Reddit Reddit reviews The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

We found 63 Reddit comments about The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts
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63 Reddit comments about The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts:

u/HaiKarate · 40 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Freeman -- breaks down the composition of the first five books of the Bible, and why it seems a little funky to the average reader (hint: multiple authors and editing for each book).

The Bible Unearthed -- One of the top archaeologists in Israel today demonstrates why the foundational stories of the Bible can't be literally true.

A History of God -- Explains the known history behind the idea of the god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and how that idea evolved from polytheistic roots.

The above three books would represent where most Bible scholars are on the issue of the historical authenticity of the Bible's stories.

u/Bilbo_Fraggins · 26 pointsr/atheism

That's why I think it's important to use one ranked by inanity. Choosing only the strongest problems keeps the fallacy of composition at bay. What tends to happen is the person can easily rationalize and dismiss one of your claims, and then use this to poison the well, saying all of them are suspect.

It's often better to only bring up the big problems than mix big and little problems together, for this reason.

My favorites:
Paul both went to see the disciples immediately and didn't go see them for 3 years.

Another great one is how Judas apparently hung himself, then bought a potters field with the money he returned to the priests, where he proceded to trip and disembowel himself.

Ain't that some shit.

Still, nothing is less believable than the ark narrative and the global flood, where water covers all-mountains under all-heaven after falling from the sky and coming up from the waters under the earth. The whole thing takes a whole year(or so, the narrative is hard to piece together), leaving absolutely no geologic evidence. Then the animals somehow return to where they should be biogeographically, and the pyramids that were already built didn't get water inside, etc.

Also, despite this the flood magically does not melt the ice cores that go back 800,000 years. The evidence against the flood is overwhelming, and even that page only scratches the surface.

Biblical literalism dies at the flood narrative. It simply must be, at best, metaphorical. Maybe your church accepts the flood as metaphorical, in which case the NT arguments above are some of the better ones.

I'd also say the biblical contradictions aren't the worst problems Christianity has to face up to. Much worse are the problem of inconsistent revelation, the lack of an historical Adam, the evidence of archaeology and higher criticism.

u/Johnlongsilver · 18 pointsr/history

Huh? The consensus among historians that the Exodus is a myth is pretty overwhelming. Even Israeli historians agree. Not everything that doesn't fit Jewish religious narrative is "anti-semitic".

u/sharplikeginsu · 15 pointsr/TrueAtheism

As you've already found, evidence that conflicts with people's worldviews is hard for them to accept. (A high-end case of Confirmation Bias). They will reject the source on whatever grounds they can find. And if it's a source that's effectively been a burr under a lot of Christian's saddles, they will find a lot of people giving putting fuel on the "don't trust that source/evidence" fire.

One of the angles I like to discuss with people is how likely it is that the majority of the old testament is mythical. If you haven't read it, check out The Bible Unearthed. It provides a large volume of explicit evidence (from missing evidence of settlements, to place names that are clearly out of time, to the counter-evidence for where 'Israel' really came from, etc.) which shows that massive chunks of the OT are entirely mythical. (Not all, but significant portions.) If the premises are true it becomes very hard to decide what 'truth value' the remaining text has. Why would you depend on it as a guide for how to be saved (or for anything other than ancient literature) if it's inaccurate in profound ways?

I linked to Amazon, because you can check out the 1-star reviews, and the comment replies to them. You can see that, predictably, people claim these findings have been 'debunked' and 'discredited' and that the author is 'not a scholar' and 'not an archaeologist.' But none of them actually provide any evidence that it's the case, and the sorts of counter-authorities they quote are theologists, not archaeologists, or archaeologists who are explicitly and openly religiously biased in their searches.

u/tikael · 11 pointsr/atheism

>the Bible is authenticated by many things. In a word, it is a collection of historical documents that chronicle historical events. The only reason to believe that their recordings are less than factual is if one begins from the standpoint that only things that can be explained by science are possible.

Actually, no.

It would be biased to assume naturalism over supernaturalism, which sciences such as biology and physics do assume (for good reason). But the science of history does not make that assumption. You might consider reading The God Debates by John Shook as he actually covers that exact point in great detail.

The fact is that even people who started out wanting to prove the bible as factually correct have been forced to come to the conclusion that many of its historical claims are proven wrong not just by the science of history but also by other fields of science. For example, if we all descended from the handful of people on Noahs ark (who were all closely related anyway) then we would expect to see those markers in our genes. We do not however, and the level of diversity in human genes confirms our evolutionary view that humans have a mitochondrial eve around 200,000 years ago. Sure, the religious could say that god simply inserted the extra diversity in there but then you get into omphalism and many are wary to believe in a god who sets out to deceive them. Every time you have to invoke the supernatural in order to justify your worldview inevitably involves special pleading.

>By style, cross-referencing, and archaeology, the Bible appears to be recording historical events. The authenticity of the Bible is an entire field of study, and by far the Bible is the most deeply studied text in the world.

The bible is not even internally consistent, you could do a quick Google search for contradictions in the bible and you will find this list pretty quickly. But suppose the bible was internally consistent, and it can be safe to do so without ceding any argumentative ground since internal consistency does not alone determine whether a book is true, you say that the bible can be cross referenced with other sources but you don't provide examples. So lets take a minute to examine some of the inconsistencies with other sources.

