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Notes from Limmud 2008

New Archaeological Insights on the Exodus and Mount Sinai

Rabbi Dr Richard Freund

[Standard disclaimer: All views not in square brackets are those of the speaker, not myself. Accuracy of transcription is not guaranteed.]

Did the Exodus happen? It is as logical, reasonable, scientific to say that the Exodus happened just as depicted in the Book of Exodus as not.

There are five lines of evidence:

  • The Literary Arguments
  • The Historical Arguments
  • The Archaeological (small finds) Arguments
  • The Artifactual (monumental finds) Arguments
  • The Geographical Arguments

The Literary Arguments

There are literary arguments we can apply to any text. How does the Exodus text differ from any other ancient Middle-Eastern declaration of independence? All the other texts start off with a huge epic heroic story of how their god is great, and all other things they have done are great and heroic and beautiful and shiny. But here in the Book of Exodus we have a people claiming to have been slaves for over two hundred years before they emerged into their own. And on top of that, once they come out of Egypt, they're continually complaining! It's not heroic at all!

The weirdness of this text is a sign of its authenticity; this is called the principle of dissimilarity. Compare, for example, in the NT, when Jesus heals a blind person (Mark 8):

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

This is strange, because it's real: he's doing a real medical procedure.

The Hebrew language shows us in its development that the first Hebrew writers are only from the tenth century BCE. Before that, it was all oral. They started writing it down for the same reasons the Mishna was written down: Starting with the Assyrian near-conquest of the land of the eighth century, they were afraid it would all be lost. Also, the rise of the Davidic dynasty needed documents—movable documents—to support it.

Many different versions and words and pieces were taken together and merged into the Bible we have today.

When Jacob and his family went down to Egypt, they settled in the Land of Rameses. Rameses was supposedly the pharaoh of the Exodus. How could Rameses, 400 years beforehand, be a place if he doesn't exist yet? One of the biggest problems you face is that the Bible was written at a time when the events in it had passed long ago. It's full of anachronisms.

Sometimes words in the Bible don't mean what they seem to mean. For example, the biggest problem with the Exodus is the numbers involved. Egypt at the time had a population of four million people; there's no way two and a half million people could have left—particularly without leaving any trace in the Sinai. The text does not really talk about 603,550 people; it talks about 603 אֶלֶף. This has two meanings in the Bible: one is as "thousand", but the majority of citations in the Bible are for "clan". Normally this means eight to ten people! [*boggle*—the Etz Chayim says fifty.] So really we're talking about six odd thousand people here.

The Historical Arguments

There's no evidence for the Israelites in Egypt. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Though in Egypt we have 0.1% of all the things that were ever written in Egypt. Consider how systematically the record of Akhenaton was erased after his death, or the attempt to erase the record of Hatshepsut, or the Hyksos: once they had been expelled, every single reference to their ever being there was erased from Egyptian history. So the Egyptians would never have written the history of one of their minorities getting up and leaving!

(Some people think the Hyksos were the Israelites: they also went out with a mixed multitude.)

Since archaeologists were looking for a multitude of two and a half million, this affected their view of what they did find.

Further, where were they looking? They were looking at Jebel Musa, which was an identification of Mt Sinai created by the Byzantines! There's not one shard of pottery there that goes back to the Bronze Age, when the Exodus happened.

Not only this, but there are people who say that Rameses was the pharaoh of the Exodus—the evidence for which was because the Bible says the Israelites built the storehouses of Pithom and Rameses (though possibly that was the only great pharaoh the writers of the Torah knew of)—if they were forty years in the desert (which is actually just a round number for a long period of time), they arrived at the time at which Jericho was abandoned! It was actually destroyed two centuries beforehand.

In the bowels of the Cairo Museum (for which bring torches), there is the Israel stele, made by Merneptah in 1206 BCE, who writes on it "Ysiraal is destroyed, its seed is no more." But if Israel were in the land then, they must have been there beforehand! [Well, Hertz points out that it's debatable whether "Ysiraal" refers to Isrā'ēl (Israel) or Izrə`el (Jezreel).]

There have been connections made between the eruption of Thera in the sixteenth century and the Ten Plagues. When Krakatoa erupted, for weeks hundred and hundreds of miles away the skies were darkened. **** If for a moment we accept two pieces of evidence: first the Ahmose stele, saying "the land was turned into blood, cattle died," etc. This is at the same time he's kicking out the Hyksos. But there is also a papyrus from the same century listing similar plagues hitting the land.

Recently, pieces of pumice from the Thera eruption have been discovered in the Goshen area of Egypt. This is good archaeology—looking for other pieces of evidence.

