How King David predicted modern Judaism
Modern Jews are precisely the community King David envisioned, says scholar Joel Baden.
October 12th, 2013
09:05 AM ET

How King David predicted modern Judaism

Opinion by Joel Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) - Most American Jews consider Judaism to be mainly a matter of culture and ancestry, according to a recent poll. An even higher percentage describe themselves as emotionally attached to Israel. For this we have one person to thank: King David.

The Israel we know today is a nation that David created virtually out of thin air. Before David, there were two territories, Israel to the north, and Judah to the south.

By sheer force of personality—and, to be fair, substantial military strength—David combined these two lands under a single crown (his). Not only had this never happened before; no one had ever thought of it before.

Although the Bible makes it sound as if everyone loved David, and were desperate to follow him, this wasn’t really the case. David took power by force.

The people of Israel and Judah became part of David’s kingdom because he conquered them—they had no choice in the matter. Their only option was to abandon the land that they had held for centuries. And in a tight real estate market—every family believed that they had eternal rights to their property—moving was pretty much out of the question.

We tend to think of Israel in biblical terms: the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the land of the 12 tribes. These concepts were created in the wake of David’s reign.

Everywhere that the Bible speaks of Judah and Israel together—the stories of the patriarchs, the Exodus, the conquest—we encounter the ramifications of David’s actions.

The borders of the modern state of Israel today are, roughly, David’s borders, or at least those attributed to him by the biblical authors. (For the record: the West Bank was part of David’s kingdom; the Gaza Strip was not.)

And at the center of Israel, both ancient and modern, is the holy city of Jerusalem. This, too, is David’s doing. Before David, Jerusalem was a long-standing independent city-state, belonging to a long-lost people called the Jebusites.

MORE ON CNN: Why everyone fights over Jerusalem

Recognizing that its central location would be perfect for the capital of his newly united state—the ancient equivalent of Washington—David conquered it and wiped out its former inhabitants.

Because David is credited with founding the Temple in Jerusalem—although Solomon built the actual structure, David chose the site, set up an altar, and laid the conceptual groundwork—it’s natural enough to assume that there was some religious motivation at work.

But, in fact, David’s aim in inaugurating a site of worship in his capital was more economical than spiritual. Temples were sites of commerce—Jesus knew this—and having a culturally significant relic, in the form of the Ark of the Covenant, was sure to draw the people in.

Every lamb sacrificed in Jerusalem meant profit for the sanctuary, and for the king who controlled it. Every pilgrim meant a night’s stay in a local bed and breakfast (all fully taxable, of course).

David used belief as a lure to draw in the masses. But he didn’t care much what his people believed. The creation of the unified kingdom of Israel wasn’t based on shared religion.

The inhabitants of the north had very different practices from those in the south. And none of them was following Jewish law—the laws hadn’t been written yet, and wouldn’t be for centuries.

What united the people of David’s kingdom was, quite simply, that they lived there. It was a political state, not a religious one.

Israel then, like today, was primarily a political entity, and only secondarily a religious one. Those who considered themselves attached to Israel believed and practiced a whole range of things, or not; just like those who are attached to Israel today.

A Pew poll released earlier this month demonstrates the continuing pull of David’s Israel. Millions of American Jews financially support the modern state of Israel, either through donations or through tourism.

MORE ON CNN: Study: American Jews losing their religion

We feel the pull of the land, the sanctity of the ancient streets of Jerusalem. We fly El Al, we stay at the hotels, we eat at the restaurants, we pay to enter various sites.

That is: We’re still doing just what David wanted us to do. We are precisely the Jews who David envisioned—believing whatever we want, just so long as we spend our money in Israel.

Joel S. Baden is the author of “The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero,” and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Middle East

soundoff (869 Responses)
  1. Peter Wexler

    I am an anti-Zionist Jew. There is such a thing, because I exist.

    I'm as pasty white as the Pillsbury Doughboy. Based solely on skin color, I am very much of European descent.

    Religions migrate across borders that people cannot. Judaism may come from the Middle East, but that does not make all Jews, Middle-Eastern.

    If I were to convert to Hinduism, would I be able to lay claim to a piece of land in India? Buddhism, Tibet? Catholicism, Rome?

