Yale Lecture Series on Hebrew Bible

My friend Archaeopteryx was good enough to share the YouTube lecture series by Yale Professor Christine Hayes, “Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible)”.  After watching the first video in the series, I believe this will make a good resource for serious seekers who want to understand the historical events, cultural forces and literary composition of the Old Testament. I read many volumes written by various historians during my own investigations, and I suspect this video series would shorten the learning arc for others.

I’m linking the first video here, which I have cued to mid-lecture as Prof. Hayes discusses 5 common myths about the Hebrew Bible that most Americans do not understand. If you have another 15 minutes, feel free to back it up for full context. I’ll also be adding a link in the sidebar under Rapid Resources, though these lectures are admittedly a bit long to be considered truly rapid. Cheers!

Read Complete: On The Reliability of the Old Testament, by K.A. Kitchen

Kenneth Kitchen’s volume On The Reliability of the Old Testament is a book important enough to the evangelical community that I think a full review is warranted. That is currently in the works. In the meantime, I think it is sufficient to note that Kitchen is cited by many for two main reasons: (1) he defends the historical basis for the OT, and (2) he provides ample and quotable criticism of scholars like Finkelstein.

However, even granting that Kitchen’s narrow minority views are correct, readers ought to beware that he does not land us in the place many seem to think. What he concedes to folks like Finkelstein, Silberman, Dever, etc., proves far more notable than where he disagrees. The ‘reliability’ that he defends is by no means the traditional view of the texts in question. And as he does so, he demonstrates that the biblical texts are entirely non-unique among their antecedent and contemporary pagan cousins. Kitchen defends a different mountain than the one on which evangelicals have planted their flag. Tall Tale Tellers the biblical chroniclers remain.

His chapter on Genesis, dealing with both the creation and the flood, is a breathtaking expansion of discussions only covered briefly in other books on Christian origins. I believe that I could have saved myself a great deal of effort and a great many books, had I simply read Kitchen’s chapter first. It is more evident on Kitchen than ever that the Genesis accounts are as fabricated as their cousins, and as blind.

Long survey pending.

Quote: Kitchen on Jericho

There has always been too much imagination about Jericho by moderns (never mind previous generations), and the basic factors have ironically been largely neglected. The town was always small, an appendage to its spring and oasis…

~ K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament

Quote: Kitchen Summarizing The Exodus

Cover of "On the Reliability of the Old T...

Cover of On the Reliability of the Old Testament

The Exodus and Sinai events are not hereby proven to have happened, or the tabernacle and covenant, etc., to have been made then. But their correspondence not just with attested realities but with known usage of the late second millennium B.C. and earlier does favor acceptance of their having had a definite historical basis.

~ K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament

Israel Finkelstein website

Finkelstein WebsiteFinkelstein seems ever to be a lightning-rod figure wherever traditional biblical views collide with current Syro-Palestinian archaeology. For convenience of referece, Israel Finkelstein’s website.

Long Reads and Wikipedia

After a year of reading and looking, I arrived at the place of conceding that scholarly consensus about the authorship of the Bible gives a pretty low score to the traditional ascriptions. The best information today indicates that many books were not written by who we thought or when.

Wikipedia - BibleThe ironic and painful part of this is realizing that the answer could have been found very quickly and easily – by simply reading the Wikipedia entry on authorship of the Bible. Heavily annotated, the basic viewpoint there comports with the net information that I’ve seen. That’s sort of sad. If I wanted to know the skinny on the Book of Mormon or the Koran, the first place I would go would be Wikipedia. It was one of the last places I went on Biblical texts. We are very accustomed to learning about our religion from inside our religion.

Authorship: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Bible

The Exodus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_exodus

The Flood: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_geology

It is widely kn…

It is widely known that the book of Exodus and the conquest narratives in Joshua and Judges do not give us a journalistic recounting of freed slaves and the beginnings of an independent nation.

Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam (Ch. 4)

Three years ago…

Three years ago on Passover, I explained to my congregation that according to archeologists, there was no reliable evidence that the Exodus took place–and that it almost certainly did not take place the way the Bible recounts it. Finally, I emphasized: It didn’t matter.

~ Rabbi David Wolpe

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