The portrait of Israelite religion in the Hebrew Bible is the ideal, the ideal in the minds of those few who wrote the Bible—the elites, the Yahwists, the monotheists. But it's not the ideal for most people. And archeology deals with the ordinary, forgotten folk of ancient Israel who have no voice in the Bible. There is a wonderful phrase in Daniel Chapter 12: "For all those who sleep in the dust." Archeology brings them to light and allows them to speak. And most of them were not orthodox believers.Fascinating...
However, we should have guessed already that polytheism was the norm and not monotheism from the biblical denunciations of it. It was real and a threat as far as those who wrote the Bible were concerned. And today archeology has illuminated what we could call "folk religion" in an astonishing manner.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Bible: Fact or Fiction?
Apparently much of it was fiction. But are we really surprised? Come on. The PBS program NOVA has a 2 hour special called The Bible's Buried Secrets on the historicity and archaeology of the Bible. You can read about what they found. But I'll leave you with this: