Where Did The Jewish Faith Come From?

There are four theories.

The first is in the Bible, the Jews came into Canaan after the Moses trek followed by by a victorious conquest of Canaan by Jews.  Joshua won the battle of Jericho.  The problem with this theory, besides lacking any archaeological evidence, is the Bible’s version of the story has incosistancies.

A second is called the immigration theory. Here,  a group came into Canaan and settled without war in the sparsely populated highlands.  After becoming established, they grew to dominate the cities.  This theory, too, offers no archaeological evidence nor a historical trail.

The third is that a group came out of Egypt into Canaan and eventually became aligned with oppressed Canaanite peasants.  These two forces joined, overthrew the oppressors and came to rule Canaan.  There is not evidence for this either.

A forth theory, claimed to be the current favorite by modern scholars in the field, is called gradual emergence.  That is, what came to be know as Judaism come out of indigenous Canaan over a long period of time.  The cult of Yahweh started somewhere in the country and grew to represent a significant portion of the population.  This indigenous theory is not the one people enjoy so the mythological story of a great victory it the one that made it into the Bible.

Perhaps we could say number four is the default theory.  Since there is no evidence the people of Israel came from anywhere else, they must have originated where they were found.


38 Responses

  1. brad

    Technically, most of this isn’t “theory” because it’s not really based on any physical evidence. But, that’s the beauty of religion. Nothing has to be based on anything when your main subject (God) is invisible.

  2. entech

    You missed the fifth theory. They came full blown in the form of Adam and Eve, the odd mistake had to be corrected until Abram the enlightened one came and set them all straight.

  3. Wanna B Sure

    One could consider; Google; ” Ancient days from what did Moses compose Genesis.” Dr. David P Livingston PHD. “Abraham had written scripture”. Just saying.

    1. Wanna 12:48 “Abraham had written scripture.’

      I read this. I didn’t see that Livingston presented evidence Abraham had written scripture, except that the Bible said this.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        I didn’t see that Abraham himself wrote anything either. I don’t think that was Livingston’s point.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            That they are “unknown” is irrelevant. You have stated about two years ago that the “You weren’t there” argument is baseless. Well, there you are.

      2. Wanna B Sure

        Jon; I see it. Your point of my “Abraham had written scripture”. Wrong understanding. I should/ could have been more clear. That he “had written scripture (available), not that he had written scripture with his own hand. I understand your point, and your conclusion is in error from my intention.

        1. Wanna B Sure

          Jon; Had you had thoughtfully read my reference of the content of Livingston, you surely would have understood my post of “Abraham had written scripture”. Perhaps you didn’t. Perhaps you did and attempted to twist the content.

          1. Wanna 7:48 “Perhaps you didn’t.”

            That is correct. I didn’t really understand the point you, or the point of whomever this Livingson is, was making. It is clear be believes the Bible is the word of God and spends his time interprepting what God meant to tell him. He is clearly of the old school Christian establishment.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; You seem to imply that “New school” is better. I would propose that many of the new school isms are so removed, and deeply involved with universalism, new age, and other mixes of “isms” that they can’t be seriously considered to be Christian whatsoever.

          3. Wanna 12:33 “universalism, new age..they wouldn’t be consider Christian whatsoever.”

            I’m talking about modern Biblical scholars, which may or may not be believers. They look for evidence of Biblical events like the Moses story and the origin of Jewish faith. They don’t start by saying the Bible is the “Word of God”.

            In that sense, new really is better than old.

  4. Wanna B Sure

    One may also consider; Google “Progressive revelation”, noting comments by Charles Hodge. Today that progression would be called ” growing in understanding” of what is already there.

    1. Wanna re “Progressive revelation”

      I read some of the progressive revelation material. So far as I could understand, it starts with the assumption there is a god and the Bible tells us about it. I don’t see it as relevant to the argument against the popular conclusion the Jewish faith came out of Canaan. Progressive relation seems to be older establishment way of talking about the faith.

  5. entech

    According to Jewish tradition, Abraham was born under the name Abram in the city of Ur in Babylonia in the year 1948 from Creation (circa 1800 BCE). He was the son of Terach, an idol merchant, but from his early childhood, he questioned the faith of his father and sought the truth. He came to believe that the entire universe was the work of a single Creator, and he began to teach this belief to others.
    Abram tried to convince his father, Terach, of the folly of idol worship. One day, when Abram was left alone to mind the store, he took a hammer and smashed all of the idols except the largest one. He placed the hammer in the hand of the largest idol. When his father returned and asked what happened, Abram said, “The idols got into a fight, and the big one smashed all the other ones.” His father said, “Don’t be ridiculous. These idols have no life or power. They can’t do anything.” Abram replied, “Then why do you worship them?”

    Judaism 101.

    According to the Jewish calendar this year A.M. is 5774, Abram was born 1948 and left home at 75 this would make his departure about 3750 years ago. The earliest writing is found on pottery shards and dated about 3000 years ago.
    If we grant that there could well have been writing older than that we would assume it was also written on clay.

    The only writing Abram would have had would have been Sumerian, on clay tablets. That which he took with him, as he was the first to propose the new monotheism any writing would have been about the earlier idol worshiping religions. He must have had a great wagon train to carry all this precious knowledge around, surprised it was not lost in transit.

