Talk:Criticism of Moses

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response[edit]

this article is extremely pov it needs a paragraph listing a response by religionists to these claims, post any objections you have here, if noone posts by friday im going ahead and making the neccessary changesg.j.g (talk) 12:31, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to clarify the situation by giving the history of this article. Originally the Paine quotation was part of the main article Moses. Then various editors took offence and started repeatedly deleting it or adding insulting remarks about Paine. Apart from the personal attacks on Paine, one editor had an extensive debate with me on the talk pages, in which he tried to argue that Paine didn't actually mean what his words clearly say. Eventually, as a compromise, I shifted the Paine quote to this Criticism page, and added some more, while leaving just a brief criticism paragraph in Moses. This article is, therefore, as you say, extremely pov when considered in isolation. Its name implies as much.
That said, if you're proposing to add reasoned, sourced responses to these criticisms, that would be entirely fair and reasonable. It is striking, even if not surprising, that religious writers seem to pass over the incident at Numbers 31:13-18 in silence. If there are good responses on that, it would be very relevant and interesting. Or any other responses (though preferably not just personal attacks on the writers quoted). SamuelTheGhost (talk) 14:51, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Thinking again about this, I'd like to withdraw my admission about "pov". NPOV means that wikipedia editors remain neutral in their own words. All I, as wikipedia editor, did was to reproduce what Paine, Ingersoll and Dawkins wrote. I never said whether I agree with them, so NPOV is preserved. Since, however, these are the only views quoted, the article as a whole is very one-sided, so that is what it is reasonable to change. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 15:03, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

thank you very much for being so accepting of my proposal, while i gather the sources for responses to these criticisms (ive read responses to each of them i just need to go back and find them) id like to ask you 2 questions about the chapter that you claim so many religious people passover, 1) do u kknow what the context of that battle was and 2) do you know what the jewish laws are about female prisoners of war, Sorry if those questions werent per say related to the artcles but since u made a claim about how we pass over that chapter it would be fair to ask u a question back, again thank you for being so accepting of m proposal my edits along with there sources should be up within a few daysg.j.g (talk) 00:29, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

I only said that religious writers "seem to" pass over the incident, and I only said it here in the talk page, not in the article, so please don't give that remark more significance than it deserves. As for your other questions, I don't want to be drawn in to discussing my own opinions, because they don't matter here. Nor do yours. All we're concerned with is the fair and balanced presentation of other people's published opinions. If we can achieve that, we'll be doing well, and that's all the wikipedia community wants of us. I look forward to seeing your contribution. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 17:01, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
As for 'pass over the incident' - that's because it is not unusual or remarkable in the context of late-Bronze-Age/early-Iron-Age tribal warfare. Those times were far bloodier than is easily imaginable today. Since hostility & feuds were hereditary, total destruction of the foe was general practice. (This occurred even in more 'civilized' cultures in later Antiquity - the Romans were known to totally destroy places like Carthage.) Modern warfare, even with our greater powers of destruction, is vastly less brutal - this was an era before a distinction was drawn between combatants and noncombatants. One only sees this passage from Numbers commented on in "more civilized" times (starting with Paine in the late 1700s) - in most of the time of the Book of Numbers's existence, it wasn't something unusual. Only when laws of war were invented does the Numbers passage become something worthy of comment. 128.194.250.47 (talk) 17:10, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
All very true, but it tends to undermine the claim that Moses is an ethical model of timeless significance. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 18:08, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

To give a full understanding of how and why Jews (the generalization of religionists is odd, Jews Christians and Muslims all presumbaly have their own views of Moses, and Hindus I guess don't seem him as a model) see Moses as an ethical would involve discussions of midrash, the traditional way Jews have addressed seeming ethical (and other) conundrums in the biblical text. Now Paine I assume had not read Midrash, and may not have cared much about the post-biblical Jewish view. I do not know for certain why neoatheists like Dawkins ignore such sources. I am not sure this article is useful for a view of Moses (as opposed to a historical footnote about Paine) in the absence of a fuller discussion, perhaps fuller than the topic merits in an encyclopedia. Ricardianman (talk) 21:54, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

