Morals Don’t Come From God: For This I Know Because the Bible Tells Me So

Let me air out some new material here. The title of this post is the title of another book I’m currently working on. Its thesis is that despite fervent claims made by fundamentalists, when one studies the Bible’s many different legislations, law codes, and moral precepts comparatively, the biblical texts themselves tell us that its morals were shaped by ever-changing cultural and subjective perspectives, worldviews, and even ideologies. In other wordsRead More

The Biblical Texts on Their Own Terms Versus the Bible on Its Terms: Genesis 1 and 2 as a Case Study

Biblical scholars often talk about the necessity of reading and acknowledging the texts of the Bible on their own terms. This gets repeatedly voiced by the scholarly community because in the large majority of cases the Bible’s texts are not read on their own terms, but on the terms of their readers—that is through the assumptions and beliefs that readers bring to this collection of ancient literature, even prior to readingRead More

The Growing Problem of Biblical Illiteracy in Our Country

In the wake of one of the most fatal religiously motivated crimes in a string of other recent religiously-fueled terrorist attacks, I’d like to run a series of posts about one of the root problems behind such fatalities. Indeed, there may be many root causes, but as a biblical scholar I am interested in one in particular—biblical illiteracy, and even quranic illiteracy. A survey done not too long ago revealed thatRead More

Brief Interview with Wipf & Stock about my Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate

Modern readers often assume that Genesis 1 depicts the creation of the earth and sky as we know it. Yet in an appeal for textual honesty, Steven DiMattei shows that such beliefs are more representative of modern views about this ancient text than the actual claims and beliefs of its author. Through a culturally-contextualized and objective reading of the texts of Genesis 1 and 2, this study not only introduces readersRead More

Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate

“DiMattei’s book is a refreshing call both for biblical literacy and for intellectual honesty in dealing with the Bible.” —John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School. “In an important contribution to the discussion between mainstream biblical studies and creation ‘science,’ DiMattei does a wonderful job of explicating the first two chapters of Genesis.  He shows convincingly that although Creationists claim to read this storyRead More

Being Honest to the Texts of the Bible (Part 2b)

Continued from Being Honest to the Bible’s Texts (Part 2a). 2. The Documentary Hypothesis: What is a Hypothesis? Some readers here (one in particular with a new alias) rather than commenting on my posts are caught up in a game of disclosing and then responding to their own assumptions about the intended aims of my work and the aims and methods of biblical scholarship in general by referencing misleading and inaccurateRead More

Being Honest to the Texts of the Bible (Part 2a)

In reading the most recent slew of comments to my original post (Being Honest to the Texts of the Bible, Theirs Authors, and Their Beliefs), many of which fail to address or grapple with the specific points raised in that post, I’ve decided to reply in the form of yet another post that yet again attempts to clarify the objectives of this website specifically, and of biblical scholarship in general. I’dRead More

Being Honest to the Bible’s Texts, Their Authors, and Their Beliefs

I’d like to take the opportunity to open up a general discussion with my readers about my motives here and what the study of the Bible’s texts actually is, and is not, since this seems to be a recurring issue. It is notably an issue for passing Christian readers who arrive here through a Google search and miss the larger picture of what I’m doing. Certainly, and to some extent, IRead More

Offer of Publication: Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate

I am glad to officially announce to my readers that my Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate: Being Honest to the Text, Its Author, and His Beliefs—Not Ours about Them has been accepted for publication by Wipf & Stock, a small academic/trade publisher. It should be available Fall/Winter 2015. I will certainly keep you updated here. The primary aim of this book is to present readers with an accurate, unbiased, andRead More

About Me & Website

Welcome to ContradictionsintheBible.com! I am a biblical scholar and author. And although formally trained in the New Testament and early Christianity (Ph.D.), I have  become increasingly interested in the compositional history of the Hebrew Bible, especially the Pentateuch, for going on a decade now. In January 2013 I started posting 1 contradiction a day, with the aim of working through the entire Bible! I have unfortunately lost that habit, and to dateRead More

How do we know that the biblical writers were not writing history?

