Bible only serves to further an important idea among the Hebrews: there is but one God, and He is omnipotent, omniscient, and other-worldly; He is not of this world, but outside it, apart from it. The idea of a monotheistic religion is first evinced in recorded history with Judaism, and it is vital to see that instead of being an example of plagiarism, the Book of Genesis is a meticulously composed document that will set apart the Hebrew God from the others before, and after.

To get a clear picture of the way the Book of Genesis may have been formed (because we can only guess with some degree of certainty), we must place in somewhere in time, and then define the cultures in that time. The influences, possible and probable, must be illustrated, and then we may draw our conclusions.

If we trace back to the first appearance of the Bible in written form, in its earliest translation, we arrive at 444 B.C.. Two texts, components of the Pentateuch referred to as 'J' and 'E' texts, can be traced to around 650 B.C. Note that 'J' refers to Yahweh (YHVH) texts, characterized by the use of the word 'Yahweh' or 'Lord' in accounts; 'E' refers to Elohist texts, which use, naturally, 'Elohim' in its references to God.1 But 650 B.C. isn't...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   06/03/2000

Category:   Religion

Length:   9 pages (2,098 words)

Views:   1246

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