The Old Testament as “fact-fiction” (more from Mark S. Smith)

A few weeks back I posted some thoughts (here and here) on Mark S. Smith’s (Skirball Profesor of Bible and Near Eastern Studies at New York University) presidential address at the Catholic Biblical Association of America meeting in August 2011, which was published in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly the next year (issue 74, 2012). Here is a third [Read More…]

Did biblical writers understand their past? (Mark Smith part 2)

Today’s post is based on another idea I found interesting in Mark S. Smith’s article “God in Israel’s Bible: Divinity between the World and Israel, between the Old and the New.” The meat of it gives an overview of the evidence for the “early history” of Israel’s God Yahweh according to the biblical and extrabiblical evidence. The article is published in the [Read More…]

God is Bigger than the Bible

Last night I was reading Mark S. Smith’s The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (because I felt like it, that’s why). He opens with a quotation from the 6th c. AD writer on Roman antiquity, Lydus. There has been and is much disagreement among theologians about the god honored [Read More…]

The Survivors Write the History: a brief book note on a new book on the Old Testament

I recently began reading The Legacy of Israel in Judah’s Bible: History, Politics, and the Reinscribing of Tradition by Daniel E. Fleming, professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. I’m glad I did; it’s a great book. Israel began as a unified people but split into northern and southern kingdoms in 930 BC after [Read More…]