Friday, February 25, 2011

Deuteronomy 16-18

Deuteronomy 16-18

Deuteronomy 16-18 Skeptics Annotated Bible

Chapter 16 is more rehashing
Chapter 17 tells us that a king will be installed once the Israelites settle in the promised land.
Chapter 18 reminds us to kill witches and others associated with occult like things.

Most interestingly, we also learn that God will raise a prophet up from these people.  Am I wrong or is this is the first solid reference/predication of Jesus (to the believers that is)?
Us Atheists like to call that retro-fitting.  ;-)

Edit: I meant to say force-fitting, not retro-fitting Jesus into the story.
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  1. Bruce,
    How could something written in 1400 BC (or 500 BC according to the atheist's bible) be a 'retrofitting' of Jesus in 50 AD?

  2. I assume he means the other way around. The NT authors were familiar with this literary tradition and told their story accordingly. Plus, one can interpret ambiguous OT passages in light of the NT even when more parsimonious interpretations are available.

  3. Yes, I got it backwards. Thanks for clarifying.

  4. 16:13 mentions Tabernacles/Booths/Sukkot, but it says nothing about actually living in 'booths'. (Keeping with the theory that that practice was a post-exilic novelty added late to Leviticus.)

    Note that the word translated "tabernacles" (Sukkot, סכת) is not the same as the Tabernacle (משכן) in P.

    (Only now noticing that KJV translates "Tent of the presence" and Tabernacle (משכן) both as "tabernacle", not differentiating! Holy cow.)

    16:21 bemoans the common Asherah trees. "Asherah" is translated as "groves" in the KJV ("sacred pole" in my text) but could refer directly to the goddess Asherah.

    The next verse regards "standing stones", massebah (מצבה). These are NOT idols, despite what the KJV says.

    Both of these were common elements of Israelite folk religion.

    (I'm plowing through a book on Israelite religion and it has been very enlightening!)

    Ch. 18, Dtr's say be nice to the Levites, but doesn't distinguish the Aaronids, as P so adamantly did.

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  6. What if this prophet was actually Mohammed? (as it notes in the Skeptics bible)

  7. The constant re-hashing is getting a little old ... even re-hashing of re-hashing. However, if you wanted to start reading the bible here, then good enough.

    I musta missed this - but observing the "month of Abib" - is this a "barley month" celebration. What was the significance?

  8. Yeah, the idea that this prophet is Jesus particularly seems tenuous given that there are also plenty of warnings against false prophets to come. Plus, one of the warning signs of false prophets is asking you to abandon or alter the Mosaic law, like Jesus did.

  9. I think as far as the text is concerned, "prophet" is used to indicate that along with the office of king God will create the office of "Prophet." As I understand it, the early Israelite kings all had a prophet attached to them whose job it was to keep the king in check and on the religious straight and narrow. The office was created as a compromise between pro-kingship Israelites and those who feared a king would usurp their tribal rights.