Are Bible stories Fables?

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2bizE
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Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by 2bizE » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:01 pm

I was recently thinking of mythology, fables and other stories and it dawned on me that Bible stories seem a lot like fables. A fable is a short story, usually with animals or something supernatural that conveys a moral.
Adam and Eve and the serpent: sounds like a fable.
Jack and the beanstalk: has magic beans and giants
Jonah and the Whale: smells like a fishy fable.
Jesus feeding the 5000: has supernatural miracles and fish.
The birth of Christ: in a stable with animals.

I think these stories are fables.
I googled this article:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.christ ... allup.html
~2bizE

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Jeffret
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by Jeffret » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:03 pm

More myth than fable really, but yeah. They're certainly not any sort of literal history, not factual, as we would use the terms today. They connect into actual history in a few places -- very few -- but only in a very mythic way.
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And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

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moksha
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by moksha » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:23 pm

Many Bible stories reference ancient locations, although Joseph Smith had Jesus being born in Jerusalem rather than Bethlehem. Donald Trump would recognize Bethlehem as a town in Pennsylvania.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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Hagoth
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by Hagoth » Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:31 am

One hypothesis is that in his effort to unite all of the separate little groups into a contiguous kingdom, King Josiah had his scribes collect all of the founder stories from different factions and combine them into a single overarching narrative. So, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. are really the myths and origin stories of the heroic figures of different folks that legitimize them as part o a greater kingdom. Have you ever noticed how many stories in the Old Testament are about people building altars, or planting marker stones, or identifying a certain cave or other geographic feature, or tricking someone out of their birthright, or marrying an outsider because of weird circumstances? These all appear to be about laying claim on land, inheritance, or affiliation to cultural groups that feel like they have origins deeper than the kingdom that produced the Bible.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by wtfluff » Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:32 pm

moksha wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:23 pm
Many Bible stories reference ancient locations, although Joseph Smith had Jesus being born in Jerusalem rather than Bethlehem. Donald Trump would recognize Bethlehem as a town in Pennsylvania.
The Harry Potter books reference King's Cross Station, and Platform 9&3/4 - Both of which are real "locations."

That being said, if I ever visit either of those real locations, I doubt I will attempt running my luggage trolley into the wall at Platform 9&3/4 to see if I can make it to Hogsmeade and jump on the Hogwarts Express.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

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moksha
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by moksha » Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:46 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:32 pm
moksha wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:23 pm
Many Bible stories reference ancient locations, although Joseph Smith had Jesus being born in Jerusalem rather than Bethlehem. Donald Trump would recognize Bethlehem as a town in Pennsylvania.
The Harry Potter books reference King's Cross Station, and Platform 9&3/4 - Both of which are real "locations."
The Hogwarts Express was definitely a train of curious construction. Check this out: Both Dobby and President Russell M. Nelson own socks.

I'm guessing that both Nymphadora Tonks and Remus Lupin had work done for them in the Manti Temple.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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alas
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by alas » Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:52 am

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:31 am
One hypothesis is that in his effort to unite all of the separate little groups into a contiguous kingdom, King Josiah had his scribes collect all of the founder stories from different factions and combine them into a single overarching narrative. So, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. are really the myths and origin stories of the heroic figures of different folks that legitimize them as part o a greater kingdom. Have you ever noticed how many stories in the Old Testament are about people building altars, or planting marker stones, or identifying a certain cave or other geographic feature, or tricking someone out of their birthright, or marrying an outsider because of weird circumstances? These all appear to be about laying claim on land, inheritance, or affiliation to cultural groups that feel like they have origins deeper than the kingdom that produced the Bible.
There was something to this effect written by a Bible historian. He said that no way did the Egyptian King release millions of slaves, in fact all the evidence of Pyramid building points to paid workers. And he says the evidence that there was a country that Egypt identified as Israel is actually written on an obelisk but the date of said obelisk makes the Biblical account fishy. I don’t remember if it was because it was before Moses or what. But he said if Egypt had slaves, some of them could have escaped, so they would have the story of their treck out of Egypt. He said that king David was probably real because of a coin they found, but the story was probably turned into more than it really was, just like George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and then couldn’t lie about it. That story is fiction written to emphasize GW as very honest. And as whatever king was trying to unite the country by giving the people a shared identity, he took the local myths and stories and just combined them into one book. He named the different groups, which I don’t remember, and the Bible story they had added for them.

Other Bible stories were collected from other stories around and these different stories were just combined into one book. For example, the story of Hercules has distinct parallels to the story of Samson. In fact, Samson literally means son of the sun God, and the town where he was born translates to dawn. So, just like the Christians going into Ireland took the local gods and goddesses, Christianized the stories a bit, and made them “saints” so that the people could keep on worshipping “Bridget“ and still be Christian, the Israelites took the story of a son of Zeus and made it fit their culture with the sect of Zealots who did a cleansing out in the desert (John the Baptist?) who never cut their hair and, poof, we have the story of Samson. The story of Job is written in the form of a Greek play, so it may have been a true story Or just a story that was around that was converted into a play just like Shakespeare took real historical people and made them into a play. Changing facts to make things more Interesting, spiritual, or to teach a point.

