Monday, 27 July 2015

Was The Bible Written By Bronze Age Goat Herders?

Another commonly heard catchphrase that fundie atheists love to bandy about is: "The Bible was written by illiterate Bronze Age goat herders!", which apparently is supposed to mean that it's full of outdated views from idiotic simple people. It's hardly a surprise that this first appeared in one of Richard Dawkins' books "The Greatest Show on Earth," although he did phrase it "Bronze Age desert tribesmen". Besides that being an unjustified, generalistic insult to goat herders or tribesmen, it's completely factually wrong, and raises the question of how illiterates could pen the best selling book in history. (A miracle?)

The Israeli Bronze Age may have lasted from around 3000BC til something like 1000BC, so it could cover a chunk of the Old Testament but hardly all of it, and it's nowhere near the New Testament at all (roughly between 30-95AD). Meanwhile, famous thinkers like Confucius, Lau Tzu, Aristotle, and Plato, lived after 600BC and were coming up with the kind of wisdom we feel is relevant today, but the Bible had included it centuries before.
So when it was written is pretty irrelevant if the content is timeless, and the idea that it was written by morons is clearly nonsense when it can be compared to the greatest philosophers of all time.

So goat herders?

Hardly. I'm going to go through the authors who are traditionally associated with the books. The book's authors have traditionally been thought to be the following either because the books themselves name their authors, or other books do that are either in the Bible, or are by trusted authors that lived at the same time or shortly afterwards.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy - 1400 B.C. by Moses, an Egyptian prince
Joshua  - 1350 B.C. by
Joshua, leader of the Hebrews
Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel - 1050 - 900 B.C. by Samuel, Hebrew leader and prophet, with Nathan and Gad, also prophets
1 Kings, 2 Kings, Jeremiah, Lamentations - 600 B.C. by Jeremiah, prophet
1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah  - 450 B.C. by Ezra, priest and scribe
Esther - 400 B.C. by Mordecai, king's advisor

Job - 1400 possibly Job or Elihu, philosophers, or Moses, or Solomon 
Psalms - 1000 - 400 B.C. by several authors, many by King David
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon - 900 B.C. by King Solomon
Isaiah - 700 B.C. by Isaiah, a prophet
Ezekiel - 550 B.C. by Ezekiel, a prophet
Daniel - 550 B.C. by Daniel, member of the royal court
Hosea - 750 B.C. by Hosea, a prophet
Joel - 850 B.C. by Joel, a prophet
Amos  - 750 B.C. by Amos, a prophet
Obadiah - 600 B.C. by Obadiah, a prophet
Jonah - 700 B.C. by Jonah, a prophet
Micah - 700 B.C. by Micah, a prophet
Nahum - 650 B.C. by Nahum, a prophet
Habakkuk - 600 B.C. by Habakkuk, a prophet
Zephaniah - 650 B.C. by Zephaniah, a prophet
Haggai - 520 B.C. by Haggai, a prophet
Zechariah - 500 B.C. by Zechariah, a prophet
Malachi - 430 B.C. by Malachi, a prophet
Matthew - A.D. 55 by Matthew, a tax collector
Mark - A.D. 50 by John Mark, a scribe
Luke, Acts - A.D. 60 by Luke, a physician
1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelations - A.D. 90 by John, a fisherman
Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews - A.D. 30-60 by Paul, a tentmaker and rabbi
James - A.D. 45 by James, a high priest
1 Peter, 2 Peter - A.D. 60 by Peter, a fisherman
Jude - A.D. 60 by Jude, a carpenter and priest

So kings, a prince, prophets, preachers, poets, historians, and a doctor put it together. Sure, there's a fisherman here and a carpenter there, but what's with the prejudice against good hard-working folk?