Reliability of the Old Testament
What about the draby Old Testament, is it not full of myths and legends?
Well, are you presupposing the non-existence of miracles or are you taking all the evidence into account and then forming your conclusion? What does history say of the historicity of the old Testament?
Does the history of the ancient Israel match with the surrounding cultures, do they make sense in context? Is there contextual evidence that backs up names and dates of events enumerated within the Old Testament? What about the manuscripts? Does the archaeological findings support or delineate from the Old Testament narrative?
Starting with Noah, the flood narrative is in nearly every ancient tradition, the Bible having the least amount of legendary fluff and the most intricate details allowing for it to be the more accurate depiction (and there are geological evidence of a flood of that magnitude).
Abraham, archaeology has unveiled that at the time Abraham lived, the names of him, his sons, and others depicted were names specific to that time frame and no other surrounding it giving credence to the narrative as well as the existence of cities, rulers and other such collaborative evidences.
The exodus has many archaeological findings supporting it from Pharaoh's army in the bottom of the red sea to existence and then absence of Israel as slave labor in Egypt, to the travails into the Arabian desert and the entrance into Palestine. Indeed the Hittite nation, once thought to never have existed, now has so much supportive evidence through archaeology that you may now obtain a Master’s degree in the history of the Hittite nation.
Saul, David, Solomon, Solomon’s palace and great riches, the invasion of Assyria and the failed siege of Jerusalem, the captivity of Babylon and the rise of the Medes and Persians...these are but a few more examples of events in the Old Testament that have great archaeological support to back their ‘tales’.
Although not as numerous as the New Testament manuscripts, we are talking about books written about a history of between four thousand and twenty-five thousand years ago. Much, much older than the New Testament. None-the-less, we have more than 700 ancient manuscripts, perhaps the most important being the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts of which the earliest dating is 125 BC.
One of the most amazing things is, of some of the earliest manuscripts, one is of the text in Isaiah that prophecies about the coming messiah, Jesus, before Jesus’ birth.
Then there are Old Testament prophecies, even those outside of those that testifies to Jesus’ coming. For instance Daniel prophecied around 500 BC (A time where Rome just barely became a City-State) the fall of Babylon, the rise of the Medes and Persians, their demise and the rise of the Greeks followed by the Romans and then the rise of the Church and the fall of the last great empire. All of this before Rome even became an important city on the map.
Archaeology has just begun to unearth evidence supporting the Old Testament, and perhaps one of the greatest proofs so far is the utter absence of evidence contradicting the Old Testament narratives - as well as those that once were thought to contradict now have been found not to contradict but with further digging has come to support the Old Testament “myths”.
Let us not follow the conclusion to color the evidence, but let us follow the evidence to find a conclusion.