Thursday, March 31, 2011

David and Goliath misinformation

In the Efron text, the historians claim that a contradiction occurs within the verse of Samuel.  It says: A champion came out of the Philistine's camp, Goliath, and his height was six cubits and a span.  He had a helmut of bronze on his head, and was armed with a coat of mail; the wieght of the coat was five thousand bronze shekels.  He had greaves of bronze on his legs and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders.  The shaft of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his spear's head weighted six hundred shekels of iron.  As the Philistine approached David, David ran quickly toward the battle line toward the Philistine.  David put his hand in his bag, took from there a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead.  The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.  So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone striking the Philistine and killing him.  (1 Samuel 17:4-7, 48-50).  Furthermore, the text places the "evidence" by explaining that David was probably credited with defeating Goliath as opposed to Elhanan.  In the next passage, it says: There was another battle with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan son of Jaaroregim, the Bethlehemite; struck Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. (2 Samuel 21:19).  Efron's claim is wrong because they missed another passage that disproves this argument.  According to the book of Chronicles, this is what the passage says: And there was again war with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.  This passage explains that Elhanan did not fight Goliath, but fought his brother in another war against the Philistines.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Multiple Writer Claim of the Hebrew Bible

The historians tend to bash Jewish history by claiming that Moses did not write the Hewbrew bible because there was no signature.  That seems absurd because not everyone does that.  A logical fallacy is at play here, and that is incomplete evidence.  In addition the historians are doubting an event and delcare it as untrue.  Just because one can have doubt over a situation does not mean it is not true.  They also argue that the Torah had to be written by more one than person because it mentions the death of Moses.  One possiblity could be that Moses wrote the last few lines or Joshua wrote it, which either seem plausible.  These sources come from the Talmud and the rejections began heavily in the 16 and 17 hundreds (Efron 31). One must consider criticizing historical events after knowing what really happened.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Torah laws vs. Hammurabi's code

In the Jewish History text book, Jews a History, by John Efron , describes a historical, yet secular perspective on Jewish history.  While most historical are provided with certain evidential proof, Jewish history is among the most controversial.  Personally, I find most of its content disturbing and somewhat offensive.

The Claim:  Torah laws are very similar to those found in the Code of Hammurabi (which predated the Torah).  Hence, it must be composed by man, not God, because God has no need to plagiarize.

The Truth:  Efron cites one example, a comparison between Exodus 21:26-27 and its Hammurabi counterpart. While there are similarities, there are even more differences. To take this as a prime example of the Torah "plagiarizing" from Hammurabi seems rather weak. Even if the cases are similar, it is entirely feasible that Hashem chose a case that was similar to the then-modern-day law in order to contrast it with Torah law.

See for yourself below:
When a man strikes the eye of a male or the eye of a female slave, and destroys it, he shall free the person to compensate for the eye.  If he knocks out the tooth of a male slave or the tooth of a female slave, he shall free him from the tooth (Exodus 21:26-27) .

If a man of rank has destroyed the eye of a member of his aristocracy, they shall destroy his eye.  If he has broken the bone of another man of rank, they shall break his bone.  If he has destroyed the eye of a commoner or broken the bone of a commoner, he shall pay one mina or silver.  If he has destroyed the eye of another man's slave or broken the bone of a man's slave, he shall pay one-half his value.  If a man of rank has knocked out a tooth of a free-man of his own rank, they shall knock out his tooth.  If he has knocked out a commoner's tooth, he shall pay one-third mina of silver (Code of Hamurabbi) (Efron 31).