Where did Aaron die?

This is another issue that raised many objections among the critics of the Bible. Another chance to disprove and discredit the Bible. I googled a little about this problem but I didn’t find anything positive, other than some try to equate Mount Hor with Moserah. Yet, that seems quite improbable since “there is a significant amount of travel between these two points”, as Wikipedia rightly observes. So here is a quite satisfying interpretation:

For example, one of the many objections raised against the historical reliability and integrity of the Pentateuch dealt with an alleged conflict of tradition in regard to the place where Aaron died. According to one of the sources that scholars purported to identify, he died on Mount Hor (Num. 20:22; 21:4; 33:33; Deut. 32:50), but according to a “different” tradition he died at Moserah (Deut. 10:6). A careful reading of the text shows that in point of fact there is absolutely no conflict in the tradition concerning the death of Aaron at all. The word מוֹסֵרָה in Deuteronomy 10:6 means “chastisement”, thus describing the place of his death in terms of a value judgment. This allusion makes it clear that his decease on Mount Hor constituted a reproof for the trespass at Meribah (Num. 20:24; Deut. 32:51), and that, like Moses, he was excluded from the Promised Land because of his rebellion against God. The two supposedly conflicting traditions are thus in complete harmony, and preserve the facts that Aaron died on Mount Hor while the people encamped below in mourning. In order to mark this sad occasion, which, with his own exclusion from the Promised Land, lay heavily upon the mind of Moses (Deut. 1:37; 3:23ff.), the incident and the camp-site were designated Moseroth (Num. 33:31; Deut. 10:6).

***

In this connection it should be noted that the various references to the death of Aaron (Num. 20:22ff.; 33:38f.; Deut. 10:6; 32:50f.) are supple­mentary rather than contradictory. While they are rather different in nature, they are by no means inconsistent in their presentation of fact. Although in the strictest sense Mount Hor was the physical scene of the death of Aaron, the name “Moserah” or “Moseroth” described the charac­ter of that event as “chastisement” (G. T. Manley, EQ, XXVII (1955), pp. 201ff). That this word was used as a common noun is indicated by the plural form in Numbers 33:30f. Like Massah, Meribah, and Taberah it denoted the nature of the event as well as the place where the incident occurred.

R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 511, 639.

Advertisements

Camels in Genesis (or Did Abraham Really Own Camels?)

This post came up after I read an article by the NYT entitled “Camels Had No Business in Genesis”.

I am amazed at how easily some people draw absolute conclusions from fragmentary evidence (even worst when they claim to be scientists), and how often the same negative arguments about the Bible are revitalized again and again.

Before I quote my evidence on the subject, I would like just to comment the fact that the scientists in this article draw their conclusions from radiocarbon dating. As they should know, this kind of dating is not conclusive, since much things can affect such a dating. Of course this kind of dating is a great resource, and can provide us with useful data, but we must remember to draw conclusions with caution… Times and again, things have proved wrong with this kind of dating, because of the extraneous factors involved. I did not notice such caution from the scientist involved.

So, now I will quote a couple of scholars and their assessment of the subject:

Despite the admission of Albright[1] that sporadic domestication of the camel might have gone back several centuries before the end of the Bronze Age, there are still writers who assume that the few references to camels in the patriarchal sagas (Gen. 12:16; 24:64) are anachronistic.[2] Prior to their full-scale domestication in the twelfth century B.C., camels were used to a limited extent as beasts of burden, a fact that is evident from their mention (GAM.MAL) in an eighteenth-century B.C. cuneiform list of fodder for domestic animals, discovered at Alalakh in northern Syria.[3] In addition, the excavations of Parrot at Mari uncovered the remains of camel bones in the ruins of a house belonging to the pre-Sargonic era (ca. 2400 B.C.).[4] A relief at Byblos in Phoenicia, dated in the eighteenth century B.C., depicts a camel in a kneeling position, thus indicating the domestication of the animal in Phoenician circles some centuries prior to the Amama Age.[5] Albright’s objection that the animal depicted on the relief had no hump and could not therefore be considered a camel was refuted by de Vaux, who pointed out that there was a socket on the back to which the hump and its load had been attached separately.[6] Other evidence for the early domestication of the camel consists of a jawbone recovered from a Middle Bronze Age tomb (ca. 1900-1600 B.C.) at Tell el-Farah,[7] and cylinder seals found in northern Mesopotamia, dating from the patriarchal era and depicting riders seated upon camels.[8] The foregoing ought to be sufficient to refute the commonly held view that references to camels in Genesis are “anachronistic touches” introduced to make the stories more vivid to later hearers.[9]

R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 311.

