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14

According to the graph on the World Population wiki page, global population at 1000 BC was about 50 million. The vast majority of that would have been in the areas of intensive farming, which at that time means Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and perhaps the Indus valley. So that number doesn't seem completely out of line. However, Israel is much more marginal ...


13

There is no evidence at all for any of the biblical stories involving Egypt. There is also overwhelming evidence that the origin of the Israelites is indigenous. There is no indication of a takeover as described in the Bible for example. As for the plagues themselves, although there is one papyrus describing a series of disasters they do not fit with the ...


11

First and foremost, you've got to understand what it is that ancient historians mean by "records" of ancient Egypt. We do not, by and large, have accounting ledgers or encyclopedias from that time. They may have existed (well, probably not in the case of the latter) but they are gone to us. What we have instead are the objects that were left behind: ...


9

The overall "feeling" is that it is neither historical fact nor legends. It is a book of stories, many of which have real events that lies behind them, and many that do not. There is a discussion about exactly what is true, though. The well known stories such as the flood and the exodus generally have no or little evidence behind them, and often a lot of ...


8

The Kashrut has a long development under which the laws have changed significantly. The first written down laws are in Leviticus, and date to after the Babylonian exile. The rules may be older, but there's no documentation of that as far as I can find. The Torah was compiled between 600 BC and 400 BC. Some of the sources from which it was compiled probably ...


8

Barring some archaeological find in the future, the answer is: No. On skeptics.SE, there is a question about the Biblical figures who are also historical and there's a fairly long list of people who verifiably existed. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego don't make that list. On the other hand, you might need to readjust your historical lens. If the events ...


8

As a Christian myself, I regret to inform you that the answer is "No". There are two events in the Gospels that scholars almost universally agree most likely did happen: Jesus' baptism and his Crucifixion. This is chiefly due to the logic that they both appear in all of our older sources, and they'd both be bad things to make up if you are a Christian ...


7

Not everybody living in Israel at that time was Jewish. The country had been mostly ruled by Greeks since 333 BC, and then by Romans since the mid first century BC. As this was quite recent, this resulted in a real polyglot mix of people, with Greeks performing much of the upper-class administration duties, while the soldiers were Roman. It is generally ...


6

There was no "Israel" at that time. The Kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylonia at 587 BC, see Siege of Jerusalem 587 BC. In 539 BCE the Persians conquered Babylonia, and established the Yehud province, which were a peaceful part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire until the fall of the Empire in c. 333 BCE to Alexander the Great. Wikipedia even has a ...


5

The story of Utnapishtim is adapted from the story about Atrahasis, which in turn is probably adapted from the earlier Babylonian flood myths. The same goes for the story in the bible. So to answer your question: Yes, it's "legendary plagiarism". As to your original question, as these Babylonian flood myths are at least one thousand years older than the ...


5

The rabbis of the first centuries A.C. had mixed opinions regarding apocryphical books (״ספרים חיצוניים״). Though some maintained that these books were holy (though not to be read by laymen), others claimed that the reading of these books was enough to condemn one as a heretic. The Book of Jubilees may have been especially suppressed as it espoused a solar ...


5

No. The bible does contain historical accurate facts that can be verified. However, it contains too much myths and inaccuracies as to be utterly unreliable as the sole source for a historical event. In fact, the question alludes to this in points (2) and (3).


5

A nice timeline appears in Max I. Dimont's survey, Jews, God and History (Simon & Shuster 1962). Rather than using the order that you set out in your questions, I will answer chronologically according to Dimont's timeline. Note that historians disagree as to who and how the ideas of Judaism developed, and there might be some quibbling about the ...


5

Regarding questions 5 and 6, an interesting discovery in Sinai, showed that "Jehovah" was at times accompanied by a wife / partner "Asherah", as late as the 8th century B.C. This seemingly sets a lower bound for the rise of monotheism in the peoples which will later create monotheistic Judaism. The "lifestyle restrictions" have obviously evolved over time, ...


5

On is the biblical Hebrew name of Heliopolis. Potipherah is only mentioned in Genesis 41:45 (your passage) and 41:50: And unto Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came, whom Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On bore unto him His rank ("governor/priest of On") and the literal meaning of his name ("he whom Ra has given") imply ...