    Since I was a little boy (a four-year-old boy), I have asked an uncomfortable question: If Germans killed so many Jews, during WWII, should land not have been taken from Germany and made into a place for Jews to live?

    Three generations have been born, since the establishment of the modern Israel. Without mass murder on the grandest scale, the location of the new Zion cannot be reversed. In my view that means that Israel will remain Israel, forever more, unless the nearly unthinkable should happen.

    Nearly unthinkable means just that: possible, though barely so. Barely possible means still possible, and Israelis should keep that in mind as they expand their "settlements" into the territory of others.

    October 14, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • Michelle

      "Since I was a little boy (a four-year-old boy), I have asked an uncomfortable question"

      Apparently – given your comments – you have received little further education on the subject since you were 4 years old. Your arguments are nonsensical. One minute you say "I am an anti-Zionist Jew." then you say " In my view that means that Israel will remain Israel."
      You don't even know what a Zionist is and yet you claim to be an anti-Zionist!!! There is plenty of material out there on the internet from which you could learn.

      October 14, 2013 at 7:22 am |
      • G to the T

        I have no idea what you mean on this Michelle – he's saying that he isn't in favor of Isreal but knows that it's too late to do anything about it's existence and we have to work with what we have. Pretty straight-forward I thought.

        October 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • SAWOLF

      Big deal, there were kapos in the Death Camps.

      October 17, 2013 at 1:45 am |
  2. Slade Farney

    Joel Baden is contradicts himself and common knowledge on many points in that essay, including this:

    "David combined these two lands under a single crown (his). Not only had this never happened before; no one had ever thought of it before."

    But on the bottom page 117 of Baden's own book, "The Historical David," Baden writes:
    "... Israel, the northern territories over which Saul had ruled."

    Were the two kingdoms combined previously as Baden says in the book, or had "no one ever though of it before" as he says in this essay?

    Let's look at http://www.science.co.il/Israel-history.php

    "The descendants of Abraham crystallized into a nation at about 1300 BCE after their Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses (Moshe in Hebrew)."

    So Baden's book is right, and Baden's essay is wrong, wrong, wrong. Pretty bad fail for a professor. But let us look at another statement in this essay:

    "The inhabitants of the north had very different practices from those in the south. And none of them was following Jewish law—the laws hadn’t been written yet, and wouldn’t be for centuries."

    According to the Jewish Virtual Library, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/The_Written_Law.html, the Jewish Written Law of the Torah was set down by Moses. And Moses is supposed to have lived 300 to 400 years before David, before any of the Hebrew tribes had settled in the two kingdoms.

    Baden's purpose in making these and other sideways comments in this essay is just puzzling. Maybe he can explain it in a followup.

    October 14, 2013 at 4:16 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Slade, it is believed (there is that term again) that the Mosaic code was based on oral tradition, and not codified until the time of the Babylonian Captivity. So, while you had priests who were aware of the oral traditions, the common inhabitants of the two kingdoms had to rely on their religious leaders. It was also shown that there was a difference in the way the north and the south practiced Judaism, again, not coalescing into a single worship system until the Babylonian Captivity.

      October 15, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  3. Mabel Allen

    The Jewish scholars lied several times in translating the Bible the first sin was to change the name of the Son of God from Yehoshua to Jesus then the ultimate sin had over Yehoshua for Crucifixion... Just as God ordered all of the worshipers of false Gods executed Bilal God allowed the Jews to be executed by Hitler... God is in control of Good and evil I speak truth you do not like it to bad Amen I worship the only living God in Heaven the great I Am Amen. I rebuke satan from the unlearned author in Yehoshua name Amen

    October 14, 2013 at 3:57 am |
    • G to the T

      I'm sorry – the "jewish" scholars that changed the name? You REALLY need to read up on some literary history.

      October 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  4. Joe

    Muslims have such an emotional and historic attachment also to Israel/Palestine represented by Aqsau mosque and its relation with Profit Mohamed. Having emotional tie to one place doesn't give you right to occupy it and kick its inhabitants and settle in their place. Something modern Israeli with the help of UK did. Now thats history, but as i believe Jewish deserve a country where they can live and prosper, i believe also Palestinians deserve their country where Jerusalem is part of it especially Aqsa mosque. you can now treat things with double standards. If Israeli deserve to have their secure free country then Palestinians also have the same right.