If there are sources for such a fuller discussion, please give them here, or use them to enhance the article. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 12:10, 7 July 2010 (UTC)


I have added a little that I could find quickly (and I need help with the formatting). In general traditional Jewish discussions of the text I have found so far take the issue of the slaughter of the women as being adequately explained by verse 16, and not really all that troubling. I am not sure how to bring that in without doing "original research", but I have tried. I will try to find more when time allows. Ricardianman (talk) 17:24, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

I am also having trouble getting the link to the chatam sofer wiki article to work, please bare with my newbness. Ricardianman (talk) 17:26, 7 July 2010 (UTC)


I have added some more, and fixed the Sofer link. โ€”Preceding unsigned comment added by Ricardianman (talk โ€ข contribs) 17:45, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

"Citation needed" on killing defeated enemies?[edit]

I am removing the "citation needed" because I didn't understand the point of this. In the article there is an exemple of Moses comanding the murder of helpless women from defeated tribes, after being very angry because it was not made before. If the Bible/Torah is right about Moses, it means that he did it, and most (perharps all) of Moses' followers beleive in the Holy books. Of course these books can be wrong about him, or perharps he didn't even exist, but at least as a "character", he did this. The argument of 128.194.250.47 is true, it was a time when it was not unusual, and hebrew tribes also suffered when conquered by their enemies. Several atrocites against jews are in the Bible too. But this doesn't change the fact that Moses behavior could be criticised by nowadays people as a bad exemple for our modern society. SamuelTheGhost explained above. It's like Genghis Khan. Khan raped and murdered, but at his time it wasn't unusual to rape hundreds of helpless girls of a defeated city. If the main religions of nowadays society worshiped Khan as an ethical person, you could be sure that he would be criticized.ColeWiki (talk) 06:49, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Now I saw the real reason: "I was always under the impression that the bible says God gave the laws, not Moses". well, it is Moses who said the law to the people, so it is right to say that he prescribed those things. Even if he didn't create the law, it was him, not God, who gave the law to the people and oriented it's aplication day by day. ColeWiki (talk) 07:03, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Eahumm!?[edit]

His wife thought that he was dense, and didn't wash his feet. His brother thought he should chew food with closed mouth. Or maybe the article is not about Criticism of Moses, but is rather about various aspects of the Moses myth: such as f.ex. folks who claim he didn't exist, or folks who dislike some certain implications/interpretations of the Moses myth. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 21:49, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Article scope[edit]

Apart from the excessive quoting, this appears to be a criticism of the endorsement of "war crimes" or "genocide" in the Hebrew Bible. Apart from the fact that it is ludicrous to "criticize" an Iron Age narrative as if it was recent events (not more and not less ludicrous as taking the letter of an Iron Age text as a guide to your own moral judgement), a discussion of this would pertain to You_shall_not_murder#Justified_killing:_in_warfare. --dab (๐’ณ) 14:53, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Ingersoll refutation?[edit]

Can there be added some type of correction to Ingersoll's false statement?: "From the last account it appears that while Moses was upon Mount Sinai receiving the commandments from God, the people brought their jewelry to Aaron, and he cast for them a golden calf. This happened before any commandment against idolatry had been given. A god ought, certainly, to publish his laws before inflicting penalties for their violation."

He is incorrect here, because the prohibition against Idolatry was part of the covenant given early on in Genesis. Even for those who debate whether this prohibition was clearly given to Adam & Even in Eden--This was at the very least given to Noah and later to Abraham. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Laws_of_Noah from that page: "The Noahide Laws comprise the six laws which were given to Adam in the Garden of Eden according to the Talmud's interpretation of Gen 2:16 and a seventh one, which was added after the Flood of Noah. Later at the Revelation at Sinai the Seven Laws of Noah were regiven to humanity and embedded in the 613 Laws given to the Children of Israel along with the Ten Commandments, which are part of, and not separate from, the 613 mitzvot."

