Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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billd89
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Care to Unpack?

Post by billd89 »

Secret Alias wrote: Tue Jul 19, 2022 8:01 am It's a northern Israelite text that was also used by southern Israelites. It was written with the veneration of Gerizim in mind. [...] The echoes of Ezra as the author of the Pentateuch in virtually every source (Jewish, Samaritan, pagan, Christian) has to come from somewhere. Hardly flattering to the religion.
I don't understand what you mean here. 'Everything comes from something else' so why would it matter if a Chaldaean writer cobbled together Samaritan, Persian, Egyptian and Greek myths to unify a disparate, disorganized, multi-ethnic/racial community speaking more than dozen languages c.272 BC?

The Pentateuch MADE the Jews. What's wrong with that, actually? There are certainly dark little bits of EVERY religion, but this fact is harmless (au contraire...). I am now pursuing one hypothesis the Jessaeans derived from a heterodox 'Savior' cult of Horon (which may have been 'homophile'). Queer, but why not?! I've nothing to defend in the search for truth.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by Secret Alias »

The specific report that Ezra wrote or could have written the Pentateuch was hardly flattering to the Jews.

who is the narrator of the Pentateuch?
answer 1 God
answer 2 Moses
answer 3 Ezra
answer 4 some other writer

answer 1 unlikely that the narrator is God as God and Lord are referenced throughout in the 3rd person
answer 2 unlikely that the narrator is Moses as Deuteronomy describes his own death
answer 3 Ezra being the author would mean (a) the Pentateuch wasn't divine and (b) was a pseudepigraphon.
answer 4 see answer 3

It would be embarrassing to Jews to acknowledge that the Pentateuch was a pseudepigraphon.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by Secret Alias »

Another example.

Eventually the centrality of the Ten Commandments disappeared among the Jews. When the temple stood the Ten Commandments were venerated in a way that gave it special status ABOVE the Pentateuch (cf Philo in this regard too). The Sadducees are understood to have used this special status to argue that only ten commandments came from God. The Pentateuch was written by a human being (see above). The Samaritans STILL direct their prayers to the special status of the ten commandments. The point here is that as time went on distinctions were blurred. Early Christians in the first and second century disparaged the Pentateuch as a creation of a human being (= Moses or even Ezra). In order to combat these charges Jews stopped treating the ten commandments as superior in status to the Pentateuch. Interestingly by the fifth century the Talmud became more authoritative than the Pentateuch leading to the Karaite break. But it all comes from the difficulties acknowledging that the Pentateuch was written by a human author. https://books.google.com/books?id=hWRYk ... gy&f=false
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Secret Alias
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by Secret Alias »

The Pentateuch is the story of how the ten commandments were given to man/humanity. There is an assumption already built into its fabric that Israel encountered god and received ten commandments. It is unlikely that the ten commandments were invented with its composition. Although Jews like Josephus bristled at the comparison, Egyptians acknowledged that Israelites and Moses had a place in their history. The Pentateuch is reformulation of the Egyptian Exodus story where the Israelites are instructed by God to go to mount Gerizim. It's the establishment of the altar by Abraham and his ancestors that settles this. So the idea that Jews living in Egypt invented a cult which was so connected to a specific northern Israelite landmark seems highly unlikely to me. Note also the division of Joseph's sons to portions of Ephraim and Manasseh. Seems to point to some pre-existent divisions in Samaritan/north Israelite society.

Also another difficulty. Why would an Egyptian Jewish text place such emphasis on sacrifice while we have no evidence for sacrifices or a 'sacrificial priesthood' in the contemporary Egyptian Jewish community? Everything seems to point to a northern Israelite origin for the community that wrote the Pentateuch.
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billd89
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Re: Pesky Semites?

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Greek outsiders used the Coastal Semites to invade and take over all Egypt. (I suspect the early Ptolemies were partly Semitic.) Then, they cleverly divided the Egyptian Semites: funded a folklore project to create a national ideology, called disgruntled 'loyalists' back to Judah. All the better, if voluntary exiles keep hating on rival 'Assyrians' for trashing Gerizim!

Face it: 'Jews' living on Earth's richest farmland had no desire to leave their estates in the Sethrum for poverty in Israel.