 ***

 It was the contention of many archaeolo­gists, Albright included, that the references to camels as included in Abraham’s holdings in livestock (Gen. 12:16) and as employed by his servant who conducted the courtship of Rebekah (Gen. 24:10, 14, 19-20) were anachro­nistic embellishments coming from later cen­turies. Likewise the mention of camels as employed by the slave traders who purchased Joseph on their way down to Egypt (Gen. 37:25). This deduction was drawn from a lack of clear extrabiblical reference to camels prior to the twelfth century in any of the archaeological dis­coveries made before 1950. But like so many arguments from silence, this contention must be abandoned as discredited by subsequent find­ings. Kenneth Kitchen points out (AOOT, p. 79) that even apart from a probable (but disputed) eighteenth-century allusion to camels in a fod­der list from Tell Atshana (as attested by W. G. Lambert in BASOR, no. 160 [Dec. I960]: 42-43), there is undoubtedly a reference to the domesti­cation of camels in some of the lexical lists from the Old Babylonian period (2000-1700 B.C.). An early Sumerian text from Nippur alludes to camel’s milk (cf. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary [I960]: 7:2b). Back in the twenty-fifth century B.C., the bones of a camel were interred under a house at Mari (André Parrot, in Syria 32 [1955]: 323). Similar discoveries have been made in Palestinian sites in levels dating from 2000 B.C. onward. From Byblos in Phoenicia comes an incomplete camel figurine dating from the nine­teenth or eighteenth century (Roland de Vaux, in Revue Biblique 56 [1949]: 9). More recent discov­ery has further shown this negative judgment to be unjustified. (Cf. R. J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology, vol. 2 [Brill, 1965], chap. 4, pp. 194-213; “The Coming of the Camel,” p. 197). Forbes cites an early Dynastic limestone vessel shaped like a recumbent pack camel; also dis­covered are pottery camels’ heads from Hierakonpolis and Abydos in the Egyptian First Dynasty (p. 198). Also included is a figurine of a recumbent camel at Byblos during the Middle Kingdom Period (p. 203). Oppenhelm found at Gozan (Tell Halaf) an orthostat of an armed camel rider which was dated 3000 B.C. or at least early 3rd millennium. A small camel figurine discovered at Megiddo closely resembles Dynasty I types. Middle Kingdom camel bones were found at Gezer (p. 209). The Akkadian term for male camel is ibulu/udra/uduru; for female camel, udrate; for dromedary, gammalu (E-G v:116.10); in Coptic, jamūl. (The Sumerian term was ANŠE A-ABBA: “an ass of the sea-lands or dromedary”). Once again the Old Testament record has been vindicated as a com­pletely trustworthy and historical account, despite the temporary lack of archaeological confirmation.

Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 144.

***

The first Biblical references to domesticated camels occur in the stories of Abraham. He owned them (Ge 12:16), and his servant used them as pack animals (24:10). Camels are also mentioned in the stories of Jacob (30:43; 31:34; 32:15) and Joseph (37:25) and were found among the Amalekites, Ishmaelites and Midianites.

Scholars have debated the historicity of these references to camels because most belieeve that these animals were not widely domesticated until approximately 1200 B.C., long after the time of Abraham. Arguments in support of later domestication of the camel include:

Neither the Mari tablets from the eigh­teenth century B.C. nor the fourteenth-century B.C. Amarna correspondence mentions domesticated camels.

During the patriarchal period the donkey apears to have been the animal primarily used for transport. For example, the “Beni Hasan painting,” which depicts Semites bringing goods to Egypt during the Twelfth Dynasty (1900 B.C.), pictures donkeys rather than camels being used in caravans.

On the other hand, we do see clear evi­dence of camel domestication in the first mil­lennium, much later than the time of the patriarchs. For example, Assyrian wall relief artwork depicts men riding camels into war.