In Chapter 12 of Genesis, Abraham promises to forego all allegiances to his previous idolatrous community and to make a new life in the "Promised Land": " And the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you." It is generally understood that "away form your father's house" means also away from your father's ways, ie. idolatry. Most Jews see this as a restating or an extension " And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name greatโ€ฆand by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves."" The covenant was restated for the descendants of his son Isaac found in Genesis 17:2-9 and Deuteronomy 1:7-8.

This means that the Hebrews had a culture specifically prohibiting idolatry for at least several generations before Moses & the revelation at Sinai. They knew they were breaking a law by worshiping the golden calf, and this is why they were punished. Surely, there can be inserted some reference to the fact that Ingersoll was ill-informed in his statement. --67.162.64.187 (talk) 12:22, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

If someone has published a refutation of Ingersoll's remarks in some reliable source, we can include it. And if not, not. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 18:40, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure why a sentence can't be added to the effect of, "However, this ignores the Noahide commandments which specifically include a prohibition against idolatry and predate the golden calf. (insert cite to Torah). Citing the source material should be sufficient! Geofferic Tโ€ขCโœก 18:26, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that citing the Torah directly will do. That would count as WP:OR. What's needed is some modern scholar who has written about this, preferably in explicit disagreement with Ingersoll. Surely there has been someone? SamuelTheGhost (talk) 20:51, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Merge with Criticisms of Judaism[edit]

I'm curious what the reasoning is behind this suggestion. This article, once polished, should be more than capable of standing on its own and is relevant to more than just Jewish people. Criticism of Moses is also a criticism of Christianity and to some extent Ba'hai, surely? Merging it with Criticism of Judaism would seem to undercut the relevance of Moses to those faiths (and perhaps others). Geofferic Tโ€ขCโœก 18:28, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree. I think this suggestion has already died of apathy. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 20:52, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

well, then polish the article. The problem is that this page isn't an article, it is just a text dump of a few quotes. It isn't established that this is a valid article topic. I suggested merging as an easy way to fix this, leaving open the possibility that at some later time somebody might actually write an article with this title. If you are just going to remove the merge tag and not write an actual article under this title, I am afraid I will have to submit this page for deletion.

Feel free to write this article, but as long as nobody does write it, I see no reason for this page to sit here. --dab (๐’ณ) 09:14, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

I understand. Thanks for clarifying! I will put re-writing this article on my 'to-do' list, but I won't get to it until March. Geofferic Tโ€ขCโœก 10:19, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
For a little background please see my remarks immediately under Talk:Criticism of Moses#response at the top of this page. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 14:39, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”˜ I support the continued existence of this article. It is in horrible shape, but the topic meets WP notability standards. For comparable articles, see:

I'll see if I can find some time to work on it in the near future (it may be 2 months or so). --Noleander (talk) 19:38, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Support for this article[edit]

I want to log my support for the continued existence of this article. It (like many wiki pages) has been convenient and helpful to me as I read Sinclair Lewis' "Elmer Gantry." Very early in the book, a main character has only two books in his library: Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason" and "Some Mistakes of Moses." I paused in my reading to consult Wikipedia about the latter, and am glad that the background on both Paine and Ingersoll is here, and concisely stated. Furthermore, as a cradle Christian, I am perfectly OK with the POV of this article.KathonWiki (talk) 19:57, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

D.M. Murdock[edit]

Could always include criticism (and there's plenty of it) from scholar D.M. Murdock's most recent book:

Mgmirkin (talk) 02:35, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Don't know whether it meets WP:Notable or not, but clearly it's a scholarly work on the subject of Criticism of Moses (and/or his existence). Though, it's self-published and fairly new in the last year, so don't know whether it's been critically reviewed or referenced yet? Still think it's worthwhile... Even if it needs some time to "sink in" or "get noticed" before becoming WP:Notable. Mgmirkin (talk) 02:43, 5 August 2014 (UTC)