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Oral Tradition

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Pah, Nov 23, 2004.

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  1. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    I'm not even sure that one could argue more than the most superficial correlation. The monotheism of Egypt was much closer to the later Sol Invictus cult (which it no doubt influenced). The monotheism of the Israelites was patterned after its evolving patriarchy.

    You might be interested in this review. It's a worthwhile book.
     
  2. precept

    precept Member

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    Thanks Runt. I stand corrected. I should have said Talmud where I said Tanakh.

    Thanks again!


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  3. precept

    precept Member

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    I stand corrected. Insert Talmud where I used Tanakh.

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  4. precept

    precept Member

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    Lillithu. I cannot speak to the discussion re Transcendant and earth religions. I can, however, speak to the fact that the Israelites were monotheistic three generations before migrating to Eygpt. Abraham, greatgrandfather of the Israelites worshipped One God, Jehovah, who promised Abraham a son by his barren wife, Sarah. This promise God fulfilled and Issac, the father of Jacob was born to Abraham. Issac also served one God, passing on the practice to his son Jacob, who not only also served One God; but made his heathen wife, Rachel give up her idol god, to serve his Jacob's One God.

    Jacob and his twelve sons and their families went to live in Eygpt some one hundred years after their greatgrandfather gave and left them the legacy of worshipping One God. This legacy they carried with them to Egypt, during the great famine; and a legacy they largely forgot after their hosts, the Eygptians forced the descendants of Jacob and his twelve sons into slavery.

    The Eygptians were nbot monotheistic. Their "Horus" was born of the virgin Isis. Horus, the god begat another god "Amon". Another of their gods "Ra" "was born from the side of his mother, but was not engendered"...Bible Myths pg 122. The Eygptian king was the living image and vicegerent of the Sungod (Ra)...ibid. "Menes", who is said to have been the first king of Eygpt, was believed to be a god"...Ibid.
    "Almost all of the temples of the left bank of the Nile, at Thebes, had been constructed in view of the worship rendered to the Pharoahs, their founders, after their death." Ibid. "Toth" another of their gods is represented on the wall of one of their temples as "telling the maiden, Queen Matmes, that she is to give birth to a divine son,who is to be king Amunothph III.

    Certainly; what the Israelites borrowed was idolatry[seen in their making a golden calf to worship; instead of worshipping their One God]...The Israelites were taught to worship One God; and from the Eygptians they learned to worship other gods The idea of worshipping One God they certainly didn't borrow from the Eygptians.


    Your above supposition is true when the authors of the stories are human. ...As in the stories in the Quran, Talmud and other holy books.

    This thread is about showing any such oral tradition as also in the Bible.

    No one has been able to document an oral tradition in the Bible that began in a point in time only to later gain in embellishment and therefore undergo change at a later point in time, with the final edition of the story different from its original rendering.

    All other holy books; except for the bible are purely dependent on oral traditions to prove ligitimacy. They are rife with contradictions and embellished stories and material of urban legends...All holy books;that is; except for the Holy Bible.

    The challenge is still, for the "texts", "chapters" and "books" of Holy Scripture to be revealed and shown by "text", "verse", "book" and "chapter" the contradictions and embellishments. But which contradictions and embellishments can be shown to be prevalent in all other holy books.

    You are right in so far as human traditions depend on the human condition of mimicking that which appeals to the senses. However, the scriptures are of God and do not depend on human traditions. One either must believe that the Infinite stands alone; while the finite is completely dependent on other finite relationships as well as on the Infinite, for ultimate survivability.

    Your above summation is exactly what this debate seeks to bring to the forefront; and that is; that the godly requirement is that humanity worship just the true God and none other.

    The True God is seen in that His word does not change; nor does it contradict itself, no matter that His word were authored via human agencies,prophets, who were in the main illiterate humans. No matter that these, in the main, illiterate humans lived over a period of fifteen hundred years, and comprised of a total of thes forty human authors. You would think that such a fallible lot would at least provide a single error....a single contradiction given that the succeeding human authors of extant religions have scholars and those in living memory of events as in urban lengends to give an helping hand to get the facts straight. Yet their holy book facts are as consistent as lines are considered straight in a jigsaw puzzel, with the reasoning just as complex and inconsistent as those lines.

    The Author of the holy book without error is the God We Must Follow!



    precept
     
  5. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    So pardon my asking...

    Where does the Bible claim to be without error?

    Where do the Scriptures claim to be perfect?

    If the Lord our God can work through imperfect humans, such as Saul, David, Peter and Paul, then why should the written word be held to a different standard? When I am weak, then I am strong.

    As for the words of Jesus... he spoke Aramaic, and not Greek. The authors then gave us translations of his teachings. No one translates using the same words.

