Re: the tradition that Abraham engaged in astronomical studies

From: George Murphy (
Date: Wed Jun 25 2003 - 22:30:12 EDT

  • Next message: George Murphy: "Re: the tradition that Abraham engaged in astronomical studies" wrote:
    > In a message dated 6/25/03 8:14:39 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
    > writes:
    > But the Bible has absolutely zero about this. It is just
    > one more fallacy of
    > belief in the efficacy of independent natural theology.
    > That's what post-biblical means of course, which is why I reproduced
    > the entire quote which is self described as post biblical but it does
    > appear a plausible source for the astronomy remark which I don't
    > believe has anything to do with astronomy (other than that celestial
    > orbs are mentioned) but with religion.
    > It's a neat way of saying Abraham rejected the gods of Mespotamia (Ur
    > and Harran - the moon god sin) and Egypt (sun god) for the true God
    > and describes a search for the true god that is definitively not the
    > god of mesopotamia or egypt, the two regions bordering covenant Israel
    > and it would be understandable on two levels, as a simple story and as
    > an expression of comparative religion.
    > It also says something about how Hebrew writers expressed themselves,
    > simply, compactly, and often allegorically.

            I realize that this is old Jewish legend, not something that Judah Halevi made
    up. But not only is it not based on scripture but scripture seems to argue against it.
    Joshus 24:2-3 says "Your ancestors - Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor - lived beyond
    the Euphrates and served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham ..." No
    transitional business about Abraham's astronomy &c. He was a pagan and God called him.
    Such an unmerited election is puzzling and offensive to people who would rather think
    themselves capable of getting at least partway to a knowledge of God on their own, but
    it's not the way the Bible speaks of it.

    > ...One more fallacy of belief in the efficacy of independent natural
    > theology? That was a quote from A Historical Atlas of the Jewish
    > People edited by Eli Barnavi, Kuperard London, (page 2), an impressive
    > looking publication by a great many Jewish scholars, not my personal
    > shot in the dark.

            I didn't say it was your personal opinion. Eli Barnavi & other Jewish scholars
    are right in citing it as tradition but are wrong in thinking it to be theologically



    George L. Murphy

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