History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Understanding the Old Testament

June 21st, 2010 · No Comments

The previous link http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/were-adam-and-eve-real/ cites this essay at Biologos: http://biologos.org/blog/adam-and-eve-literal-or-literary/

I find it hard to grasp that liberal non-fundamentalist Christians at this point could still get stuck here, but the perception of history created by the Old Testament is no doubt to blame, despite the subtle nature of that text.

Please without fail sit down and real the material on the eonic effect at history-and-evolution.com, especially the material on the Old Testament and the Axial Age. http://history-and-evolution.com/whee/intro1_1.htm
You will note the double character of the Old Testament: the book was written over a period of time, several centuries, in a very complex history partially unraveled by Biblical Criticism, and the nearly final version seems to have crystallized around the period of Josaiah, then actual text we have set by the time of Nehemiah/Ezekiel two centuries later.

The tale is a ‘universal history’ and ends up thus bifurcating in half: from t=0 to the about the time Abraham, and everything after that. The first part is mythical, and everything after Abraham is (pseudo-)historical. Abraham and Moses, et al., might well have some historical basis, but there are partially mythologized.
In fact, the real division is about -900 BCE and everything before that. Again much of that history onward might be pseudo-history, but its basic format is different from the first part of the Old Testament: it is the history of an actual Canaanite culture, divided into North and South, and their eventual demise at the hands of the Assyrians, and their successors.

Simple as that. Note that this is about the period after -900 BCE, which doesn’t include Abraham and Moses, and the two latter are on shaky grounds, but just as Achilles just might reflect a distant historical someone, so Moses just might reflect a real person, how we have forgotten. It ought to be obvious that the first part is tacked onto the second, but I guess it is not obvious to devout Jews/Christians.

This leaves the status of Solomon, and David, et al. in limbo, also, like Moses. It seems there were real persons, but that their history, before -900 BCE, just before, is borderline history, turned into myth.

It is no accident that the rest approaches historical chronicle (and is almost boring as a result). Good archaeologists should challenge this point, but the chronicle aspect does reflect a reasonable historical substrate with fair correlation. As we get closer to -600 BCE the record becomes more historical still and reflects known events in the Middle Eastern milieu.
Note that the core section of the Old Testament from ca. -900 to -600 with another extension from -600 to -400 reflects almost exactly the pattern of the so-called Axial Age and is studied in detail in the so-called ‘eonic model’ at the link at history and evolution.com. The correspondence is so exact that we can infer roughly what is going on here: we see the effect of the Axial Age in a small corner of Canaanite, and the gestation and birth of a world religion, albeit still in its ‘tribal nationalistic’ form.
Sadly, yet optimistically, this new account will not take with traditionalists and will make better sense to postreligious secularists who can grasp the subtety of the eonic model.
The result is far more remarkable than the miracles-and-myth ‘Hollywood’ religion of the OT in its traditional form. And the study of the Axial Age shows the context on a Eurasian basis of what is happening.
Sadly neither Darwinists, New Atheists, or traditional religionists of monotheism will be able, it seems, to figure out what the Old Testament is really talking about.
Canaan and ‘Israel/Judah’: The Old Testament Riddle

Tags: The Axial Age · The Eonic Effect

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