Friday Post-Bible Reading Fantasy Debate

“So it’s campfire story until after Moses dies?”

“That’s right.”

“So Moses is telling the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and then Noah, and then Abraham, and eventually Jacob and Joseph?”

“You got it.”

“So is Moses somehow ‘read into’ a version of scripture as a young boy, like an already begun tale, or is he passing down something later related to him, perhaps by Yahweh Himself?”

“Interesting question. What brings it to mind, if I may ask?”

“Well, in early books of the Bible, books authored by Moses, books written before Moses learns God’s name on Sinai, characters use that name in speech. For example, Abraham talks to the king of Sodom and says, ‘I have raised my hand to Yahweh God Most High…’”

“So?”

“So, my real question is, ‘Is Moses telling us the truth that Abraham actually uttered the name “Yahweh”—which would mean it was then lost by the time Moses had to ask—or, is Moses helping the story along, and keeping it particular because he, Moses, knows that Abraham meant the god “Yahweh” whatever he, Abraham, actually uttered in that moment?’”

“Ah. I think I see your point. Quick clarifying question. What difference would it make if Abraham uttered ‘Yahweh’ vs. Moses only saying that Abraham uttered it?”

“Well, doesn’t that make Moses a liar? I mean, how can he say something happened that he knows did not happen?”

“What do you think? Is there any way that scripture holds integrity here? You’ve painted a pretty stark picture.”

“I guess I could zoom out a bit and say the point of scripture is not to get Abraham’s exact words correct, but to reveal who Yahweh is.”

“Seems a bit too loose.”

“Maybe I could say that it must be that the name Yahweh was lost by the time Moses was on Sinai?”

“Seems like you don’t actually believe that.”

“Maybe Moses didn’t really write it as tradition holds?”

“Jesus seemed to think he did.”

“Good point. Hmm. So Moses knows he’s a member of Israel, and knows this before the burning bush, because that’s the whole point. His people were already a “people” in their own eyes, that’s how they were enslaved. Then it’s got to be some kind of more immediate need on Sinai when he asked, than Moses inserting it into Abraham’s speech falsely. And that would, or but that would also mean that Moses is passing on an inherited tradition—which is now not that unlikely because the story is definitely that they were enslaved according to their tribe.”

“But this still leaves what problem?”

“It leaves the problem of ‘If Moses is passing on inherited stories, why did Moses have to ask Yahweh what his name was? Shouldn’t he and all the people fresh off the Exodus have known?’”

“Precisely. But let’s ask it this way, ‘Would the people who were already creating an idol while Moses was up on Sinai have known Yahweh?’”

“Good point. And yet someone had to have told Moses.”

“Had to have. Or else Moses, as author of Genesis, must be lying.”

“But he can’t be lying.”

“But he can’t be lying, that’s right.”

“What do you think?”

“I think what I normally think.”

“‘More reading.’”

“More reading.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s