The Old Testament is the religious reference for the three great monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam). It is for several billion people, the work of God and the only source of law.
It is therefore a major text that shaped human society.
Brief summary critique of the Old Testament
But the Old Testament is as a pretext, a divine deposit used by men to commit the greatest crimes. In Karamazov Brothers, Dostoyevsky wrote: « If God does not exist, then everything is permitted! « In fact, it is because God exists that everything is allowed …
This article focuses on the first five books of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (etymologically: « The case which includes the five books »).
The first five books of the Old Testament , called by the Jews, the Torah (the Law), were written by Moses.
Amid purely religious principles, they tell the story of the Jewish people, the creation of the world (Genesis) to the death of Moses (The Deuteronomy ).
The Pentateuch includes five volumes:
- Genesis describes the creation of the universe, animals and men; tells the story of the founding fathers (Patriarchs): Adam, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph particular;
- Exodus , which tells the flight from Egypt under the leadership of Moses and the exodus into Sinai where Moses received the Tablets of the Law;
- the Leviticus , which is moral guide;
- Numbers which, as its name suggests, lists the members of the community;
- Deuteronomy , in which Moses provides a summary of previous volumes before dying without being able to set foot on the Promised Land.
The Pentateuch is not a history book in the classical sense of the term. (Read about this article: The Bible revealed ). Archaeology has indeed been unable to confirm her stories.These myths, inspired mostly older mythologies, especially coming from Mesopotamia (Sumer, Babylon).
The text was written around 700 BC, during the deportation of the Jews to Babylon. Indeed, the historical references (such as the domestication of the camel) reflect the landscape of that era, that of King Josiah (sixth century BC) and certainly not that of Abraham and Noah (4000 or 4500 BC). The Jewish elite exiled in Babylon has invented a religion to unite the Diaspora and preserve its unity.
The authors were inspired by existing myths including Sumerian, Babylonian and Egyptian.Many passages are copies of older texts as the Epic of Gilgamesh (Sumerian text from 2600 BC) , which recounts, word for word, the episode of the flood:
And God to give this advice to Utanapishtim: « Tear down your house to make you a boat! Renounce your wealth for your life! Turn away thy goods to keep you safe and sound! But embarks with you specimens of all animals [..]. Six days and seven nights, gales, heavy rain, flood and hurricanes continued to ransack the earth [..]. The Epic of Gilgamesh.
Lack of archaeological evidence
The characters are fictitious. Including that were great kings David and Solomon. No text evokes these kings who have lived in the first millennium before. In particular, the Egyptian records, particularly given, never cite these great kings.
More amazing. Despite the exodus of two million people in the Sinai desert for 40 years, archaeologists have never found anything; not a vase or burial; which casts a deep discredit the historicity of the Exodus. The same goes for Jericho, archaeologists have indeed found traces of an ancient village, but no wall.
Archaeology (see article on The Bible revealed) showed that most of the cities mentioned in the texts did not exist at the relevant time. This is particularly the case of Arad in Israel, Pithon in Egypt or Jericho in Palestine. Anachronisms also concern the peoples: the Philistines(-1200 BC for the oldest traces) could not meet the patriarchs who lived according to the Bible, long before. Yet in Genesis, Isaac met the king of the Philistines in 2200 BC. An Aramaic at the wedding of Jacob andLeah at the same time when the people are not yet installed. And what about the currency that appears only in 600 BC? How Abraham (1800 BC) he was able to pay Centuries?
« Abraham heard Ephron with. He weighed him the price the son of Heth heard him declare, 400 shekels of silver , at market rates. » The genesis.
How in Exodus, located about 1420 BC, Moses he met Ramses, Ramses while the first history was born around 1320 BC?
One may wonder where the authors found 1 million Ethiopians soldiers in Chronicles, while the entire population of Ethiopia at that time was much lower.
A moral book a little outdated
Former prescribed Testament (see Leviticus) moral rules anachronistic today. In particular, homosexuality is punishable by death. However, one can sell his daughter as a slave.Polygamy is allowed and the ability to use the servants as surrogate mother.
In short, it is more a book of accounts and moral rules that historic document. For example, the world of creation dates (4500 BC according to Genesis) can be questioned. The description of the creation of the universe proposed in Genesis should be taken with caution: there is successively creating:
- man (Adam);
- the woman from Adam’s rib;
- ex nihilo, animals (eg lions are created without bypassing the primates box, dinosaurs or Neanderthals);
- star well after planting (heavy elements such as carbon and iron that make up the earth appear before the lighter elements like hydrogen and helium, which are the fuel of stars).