Other evidence does suggest that at least some camels were domesticated earlier. Bone fragments and other archaeological remains have led some scholars to postulate a third millennium date for camel domestication. Although many scholars regard this evidence as inconclusive because it is difficult to distin­guish wild from domesticated animals using only bone samples, other evidence, as de­scribed below, suggests that people were rely­ing on camels in some manner:

  • A braided cord of camel hair from pre-dynastic Egypt has been discovered.
  • A Sumerian text refers to camel’s milk.
  • An Old Babylonian text from the early second-millennium Ugarit describes the camel as a domestic animal.

Thus, the evidence does not force us to regard the appearance of domesticated camels in Genesis as anachronistic. Such tamed animals probably were rare during the second millennium, however, and may have been owned almost exclusively by wealthy people.

NIV Archaeological Study Bible, p. 41. 


[1] FSAC, p. 165; cf. J. P. Free, JNES, III (1944), pp. 187ff.

[2] BHI, p. 72; BANE, p. 204; cf. R. Walz, ZDMG, Cl (1951), pp. 29ff., CIV (1954), pp. 45ff.

[3] D. J. Wiseman and A. Goetze, JCS, XIII (1959), pp. 29, 37; D. J. Wiseman, The Alalakh Tablets (1953), No. 269:59; S. Moscati, Rivista degle Studi Orientali, XXXV (I960),; p. 116; cf. W. G. Lambert, BASOR, No. 160 (1960), p. 42.

[4] A. Parrot, SRA, XXXII (1955), p. 323.

[5] P. Montet, Byblos et VfLgypte (1928), p. 91 and pi. 52.

[6] W. F. Albright, JBL, LXIV (1945), p. 288; R. de Vaux, RB, LVI (1949), p. 9 n. 4f.

[7] Ibid., p. 9 n. 8. Cf. C. H. Gordon in Biblical and Other Studies, p. 10.

[8] The Tell Halaf sculptured relief (LAP, p. 55 and pi. 25) is far from being “one of the earliest known representations of the camel.” For the early domestication of the camel in India see M. Wheeler, The Indus Civilisation (1953), p. 60.

[9] BHI, p. 72; K. A. Kitchen, NBD, pp. 181ff.

(Updated) Πίεση του κατεστημένου υπέρ της «κρατούσας» επιστημονικής ή ακαδημαϊκής άποψης / Peer pressure in favor of the “mainstream” scientific or academic theories

Θα μιλήσω για τις πιέσεις που υφίστανται οι νέοι επιστήμονες προκειμένου να αφιερωθούν σε θέματα εγκεκριμένα από το κυρίως ρεύμα προκειμένου να έχουν μια αξιοπρεπή σταδιοδρομία. Υπέστην κι εγώ τέτοιες πιέσεις, οι οποίες μάλιστα επηρέασαν την καριέρα μου. Η σύγκρουση ανάμεσα στην ανάγκη για ανεξάρτητες επιστημονικές κρίσεις και την αποφυγή της αποξένωσης από το κυρίως ρεύμα είναι ένα αίσθημα που κι εγώ, επίσης, βίωσα. Δεν γράφω αυτό το βιβλίο για να επικρίνω επιστήμονες που έκαναν επιλογές διαφορετικές από τις δικές μου αλλά για να εξετάσω γιατί πρέπει καν να έρχονται αντιμέτωποι οι επιστήμονες με τέτοιες επιλογές. Θεωρία χορδών. Όλα ή τίποτα; Lee Smolin, σελ. 25.

Η θεωρία χορδών πλέον κατέχει τέτοια δεσπόζουσα θέση στην ακαδημαϊκή κοινότητα, ώστε στην πράξη όποιος νεαρός θεωρητικός φυσικός δεν ακολουθήσει αυτή την περιοχή έρευνας είναι σαν να καταστρέφει την ίδια του την καριέρα. Ακόμη και ερευνητές από περιοχές όπου η θεωρία χορδών δεν κάνει προβλέψεις, όπως η κοσμολογία και η σωματιδιακή φαινομενολογία, συνηθίζουν να ξεκινούν τις ομιλίες και τις εργασίες τους με τη διαβεβαίωση ότι η δουλειά τους θα βασίζεται κάποτε στη θεωρία χορδών. Θεωρία χορδών. Όλα ή τίποτα; Lee Smolin, σελ. 27.