    Discounting the idea that he brought it with him out of Babylon, we cannot be sure where these written records came from, they can’t have been complete, assuming anything before about 4000 years ago would have been lost in the flood. (anything written on clay tablets between 0 and 1657 A.M. = lost in flood) Abram left home on the first of ten tests about 2120 A.M. (only written history available would have been for 2120 – 1657 = 463 years) considering people lived hundreds of years in those days not a lot to go on. But that doesn’t matter anything to support the mythology; and anyway with God all things are possible.

    By the way love the story about Abram smashing the idols, food for thought, why worship indeed.

  6. entech

    “The progressive character of divine revelation is recognized in relation to all the great doctrines of the Bible. .. What at first is only obscurely intimated is gradually unfolded in subsequent parts of the sacred volume, until the truth is revealed in its fulness.” Hodge.

    Sounds like the evolution of the new denominations. New revelations for the new generations. Progressive revelation instead of conservative stick in the muddyness.

    1. Wanna B Sure

      Progressive revelation is not; (as I noted earlier), the same as growing in knowledge. But you are right to a degree in dogmatics, as per the Reformation.

      1. entech

        The problem for me is not all at once or in bits and pieces as required the receiver but more who is revealing what to whom.
        Is progressive revelation what they meant by the Salome school of dancing.

  7. Wanna B Sure

    If Wikipedia can be considered reliable, under cuneiform; earliest form about 34th century BC. Writing is writing, if it’s in clay or on the back of a cow. And, we cannot discount oral tradition that predated the most primitive writing. The next argument against oral traditions is error. The same stories/sagas repeated around the fire over and over greatly reduces the chance for error in the succeeding generations.

    Gen. 26:5;”Abraham kept Jehovah’s statutes”, indicating either oral or “written” conveyance. Sumeria /Ur was in/ near the center of cuneiform writing. There is no record of the mode or numbers in the transportation of Abram and crew. The Genesis book is only one book. The Tanakh is only five books, of which most had not yet been compiled. (my understanding). None of were there; smilie face. Thusly Abram would not necessarily have had such a heavy load even if he brought every text with him from Ur. To speculate he would have had a caravan of trucks to bring it along with him is just that; speculation, and equally a myth.

    1. entech

      I did say to discount the idea that he brought it all from Babylon.

      Trying to say written and oral are equivalent is ‘misrepresentation’ at its crudest. Especially as you were giving Jon such are hard time over “having written scripture” with the difference between saying having as a possessive and having in the sense of having done it as an action.

      But I suppose you are bound to that procedure when you believe the unbelievable and need to jump through hoops to defend the indefensible. It does cause you to write a lot of drivel (thanks for that word, I don’t think I had heard it since I left school).

      All in all one good myth deserves another.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        A good knee jerk example of defense. I” assuming you learned “silly” and “disjointed” in school, and how to apply it.

        1. entech

          No those things I learned from your example.

          Speaking of defense, I notice you decline to defend the accusation of equating written and oral as misrepresenting the case, thought you would be good at that with years of practice defending the indefensible.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            Actually, there is no indication that a constantly repeated oral account/tradition handed down generation after generation is less accurate than the written/chiseled/engraved word. The old and tired “telephone” parlor game is a fallacy when compared to sacred oral accounts. I thought I was pretty specific in pre- answering your anticipated objection in the first paragraph in my 1:47. You must have missed that in your haste to sound profound.

          2. entech

            Agree, oral traditions are often very reliable, tell the same tale twice to the same group, the group not being able to read or write will remember, say something different and you will be told about it.

            All I got from your 1:47 was that you totally failed to understand what I was saying:
            Discounting the idea that he brought it with him out of Babylon, we cannot be sure where these written records came from, … Not talking abut Gen. 26:5, talking about you flip flopping between written and oral.

            “I thought I was pretty specific” as is so often the case, you thought wrong.

          3. entech

            I am writing in English, what are you reading in???

            I am going out for lunch, back tomorrow, forstår du

  8. entech

    History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.
    George Santayana

    Or perhaps, ” a description of doubtful events invented or reinterpreted by people with their own agenda, confirmed by people who weren’t there but also had their own agenda”.

      1. Brad

        “That George sounds like a bitter man.”

        Lies spread by self-appointed historians will do that to ya.

      2. entech

        Happy or sad, bitter or sweet, irrelevant to the fact that what he says is true, especially in a biblical context.

    1. Wolfy32

      Any scientific law or principle, for it to be true, must be true in all cases. If gravity affects things on earth, it must and does affect things on other planets and in space and in all things.

      Therefore, to say that history is a pack of lies as a scientific defense against that which is biblical, means that all history must be a pack of lies then, not just biblical history.

      That means WWII was a complete lie, as well as WWI, and who won the wars.

      I would agree though with a less constrictive statement. The victors define history. We’ll never know if Osama Bin Laden was truely killed or if he was captured, the public told he’s dead, and he’s either lavishing in a mansion on some secluded island, paid for by the CIA, or he’s being tortured beyond measure right now, soon to be dead or already dead from torture. After all, we defeated him and therefore, we define what happened to him.

      1. entech

        Santayana was a philosopher not a scientists, I don’t think it is a testable scientific hypothesis, just a general observation.
        Rather like the one that follows from your restriction, “to the victor go the spoils”, part the spoils, of course, being the right to control history as written.

        If the victory is Pyrrhic, to the extent of “last man standing”, there would be no point in writing a history that had no one left to read it.

        As a general idea the two are not incompatible.

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