But this would take us too far.
Brief Review of Genesis summary
Book I of the Old Testament
Like many religious texts, the Old Testament tells of the creation of the universe. This would have occurred around 4500 BC (compared to almost 15 billion years proposed by thephysicists : read about it A Brief History of Time by Stephen HAWKING ) and lasted 6 days.
Before, there was nothing: no space, no matter, no light, no time. The text does not specify where was God in this nothingness, or if it was itself created and if so by whom. God is nevertheless necessary because it is he who decides, at that particular time (as time does not exist), the emergence of the Universe in order:
- the separation of light and darkness;
- the separation of low water (sea) water and the sky;
- the separation of land and sea;
- instead of sun-up next day and the moon and stars next night;
- the creation of fish and birds;
- the creation of animals and man (and woman).
First God created the creature in his image: Adam. He invited him into the garden of Eden, a paradise where nothing is missing, almost. Adam lived naked but he did not know. As it was ignorant and completely subject to his Creator. All the benefits of nature at its disposal, in profusion; the work was therefore a concept that did not exist.
But Adam was bored. God then gave him a present: the woman who was taken from one of his ribs. The woman was thus created for man for recreation. One understands better then the status of women in the great monotheisms.
Eve was deceived by the serpent, a cunning and evil being, who invited him to taste the forbidden fruit (to St. Augustine ) of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The fruit is called « forbidden » for God has forbidden consumption that provides access to knowledge. And that it was not the question!The man had to remain ignorant. Adam and Eve were to remain happy fools.
Eve yielded to temptation and acceded to knowledge. She invited Adam to do the same.God punishes lovers: to survive, they should now work. They were expelled from the Garden of Eden.
Ignorance is a fundamental moral value. The writers of Genesis have emphasized this point. They wanted to prevent any attempt of questioning. The ignorant do not question. He does not question the texts. He just believe. Seek to understand is starting to disobey!Teaching was controlled by the Church for a millennium: the teaching was based on memorization of sacred texts, without room for critical thinking.
It was not until the Enlightenment to defy the ban.
The concept of original sin was introduced by St. Augustine in the fourth century. The idea was to explain the existence of evil in Creation. There was indeed a contradiction: God, infinitely good, could not, by definition, create evil. For St. Augustine, this evil man had. Man has been endowed by God with the free will. He has the ability to freely choose between good and evil. Eve, in crisp apple (picture of the sexual act), chose the evil that is then transmitted from generation to generation. That’s why we others, children of Eve, are from poor sinners. The Church has managed to make us feel guilty and relying on an old apple history.
In fact, one who has no choice can not be found!
The murder of Abel
Cain, Abel and the birth of violence
Adam and Eve had two son:
- Cain the elder, peasant and his condition
- Abel is a shepherd.
Each offered the fruits of his labor to God who was more excited by the fat sheep of Abel . Cain was insanely jealous a jealous rage and killed his brother. He became the first murderer of mankind! He became, at the same time, the first liar despite the evidence, denied his crime. God then drove Cain.
But Cain asked for leniency: he knew he would be killed by the first comer. God guarantees when it would be avenged if such an event occurred.
Adam was 130 years old when God gave him a third son Seth . Famous men come down from Seth to Noah to Jesus through David.
The story of the Flood , we have seen, was directly inspired by the epic of Gilgamesh. God noting evil on Earth decided to destroy everything. Only Noah had his esteem. He asked Noah to build an ark and to install a pair of each species. But read the text:
He looked at the ground and saw that the wickedness is multiplied on earth.God regretted having created man on earth. But Noah found favor in his eyes. The genesis.
This passage raises a problem of logic: God knows everything and can do everything. How he was able to deceive so much? How he was able to create a creature and able to spread the disease? His first attempt looks like a draft, a failed draft. God can therefore be wrong.
Noah, I’m going to end life on earth. [..] Everything was covered by water.With the flood, all flesh died that moved upon the earth.
Again, we do not understand how a God infinitely good can happen to such an end: got angry, he also killed the women and children.
As in the Gilgamesh epic, Noah embarked with his animals. He waited a few days (150) before running aground on Mount Ararat. He sent a dove as a scout, then a second which did not return: the waters were abated.
The Tower of Babel
God came down to earth to see the tower that the men were building. God said « they are a people and speak the same language. They seem all agree. With the construction of this tower they start to become famous and they will invent something else. So confuse their language that they may not understand one another.
