Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives

Essays on the Patriachal NarrativesEssays on the Patriarchal Narratives brings together a team of seven Old Testament scholars who examine the evidence for the authenticity of Genesis 12-50. All of the essays are available for free access. Just click on the individual links below to view.

Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives – Table of Contents

The Patriarchs in Scripture and History – John Goldingay

Methods of Studying the Patriarchal Narratives as Ancient Texts – Alan R. Millard

Archaeological Data and the Dating of the Patriarchs – John J. Bimson

Comparative Customs and the Patriarchal Age – Martin J. Selman

Abraham Reassessed – Donald J. Wiseman

The Religion of the Patriarchs – Gordon J. Wenham

Diversity and Unity in the Literary Structure of Genesis – David W. Baker

Preface

Today there is renewed interest in the history and traditions of the patriarchal period. Recent publications have sought, among other things, to show that the biblical patriarchs were a literary, even fictional, creation of the first millennium BC, produced to provide the nation of Israel, which came into prominence only then, with ‘founding fathers’. Much of this new writing is helpful in distinguishing what are traditional or speculative interpretations from the basic text of Genesis. Sometimes archaeological evidence has been adduced in support of the historicity of the patriarchs and their cultural background in the second millennium BC which can no longer be sustained. Sometimes, however, the value of such evidence is ignored or belittled.

In the light of the importance of this subject for the proper understanding of the historical reliability and the theological teaching of the Bible (which cannot be separated), the Council of Tyndale House set up an Old Testament project group to look afresh at aspects of the problems raised. These essays are the first fruits of its work. We are grateful to all who have supported the research and to those scholars who have given time to it.

Since such studies depend largely on the validity of the methods of study, this matter has initial place. Attention is given also to matters of tradition-history and structural analysis of the text. The essays review past work and attempt, in their various ways, to break new ground and stimulate further study. They aim to make a positive contribution, not merely to criticize the works of other writers. Each, necessarily, reflects the views of its own author, rather than of the contributors as a whole.

These essays are offered in the context of a continuing debate, yet with the hope that they will prove of interest and help to many concerned with a subject of absorbing historical and theological importance.

D.J.W.
A.R.M.

© 1980 A.R. Millard & D.J. Wiseman, reproduced by permission. Prepared for the web by Robert I. Bradshaw, January 2004. Please report any typographic errors.

Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel

Notes on Some Problems in the Book of DanielNotes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel was one of the first collections of articles that I placed on-line. It remains one of my favourites, both for the enduring value of the essays included in it and for Professor Wiseman’s response to my letter requesting his permission to digitise it:

“My own contribution has been wisely followed and I still feel that it answers problems & I would be willing for you to reproduce my chapter with due acknowledgement.”

– D.J. Wiseman, 15th July 2005.

You can download the each article by clicking on the links below.

Some Historical Problems in the Book of Daniel – D.J. Wiseman – pp. 9-18.

The Musical Instruments in Nebuchadnezzar’s Orchestra – T.C. Mitchell and R. Joyce – pp. 19-27.

The Hebrew of Daniel – W.J. Martin – pp. 28-30. 

The Aramaic of Daniel – K.A. Kitchen – 31-79.

Foreword

This monograph brings together, in expanded form, some of the papers first read at the Tyndale Fellowship Old Testament Study Group meeting at Tyndale House, Cambridge, in July, 1964 to consider some of the many problems to be found in the book of Daniel. While the views here expressed are those of the individual authors, it is considered that the data collected, the subjects covered, and the new theories proposed are sufficiently important to warrant their presentation in a more permanent form. They present a challenge to commonly held views and it is hoped that they will contribute to the further understanding of some of the difficulties studied. All the writers would wish it to be remembered that these contributions were primarily intended to be the basis of discussion, the re-examination of theories, and an indication of further lines of research which might lead to an elucidation of a selected problem.

Babylon in the Days of Nebuchadrezzar

Nebuchadrezzar II c 634 – 562 BC
Nebuchadrezzar II c 634 – 562 BC [Source: Wikipedia]
Continuing my series of articles by British Assyriologist Theophilus G. Pinches on Babylon, the following public domain lecture is now available in PDF.

Theophilus G. Pinches [1856-1934], “Babylon in the Days of Nebuchadrezzar,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 52 (1920): 178-208.

Babylon in the Days of Nebuchadrezzar

Of all the many and renowned rulers that Babylonia, in the centuries of her long history, possessed, there is probably none who attained a greater reputation than he who captured Jerusalem, and led the Jews into captivity at Babylon. This, of course, made his name one of the most prominent in Jewish history. But in addition to this, he was regarded by them as the great builder, or one of the great builders of the Babylon of later days – that great capital of the ancient Eastern world, described for us, among others, by Herodotus, and specially referred to in the Book of Daniel as Nebuchadrezzar’s work. This king, in fact, is represented as congratulating himself upon this great achievement, when, walking about in his palace, he said, “Is not this great Babylon which I have built for the royal dwelling-place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” That he should have imagined himself the builder of a city founded at least 2000 years before his time, might well be regarded as the beginning of his madness, but there is no doubt that not a few of its glories, such as they were, were due to him, as many of his inscriptions show.
Notwithstanding its reputation Babylon, cannot have been a beautiful city, and many of its most celebrated monuments were more massive than grand. Nevertheless, the Babylonians thought much of it, and looked upon its holy places with poetical reverence. Doubtless much has to be done in the way of exploration before we shall get a really good idea of its extent outside the walls. The portion to which most attention has been paid formed the inner city, and is undoubtedly the oldest part. Here stood the royal palaces, including that in which Nebuchadrezzar is said, in the Book of Daniel, to have been walking when he made the memorable utterance referred to above; and in this section, also, were the temple of Belus (Merodach) and the great temple-tower whose erection is described in the 11th chapter of Genesis. In this portion Herodotus’s statement that the streets of the city crossed each other at right angles, and were interrupted by the walls bordering the Euphrates, does not seem to be confirmed. It is therefore probable that the old city, called Susanna, has to be excepted, and this would only be natural, for it may be regarded as a general rule, that the arrangement of primitive settlements, which developed later into cities, was not done in accordance with architectural plans – generally, they had no architects in those early ages – but were dictated by the contour of the ground. Outside the walls of Susanna, however, some attempt at the arrangement described by Herodotus may have been carried out, but extensive excavations can alone settle that point.

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