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Hagoth
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by Hagoth » Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:08 pm

The stories in the Bible consistently mention places that were not yet settled in the time period of the story (e.g. Abraham, Moses, Joshua), but were settled by the time of the Babylonian exile when the stories were actually written. Also, archaeology shows that by the time of King David the entire population of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was something like 10,000 people, yet it was supposedly settled, according to the Bible, by an exodus of 600,000 men plus women and children (if I'm remember all of my numbers correctly). Also, the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which is so looked down upon by the Southern Kingdom authors was far more populated and had a much more developed social and material complexity at the time.
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alas
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by alas » Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:01 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:08 pm
The stories in the Bible consistently mention places that were not yet settled in the time period of the story (e.g. Abraham, Moses, Joshua), but were settled by the time of the Babylonian exile when the stories were actually written. Also, archaeology shows that by the time of King David the entire population of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was something like 10,000 people, yet it was supposedly settled, according to the Bible, by an exodus of 600,000 men plus women and children (if I'm remember all of my numbers correctly). Also, the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which is so looked down upon by the Southern Kingdom authors was far more populated and had a much more developed social and material complexity at the time.
Yup, the archeological evidence says that many Bible stories are wrong. Jericho, no evidence that the walls ever did come tumbling down. That would leave a layer of rubble, but the city was continuously inhabited from before the time Joshua arrived till way after, with no disruption and no change in the genetics of the population. Cities where Joshua was ordered to kill every man, woman, and male child, no disruption in the genetics of those buried from the city. And cities that the Bible says were burned by Joshua, no archeological evidence of the city burning, ever. The Israelites did not take over the Canaanite country and destroy the Canaanites. The canaanites became Israel.

There was no sudden influx of thousands of people. The Canaanites just gradually evolved into the Country of Israel.

A group of 600,000 ex-slaves wandering in the desert for 40 years would have left evidence. That many people traipsing through the desert would have left trails. And trails where that many people walked would have remained and they would have left garbage and broken pottery. And nope, the exodus never happened.

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Five
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by Five » Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:42 am

I don't have anything to add but y'all are blowing my mind. Definitely, my next project for research is the Bible and the origins of Christianity and Judaism.

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Hagoth
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by Hagoth » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:39 am

alas wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:01 pm
Jericho, no evidence that the walls ever did come tumbling down.
In fact, the wall appear to be more for flash flood control than defense.
alas wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:01 pm
The canaanites became Israel.
That's how it looks. There was a minor influx of nomads, possibly including some from Egypt, which would likely provide the founder story that evolved into Moses' exodus.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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moksha
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by moksha » Fri Oct 23, 2020 7:59 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:08 pm
The stories in the Bible consistently mention places that were not yet settled in the time period of the story (e.g. Abraham, Moses, Joshua), but were settled by the time of the Babylonian exile when the stories were actually written. Also, archaeology shows that by the time of King David the entire population of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was something like 10,000 people, yet it was supposedly settled, according to the Bible, by an exodus of 600,000 men plus women and children (if I remember all of my numbers correctly).
The trouble with creating historical religious fiction is that you might not have a good grasp of history and thus will end up with all sorts of incorrect details. This ends up being a good thing later on when astute people can pick out these errors and realize the historical religious story was fictional.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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jfro18
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by jfro18 » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:45 am

This is a great thread and one that really did blow my mind once I stopped looking at just Mormonism and expanded to the Bible.

Growing up I never thought of a real, literal global flood but never thought about the implications if it was just a myth.

Adam and Eve has the characteristics of a fable, but I never thought about what they meant for the underlying church claims.

And Jericho's walls apparently were found to only be around part of the city and as Hagoth said were almost certainly to control flood water or perhaps capture water to use themselves.

Not only do we see through archaeology that these stories didn't happen, but know we can see where the Bible writers were pulling from just as Hagoth mentioned that a lot of them can be dated to around the exile, which makes a ton of sense once you start putting the puzzle back together.

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Corsair
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by Corsair » Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:42 pm

Bible stories are fables whether or not they actually happened. This is much like the hagiography of the founders of the United States. I'm a huge fan of America and being an American. 90% of my family was here during the revolution. However, I am fully aware of the mistakes and errors of the founders. George Washington did not cut down his father's cherry tree. The United States made an egregious error by allowing slavery. Presidents I like made terrible choices among any good choices. But I can still pull inspiration and ethics from the good choices they did make.

The Bible is trickier than that. Our connection to reality of the distant past is murky at best. The earliest Israelite we can document as existing for sure is King David. The archaeological record of David is likely an amalgam of several kings, but David as king over a small nation of Israelites is rather well supported by evidence. Jesus has pretty solid evidence, although arguably not to the level that is assumed by Bruce McConkie or an Evangelical literalist.

But having the stories be fables means we can talk about the ethics and ideas and not worry about any historical reality. This does leave me wanting to read and discuss "Lord of the Rings" in Sunday School. This will be particularly obvious as we finish up Book of Mormon in Sunday School and proceed into 2021 with the Doctrine and Covenants and a hagiography of LDS early leaders.

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jfro18
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Re: Are Bible stories Fables?

Post by jfro18 » Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:29 pm

Corsair wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:42 pm
The Bible is trickier than that. Our connection to reality of the distant past is murky at best. The earliest Israelite we can document as existing for sure is King David. The archaeological record of David is likely an amalgam of several kings, but David as king over a small nation of Israelites is rather well supported by evidence. Jesus has pretty solid evidence, although arguably not to the level that is assumed by Bruce McConkie or an Evangelical literalist.
This is really what it all comes down to.

Even Jesus, which is a timeframe we have much more info on than early OT writers, has a ~50 year gap between his death and the first Gospel.

The idea that a story can be retold for 50 years and maintain it's historical integrity is simply nonsensical - just look at what happened in 10 years after Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon spoke to control the church. It went from an ordinary meeting in the journals of those who attended to a miraculous transfiguration being told by people who weren't even there.

Now imagine what would happen over *fifty* years where there aren't contemporary writings or journals to compare to and you can only guess what the real story was for Jesus.

None of it is reliable history, and Joseph Smith integrating so much of it into his writing ing is really the easiest way to know that Joseph Smith was the author of it all.

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