In the bible Jesus is born during a census (the census is the reason for Joseph and Mary to be in Bethlehem), the only trouble is that the census does not appear to take place in any other records. At least, not in the form or at the time the bible claims it does. The bible seems to imply that Joseph must return to his ancestral home (Joseph was of the line of David and Bethlehem is the city of David.). To put this simply, the Romans did not require that someone go to the birth city of an ancestor 20-40 generations ago (the discrepancy is due to differing accounts of David's lineage between Matthew and Luke), to require this of someone would be utter chaos.

That is just one of the problems the bible faces. As pointed out elsewhere other big thorns in the side of using the bible as a historical account are the origin of languages, the exodus (or to a larger degree Jews being slaves in Egypt at all), and the global flood. There is no evidence to support the biblical accounts of these things. I recommend reading The Bible Unearthed. It is written by two Jewish archaeologists so they certainly do not set out to disprove the bible, but given the evidence they find they simply must come to the conclusion that it cannot be used as a historical text.

u/markevens · 9 pointsr/history

I'm not spouting nonsense, but academic consensus. But don't take my opinion for it, do your own research and find out for yourself!

You cited the Bible as a factual source, and an single sentence from a freshman level world history book. Here are some serious academic works on the origins of the Israelites and the development of monotheism.

The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts

If you don't like reading, Yale also has a youtube channel where they publish videos classes and lecture. You can view Yale's entire Intro to the Hebrew Bible course.

Even theological schools accept this.

u/7billionpeepsalready · 9 pointsr/religiousfruitcake

Here's a couple books you could start with your research. I know one is expensive, but it's a required book for some class so price is ridiculous. I found them at my library and also there are .pdf if you look.

Plato and the creation of the Hebrew Bible

Ceasar's Messiah

The Bible unearthed

Have fun, man.

u/ben_heath_ · 8 pointsr/exjw

The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman

u/witchdoc86 · 8 pointsr/exchristian

Mark S Smith - The Early History of God
(warning - a bit more scholarly than the other more populist books below)

Avigdor Shinan - From Gods to God

The Bible Unearthed - Israel Finkelstein

Who Wrote the Bible, and The Exodus - Richard Friedman

u/Athegnostistian · 8 pointsr/atheism

I've read a book written by Jewish archeologists about the archeological evidence for events from the Old Testament. Turns out that King David and King Salomo were most likely real historical figures, while of course retrospectively vastly overrated and glorified.

But the stories about the Israelites being slaves in Egypt, the exodus, the “heroic” conquest of Kanaan etc. were only invented hundreds of years later.

Maybe a good gift for the person in question? ;)

u/captainhaddock · 7 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

The big names would have to include OT scholars like Thomas L. Thompson, Niels Peter Lemche, Thomas Römer, Philip R. Davies, and John Van Seters, as well as archaeologists like William Dever and Israel Finkelstein. The top books on their respective Amazon pages are all very well-known works.

The best go-to book for beginners is probably The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman. Another interesting one that takes you through biblical history via two perspectives (religious tradition and historical evidence) is Israel's History and the History of Israel by Mario Liverani.

u/haroldhelicopter · 5 pointsr/exchristian

If you are interested in a arcaological perspective on where Judah/Israel really came from etc, I cannot recommend "The Bible Unearthed" enough! Its a a real eye opener and a fascinating read on some real history.

u/LadyAtheist · 5 pointsr/atheism

I recommend The Bible Unearthed for a history of the writing of the Old Testament, based on archaeology:

u/LettmypeopleGo · 5 pointsr/exjw

My younger teenage self liked this one: King Arthur by Roger Lancelyn Green. I simultaeously found this book and a tape of Led Zeppelin's greatest hits. They synced up incredibly well. "Battle of Evermore" especially, although Lord of the Rings probably fits that song best.

What kind of books are you interested in?

An idea! -> You might get some awesome ideas and do some great exJW awareness by posting this question over at /r/books. Explaining you were in a religion that controlled what you could read and think...the members over there might get a kick out of helping you with suggestions!

[edit] Oooh, you wanted useful books. Sorry. I think I badly wanted to reread the King Arthur book (just watched Excaliber again on HBO/Netflix), so I didn't pay attention to the word "useful". Sorry!

The Bible Unearthed was fascinating.

u/Ike_hike · 5 pointsr/AskBibleScholars

Sure thing!

If you want something accessible on a college level that I have used in my courses, I'd recommend The Hebrew Bible for Beginners by Lohr and Kaminsky.

Another magnificent but weightier text that touches directly on source critical issues and the history of scholarly theories is James Kugel's How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now.

Those are both broad surveys for beginners. On the more narrow question of dating and good for someone with a bit of Hebrew background, an important new-ish book is How Old is the Hebrew Bible: A Linguistic, Textual, and Historical Study by Ron Hendel and Jan Joosten. They do a great job of summarizing the current state of the question. It's the closest thing I have to offer as a consensus or mainstream view.

For a more "minimalist" or skeptical view that focuses on the historical origins of biblical narratives, I would recommend beginners take a look at The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Neil Asher Silberman and Israel Finkelstein.

