Book examines contradictions,
myths of the Bible
As a New York criminal trial lawyer and guest commentator for Court TV, Gary Greenberg is a man who has argued some of the most infamous cases of modern times.
And, as an accomplished author and biblical scholar, he continues the tradition with his latest publication, “101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History” (Sourcebooks).
It’s a riveting read that’s definitely not for the biblically faint of heart. Armed with archeological facts, Greenberg’s attempts to blow holes in several Old Testament accounts — Adam and Eve, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Ten Commandments, to name a few— will raise more than a few eyebrows.
Still, anyone who has ever questioned the probability of parting a sea or of fitting pairs of every species of animal into a really big boat will be intrigued by Greenberg’s explanations.
“This book is for people who wish to understand the Bible as a product of its times,” said Greenberg. “There are just too many contradictions within its text for it to be a divinely inspired book. If God wrote the Bible, and if everything in it is absolutely true, then why did he leave so many mistakes in it?”
It’s a question posed by many. For more than two centuries, scholars have been pointing out the Bible’s shortcomings. Filled with tales that contradict each other, mathematical errors and other anomalies, experts insist that this is a multi-source book that has been poorly patchworked together over a lengthy period of time.
“Even fairly religious people admit there are serious problems, especially with the Old Testament,” Greenberg said. “A good example is found in Genesis where it says that Abraham came from Ur of the Chaldees. Actually, the Chaldees did not come into existence until nearly 1,000 years after Abraham’s death. These are the kinds of inconsistencies my book presents in a simple, easy to understand format.”
Tales with at least two contradictory accounts in the Bible, close parallels with earlier legends and myths from nearby cultures, or that have been proven historically false were chosen for inclusion in the volume.
“I didn’t bother with accounts of miracles, because people who believe in them are the same people who would claim that God overrode the laws of physics to make the act possible,” said Greenberg. “For those who don’t believe in miracles, I would just be stating the obvious. So, there was really no point in including them.”
Greenberg, who also serves as president of the Biblical Archaeology Society of New York, has been conducting Biblical research for decades. Of particular interest to him is what he said are the Bible’s Egyptian roots.
“Egyptian mythology and literature strongly influenced early biblical history” said Greenberg. “Belief in an omnipotent creator who brought forth other super natural beings had its roots in ancient Egypt. These views heavily influenced the Hebrews, and that’s why we see so many of these Egyptian myths in biblical history”
Those myths will be further explored in his next book, a biography of King David, which is due to be released next year.
“King David was actually a very brutal and unjust ruler,” said Greenberg. “So much of the Bible is apologetic about these charges, but the truth is he was a wealthy cruel man.”
Because of the controversial nature of Greenberg’s assertions, he is regularly the target of criticism from the religious community at large. Still, he is not apologetic.
have nothing at all to do with whether God is real or not,” he said. “But,
by exposing errors in the Bible, I am rescuing it from the theologians who
spend their lives distorting facts to keep their religions from falling
apart. If the truth undermines their life work, that’s hardly my fault.”
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