Discussion in 'History and Mythology' started by badger, May 10, 2022.
Exodus 18:20 not acceptable to you?
Sorry, I was being ironic ...
....so was I .....
To me, the Commandments are best understood in the context of the Covenant, the Testament. But that's just me and my opinion. You are making a case that they made sense even when removed from that context, and are introducing a different way of framing the Commandments, relying on concepts of tribal cohesion and unity. That's fine, it's just not my interest.
I'd like to raise a different point, which is the unspoken part implied by the row of dots and the last three words of the thread title, and which you keep reinforcing in your posts: " ... perfect for their time". It may be just me, but what I am hearing there is that the Commandments have lost their relevance, this being no longer "their time". This gives an entirely different tone to your posts, and I'd like to hear whether this is really a point you want to make in full generality?
Yes, true... I am making a claim that the 613 were perfect for the Israelites to become strong, healthy, safe, secure, fast growing and unified in to a very strong people.
And yes, even in the time of Jesus many of these laws had list their effect and value, it seems, from reading about his actions and words. Much of the ceremony, Temple practice had decended in to corrupted badness I have read.
Today? Whilst we do have our national ceremonies, dress codes and such, science has stepped in to help protect us from many of the illnesses that were mass death to a travelling community.
But.... what do you think?
Yeah but, no but ...
On the one hand exemplary, as per the examples you offer, on the other hand awful – the militancy toward their neighbours, which they will utterly annihilate, their cities and cultures destroy: "But of those cities that shall be given thee, thou shalt suffer none at all to live: But shalt kill them with the edge of the sword, to wit, the Hethite, and the Amorrhite, and the Chanaanite, the Pherezite, and the Hevite, and the Jebusite, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee: Lest they teach you to do all the abominations which they have done to their gods: and you should sin against the Lord your God." (20:16-18)
Deuteronomy is quite hardline, and if we apply it today, we spawn tribalism, nationalism, racism – the language is the same – and in its extreme, National Socialism's idea of racial purity (cf Deuteronomy 7:2-5).
Having said that, the code and the writings are not unique to Judah-Israel, but shares much in common with those of other cultures. The call to exterminate 'the other' is called "hagiographic hyperbole", the kind of writing that is found in the Book of Joshua, for example, is there in other works of the same era, and are not intended to be read literally. It is a hyperbolic, formulaic language for theatrical effect. Assyria has a similar cosmology, ideology and ethical outlook on war – it's common to Near Eastern peoples of the Bronze and Iron Ages.
So yes, there are elements that are universal, wisdom and sagacity is nothing recent, but would I like a return to the militancy and isolationism of the Bronze and Iron Ages? No, thank you.
If we're talking idealism, I'd say a return to the true values Democracy a la 5th century Greece. Of course, as Churchill noted, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."
And, without offering offence, the exclusivity practiced by Israel (founded on these laws), did it really make them strong? They were conquered before the code was written, and were conquered again after ... that they survived at all as a recognisable people is because of their adherence to their religion, but they paid a terrible price.
In Jesus' day, there was much the Greeks admired about Jewish culture, and much the Jews admired about Greek. There was interchange between the two, and this I think was, largely, healthy and beneficial, but against the letter of the law. Many Jews ignored the Deuteronomist call to return to Jerusalem, the Jews of the diasporas being settled in their lands, their businesses, their families, their lives ... but did they cease to be Jewish? Did they suffer all the calamities that they were threatened with? I'm not sure.
The Essenes, for example, were strict adherents to the Law, and the Pharisee too. Jesus, of course, highlighted the difference between 'letter' and 'spirit', as noted by Paul (2 Corinthians 3:6).
I think people will engage with all kinds of ancient texts, interpreting, commenting, and applying their conclusions to their everyday lives.
And I think that two groups in particular are engaging with the Commandments today, namely the Jews and the Christians. They reach totally different conclusions and have wildly diverging ways of continuing to derive meaning and relevance from them.
So, given that there are other people who are studying and interpreting and commenting and applying these Commandments in their faiths and lives today, I think it would be an interfaith thing to acknowledge their existence and efforts, and to give less of an absolute blanket dismissal of the Commandments as relics of a long gone time.
....some of the commandments. Engaging with some.
And some Christians tell that they were all redacted but for those mentioned by Jesus.
Oh yes...... Nobody could reasonably blanket dismiss them all. Can you think of any group that does?
I think it's important to remind that these laws were written for a people striving to survive. Tough laws for tough times.
So I think they were perfect for their time.
And so many of them are writ large in our national criminal, civil and byelaw legislation today.
I think the Golden Rule is exemplary in that regard.
The Rule of Reciprocity appears in the "The Eloquent Peasant", which dates to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650BC): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to make him do." A later MS (c. 664-323BC) contains an early negative affirmation of the Golden Rule: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another."
I needed to reply again to your post.
