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. Tom

    This article is utter nonsense coming from arrogance and ignorance. The bible has repeatedly been shown to be historically accurate, regardless of this author's delusions.

    October 13, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • cdgfr94p

      I disagree with you

      October 13, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Jim

      Ummm the bible has NEVER been shown to be historically accurate.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Umm, Tom: I think you meant to say, "The bible is hysterically inaccurate", not "historically accurate"

      October 13, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • ed dugan

      The bible is utter nonsense and this article is enlightening. Better than talking snakes, swallowing whales and pillars of salt any day. It makes sense even though anyone trying to interpret something that happened that long ago is putting a lot of guesses into it.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  2. JJ

    Filed under the "I could care less, this is not news" round file category. Delusions are not front page items.

    October 13, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • dikelmm1

      The only thing we can say for certain about David is that he probably did not eat ham and jam and spamalot. Otherwise he is very Arthurian.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:34 am |
      • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

        But did he have to push the pramalot?

        October 13, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      You are correct.
      The problem is that executives at CNN (ex-FOX NEWS executive Margaret Hoover et al) see this is tactic as one of many to close the gap with FOX NEWS. Other techniques that CNN has been engaging in are using uncontested talking heads like FRC Tony Perkins, writing stories that appeal to FOX NEWS Joe Sixpack viewers, posting flashy tabloid stories and other techniques.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • truthprevails1

      This is a belief blog, what would you expect to be on it?

      October 13, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  3. michael cuba

    the story/myth? of begotten figures may or may not point towards the time before sin/after sin and possibly an explanation of the dimension of time; that is a matter of opinion/belief. But please explain to me the truth of American Capitalism.

    October 13, 2013 at 8:15 am |
  4. cdgfr94p

    The high point, defensibility, its central location near the land of Judah and its spring was more the attraction of Jerusalem than anything else. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the 5 Books of Moses as anything, let alone a holy site. Its a city in Israel, period. Those that follow the religion of Moses, the Hebrew religion, find no special significance to Jerusalem. Only the 3 new add-on religions do. That being in order of creation and rebellion from the law of Israel: The Christians, The Jews, The Muslims. All are equally involved in splitting off from the original religion of Moses.

    October 13, 2013 at 8:14 am |
  5. Roger

    Why do people make articles about what fictional characters said/thought?

    October 13, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Because they can make money doing that.
      Reminds me of two phrases that go something like the following
      There's a sucker born every minute and It's easy to separate money from willingly ignorant.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Thinker23

      "Why do people make articles about what fictional characters said/thought?"

      Because some of us declare everything they've never seen "fictional". If you and I declared each other "fictional" and refused to listen to each other we would lose the ability to communicate.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • cdgfr94p

      Another that has never been in a fox hole

      October 13, 2013 at 8:26 am |
      • jimatmad

        The notion that there are 'no atheists in fox holes' has been disproven many times over.

        It would be far easier to claim that the horrors of war have driven many people away from the notion of an all-powerful, loving God.

        October 13, 2013 at 8:36 am |
        • cdgfr94p

          There is not ONE iota or even suggestion that God in Torah, 'loves mankind', as you suggest.

          Most evident is that God in Torah wants to DESTROY mankind. People like you are delusional intellectuals.

          October 13, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • jimatmad

      David, Moses and the other 'characters' of the Bible are not 'fictional'. They were real people as confirmed by contemporaneous accounts.

      You can disagree as to whether they had/ have any spiritual significance, but they were very real.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • NooYawkah

      And why do others insist on making fools of themselves by talking about things they know nothing about? Like the other guy who responded to you said, it's up to you to choose to believe the spiritual aspects of the Bible, but the historical evidence and archaelogical discovery has proven time and again that these people and events did in fact happen.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:20 am |
  6. bens772

    I always find it amusing to read the articles written by the intellectual giants of the world who try to enlighten the world on the Bible.

