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13 Oct

Paul's Catholic Church he Bible is a lot of things to a lot of people, but to Christians, especially, it is a source of inspiration and a guide to daily living.

To others, the Bible is a historical document and a source of controversy.

To really understand the Bible and what it intends to say to present generations, it is necessary to understand who wrote it and why, and the cultural context in which it was written.

The story is an interesting one, in no small part because the story is so much messier than most of its advocates would have you to believe.

She remained a major figure in the Old Testament narratives, though as time went on, she was gradually edited out by subsequent copyists and editors, disappearing almost completely from the Old Testament narrative by about the 8th Century, though traces of this cult figure remain even today in the Old Testament.

The fact is that with all that is known of Egyptian history from this time (since scholars can now read the records the ancient Egyptians with the ease of a modern newspaper), and the fact that the history of Egypt in this period is well documented, there is no evidence from the records of Egypt itself that the events of Exodus ever occured, either archaeologically or documentarily in the manner in which the Bible describes the events.

From this context comes the oldest complete literary work we have, the age of which we are certain, dating back at least 7,000 years.

Many were allied to the palace, many opposed, all retained elements of their pre-conquest cultures. The land where Abraham supposedly settled, the southern highlands of Palestine (from Jerusalem south the the Valley of Beersheba) is very sparse in archaeological evidence from this period. And then there's the problem of the cargo carried by the camels - "gum, balm and myrrh," which were products of Arabia - and trade with Arabia didn't begin until the era of Assyrian hegemony in the region, beginning in the 8th century B. This ethnic group does not appear in the archeological record prior to 1100 B. E., and not a significant group until the 9th century B. The heiarchy of gods and goddesses who included Baal, the god of storms, who made the land fertile, and Lotan, the seven-headed dragon, known to Old Testament readers as Leviathan.

Conquest by the Hebrews over their enemy neighbors, culturally by the Jews over the Israelites (used here to mean members of the ten "lost" tribes), the Christians over the Jews, the Catholics over the Gnostics, Marcionites, and other pre-Catholic factions, and on and on.

In some cases, the conquest is recorded as a historical, often military event.

She was a powerful, important, even indispensible part of the cult, mostly related to fertility.

We know that she figured prominently throughout the pre-Roman period, as she appears frequently in inscriptions and on figurines prior to the Assyrian expulsion and to a lesser extent afterwards.