    October 14, 2013 at 2:37 am |
    • Michelle

      The Palestinian call for Jerusalem as their capital breaks with the established pattern in the Islamic world where holy cities are NOT capital cities (e.g. Riyadh in Saudi Arabia – not Mecca/Medina; Baghdad in Iraq – not Najaf; Tehran in Iran not Qom/Isfahan).

      October 14, 2013 at 2:48 am |
  5. joseph

    The world questions our beliefs, what they should question is their disbelief.

    October 14, 2013 at 1:44 am |
  6. Name Jose Sergio Salmeron

    Is this king David or God's words? How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7 NIV)
    באותו הזמן אמר ישוע: "אני משבח אותך, אב, אדון שמים והארץ, משום שהסתרת את הדברים האלה מן חכמים ולמדנו, וחשפנו אותם לילדים קטנים. כן, אב, לכך הוא מה שהיית שמח לעשות. "כל הדברים שהיו מחויבים לי על ידי האבא שלי. אף אחד לא יודע את הבן מלבד האב, ואף אחד לא יודע אב אלא בנו ואלה שאליהם הבן בוחר לחשוף אותו. "בוא אליי, כל מי שאתה עייפים ועמוסים ואני אתן לך מנוחה. קח את העול שלי עליכם ללמוד ממני, כי אני עדין וצנוע בלב, ואתה תמצא מנוחה לנפשך. לעול שלי הוא קל והניטל שלי הוא אור. "(מתי 11:25-30 ניב)

    October 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Or.....

      was it David's PR Rep?

      October 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  7. dewi

    in Indonesia, some Christians believer described themselves as today's Jew - not Jew by blood but by faith

    October 13, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
  8. realbuckyball

    The Bible is almost entirely myth.
    Here's a real scholar, with the real archaeological evidence.

    October 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • TrueReality

      That's actually not what that article says at all. He says there might be (according to him) some exaggerations, but mostly he points out that a lot of the Biblical narratives are from a context that would not leave significant archaeological evidence. The Patriarchs, for example (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) – pastoral nomads. Living in tents and keeping flocks of animals doesn't really leave archaeological evidence like the foundations of buildings, etc.

      October 14, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • Star1

        Do you even read what you post? That Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were just Nomads in tents and so that is why there is no historical proof they existed? Only buildings can provide proof? What about the city Abraham left (a comfortable, wealthy life mind you)? Do you even know it's name? Or the fact that their descendants did live in buildings that have been proven. Lets not forget the Dead Sea Scrolls that also proved many doubters wrong. Most of all, these people were referred to in the Christian Greek scriptures and by Jesus himself. So if you died while camping, does that mean you didn't exist? I guess you know more than God does. It's windy outside, but wait, I can't see it, so it must not exist.

        October 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  9. Mike

    Ironically it's the Xtians who are getting worked up over this; most Jews couldn't care less about their myths LOL

    October 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  10. Vale of Elah

    King David is one of the most important figures in Jewish history. Born in 907 BCE, he reigns as king of Israel for 40 years, dying at age 70 in 837 BCE.

    There is so much that can be said about him. Some people like to focus on the warrior aspect ― the chivalrous warrior fighting for God ― but when his persona and accomplishments are considered as a whole, it is his spiritual greatness that shines most of all.

    David's first and foremost drive is to have a relationship with God. We get the glimpse of the beauty of his soul when we read the Psalms, most of which he wrote. Who doesn't know:

    The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want ... (Psalm 23)
    The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear ... (Psalm 27)
    I lift my eyes to the mountains ― from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth ... (Psalm 121)

    Even when we consider his military conquest, we see that the driving force behind them was his attachment to God. The hereditary bloodline of King David will become the only legitimate royal bloodline in Jewish history. From David will come all the future kings of Judah and ultimately, at the end of history, the Messiah.

    October 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Brooks

      Wow! that is a great summarization of King David.

      October 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Gearoid

      None of this is supported by the historical and archaeological record.