Κάποιοι νεαροί θεωρητικοί των χορδών μού έχουν πει ότι αισθάνονται σαν να τους εξαναγκάζουν να δουλέψουν στη θεωρία χορδών, είτε πιστεύουν σε αυτήν είτε όχι, καθώς εκλαμβάνεται ως εισιτήριο για μια θέση καθηγητή σε κάποιο πανεπιστήμιο. Και έχουν δίκιο: Στις ΗΠΑ, όσοι θεωρητικοί ακολουθήσουν διαφορετικές από τη θεωρία χορδών προσεγγίσεις της θεμελιακής φυσικής δεν θα έχουν σχεδόν καμία ευκαιρία για σταδιοδρομία. Τα τελευταία δεκαπέντε χρόνια, τρεις είναι όλοι κι όλοι οι επίκουροι καθηγητές που εργάζονται σε διαφορετικές από τη θεωρία χορδών προσεγγίσεις της κβαντικής βαρύτητας και οι οποίοι προσλήφθηκαν από αμερικανικά ερευνητικά πανεπιστήμια, και μάλιστα οι προσλήψεις αυτές έγιναν από μία και μόνο ερευνητική ομάδα. Την ώρα που η θεωρία χορδών εξακολουθεί να αγωνίζεται από επιστημονική άποψη, έχει ήδη θριαμβεύσει στο ακαδημαϊκό πλαίσιο. Η κατάσταση αυτή βλάπτει την επιστήμη, διότι καταστέλλει τη διερεύνηση εναλλακτικών κατευθύνσεων, από τις οποίες κάποιες υπόσχονται πολλά. Θεωρία χορδών. Όλα ή τίποτα; Lee Smolin, σελ. 30.

A close if unofficial surveillance was imposed upon potential candidates for positions in the Old Testament field in British universities, and only those who displayed proper respect for the canons of critical orthodoxy were appointed to academic posts. Consequently scholars of a more conservative bent were relegated to comparative obscurity in theological colleges of various denominations and other independent institutions of learning. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 28.

The divisive theories of Duhm virtually swept the field. Not even the moderating tendencies of S. R. Driver were sufficient to place this critical emotionalism, in proper perspective, and by the end of the nineteenth century it was considered academically bizarre and unrespectable to begin to suggest views that could be interpreted as maintaining the unity of the prophecy. In Europe, as in England, the appointment to University chairs in Old Testament depended to no small extent upon the amount of enthusiasm with which the prospective candidate adhered to the “assured findings” of the critical school in both Pentateuchal and Isaianic studies, a situation prevalent to a considerable degree also in North America. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 769.

Objections to the historicity of Daniel were copied uncritically from book to book, and by the second decade of the twentieth century no scholar of general liberal background who wished to preserve his academic reputation either dared or desired to challenge the current critical trend. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 1111.

Even to suggest an investigation of these evidences is absolutely unthinkable in the minds of the Liberal establishment. To propose any kind of objective examination is to invite ridicule and scorn from the practitioners of the Documentary Hypothesis or Form Criticism or Canonical Criticism who maintain a rigid control of the biblical studies department in most of our present-day universities and state-supported seminaries throughout the Western World.

The amazing feature about this Bible-denigrating procedure is its flagrant violation of the rule against circular reasoning that underlies all evidential logic. To the rationalistic mind-set of the Aufklärung and the Encyclopedistes of the mid-eighteenth century it was well-nigh inconceivable for any educated thinking to take seriously the truth-claims of Holy Scripture, and those who undertook to do so were ridiculed as benighted and naive, no matter what scholarly attainments they had achieved in their education. If they really believed that the Bible was the Word of God, they were ipso facto outdated traditionalists who could be safely ignored. Gleason L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, σελ. 486.

The history of sciences amply demonstrates that this sort of attitude and behavior, that is, following the prevailing opinion among those in a given field, whether cosmology, physics, biology, medicine, or what have you, has for many centuries been a major cause of the persistence of gross errors in all these disciplines. That a majority holds a given view is not an argument in science; every scholar or researcher is obliged in conscience to examine his own discipline and to ask himself what the assumptions and presuppositions in his discipline that are taken for granted really consist of and what kind of basis they rest on. The history of science also demonstrates that, when a scholar or researcher does undertake to look honestly at the presuppositions and a prioris in his field, the results are often surprising and sometimes even revolutionary. Claude Tresmontant, The Hebrew Christ, σελ. 10.