Every man is a descendant of Noah. In theory, there should be a universal language. Now, obviously, this was not the case.
The story of the Tower of Babel was introduced in the story of Genesis to explain the diversity of human cultures.
God was jealous of the power of men: they were able to build a tower to heaven! He decided to sow discord by introducing several languages. The men no longer understood and could no longer work. They scattered on the ground.
God’s attitude is amazing. Why worry about the agreement between men? Why he wants discord? Why does not that they « invent something »? God be jealous? Is it concerned about the competition that could make him the man? He prefers, again, ignorant warring rather than learned from questioning its authenticity.
The Tower of Babel was certainly inspired Iraqi towers.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
Around 1800 BC, if one believes the Bible, Abraham received from God’s invitation to go to the Promised Land ( Canaan or the current Israel ). Accompanied by his nephew Lot (or Lot) and his wife Sarai, he organized a first exodus. He left Ur in Mesopotamia (now Iraq), to walk towards the west and finally settle the Hebron side.
In this passage from Genesis, the camel is mentioned several times. We now know that it will be domesticated much later. Abraham went to Egypt of the Pharaohs. But he feared for his life: his wife was charming. Pharaoh could take him and kill him. He proposed to Sarai to pose as his sister. So Pharaoh could « know » Sarai safe for Abraham.
It’s pretty amazing. To Abraham, Sarai can be « known » by the Pharaoh. This is not very important. The key is that he saves the life! The gender equality is still far from done. But Pharaoh discovered the deception and sent Abraham and his little band.
The tribes were too many. Abraham and Lot decided to separate. Lot chose to settle in Sodom. Abraham moved to Mamre.
The descendants of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael
Sarai was not able to have children. She proposed to her husband to « know » the good: Hagar. No sooner said than done: she gave him a first son Ishmael, considered the ancestor of the Arab tribes and therefore of Islam.
One can of course question this practice of use of the right as a surrogate mother. This custom was, apparently, quite common as it is found repeatedly in the Bible.
Three men stood Mamre. They promised to Sarai, who was then 90 years old, a child! She bore Isaac, ancestor of the Hebrew people. It now Sarah.
Sodom and Gomhore
Three men (sent by God) had a mission: they were to punish the cities of Sodom and Gomhore who practiced sodomy! Abraham asked the three men to clemency. God then offered him to spare the cities if he found 50 righteous. Thus began a discussion of carpet dealers. God and Abraham fell finally agreed on the figure of 10 righteous.
The three men came to Lot’s house and demanded hospitality. Loth gave them. The villagers then presented before the house. They were furious to learn that strangers were welcomed. They asked Lot to deliver them unknown to the « know ». The proposal was then Loth staggering:
« Do not take these men rather take my daughters, they are virgins »
Loth. The genesis
What father can thus give his daughters to a mob? Loth.
The three men pushed the intruder making them momentarily blind. They asked Lot to leave the city. They decided to destroy, to kill women, children and the elderly.
Loth shall certainly not looking back. In the morning, the family left the city and of course, Lot’s wife looked back. It was changed into a salt statue.
Loth found himself in the company of his daughters in a cave. But he had no wife. So, « not that he gets bored, » his daughters offered her charm! It was like that in that early period.
The sacrifice of Isaac
To test the faith of Abraham (for God obviously does not know everything), he asked (and it’s pretty cruel) to sacrifice his son.How to worship such a God that demands the sacrifice of his son? The Bible does not say.
Older than a hundred years, Abraham took Isaac (still young) atop Mount Moriah. Isaac (naïve?) Sank tie on the altar by the old man.
But when Abraham wanted to set fire to the altar, God held her hand.
This sacrifice is the source of holidays:
- Muslim (Eid al Adha) in the Muslim tradition, in fact, it is Ishmael (first son) who was the subject of sacrifice;
- Jewish: in this tradition, it is the first legitimate son (Isaac) who sacrificed
Isaac and Rebecca met him two children, Esau and Jacob . God said to Sarai
« They will be the ancestors of the two peoples, the elder shall serve the younger. «
Esau was the favorite of Isaac because, like him, he loved the game. Before dying, he asked her to bring the game to bless it or, in other words, to become his heir. But Rebecca preferred another son Jacob. She then asked him to put the clothes of his brother and stand well before Jacob. The latter was blind. He was wrong. Furious, Esau wanted to kill his brother. It forced him into exile.