      The Bible is not a reliable historical source.

      October 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Bartimaeus

      Yes! The last line captures the significance very well.

      October 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Daily Double-Jeopardy final round question!

      The scriptures refer to him as "A man after God's own heart"

      October 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
      • The winner!

        Who is "King David".

        October 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      As noted earlier:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      October 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • William

        @Reality#2, you need a good dose of REALITY. David was not a "provincial leader" he was the King of Israel and Judah.

        October 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • Gearoid

          There is absolutely no evidence to support what you say here.

          There is considerable evidence against it however.

          October 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • Follow This


          How many people in those tribes? Something like 1 million, combined? That's less than the mayor of Dallas has - or the governor of Montana!

          October 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          Those who claim David was a provincial governor because he ruled a small country Israel watch out!
          His territory was synonymous with modern Syria, Jordan, West Bank, and Israel.
          He had an army of about 1300000. The US has 1250000.;)

          October 14, 2013 at 3:35 am |
        • Check

          Atheist, me?,

          In David's time every fit male from age 20 to 60 was considered to be "army". The U.S. has well over 100,000,000 that fit that description today.

          October 14, 2013 at 4:15 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Good story bro. Could use some dragons and zombies though.

      October 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  11. Gearoid

    Ah the great myths.

    There is no evidence for Solomon, and no evidence that supports the Biblical version of David. There is no evidence of a united Monarchy whatsoever. The Biblical narrative is unreliable on these points, and stays unreliable until after the Babylonian Captivity (when the events being written about were contemporary).

    Any analysis that uses the created mythic history uncritically is severely flawed. While it is possible to learn things from the Biblical narrative (take for instance the scorn heaped on the Omrides, ironically the greatest Hebrew dynasty in the history of the two kingdoms, but also unfortunately for the later monotheist authors, pagan. You can read a good deal into the relative strength of Samaria versus the fledgling Judahite state as well as see the fingerprints of later monotheist editors), it is folly to assume that narrative reflects reality, rather than the biases of the editors.

    October 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Obvoius

      Thank you.

      October 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Obvious


        October 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  12. Dale Little

    Thank you Barry Sikes for pointing out Mr. Badens error on the two tribes. Of course when a person has "scholar" in front of his name, he is free to make up his own facts and people will believe him.

    October 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • james

      I love when people have a serious discussion without the clowns but how does anyone know they are a Jew today? the records were destroyed in 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed by Romans so no one today can prove which tribe they are from either the original 12 tribes or the 12 tribes in the book of Revelation leading to the question why the difference?

      October 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • md2205

        Jewish law states that whoever has a Jewish mother is Jewish, or whoever converts according to Jewish law. This is passed down from mother to child, generation after generation. You only know who you are based on what your parents tell you, based on what their parents told them, etc. and you don't have to prove it. It is true that many Jews do not know which tribe they are from, but those from the tribe of Levi, who are Cohanim and Leviim, know. Jews always lived with the concept that the Messiah could come at any time, and therefore it was vital for the Cohanim and Leviim to retain knowledge of their ancestry in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah and the rebuilding of the Temple to resume their role in the daily service. For the other tribes, it is not as relevant. Most of the non-Cohanim and non-Leviim are from the tribes of Yehuda and Benyamin because they were not of the ten tribes that were first exiled.

        October 13, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
        • james

          their Messiah came and they had him executed and their house was abandoned to them,Matt.23:37-39. this is the only way back for them individually but as a nation they are no different than any other anymore,Gal.3:27-29, Acts 4:11,12.

          October 14, 2013 at 10:07 am |
  13. Dale Little

    These efforts to rewrite Biblical history are almost comical. CNN should be embarrassed to even give space to this article. So called scholars tried to deny that King David even existed until recent years, but in 1993 a stone found at the ancient city of Dan that had been erected to pay tribute to the Syrian King Hazael was discovered and on it is mentioned one of his victories over "The House of David". Of course Bible critics now have to change their tactics and along comes this fool named Joel Baden who supposedly is able to read the mind and heart of King David who lived thousands of years ago. Just further proof that those who reject the truth will believe anything.