The fact that his results are so much at variance with reigning scholarly opinion may explain the silence that has greeted his book both in France and in Germany…

…Upholders of the dominant opinion in biblical scholarship are not happy with Robinson’s book; if Robinson is right, they are wrong. In scholarship, as in all the other affairs of life, it is always very difficult to own up to being wrong. It is even more difficult to admit to having taught errors and ab­surdities throughout one’s entire scholarly career. That Robinson’s thesis has not found automatic acceptance is therefore quite understandable. Claude Tresmontant, The Hebrew Christ, σελ. 50.

In a discussion of sources for the study of Paul, N. T. Wright weighs in on the scholarly consensus that Paul wrote only seven of the thirteen letters attributed to him. He notes that it is odd that even though many of the considerations that drove this opinion have been overturned, it nonetheless remains the consensus. Wright goes on to comment on scholarly fashion:

In addition – it is hard to say this, but perhaps it needs to be said – there is the matter of fashion and prejudice. Just as in Germany in the late nineteenth century you more or less had to be a follower of F. C. Baur, and in Oxford in the mid-twentieth century you more or less had to believe in the existence of Q, so in North America today you more or less have to say that you will regard Ephesians and Colossians as post-Pauline – unless, like Luke Timothy Johnson, you have so massively established your scholarly credibility on other grounds that your acceptance of the letters as fully Pauline can then be regarded, not as a serious scholarly fault, but as an allowable eccentricity (Source).

How possible is it to overlook the prophetic movement that permeated ancient Israel and the Old Testament? / Είναι δυνατόν να παραβλέψουμε το προφητικό κίνημα που διαπότισε τον αρχαίο Ισραήλ και την Παλαιά Διαθήκη;

Many people, mostly atheists, deny the prophesies of the Bible. There are many arguments supporting the reality of the prophesies, amply presented by many able men. I will add one more, in the words of the illustrious Robert Dick Wilson. He writes:

Those who would adequately explain the prophetic movement must ac­count for at least three factors.

  1. The psychological fact of the prophets’ con­viction that Cod had actually spoken to them;
  2. the continuity of the move­ment, consisting of men who lived over a period of several hundred years, all believing that God had spoken to them and,
  3. the teleological trend of the predictions (Messianic prophecy).

In all the nations of antiquity there is no real parallel to the prophetic movement (This last statement is corroborated by Professor R. K Harison who states: …the messianic concept of the Hebrews… has no proper counterpart in ancient Near Eastern culture. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 480).

***

In other words, if we accept that these men were mentally ill, we have to face a very bizarre fact. That the Hebrews and only them, produced mentally ill men, for a very long time, with the one and same conviction (that they were God’s spokesmen), and all of them proclaimed the same message.

That “fact” demands a lot of faith to believe it… Therefore, atheists are far from unbelievers…

Πολλοί άνθρωποι, κυρίως αθεϊστές, αρνούνται τις προφητείες της Βίβλου. Υπάρχουν πολλά επιχειρήματα που υποστηρίζουν την πραγματικότητα των προφητειών, που έχουν παρουσιαστεί επαρκέστατα από πολλούς ικανούς ανθρώπους. Θα προσθέσω ένα ακόμη, με τα λόγια του επιφανούς Robert Dick Wilson. Γράφει:

Οποιοσδήποτε εξηγήσει ικανοποιητικά το προφητικό κίνημα, θα πρέπει να εξηγήσει τουλάχιστον τρεις παράγοντες.

  1. Tο ψυχολογικό δεδομένο της πεποίθησης των προφητών ότι ο Θεός πράγματι τους μίλησε·
  2. τη συνέχεια του κινήματος, το οποίο αποτελούνταν από ανθρώπους οι οποίοι έζησαν κατά τη διάρκεια μιας περιόδου εκατοντάδων ετών, πιστεύοντας όλοι τους ότι ο Θεός τους μίλησε και,
  3. την τελεολογική ροπή των προβλέψεων (Μεσσιανική προφητεία).

Μεταξύ όλων των εθνών της αρχαιότητας, δεν υπάρχει πραγματικό παράλληλο του προφητικού κινήματος (Αυτή η τελευταία πρόταση επιβεβαιώνεται από τον καθηγητή R. K Harison ο οποίος γράφει: …η μεσσιανική αντίληψη των Εβραίων… δεν έχει αντίστοιχο στον πολιτισμό της αρχαίας Εγγύς ΑνατολήςR. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 480).

