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Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By joeylanglinais
Words 4407
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JUNE 23, 2013

Chapter 1
History and Methods

John Walton begins this chapter by stating that the “rediscovery of Egypt began in the eighteenth century AD and of Mesopotamia in the mid nineteenth century AD.” This allowed the tens of thousands of texts that were being unearthed to be translated and studied. The motives of those involved ranged from political to interest in antiquities to biblical apologetics. Regardless of the motive, this allowed scholars to assess what might be learned from one to enhance the understanding of another .
The noted Assyriologist Freidrich Delitzsch claimed that the Bible was borrowed from Mesopotamian literature, specifically the regions of the Tigris and Euphrates. His conclusion was that the Old Testament was not divine and that Christianity was rooted in pagan mythology. The result was growing division among biblical scholars. Some even took the stand that the Old Testament should be excluded from Christian theology. Others came to the defense of the Bible. This division was between a confessional standpoint and the secular view. This work actually spawned a movement called “Pan-Babylonianism” which asserted that all world myths and Christian Scriptures were products of Babylonian mythology. But over time, scholars started to recognize that Delitzsch was quite biased in his assertions. W. W. Hallo introduced a more balanced approach to the debate. His approach was referred to as “contextual approach,” and it provided the foundation for Walton’s look at methodology. The goal is to examine literature and archaeology of the ancient Near East...

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