    October 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Look Up

      Disputed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tel_Dan_Stele#Interpretation_and_disputes

      October 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • Look Up

        You can easily follow the linked sources for further investigation, you know.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
      • Gearoid

        It's not being used for "knowledge", it's being used as a summary of a ongoing historical debate.

        The Tel Dan stele is not universally accepted, there are issues in the translation, and further, it PROVES absolutely nothing other than that the name David existed. It does not tell us anything about this David, he might even have been mythic.

        Perhaps you should spend more time with the relevant literature and less time acting condescending.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • OhDear

        Still doesn't make it fact. That site is openly edited and a great selling tool, which is why it's banned in so many schools now.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • Gearoid

        Actually it's not openly edited any longer, and is usually considered reliable as a STARTING POINT for research, because it can provide useful historiographical data. Nor is it "banned in most schools", which is nonsense, though it is discouraged as a source in and of itself. However good articles link extensively and footnote, meaning you can follow the literature yourself.

        In this case your argument is horribly flawed and relies on the failed scholarship of partisan hacks and evangelicals who do poor field work seeking to "prove" their religious feeling. Some of them do acceptable work, but their conclusions are always hopelessly biased. Others no longer even do acceptable field work. because once they decide a site "proves" whatever it is they want they no longer care. See Garfinkel in particular for that one, and his work at Khirbet Qeiyafa.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Look Up

        The significance of the stele is disputed.

        There is a list beneath the wiki article of numerous sources discussing various aspects of the dispute . Thoroughly investigate them and maybe you'll quit making that statement about the stele as fact.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • OhDear

        "Nor is it "banned in most schools", which is nonsense, though it is discouraged as a source in and of itself. "

        Thanks for proving my point.

        Oh and from wiki itself. "students shouldn't use wikipedia because it is not always right. people can change information to false information. if you want to use wikipedia don't take what they say for an answer look up your question on another web site."

        October 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Gearoid


        You continue to dodge my actual points in dishonest ways. I do not care what your opinion of Wikipedia is, there is numerous scholarly literature on the subject. I have no "proven your point", and at this point all you are doing is dodging the actual points in order to focus on an unrelated tangent.

        For the record, Wikipedia holds to higher standards than many of the "Biblical Archaeology" sites you're no doubt familiar with. Out of the two, serious historians and archaeologists would take Wikipedia.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
      • OhDear

        Gearoid all you are doing is continuing to demonstrate you have poor reading comprehension. Please continue since you're clueless on what my point is actually about.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • Gearoid

        You sir, have made no points, demonstrated no knowledge on the subject, in fact, you've done nothing other than attack the source. Which is pathetic, since none of us are trying to use wikipedia as an authority for this argument. It was a SUMMARY of various argument. If you suggest that is unreliable, you are suggesting historiography as a whole is unreliable. Which is something I am quite certain you are not qualified to suggest.

        The idea was to provide you with a very basic level of knowledge in order to have an intelligent conversation. It seems however you are not interested in doing so, rather than continuing to beat an irrelevant point to death.

        Do you have any actual points on the subject at hand, or will you continue to dodge?

        October 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • Look Up


        Look up and read the source material.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • OhDear

        "You sir, have made no points, demonstrated no knowledge on the subject, in fact, you've done nothing other than attack the source. Which is pathetic, since none of us are trying to use wikipedia as an authority for this argument. It was a SUMMARY of various argument. If you suggest that is unreliable, you are suggesting historiography as a whole is unreliable. Which is something I am quite certain you are not qualified to suggest.

        The idea was to provide you with a very basic level of knowledge in order to have an intelligent conversation. It seems however you are not interested in doing so, rather than continuing to beat an irrelevant point to death.

        Do you have any actual points on the subject at hand, or will you continue to dodge"

        Oh yay...you replied yet again dodging the point. LOL! This is too funny your reading comprehension is terrible!

        October 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
      • Gearoid

        Ah, more condescension.

        Fine then, I'll humor you. Since apparently I lack reading comprehension, what exactly is your point other than to try and make yourself feel superior? I do not see it. Perhaps I have simply missed it. So feel free to explain.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • OhDear

        "Since apparently I lack reading comprehension, what exactly is your point other than to try and make yourself feel superior? I do not see it. Perhaps I have simply missed it. So feel free to explain."

