The Uncertainty of Jewish History

While I was looking at the history of religion in general I was surprised at the extent of the uncertainty surrounding the historical development of the Jewish religion prior to about 950BCE. This for me was highlighted when I started exploring what I would have expected to have been known about the story of Abraham who appears (from the Bible) to be the first to have had any understanding of a monotheistic God. Genesis 11 and 12 shows that Abraham’s father came from Ur of the Chaldeans and came to Haran and settled there for many years. But how far was it from Ur to Haran? Two versions of the same map highlight two of the differing beliefs and the uncertainty of early history – see here.

It is generally recognised that the three major religions of the world trace their origins to the call of Abraham at some time around 2,000BCE but from Wikipedia: there is nothing specific in the Genesis stories that can be definitively related to known history in or around Canaan in the early second millennium BCE and it is now widely agreed that the so-called ‘patriarchal/ancestral period’ is a later literary construct, not a period in the actual history of the ancient world.

Did the Exodus actually take place as described in the Bible and does it really matter? There are many who sense that dates from the written records are unreliable prior to about 950BCE.

From Wikipedia: 950BCE – The Torah, the core texts of Judaism and foundation of later Abrahamic religions, is believed to be given by God to Moses


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