Another sensible post by George Athas in Sydney – as Christians we sometimes weaken our own position by too quickly latching on to fresh apologetic ammunition. Real historical data comes in very small increments, and a true picture of the past, including the biblical past, comes by building a large collection of little pieces of data into a clearer picture. George is right that the majority of OT books are both anonymous and unclear in their time and manner of origin. We just get an isolated clue here and there, and then stages of transmission such as those reflected in the translation of the Septuagint (LXX or Greek OT) and the Dead Sea Scrolls, that portray an Old Testament whose development into the form we have today was nearly complete by the time of Jesus.
Christianity Today has published an article that comments on a recent study by the Epigraphic Hebrew Project examining the handwriting on some ancient Hebrew documents through digital technology. The headline reads:
Ancient Sticky Notes Shift Secular Scholars Closer to Evangelicals on Bible’s Age.
The study itself demonstrates that the cache of sixteen documents from the remote desert outpost of Arad on the edge of the Kingdom of Judah in c. 600 BC had six distinct authors. The claim of the Christianity Today article is that this seemingly high rate of literacy in Judah’s monarchic period is forcing secular scholars to acknowledge that the biblical documents were probably written early (that is, before the exilic era). This is certainly the direction in which Walter Kaiser Jr., who is cited in the article, takes the evidence.
Unfortunately, the study that this article is commenting on doesn’t actually shift secular scholars closer to Evangelicals on the Bible’s Age…
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