    So does the fact that these traditions were passed on for years upon years detract from the validity of the scriptures? By no means... that they are so consistent validates the power of God. I Corinthians 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.

    God will always work through that which is weak to do his will. It only shows the power of God.
     
  6. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Yes, you would believe that the Israelites were monotheists for three generations before entering Egypt if you believed that the events recorded in Genesis are true. However, I believe that this story was woven together well after the Hebrews had left Egypt - after they were already monotheists - as a way to explain how they came to their beliefs.

    So citing the text itself in order to prove history doesn't work for me. It's fine if it works for you, but I hope you can see why it doesn't work for me.



    I have to say that you have me confused. I thought that you were arguing that only the Torah was handed down by God as revealed truth. I thought that you had agreed that other parts of the Hebrew bible, and thus the Old Testament, were indeed created through oral tradition.

    In an earlier post you said:
    As I said before, the Tanakh consists of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Wisdom books. Even if you had meant to say Talmud instead of Tanakh, if only the Torah was God-written, then that means that the books on the Prophets (Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, etc.) and the Wisdom books (Job, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, etc) were handed down through oral tradition.

    Also, I have another question: If Moses was the one who had the Torah transcribed on parchment, how is it that the Torah actually records Moses' death before the Israelites enter the Promised Land? Was that a prophesy? But if Moses knew beforehand that he was going to anger God by not giving God due credit regarding the rock and the water, why would Moses have still made that mistake?
     
  7. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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  8. precept

    precept Member

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    Lilithu...you stretch the boundaries of incredulity! to suppose the Israelites who spent most of their time serving idols would have wanted so badly to prove they espoused monotheism!

    I did admit to using Tanakh incorrectly; where I should have used Talmud.

    The Torah-five books of Moses were God's direct instructions to the Israelites with a recording of the histroy that chronicled how the Israelites related directly with God's written instructions.
    The rest of the Tanakh rightly contains God's direct instructions given via His prophets. The interaction with His words through the prophets, chronicles the historical relationship the Israelites continued to have with God; but now only through God's hand-picked human agents who carried God's messages to the Israelites.

    You continue to allude to oral tradition in the Bible; but have yet to show inconsistences as would have been expected when oral tradition is the vehicle used to transmit any story. Considering the multiplicity of the biblical stories; if any one of these stories was transmitted via oral tradition[which would without a doubt include embellishment and incocsistences], I have no doubt that yourself together with the many critics of scripture would have had no trouble in loudly exposing same.

    The scriptures document what God says to humans; it also documents how the humans react to what God says. The bible documents the birth of Moses; meaning that under inspiration Moses was able to write the story of the happenings surrounding his birth. Moses while the author of these five books; yet had to have had these books written by scribes. This was true of all the prophets including Moses. The bible describes how writing under inspiration occurred...."Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy Ghost" 2 Peter 1:21 Or Moses spake and the scribe wrote....Making your speculation quite possible.

    Under the influence of the Holy Spirit Moses spoke about events, whether before or after they transpired, that made no difference; because whatever God said; and or did would occur with or without human help and this Moses had to transcribe.

    Our own human experiences speak equally well to to this fact. If we are told that we have six months to live, nothing we do coiuld make us avoid our appointment with death because our spontaneous behaviour would be un-hindered in its purely spopntaneous and rehearsed rendition of our behaviour by reflex.
    If we were told that tonight our fifteen year old son would so provoke his mom that in anger his Mom would call the police; one would certainly expect the spontaneous behaviour on the part of the mom if so provoked; no matter that the prediction was made prior to the event. That Moses spoke about these, his experiences before his death is not inconsistent with the current experiences of any and or all humans.


    precept
     
  9. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    I said that they created a story to explain how they came to their belief in monotheism. I never said they claimed to always be monotheistic. Yes, the whole history of Israel documents the many times that they strayed from their covenant with God. It serves as a convenient explanation for why bad things happened to them even tho they supposedly worshipped the only true God.

    Of course I am speculating. But forgive me, my speculations seem much less implausible to me than your explanation for how Moses came to record the events of his own death.



    That's because there are so many that one doesn't know where to begin. That and that fact that I know that any evidence I gave would be rejected by you. For example, the question of Moses' death is evidence imo. But if you are going to posit a supernatural explanation for each inconsistency, then obviously there is no "proof" that would be sufficient for you. And you know what? That is fine with me. I have no problem with you believing that the Bible is the only inerrant word of God, just as I have no problem with Muslims believing that the Qur'an is the only inerrant word of God, which they do btw. What I am finding to be frustrating is that you seem to insist that I agree with you. All I asked was that you understand why citing scripture would not be sufficient to prove a historical argument to me.

