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sweeteviljesus
12-20-2007, 12:37 PM
I don't me that I require non-Biblical contemporary accounts of the individual like Jehu or Pontius Pilate, just that the individual was likely not just part of a legend. Was Abraham probably a real person?

Thanks,
Rob

panache45
12-20-2007, 01:09 PM
I don't me that I require non-Biblical contemporary accounts . . .
Without those accounts, how could your question possibly be answered? If the only record we have is within the Bible itself, it's anybody's guess.

CalMeacham
12-20-2007, 01:20 PM
don't me that I require non-Biblical contemporary accounts of the individual like Jehu or Pontius Pilate, just that the individual was likely not just part of a legend. Was Abraham probably a real person?



1.) What panache said

2.) I think you want to say something like "It's not that I require..."

3.) Abraham might have existed, but who can tell? I have a commentary written by a Catholic that admits that any or all of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob might have been representations of whole groups of people, rather than simply individuals. Without an external reference, how would you know?

4.) Even with an external reference, it's frequently possible not to know. A couple of places I've read have suggested that the king Nimrod in the book of Genesis is really Tukulti-Ninurta, king of Mesopotamia. How could you possibly prove or disprove it? Is Ahasuerus really Xerxes? (The similarity of names is closer in the original Hebrew and the original Babylonian --Kshayarsha) You're on surer ground with Omri, Jehu, Nebuchadnezzar, and the like.

kanicbird
12-20-2007, 01:24 PM
Theologically speaking the answer is Jesus.

FriarTed
12-20-2007, 01:31 PM
Theologically speaking the answer is Jesus.

I think they're meaning "verified by non-Biblical historical sources". The pre-existent Son doesn't fit that criteria.

Polycarp
12-20-2007, 01:41 PM
Omri, King of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), is the first figure chronologically to be mentioned with certainty of identity in non Biblical sources. There are a lot of references to 'Son of David' (i.e., heir in line, not the strict meaning of 'son') and 'House of David' but only a questionable probably-contemporary instriction about him as a person.

Remember that 'legendary' does not mean 'historically false' -- rather, it's 'not proven.' I.e., there's likely to be a historical figure around whom legends have accreted, as with Charlemagne in definitively-historical times, but with strictly legendary figures, separating historical truth from legendary accretion is difficult. Even David appears from the parallel stories in Chronicles to have picked up a few stories that actually happened to other historical men.

If you're a strong conservative Christian, with a belief in the accuracy of the Biblical accounts, you can go back as far as you choose. But that's not what sweeeviljesus is asking. I suspect there's a core of historical fact behind every figure in Genesis, plus Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb, Samuel, and the judges, but how much gets tacked onto the story after the fact is a quite different question.

For the record, one possible connection is Amraphel in the Battle of Nine Kings (Gen. 14) being the Hammurabi of Mesopotamian lore. But there's no possible way to prove or disprove this potential connection.

FatBaldGuy
12-20-2007, 01:58 PM
I don't think there is a GQ answer to this question. There are very many Christians and Jews who believe firmly that Adam was the first "real" person in the Bible.

Voyager
12-20-2007, 02:16 PM
Omri, King of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), is the first figure chronologically to be mentioned with certainty of identity in non Biblical sources. There are a lot of references to 'Son of David' (i.e., heir in line, not the strict meaning of 'son') and 'House of David' but only a questionable probably-contemporary instriction about him as a person.

Remember that 'legendary' does not mean 'historically false' -- rather, it's 'not proven.' I.e., there's likely to be a historical figure around whom legends have accreted, as with Charlemagne in definitively-historical times, but with strictly legendary figures, separating historical truth from legendary accretion is difficult. Even David appears from the parallel stories in Chronicles to have picked up a few stories that actually happened to other historical men.

A stele was discovered mentioning the house of David, so I'd think that David being a historical figure seems likely. Certainly not the great emperor in the Bible, but real. If we knew who the Pharaoh was in Exodus, that might count, but I don't think there is enough information to know for sure. He might be a generic king like those in fairy tales.

gatorman
12-20-2007, 04:10 PM
I don't me that I require non-Biblical contemporary accounts of the individual like Jehu or Pontius Pilate, just that the individual was likely not just part of a legend. Was Abraham probably a real person?

Thanks,
Rob

Technically speaking, Adam and Eve were absolutely real, the are the first 2 Homo Sapiens to ever exist and their offspring, everyone of us, are proof of their existence.

Now, whether they behaved and lived through the biblical verses is a whole new other ballpark.

scm1001
12-20-2007, 04:15 PM
By the time one gets to the babylonian exile and later, one starts getting real names - e.g. here is someone discovered this year from 595 BC http://www.archaeology.org/0801/topten/cuneiform.html

Find Friends
12-20-2007, 04:41 PM
Theologically speaking the answer is Jesus.
Nope.

No "Old Testament" Jesus for you! (or anyone else!)

