HISTORICAL / GEOGRAPHICAL INACCURACY, ANACHRONISM
Some of these are answered by this item. Remainders:
River Gihon could not possibly flow from Mesopotamia and
encompass Ethiopia (Gen 2:13).
This is pre-Flood geography which would be different.
The name "Babel" does not come from the Hebrew word
balbal, "confuse," but from Babylonian bab-
ili, "gate of God," which is a translation of the
original Sumerian name Ka-dimirra (Gen 11:9).
Correct. The etymology is a purposeful JOKE.
The Egyptian princess names the baby she finds "Moses" because
she "drew him out" of the water (Heb meshethi). Why
would she make a pun in Hebrew (Ex 2:10)?
The birth story of Moses (Exod. 2:1-10), probably recorded during
the tenth century B.C., is very similar to the birth account
of King Sargon of Agade who lived near the end of the third
See same link.
No Egyptian record exists mentioning Moses or his devastation of
Not so fast. See here.
Moses refers to "Palestine" (Ex 15:14). No such name was in use
Law of Moses is the "statutes of God and his laws" (Ex 18:26),
but it is clearly copied from Code of Hammurabi, which is ca
1800 BC, hundreds of years before Moses.
It is not "clearly copied" but reflects the common morals of cultures around the world.
Priests are mentioned at Ex 19:22-24, but they are not provided
for until Ex 28:1.
Priests were not existing in other religions of the time to serve as models?
Jericho and Ai (Josh 8) were both ancient ruins at the time of
the conquest of Canaan, according to archaeologists.
Jericho's walls were destroyed centuries before Joshua.
Kings are referred to at Deut 17:17-19, before Israel had kings.
But not before other nations had them abd the office was possible.
Judges 17:6 says that every man did what he thought right
(implying there was no law). But the law had been given at
Sinai, according to Ex.
Implies what? Not that there was no law, but that no one obeyed what law there was.
The Wilderness is viewed as history at Num 15:32, showing that
Numbers was written later.
No, the word used means any desert or pasture and just indicates that they were not in the camp.
The Sabbath law was unknown when the man gathered sticks at Num
See here Chapter 18.
Book of Joshua refers to Book of Jasher in the past, mentioned at
2 Sam 1:18, therefore Joshua must be post-David.
Captivity is mentioned at Judg 18:30, making it post-Exile.
Captivity is warned of in Deuteronomy, making it a viable threat as early as Judges' time.
David took Goliath's head to Jerusalem (1 Sam 17:54). But
Jerusalem was not captured until 7 years after David became
king (2 Sam 5).
See entry here.
David paid 600 shekels of gold for the threshing floor (1 Chron
21:22-25). But shekels of gold were not yet used in
business transactions (this is the only use of the term in
See here again.
God says he had never chosen any ruler for Israel but David (2
Chron 6:5). But he had chosen Saul.
It is a negation idiom, as here.
David eats of shewbread (1 Sam 21:1-6) even though that is
forbidden in Lev 24:9.
So he violated the law. Why assume this means the law did not exist?
Psalm 18:6 mentions the temple, thus cannot be by David.
The word means "palace" or temple and refers to God's heavenly abode.
Defeat of Sennacherib did not happen at Jerusalem, but at
Pelusium, near Egypt, and Jews were not involved, contrary
to 2 Kings 19.
2 Kings 19 does not say that Jews were involved or that it was at Jerusalem.
Ninevah was so large it took three days to cross, i.e. about 60
miles (Jonah 3:3-4). Yet it had only 120,000 inhabitants,
making a population density of of about 42 people per square
mile for a city.
Daniel's account of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar is historically
inaccurate; Nebuchadnezzar was never mad. Belshazzar, whom
he says was king, was never king, but only regent.
Belshazzar was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar, but of Nabo-
nidus. Babylon was not conquered by Darius the Mede, but by
Cyrus the Great, in 539 BC (Dan 5:31). Darius the Mede is
unknown to history.
See here for all points.
Chronology of the empires of the Medes and Persians is
historically incorrect in Isa 13:17, 21:2, Jer 51:11, 28
(Pfeiffer, Intro to OT, p. 757).
It is not explaind how this is so.
Esther (and all the characters in the Book of Esther except
Ahasuerus [= Xerxes]) is unknown to history, even though it
claims that its events are "written in the chronicles of the
kings of Media and Persia" (Est 10:2).
Chronicles which are not extant. And we do have Mordechai's name mentioned in records from there.
The Book of Esther
is not quoted by any pre-Christian writer, nor mentioned in
NT, nor quoted by early Christian fathers.
Why should it be?
Mordecai became prime minister to Xerxes (Ahasuerus), who reigned
485-465 BC. But Mordecai had come to Babylon in 596 BC with
Jehoiachin (Esther 2:5-6).
The office of "High priest" of Mark 2:26 did not exist in David's
None of the Gospels are mentioned by early Christians, e.g. Paul,
Pope Clement I (97 AD), Justin Martyr (140 AD). The first
mention of any Gospel is by Irenaeus (185 AD).
Paul and Clement do allude to Gospel sayings. Justin mentions "memoirs" which are the Gospels. Beyond that, what about Papias, and why should they mention these things anyway?
There is no mountain from which one can see all the kingdoms of
the world (Matt 4:8, Luke 4:5).