        See you just demonstrated your poor reading skills yet again. I am in no way trying to make myself superior, you are reading that into what is being written, cause your ego is bruised. I have made my point but it's not my fault you couldn't comprehend it.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Doris

        Look Up: "Disputed"

        Oh Dear: "Still doesn't make it fact."

        You don't have to go to anywhere other than the replies above to see that "Oh Dear" is dishonest. Where did "Look Up" say anything was a fact?

        October 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
      • OhDear

        You're the one being dishonest by using those two snippets of text out context. Duh! Let's guess you must be a xtian.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
      • it is a good day for a


        October 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
      • Doris

        Notice that OhDear refrains from addressing my question, but instead now wants to side-step with context, when, as I said, one only need to read the replies above to understand my point. And no, I am not a Christian.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • OhDear

        Yes, do read above and notice the gaps in replies to which Doris took the text out of context. You must be a cousin of Gearoid with that poor reading comprehension.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
      • OhDear

        I wouldn't be surprised if it is all the same poster.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
      • Look Up


        If you are implying that I am also Doris, you would be wrong.

        And thank you, Doris, for the back up.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
      • Gearoid

        Clearly you're not worth the time I've spent here. You refuse to make any honest argument. You are a troll.

        Crawl back under your bridge troll.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • OhDear

        Yes, when you can't comprehend the argument, you call the person a troll. Good one.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
      • Gearoid

        When one dishonestly dodges, continually acts in a sarcastic and rude tone, refuses to engage with the points of other posters, and most importantly, refuses to restate their "point" when asked, yes, you are a troll.

        Now either state your argument, or leave. I am done feeding some arrogant troll.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • Look Up


        You have spent close to an hour here arguing minutia. You could have been reading those disputations all this time.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • OhDear

        No, that is you assuming those things about me by what is written but it doesn't make it true....but since you put that definition up it does define you quite nicely now doesn't it or you probably can't comprehend that either.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • Pole dancing for Jesus

        OhDear, That's my girl. Side steppin' for Jesus.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
      • Doris

        Geroid was right. Other than whine about your distrust of wikipedia, you've given nothing to explain what may be non-factual on the referenced page. We can assume then that you simply do not trust wikipedia, but that, for a reason that you're not willing to commit to, you have no complaint about the referenced page.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • OhDear

        Really Doris where did I state that, again proving your really bad reading comprehension.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
      • OhDear

        You actually think I am a xtian that's hilarious.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • Doris

        It's sadly an assumption we must make, since, from what I can read, you only aired your bag of wind regarding wiki in general. Did you find anything wrong with the specific wlki page referenced?

        October 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Yes and look at all the critics who had to eat crow when the Dead Sea scrolls were found, but don't be too tough on them. They really can't help it. They just haven't met the author yet.

      October 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • OhDear

        And neither have you.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Sure I have. He is here with me right now.

          October 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • Pete

          Robert that's called your brain, you are accessing a specific part of it to make yourself believe it's a god, when it's not. We can all have that same type of "feeling" regardless if we believe in a god or not. It's all in your head and it's not real.

          October 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          God is in and on my mind. He is also in my heart, soul, and spirit. God is real Pete.

          October 13, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • Pete

          "God is in and on my mind. He is also in my heart, soul, and spirit. God is real Pete."

          No dude, it's still all in your head. The feelings you have I can get too simply by meditating, it's not proof a god is real.

          October 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • Gearoid


          Having your God inside of you sounds uncomfortable. Perhaps you need some space? I am quite lucky my Gods are not so clingy, it sounds like it would be rather annoying. Perhaps you monotheists simply view it differently.

          October 13, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Trouble is, RB, god is only in your mind – there's no evidence of one outside of it.

          October 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
        • Star1

          God is only in your mind? No outside evidence to support that? Give me a break. Why do people who decide to believe in God are told they are not intelligent or have to prove that their is a God or that the Bible is not historically accurate? Can you prove for a certainty that He doesn't exist or that the Bible is a myth? No, you can't. I can't see air, but it exist. I can't see gravity or radio waves either. No one can prove Evolution really happened either. No aliens in outer space either. Yet, everyday the earth still spins and the sun is there. If the universe was not so precise how would the know how to travel in space? They count the on those exact laws to get the rockets up there. If people don't want to believe in God or the Bible, then don't. There is no reason to make those who do feel uneducated. Many scientist themselves believe in God.