Jacob fled to his uncle Laban, the brother of Rebecca. Laban had two daughters, Rachel and Leah. He fell in love with the younger, Rachel. He marriage. Laban he preferred to marry the eldest: Lea. He however promised Rachel in exchange for seven years of work in his service. Jacob married Leah and her uncle served for 7 years. In vain.
He will have to work seven more years for Rachel’s hand. It will have 12 children:
- Leah and Rachel, firstly,
- but also their Zilpah and Bilhah servants, on the other;
in what can only be called polygamy.
These twelve children, Joseph, will be at the origin of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jacob decided to finally return home. On the way back, he faced an angel. He bore the name of Israel, who fought with God.
Finally, the reunion of two brothers (Jacob and Esau) was made in the most friendly.
Joseph, the eldest of Rachel
Joseph was favored by Jacob, provoking the jealousy of his brothers. The latter threw him into an empty cistern. They passed a caravan coming towards Egypt. They sold their brother Joseph to the caravan, which took him to Pharaoh’s court.
Joseph distinguished himself by interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams. This gave him the fate of Egypt.
Famine struck Canaan, which pushed Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to find subsistence. The family was found and all was forgiven. This completes Genesis.
Brief summary critique of Exodus
Book II of the Old Testament
We left the Egyptians and Israel son on good terms and we find at the beginning of Exodus , these captive son on the Nile: Thus begins the Exodus:
« The names of the son of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. The descendants of Jacob were seventy. Joseph died, and all his brothers. The children of Israel were fruitful. A new Pharaoh reigned; he knew not Joseph. He said to his people: « Behold the children of Israel. They are more numerous and more powerful than us. Come on! Let us deal wisely; Lest their proliferation so that, if there is a war, they do not join our enemies. « And one imposed by Israel son of drudgery and hard labor. They built on behalf of the Pharaoh, the cities of Pithom and Rameses, warehouses. But they multiplied again.The exodus
Pharaoh feared the Jewish people threatened by its exceptional fertility, the integrity of his kingdom. For better control, he reduced to slavery. A man from the tribe of Levi will then change that. This man was Moses .It will become the major figure of Exodus.
found floating on the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter, he was raised in the royal court like a prince. Her mother had tried to protect him when the Pharaoh ordered the killing of newborns of the Jewish people.This episode will be taken by Mathieu to tell the massacre of the innocents ordered by Herod the Great. In other words, Moses lost track of his roots.
Pharaoh’s daughter named him Moses (saved from the waters). The future Ramses II was like his brother. Together, they defeated an empire. Everything could continue.
But Moses told his Jewish origin. Then he took up the cause of his wretched brothers who were dropping like flies under the whips of shots of Pharaoh.
Accused of killing an Egyptian persecuting a Hebrew, he fled to Midian and started a family with Zipporah (daughter of Jethtro priest) , with whom he had two son Gershom and Eliezer. Life passed peacefully. Sheltered from Sinai, he raised goats and saw children grow. But God remembered his memories: he appeared as a burning bush on Mount Horeb and commanded him to return to Egypt to free the made Israel.
Accompanied by his brother Aaron , he complied. He looked, at first, to negotiate with the Pharaoh to solve the dispute amicably. Wasted effort. Moses then promised to Pharaoh the famous ten divine healing.
One after another, they came down on the heads of poor Egyptians. God killed including all newborns Egyptian! What mistakes did they commit? As often in the Bible, when God is angry, it does not take tweezers.
Given the scale of the disaster, the Pharaoh finally change his mind: he asked Moses to take his people out of Egypt. Under his leadership, the Hebrews left the banks of the Nile.They started on their way to Canaan . One last obstacle, however, stood before them: the Red Sea. Especially as the Pharaoh had changed his mind: he threw his chariots in pursuit of the Hebrews . Then God opened the Red Sea and Israel’s son enlisted in the dry corridor.The Egyptian tanks unwisely ventured on their trail while the sea was closing on them.
The Hebrews were not however the end of their sentence. They remained a desert to cross: the Sinai, where they wandered forty years. This is on top of the highest hill ( Mount Sinai ) that Moses received after the forty days of young, famous Tablets of the Law, which included the 10 commandments. But when Moses came down, he saw that his people under the authority of his brother, Aaron, had returned to idolatry. He was particularly drawn golden calves. He broke anger the Tablets of the Law. But he asked for leniency to those who now had a name: YAHWEH ! He accepted and gave him new tables.