    October 13, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • saggyroy

      Well I suppose there are Proust scholars as well, and you can probably get a degree in it somewhere.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:13 am |
  7. BEAR

    Terrible, and untruthful reporting as always

    October 13, 2013 at 7:48 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      CNN has been slowly closing the gap with FOX NEWS by lowering it's (CNN) journalistic standards. Isn't that right ex-FOX NEWS executive (now CNN employee) Margaret Hoover?

      October 13, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • NooYawkah

      Seriously! Israel split into two kingdoms AFTER Solomon, David's son, died. His replacement, his son Rehoboam, was asked to lower the tax burden that Solomon had imposed on the people. He refused and actually raised taxes, so the northern tribes split off with Jeroboam as their king. They retained the name of Israel because Israel/Jacob bequeathed his name to the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manassah, and they were part of the northern tribes that split with Judah. Only the tribes of Benjamin and Levi stayed with Judah. The guy who wrote this article is a clown.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  8. Carl

    I stopped reading as soon as I got to the part where the author explains what people were actually thinking 3000 years ago and casually explains how the bible tries to paint a different picture.
    I really can't imagine where these people get the nerve.

    You know that "David took power by force" because the bible tells you that. How ignorant is it to comb through the bible looking for details that can't be proven one way or another (like the fact that people loved David) and then claiming that in your "expert opinion" the bible in error.

    You have no proof at all that the bible mischaracterizes how people felt about David and you're opinion is formulated based on your own notions of how people come into power and those notions are probably formed mainly by Hollywood movies and to a lesser extent studying history which means reading more self-serving nonsense from other people like yourself.

    October 13, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Bob

      I think the author of this article needs to get his facts straight. Two specifics that come to mind: 1) David did not unite Israel and Judah by force. The Bible says that he reigned over Judah for seven years at Hebron after being making a covenant with the elders. In other words, he was asked peaceably to be their King. Likewise with Israel 7 years later. 2) David's kingdom was not just political or economic. It had deep religious roots in David's personal life and with Jerusalem as the center of their worship. How about this to think about (among David's last recorded words): "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God, and he shall be like the light of the morning when the rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain..."

      October 13, 2013 at 9:01 am |
  9. Dale Little

    These fools used to claim that King David was a myth until a stone was uncovered at the ancient city of Dan that mentioned the House of David, so now they have to change their tactics. Now we have these so called scholars who want us to believe they can read the mind of a man who lived thousands of years ago.

    October 13, 2013 at 7:30 am |
    • saggyroy

      David = John Frum.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • metzitzat b'peh is so gross

      We find a rock, so it's true! Yea, our DNA says one thing, historical fact says one thing, but random rock with a reference to an unknown prices DNA and historical record wrong!

      Jews, always interested in learning unless that learning offends their religious myth.

      October 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  10. Atheists are wrong about Jesus and ancient religion

    What if Atheists are wrong?[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50&w=640&h=390]

    October 13, 2013 at 7:15 am |
  11. E before I

    Very anti-climactic.

    October 13, 2013 at 7:13 am |
  12. laughcry

    "When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion" – Abraham Lincoln

    October 13, 2013 at 7:12 am |
  13. sue lloyd

    Families need the bible it keeps them aware of right and wrong, and to know we are so loved, you can spew all the things that you want but the Jewish people were chosen and they are noble, you write a good story but truth it is not

    October 13, 2013 at 7:01 am |
    • DW Washburn

      Yeah, that seems plausible! A supreme being, who created the entire universe in 6 days and made it look billions of years old, would pick a small group of people, in a small corner of the Earth, {one of trillions upon trillions of planets and the one he put the devil and the forbidden fruit on} to give his story to. Doesn't sound stupid, at all!

      October 13, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • truthprevails1

      "Families need the bible it keeps them aware of right and wrong"

      So before the bible families didn't know right from wrong??? Are you that slow and gullible? Morals do not come from the bible, they are inherent to our species. It doesn't take a book to tell us that murdering someone is bad; that beating your child is bad; that oppressing women is bad...oh wait, your bible says all those things are right...not such a moral book after all. Pull your head out of your ass, realize this is the 21st century and start living in it; otherwise find a cave and go there and stop being part of the reason society is being held back!