The Geographical Arguments

The biggest problem of all is Mt Sinai, geographically: Why is it that the tradition of where Mt Sinai was was not maintained by the Israelites? The last historical reference to it in the Bible is when Elijah goes to Horeb in the ninth century [BCE]. It takes him forty days and forty nights to get there. But surely it's closer to Israel. Maybe we've been looking in the wrong place.

The Bible says it took forty-five days for the Israelites to get from Egypt to Mt Sinai. (Forty-five is not a round number; it's a genuine detail.) How many miles per day could a large number of people go? There are dissertations on this! Answer: six to eight. Getting to Jebel Musa would have required going much faster. It has to be within a sphere of 250 miles.

The Archaeological Arguments

Now, there is a mountain, Mt Karkom, 250 miles from [the non-desert part of] Egypt, on the border of Egypt and Israel, where an archaeologist, Prof. Emmanuel Anati, discovered hundreds of thousands of pieces of pottery from the Bronze Age; and 40,000 pieces of rock art, including of menorahs, but also of inscriptions in unknown alphabets, ringing the whole mountain. The evidence runs from the fifteenth century BCE down to the ninth, when it stops. [Anati, however, places the Exodus at the peak of activity at Mt Karkom, in the period 2350-2000 BCE, which is considerably earlier than the Exodus is normally dated.] Nothing like this can be said of the other eight contenders for Mt Sinai Dr Freund has looked into.

photograph

One of many sets of standing stones surrounding the mountain.

Anati thinks this is Mt Sinai not just because it fits the evidence, but also because of what happened elsewhen in the Bible. In the ninth century, a new huge massive technological advance in transport came: the domesticated camel arrived in the Middle East. And this meant people no longer needed to stop at Mt Sinai on their way across the desert: the tade routes changed.

There's also the fact that at that time, a new mountain became important for the Jews: Jerusalem. King David was already facing people trying to promote Mt Gerizim as an alternate holy mountain; he was not going to encourage the promotion of Mt Sinai!

photograph

Aerial photograph of a geoglyph of a
quadruped, more than 30 meters long.

The other piece of evidence is from the mountain itself. The mountain is ringed with sacrificial altars, carbon-dated to the Middle Bronze Age. When all those altars were lit, the mountain would have looked like it was on fire. There are also twelve standing stones at the bottom of the mountain.

On top of the mount there is a huge temple with standing stones, and a small cave. There are also zoomorphic and anthropomorphic features (like the Nazca lines) [example shown at the right].

[All of these are documented in Anati's book, which is available (on paper and) online (though the site seems a bit broken to me). See also figs. 130ff for an example of some rock art, 153 for an intriguing engraving dubbed "the Tablets of the Law". I didn't see any menorahs, but have personally seen ancient menorah rock art (though considerably less old—I'd estimate only two thousand years by the script) elsewhere in the Sinai.]

About the altar with twelve stones:

Exodus 24:3-24:7 שמות כד ג-כד ז
Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD has said we will do. Moses wrote all the words of the LORD; he rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the hill, along with twelve pillars, for the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent Israelite youths, who offered up elevation offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read in in the ears of the people: and they said, All that the LORD has said we will do and hear. וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה וַיְסַפֵּר לָעָם אֵת כָּל־דִּבְרֵי יְהוָה וְאֵת כָּל־הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים וַיַּעַן כָּל־הָעָם קוֹל אֶחָד וַיֹּאמְרוּ כָּל־הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר יְהוָה נַעֲשֶׂה׃ וַיִּכְתֹּב מֹשֶׁה אֵת כָּל־דִּבְרֵי יְהוָה וַיַּשְׁכֵּם בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּבֶן מִזְבֵּחַ תַּחַת הָהָר וּשְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה מַצֵּבָה לִשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ וַיִּשְׁלַח אֶת־נַעֲרֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּעֲלוּ עֹלֹת וַיִּזְבְּחוּ זְבָחִים שְׁלָמִים לַה׳ פָּרִים׃ וַיִּקַּח מֹשֶׁה חֲצִי הַדָּם וַיָּשֶׂם בָּאַגָּנֹת וַחֲצִי הַדָּם זָרַק עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ׃ וַיִּקַּח סֵפֶר הַבְּרִית וַיִּקְרָא בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם וַיֹּאמְרוּ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר יְהוָה נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמָע׃

Anati said: Nu?