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NEXT!

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And I like the way Ted put it. :)

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(Poster named at top of post)

raindog
12-20-2007, 05:43 PM
Theologically speaking the answer is Jesus.
Explain this, please.

toadspittle
12-20-2007, 05:49 PM
Explain this, please.

Because according to doctrine, He existed in the beginning, before time and creation, alongside the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Indistinguishable
12-20-2007, 05:51 PM
Technically speaking, Adam and Eve were absolutely real, the are the first 2 Homo Sapiens to ever exist and their offspring, everyone of us, are proof of their existence.
That's silly. As though there's some concrete divide between what we would today consider humans and the ancestors which we would not. Even if one imposed semi-arbitrary cutoffs, it needn't be the case, and almost certainly wouldn't be, that at one time there was exactly one male and one female on the human side of the cutoff, with everyone on the human side of the cutoff descended from their union.

jimmmy
12-20-2007, 05:55 PM
I am not saying this is absolute, just that I would nominate a strong contender to be from Isaiah 20

1 In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it

There really isnít any doubt today - after 1847 when we discovered his ginormous palace - that Sargon II (722 BC-705 BC) was an Assyrian king whose forces fought against Asdod and took it... and took most of Judea as well but that is another story.

[nerd hat on]
Sargon is also the name of a Star Trek Character
[/nerd hat off]

Revenant Threshold
12-20-2007, 05:59 PM
Theologically speaking the answer is Jesus. That would be Christian Theologically speaking. And it appears other Christians have disagreed with you, so perhaps more qualifiers might be needed.

I don't understand the OP's question either. If you trust in the Bible, then it is whoever it says it was. If you don't, then you need to look at other sources to get any idea of what "probably" means.

hajario
12-20-2007, 06:02 PM
I don't understand the OP's question either. If you trust in the Bible, then it is whoever it says it was. If you don't, then you need to look at other sources to get any idea of what "probably" means.

The answer might not be clear but the question is. Who is the person who lived the longest time ago that is mentioned in the Bible where there is non-Biblical evidence that this individual really existed?. I suppose that the non-Biblical evidence could be archaeological or mentioned in other written sources.

Revenant Threshold
12-20-2007, 06:04 PM
The answer might not be clear but the question is. Who is the person who lived the longest time ago that is mentioned in the Bible where there is non-Biblical evidence that this individual really existed?. I suppose that the non-Biblical evidence could be archaeological or mentioned in other written sources. But the OP is saying he doesn't need that outside evidence.

JRDelirious
12-20-2007, 06:32 PM
But the OP is saying he doesn't need that outside evidence.

Well, what OP explicitly says is no need for contemporary primary-source accounts, but that seems to leave the opening for indirect or circumstantial evidence, for instance, if third parties refer to King Omri "of the House of David" it's suggestive (but not conclusive) that somewhere there may have been someone involved in the founding of a royal house who was referred to as "David". As mentioned, that has zero bearing if that "David" was in any way like the character in the Bible (e.g. as in, is Shakespeare's Falstaff vs. real-life Sir John Fastolf).

kellner
12-20-2007, 07:10 PM
I don't understand the OP's question either. If you trust in the Bible, then it is whoever it says it was. If you don't, then you need to look at other sources to get any idea of what "probably" means.One possible interpretation could be: "If you accept the bible in general, who is the first character that is supposed to be understood as a real person?" Of course the answer will still differ from denomination to denomination.

For example, our catholic religion classes in school taught that Adam and Eve were not real people.

DrDeth
12-20-2007, 07:25 PM
Omri, King of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), is the first figure chronologically to be mentioned with certainty of identity in non Biblical sources. There are a lot of references to 'Son of David' (i.e., heir in line, not the strict meaning of 'son') and 'House of David' but only a questionable probably-contemporary instriction about him as a person..

That'd be my answer too. If we said "David" we wouldn't be streching the
facts too much.

bonitahi
12-20-2007, 08:56 PM
Moses?

Malodorous
12-20-2007, 09:18 PM
Moses?

Can't find it now, but there was an earlier thread about the historical validity of Exodus and the answer seemed to be that there isn't any independent evidence for any of it, including the existance of Moses.

petew83
12-20-2007, 10:44 PM
What about Noah? Didn't they find his ark?

panache45
12-21-2007, 05:05 PM
What about Noah? Didn't they find his ark?
Oh yeah, and fossils of the two unicorns that didn't make it. :rolleyes:

Bryan Ekers
12-21-2007, 05:09 PM
What about Noah? Didn't they find his ark?
Yes, but the government hid it in a warehouse.

sweeteviljesus
12-21-2007, 05:19 PM
I guess I was wondering who the first person mentioned in the Bible who definitely wasn't allegorical. In other words, Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, etc. were allegories, even though the ancients (and some not so ancients) thought they were real. Who may have been the first person mentioned who was, or at least based on, a real person? Let's leave out Mitochondrial Eve for now.

