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Pagan influence on biblical texts


Rob Bowman

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I think it reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of revelation to somehow forget that every word of the bible, though inspired, was written by a very human hand. These texts did not spring forth pristine and glorious somehow on their own, but are completely impregnated with human concerns and motivations, and could not be otherwise.

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Hello Rob,

Thanks for starting a thread to clarify your position as IRR Director of Research relative to John Larson's in terms of "pagan" influence on biblical texts and a rejection of the BofA. This is a great topic to explore, especially in terms of the specific criticisms you've raised. Before we proceed, however, could you please clarify for us your understanding of the relationship between the Babylonian legal collection, the Code of Hammurabi and the Covenant Code in Exodus (20:19-23:33)?

Thanks.

--DB

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I think it reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of revelation to somehow forget that every word of the bible, though inspired, was written by a very human hand. These texts did not spring forth pristine and glorious somehow on their own, but are completely impregnated with human concerns and motivations, and could not be otherwise.

And if I may add, The limitations of human language in conveying ideas/understanding from one person to another. As well as the changing nature of language from generation to generation.

God may communicate with pure light and knowledge to His prophets. But anything after that is truly and "completely impregnated with human concerns and motivations" and limitations.

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Bump.

I see no way around David's argument. Any takers? Sounds to me like the definitive statement at least on this subject.

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This is crazy, all these convaluted ways to explain the Book of Abraham. Simple explanation is he pretended he knew what he was doing. Perhaps Criddle et all should do a test on the BOA for wordprints. I wonder what they would find?

What, may I ask, would a wordprint study supposedly or possibly "prove"?

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This is crazy, all these convaluted ways to explain the Book of Abraham. Simple explanation is he pretended he knew what he was doing. Perhaps Criddle et all should do a test on the BOA for wordprints. I wonder what they would find?

Remember, kids: nothing remotely complex is worthwhile, or even true.

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Wow, speaking of "crazy"!!

This is crazy, all these convaluted ways to explain the Book of Abraham

Seriously, two possible ways for believers to understand the Book of Abraham is seriously too convoluted for you to comprehend? I hope you're selling yourself too short!

Perhaps Criddle et all should do a test on the BOA for wordprints. I wonder what they would find?

Surely you can't be serious! I can tell you right now what they would find! That the BOA primarily reflects the language of the KJB! Besides, when has Criddle ever demonstrated that he has any idea what he's talking about in terms of such issues? When he illustrated examples of the Hebraic "if/then" formulation in a Sidney Rigdon sermon?

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Hello Rob,

Thanks for starting a thread to clarify your position as IRR Director of Research relative to John Larson's in terms of "pagan" influence on biblical texts and a rejection of the BofA. This is a great topic to explore, especially in terms of the specific criticisms you've raised. Before we proceed, however, could you please clarify for us your understanding of the relationship between the Babylonian legal collection, the Code of Hammurabi and the Covenant Code in Exodus (20:19-23:33)?

Thanks.

--DB

For those interested in this topic, it

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You have demonstrated no such thing.

I never claimed to have demonstrated that the Exodus legal collection derives from the Code of Hammurabi. I simply made the assertion and asked Rob in light of his specific criticisms of the BofA how he interpreted the historical connection between these two ancient Near Eastern collections. I made an assertion, Zerinus, not a demonstration. I'm not about to "demonstrate" the culmination of nearly 100 years of biblical scholarship pertaining to this subject on a message board. Though I am happy to provide interested readers with a few brief points that illustrate the validity of this claim (even though I have yet to do so in this thread).

You have demonstrated no such thing. I looked them up on the Internet, and I find nothing that suggests the Biblical passages were in any way borrowed from those texts...

I am not going to get bogged down in that. Your methodology and approach to making such "inferences" on the basis of the flimsiest of evidences is so far-fetches and fanciful that you can prove just about anything you like with that kind of argument

Your methodology is to look up an English translation of the two texts on the internet. My methodology for interpreting these texts includes two years of Akkadian as an MA student and three more years as a doctoral student. For my PhD, I took a comprehensive examination in Akkadian that included over 3000 lines of the language (over half of which appeared in the various historical layers of cuneiform) and I have major portions of the Laws of Hammurabi committed to memory in Akkadian including most of the epilogue. My methodology also relies upon graduate courses in Near Eastern law and serving as an official research assistant for the single most important study ever devoted to this topic.

Now if you wish to disagree with any of my assertions and enter into a discussion on this topic, I have no problem addressing your concerns. But in all honesty, I'm not about to continue a discussion with someone who labels my methodology for interpreting these texts as "flimsy," when his own methodology consists of simply looking up the two collections on the internet.

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I never claimed to have demonstrated that the Exodus legal collection derives from the Code of Hammurabi. I simply made the assertion . . .

Exactly! In debate, assertions without demonstration, evidence, or proof are worthless.

I'm not about to "demonstrate" the culmination of nearly 100 years of biblical scholarship pertaining to this subject on a message board. Though I am happy to provide interested readers with a few brief points that illustrate the validity of this claim (even though I have yet to do so in this thread).

So you expect us to just accept what you say at face value, against possible contrary opinion, or even against evidence to the contrary from scriptural revelation?

Your methodology is to look up an English translation of the two texts on the internet. My methodology for interpreting these texts includes two years of Akkadian as an MA student and three more years as a doctoral student. For my PhD, I took a comprehensive examination in Akkadian that included over 3000 lines of the language (over half of which appeared in the various historical layers of cuneiform) and I have major portions of the Laws of Hammurabi committed to memory in Akkadian including most of the epilogue. My methodology also relies upon graduate courses in Near Eastern law and serving as an official research assistant for the single most important study ever devoted to this topic.

Great! With all the superior knowledge you have, demonstrating the truth of your assertions to us ignorant folks should be a piece of cake. Let

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So, according to you, there exists only slight resemblances between the two legal collections which are simply to be expected since both the Covenant Code and the Laws of Hammurabi are legal codes. Could you please start by explaining how this link is only a "slight resemblance" and is to be expected, since they are both legal codes?

I suppose maybe if the US Constitution just happened to have a law that explained what to do when an ox gores a man, followed by another statue explaining what should happen to the ox's owner if the animal was an habitual gorer, terminating with a law that specified that the owner would pay funds out to the slave's owner if the man's habitual goring ox killed the owner's slave, you might just have a point!

Let's start with this and then move on to the evidence that really proves that there is a historical connection between these two legal collections!

But . . . the penalties are different: habitual gorer's owner gets the death penalty in Israel, but only pays a fine in Uruk . . . and slaves are worth 50% more in Israel than they are in Uruk.

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But . . . the penalties are different: habitual gorer's owner gets the death penalty in Israel, but only pays a fine in Uruk . . . and slaves are worth 50% more in Israel than they are in Uruk.

Indeed! And the differences are extremely important in terms of understanding ancient Israelite values and objectives. This is especially true in terms of the intentional replacement of God for Hammurabi in the Covenant Code's adaption of Hammurabi's epilogue.

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David,

You asked:

Before we proceed, however, could you please clarify for us your understanding of the relationship between the Babylonian legal collection, the Code of Hammurabi and the Covenant Code in Exodus (20:19-23:33)?

In a follow-up post, you commented:

Suffice it to say that my specific inquiry in no way represents some sort of trick question. The legal collection in Exodus known as the Covenant Code provides an important example of a major biblical text that was adopted or adapted by an Israelite author(s) from a
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. . . and slaves are worth 50% more in Israel than they are in Uruk.

You forgot to adjust for inflation.

Cheesh. What kind of a scholar are you?

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