Re: Genesis in cuneiform on tablets

From: Peter Ruest (
Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 00:36:54 EDT

  • Next message: Peter Ruest: "Re: Genesis in cuneiform on tablets"

    Hi Dick, you wrote:
    > Hi Peter, you wrote:
    > >Wiseman suggests that Genesis was transmitted on clay tablets before
    > >Jacob moved to Egypt (cf. his Colophon in Gen.37:1-2a), and that from
    > >then on, presumably Egyptian writing customs obtained, i.e. papyrus. In
    > >striking contrast to Gen.1-36, there is no indication of systematic
    > >tablet characteristics (colophon etc.) in any other OT text. It may very
    > >well be that Moses, or even Joseph already, copied Jacob's tablet
    > >collection to papyrus (Wiseman didn't speculate on that). But archeology
    > >apparently confirms that clay tablets, not papyrus, were the ordinary
    > >writing substrate all over the Near East - apart from Egypt - until long
    > >after Moses' time.
    > I wish I could get as much press on my disclosure of hard historical data
    > and evidence corroborating Genesis 1-11 as these guys get on idle
    > speculation. Sigh ...

    Dick, this was an answer to your comment of 30 Sep 2002:
    "I would be surprised if a clay tablet version existed. Why lug clay
    tablets all over the desert for 40 years? Papyrus was light, portable,
    and in vogue at the time of the Exodus. Plus, where are they?"
    Is this less speculative than what Wiseman wrote? I didn't get the
    impression that he just produced idle speculation.

    > Anyway, clay tablets went out of style before the Exodus ca. 1290 BC. While
    > clay tablets have been found in city libraries, it would be hard to
    > imagine nomadic
    > peoples generating them.

    There are scholars who place the exodus in the 15th century BC, and it
    appears that this date has better biblical support. This would be well
    within the times of the Tell-el-Amarna and Ras-Shamra tablets. Wiseman
    published the photograph of a tablet from Niniveh (with a medical
    context) for which he indicates a date of 500 BC. But in any case, his
    claim concerning Genesis ends with Jacob's colophon in Gen.37:2, which
    would easily predate even an early "going out of style" of clay tablets.

    As for the patriarchs writing clay tablets, Wiseman underscored the fact
    that the biblical text presents them as quite mighty princes in their
    times (cf. Abraham). And if the genealogies of Gen.5 and 11 can be set
    parallel to the king lists found on cuneiform tablets, the same would
    apply to these patriarchs. I think the usual representation of the
    patriarchs as "primitive nomads" is not supported by the evidence.

    > >As for the size of the Genesis tablet library, I don't think it would
    > >have been so much trouble for the patriarchs to have their important
    > >family documentation in their luggage.
    > Clay doesn't travel well.

    Wiseman said it's very hard when dry, even those tablets that weren't
    baked in a kiln. And why should a broken tablet not have been copied to
    a new one?


    > >"It would be surprising if the biblical patriarchs had not done so
    > >with their own
    > >genealogies ..."
    > Well, we certainly have king lists, and they do parallel the Genesis
    > 5 genealogies to
    > some degree ...
    > Dick Fischer - The Origins Solution -

    Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    <> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
    "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)

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