I had occasion yesterday to consult “Biblical scholars.” But as usual, I found their company to be annoying–because most of them seem not to believe hardly a single word the Bible says. They (most of them) would have us believe that virtually the whole Old Testament is fiction, cooked up by Jewish priests looking to wile away the years of captivity in Babylon by spinning tall tales.
I like to think that I know something about writing fiction. I’ve been doing it for almost all my life. And reading a lot of it, too. Not to mention history produced by Greeks and Romans, Britons, Scandinavian peoples, and others.
The great medieval Icelandic historian, Snorri Sturlusson, said he trusted his sources–royal poets, most of them–because, had they praised the kings who employed them with stories and boasts that people knew were not true, they would only win for their kings mockery, not praise. I take that to be always true. People have always laughed at empty boasts.
So not only would those fictioneering Jewish priests have exposed themselves to ridicule–but why would they take their two greatest kings, David and Solomon, and describe how those kings fell into sin and folly, and brought evil on their country? No Roman historian–and Roman historians, like Livy, are always, always accused to making their subjects look much better than they were–would have dreamed of writing such a thing.
The practice of tearing down the great and famous men of the past never came into general use until late in the 19th century. There could have been no reason whatsoever for Biblical chroniclers to show Solomon, wise King Solomon, indulging in foolish behavior that ruined his kingdom.
They would not have written that unless it were true and everyone knew it to be true. Ditto David and some of his more egregious mis-steps.
This, of course, is a vast subject and I have only scraped its surface here. But if scholars are going to accuse the Bible writers of spinning yarns, they would do well to acquire some slight understanding of fiction.