T. C. Mitchell: Discredited is the old theory that Genesis was not intended as a history, but as “poetic media for the conveyance of divine truth.” “There is no clear indication that these chapters are couched in other than plain narrative prose, and apart from the serpent, there is nothing in them which is intrinsically fabulous.” Certainly “it is difficult to escape the conclusion that to our Lord these early narratives described actual events.” (Faith & Thought 91:48.)
J. Gray: In the O.T. history far outweighs saga, which is readily discernable. “This respect for fact and historical perspective in the records of the race finds no parallel in the whole literature of the ancient Near East until the time of Herodotus of Halicarnassus.” (Vetus Testamentum Supplement V, 218.)
W. F. Albright: “It is clear that the substantial historicity of biblical tradition has been vindicated to an extent which few unprejudiced bystanders could well have dreamed possible a generation ago.” (Cross Currents 9:117.)
E. A. Speiser: Archaeology has shown that “none of the Pentateuchal and other early historical sources of the O.T. invented its material . . . J or P or D or the like cannot be charged with any kind of fabrication.” (Contemp. Rev. 4:214.)
C.M. Gordon: “The Patriarchal narratives show “a distinctive epic attitude. In other words, the content and omissions of pre-Solomonic Hebrew history have been conditioned by a specific epic standard as to what is and what is not worthy of saga.” (Journal of Near Eastern Studies 11:213.)
O. T. Doctrine.
N. Rowley: There is absolutely no evidence that Monotheisn developed out of Polytheism in Israel. “There is no proof whatever that in Israel Polytheism changed to Monotheism through natural evolution or philosophical speculation. There is no evidence that Moses was a Polytheist in the sense of worshiping several gods; there is also no proof that he was a Monotheist in the sense of denying the existence of more than one god.” (Zeitschrift für A. T. Wissenschaft 69:7.)
G.E. Wright: “ . . . central to the patriarchal stories are the kerygmatic themes of election and promise . . .” (Expository Times 71:293) I.e., the Gospel is present from the beginning.
W. Harmann: Hebrew literature had always employed the expression “Son of God,” implying at the very least that God is a Father. (Zeitschrift für Religion und Geistesgechichte 12:242-251.)
D. Daube: “The narrative of the exodus is dominated by the concept of God as go’el, ‘redeemer,’ of the nation, as the mighty relative or legitimate owner who enforced his right to recover a member of the family or property subjected to foreign domination.” (Archiv Orientalni 17:88.) The idea of the Redemption is familiar from the first.
The O. T. in its Near Eastern Setting.
C. H. Gordon: “The magnificent structure of O.T. higher criticism is not to be brushed aside; but its individual results can no longer be accepted unless they square with the Hebrew Text as we can now understand it in the light of parallel literatures from the pagan forerunners and contemporaries of the Hebrews in the Bible Lands.” (Ugarit. Lit. 7.)
H. H. Rowley: “The view that the Hebrew prophets were an entirely unique phenomenon in the religious history of the world . . . is one that cannot be maintained.” e.g., “That the story of Wen Amom (the Egyptian) presents us with prophecy closely similar to that of early Israelite prophets cannot be gainsaid . . . More recently evidence of prophets at Mari at a much earlier date has come to light. It is therefore quite impossible to treat Hebrew prophecy as an isolated phenomenon.” (Hooke, Myth, Ritual and Kingship, pp. 239-9.)
G. Lanczkowski: O.T. prophecy is typical of the Near East. The swarming of false pro-phets “posits incontestibly the awareness of genuine prophecy.” . . . The Egyptian Eloquent Peasant text “shows the existence of a prophetic movement in Egypt which is fully analogous to that of the O.T. . . .” (Zeitschrift für A. T. Wissenschaft 70:34-38.)
K. A. Kitchen: The Brooklyn Papyr., published in 1950, shows the operation of Egyptian prisons in Joseph’s day. Of 75 prisoners’ names, 40 are West Semitic: “The genuine antiquity of some patriarchal names is thus brightly illumined.” . . . The names of Shiprah and Pu’ah are now definitely known to be authentic and early West Semitic personal names.” (Faith & Thought 91:180-4.) (In 1938 Lehi was first shown to be an authentic and early West Semitic personal name, by M. Glueck.) An ostrakon of Ramses II shows the touchiness of the Egyptian government in control of prisoners, and its impatience of idleness. (l.c.)
E. Drioton: Egyptian Wisdom Literature is closely related to Hebrew, but in the case of the famous Teachings of Amenemope “the Egyptian Amenemope is actually an indifferent Egyptian translation from a Semitic-Hebrew-original, itself composed by Jews in Egypt. This would be the ‘Words of the Wise’ on which Proverbs also subsequently drew.” (Faith & Thought 91:191-3.)
W. F. Albright: “The Bible strikes root into every ancient Near Eastern culture, and it cannot be understood until we can see its relationship to its sources in true perspective . . .” (JAOS 64:148.)
C. Gordon: “The people of ancient Greece and Israel have a common Semitic heritage based on the flow of Phoenician culture . . . We were brought up to believe that the Jews gave us ethics and religion, that the Greeks willed us science and philosophy. Yet, we now see a similar tradition running through both cultures, and we can’t be sure which culture gave us what.” (Christian Science Monitor, April 18, 1962.) (See Approach to the Book of Mormon, chs. 3 & 4!)
J. Schonfield: O. T. institutions “have substantial analogies among other peoples, the distinctive character which they exhibit among the Hebrews being in the spirit with which they are made the exponents. Written records, especially religious texts from Ras Shamra, contain words and phrases used in the O.T.” Patternism is today “the centre of interest in the study of the relation between religions of the Near East and the O.T.” (Expository Times 71:196.)
K.-H. Bernhardt: While Israelite political and religious institutions have close parallel all over the Near East, “ the peculiar characteristic of the Israelite kingship is the formal refusal of the office with set arguments . . . This custom of royal polemic must be regarded as among the most ancient statements on kingship in the O.T.” (Vetus Testamentum Supplement VIII, 305.) (While Mosiah contains a full display of patternism, this is also the peculiar Book of Mormon attitude to kingship. It recognizes the prevalence of the institution of kingship, but insists on giving it a peculiarly democratic interpretation.)
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