By Yair Zakovitch, Avigdor Shinan
The traditional Israelites believed issues that the writers of the Bible sought after them to overlook: myths and legends from a pre-biblical global that the hot monotheist order had to bury, disguise, or reinterpret. historic Israel used to be wealthy in such literary traditions prior to the Bible reached the ultimate shape that we've got this present day. those traditions weren't misplaced yet endured, handed down in the course of the a long time. Many controlled to arrive us in post-biblical assets: rabbinic literature, Jewish Hellenistic writings, the writings of the useless Sea sect, the Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and different historical translations of the Bible, or even open air the traditional Jewish global in Christian and Islamic texts. The Bible itself occasionally alludes to those traditions, usually in brilliant contexts. Written in transparent and obtainable language, this quantity offers thirty such traditions. It voyages in the back of the veil of the written Bible to reconstruct what was once advised and retold one of the historic Israelites, no matter if it truly is "not what the Bible tells us."
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Extra resources for From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends
The midrash additionally states that “Miriam prophesied and stated, ‘my mom is destined to provide beginning to a son who will bring Israel’” (Exodus Rabbah 1:22). certainly, in accordance with this midrash, it was once their wisdom of the chance looking forward to Egypt that propelled Pharaoh and his magicians to aim to kill the boy ahead of — or quickly after — his beginning. Our speculation that the midrash returns right here to a pre-biblical tale, to a narrative that the Bible rejected, is smart of Pharaoh’s decision to kill the men, which, because it seems within the Bible, runs counter to good judgment. males supplied the Egyptians with a team, making it demanding to give an explanation for the choice to cast off the sort of reasonable resource of work. More167 Biblical Heroes and Their Biographies over, if one desires to hinder a kingdom from expanding its inhabitants, one must disable the ladies, now not the lads: one surviving male can father 1000s of kids every year, while a girl who manages to outlive can provide delivery just once a yr. This challenge is famous within the midrash: “The Holy One, blessed be He, stated to Pharaoh: whoever prompt you therefore is silly, you will have killed the entire women. If there aren't any adult females, how will the lads marry girls? One lady can't marry males, [but] one guy can marry ten or 100 girls” (Exodus Rabbah 1:14). Exodus’s account of Pharaoh’s ordering the midwives to kill the sons and the command that he supplies his humans to throw the child sons into the Nile therefore seem to be a remnant from the extra historic culture, which advised how Pharaoh’s fears drove him (like Oedipus’s father within the Greek culture) to try to kill the kid prior to his start or quickly thereafter. concerning Jochabed’s being pregnant we discover that historic assets knew a handful of wondrous motifs. before everything the midrash emphasizes how Jochabed used to be an outdated lady, a hundred thirty years previous (Exodus Rabbah 1:19). (The culture arrives at that quantity since it assumes the interval of the Israelites’ enslavement in Egypt to were 210 years [an fascinating tale in itself that we won't tackle right here] and that Jochabed used to be born at the day in their arrival in Egypt. in view that Moses was once eighty years outdated while Israel left Egypt, his mom needed to were one hundred thirty years outdated at his start. ) The midrash relates how the “signs of teen” again to Jochabed and the way, in her outdated age, she had already skilled— as had Sarah, too (see Genesis 18:11)— a cessation of “the method of ladies” (Exodus Rabbah 1:19). yet that’s no longer all. We additionally locate assets that inform how Jochabed’s being pregnant used to be strangely short. in keeping with Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Moses was once born after just a six-month being pregnant, a suggestion considered outstanding within the historical global. (Midrash ha-Gadol to the verse relates how the being pregnant lasted accurately six months and days. ) What’s extra, the delivery itself was once enormously effortless, the contractions being so gentle that Jochabed felt no ache, and the Egyptian guards have been oblivious to the beginning. this is often informed through Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 2. nine. four) and Exodus Rabbah (1:20).