With the exodus, the mosaic of tribes became a separate nation.
Historicity of the Exodus
Despite the large number of families (one speaks of 600,000 men, so 2 million people), not found in Egyptian records, however well provided otherwise, no trace of slavery mass of the Hebrews. Similarly, this great migration has left in Sinai, no archaeological remains, no burial, weapons or objects, which casts doubt on the historicity of the exodus. Moreover, the city of Pithom quoted in the short clip, did not exist in the time of Pharaoh. Finally, the whole area at the time was under the Pharaohs, including Sinai to Canaan. The route taken by Moses seems so complicated.
Moses and Sargon of Akkad
Here is a Babylonian text, previous centuries in the Bible, which strangely resembles the story of Moses. It is therefore likely that the Judean priest exiled in Babylon in 600 BC will be especially inspired by this text:
« My mother was a priestess. Father, I do not know [..]. I lived on the banks of the Euphrates. My mother, the high priestess, conceived me and bore me in secret. She put me in a reed basket, which she sealed the opening. She put me on the river and the river carried me me; I was found by Aqqi, the auctioneer water, which withdrew me from the river with its bucket. He raised me as his son, taught me his gardener business. Ištar the goddess fell in love for 56 years and my fate was royal. » babylonnien text.
The message of the Exodus
The message is clear: the Hebrew monotheism is superior to the Egyptian polytheism. Nile multiple gods can do nothing against Yahweh of wounds. This may open water and close them on these poor abandoned by their Egyptian deities unnecessary. Moreover, Exodus editors have sought to create a nation around an iconic character, a sort of divine right king of (Moses), the only way to enact the law. This monarchical structure survived until 1789.
Brief summary of the critical Leviticus
Book III of the Old Testament
« You shall not give any of your children to pass it to Molech, and thou profane the name of thy God. I am the LORD. You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman. It is an abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith. The woman may approach a beast to lie down thereto. It is confusion. « Leviticus.
Leviticus is the most boring away from the five books of the Pentateuch. This is a sum of moral prescriptions and guides to make offerings. We find there
- love of neighbor;
- respect (fear) of the ancestors;
- the condemnation of idolatry (God is jealous of all competition);
- the sacrificial method and the consumption patterns of the sacrificed beast;
- charity and benevolence to the blind and dumb;
- conviction of theft, fraud, defamation;
- Justice ;
- but also the condemnation of homosexuality:
- XXVIII / 22: » You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman. It is an abomination. «
- XX / 13: » If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, they have both committed an abomination; they will be put to death; their blood is upon them. «
- the possibility of requesting to slaves:
- XXV: « It is the nations around you that you will take your male and female slaves who belong to you is one of them shall ye buy male and female slaves. You can also buy foreign children who remain at home, and their families, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. «
- the opportunity to sell his daughter as a slave …
Brief summary critique of Numbers
Book IV of the Old Testament
As its name suggests, it is a census of the families of Israel, still stationed at the foot of Mount Sinai. The work, still under the patronage of Moses, the Jews resumed the road to the Promised Land (Canaan). Prudent, Moses sent out scouts, who returned with the conviction that the promised land could not be conquered! They began to doubt: maybe would have done better to remain in Egypt.
God, angry with the obvious mark of lack of faith in his omnipotence, then condemned the Hebrews wandered 40 years in this terrible Sinai. This first generation that experienced the exodus will die.
Brief summary critique of Deuteronomy
Fifth book of the Old Testament
Deuteronomy means second law. This is a kind of synthesis, including the main principles of the law of Moses.
The latter, despite a life of servitude, will not enter the promised land. He died after having seen the top of a mountain. This is Joshua his companion, who comes into the Promised Land. This completes the Pentateuch.
After that ?
The conquest of Canaan
The son of Israel came against Jericho . But the city was impregnable, protected by its walls; God commanded Joshua to go around the city for six days, at the head of a procession of seven priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant and sounding the horn. And the walls fell. The archeologyshow that at the time Jericho was a small town, without walls.
A series of massacres followed: Indigenous were massacred by the Hebrews who took possession of their property. Women, children and livestock were gone by the sword, with the blessing of the Lord. The God of the Old Testament was not very merciful to these peaceful people who did not ask anyone.
David became king of the Jews (1000 BC). He took Bathsheba as his wife: Bathsheba was the wife of one of his generals he sent to death deliberately. The Bible does not comment on the morality of David.
Bathsheba gave him as son Solomon. Archaeology will find no trace of this great King that was David., Winner of Goliath.
