Hello everyone. How to understand the miracle of Joshua described in the Bible? Joshua stopped the sun so that the army of Israel could finish off their enemy. Is it a historical event or a poetic one, perhaps a myth? Some say that Joshua did not stop the sun, but that it was an eclipse. Thank!
It’s a myth Altair. And trying to make it sciencey is much, much worse than taking it literally. Eclipses last a few minutes, seven at the most.
How do you feel about the Bible then? is it a set of fairy tales or a revelation of God in a specific language of myths?
It is what it is, a thousand years of evolving edited, ten thousand years of evolving yearning to the divine that was then answered in Jesus, echoed by the Spirit since.
do you think Moses was a historical person?
Hi, Alex. Just because it would be impossible for the sun to stop doing something it was never doing in the first place (going around the earth) … and for that matter impossible for the earth to stop turning as well; all that doesn’t mean all historicity of the text (or the possibility of miracles generally) is rejected.
You might want to read one scholar’s perspective on that particular text. John Walton wrote an article for Biologos on it. There are things to understand about “omens” and how they were taken back then which may have bearing on how to understand this passage.
Thank you so much! I have already read this article. Do you have articles in BioLogos about the historicity of Moses?
Not at all, there are no converging historical records. The comparison between King David and Moses is. most generously, like that between William the Conqueror and King Arthur. Exodus is pure myth with no historical basis whatsoever.
how then to be with the Transfiguration, where Jesus talked with Moses and the prophet Elijah?
It’s a symbolic vision showing the subordination of the law and the prophets to Jesus. It doesn’t make huge mythical international scale events that are historically invisible real.
Assuming the Transfiguration occurred, how did the Disciples know it was Moses & Elijah?
I think Moses was a historical figure. Just because some of the population figures associated with their migration / escape are quite fantastical, making its absence from other historical sources also seem then incredible doesn’t suddenly mean the whole thing never happened; except in the minds of those who’ve already decided all things Old Testament are mythical.
I know of no such. The OT is full of history, especially the ‘prophecy’. So what of the Exodus is historical?
I’m not a scholar - just a Bible reader expressing his opinion here. The fact that there is a Jewish people means they had a history - a history relayed and described in their own writings copied down from oral (and then later written) traditions down through the ages. Other than maybe some hyperbole that almost certainly crept in to accounts, it seems unlikely in the extreme that they made all that up whole cloth. They probably did not wipe out quite so many peoples so thoroughly and mercilessly as they boasted they did on behalf of their fearless leaders - in fact some of that is what they later are called to task for not doing in later passages. So (ironically) - most of the terrible “God told them to do what?!” passages that we tie ourselves up in knots trying to justify, are probably more ancient boasting about what they would like everyone to think they did, more than an accurate account of what actually happened. It’s just they way they wrote back then …“My God can beat up your god” etc. But apart from trying to derive detailed accounts and figures in ways beyond what the text was meant to bear, I have no reason to think the outline of events isn’t still basically there and reflective of the fundamental realities about their origins.
It’s a wonder to me, but many believe that much of the Bible is myth or legend. Particularly the first 11 chapters of Genesis.
Aye Mervin. But once we remove the fantastical, what is left?
A possible Chaldean 2000 km tribal migration in to Canaanite territory after 2000 BCE
Onwards to Egypt due to famine after 1900 BCE
And back to Canaan around 1400 BCE
What is more likely is that the Israelites are Canaanites - still living in Jerusalem as Jebusites at the time of Solomon - who absorbed mythic archetypal figures - common to all emerging cultures, even to this day - from the more powerful riparian cultures beyond the deserts; Sumero-Akkadian-Amorite-Babylonian (Abram) and Egyptian (Moses), thus elevating themselves above their fellow Canaanites. Synergistically with their monotheistic religious evolution they established a distinct competitive identity that enabled them to carve out an ecological niche protected by desert and sea.
It really isn’t difficult, doesn’t require proven Ph.D. scholarship to deconstruct and reconstruct Jewish mythology, folk tales covering at least three and a half thousand years, before being finally edited, imbued with highly evolved elitist monotheism. All quite anthropological. Human.
How does Jewish historiography compare with contemporary cultures’ up to the Greeks?
What’s left is a clearer distillation of what we should be attending to. After culling away the “dill and the cumin” (our naive urges to reduce the Bible to a mere anthropological catalogue of disparate factoids), we’re left to encounter the weightier matters of justice, mercy, and walking humbly with our God. But yeah - I get it. It’s much more fun to enlist in the turf wars of biblical inerrancy claims instead. After all, if we start paying attention to what the Bible actually teaches, that might make uncomfortable demands on us.
A tad petulant Mervin? I am ONLY interested in the weightier matters of the law, which are all the more remarkable for having evolved, been drawn out progressively over thousands of years, from and despite a typically human culture, culminating in a transcendent leap in the person of Jesus. The humanity of Jonah is not in the same universe as the Heresy of Peor is it? Yet less than a thousand years of moral development separate them. And roughly the same between Jonah and the Pericope Adulterae. It’s as if Love was drawing us to itself through the smoke, fire, blood, filth of humanity’s Lord of the Flies period (published the year I was born), Jesus arrived at the our long puberty.
I suspect all such prior moral “universes” provide the rich subsoil for the next. Doesn’t make them any prettier to live through I’m sure (from any subsequent perspective).
Yeah…sorry. My words there were more a self-reflection on my own unfortunate tendencies and not meant as any pointed judgement at you in particular. You were just the provocateur.
Ah go on Mervin! You, Sir, are a gentleman.