Is the bible true? Yes, but not literally. From my perspective it is a mythological allegory for real historical events. Not only did the people writing the bible not take it literally, they weren’t the same people. Some of the Books of the Bible have Persian words, Israel was continually being reconquered by Persia and then re educated and then escaping yet again. The Bible tells a story of a struggle to once and for all be free of the corrupt relationship with this tyrannical eastern force. Often times these people had to tell their stories in a concealed metaphorical way so that other parties would not be directly offended, but at the same time the truth of the matter could be ferreted out with study and meditation.
Pardes (Jewish exegesis)
Pardes refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism (or – simpler – interpretation of text inTorah study). The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the name initials of the following four approaches:
- Peshat (פְּשָׁט) — “plain” (“simple”) or the direct meaning.
- Remez (רֶמֶז) — “hints” or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
- Derash (דְּרַשׁ) — from Hebrew darash: “inquire” (“seek”) — the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
- Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in ‘bone’) — “secret” (“mystery”) or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.
We know that the Jews Hellenized and absorbed the Greek Culture and philosophy.
Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism in the ancient world that combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of Greek culture. Until the fall of the Roman Empire and the Muslim conquests of the Eastern Mediterranean, the main centers of Hellenistic Judaism were Alexandria (Egypt) and Antioch (Northern Syria—now Turkey), the two main Greek urban settlements of the Middle East and North Africa area, both founded at the end of the 4th century BCE in the wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Hellenistic Judaism also existed in Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period, where there was conflict between Hellenizers and traditionalists (sometimes called Judaizers).
The major literary product of the contact of Second Temple Judaism and Hellenistic culture is the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible from Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic to Koiné Greek, specifically, Jewish Koiné Greek.
The decline of Hellenistic Judaism started in the 2nd century CE, and its causes are still not fully understood. It may be that it was eventually marginalized by, partially absorbed into or became progressively the Koiné-speaking core of “Early Christianity” centered around Antioch and its “universalist” tradition — see most notably Paul of Tarsus and Judaismand the Abrogation of Old Covenant laws.
I am going to tell you an interesting little story, and point out some similarities that you might not have noticed before.
Battle of Thermopylae
The Battle of Thermopylae (/θərˈmɒpɨliː/ thər-mop-i-lee; Greek: Μάχη τῶν Θερμοπυλῶν, Machē tōn Thermopylōn) was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and thePersian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480 BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae (‘The Hot Gates’). The Persian invasion was a delayed response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece, which had been ended by the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. Xerxes had amassed a huge army and navy, and set out to conquer all of Greece. The Athenian generalThemistocles had proposed that the allied Greeks block the advance of the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae, and simultaneously block the Persian navy at the Straits of Artemisium.
The Battle of Thermopylae was a real event. it is taught in Millitary History.
Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, their cultures, economies and changing intra and international relationships.
Professional historians normally focus on military affairs that had a major impact on the societies involved as well as the aftermath of conflicts, while amateur historians and hobbyists often take a larger interest in the details of battles, equipment and uniforms in use.
The essential subjects of military history study are the causes of war, the social and cultural foundations, military doctrine on each side, the logistics, leadership, technology, strategy, and tactics used, and how these changed over time. On the other hand, Just War Theory explores the moral dimensions of warfare, and to better limit the destructive reality caused by war, seeks to establish a doctrine of military ethics.
Now it appears that the book of Judges was written before the battle of Thermopylae, if sources can be trusted. So the Question arises was the book of Judges the inspiration for the battle of Thermopylae?
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.
4 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”8 So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
Midian (Hebrew: מִדְיָן), Madyan (Arabic: مدين), or Madiam (Greek: Μαδιάμ, Μαδιανίτης for a Midianite) is a geographical place and a people mentioned in the Bible and in the Qur’an. William G. Dever suggests it was located in the “northwest Arabian Peninsula, on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea (the “Hejaz”). “
Hadad the Edomite is specifically stated in 1 Kg 11:17-18 to have passed through Midian and Paran while fleeing from Edomto Egypt. Even so, some scholars have claimed Midian was not a geographical area but a league of tribes.
The Midianites were the descendants of Midian, who was a son of Abraham through his wife Keturah: “. . . again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.”
What is the significance of the Number 300? Well, stick with me for a moment and I will try to explain it to you.
Shin (also spelled Šin (šīn) or Sheen) literally means “teeth”, “press”, and “sharp”; It is the twenty-first letter in manySemitic abjads, including Phoenician 𐤔, Aramaic/Hebrew ש, and Arabic ش (in abjadi order, 13th in modern order). Its sound value is a voiceless sibilant, [ʃ] or [s].
In gematria, Shin represents the number 300.
According to Judges 12:6, the tribe of Ephraim could not differentiate between Shin and Samekh; when the Gileadites were at war with the Ephraimites, they would ask suspected Ephraimites to say the word shibolet; an Ephraimite would say sibolet and thus be exposed. From this episode we get the English word Shibboleth.
A shibboleth (/ˈʃɪbəlɛθ/ or /ˈʃɪbələθ/) is a word or custom whose variations in pronunciation or style can be used to differentiate members of ingroups from those of outgroups. Within the mindset of the ingroup, a connotation or value judgment of correct/incorrect or superior/inferior can be ascribed to the two variants.
The term originates from the Hebrew word shibbólet (שִׁבֹּלֶת), which literally means the part of a plant containing grains, such as an ear of corn or a stalk of grainor, in different contexts, “stream, torrent”. The modern usage derives from an account in the Hebrew Bible, in which pronunciation of this word was used to distinguish Ephraimites, whose dialect lacked a /ʃ/ phoneme (as in shoe), from Gileadites whose dialect did include such a phoneme.
Recorded in the Book of Judges, chapter 12, after the inhabitants of Gilead inflicted a military defeat upon the tribe of Ephraim (around 1370–1070 BC), the surviving Ephraimites tried to cross the Jordan River back into their home territory and the Gileadites secured the river’s fords to stop them. In order to identify and kill these refugees, the Gileadites put each refugee to a simple test:
Gilead then cut Ephraim off from the fords of the Jordan, and whenever Ephraimite fugitives said, ‘Let me cross,’ the men of Gilead would ask, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ If he said, ‘No,’ they then said, ‘Very well, say “Shibboleth” (שבלת).’ If anyone said, “Sibboleth” (סבלת), because he could not pronounce it, then they would seize him and kill him by the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell on this occasion.
Shin also stands for the word Shaddai, a name for God. Because of this, a kohen (priest) forms the letter Shin with his hands as he recites the Priestly Blessing. In the mid 1960s, actor Leonard Nimoy used a single-handed version of this gesture to create the Vulcan hand salute for his character, Mr. Spock, on Star Trek.
The Shema Yisrael prayer also commands the Israelites to write God’s commandments on their hearts (Deut. 6:6); the shape of the letter Shin mimics the structure of the human heart: the lower, larger left ventricle (which supplies the full body) and the smaller right ventricle (which supplies the lungs) are positioned like the lines of the letter Shin.
I can’t find a good source on this but Shin also represents fire and spirit.