Later this summer, I am really interested to see John Barton's forthcoming book A History of the Bible: The Story of the World's Most Influential Book. I haven't seen it, but he's great and it seems like a serious piece of scholarship.

u/legofranak · 5 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

If you're very new to OT biblical analysis, as a fellow lay person, and even though it's not intended to be a 2 Kings analysis per se, I highly recommend Finkelstein and Silberman's The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts.

2 Kings is sort of the linchpin for OT biblical archaeology. Virtually all the OT texts preceding 2 Kings appear to have been written (or at least redacted) at some point during the periods of the monarchies we read about in 2 Kings. So when reading this text in particular, you have to come at it with two questions in mind:

  1. What events written here actually happened (or at least sort of happened like the way they're told here)?
  2. Who wrote this, and when?

    These topics are typically in tension when you're trying to analyze the texts using the modern textual-archaeological hybrid approach. What we know from the archaeological record may suggest a reason that a story was told in a certain way--emphasis on one person may mean that the story was told by a political or social supported of that person's family. And what we read in the texts can help us fit pieces of the archaeological record together, or even fill holes. As you can imagine, some people give more credence to the biblical record as a factual record, while others sort of acknowledge it only when it coincides with the archaeology. But even those folks will then still try to fit the author into the historical context, again basing their understanding of the author's context on the archaeological record.

    In 2 Kings especially, this tension plays with what you're reading, because the historical context of the author is much closer to the context of the story itself (at least more closely than, say, the context of the author/redactor of Judges vis a vis the context of Judges). It makes it a little difficult to know where to begin; that's certainly something I encountered when I started learning about this kind of textual analysis. What I liked about Finkelstein and Silverman's book is that it does a bit of both: there is a broad, comprehensive historical context for what we know happened, and what may-or-may-not have happened, for the stories relayed in 2 Kings (especially the latter end of it), with a constant referencing back to the archaeology that supports what we know (and don't). And then there is discussion of the context and motivations of the author(s) of the texts, fitting those people (whoever they were) into the political and social movements of the time. It's a juggling act, but for me the narrative of this book was strong enough to carry me through, and allow for understanding how both biblical text and biblical author fit into their times.

    The caveat to this recommendation is that you should know at the outset that Finkelstein's views are by no means universally accepted. He is an ardent minimalist, and his evolving views of the origins of Benjamin and Judah and on what facts the Saul-David stories were based on have continued to be challenged. But as an introduction to the major topics affecting the study of that period, and of the major texts written in and/or about that period (primarily 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles), I found this book to be engaging and educating.
u/MarcoVincenzo · 5 pointsr/atheism

No one seems to have mentioned it yet, but Neil Silberman and Israel Finkelstein devote quite a few pages to this topic in their book The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. The entire book is excellent and well worth reading.

u/US_Hiker · 5 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

The Exile, North/South kingdom split, hundreds of places, events, kings, emperors, etc, etc,.... This is why, though they don't treat it as automatically true, archaeologists and historians still use the Bible as reference material for their work. It's a good indication of culture, and a useful tool to corroborate findings in various areas. Obviously things like the great census don't appear to have occurred, and tales of things like David's kingdom are hugely overstated, but there is much truth there. It just can't be read unquestioningly like a textbook.

I suggest you look at something like The Bible Unearthed (can find free PDFs of it online) for a more balanced view than your site which appears to be about as trustworthy as

u/jesusonadinosaur · 4 pointsr/DebateAChristian

>The only thing that they've conceded to is that there is not enough significant proof that it happened for it to be considered a historical event, which is far different than saying that it did not happen, or claiming that there is proof that it did not happen.

No. This isn't remotely true. The consensus (due to the postitive evidence against, not just the complete and utter lack of evidence, even where evidence should be expected) is that it did not happen. Not just that there is no evidence.

"William Dever, an archaeologist normally associated with the more conservative end of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, has labeled the question of the historicity of Exodus “dead.” Israeli archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog provides the current consensus view on the historicity of the Exodus: “The Israelites never were in Egypt. They never came from abroad. This whole chain is broken. It is not a historical one. It is a later legendary reconstruction—made in the seventh century [BCE]—of a history that never happened.”[4]""

"The consensus among biblical scholars today is that there was never any exodus of the proportions described in the Bible,[14] and that the story is best seen as theology, a story illustrating how the God of Israel acted to save and strengthen his chosen people, and not as history.[5] "

There is a great book on the subject

u/NukeThePope · 4 pointsr/atheism

Hi. Your questions are not "food for thought." They've been dismissed many times over. Here are some brief answers.

