Sunday, February 1, 2009
The "authentic" Ten Commandment tablets re-created
It's amazing what fundamentalists (Jewish or Christian) can do with a little biblical mythology.
Let's start here: The majority of criticial biblical scholars are quite convinced that the stories of Moses, the Exodus, the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, as well as the military conquest of Palestine are mythological, and non-historical. They so believe because there is no evidence - archaeological or otherwise - for any of those stories.
Fundamentalists, who believe everything in the Bible is literally true and is inerrant in all respects don't agree, of course, with the biblical scholars, because they read the Bible through the prism of their theology, and anything in the Bible that appears to contradict their theology is explained away through a series of mental gymnastics that would make Mary Lou Retton proud.
That explains why a little company down in San Antonio "has re-created, as an art form, an authentic and faithful-to-scripture set of the two stone tablets referred to in the Bible," the tablets upon which were written the Ten Commandments.
The company, HaShem Artworks, plants to display these "authentic" tablets on Feb. 8 in the Crossroads Mall in San Antonio.
The artist who did the work, A. E. Tracy Potts, well-meaning though he may be, is living in a biblical fantasy world. He claims that "Unlike some mythological artifact from pagan antiquity bearing some ancient curse by some obscure or unknown god, these Two Stone Tablets, like the ones that Moses would have carried off Mt. Sinai, bear the ancient and actual blessing promised in every Bible ever published, whether Jewish or Christians, of the Deity worshiped by its believers."
Actually, the god, who according to the Hebrew myth, "spoke" to Moses, was the tribal god of Moses' father-in-law (according to the Bible!). The Hebrews, in the myth, knew very little about this god, and weren't really too concerned with this god, and immediately ignored the "commandments" Moses had received from this god. That, of course, made the god mad and he proceeded to kill thousands of them zippy-doo! To teach them a lesson, you understand.
The Ten Commandments are the Hebrew revision of other ancient law codes, most importantly the Code of Hammurabi, Hammurabi being the sixth king of Babylon, who extended Babylon's control over all of Mesopotamia. The Code of Hammurabi is likely the first codified set of laws in the ancient world.
Hashem, by the way, is the "name" by which Orthodox Jews reference the deity.
And you might enjoy looking at these stone tablets, but don't be fooled into thinking they are rooted in history. They are not. They are rooted in ancient myths which were recast by Hebrew scholars in the 7th Century BCE in order to strengthen and nation and the temple cult.