Thanks for your help,
Rob

Captain Amazing
12-21-2007, 05:26 PM
I guess I was wondering who the first person mentioned in the Bible who definitely wasn't allegorical. In other words, Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, etc. were allegories, even though the ancients (and some not so ancients) thought they were real. Who may have been the first person mentioned who was, or at least based on, a real person? Let's leave out Mitochondrial Eve for now.

Pharoah Shishonk I of Egypt. 1 Kings 11:40 says:

Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

This was probably Shishonk I.

Find Friends
12-22-2007, 11:30 AM
What about Noah? Didn't they find his ark?
Well, guy, who is this "they" you are talking about?!
Seems to me that more than one person has lately
made an active search for your ark
and found precisely... OUCH! (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/frank_zindler/morris-zindler.html)

Oh, and OUCH = nothing!

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Please read the second footnote at the bottom
and ask yourself why Morris-substitute Morris
would dodge the moderator's opening question to him
and would like very much to dodge all such questions.

(This, BTW, is another example of a father
sending out his son! :D )


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(Just li'l ol' me--"Whatsisname")

Darwin's Finch
12-22-2007, 11:47 AM
Technically speaking, Adam and Eve were absolutely real, the are the first 2 Homo Sapiens to ever exist and their offspring, everyone of us, are proof of their existence.

Technically speaking, speciation doesn't work like that.

Beaucarnea
12-22-2007, 01:56 PM
Archaeologist Michael Jursa discovered a tablet (dated 575 B.C.) noting a gold donation made by the "cheif eunuch" to a temple during Nebuchadnezzar's II's reign. (Book of Jeremiah)

Here is the link to the article in Archaeology magazine. (http://www.archaeology.org/0801/topten/cuneiform.html) Jursa notes that the find is interesting because "it is so incredibly rare to find people appearing in the Bible, who are not kings, mentioned elsewhere."

I know practically nothing about historical events in the Bible. I was taught largely with parable and allegory, so I know nothing about the significance or pertinence of this find- if Dio drops by maybe he can place this artifact historically.
Sorry if this is unhelpful; I came across the article and thought it might be of interest.

Lumpy
12-22-2007, 07:31 PM
Moses?Unfortunately for Biblical literalists, Moses not only isn't supported by outside verification, but the very account of him in the Bible is suspect. For starters, his name is strongly reminiscent of the Egyptian Tutmose, and the story about him being found in the rushes in a basket is lifted from the Egyptian myth of Horus. If there ever was an Egyptianized Hebrew who was somehow instrumental in the decision of the proto-Israelites to move away from Egypt and migrate west to the Jordan valley, the legend probably bears as much relationship to the facts as the story of King Arthur does to the history of Britain.

ralph124c
12-23-2007, 08:19 AM
I always liked the poem by Lord Byron-"The Destruction of Sennacherib"?
It relates the story of the destruction of the Assyrian army of King Sennacherib, who attempted to invade/destroy Judea, in the 4th cntury BC. Is there any independent verification of this?

Polycarp
12-23-2007, 09:40 AM
The figures at the very end of the two kingdoms and thereafter, particularly the rulers in Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt, are mostly documentable historical figures. So yes, the later Assyrian emperors, the Chaldean (New Babylonian) emperors, and the Persian emperors (but not "Darius the Mede," who is as historical as Prester John) are "real" historical figures.

There's no really good reason for presuming that the kings following Solomon are not much as represented in I and II Kings and II Chronicles, with the caveat that the Biblical naratives are judging their reign on a particular Yahwistic standard. But only a few of them are independently attested, Omri being the earliest of this crew.

Beginning with David, as we move backward in Biblical chronology, the figures take on more and more legendary aspects. That is to say, we have vivid portraits of characters in the Bible, but to what extent those portraits reflect the historical reality of the figures involved is highly debatable.

Great Dave
12-23-2007, 10:33 AM
Since the OP has restated the question, I think we've gotten sidetracked. The first non-allegorical character would have to be someone who was around not too long before the story was written down. My WAG would be Joshua.

Lumpy
12-23-2007, 02:06 PM
Unfortunately for Biblical literalists, Moses not only isn't supported by outside verification, but the very account of him in the Bible is suspect. For starters, his name is strongly reminiscent of the Egyptian Tutmose, and the story about him being found in the rushes in a basket is lifted from the Egyptian myth of Horus. If there ever was an Egyptianized Hebrew who was somehow instrumental in the decision of the proto-Israelites to move away from Egypt and migrate west to the Jordan valley, the legend probably bears as much relationship to the facts as the story of King Arthur does to the history of Britain. :smack: EAST.

Mangetout
12-23-2007, 06:06 PM
In the KJV, the first real person mentioned is King James - the preface says:To the most high and mightie Prince, James by the grace of God
King of Great Britaine, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith , &c.

Yes, I do realise that doesn't count.

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