  1. Yes, there is such a possibility. Only a small subset of us atheists here (or elsewhere) completely reject the possibility. It's just not very compelling. The "nothing can't create something" argument was common sense before we discovered that some things do in fact arise from nothing - quantum fluctuations are a puzzling but undeniable phenomenon. Modern science is also still not discounting the possibility that the universe is in fact eternal (the Big Bang is the earliest state perceivable to us, which is not the same as necessarily the beginning overall). Another possibility is that there is an endless cycle of births of universes from other universes, completely without intervention of a conscious mind. "Someone must have done this" is an explanation only for people unwilling or unable to contemplate the many alternate possibilities.
  2. What's the value of a gift if it's fictional? Less than nothing, because it focuses my attention and energy on something non-productive. I'd love to believe that Elisha Cuthbert wants a night of wild sex with me, but it ain't happening so I'm not going out to buy roses. Baseless wishful thinking is... pathetic.
  3. The Problem of Evil has been an insurmountable challenge to theologists since before Christianity. All the attempts at answers we've seen, including yours, are bullshit.
  4. Questioning all of history to raise the credibility of the Babble is... despicably stupid. We have a wealth of written history and artefacts from the Civil War, plus a current state of events, that would be incredibly hard to explain if the Civil War had been someone's dumb idea. Do you think someone chiselled inscriptions on tombstones nationwide on a lark? Do you think at all?
  5. You "think" this based on what knowledge? Most of what we know of the history of antiquity (and even before) comes not from the fictions in the Bible but from histories and other cultural artifacts painstakingly discovered by archaeology and palaentology. There was a push for research in the '80s (before you were born, most likely) to support the Bible with real-world evidence. That effort, over decades, has done nothing but assure us that much of the Bible is fiction. None of the massive events described by the Bible have left the telltale marks in reality that they would be expected to. A definitive source on this gradual discovery is The Bible Unearthed.
  6. "Most of the things that happen?" Are you on some kind of drugs? There are plenty of awful things that happen without help from Christianity. However, if you're asking why we blame Christianity on the countless crimes committed in the name of Christianity, on the millions of humans killed and the many more oppressed, the answer is that Christianity is in fact responsible for those. Just yesterday someone pointed me at a 10 volume history of the crimes of Christianity, i.e. acts committed for and in the name of Christianity. Shitty ideas lead to regrettable actions.
  7. No, we don't believe in a god because nothing in the world around us supports this idea - there is exactly 0 evidence of a superior being affecting the fate of the world. Do you believe that my penis is 18 inches long? Why not? That's why I don't believe your story about your invisible friend.

    I'm hoping that once you get out of grade school you will have learned to think a little better than your questions have demonstrated so far.
u/YoungModern · 4 pointsr/exmormon

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman -this is the place to start with New Testament history

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Israel Finkelstein & Neil Asher Silberman

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/atheism

We don't really know. That's the truth.

People we know about: There was a King David, though his power was much less then what the bible implies.

Then, starting about 800BC, most of the kings in the bible are verified as having existed, but once again archeology says something very different about the power of their kingdoms then the bible.

I highly recommend The Bible Unearthed for an overview of what we know and why.

u/This_is_Hank · 3 pointsr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed should get you started. The book by the same name mentions the gods of the Canaanites but I'm not sure it made it into this video.

And maybe Richard Carrier's Christianity without Jesus. In this talk he covers some of the earlier gods with similar attributes to Jesus, mentions how Judaism changed a bit after the Persian conquest, and again after their fall to Babylon showing how elements from foreign religions were adopted and incorporated into Judaism.

Another video that mentions the origins of Yahweh is from a really awesome video series by YouTuber Evid3nc3 A History of God for part one and here for part two. It is a synopsis of Karen Armstrong's book A History of God.

Hope these are at least in the direction you were wanting to go.

u/rookiebatman · 3 pointsr/atheism

Actually, Jericho is one of the points against the historicity of the Old Testament. They dug up the place and found no evidence of battle or conquest or walls that had ever come down.

Here are the Bible archaeology links I have. Not sure if any of them cover Jericho, but I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find on Google.

A more thorough treatment can be found in The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts.

u/brojangles · 3 pointsr/atheism

> Which is exactly what the historicity debate of Moses and Jesus is about. Whether or not they existed, not whether or not superstitious events occurred.

The consensus is that Moses never existed in any sense at all and is a purely mythical character. The same is true of Achilles. While there is still a majority belief that the Jesus of the Gospels was based on a real person, that is not true of Moses or the Patriarchs anymore.

>Which is a lie, driven by ideological belief.

No, its a hard fact, son. You lack any education at all in this subject. This "ideology" you are imagining does not exist. Most of the scholars in this area are believers themselves.

Look for a book called The Bible Unearthed written by Israel Finkelstein (an Israeli archaeologist and the Chair of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University) and Neil Asher Silberman (an American archaeologist and historian and an expert on the ANE). You're just factually wrong and seeing ideological motives that don't exist.

u/myusernamestaken · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Damn, 16 hours and no response, /r/trueatheism usually eats this shit up.

I don't have much to say, but i'd assume it's a fairly easy task. In The Bible Unearthed, Finkelstein and Silberman convincingly demonstrate that the entire OT is pretty much bullshit (arguing from an archaeological viewpoint).

I had thought that most scholars believed that it was written by David, Isaiah and Moses, not only the latter. The author only sources 4 academics to form his conclusion as well.

u/PrimusPilus · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

> the Jews during Exodus left egypt supposedly around 1250 BCE

There's no historical nor archaeological evidence for a Jewish captivity in Egypt, nor for the Exodus as portrayed in the OT.

See Finkelstein & Silberman's The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts for details.

u/TheFlyingBastard · 3 pointsr/exjw

> I've got an aversion to ever looking up a text or grabbing a Bible

You should totally give it a try, though. If you like mythology and origin stories, it's pretty damn good if you let go of all the Christian bullshit interpretations that we have all been taught after the fact. Get some popular reading on the Bible done first, and/or follow the OpenYale courses and then re-read the Bible... just for shits and giggles.