      October 13, 2013 at 7:52 am |
      • DW Washburn

        People like sue lloyd don't read the bible, they just repeat what they were told. If they would actually read the bible, they would see just how sick their god's laws were. Imagine, stoning your own daughter for losing her virginity before marriage! They like to think that only the muslims would do such a thing and that only the god of the qur'an would demand such an action. They refuse to acknowledge that they and the muslims believe in the same god, with the same sick laws.

        October 13, 2013 at 8:06 am |
        • metzitzat b'peh is so gross

          you speak of the Jewish Old Testament, not the Christian New Testament.

          October 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • cdgfr94p

      It was not the Jewish people that 'were chosen' as you say. Far from it. This is a lie perpetuated for 2000 years. It was the HEBREW people that were chosen, but specifically THOSE THAT FOLLOW THE 5 BOOKS OF MOSES LITERALLY. Jews do not follow literally. They added the PROPHETS, they added the WRITINGS and the added (worse of all) they TALMUD. All these 'add-ons' are illegal and blasphemous in the eyes of Torah. But they were done to create a 'new religion'. That is the Jewish religion. This is no where close to the literal law of Torah. If you follow Torah literally in the land of Israel, you're chosen too. Very few do, making it almost insignificant.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:19 am |
      • mklsgl

        You know nothing about the modern understanding of Judaic history.

        October 13, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • Bob Arctor

      Interesting existential position to take; claiming to be the "chosen people" of a "God" invented by...wait for it...His "chosen people!" Arrogance, much?

      October 17, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
  14. Amygdalan

    This writer simply does not know Jewish history. The David was the King of Israel about 3000 years ago and about 2900 years ago after David had died the kingdom split into the kingdoms of Judah to the south and Israel to the north. The northern kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians. These are the lost 10 tribes of Israel. Judah was a combination of the tribes of Judah and Binyamin.

    October 13, 2013 at 6:47 am |
    • cdgfr94p

      David was Hebrew, a common man Hebrew from the Judah tribe. King yes, but his marching orders came from Priests (bloodline of Aaron). All his taxes were paid to Levites, bloodline of Moses and Aaron. The Judah tribe were low on the totem pole. IN Torah they are stone masons, not worth of ministering to the masses on Torah or sacrifices or receiving atonement. He is only significant because the Jewish religion has perpetuated the myth that he was significant. He was not. He was an embarrassment and broke Torah law. But Jews love him and his symbol, the STAR, because he was the one that 'democratized' Torah, the law of the land of Israel, making things more accessible for the common man.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:25 am |
      • Bosco

        This is fascinating. Where do you find information like this? Is there a particular book or web site, or does this knowledge come from deep study? I'm really curious and hope that you will provide some sources.

        October 13, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,.

    October 13, 2013 at 6:45 am |
    • DW Washburn

      Prayer has never changed anything. If it did, why hasn't any amputee been given their arm or leg back?

      October 13, 2013 at 6:58 am |
      • Bosco

        Praying changes the prayer. Most of our individual "problems" are the result of our thinking, and are caused by a myopic viewpoint of the world – our inability to see things from more than one unhelpful perspective. Praying can help to change our perspective just a little bit – perhaps just enough to view our problems in a different light. Citing specific examples of how prayer doesn't work (God won't regrow my leg, therefore he doesn't exist and prayer is stupid) is a waste of intent. If one is upset with the world, pray for a different perspective with an open heart and then keep an open mind. Things will blossom before your eyes. Opportunites will arise. Areas where one can actually make a change in the world will become apparent. Is it God's answer to our prayer? I don't really know, but I do know that it works regardless of your beliefs.

        October 13, 2013 at 9:28 am |
        • DW Washburn

          OK, I agree that talking to yourself can change the way you look at things, but I am pretty sure that is not what most christians mean when they claim that prayer works.

          October 13, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • Bosco

          Please pardon me for differing with you again, but prayer is hardly a strictly Christian form of seeking guidance from God. Examples of civilizations which had some form of belief in God are far easier to find than those without. It would seem to be a part of the human condition – that is, to have a belief in something beyond oneself. But I do agree with you that people can and do pray for all kinds of foolish things be they Christian or not. Believers do not have a monopoly on foolish beliefs though.