[The remainder of the talk was anecdotal or consisted of photographs, and I did not take notes on it. As an example of the former, it transpires that the area is in a military training zone—the army has been shelling the mountain for years—and access for the archaeologists is limited to just one week a year. Which happens to be Pesach. So there the archaeologists were, celebrating Pesach at the foot of Mt Sinai!

If you want to know more, read Anati's book, I suppose.

Jewish learning notes index

Date: 2009-02-09 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
It does not proof anything. Lots of people and tribes did sacrifices and might have some sort of writing on stones or whatever they had. I always had my doubts about the truth of any of the Biblical stories. You once said yourself it is pharisean propaganda. But I do believe that the Jews or in this case the Hebrews were once normades and settled down at some point. The Bible gives some idea how people lived and thought. Everything that could not be explained like plagues, natural disasters or any sort of natural event was thought to be God's act or any higher force that does it for a reason. They thought when you were naughty you would get punished and if were good you would be rewarded. The Hebrews were not the only people who thought like that. There still peoples out there who have these ancient ideas.

Date: 2009-02-09 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
It does not proof anything. Lots of people and tribes did sacrifices and might have some sort of writing on stones or whatever they had.

Yes, but only a limited number of peoples lived within a reasonable reach of Mt. Karkom; the Israelites are as good a candidate as any other, if you're prepared to overlook the date discrepancy.

(A lot of what we see there—particularly the anthropomorphic imagery—are counter to later Judaism, but who's to say what the ancestors of the Israelites considered religiously acceptable four thousand years ago?)

I always had my doubts about the truth of any of the Biblical stories. You once said yourself it is pharisean propaganda.

No, I talked about how a lot of aggada is pharisaic propaganda, for example the Patriarchs instituting the three daily services. What's written in the Bible itself is a different matter altogether. Those stories didn't come from nowhere; when you have myths, there will often be a factual basis for them, even if rather different to the form portrayed in the myth. (Compare the legend of the Minotaur with the discovery of the bull-dancing in the palace at Knossos.)

You also have to consider that what the Bible portrays, it both exaggerates, and twists according to the author's theological perspective. Finally, whilst the events at the end of the Biblical period are unquestionably historical, those towards the start have to be taken with a pinch of salt—but seasoned like this, rather than thrown away altogether.

Date: 2009-02-13 08:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] green-knight.livejournal.com
when you have myths, there will often be a factual basis for them

No time to read the whole article - what I've skimmed sounds plausible - but a wholehearted YES for this.

I think it's fascinating that over the last twenty or thirty years or so we've put a lot of the monsters back into maps. Dragons? Komodo dragons are pretty convincing. Giant Kraken? Giants? (recently saw pictures of the Russian guy who, at 2,85m, really made everyone else look out of place.) And let's not forget The Flood and various fire and brimstone events - collective memory twists and shapes memory, but that core of truth is all too often present if you're willing to look for it.

Date: 2009-02-09 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
As our stories were written much later and used as propaganda so were the Christian ones. I doubt that Jesus ever existed as much as I doubt the existence of our prophets. I am not the only one amongst Jews and non-Jews. The bad thing is that lots of the Christian stories are anti-propaganda to oppress the Jewish people. I don't like that. It is OK to copy the ethical and moral laws but not to frame people who do not deserve it.

Date: 2009-02-09 07:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
As our stories were written much later and used as propaganda so were the Christian ones. I doubt that Jesus ever existed as much as I doubt the existence of our prophets.

Firstly, our earlier stories were written much later; some of the later ones were not. The Book of Lamentation, for example, can be narrowed down to the period of less than a century between the destruction of Jerusalem and the return from the Babylonian Exile; there's no reason to believe it was not written by an eyewitness observer.

Secondly, why do you believe that Jesus or our prophets did not exist? Somebody had to have written the contents of their books, and whilst you can argue that, say, the book of Daniel was written centuries after it was set, and there were two, or even three, Isaiahs, there's no reason to believe that Jeremiah, for example, did not exist and write his book.

As for Jesus, where do you think Christianity came from if Jesus did not exist? It's true he may not have done all the things that were attributed to him in the Gospels (on which see my recent blog posts), but very few scholars do not believe a historical Jesus existed. There's also quite a few contemporary non-Christian accounts referring to him.