You'll start to notice things like Yahweh truly not knowing what the fuck he's doing. Not because he's an incompetent idiot of a god, but just because he has no experience. It's really quite a cool epic, one that we have never been told right and never appreciated simply because we didn't have the context.

u/Sahqon · 3 pointsr/exchristian

> If not, I've been lied to and held to impossible expectations my whole life and that's hard to swallow.

You must realize that when you believed without question, you also "lied" to everybody else about the same thing. You are not a single person being lied to, you are part of a group in which likely no one is lying to anyone else, they just don't know any better (than you do), and everybody else is just confirming to the others that "of course we are right".

Read some books about the history of the religion (The Bible Unearthed or Who Wrote the Bible for the OT and the Jesus Wars for the NT are a good and rather entertaining overview), and maybe read Sagan's The Demon Haunted World to clear up some things about who believes what and why it's not necessarily a lie, but might still not be the truth. Seriously, it's about UFOs, lol.

r/academicbiblical is also good (and free), but it's sort of short answers to specific questions about the Bible. Their wiki is the best though!

u/jebei · 3 pointsr/atheism

I've had a similar obsession with the bible over the years. It made no sense to me when I was part of a church but everything opened up once I realized it's one of the best insights we have into the ancient mind and I find it fun to read now.

The top response to this post says the god of the Old Testament is the same as the god of the New but that's because they are looking at it only as a religious text. Looking at it as a historical document you can clearly see a progression over time from a Polytheistic War god at the beginning who demands blood sacrifices to a Monotheistic vengeful god of a chosen few. The New Testament is clearly written with Greek/Roman influences and a kinder god that was changed in ways to better fit and grow in that society.

If you haven't read it already, a good first book on the subject is Who Wrote the Bible by Friedman. I like The Bible Unearthed by Finklestein and Ehrmann's books are good too. There are dozens of other good overviews that show the Bible's progression from ancient campfire stories to the form we see today. After reading a few, I don't see how anyone can seriously believe the Bible is the unerring word of god.

I know I'll never convince my family members that Christianity is wrong so I've focused my efforts to get them to understand the bible was written by man. Even if we grant them that a god actually spoke to Moses and Jesus is his literal son neither man wrote the words in the book. Later men took the stories and wrote them down. The books of the Torah were finalized 600+ years after Moses is supposed to have lived. The Gospels were written 50 years after Jesus is said to have died. These writers were not gods and to say they were divinely inspired is a cop-out. They interpreted what they heard but these men were also products of their times. They practiced blood sacrifice and accepted slavery nor did they have a fraction of our understanding of the world. It's why you can't take the book literally.

There may be truths in the Bible but you have to look behind the words to find them.

u/metanat · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I got kind of lazy with the links, but anyways here is my collection of Christianity related books, links etc.


u/otakuman · 3 pointsr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman.

Bart D. Ehrman's books are pretty good regarding the New Testament, but for the Old Testament, this book is exactly what you need.

EDIT: It tells you about the most recent archaeological excavations in Jerusalem, Megiddo, The Sinai desert, and what they've found (or not found).

Did you know, for example, that in the supposed times of Moses, the egyptians had outposts in Canaan? They were a pretty powerful empire, and their territory extended to what we know as Galilee. Of course, this changed with the collapse of the bronze age civilization, with the invation of mediterranean pirates - then things start to get interesting.

u/austinfitzhume · 3 pointsr/exmormon

Regarding the bible, for Old Testament I'd recommend The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

And I haven't read it yet, but for New Testament my wife recommends How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

u/DeadnamingMissDaisy · 3 pointsr/nottheonion

Well, since you've made a massive edit, allow me to correct your error.

Yes, there are numerous examples of the iron age bible lifting wholesale bits of poetry from bronze age Ba'al texts. One example is the famous "lift up your heads, oh gods" which became, nonsensically, "lift up your heads, oh gates" in Psalm 24:7. (Hint: gates don't have heads, at least not the ones in ancient west semitic cities)

This is clear example of outright theft by hebrew priests.

It doesn't mean that the Canaanite god Hadad was ever syncretized with Yahweh. We do know that El was, however.


The Early History Of God by Mark S Smith

Stories from Ancient Canaan, Second Edition edited by by Michael D. Coogan and Mark S. Smith

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Neil Asher Silberman

u/mudgod2 · 2 pointsr/changemyview

Linking to wikipedia but it has references to the authors / historians

"On the one hand, it is not possible to write a historical biography of the Prophet without being accused of using the sources uncritically, while on the other hand, when using the sources critically, it is simply not possible to write such a biography." - Motzki

By sources he means Islamic sources.

It's like you can't accept the Bush or Trump (or Clinton) narratives as true without going to third parties / other means of verifying what happened and what's true.

Similar wikipedia link about the Exodus that links to other primary sources

Here's a book by archaeologists about the exodus

u/ziddina · 2 pointsr/exjw

Haven't read the book - yet - but if this is an accurate synopsis:

>In this iconoclastic and provocative work, leading scholars Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman draw on recent archaeological research to present a dramatically revised portrait of ancient Israel and its neighbors. They argue that crucial evidence (or a telling lack of evidence) at digs in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon suggests that many of the most famous stories in the Bible—the wanderings of the patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, and David and Solomon’s vast empire—reflect the world of the later authors rather than actual historical facts.