5

The earliest confirmed date of written evidence for Christianity is probably the book of 1 Thessalonians, which is dated around 50 AD. Wikipedia has a list of the various books of the new testament (the portion of the Christian Bible which is specific to Christianity), and their dates of authorship. The oldest known, existing manuscript from the New ...


5

The oldest Biblical manuscript is Papyrus P52 containing a fragment of the Gospel According to John. It dates to around 100-150 A.D., and is usually cited as from 125 AD. It has been alleged that a fragment of the Gospels According to Mark dates to the first century, but as far as I know this has not been authenticated officially. (Since the question ...


4

Excluding the claims that Jesus was resurrected, I say that there is no reason to doubt the events detailed in the Gospels. The first thing that should be mentioned is the possibility of textual 'perversion' from the original texts. Historians commonly use a method called the bibliographical test. The test is quite simple and is meant to show the relative ...


4

Prisons, as we understand them today serve the purpose of depriving an individual of their liberty; that idea of liberty did not exist at the time that you refer to. The liberty of an individual to live their life as they see fit within the restraints of the law is a modern concept, therefor the idea of punishing a person by depriving them of something of ...


4

A prison is expensive: you have to build the installation with all the necessary security precautions (fixed costs), and then feed and cloth the inmates and guards (variable costs). This is completely unaffordable for a subsistence society (IOW, before feudal castles provides dungeons). The Biblical law provides for 3 kinds of penalties: death, flogging (at ...


3

The ancient Romans had prisons, such as Mamertime Prison, but imprisonment was just a temporary measure before trial or execution, not a punishment in itself. The English Houses of Correction introduced a more modern system of mass incarceration, with hard labor.


3

People might still agree on these points, but with a few addenda The simple fact that the witness has bothered to record an event proves that (s)he has an interest there, so the trustworthiness can be immediately questioned. The reliability of eyewitness testimony is, in general, dubious. Generally speaking, inanimate testimony beats eyewitness ...


3

The satrapy system meant that many large regions of the empire were given autonomy - as long as they accepted the current Achaemenid king as their overlord complete with tribute and soldiers. And each satrap would be in charge of his own vast region. For the more remote areas of the empire, i.e. Central Asia (not the same as the Middle East) that were ...


2

The exact population is a bit unclear. Estimates for the time period fall in between 2 and 4 million. This area of Egypt was one of the more densely populated areas in the world at that time due to the fertility of the Nile delta. In the Biblical account, Exodus 12:30 says "for there was not a house without someone dead". Family size is also tough to nail ...


2

Backing up Jon's answer a bit here... The surrounding events place Daniel's life at around the seventh and sixth century BC. Daniel however is a rather unique book in the Hebrew scriptures, in that it was actually not written in Hebrew. Instead, it appears to be a work of Aramaic. Why the difference? Well the most logical reason would be that it was ...


2

John's Revelation is generally accepted to have been written sometime during the reign of Domitian (although some still argue for Nero, and many argue it was about Nero). A quick check of still extant coins from Domitian and Nero's era shows no coins with figures holding stars. I typically see stuff like wreaths, palm branches, lightning, or various kinds ...


2

To start, I'm going to correct the O.P's quote. FOR MORE THAN THREE CENTURIES THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH HAD NO NEW TESTAMENT. Not until the Muratoriun [sic] Canon (350 A.D.) did the Christian church begin to compile a New Testament that resembles the one we have today. There are a few flaws in this conclusion. First of all, the text in all caps is just ...


2

The bible have contains two almost exact copies of the same text, one in 2 Kings 25 and one in Jeremiah 52. One of the differences is that Jeremiah says that commander Nebuzaradan arrived on the 10th day of the fifth month, and 2 Kings say he arrived on the 7th day. Neither gives an exact date for the destruction of the temple, they just say that he " He ...


2

There are a number of Egyptian defeats known to history - some of them come to us from contemporaneous accounts from neighboring civilizations, others from archaeological evidence, but many of them come from the Egyptian historical record. In direct answer to your question, here is the Victory Stela of Piye, which documents the conquests of the Nubian ...



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