Is the Old Testament a book about the Divine delivering Eternal Truths?

by ClubSandwich 17 Replies latest jw friends

  • mP

    No the OT is a combo of their account of histories past, think Adam and Eve, together with wishful & boastful exploits of their kings. I always found it amazing how little attention and cruelty delivered to the common hebrew. WHen David made a mistake an offended God, the one who got punished where his subjects who died of famine. It seems the kings have it all, they have a much easier take than their subjects for much worser "crimes". WHy any jew would want a repeat of Davids reign is beyond me as they got nothing positive out of the entire experience.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    It is a collection of books written by tribesmen on the other side of the planet, who I am not descended from. Why would their myths and legends be any more real than the stories told by the folks I am descended from, who it just happens, were around long before Bible Adam.

    The way I see it, all these stories are just men's thoughts about gods, passed of as god's thoughts about men.

  • ClubSandwich

    Why can't people just leave it in the hands of Jehovah. He will make it all better in his own due time. Oops! I've heard that before, done that and it just doesn't seem to work, at least not for me. Do you think if I read the Watchtower more that would help?

  • ClubSandwich

    Seriously, many reputalbe Bible scholars question that David ever existed, a make-believe guy. He definitely is not a hero in my mind. So why would someone think he is so cool? He is a role model for psycho-paths. Hurt everyone one you know and then cry in your beer telling God how bad you are, but you are so sorry. Please forgive me God because now I am an old man and have no one to turn to but You.

  • Christ Alone
    Christ Alone

    Funny. When this thread started I could have scripted the way it would go. Especially mp's posts.

  • ClubSandwich

    C A, I am new to JWN so it is a new experience for me. I have learned to go with the flow. If you are tainted with JW blood, you can be like so out of it. People need a vehicle to vent their frustration. And for what it is worth, I think you are referring my earlier piece on Revelation. mP has made no comments as yet. This crowd would not be too receptive to that piece. But's that's okay. Isn't it wonderful that we can post our thoughts and not be shamed for using our thinking skills. or whateve one uses on JWN.

  • snare&racket

    Imagine in the year 4012, people in China calling 'holy scripture' the long preserved twitter feed of Kim Kardashian.

    The old testament is the crazy musings of a sheep herding nation. The stories all having a CLEAR origin in babylonian and egyptian myth, what a coincidence that they were neighbours in that region, long after these myths originated.

    Its an interesting, poetic, collection of writings based on stories passed on by word of mouth long ago. It is neither accurate or original, but interesting. It is as holy as toilet paper.


  • ClubSandwich

    The Hebrew Bible is not a book about the divine delivering eternal truths, despite the fact that at a much later time, complex systems of theology would be spun from particular interpretations of biblical passages. Rather, its narrative materials give an account of the journey of the ancient Israelites as they struggled to make sense of their history and tried to maintain a relationship with their god. Yes, the Bible addresses moral questions, but those few instances are few and far between.

    Reading the Bible along with parallel materials from the many cultures of the ancient Near East is a revelation, as the ancient Israelites borrowed shamelessly from the outside world. They adopted and adapted literary styles and stories from other cultures, but in the process produced richer, more coherent readings of the biblical text than would have been otherwise possible.

    The narratives of the Hebrew Bible are not pious parables about saints, nor are they G-rated tales easily understood by children. Biblical narratives are stories about human beings whose behavior was often obscene, mean-spirited and violent. But, biblical characters could also change and act with justice and compassion.

    The unfounded expectation that biblical characters are models for our own conduct causes many readers to try to vindicate those characters, just because they are biblical characters. But if we attribute to these characters the reputation for piety actually manufactured by later religious traditions, if we whitewash their flaws, then we miss the real moral complexities and the psychological insights that have made these often R-rated stories of timeless interest. Biblical narratives place serious demands on readers. They explore moral issues by inserting biblical characters into moral dilemmas, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions.

    The god of the first five books of the Bible should not be confused with the god of western theological speculation. The attributes assigned to “God” by post-biblical theologians, such as his “knowing all things,” are not attributes possessed by Jehovah in the Pentateuch. On several occasions this Hebrew god changes his mind, because when it comes to human beings his learning curve is steep. Humans have free will; they act in ways that surprise him and many times he must change course and respond. One of the greatest challenges for modern, objective readers of the Hebrew Bible is to allow the text to mean what it says, even when what it says flies in the face of doctrines that actually emerged centuries later during philosophical debates about “God” really meant.

    If current and former Jehovah’s Witnesses could open their minds and acknowledge these misconceptions about the Hebrew Bible, it would enable them to encounter and struggle with the Hebrew Bible with all of its rich complexity, its grandeur and sophistication, its self-contradiction and mediocrity, its sense of sorrow and pain, and yes – even its humor. Perhaps a closer second look that is not filtered by modern theological bias or a “my way or the highway” attitude, might help them arrive at a compassionate, non-confrontational, and deeper understanding of the real Hebrew Bible.

    If you would like to know more about the Hebrew Bible, I suggest reading Christine Hayes’ Introduction to the Bible (The Open Yale Courses Series). Her book is well-researched and a fascinating read. I admit that I shamelessly borrowed from her book to make this post.

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