Then they're just revisiting what's been known by many bible scholars for decades.

Mark S. Smith's book The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel goes deeply into the Canaanite & polytheistic Mediterranean origins of the bible's mythologies, even giving scriptural books, chapters & verses where one can see the presence of polytheistic beliefs & practices of Canaanite origins present in the bible itself:

As well as William G. Dever's book Did God Have a Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel, which discusses the presence of many polytheistic beliefs & practices of Canaanite origins present in the archaeological record of Israel.

u/Parley_Pratts_Kin · 2 pointsr/mormon

Read these books in this order:

  1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari. Overview of the history of humanity. Fascinating.
  2. God: A Human History by Reza Aslan. Overview of the development of religion and ideas about God.
  3. The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein. Overview of the archeology of ancient Israel and historical criticism of the Old Testament.
  4. Authoring the Old Testament by David Bokovoy. Overview of textual criticism of the Old Testament.
  5. Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman. Overview of textual criticism of the New Testament.

    This mini library is a sort of behind the scenes peek into humanity, religion in general, and the Bible specifically. You’ll never look at these things the same way again.

    Now, after reading these, return and report and give us word.
u/bdwilson1000 · 2 pointsr/ChristianApologetics

What modern archaeology says about the bible events:

And yes, the Documentary Hypothesis (non Mosaic authorship) is the current consensus in the field. I have not read any books on it myself, but you can read an overview of it here:

u/53R63 · 2 pointsr/exjw

I'm reading The Bible Unearthed at the moment. Pretty much covers the early history of ancien Israel up to the return from the Babylone. A great read so far.

u/SayItLikeItIs · 2 pointsr/Israel

> No, it actually isn't.

Again the bald assertion devoid of evidence. "Indigenous" means "originating in an area". The Israelite ethnic identity originated in a very specific area: the north-central highlands, which is not within the modern State of Israel. We've already discussed some of the evidence, and I provide more below. If you have evidence to support a claim that the Israelite ethnic identity emerged somewhere other than the north-central highlands, or even simultaneously in the north-central highlands AND somewhere else, please provide evidence.

> Your link says "Arab (Palestinian)". Completely consistent with what I've been saying, which is that Palestinian Arabs are Arabs who live in Palestine, not different ethnically than Jordanian Arabs or Syrian Arabs.

Then why specify "Palestinian"? What the Wikipedia article actually says is that "Arab (Palestinian)" is an ethnic group. I don't really care if you call the ethnic group "Palestinian" or "Palestinian Arab" or "Arab (Palestinian)". The point is that it is a distinct ethnic group, part of but not the same as the "Arab" ethnic group.

> the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation

A group of people can't simultaneously have one ethnic identity and be part of a nation? Evidence please.

> I don't know enough about Russians to comment, sorry.

Do you know enough about the Jews to comment on this statement: "Jews are Semites, which means they are not a separate ethnicity from the other Semites - agreed?" I notice you conveniently skipped over that one.

> Come back when you have real evidence, not some biblethumpers.

The fact that they were biblethumpers doesn't inherently make what they say untrue. I thought it was a useful summary, but there's plenty of additional evidence.

Finkelstein and Silberman: "These [new archaeological] surveys revolutionized the study of early Israel. The discovery of the remains of a dense network of highland villages — all apparently established within the span of few generations — indicated that a dramatic social transformation had taken place in the central hill country of Canaan around 1200 BCE. There was no sign of violent invasion or even the infiltration of a clearly defined ethnic group. Instead, it seemed to be a revolution in lifestyle. In the formerly sparsely populated highlands from the Judean hills in the south to the hills of Samaria in the north, far from the Canaanite cities that were in the process of collapse and disintegration, about two-hundred fifty hilltop communities suddenly sprang up. Here were the first Israelites." (p. 107)

Apparently one of the indicators of the emergence of this new culture in the highlands was the lack of pork remains in the highlands, whereas there were a lot of pork remains in archaeological sites in other area: "Facing the “enemy” or “other” (i.e., the Philistines) who came from the southern coastal plain (and originally from the Aegean world), the highland settlers reinforced a “contrasting” identity that stressed components that were very different from those of the Philistines. Since the latter consumed pork,the Israelites made the avoidance of pork into a“flag” that was used to show how different they were."

Then there's the Egytian stele, which Wikipedia describes thus: "The name Israel first appears in the stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah c. 1209 BCE, "Israel is laid waste and his seed is no more." This "Israel" was a cultural and probably political entity of the central highlands, well enough established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible challenge to their hegemony, but an ethnic group rather than an organised state."

Despite the above-mentioned conflict with the Philistines, there's less evidence than I expected of a violent conquest, so it's possible, despite the evidence of Procopius, that the Israelites weren't actually conquerors of the State of Israel. To me, the evidence isn't conclusive either way on the "conqueror" question - thanks for prompting me to look into this; I like to learn new things. But ALL evidence points to the Israelites originating in the highlands, which makes them not indigenous, and therefore foreign to the State of Israel.

I'm very curious what you're going to come up with to try to counter this. I'm sure you'll come up with something. What do they say about Zionists? "Using evidence like a drunk uses a lamppost: not for illumination but for support." Sigh.