Date: 2009-02-10 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
Those stories which were written later about the early prophets I definitely give a doubt. I am not saying that those plagues did not happen. They were natural causes and believed to a punishment by God as people had no explanation. I don't believe that plagues happened so quickly one after another and at a time when some Hebrews moved out of Egypt. I doubt that every Hebrew was living in Egypt. They lived wherever they wanted. They eyewitnesses might have used a different name. I don't know about that. There is no evidence of the Exodus and there is no evidence of Jesus. The historian try desperately to proof his existance but they can't. Non-Jews wrote the New Testament and other books as well. They can make up anything. They just copied and put in their own ideas and interpretation, too.
Someone wrote a new Moses story with less magic. He tried to make it more realistic. He knew the Egyptian culture of the past. He said it would have been impossible for a Hebrew slave or anyone not Egyptian to make a deal with the Pharao. He could not even enter the palace without difficulties. He made Moses half Egyptian. He invented an Egyptian Princess who fooled around with a Hebrew man. Her son was then accepted as an Egyptian because of his mother.

Date: 2009-02-10 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
I don't believe that plagues happened so quickly one after another and at a time when some Hebrews moved out of Egypt.

It's impossible to tell what really happened then, but there is one explanation which preserves the possibility of a series of plagues one after the other, and the splitting of the Reed Sea: the eruption of Thera (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thera_eruption#Biblical_traditions).

There is no evidence of the Exodus and there is no evidence of Jesus. The historian try desperately to proof his existance but they can't.

Jesus lived in a completely different time: unlike at the time of the Exodus, lots of people were writing about that period at the time, or very shortly afterwards.

I don't know why you're so dead set that Jesus did not exist; indeed, I'm most amused by the way that, as an observant Jew, you're making me stand up and declare: I believe in Jesus! (Well, I do.)

A quick look at Wikipedia reveals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus) that, in addition to the Gospels and the letters of Paul:
  • Some of the early Church fathers quote eyewitnesses of Jesus' ministry and healings, in the late first century.
  • Josephus wrote, in 93 CE:
    About this time came Jesus, a wise man. His conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous, and he won over many of the Jews and also many Greeks. When Pilate, upon the accusation of the first men amongst us, condemned him to be crucified, those who had formerly loved him did not cease to follow him. They reported he appeared to them on the third day, living again, accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.
    (This text being my modification of the text that has come down to us, which Christians have meddled with, with a quotation given by a tenth-century Arab, both from the Wikipedia page.)
  • Tacitus wrote, in ca. 116:
    Nero fastened the guilt of starting the blaze and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius 14-37 at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.
  • The Talmud records (Sanhedrin 43a):
    On the eve of the Passover, Yeshu was hanged. Forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried: "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf." But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.
All of these have some problems associated with them, but there's enough evidence in general to say that a Jesus really did exist, and was executed by the Romans, if not necessarily very much more.
Edited Date: 2009-02-10 07:54 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-02-11 07:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
I am very sceptical about this dubious evidence. They may talk about another person in every text. Nobody knows what people or person they talk about. The Talmud does not even talk about crucification. Crucification was a very common Roman punishment. They oppressed the Jews at that time. There were lots of people who claimed to be the Meshiah and those who built up a small Jewish sect.

Date: 2009-02-12 07:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
I repeat: if Jesus did not exist, how come within a few decades of his death there were lots of people, both Christian and non-Christian, writing about him? Yes there were lots of messianic pretenders, but only one connected with the movement called Christianity! And Christianity itself could not have arisen but for a charismatic founding leader. It's one thing to talk about Judaism, where the earliest texts date from long after the time of Moses), or King Arthur, or Theseus; it's quite another to talk about Christianity, where people were writing about it within a few decades of the movement's foundation. Do you not believe that Mohammed existed? What about the Báb (the nineteenth-century founder of Baha'ianism)?

As for crucifixion, of course the Talmud does not talk about it: it's a Roman punishment, not a Jewish one; and it was the Romans, not the Jews, who put Jesus to death.

Date: 2009-02-12 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
That is why I don't think they talk about the same person. Non-Jews could have made it up.
There maybe more evidence of Mohammed. I heard about all the negative things he did in particular to Jews when they did not accept him. Muslims make their own report to their taste. They would never admit any violence of their prophet or may not even admit that he was unable to read.

Date: 2009-02-12 08:40 pm (UTC)
taimatsu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] taimatsu
There is a difference between disbelieving what is said about a person by his followers, and disbelieving that he existed at all! Your point about whether or not Muslims are willing to admit anything negative about Muhammad has nothing to do with whether he was a historical person who really lived.

Date: 2009-02-13 01:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
As I said in lots of comments there is a no clear evidence for Jesus. Whatever the historian found does not make clear who the text is talking about. I think there is more clearer evidence for Mohammed. He was coming a lot later when thinks were definitely recorded.

Date: 2009-02-12 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
Christianity arose from non-Jews, Greeks and Romans as we know itnowadays. I don't know they exactly got it from. They copied a lot from Jewish people as the Muslims did but did not really know and understand their text. Everything was written much later after Jesus death who I still believe was made up.