Absalom her other son, wanted to seize power, forcing David to take up arms. Absalom was killed accidentally. David was devastated. He died, giving the throne to Solomon (965 BC), his son.
Solomon decided to build a temple in Jerusalem. He was known for his wisdom. He was the author of the famous judgment of Solomon. It took many wives and concubines, often idolatrous. At his death Rehoboam succeeded him.
Communal tensions led to a split into two kingdoms:
- north, ten tribes proclaimed the Kingdom of Israel , headed by Jeroboam , who was returning to idolatry;
- south of Judah and Benjamin tribes created around Rehoboam the kingdom of Judah , which experienced a period of relative stability during the reign of Jeroboam II.
The deportation to Babylon
The neighboring kingdom of Babylon threatened. Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem.He burned the temple and deported the people captive. It was probably at this time that was written the Old Testament, perhaps by spiritual leaders anxious to maintain the cohesion of the deportees, including the prophet Ezekiel.
In his palace, Nebuchadnezzar was furious. No one was able to decipher his dreams. He appealed to Daniel, a young man of royal descent who prophesied his downfall.
He threw Daniel and his friends in the flames, but they survived. Nebuchadnezzar recognized the power of their God. Balthazar, his successor, was confronted with mysterious inscriptions appeared on the wall. He himself also call Daniel told him that the end of his kingdom. The next night, Babylon was taken and Belshazzar was slain. Darius the Mede became King. He threw Daniel to the lions who brilliantly survived. He also bowed to the power of God.
The editors are deceived because here was Darius Persia.
Tomorrow in Jerusalem
In 556 BC, Cyrus the Persian and Darius, demanded the reconstruction of the temple of Jerusalem. The returnees found a devastated country. The prophet Malachi demanded respect for the law of Moses.
Greeks, Egyptians, Syrians, Romans
Alexander the Great has submitted the entire earth. After Alexander’s death, one of his generals, Ptolemy ruled Egypt. A diaspora then settled in Egypt. Israel came under Roman rule. To end the revolt, the Romans sustained the new king of Judea, Herod the Edomite, that Jews are soon regarded as a usurper.
The archangel Gabriel announced to Zechariah, an old man, the birth of a son that will carry his wife Elisabeth. Then Gabriel made known to Mary, Joseph’s bride, descendant of King David, and cousin of Elizabeth. He also told him a son.
« The child will come upon you and the power of the Most High will cover you with his shadow. That is why the child will be holy and will be called the son of God. «
The New Testament, Jesus and Herod
Elizabeth gave birth to John, who will go before the Lord. In Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to the future King of the Jews, Jesus, to whom the Magi came and brought their gifts.
Gabriel asked Joseph to flee to Egypt because Herod worried about his throne, had decided to kill Jesus.
Indeed, the scribes and chief priests had announced the birth of the « King of the Jews. » The latter is not clearly identified, Herod decided to kill all newborns, the Gospel passage of Matthew known under the name massacre of the innocents .
A random chronology in the New Testament
Herod said, « the Great » was a central figure in Roman times. It was thanks to the historian Flavius Joseph that his story came to us. Although contemporary of Christ, he died in – 4 BC. The Massacre of the Innocents which it has targeted children under two years. Jesus also was there between 0 and 2 years, which is his birth between -6 and – 4 BC. Jesus would be born before Christ!
Christmas is not synonymous with the birth of Christ: he is a Roman feast ‘Sol Invictus) built by the early Christians in their body not to destabilize the habits of the population.
The origin of Christianity: the assumption of Essenes
A community living in Judea some three centuries before Christ was a literary corpus and very similar rules of life of Christianity: the Essenes .
Their story is known through the famous rolls discovered in 1947 in a cave near the Dead Sea my not far from Jericho.
It was a Jewish sect bent at Qumran, installed there from the third century BC until the Roman military interventions around AD 70 consecutive Jewish revolts against the occupier. They worshiped a « Teacher of Righteousness » , a kind of elected eerily similar in its characteristics to Christ. One found in these rolls of reference :
- circumcision « of the heart », preferable to the carnal circumcision (idea which is found in St. Paul);
- to chastity;
- with the blessing of bread and wine;
- to baptism;
- the obligation to eat fish instead of animal meat.
Another amazing resemblance they saw God as a whole, man is nothing. There is also the core concept of free will, man can either choose good or evil (and thus be judged).
But this is another story, to which a new section will be dedicated .