    But fine, here are examples:

    1) Gen 1 says that God created the fish and birds on day 5 and the animals and humans on day 6. He created man and woman in His image at the same time, and blessed them and gave them dominion over the earth. And pronounced that creation was good before He rested.
    Gen 2 says that God formed man out of dust and realized after the fact that "It is not good that man should be alone." So God creates all the birds and animals after He creates man. Only after He sees that the animals weren't good enough companions for Adam does God create woman out of Man's rib.

    2) If God created Adam and Eve and they are the ancestors of all humans, then Adam, Eve and Cain are the only humans left alive when Cain kills Abel. So who is Cain afraid of when God banishes him from God's pressence? Who is it that he thinks is going to kill him? And who did he marry when he settled in Nod and sired Enoch?

    3) When God tells Noah to take 7 of each clean beast and only 2 of each unclean beast, he never explains to Noah which ones are clean and which ones are unclean. But according to the sequence of events in the bible, no one should know what a clean animal is until after the Israelites leave Egypt. In fact, since Noah is PRE-Levitical covenant, the idea of clean and unclean makes no sense in this context.

    4) How is it that in Job, God speaks to Job from a whirlwind and demands "Who is this who darkens counsel without knowledge?" and then launches into a litany of the things that Job does not know. But then at the end of the story, he says to Job's friends that Job is the only one who has spoken rightly of God.

    5) Also in Job, Elihu appears on the scene out of nowhere, gives a long rant against Job, and then disappears. While God chastizes Job's three friends for criticizing Job and speaks well of Job, He never comments on Elihu's rant. It is as if Elihu were just inserted into the text.

    6) The Wisdom Poem in Job (ch 28) is attributed to Job but directly contradicts everything that he's been saying.

    7) Why is the story about Job, a non-Israelite, in the Bible in the first place? He lived in the East, in the land of Uz.

    These are just off the top of my head.


    How about this? Since you claim that the bible is the only true word of God and that all other scriptures are oral tradition, and could easily be proven as such, why don't you try convincing a devout Muslim that the Qur'an was thrown together by oral tradition? Since you claim that it was, it obviously should be full of inconsistencies that any reasonable Muslim would not be able to deny when you point them out to him/her.
     
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  10. precept

    precept Member

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    You seem to think that Moses' prediction of his own death was farfetched. History, however, records Julius Caesar as being warned by his holy advisors not to go to the senate that fateful day. Yet not only did he go; he also went without any of his palace guards. History records that he died; almost knowing that he was marked for death.

    Jesus not only knew that he was going to die;but He knew when and how. He even knew before hand who would betray Him and identified the disciple, Judas. The amount of money for whcih Judas betrayed his Master was known in scripture. The mode of death that Judas would experience was also known in scripture even before Judas became a disciple of Jesus; yet despite the foreknowledge, Judas did exactly as the scripture had predicted; and he did it all of his own volition.

    Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him not once but three times; and though Peter knew beforehand of the prediction; yet Peter indeed denied Jesus not once but exactly three times; and each time of his own volition.

    Now do you think Moses' predicting his own death was farfetched?

    That your conclusions should be so contrary is not to be unexpected. In Genesis 1, during day 5, God created all the animals in the sea and on land. Verse 24 ..." And God said let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind..." This command is consistent with Genesis chapter 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground....and chapter 2:19 "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air ..."
    Does it matter the order of the created things? It seems to you it does; but even if order matters the explanation of the created works of God as given in scripture was good enough for Pagan religions to borrow, to create their own version of how the creation came into being.

    If we were to follow your reasoning; just a few seconds transpired[the time it took to read the story of Adam's and Eve's creation; for Eve to conceive and bear two boys, who grew up in an instant, cultivating a field and rearing herds of sheep...with the eldest killing the youngest. You are right! You have crammed so much into a few seconds, that there is certainly not enough time for Cain to find a wife anywhere!
    Somehow you need to see the error of your reasoning.
    History doesn't always tell real time. it leaves it up to the reader to fill in the time that the Pharoahs lived; even given the fact that their memorabilia, the Pyramids still survives them all.

    You could stretch the sublime to the ridiculous, by wondering how could Adam "sleep and have sex with a woman created from his own body"....But if you knew the scripture then you would also know that it was normal fare back in those times for one to marry his next of kin. Abraham, for example, some ten or more generations removed from Adam; married his sister[same father diffferent mother].

    It then isn't farfetched for Cain to have married his sister. It is also not farfetched to expect that between the time it took for the two boys to be born, girls could have been born to Adam and Eve. It is also a known fact that women in those times were hardly worth mentioning. Hence reference to their being available to Cain for wife is not to be unexpected.

