Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Abominable Patriarchs

Non-faith based critical scholarship believes the Patriarchal stories are entirely fictional. If they have a basis in historical reality, that nugget of true story is beyond our reach in terms of the narratives themselves. But there are a number of evidences which stunt the growth of this perspective while enabling faith-based scholarship, which can better answer the questions, to flourish. One of these is the behavioral activity that characterize the Patriarchs which would make them the subject of cursing, not blessing; of being cut off from Israel, not set up as her fathers.

-Abraham marries his half-sister (Gen 20:12)
Forbidden by Mosaic Law (Lev 18:9, 11; 20:17, Deut 27:22)

-Abraham plants a sacred tree (Gen 21:33)
Forbidden by Mosaic Law (Deut 16:21)

-Jacob is married to two sisters (Rachel and Leah) at the same time (Gen 29)
Forbidden by Mosaic Law (Lev 18:18)

- Jacob sets up cultic pillars or standing stones (Gen 28:18, 22; 31:13)
Forbidden by Mosaic Law (Lev 26:1)

-Judah has an incestuous relationship with his daughter-in-law (Gen 38), out of which David, the King of Israel himself, will come (Ruth 4:17-22)
Forbidden by Mosaic Law (Lev 18:15, 20:12)

What Israelite whose life is characterized by the socio-political-religious framework of Mosaic Law would purposely create or entertain a false history of origins which is anathema to this very identity? What kind of nation would magnify their King, David, and his dynasty to such a degree that it is the glory of Israelite history and the image after which the Messiah and his reign is likened, then embrace a false history linking this King to an abominable relationship which would defile his kingship? Someone wishing to create a mythic or fictional history to support and substantiate the current regime and culture would not dare dream up something like this. The least it would do is be immediately rejected and forgotten. The most it would do is get him killed.

We are obviously in touch here with real historical information. King David is the offspring of sin. The patriarchs committed abominable practices. This could be written, accepted, and officially promulgated only because it was true.


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