The Moses Myth didn't exist at all in Elephantine, 400 BC. It's a late story, part Emigration Advertising issued by the Ptolemies' Travel Bureau. To deal w/ a 'Jewish Problem.' That's why lots of 'Jews' had become somewhat cynical towards the Torah (propaganda) in Philo's day.
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

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Is this relevant to Ezra as the author of Scripture ? 2 Esdras
Ezra’s Concern to Restore the Scriptures

19 Then I answered and said, “Let me speak[g] in your presence, Lord. 20 For I will go, as you have commanded me, and I will reprove the people who are now living, but who will warn those who will be born hereafter? For the world lies in darkness, and its inhabitants are without light. 21 For your law has been burned, so no one knows the things that have been done or will be done by you. 22 If then I have found favor with you, send the holy spirit into me, and I will write everything that has happened in the world from the beginning, the things that were written in your law, so that people may be able to find the path and that those who want to live in the last days may do so.”

23 He answered me and said, “Go and gather the people, and tell them not to seek you for forty days. 24 But prepare for yourself many writing tablets, and take with you Sarea, Dabria, Selemia, Ethanus, and Asiel—these five, who are trained to write rapidly, 25 and you shall come here, and I will light in your heart the lamp of understanding, which shall not be put out until what you are about to write is finished. 26 And when you have finished, some things you shall make public, and some you shall deliver in secret to the wise; tomorrow at this hour you shall begin to write.”

Ezra’s Last Words to the People

27 Then I went as he commanded me, and I gathered all the people together and said, 28 “Hear these words, O Israel. 29 At first our ancestors lived as aliens in Egypt, and they were liberated from there 30 and received the law of life, which they did not keep, which you also have transgressed after them. 31 Then land was given to you for a possession in the land of Zion, but you and your ancestors committed iniquity and did not keep the ways that the Most High commanded you. 32 And since he is a righteous judge, in due time he took from you what he had given. 33 And now you are here, and your people[h] are farther in the interior.(i) 34 If you, then, will rule over your minds and discipline your hearts, you shall be kept alive, and after death you shall obtain mercy. 35 For after death the judgment will come, when we shall live again, and then the names of the righteous shall become manifest, and the deeds of the ungodly shall be disclosed. 36 But let no one come to me now, and let no one seek me for forty days.”

The Restoration of the Scriptures

37 So I took the five men, as he had commanded me, and we proceeded to the field and remained there. 38 And on the next day a voice called me, saying, “Ezra, open your mouth and drink what I give you to drink.” 39 So I opened my mouth, and a full cup was offered to me; it was full of something like water, but its color was like fire. 40 I took it and drank, and when I had drunk it, my heart poured forth understanding, and wisdom increased in my breast, for my spirit retained its memory, 41 and my mouth was opened and was no longer closed. 42 Moreover, the Most High gave understanding to the five men, and by turns they wrote what was dictated, using characters that they did not know.[j] They sat forty days; they wrote during the daytime and ate their bread at night. 43 But as for me, I spoke in the daytime and was not silent at night. 44 So during the forty days, ninety-four[k] books were written. 45 And when the forty days were ended, the Most High spoke to me, saying, “Make public the twenty-four[l] books that you wrote first, and let the worthy and the unworthy read them, 46 but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people. 47 For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the river of knowledge.” 48 And I did so.[m]
in which Ezra restores the Scriptures after the originals have been destroyed.

Andrew Criddle
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billd89
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Re: Gmirkin's Thesis

Post by billd89 »

Book of Ezra written 400 BC (whatever "ninety-four books" were, actually) would be unknown to Semites/Chaldaeans at Elephantine in 400 BC.

IF that were so.

c.272 BC was the major revision, with major additions (i.e. total re-vamp) and effectively the creation of the Pentateuch.
Last edited by billd89 on Thu Jul 21, 2022 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by Secret Alias »

That's not the point. The point is that there are all these testimonials about Ezra's authorship of the Pentateuch - (a) Jewish (b) Samaritan (c) pagan and (d) Christian all preserving the same idea. I just don't get why Jews would want to preserve the idea that Moses didn't write Torah but Ezra did half a millennia later.
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billd89
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Re: Egyptian Tropes?

Post by billd89 »

Hermetic language in "spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the river of knowledge" and the sacred inebriation sounds overall Therapeutic. Alexandrian mystical Judaism is partly Egyptian. See 4 Ezra’s Fiery Cup as Hierophagic Consumption.

The Moses Myth is frankly Thothic/Hermetic (Egyptian), in so many components; the Egyptian Hermes cannot be much older than 250 BC and was probably manufactured about the same time.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by Secret Alias »

Everything is partly something else. Meaningless.
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