> Doesn't sound much like they are willing to share.

There are other ways to share besides chopping Palestine into ethnically pure pieces. The Palestinian Arabs were quite willing to share - i.e., continue to live side-by-side with the Palestinian Jews they'd been living with for generations; they just didn't want to be dominated.

Or does "sharing" mean "not identifying your state with the majority ethnic group"? So for example, a people who were good and decent and willing to share would not refer to themselves as, say, "the Jewish state" when there was a non-Jewish minority?

I would really like to understand the different between the First-Class Land Rights of "indigenous" people and the Second-Class Land Rights of other people. All you've said is that they're "superior". What does that mean? Does a single "native" person have the right to boot out every non-native person? Or take 10%? Or what?

u/Michamus · 2 pointsr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed by Prof. Israel Finkelstein (CV)

It was the second result.

u/czah7 · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The books mentioned. Amazon Zombie bot should be around to reply shortly.

"The Bible Unearthed" by Israel Finkelstein.

"Jesus, Interrupted" by Bart Ehrman

"Forged" by Bart Ehrman

u/tannat · 2 pointsr/atheism

Check up exodus on wikipedia, archeology references.

Or this book:

u/chipfoxx · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

I am not discriminating against Christians by describing what the followers do. I am not denying them services, freedoms, or liberties. If I tried to do that, it would deny the liberties that I enjoy as well. There are major Christian organizations (AFA, AIG, FocusOnTheFamily, LivingWaters, Pat Robertson, etc...) that are perfect examples of what I'm describing. Yes it's obvious that not all Christians do this but I am upset by those that do because they believe it's in Yahweh's best interests.

Anthropologists and archaeologists generally believe the Israelites were once part of the Canaanites and often continued sharing culture and beliefs. There is a lot written on the subject in ancient anthropology in books that can present the findings better than me. I had assumed you already had heard about where Yahweh likely originated, just like the borrowed Sumerian & Babylonian flood and creation myths in the Bible, [Yahweh in the bible also has origins elsewhere.] ( There are resources explaining the [deities of Canaan and their origins.] ( These might be a little more advanced for armchair anthropologists, but they are informative.

u/YourFairyGodmother · 1 pointr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed

As for the NT, it has absolutely no history in it. None. Zip. Zilch.

u/extispicy · 1 pointr/atheism

I agree with you that it is sometimes difficult to wade through the devotional (and mythicist!) to find proper historical materials!

My absolute favorite beginner resource are these Yale Religious Studies courses, the Old Testament series in particular. The professor has done an amazing job of putting the Bible in its historical context. Grab a Bible and do the assigned readings as "homework" - she does let you skip the boring bits, I promise!

My favorite text is this How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now, which compares how modern believers interpret the Bible compared to how it would have been received by its original audience.

If you are particularly interested in archaeology, 'The Bible Unearthed' might be a good option, though I think it does presume a fair amount of familiarity with biblical history.

Here's a list of more online resources, though they are not so much for the beginner.

If there is a particular topic you are interested in, I can try to point you towards something more specific.

u/Billmarius · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Are you claiming that Judaism arose spontaneously, out of thin air? Perhaps the Hebrews just sprang out of the ground somewhere? Are you arguing that Judaism is the first, or earliest religion? That it has no historical antecedent whatsoever? That monotheism was not, in fact, predated by polytheism? Have you conducted any research to support these claims?

The segments in my post are well-cited. Perhaps you'd like to refute the authors of the research? By all means, look up the citations and compose angry, emotionally-based retorts to this historical and archaeological research.

Educate thyself. The following works are by Israeli authors:

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

Authors: Israel Finkelstein, Professor of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, and Neil Asher Silberman, an archaeologist, historian and contributing editor to Archaeology Magazine.

The Invention of the Jewish People

Author: Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University

The Wandering Who

Author: Isreali-born Gilad Atzmon


It is a scholarly and truly monumental work, deeply profound and, of course, controversial. (Alan Hart, British Journalist and covert diplomat in Middle East, ITN's News at 10, BBC's Panorama)

u/FacebookFelon · 1 pointr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed is a great resource.

Also this Bible is a Geneva edition so it’s not sanitized. If your into US history it comes with a lot of cool stuff


u/vaarsuv1us · 1 pointr/exchristian

'The Bible Unearthed' by Finkelstein and Silberman

u/ChristianityBot · 1 pointr/ChristianityBot

Removed comment posted by /u/bdw9000 at 11/09/14 13:01:10:

> Ron Wyatt has is not taken seriously by actual archaeologists. Even Answers in Genesis..which is a radical young universe organization that believes everything in the bible is literally true (they believe dragons are real, there was a global flood, and Noah had dinosaurs on the ark for example)..and even they don't take him seriously. If an organization like this (with every motivation to spread the news about anything they think proves the bible true) is saying that Ron Wyatt is a hack, you can be pretty sure he has no credibility.
> If you want an up-to-date look at the state of biblical archaeology, check out this book. It is authored by several Israeli archaeologists who have been funded by the Israeli government in their effortsat digging up locations mentioned in the bible.

