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Jun
21
comment Difference in the number of demon-possessed men in gospels
Very interesting. The Odysseus connection would be quite clever of the author of Mark, if intentional. As for the changes to the story made by Matthew, it strike me as being similar to mistakes a non-native speaker might make, in particular overly literal translations of idiomatic expressions. Could Matthew have simply mistook "we are Legion" as literally meaning there was more than one demon possessed man present?
May
21
awarded  Popular Question
Feb
6
comment Is the estimate of 2 million people exiting Egypt possible?
I sorta figured the question had to have come up at History.SE at some point in time. Thanks for providing the Herzog link. There's also a sort of converse to this puzzle that might be more on-topic here: just as the Hebrews seem to have left no trace in Egypt, Egypt seems to have left no trace on Hebrew culture. Though I've found much less discussion of that question.
Feb
6
comment Is the estimate of 2 million people exiting Egypt possible?
I think the bigger point of contention then wouldn't so much be whether or not there could have been 2 million Hebrew slaves, but rather could Egypt could have lost half its population without documenting it, if not having its civilization destabilized altogether. This leads me to ask what functions Hebrew slaves had in Egyptian society, and in what proportion...
Feb
6
comment Is the estimate of 2 million people exiting Egypt possible?
This website says that Egypt could have supported a population of up to 4.5 million during the New Kingdom. I couldn't find where they list their sources, but the figure gives the correct order of magnitude.
Dec
2
comment Matthew vs Levi in the Gospel according to Matthew
@Jas3.1 I think your confusing Matthew the author of the gospel with Matthew the character referred to in the gospel. These are two different people, and for that matter the author of the Gospel of Matthew most likely wasn't a person named Matthew. Remember the gospels are anonymous. So the author would have had no more reason to refer to Levi by his new name than the authors of Mark or Luke would have.
Dec
2
comment Matthew vs Levi in the Gospel according to Matthew
Adding to the confusion, shortly after Matthew 9:9 there is this verse mentioning Matthew: "Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;" (Matthew 10:3). So at first brush, the text appears to imply that Matthew and Levi were the same person, as were Levi and James, though James was not the same person as Matthew(?!). Possible ways out of this paradox have included that (1) Levi and James were brothers; (2) multiple people named Alphaeus; (3) the Church fathers were just as confused as we are.
Oct
20
comment Why was crocodile (תנין) from Exodus 7:10 translated as snake or serpent?
Thank you for your reply and the article link. It was a good read. I hadn't heard of the Jewish Encyclopedia before.
Oct
19
comment Why was crocodile (תנין) from Exodus 7:10 translated as snake or serpent?
I'd be curious if ancient Hebrew even has a word for crocodile. Since southern Egypt is likely the only place the Hebrew culture would have encountered crocodiles, a word for 'crocodile' probably would have first entered the Hebrew language as a loan word from ancient Egyptian. @FrankLuke, do you happen to know if something like this was the case?
Sep
22
comment Moses' manufacture of the “bronze serpent” - what bronze?
@Davïd Very informative! For clarification, when you say 'halot' is more recent, how recently are we talking about? Also, after asking my question above, I searched 'bronze' at wiktionary and found the Hebrew translation 'ארד' (arad). Do you know how this term compares to the two you described?
Sep
22
comment Moses' manufacture of the “bronze serpent” - what bronze?
More than once in your post you refer to bronze and copper as if the two words are interchangeable in this context. I'm curious now as to what extent the ancient Hebrew vocabulary had different words for distinguishing between different metals. Did they just have one word for copper and bronze?
Sep
8
comment Ancient Hebrew Calendar(s) and Modern Translations of “Years”
@mojo The crux of matter with these ancient empirical calendars is that most dates (i.e., of the full moon) and time intervals (such as the length of a given year weren't reckoned at all. Instead, they were observed. So to determine, say, if a particular year had 13 months or 12, you'd need to check the written records kept by scribes from that time period. If the documents are lost, so too is the information.
Aug
30
awarded  Commentator
Aug
30
comment Why does the ESV use “surely” in Genesis 2:16 when all others say “freely”?
My guess is that this is just an example of obsolete English usage that hasn't been transliterated into the modern equivalent. If you go to the "sure" Wiktionary entry, the fourth definition (listed as obsolete) reads, "Free from danger; safe; secure". So perhaps the editors of the ESV are not without some justification for this translation decision, but it does seem odd given how recently it was published.
Aug
18
comment Written language during the time of Moses?
There's not much of an answer to your first question beyond speculation, but you might find this to be interesting starting point: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Sinaitic_script
Aug
8
comment What biblical figure was present during the dinosaurs?
While all biblical figures indeed would have been contemporaneous with crocodiles, very few likely ever saw one. The only characters who would have lived anywhere near crocodiles would be those who spent time near the Nile in Egypt, like Moses. Even then they crocodiles would have somewhat exotic. (Pardon my pedantry :) )
Jul
21
comment Was Jesus too young at 12 years old to go about His Father's business?
Apprenticeships began anywhere from age 7 to 14, with 12 being a rough average. This practice might seem odd to us now, but ask yourself what do you think children did all day?
Jun
17
comment Is “stars” the object of “made” or “rule” in Genesis 1:16?
I thought you were asking how to interpret the English translation you quoted. I was merely making the point that the translators definitely thought that 'stars' was the object of 'made'. I can't speak to the reasons the original Hebrew was parsed that way, or if it is ultimately correct.
Jun
17
comment Is “stars” the object of “made” or “rule” in Genesis 1:16?
The dashes before and after the phrase "the larger light to rule the day and the smaller light to rule the night" are clearly being used to block off the phrase as a parenthetical. The first dash indicates that the grammatical structure of the main sentence is being interrupted and will continue after the next dash. So the clause that begins "God made the two great lights..." continues with "...*and the stars.*"
May
21
awarded  Critic