***

Με άλλα λόγια, αν δεχτούμε ότι αυτοί οι άνθρωποι ήταν πνευματικά άρρωστοι, ερχόμαστε αντιμέτωποι με ένα πολύ περίεργο γεγονός. Ότι οι Εβραίοι και μόνο αυτοί, παρήγαγαν πνευματικά άρρωστους ανθρώπους, με την αυτή πεποίθηση (ότι ήταν αντιπρόσωποι του Θεού), και όλοι τους μετέδιδαν το ίδιο άγγελμα.

Αυτό το «γεγονός» απαιτεί πολύ πίστη για να το πιστέψεις… Συνεπώς, οι άθεοι σίγουρα δεν είναι άπιστοι…

Robert Dick Wilson, A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament, σελ. 160.

About the date of composition and the background of the Second Epistle of Peter / Περί του χρόνου συγγραφής και του υποβάθρου της Δεύτερης Επιστολής του Πέτρου

As a result of the Qumran discoveries it is now no longer necessary to assign the Second Epistle of Peter to a date in the middle of the second century A.D., as has long been maintained by critical scholars.* The closeness of its phraseology and thought to that of the Essenes and similar sects which flourished at the beginning of the Christian era indicates quite clearly that the Epistle proceeded strictly from a Palestinian Jewish milieu. Indeed, the emphasis upon the true way, light in the midst of darkness, brotherly love, true and false teachers, and the destruction of the world by fire, is distinctly reminiscent of the Qumran writings, and shows little if any contact with Hellenistic thought.

* E.g., A. S. Peake, A Critical Introduction to the New Testament (1910), p. 99.; F. B. Clogg, An Introduction to the New Testament (1937), p. 172.; R. Heard, An Introduction to the New Testament (1950), p. 219.; A. H. McNeile, An Introduction to the Study of the New Testament (1955 ed.), pp. 247 ff.

R. K. Harrison, Archaeology of the New Testament, σελ. 81.

What is the meaning of Jesus’ phrases “that they may be one” and “that they may become perfectly one”? / Ποια είναι η σημασία των φράσεων του Ιησού «ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς» και «ἵνα ὦσιν τετελειωμένοι εἰς ἕν»;

The phrases “that they may be one”, “that they may become perfectly one” (John 17:11, 21, 23) are Semitic forms whose structure is matched closely by the diction of Qumran, which elsewhere stressed the unity of the sect (emphasis added).

R. K. Harrison, Archaeology of the New Testament, σελ. 75.

The following are my comments:

It is obvious that these phrases of Jesus by no means meant an ontological identification of the disciples with him and his Father. As R. K. Harrison states, these same statements have been discovered among the manuscripts of the Qumran (for John 17:23 see 1QS, V:2; for John 11:52 see 1QS, V:7), and the meaning they convey is the meaning of unity (in purpose, thinking, etc).

A question that rises in my mind is: What are we to gather when we apply this on these same statements concerning the Son and the Father? What is the “catalyst” that changes their meaning from that of unity to that of ontological identification (or substance identification, according to the various interpretations) as the Trinity dogma demands?

I just can’t find one, at least not one that is quite satisfying. Please, feel free to comment.

Τα παρακάτω είναι δικά μου σχόλια:

Είναι προφανές ότι αυτές οι φράσεις του Ιησού σε καμία περίπτωση δεν σήμαιναν οντολογική ταύτιση των μαθητών Του με Αυτόν και τον Πατέρα Του. Όπως δηλώνει ο R. K. Harrison, οι ίδιες δηλώσεις έχουν ανακαλυφθεί στα χειρόγραφα του Κουμράν (για Ιωάννη 17:23 δες 1QS, V: 2· για Ιωάννη 11:52 δες 1QS, V:7), και το νόημα που εκφράζουν είναι η έννοια της ενότητας (στο σκοπό, τη σκέψη, κλπ).

Ένα ερώτημα που γεννάται στο μυαλό μου είναι το εξής: Τι πρέπει να συμπεράνουμε όταν εφαρμόζουμε αυτό το γεγονός σε αυτές τις δηλώσεις σχετικά με τον Υιό και τον Πατέρα; Ποιος είναι ο «καταλύτης» που αλλάζει το νόημά τους από εκείνο της ενότητας με εκείνο της οντολογικής ταύτισης (ή της ταύτισης της ουσίας, σύμφωνα με τις διάφορες ερμηνείες), όπως απαιτεί το δόγμα της Τριάδας;

Αδυνατώ να βρω έναν τέτοιο «καταλύτη», τουλάχιστον κάποιον που είναι αρκετά ικανοποιητικός. Παρακαλώ, μη διστάσετε να σχολιάσετε.