... in response to comment posted by /u/2ndTimothy at 11/08/14 21:22:25:

> I believe the exodus story is true. Ron Wyatt an amateur archaeologist found horse and human bones strung out across the red sea along with some of pharaoh's choice chariots and other inferior chariots. Here is a link again there is no such thing as having every question answered. Most lawyers would say that jurors make up their mind when enough evidence convinces them. I'm curious as to what parts of the bible that archaeology "destroys" though.

u/ticocowboy · 1 pointr/exmormon

This is considered the most scholarly SECULAR analysis of the historicity of the Jesus narrative. It doesn't deal with the Old Testament except in passing, but it is a very good analysis of the evidence for the historicity of the New Testament.

For the Old Testament, this one is hard to beat - and it's a real eye opener - put together by two Israeli archaeologists, and they don't hold back:

u/dostiers · 1 pointr/atheism

>But if any of you have read it tell me how I should read it.

I read it from cover to cover and every time I came across something that I thought wasn't credible I checked it out as best I could. This was back in the 1960s. It is much easier now with so much information readily available on the Net.

There is also much new evidence now, for example the work of archaeologists like Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman which has disproved just about all of Exodus as history, and shown that the Kingdom of Israel never existed, indeed couldn't because of a lack of people and resources.

u/IckyChris · 1 pointr/atheism

For a scholarly investigation into the reliability of the Old Testament, this is a really good read. The Bible Unearthed.

"In this iconoclastic and provocative work, leading scholars Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman draw on recent archaeological research to present a dramatically revised portrait of ancient Israel and its neighbors. They argue that crucial evidence (or a telling lack of evidence) at digs in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon suggests that many of the most famous stories in the Bible—the wanderings of the patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, and David and Solomon’s vast empire—reflect the world of the later authors rather than actual historical facts. "

u/tolos · 0 pointsr/philosophy

I spent my whole life in a Christian family; I was home-schooled until I came to college, with Bible verses and stories just about every day. I would have called myself a decent Christian then, and I'd have to say that I lived a good god-centric Christian life.

But then I came to college. And it wasn't the transition of going to college, but that time in my life, because soon before I went to college I too started having doubts about Christianity. One of my best friends and I decided that we were going to search for TRUTH (as we called it) and answer all challenges brought against Christianity. We had this idea that there was absolute truth out there somewhere, and we were going to find it. The first thing we decided, however, was that we would explore with an open mind, do enough of our own research that we wouldn't have to take someone else's word for granted, and that above all else, no matter what we learned we would strive for the truth of the matter, even if that meant no longer believing in Christianity -- though that seemed unlikely at the time.

I spent a long time learning, spent an incredible amount of time day and night when I first began, and I'm still learning new things to this day, directly and indirectly related to my original search. I remember being overwhelmed when I first started because there were so many topics! Christianity is a big subject, where do you even begin? Church history, the different denominations, "the trinity" issue, proofs of one form or another about the existence of God, literary analysis, ancient near east history, flood/global geology, evolution, original sin, the specific interpretation of words from ancient languages, questions about who authored what book and whether it mattered -- and later additions, why some works were included in the Bible and some weren't, "miracles," and on and on. Some of those I haven't researched much at all, and I probably never will, but it turned out that I didn't need to. But I did spend hours and hours and hours learning about these things, and I came to my own conclusions that I feel I can justify without just taking someone else's opinion as authority (as in, no research on my part).

I started out with The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict and Mere Christianity and they seemed to have a lot of really solid facts. Until I started doing my own research. See some of the commentary on about that Josh McDowell book. I encourage you to read some more about the ontological argument. A recent look at what the Bible says happened, and what history says happened (they don't always align) is covered in several places, e.g. The Bible Unearthed and the NOVA episode based on that. One of the biggest things I learned was in my ethics class at college, were I had a very good teacher explain how absolute truth just doesn't work (There are more qualified people than myself which can discuss that). Although there are many many reasons I am no longer a Christian, this was one of the big ones.

I guess what I'm trying to say with the above is that it's important to do your own work; come to a conclusion that you can defend, even if it's one you don't really like. I think I would always have doubts about the things I believe if I didn't do that. The answers I found did not lead me to a nice happy peaceful belief in an afterlife. That's gone. Sometimes I have panic attacks about that, but it's gotten better over the years. I think feeling lost and confused is a normal step in the process of having your beliefs torn apart. Recovering from that takes time, and lots of thought. A lot of other people have similar feelings, it might be worth checking out.

Let me just leave you with this Neil deGrasse Tyson quote:

The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things
like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a
rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love,
they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world
than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You'd be
surprised how far that gets you.

u/hammiesink · -1 pointsr/Christianity

>Im not sure question can be a fallacy

I did say "indirectly" and "flirting with." I could just kind of tell the tree he is barking up, and it's a fallacious one.

>the reason I am an atheist has much more to do with understanding how religions came about - sociology, psychology etc.

Then you are reasoning fallaciously. Imagine you meet someone who believes the earth is spherical because he read it in a fortune cookie. Obviously, fortune cookies are not good sources of information. Could you then conclude that the earth is not spherical? Of course not. The truth or falsity of a belief is completely independent of how that belief came to be held.

You could discover archeological evidence that the Old Testament is completely made up. In fact, Israel Finkelstein argues just that. It does not then follow that the Biblical God does not exist.

u/mountainmarmot · -1 pointsr/funny

You should also check out The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein. Very interesting book.