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The Black Stele
For many years, "higher critics" of the Bible postulated that the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch, could not have been written by Moses - despite the fact that the books themselves say that they were authored by him. This idea came to be know as the "Documentary Hypothesis," and was commonly taught in most religion courses in Western universities.
The proponents of this idea held that writing was not even in existence at the time of Moses, therefore it had to have been of later authorship. The minds of these critics went to work, and they devised a great structure of Old Testament criticism based on this premise - concluding that the books were written by several different authors.
Then, a simple archeological discovery interrupted their progress. The "black stele" - a sculpted stone containing the detailed laws of Hammurabi in large, wedge-shaped characters - was found in the Middle East. Was it post- Moses? No! It was pre-Mosaic by at least three centuries; not only that, but it was pre-Abraham (2,000 B.C.). Amazingly enough, it antedated Moses, who was supposed to have been a primitive man without an alphabet.
Even more amazing is the fact that, in light of this discovery, the "Documentary Hypothesis" is still being taught in universities today.
Another archaeological find that confirms the existence of writing centuries before the time of Moses is the discovery of the Ebla Tablets in northern Syria in the 1960's. The Ebla kingdom was actually in existence approximately 1000 years before Moses (reaching its height around 2300 B.C.). Ebla shows that a thousand years before Moses, laws, customs and events were recorded in writing in the same area of the world in which Moses and the patriarchs lived.
* Information for this post is taken largely from: Josh McDowell, The Best Of Josh McDowell: A Ready Defense, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993), pp. 94-96, 98.
Jun/24/2006, 1:02 pm
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