The historicity of Acts 17:16, 23 / Η ιστορικότητα του Πράξεις 17:16, 23

The city was so filed with idols that Pausanias tells us it was easier to meet a god or a goddess on the main street of Athens, than to meet a man. / Η πόλη ήταν τόσο γεμάτη από είδωλα, ώστε  ο Παυσανίας μας λέει ότι ήταν πιο εύκολο να συναντήσεις μια θεότητα στον κεντρικό δρόμο των Αθηνών απ’ ότι έναν άνθρωπο.

Wilbur M. Smith, Therefore Stand, σελ. 249.

The reference in the Areopagus address to an altar bearing the inscription “to an unknown God” is in complete accord with the observations of Paul concerning the superstitious religiosity of the Athenians. While no inscriptions containing the precise wording mentioned by the Apostle have yet been found at Athens, such inscribed altars were by no means unknown in various parts of Greece at that period, as indicated by contemporary writers. An altar recovered from the temple of Demeter at Pergamum in 1909 bore a legend somewhat as follows:
“To unknown gods.
Capito,
Torch-bearer”.

R. K. Harrison, Archaeology of the New Testament, σελ. 41.

Πόσο ιστορικά αξιόπιστη είναι η Βίβλος; / How historically reliable is the Bible?

Ιστορική αξιοπιστία της Βίβλου. 

