Daily Archives: June 30, 2010

The Bible and History

Back in the day, when I used to follow the Rational Response Squad, user Badbark asked the Squad how they viewed the historicity of the Bible. A few answers, starting with Rook Hawkins:

Nothing in the Bible can be accepted as historical.  We do not have evidence for very much, and what evidence we do have does not support the Biblical account.  I suggest you read the introduction to my book for some bibliographical information, and skim through my blog for additional articles on this subject.

Hambydammit adds:

In a nutshell, the bible should be read like one of Homer’s epics.  There are real names and places from time to time, but it is a work of fiction.

Even if some of the authors thought they were writing history, their accounts are not reliable unless they are backed up by corroborating evidence.

My favorite answer, from ronin-dog:

None of it. Even if a story is written in a historical setting, it is still fiction.

All this interests me. The Bible, contrary to what these atheists present, is at least attempting to present accurate history. It seems to stand up at least as well as other historical documents from the same eras, if not better. For example, the narratives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have many details confirmed by archeology. We find parallels to Jacob purchasing Esau’s birthright, for example, in other period literature. The blessing of Jacob rendered by Isaac also has historic precedence: such a blessing by a patriarch would have been irrevocable, which is why Isaac is so horrified that Jacob deceived him and received the blessing intended for Esau. Many, including me, have asked, “Why not just take it back?” He couldn’t. We now know that.

The names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as the names of the patriarchs of the twelve tribes, were all found to be in use in that time period. There are also some mentions of a person named Abraham external to the Bible that seem to correspond to the Abraham in the Bible, but no one is for certain. Read the rest of this entry