          October 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
      • james

        Not bad, Robert

        October 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          God bless you James.

          October 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • Huh

        So Robert prove you're not lying again, quote your source they had to eat crow.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Google it, there's tons of info available.

          October 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • Huh

          So in other words, you don't have anything to back-up your allegation they ate crow.

          October 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Robert Brown


          October 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • Huh

          You're using a religious site to show how the critics ate crow. Now that is just pathetic. Give me the critics site where they admitted they were wrong or where you too lazy to do your homework about both sides.

          October 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • Gearoid

          That site is not a reliable source. Their "history" writer has no qualification in the field, and perusing a few columns by him I've found numerous errors, including some so basic they could be cleared up with a simple Google search. He uses only sources that supports his arguments, and ignores any that contradict them. That is a dishonest, unreliable source.

          Further, your link is dead.

          October 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • Robert Brown


          October 13, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
        • Ed

          Same deal again, Robert. That site has an obvious vested interest.

          Try again, dummy.

          October 13, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • Robert Brown


          October 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Again, Robert, this is a biased site. Propaganda is not proof.

          October 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • Sorry Robert - you seem like a nice person, but today is your day to earn the

        Fundy Verification Award.. It's given periodically to someone who uses the fundy method for inquiry and verification.. what is that, you ask? well, it works like this:


        October 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
        • Ed

          Excellent. That is Robert Brown the fundy moron in a nutshell (or a cage).

          October 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  14. hrdwrknjoe

    All of you disagreeing soul, turn from your unenlightened ways on to the enlightened path of kindness, love and there is no need to fight about boarders. The Great Spaghetti Monster in the Sky will lead and guide on to the path.

    In his Holy Pasta's name
    Marinara Marinara Marinara


    October 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Ed


      October 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
      • Anthony

        Make that Pesto Alfredo, & you got yourself a deal, mister!

        October 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  15. Joseph

    This is blasphemy, this being who calls him self Joel S Baden writes this will a misguided spirit and a stiff heart. Erase the selfish ideas and outlooks and be moved by God Almighty Will not your own.

    October 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  16. timmy

    I bet most of the people here defending the traditional story of Israel are actually Christians, who really have no business focusing on that.

    October 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Thinker23

      I wonder who are YOU to decide what others have business to comment about...

      October 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Troy

      Ooh, I know!

      October 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  17. metzitzat b'peh is so gross

    What does King David, Superman, and the tooth fairy have in common? (this should be pretty easy)

    October 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Why don't you enlighten us, Einstein?

      October 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • metzitzat b'peh is so gross

        Is it really that hard? For a "thinker" I find you disappointing, Horseshack.

        October 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • Thinker23

          It seems that it's harder than you're trying to pretend. If it was not the case you would already tell us, would not you?

          October 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • metzitzat b'peh is so gross

        You must be one these Eastern Euro Jews with the low IQ and not one of the Jews lucky enough who had their line be breed into that High German DNA.

        Fiction is fiction. If you really needed it said.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Mike

          Technically it's "bred" not "breed" and I only say that because you were sure to comment on someone's apparent IQ level. So tell me Metzitzat, if you hate us Jews so much and look down on us from such a high place, why do you use Hebrew in your screen name? Or is it that you just have an unhealthy (unclean like us Jews) fixation on that particular act?

          October 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • metzitzat b'peh is so gross

          it's Jews orally sucking the member of male children and you try to label me with the fixation. Must be the issues with your ID after all those eons of inbreeding.

          October 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Mike

      Hmm, let's see as an anti-semite you hate one, as a pitiful little man you wish you were one and as reality clearly shows you are one. There did I get that about right? They all have YOU in common.

      October 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • metzitzat b'peh is so gross

        Would not one actually have to be a semite for one to claim another being anti-Semitic? And yes excuse the AutoCorrect, bred, point still made. ... Go hate DNA tests And give them a taste of your mighty denouncement.