  1. Αριθμοί 33:19-35. Το γεγονός ότι η λίστα είναι γνήσια φανερώνεται από τα περιστατικά που σχετίζονται με αυτή την περίοδο αντανακλούν πιστά τα φυσικά φαινόμενα της περιοχής στην οποία λέγεται ότι βρίσκονταν οι σταθμοί. Έτσι το βγάλσιμο νερού με χτύπημα στο βράχο αποκαλύπτει εξοικείωση με την ιδιότητα κατακράτησης νερού του ασβεστόλιθου του Σινά. Παρόμοια το σκάψιμο ρηχών πηγαδιών (Αριθ. 21:16ff) καταδεικνύει το γνωστό γεγονός των νερών του υπεδάφους σε διάφορα μέρη της χερσονήσου του Σινά και της νότιας Υπεριορδανίας. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 633.
  2. H στρατοπέδευση των φυλών σε μορφή ορθογώνιου με κενά γύρω από τη σκηνή της Μαρτυρίας (Αριθ. 2:2ff) τώρα είναι γνωστό ότι ήταν συνηθισμένος τρόπος στρατοπέδευσης την εποχή Amarna. The arrangement of the tribes by their standards in the form of a hollow rectangle around the Tabernacle (Num. 2:2ff.), long held by liberal critics to constitute an indication of the late date of the priestly material in the Pentateuch, is now known to have been a common deployment of encamped forces in the Amarna period. As Kitchen has remarked, it is significant in this connection to note that precisely the same strategic layout was utilized by Rameses II, the contemporary of Moses, in his Syrian campaign, when the large portable war-tent of the divine king was pitched in the center of a rectangular encampment of the army divisions. It is especially noteworthy that this important Egyptian comparison should have emerged from the very century in which Moses lived, for later on, in the first millennium B.C., such military encampments changed their shape, as indicated by the round form of deployment on Assyrian reliefs. Therefore it appears eminently, probable that the arrangement depicted in Numbers indicates that Moses was utilizing earlier Egyptian training in the military arts for the welfare of the infant Israelite nation. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 622, 623.
  3. Οι μακριές ασημένιες σάλπιγγες (Aιθ. 10:1ff).. 623 §1. Another matter which has a decided bearing upon the antiquity of the sources in Numbers relates to the use of long silver trumpets for convening a civil assembly as well as for religious and military purposes (Num. 10:1ff.). Such trumpets were in common use in Egypt during the Amarna Age, and some particularly elegant specimens that were interred with the pharaoh Tutankhamen (ca. 1350 B.C.) were recovered by Howard Carter in the twentieth century. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 623.
  4. Έξι άμαξες με βόδια. (Αριθ. 7:3) Equally ancient is the use of six wagons drawn by oxen for the service of the Tabernacle (Num. 7:3ff.). As Kuentz has shown, ox-drawn wagons were employed regularly on campaigns in Syria by the pharaohs from the time of Tuthmosis III (ca. 1470 B.C.) onwards for several centuries. It only remains to be observed that the wagons of Moses and the Israelites in Sinai, which were drawn generally by two yoked oxen, compare favorably with the ten wagons drawn by six spans of oxen that transported supplies for 8,000 quarrymen of Rameses IV (ca. 1160 B.C.) from the Nile valley into the desert areas of the Wadi Hammamat, between the Nile and the Red Sea, under conditions very similar to those obtaining in the Sinai peninsula. In these, as in so many other respects, a proper use of the available evidence serves to dispose of uninformed subjective criticisms of the genuineness of the narratives. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 623.
  5. Ιστορικότητα του Λευιτικό 7:32. Since the pagan neighbors of Israel also indulged in sacrificial rites, it is natural to expect certain points of contact in ritual and intent. Excavations at Lachish (Tell ed-Duweir) uncovered the remains of three Canaanite shrines, built between the fifteenth and thirteenth centuries B.C., near to which large quantities of animal bones were found in a pile of debris. On examination most of them were found to have come from the right foreleg of the animal, which corresponds to the prescriptions for Hebrew sacrifice in Leviticus 7:32 and attests to the antiquity of that passage. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 600.
  6. Έξοδος 8:26f, 10:9, 25f. Ημερολόγια εργασίας που ανήκουν στην περίοδο του Νέου Βασιλείου έχουν αποκαλύψει, μεταξύ άλλων λόγων απουσίας, την προσφορά θυσιών από εργάτες στους θεούς τους, και έχοντας υπόψη τη διαδεδομένη λατρεία ζώων στην περιοχή του ανατολικού Δέλτα δεν είναι στο ελάχιστο μη ρεαλιστικό να υποθέσουμε ότι οι Εβραίοι θα μπορούσαν να ζητήσουν, και θα ανέμεναν να λάβουν άδεια τριών ημερών από την εργασία ώστε να γιορτάσουν τη δικιά τους θρησκευτική εκδήλωση στην έρημο χωρίς ταυτοχρόνως να προκαλούν Αιγυπτιακό θρησκευτικό ανταγωνισμό. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 577.
  7. Επιστημονική ακρίβεια της Βίβλου. Σημερινά εισαγωγικά βιβλία περί λέπρας αναφέρονται στα αποσπάσματα του Λευιτικού που αφορούν στη διάγνωση και την πρόληψη της λέπρας. Αυτό το υλικό αποτελεί την πρώτη μορφοποίηση των κανόνων της καραντίνας και της προληπτικής ιατρικής όπως εφαρμόζονται στη λέπρα, η οποία σώθηκε από τον πολιτισμό της αρχαίας Εγγύς Ανατολής. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 610.
  8. Διαχωρισμός καθαρών ακάθαρτων ζώων. «Θα πρέπει να παρατηρηθεί ότι τα καθαρά ζώα ήταν αποκλειστικά χορτοφάγα και ως τέτοια ήταν λιγότερο πιθανό να μεταδώσουν μόλυνση σε αντιδιαστολή με τα σαρκοφάγα, τα οποία τρέφονταν με σάρκα η οποία αποσυντίθεται γοργά σε συνθήκες ζεστού κλίματος». R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, σελ. 605.
  9. Ηθική και Πρακτική Καθαρότητα της Βίβλου. Σχέσεις γάμου (Λευιτικό 18:1-30) και αντιδιαστολή των με το τι συνέβαινε μεταξύ Αιγυπτίων, Χαναναίων και Χεταίων. That a strict attitude towards the marital union of near of kin was typical of the Mosaic legal code is indicated by the enactments of Leviticus 18: l-30. These prohibitions have a distinct bearing upon the marital customs of the day and age. They contrast sharply with the customs among the Egyptians—who never had any specific formulation of marriage laws and where questions of consanguinity were ignored in favor of the dictates of the matriarchate—among the Canaanites—where fornication, adultery, bestiality, and incest were accredited functions of the sexual life as depicted in the Ras Shamra tablets—and among the Hittites—where certain forms of bestiality were permitted (perhaps as the vestigial remains of an ancient animal cult), although incestuous relationships were prohibited. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament σελ. 610.