          October 13, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      ♪♫ Trolling trolling trolling
      keep them trolls a trolling♫♪

      October 13, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • saggyroy

      ...and what are the winning Powerball numbers?

      October 13, 2013 at 8:16 am |
  16. Disappointed

    I'm a Catholic theologian and even I think this is rather short sighted. To discount modern Judaism as a mere consequence of ancient political maneuvering is to equate the rise Christianity with the rise of Constantine after the battle Milvian bridge, the creation of Protestantism as a product of a move to decentralize political influence and increase tax revenues, the dominance of Islam with territorial conquest in the Middle East and the control of trade in these regions, Hinduism with the attempt of a hierarchical oligarchy to maintain the status quo, and American reactionist politics with the sensationalization of issues by the media. What lies at the heart of all of these correlations is the issue of belief and truth, which you flagrantly neglect. An argument such as yours could easily be turned, say network ratings were claimed to be representative of "truthfulness", yet were actually the result of market share. Then really, they have no legitimate claim, correct? Perhaps it would be better if we all didn't think. Then the world would fit into tidy categories of papists, prods, infidels, untouchables, and gentiles... Oh and those who read their news.

    October 13, 2013 at 6:05 am |
    • Matt

      well said

      October 13, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Only for the those interested in a religious update and those new visitors to this blog:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. 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.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, the Filipino “koranics”and the Boston Marthon bombers.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      October 13, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • ploj

      U r a Nazi p punk

      October 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • ploj

      Dodo, take a hike u faux.

      October 13, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • G to the T

      Perhaps – but isn't denying that those were at the very least factors in these events just as disingenous? Are you saying there was no political component to the rise to protestantism? Or the formation of the canon?

      October 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  17. Juju bees

    Pretty synical and imaginative. Should just say " I am an atheist with an axe to grind and I am willing to create an alternative truth by revising the previously accepted history because it does not agree with my world view" .. If I had to believe something I cannot prove I would keep it safe and go,with the bible.. lol.

    October 13, 2013 at 5:36 am |
    • Water to Whine

      To keep it safe, as you put it, and only pay attention to the Bible for historical data is exactly why so many religious folks don't have a realistic view of ancient history and how it is discovered. Talk about only paying attention to what fits a world view! At least the writer of this article is not too afraid to leave what is "safe" in discovery. Knowledge is rarely safe for world views anyway. This is why the ignorant hide in belief rather than face reality, even if some reality could strengthen belief. Discover the world outside of the Bible. Don't be afraid.

      October 13, 2013 at 5:50 am |
      • Only a fool say's "their is no God"

        Give me one instance where the Bible is wrong aboout history.

        October 13, 2013 at 6:35 am |
        • DW Washburn

          The bible is not correct about the age of the universe, Noah's flood, who what King when Jesus was born, the census that required everyone to go back to their ancestral home, the killing of the innocents, .... The list goes on and on.

          October 13, 2013 at 6:52 am |
        • Webby

          @Only a fool say's "their is no God"

          Uh, and only a fool does not know the difference between "their" and "there".

          October 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • Smithsonian

          "Give me one instance where the Bible is wrong aboout history."

          The Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

          It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

          October 13, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • G to the T

      Ummm... pretty sure he's a Jew... so.... yeah...

      October 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  18. Water to Whine

    What many of you don't seem to get is that this article is not reporting Biblical history. It's reporting actual history. They are not always one in the same. If one uses only the Bible for knowledge, particularly in history, one misses quite a bit.

    October 13, 2013 at 5:26 am |
  19. children of Israel

    Psalm 108:10 Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom? *Lamentations 4:22 he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins. *Exodus 15:15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; *Obadiah 1:18 and there shall not be any remaining in the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it. *Psalm 83:6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;

    October 13, 2013 at 5:26 am |
  20. watchman

    This guy is an idiot. He doesnt have even a rudementary understanding of biblical history. I wish i had time to go in depth..lets get this guy fired..yeshuahamachiach

    October 13, 2013 at 4:01 am |
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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.