    It is amazing how humans, when it is convenient, will reason God out of existence; and also when it suits them will show how much more intelligent they are compared to God.

    When the first Model "T" Ford motor car was built; it must have taken the motor car manufacturer some time to familiarize potential purchasers, with the features of the motor car and more importantly with how to drive the "thing". It took some time; not only for people to learn to drive and repair the motor car; but some diehards refuse to surrender their horse and buggy for the "ironhorse" for this was ow the motor car was then called. Some challenged the motor car in races to determine who could go the fastest. Unthinkable! you may say; given what we now know.

    Well don't you think that when God created the animals; and since He knew before hand that he would want man to sacrifice to Him, sheep, and not pigs...And since He only wanted sacrifices of clean animals; don't you think that if the human manufacturer of a "motor car" would go to such lengths to familiarize his purchaser with the "hows" of the motor car; that in the very least, God would have done a better job of familiarizing Adam and Eve as to which of the animals He had created would be "clean" and which were "unclean"?...And if it were that important for God to familiarize Adam and Eve with this knowledge; don't you think that Adam and Eve would have also ORALLY passed on this inportant knowledge to their sons and daughters, who also would pass on this knowledge to their sons and daughters; and on till Noah wold have known which animls were clean and which were not?

    Cetrtainly; if Mr. Ford can be so wise, if he were to sell a single motor car; Shouldn't God be even wiser than Mr. Ford! if His planned redemption of man was to proceed as planned? Wouldn't He then have informed man as to how to effect His plan in the sacrificing of clean animals?

    And you find this hard to fathom? Well think of someone with a surface knowledge of scripture; who was in first year of "scripture 101" and who then tries to reason with a philosopher of religion who has spent most of his adult life studying the scripture....And you will see Job as the one with a surface knowledge of Scripture, God as the Philosopher who spent most of His adult life studying the scripture and Job's friends as members of the Hare Krishna movement unfamiliar in every detail with the holy bible. At the end of the story; who besides God had any knowledge about God and scripture...wouldn't it be Job?

    I myself would compare Elihu to one whose comments were not worth responding to. If we can do it; Why wouldn't God!

    For the same reason Abram was called out of the Pagan land of his fathers by God.

    This is certainly the easiest of tasks, given the proper forum. The Quran is most rife with contradictions and numerous inconsistences. It would be with pleasure that I would document these inconsistences in the proper forum.

    precept
     
  11. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Excuse me, he didn't just predict his own death. He NARRATED it.

    Actually, it does not matter to me because I take the Genesis story to be a STORY. But it does provide evidence of inconsistency, which is what you challenged me to provide.

    I don't know what you're talking about. I haven't said anything about God not existing. If you are reduced to attacking my character - accusing me of arrogance with respect to God - you must be getting desperate.

    I suggest that you read the Job story again, and pay particular attention to what Job's friends accuse Job of when defending God against Job. And then remember that God took Job's side in the end.

    As for the rest of your post, I knew that you would try to come up with explanations for each of my points but I really didn't predict that they would be so entertaining.


    OK then. I believe that the Qur'an is the inerrant word of God, transmitted directly from the Archangel Gibreel to Muhammad. Prove to me that it isn't.
     
  12. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Well there you go. The fewer numbers we have in the first place the easier it is to affect the percentage of change.

    Is there a forum rule against posting off-topic? If so, I think that I've violated it more than a few times. :eek:
     
  13. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Was this pathetic bigotry on the part of YHWH or on the part of Moses? Or, perhaps, it's just a book written by people and reflecting the norms of the time?
     
  14. HelpMe

    HelpMe ·´sociopathic meanderer`·

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    who is ywhw?
     
  15. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    If we knew the answer to that, this forum wouldn't exist. ;)

    YHWH is Yahweh without the vowels, because Hebrew doesn't use vowels.
    Also known as Jehovah. Also known as God. Also known as Allah...etc
     
  16. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    My fault, lilithu. I am an abnormally sloppy typist and had initially typed YWHW instead of YHWH. HelpMe was just having fun. :)
     
  17. HelpMe

    HelpMe ·´sociopathic meanderer`·

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    1why wouldn't these forums exist if just one person knew the answer?

    2thanks deut, your extensive vocabulary makes up for it
     
  18. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    I kinda meant if there were an objective answer, so that there would be no question.

    But you are right. Even if God was a person walking around on earth so that people could get to know "him" (which a large percentage of the world believes actually happened), we would still be arguing about God.
     
  19. HelpMe

    HelpMe ·´sociopathic meanderer`·

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    i'm making a decision to persue negative frubals, since apparently i am the only person unable to attain them in a positive manner.
     
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  20. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    HelpMe, which Torah do you believe most accurately transmits earlier oral tradition?
     
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