The Old Testament was compiled during the period from the sixth century BCE to the first century CE. The New Testament was compiled over a period of several hundred years starting in the second century CE. The book represents as a whole not "history" but mythology, much of which was boldly plagiarized from other cultures around the known world. As Rabbi Lewis Browne says in Stranger Than Fiction:
"The Bible is a whole vast world of wisdom, beauty, and moral truth - but it is not a chronicle of literal history. Its episodes and chronicles were in the mouths of desert tribesmen for long centuries before ever they were written down. For long centuries they were passed on from father to son, growing grander and more wonderful with each generation. So that by the time they were set down in writing, the literal truth in them, like the vein of gold in a mountain, was crushed and tortured and broken in a thousand places."
These "episodes and chronicles," however, did not represent the exploits of "real people" but of mythical characters, many of whom symbolized celestial and terrestrial bodies and forces.
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