Date: 2009-02-12 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
You're wrong. It wasn't until Paul of Tarsus got his hands on the religion that Christians started proselytising to non-Jews; before that all Christians were Jews... and the religion started in Judaea. I appreciate that we have nothing written down until a couple of decades after Jesus' death (Wikipedia suggests Paul started writing in c. 48-68), but if you consider that the movement was already established then, that means you have to look backward to it starting with just a few people a couple of decades beforehand. And how, do you imagine, people would go about selling the religion if Jesus did not exist? "Jesus is the Lord!" "Cool; where's he speaking?" "Er..."

Date: 2009-02-12 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
Or, to put it another way; if almost all secular scholars believe Jesus existed, and even all Jews believe he existed, then what makes you so sure that they're all wrong, and you're right?

Date: 2009-02-12 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
Nobody ever claimed to be sure about the evidence, not the Jews. Christianity is a very popular religion suited for people who need simple believes. Masses are not always right. There is too much Hokus Pokus stories I don't believe in.

Date: 2009-02-12 07:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
Christianity is no different from Judaism or any other religion in this regard: there's simplistic approaches and scholarly theology; the way a demagogic preacher portrays the religion will be different to the way a theologian does; in exactly the same way that the way the Lubavitch portray Judaism will be very different to the way the Chief Rabbi does.

Date: 2009-02-12 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
You have not asked Rabbis. They just said what I always thought. There is no obvious evidence. Nobody can be sure of his existence. I also do not believe that Avraham and Mose existed but Hebrews who thought and might have acted like them.

Date: 2009-02-12 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
You have not asked Rabbis.

About what? The existence of Jesus? If I want to know a rabbi's view on that, I'll go to a rabbi who's a scholar on the issue, and I did precise that, as I posted (http://lethargic-man.livejournal.com/242137.html) earlier (http://lethargic-man.livejournal.com/241445.html) in the year (http://lethargic-man.livejournal.com/240996.html).

Going to a rabbi for a subject they're not expert on is as ill-advised as going to anyone else. If I want to learn about halacha I don't go to a historian; if I want to learn about history and historiography I wouldn't go to a rabbi unless the rabbi was also a historian.
Edited Date: 2009-02-12 07:53 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-02-13 09:23 am (UTC)
ext_8103: (Default)
From: [identity profile] ewx.livejournal.com

"if Jesus did not exist, how come within a few decades of his death" is logically incoherent, of course - if he didn't exist then there's no "within decades of his death".

Ignoring that, "people make things up" is a perfectly believable answer. Fiction is a well-known example; many people write about Batman, but there's no such person. Religion is another; consider Scientology if you doubt that religions get invented plain and simple. The urge to invent isn't modern, either; ancient historical writers often put lengthy speeches into the mouths of their characters, which are pretty obviously made up.

Date: 2009-02-13 01:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zsero.livejournal.com
You want to know where the Jesus stories could have come from, if he didn't exist? First of all, there are very very few alleged eyewitnesses. Almost all the supporters he's documented as having had joined after his death, and relied on the stories they were told by those who'd allegedly seen him. Or on the stories they'd been told. If he was invented, very very few people need have been in on it.

Or none at all. I've seen one theory that the Gospels are based on a passion play about Julius Caesar that had been translated into Aramaic. We know there was a Caesar-worhipping cult around that time, and that they staged passion plays at the Ides of March; what if some Jews saw one of these plays, in Aramaic translation with all the names translated into contemporary Jewish ones (Caesar = Yeshua , Brutus = Yuda, etc.), and thought it was a true story that happened at Jerusalem rather than Rome?

Date: 2009-02-13 01:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
Exactly. That is what I mean. It was written later. There are no eye-witnesses for Jesus. Mohammed had eye-witnesses. I am sure there were things written down at his time.

Date: 2009-02-13 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zsero.livejournal.com
PS: The "Yeshu Hanotzri" of the Talmud lived about 100 years too early (he was a student of Yehuoshua ben Prachia, and thus a colleague of Shimon ben Shetach, who was Shlomit Alexandra's brother; Judaea didn't fall under Roman influence until the civil war between Shlomit's sons), was executed by the Sanhedrin over the vigorous protest of the civil government, had the wrong number of disciples, was accused of sorcery, was stoned to death and then his corpse hanged, was executed on Erev Pesach rather than on Pesach itself (and thus his last meal couldn't have been a Seder); basically he shared nothing with the Jesus of the New Testament except a name, which may have become attached to the story at any time.

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