Currently reading: Thomas L. Thompson’s The Mythic Past

I’ve previously discussed Silberman and Finkelstein’s book The Bible Unearthed, a popular-level book on Old Testament scholarship which argues that nothing in the Old Testament prior to the stories of David and Solomon has any basis in history, that David and Solomon probably only barely have a basis in history, and that key parts (namely most of Deuteronomy through Kings) were composed to serve the political agenda of King Josiah in the 7th century BC.

But I don’t want to just trust just one source for my knowledge of Old Testament scholarship, so I’ve decided to read a book that takes an even dimmer view of the historical value of the Old Testament: Thomas L. Thompson’s The Mythic PastIt might be seem natural to see Thompson’s perspective as “more anti-religious” than Silberman and Finkelstein’s, though I think it would be a big plus for the parts of the Old Testament in question if they didn’t turn out to have been written to serve an ancient despot’s agenda of religio-ethnic cleansing. So we’ll see what happens as I read Thompson’s book.

  • MNb

    “I think it would be a big plus for the parts of the Old Testament in question ..”
    That’s a silly remark. The Old Testament was not written with you in the mind of the authors – nor anyone else living in the 21st Century. Basically you are (still?) assuming here that the OT should be as relevant today as it was back then. Religio-ethnic cleansing was pretty normal in Antiquity – I refer to Julius Caesar again. So what else would you expect?
    Lower your expectations.


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