Jesus as a historical figure is not mentioned by any contemporary
Depending of what Packham means by "contemporary" there are none other than maybe Philo, or no reason to mention. But see here and here.
Matt 2:1 says Jesus was born in the reign of Herod, who died 4
BC. Luke 2:2 says he was born during Quirinus' governorship
of Syria, which began 6 AD.
Thieves were never punished by crucifixion (Matt 27:38, 44).
Revolutionary bandits were, and that is what the word means.
No crucifixion would have been performed on the eve of Passover.
See points here.
There is no contemporary historical confirmation of darkness
covering the earth at the crucifixion (Matt 27:35, Luke
There is no contemporary historical confirmation of the slaughter
of the innocents by Herod (Matt 2:16-18). Josephus, whose
history contains much criticism of Herod, does not mention
There is no contemporary historical confirmation of the graves
opening and the dead appearing to many at the crucifixion
Who else should have mentioned it and why? See here.
we skip material outside our purview and anything that simply assumes the miraculous is not possible. All matters pertaining to the shape of the earth are dealt with here. Remnants:
Heaven is above, earth below (Jer 10:11, 31:37, 1 Thess 4:16-17).
And it is. So?
Leprosy can be cured by following the instructions in Lev 13, 14.
No, not cured; a man can be declared clean.
Seed must "die" before it grows (John 12:24, 1 Cor 15:36).
Snakes eat dust (Gen 3:14, Isa 65:25).
Every beast shall fear man (Gen 9:2).
The ostrich abandons her eggs (Job 39:13-16).
Thunder is God's voice (Ps 77:18).
Psalms are poetry.
Earthquakes are caused by God's anger (Job 9:5, Ps 18:7, 77:18,
97:4, Isa 2:19, 24:20, 29:6, Jer 10:10, Ezek 38:20, Nah
1:5). Or by his voice (Heb 12:26). Or by Lucifer (Isa
Figures of speech -- note how these are mostly in poetry and poetic oracles.
Earthquakes can occur in heaven (Heb 12:26).
Literalism applied to a metaphor.
Rainwater does not return to the sky (Isa 55:10).
It sure doesn't, before it waters the ground, which is the order given in this verse.
Blood is "life" (Deut 12:23). Breath is "life" (Gen 2:7).
It is life. Why not? You need both to live.
Value of pi = 3 (1 Kings 7:23, 2 Chron 4:2).
Moon will turn to blood (Acts 2:20).
Apocalyptic language; see here.
The moon has a light of its own (Isa 13:10, Matt 24:29).
So Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" is in error?
The stars can be made to fall (Matt 24:29, Mark 13:25).
Ditto, second above.
The bat is a bird (Lev 11:13,19, Deut 14:11, 18).
The whale is a fish (Jonah 1:17, Matt 12:40).
The hare chews the cud (Lev 11:5-6).
Some fowl and insects have four legs (Lev 11:20-23).
Levi existed as a person in the loins of his great-grandfather
Where does this say "as a person"?
Cattle will produce striped offspring if they see striped poles
when breeding (Gen 30:37-41).
Bees will build a hive in a dead carcass (Judg 14:8).
If its just bones, why won't they?
Eagles will be attracted by a dead carcass (Matt 24:28). Eagles
do not eat carrion.
The word refers to any large bird, including vultures.
Salt can lose its saltiness (Matt 5:13, Mark 9:50, Luke 14:34).
Jesus expects the fig tree to bear fruit at Passover
(March/April), when it cannot do so in Palestine until May
(Matt 21:19-21, Mark 11:13-21).
A good tree always produces good fruit, a corrupt tree cannot
A proverbial saying. See here.
There is nothing new under the sun. Eccl 1:9
EXAGGERATION, "TALL TALES"
We exclude again miracles. The remainder:
Population of Israel at the time of the Conquest must have been
two to three million (Ex 12:37, Num 1:45-46). They had all
descended in about four generations from 70 (or 75)
individuals (Ex 6:16-20). But the seven nations in Pales-
tine at the time of the conquest were each greater, giving
Palestine a population of over 14 million, which is improba-
ble (Deut 7:1).
"Greater" hardly need imply greater population but greater technology and power, which the Canaanites did have. As for population see here. The next two cites are also population issues and are deleted; though note that it is not just three generations during the captivity (see here.
The quail as described in Num 11:31-32 would have covered 780
square miles, three feet deep.
See link above with section on quail.
The size camp of the Israelites has been estimated as 12 miles
across. Each person was required to carry his waste outside
the camp, meaning a daily walk of 12 miles for anyone near
Likely certain people were assigned the duty of collection of the chamber pots. Also these are army regulations only.
Moses gathered all the congregation of Israel to the door of the
tabernacle (Lev 8:3-4), numbering 600,000 men (Ex 12:37, Num
1:45-46). The courtyard of the tabernacle measured 100 by
50 cubits (about 150 by 75 feet; Ex 27:11-12).
"All the congregation" means representatives of each clan came forward, which would be less than a hundred.
Moses spread the word to 2 million people in a single day (Ex 12;
compare Josh 8:33-35).
See link above.
Benjamin's 700 warriors could hit a hair with a slingshot (Judg
It is a metaphor for accuracy. Overliteralism does not appreciate ancient prose.
Paul says that the Gospel (of Jesus) was preached "to every
creature which is under heaven" (Col 1:23).
Hyperbole of praise. Taken to the literalism claimed, Paul literally preached to lizards.
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