Question of the Week: Why did these Bible stories get written down in the first place?
- Creation Stories. The Israelites started putting together their written accounts during their exile after they were overthrown by the Babylonians. This was around 400-500 BCE. The Babylonians had a pretty violent creation story, involving their god Marduk ripping carcasses apart and using two pieces to form the earth. The Israelites did not want to embrace the same violent concept of creation. In fact, part of the process of keeping their tribe separate was to create a different creation story, one evolving from a basis of love and creativity.
- Exodus Stories. They also wrote down the Exodus story in this time period, which also happened a long time before the Babylonian exile. Note that the story of Moses and the Jewish nation in exile in Egypt was a parallel to the situation of the Jewish nation in Babylon.
- New Testament Stories. Turning to the New Testament (with the first books starting in around 50 CE with Paul’s letters), we find again the Jewish nation under the oppression of the Roman Empire. The New Testament was an attempt by the writers to instill a sense of dignity to their people, which again had been desecrated through the oppression of the Romans. This is what the gospel writers and Paul were both trying to do. Paul was all over the place in his letters, dealing with hair and women and who’s sleeping with who and all that. But then he throws in random comments such as “love is patient and kind.”
Research question the interns are working on: When was the last time God (or Yahweh) spoke directly to man? A recent lecture the Chief Editor was listening to said it was Job.