        October 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  18. doug

    I don't know where the Mr. Baden's get this stuff (I suspect they're making it up as they go along), but much it is not as I read it from my bible. I'lm guessing they're reading everythng BUT the bible.

    October 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • George Karlson

      Thats pretty much to be expected by a "bible scholar".
      Make your own story up...wait for those who believe the bible to be true to refute...turn convo in to attack on credibility of the bible.

      October 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
      • Gearoid

        No one but a true believer thinks the Bible has any credibility as a historical source.

        But yes, generally it is the job of scholars to point out an criticize falsities, including unreliable records.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Barry Sikes

      For instance the Law of Moses was binding on all the 12 tribes of Israel, not just Judah. In fact the 12 tribes of Israel did not split into Judah and Israel until the sons of Solomon, Jeraboam and Rehaboam (sp?), inherited the whole kingdom of David/Solomon and divided it into Judah (ruled by Rehaboam) and Israel (ruled by Jeraboam). The Bible then chronicles the subsequent royal succession of each kingdom, with Judah having only a few kings that pleased God and Israel having no kings that pleased God. This lead to Israel's eventual destruction as a kingdom, as all surviving Jews descend from Judah.

      October 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • metzitzat b'peh is so gross

        So how does the myth account for Khazar Jews, proven by DNA to be non Judah?

        October 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Mike

          Ahh, and so the anti-semites begin to bring up tired old arguments. Bravo, you remind of Massengil, or maybe Summers Eve.

          October 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Maybe, Mr. Baden is not reading YOUR bible?

      October 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  19. Nissim Levy

    For a fresh perspectve on the early life of Abraham and the role of Judaism read my novella Shards Of Divinites on Amazon.com. Just type in the name of my novella in the search box at Amazon.com and read the book description.


    October 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Nissim Levy

      The name of the Novella is Shards Of Divinities

      October 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      But Abraham was a myth. While on Amazon, check out the New Torah for Modern Minds aka The Tree of Life:

      From amazon.com

      "Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary (Hardcover) $58.00

      ~ David L. Lieber (Editor), Jules Harlow (Editor), United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (Corporate Author), The Rabbinical Assembly (Corporate Author)
      4.7 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews)

      "The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is the primary organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America. It closely works with the Rabbinical Assembly, the international body of Conservative rabbis, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.[1]"

      October 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • Nissim Levy

        Regardless of whether Abraham is a myth or not please read my novella Shards Of Divinities on Amazon.com. The point of my novella does not depend on the historicity of Abraham.

        October 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Reality #2... What makes you think that the "New Torah" is more believable than the old one?

        October 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          The New Torah aka The Tree of Life is based on historical and archeological reviews. The OT does not and much of it is so out of touch with reality, it fails from that alone. Talking burning bushes, walking sticks turned to snakes, vengeful angels, guys living hundreds of years, walls falling due blaring horns, 6000 yrs ago as the starting point of human creation and on and on.

          October 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Star1

          The New Torah is based on historical and archaeological finds, but your saying the Bible or as you refer to it the OT (old testament) doesn't. How do you know? Do you only research what finds support the Torah, but not the Bible? There are 2 sections of the Bible, not just one (the OT). There are many finds that match the Bible's record. The reign of Xerxes and Cyrus. There are historians that have found evidence of Jericho falling. Not only that, but the Bible also states that how God would destroy Babylon but also was never to be inhabited again. Is it inhabited today? No, it isn't. The point being that this is the Word of God, not just as a record of the history of Creation, but explains God's dealings with people. Beyond that, it tells us what the future holds. It's main purpose is it to be a history book or a science book, although it is accurate, but a book that God has lovingly provided that still exist today, no matter how many people have tried to destroy it. People looking for fault, will find it, but God himself foretold people would feel that way. That's why it's not surprising when people think the way you do.

          October 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • G to the T

          Star1 – Babylon = Iraq so I'm not sure what you are trying to say here...

          October 15, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  20. CNN Critic

    You know, I'm sure you know, Daniel, you haven't given us your best game. Please do come up with better material and leave off capriciously ejecting people from what used to be a thriving blog.

    October 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.