Instead of posting today’s contradiction, I’d like to take the time and space to respond to a reader’s question, a question which perhaps many of my readers have pondered. This and similar questions are important because they are the gist of what we’re doing here. Maybe I will do more posts like this. I apologize for the length, but I wanted to do as thorough of a job with this taskRead More

Contradictory Stories about Jacob: Yawhist and Elohist storytellers

This post follows from a previous post on the stories of Abraham (#44—scroll down), and will serve us as a brief introduction to the duplicate stories about Jacob by the northern Elohist and the southern Yahwist that we will start to look at tomorrow. We will then look at how the later Priestly writer also modified a few of these stories and amended them to the JE compilation. Remember stories were told, modified, and retold, and then later collected,Read More

Stories from the North and the South

Stories were as much a part of the ancient world as the television is for us today. People told and heard stories on a daily basis. It was part of their lifeblood. Stories defined a people’s identity, explained the origins of current political and religious institutions, and preserved traditional beliefs, worldviews, and customs. Most stories enjoyed a long oral tradition before they were finally written down. In many cases alternative versionsRead More

Conflicting portraits of Israel’s deity

The use or non-use of the name of Israel’s god, Yahweh, is not the only distinguishing feature between the Yahwist and Elohist traditions when it comes to how they portray and conceptualize the deity. Right from the Yahwist’s opening creation account in Genesis 2:4b-3:24 (#1), Yahweh is depicted in stark anthropomorphic terms. Yahweh forms man from the dust of the earth, presumably with his hands,1 breaths into the man’s nostrils, plantsRead More

The Priestly writer’s reworking of the Yahwist material of Genesis 1-11

For nearly three centuries now, scholars and critical readers of the book of Genesis have acknowledged that Genesis is a composite text (See How the Torah was Discovered to be a Collection of Competing Traditions). That is in its present form the Hebrew text, both on linguistic and thematic grounds reveals that it was composed of different, and often competing, textual traditions. And for the most part these once separate textualRead More

How the Bible was discovered to be a collection of contradictory texts

Did Moses write the Torah? The traditional view held in both Jewish and Christian circles was that the Pentateuch, the Torah, was penned by Moses under divine inspiration. This traditional claim, however, should be tempered by a couple of initial observations. First, the Torah makes no such claim. Nowhere does the Pentateuch claim to have been written by Moses, or anyone else for that matter. In fact, the sparse references toRead More

Studying the Bible scientifically and objectively

What does it mean to study the Bible scientifically or objectively? How is this different from studying the Bible subjectively, that is with respect to its subject, its readers? What might be the advantages of studying the Bible objectively? What would be its purpose? Or the real question might be: can the Bible be studied objectively given that it is dear, on a subjective level, to the hearts of millions? If, forRead More

About Contradictions in the Bible

Contradictions in the Bible is first and foremost a website dedicated to the Bible. That is to say that it is a website about the very nature of the biblical text itself—a nature, moreover, which is readily perceivable from a cursory glance at the Bible’s table of contents: the Bible is composed of a variety of books. In other words, it is composite in nature. The Bible or “the Book”—from a laterRead More

A BIBLE CONTRADICTION A DAY !

starting 1/1/13 I will post 1 biblical contradiction a day and explain why it’s in the bible, who wrote the texts that now contradict each other, and what this tells us about how the bible was assembled.

Welcome to Contradictions in the Bible

Unlike many sites that have attempted to enumerate the Bible’s many contradictions, and in somewhat simplistic or even antagonistic terms, this site is devoted to explaining why there are contradictions in the Bible using modern biblical source criticism. As the term implies, this methodological approach to the Bible looks at the Bible’s sources, that is its once separate and individual texts—all of which were penned by more than 70 different authors, overRead More

Moses Retells His Story (Part 1)

Instead of posting contradictions for the book of Deuteronomy in my usual manner, I’ve decided first to post excerpts from a new project I’m working on that specifically treats the book of Deuteronomy, and then in my usual fashion to discuss the contradictions exhibited between Moses’ renarrations of past events/stories in Deuteronomy 1-11 and the earlier narrations of these same events/stories as found in Exodus and Numbers. This new book projectRead More

Moses Retells His Story (Part II)

In Moses Retells His Story Part I, we saw with ample textual support that Moses’ renarration of the establishment of the judiciary in Deuteronomy 1:6-19 strikingly contradicted the original telling of this event by a 3rd person narrator now preserved in Exodus 18:13:27. Contradictions #352-356 then proceeded to explain why these two accounts vary using up-to-date source-critical and historical-critical scholarship about this collection of ancient texts we now call “the HolyRead More