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Superb perception gives amazing insight into Hebrew origins,
This review is from: The Moses Mystery: The Egyptian Origins of the Jewish People (Paperback)In Acts chapter 7v22 Stephen says "Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians". What wisdom did he learn? Greenberg points out that at the time of Moses (and centuries before hand) the Egyptians had very reasonable social laws and rules as reflected in The Negative Confession, they practiced circumcision, they viewed pork as unclean to eat, they had ideas of the afterlife, they had the Osiris myth where Osiris judged whether or not the persons behaviour had been good enough to allow them to pass to the afterlife/heaven, they had some sort of resurrection of Osiris idea too. Also in Akhenaten they had a king who enforced monotheistic doctrine & rejected the Osiris Judgement/afterlife. Akhenaten was the sole priestly representitive of god and people had to comply with the laws Akhenaten imposed .The New Testament insists Moses had learned all this from the Egyptians. The old Testament maintains Moses gained all these ideas directly from God, up Mt Sinai. The New Testament is heretical to the Old Testament. Jews will point out that Christianity is not supported by the Hebrew Bible and Jesus does not fit the criteria of their expected Messiah. What on earth is going on?
In this book Gary Greenberg puts a very plausible theory which could be the true history of religion in the Ancient Near East by demonstrating how religions evolve/emerge from previous religions/superstitions. A contingent of Egyptians who had been devoted to Akhenatens monotheistic ideas have to flee to Canaan following Akhenatens death. In Canaan they mingle with the native Canaanites who have a pantheon of gods where El, the father, has sons Yahweh & Baal etc. In the Old Testament you are seeing the tussle of competing religious ideology in which the monotheistic ideals, circumcision,and pork being viewed unclean,etc prevail.El/Yahweh are eventually chosen as sole gods. The Hebrews religion emerges from the mix of Egyptian and Canaanite religions.
In making his argument Greenberg provides a wealth of detailed information and background history so that even if you don't agree with the conclusion you will have had the privilege of following the thinking of a great lawyer on the case.
One of the gems of this book is on 244 about Genesis 22 where Abraham nearly sacrifices Isaac.Greenberg asks how come Abraham didn't object when he had pleaded with God about Sodom in Gen 18. Also the passage reads like Abraham returns alone, leading some scholars to think the original version had Abraham go through with the sacrfice and it was later rabbis who inserted the bit about the angel saying, 'Stop, it is only the willingness that was required'. I think that if Gen 22 was inspired by a real, good God then the angel would have said,'Stop, you are entirely mistaken about this, God has never wanted human or animal sacrifice and would never ask it', In fact this is what people most want down through history- for an angel to appear before the attacker and say 'Stop, you are entirely mistaken' or a voice of God to shout, 'Stop or I'll make you faint or strike you with lightning'. It doesn't happen because neither did the original story. It is a fiction. Amazing what miracles an author can make happen on paper.