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Did God write the Bible? Did God write the Bible?
by Joseph Gatt
2019-10-25 09:53:31
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If you believe God wrote the Bible, you have all my respect, love and affection. But I could politely excuse you from reading this article. The movement according to which God wrote the Bible is so influential, that on my Goodreads profile it says that I read the Bible, and lists God as its author.

Now the truth of the matter is I have my hypothesis on how the Bible was compiled. I'll give you some details and explain why. I think I'm the only one with this specific hypothesis, although someone else might have put it forward before me.

bibl01_400The oldest known copy of the Bible dates from around the 4th century CE. Now in the days of no printing press and no digital printing, all books were written by hand.

My imagination goes like this. I would think that in the temple in Jerusalem there was a library of books. Between 970 and 931 before the common era (BCE), King Solomon built a temple in Jerusalem, and that was the advent of what I would call “temple Judaism” as opposed to “synagogue Judaism” or “rabbinic Judaism.”

The temple probably had a library, a collection of books. The books were usually short, 50 to 100 pages at most 200 pages or so. The temple also probably kept archives on priests and on the kings.

In that book collection (probably written by priests) there was probably two books about Adam and Eve (which still survive) and there were probably books about Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob's 12 sons. There may well have been books about Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, Ishmael, Hagyar, and of course Moses and many other prophets and kings mentioned in the Bible. All the respect to our fathers.

So there was a collection of books, mostly biographies of heroes and prophets and how they encountered God. Books also contain information about their marriage, their children, their trade, and a common theme is their relationship to God.

Now my imagination says is probably until the destruction of the First Temple in 576 BCE, there was no Bible. My imagination also says that many of the books were probably lost, some were preserved. My imagination finally says that when the Second Temple was built in 510 BCE, the priests got together and decided to put together a book, so that rather than having all those books scattered around, they would have one single book that contains a summary of all the other books, in case the library burns down.

The books that survived are called the apocrypha, and very few survive today. You have the Book of Adam and Eve that survives, the book of Enoch, the book of Joseph and Osnath, and a few others. No book about Abraham survives for example. 

Now because the Bible is probably a summary of all those books, some characters have only a few lines in the Bible, while others have several books dedicated to them. Adam and Eve for example only have less than a page dedicated to them in the Bible. The Bible mentions their children Abel and Cain, but does not mention their daughters Luluwa and Aklia. The Bible only says “Adam begat sons and daughters” without specifying the names and numbers. For the record, Cain married his Sister Luluwa and had seven children, Seth being one of them.

Now over the years many of the books probably survived before dying out and we have no copies of them. Traces of the disappeared books can be found in old texts, including the Talmud, several rabbinical commentaries, and even... in the Quran. The Quran for example discusses Ishmael at length, when there is very little information about Ishmael in the Bible or in any text. Those who compiled the Quran probably had access to a text on Hagyar and Ishamael that we don't have access to.

This is my hypothesis. So the Tanakh as we know it was probably compiled in the times of the second temple, using summaries of information found in priestly literature. Because everything was handwritten back then, only what the priests deemed the most relevant information was kept.

It's a hypothesis, I could be wrong. After all, only God really knows.  


   
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