The following quotes mention some of the myriad issues that led me to leave the Christian faith in which I was raised. It has been a very interesting journey from faith to atheism. I actually find the fact that I used to believe the unbelievable rather amusing. Our human foibles are interesting indeed.
“...an archaeological analysis of the patriarchal, conquest, judges, and United Monarchy narratives [shows] that while there is no compelling archaeological evidence for any of them, there is clear archaeological evidence that places the stories themselves in a late 7th-century BCE context.”
“...an archaeological reconstruction of the distinct histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, highlighting the largely neglected history of the Omride Dynasty and attempting to show how the influence of Assyrian imperialism in the region set in motion a chain of events that would eventually make the poorer, more remote, and more religiously conservative kingdom of Judah the belated center of the cultic and national hopes of all Israel.” -Silberman and Finkelstein
“Solomon ... in the eyes of Israelite historians, marked the apex of Israelite achievement. Curiously, no reference to him or his father David, or their empire in a non-Israelite source is known ... ” – Isserlin (The Israelites, p72)
“Monumental structures once attributed to the building activities of Solomon in the cities of Megiddo, Gezer and Hazor have been shown over the years to date from various archaeological periods spanning centuries.” – Rohl (A Test of Time, p34)
‘Neither Moses, nor an enslaved Israel nor the event of this Exodus are recorded in any known ancient records outside the Bible ...
Although its climate has preserved the tiniest traces of ancient bedouin encampments and the sparse 5000-year-old villages of mine workers there is not a single trace of Moses or the Israelites.’ – John Romer, Testament, pp57/8.
“Damascus reached its zenith during the reign of Hazael ... Transjordanian regions were overrun ... Hazael was able to cross Israelite territory to progress down the coastal plain to take Gath in Philistia ...
In fact, Hazael appears to have established an empire or sphere of influence not unlike that ascribed to David.” – B.S.J. Isserlin (The Israelites, p86)
“The desire to read the letters bytdvd as house of david is ... a classic example of scholars working backwards from the Bible rather than forwards from the evidence.”
– M. Sturgis, It Ain’t Necessarily So, p129.
“‘Ur of the Chaldees’ in Genesis is clearly an anachronistic reference … ‘Chaldaeans’ did not appear in Mesopotamia until the 7th century BC.” – Magnus Magnusson, The Archaeology of the Bible Lands-BC, pp 31,206.
“One of the curious features of the book of Genesis is the absence of any reference to what is going on in the ancient Near East during the second millennium BC.” – S Hooke – Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, p 188.
“Ur was Sumerian and had no connection with the people known as the Chaldaeans until a thousand years after any possible date to which Abraham can be attributed.” – M. Grant, The History of Ancient Israel, p32.
‘Instead of splitting the carcass of a sea-monster to create the world, as Marduk did, Yahweh divided the Sea of Reeds to let his people escape from Pharaoh and the pursuing army. Instead of slaying the demonic hordes, like Marduk, Yahweh drowned the Egyptians.’ (K. Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem, p31)
“In the fantasy ‘history’ (chapter 1 of the Book of Numbers) 603,550 ‘males of military age’ fled Egypt at the time of the Exodus, which implies a refugee army of at least two million – more than the total population of Egypt itself! And this multitude supposedly wandered the wilderness for forty years, contriving to leave not a trace of their passing for posterity.”
“Despite the mass of contemporary records that have been unearthed in Egypt, not one historical reference to the presence of the Israelites has yet been found there. Not a single mention of Joseph, the Pharaoh’s ‘Grand Vizier’. Not a word about Moses, or the spectacular flight from Egypt and the destruction of the pursuing Egyptian army.” Magnus Magnusson (The Archaeology of the Bible Lands - BC, p43)
“So anachronistic and inconsistent ... are the profuse legends that have gathered round the figures of the patriarchs that it cannot even be stated for certain that they ever existed at all ...
In any case, the existences and traditions of these patriarchs seem to have been originally quite separate from one another and unrelated.” – M. Grant, The History of Ancient Israel, p30.
“The archaeological evidence in Jerusalem for the famous building projects of Solomon is nonexistent.
19th and early 20th century excavations around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem failed to identify even a trace of Solomon’s fabled Temple or palace complex.” (Finkelstein, Silberman, p128)
“The scientific position is clear. There is no evidence of any kind for the existence of Abraham (supposedly the Israelites’ founding patriarch), Moses, or Solomon. At the time of the Exodus, Canaan —the Promised Land to which the Israelites were fleeing—was ruled and firmly controlled by the very Egypt from which they were trying to escape.
The conquest of Canaan by Joshua could not have happened in the way described in the Bible. Most of the towns he is supposed to have conquered either weren’t inhabited, didn’t exist or were conquered at wildly different times.
Jerusalem, which was supposed to have become the capital of the great unified empire of King David (he of David and Goliath fame), appears to have been tiny and only sparsely inhabited in the relevant period. Many of the great monuments of ancient Israel attributed on the authority of the Old Testament to King Solomon were of a later date.
Excavations of early Israelite settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan since the 1967 Six Day War have suggested strongly that the Israelites were in fact of local Canaanite stock.
They were probably desert nomads who took to hill farming for economic reasons, and developed into two kingdoms—a northern one called Israel, and a southern called Judah. The Bible reflects the slightly differing traditions of the two kingdoms, and when the north collapsed in the 8th century BC and its people fled south, an attempt was made through written texts to unify and reconcile both peoples. Thus the Old Testament began to take shape.
The Bible says the Israelites first began to worship one God in the time of Moses. But in fact, the Israelites from both north and south were actually polytheistic, and the process of monotheism didn’t begin till many centuries after that supposed time.
This followed from the centralisation of cult worship in Jerusalem ordered by the king, as a way of rallying the people, and it became focussed on a local Israelite deity, Yahweh (or as we know him, Jehovah).”
“The Yoash stone, named after a ruler of the ancient Hebrew kingdom of Judah, was cited as possibly the strongest historical evidence of the biblical account of the First Temple, built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. and destroyed by the Babylonians in the 6th century B.C. The stone’s inscription gives instructions in ancient Hebrew for maintaining the Temple.
The Israeli authorities said Wednesday that Mr. Golan, working through intermediaries, had been behind both the burial box and the Yoash stone.
Israeli officials received a tip questioning the authenticity of the Yoash stone two years ago and began an investigation that kept expanding, according to Mr. Dorfman, the Antiquities Authority head. The authority announced in June 2003 that James’s burial box and the Yoash stone were forgeries.
The criminal charges filed Wednesday were the first in the case, and they came just days after the Israel Museum said an independent panel had concluded that the ivory pomegranate, which it bought in 1988 from an unknown seller by depositing half a million dollars in a Swiss bank account, was not authentic.
The pomegranate is believed to date back 3,400 years, but its inscription was added recently, the museum said. The Wednesday indictments cited the pomegranate as an example of a high-profile forgery, but did not charge any of the four suspects with counterfeiting it.”