So far no other member has shown any of these laws in particular with their comments about them.
Or have I missed any posts?
But you have not selected a law of Moses to show reciprocity with the above.
Would you like to?
The reciprocity is the Covenant between Yahweh and Israel?
Some members of this forum are Jewish. Some are Christian.
And even if there were no Jews or Christians here, well, I'm Atheist, and I don't go and invalidate the continued relevance of core religious concepts of the believers here. That would be out of place, I think. In this forum.
Edited to add: This is just my personal gut reaction.
Well the intention serms to be to prove the laws of Moses and the Christianity of Jesus are of purely secular origin, modified by human superstition -- and that it all flows better if references to God are just removed from the narrative?
It's in the history section. It's read by others than those involved in the discussion. It's over to others following these threads now and in the future to decide if @badger is making headway?
To replace the great spiritual wisdom of scripture with a purely secular and material interpretation just fails, imo
I started a thread about the Laws of Moses.....perfect for their time, on most days posting up a law and showing how amazing they were...for their time. And so far in 7 pages of posts I haven't seen a post from any other showing a law which they like or are interested in.
I haven't trashed these laws, I have upheld them. I haven't seen any posts to propose any real interest in these laws at all. There have been a lot of posts which I would describe as interference.
This isn't posted in the Christian or Atheist Forums....... I actually thought that a Deist who does not believe in an involved or aware God might be able to propose how these wonderful laws came to be..... and you yourself have posted to propose that they were by no means new.
You are a boss......... so you can close this thread now.
It may not be quite that simple though. Yes they appear to be great laws, as you say. Your explanation is very enlightening, imo. However it doesn't seem to end there.
Are they still great laws even if all references to God/the Lord are removed? Perhaps the laws continue their function on a purely material level.
But does this imply that the Jewish belief in God/the Lord is superstitious and unnecessary? Does your own deist belief in the non-existence of an aware God mean that? This seems to be mission creep
Your own belief could be the wrong one?
Jewish cohesion is based not just on following their laws, but absolutely front and centre upon their devotion to God/the Lord -- especially at the time.
We do our best to muddle along here. All members are valued
It's worth noting that the tradition of the 613, the Law of Moses, dates from the 3rd century AD, from a sermon by Rabbi Simlai recorded in Talmud Makklot 23b. He was not alone in that view, while others of the same era disputed that number.
While the number gained acceptance, there is no certain list of what the 613 comprise. Some rabbis declared that this count was not an authentic tradition, nor that it is possible to come up with a systematic count. No early work of Jewish law or Biblical commentary depends on the 613 system, and no early systems of Jewish principles of faith required its acceptance.
The Talmud notes that the Hebrew numerical value (gematria) of the word Torah is 611, and combining Moses's 611 commandments with the first two of the Decalogue makes 613. In time many philosophical and mystical works find allusions and inspirational calculations relating to the number of commandments.
So in discussion, I'd say 613 is post period, if we say the source is Moses (largely disputed by Jewish and Christian scholarship) then 613 appears 1,500 years after the event. If we accept the writings as we now have them from the Deuteronomist scribe(s), then we can say halve that number to around 800 years.
As for the Laws themselves, then I'm not sure what the point is? Some are relevant, some are not. That today's Health & Safety got the safety rails on scaffolding from Deuteronomy, as per #1, is questionable, but I assume that's tongue in cheek.
Then again, if someone falls off your roof and dies, then there is a burden of 'bloodguilt', the dead cry out for vengeance, and the family have a right to extract a price from the 'guilty', ie it's manslaughter. Again, I think these laws were not uncommon?
Laws between gender are archaic, as one might expect, women being treated largely as property. I note that eunuchs and the sons of prostitutes have no rights and no privileges as citizens – and the deaf or blind cannot offer testimony at trial?
Women have very limited rights, as one might expect, and while the laws seem to defend women, the single testimony of a woman is not acceptable by laws, so really she's on her own if, say, she was raped by but the rapist said she seduced him.
Again, the laws are not so much about protecting the rights of women, as they are about settling or preventing feuds and vendettas.
Going back to your original point, and repeating myself, I'm not sure what you find so unique? These laws no doubt evolved, they're tried and tested in their times, they're 'good' laws in the sense that 'bad' ones got tossed along the way?
And nor am I sure that Jesus was so hot for a return to strict observance? Certainly He upheld the Law, but He battled with the Pharisees who were sticklers for the letter, but then He did not disassociate Himself from sinners. wine-bibbers, prostitutes, etc., so in that sense He crossed the implicit line? John the Baptist was, on the other hand, an ascetic who went beyond the requirement of the Law, his thing was Baptism, which was not a practice at the time of Moses.
No, this is just me, nothing to do with moderation duty.
Thanks for replying. Yes, I have my own thoughts on the compilation of the Torah, and they don't involve divine revelation. That's not what I meant, but I'll let it go.
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