There's more than one version of the Ten Commandments.
Joshua Bowen, Did the Old Testament Endorse Slavery? (Mechanicsville, MD: Digital Hammurabi Press, 2020), 196-197. Slavery was not endorsed arbitrarily, as it was part of a common economic system that existed in ancient Israel and in the wider ancient Near East long before the biblical period. Both debt-slavery and chattel-slavery were also part of the... Continue Reading →
Paula Fredriksen, Paul: The Pagans' Apostle (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2017), 160-161. If the letter to the Romans is Paul's Ninth Symphony, Romans 11.11 begins its fourth movement, Paul's own "Ode to Joy." Alle Menschen werden Brüder, and the apostle, divining God's plan, knows how. Too many gentiles? No: more, in fact, will... Continue Reading →
Carol A. Redmount, "Bitter Lives: Israel in and out of Egypt," in The Oxford History of the Biblical World, Michael D. Coogan, editor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 87. A study of the Exodus narrative raises many questions about the historicity and historical setting of the Exodus events, but provides few definitive answers. The biblical text... Continue Reading →
Carol A. Redmount, "Bitter Lives: Israel in and out of Egypt," in The Oxford History of the Biblical World, Michael D. Coogan, editor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 70-71. The biblical account makes an exceptionally poor primary historical source for the Exodus events. Possible historical data are mostly inconsistent, ambiguous, or vague. No Egyptian pharaoh associated... Continue Reading →
Wayne T. Pitard, "Before Israel: Syria-Palestine in the Bronze Age," in The Oxford History of the Biblical World, Michael D. Coogan, editor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 27. There are many reasons to be skeptical of [the Patriarchal] narratives as historically accurate accounts of the lives of Israel's progenitors. Indications within the narratives suggest that... Continue Reading →
Back in June, the tag team of Josh Bowen and Megan Lewis (i.e. Digital Hammurabi) interviewed Hebrew Bible scholar Joel Baden on the subject of the authorship of the Torah. For a long time, it was assumed that Moses stood behind the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy, but with the rise of critical scholarship this... Continue Reading →
In 2017, noted scholar of the Hebrew Bible Richard Elliot Friedman published a book with HarperCollins entitled The Exodus: How It Happened and Why It Matters. Using the tools of source criticism, Friedman posits that what really happened is not that there was no exodus from Egypt but rather that it involved a group that... Continue Reading →