If so, why?
National Revelation: The Torah claims that the entire Jewish nation heard God speak at Sinai, an assertion that has been accepted as part of their nation’s history for over 3,000 years. Did God Speak at Sinai?
The Hebrew’s National Revelation
16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God. They took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended upon it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently. 19 As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder. 20 When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people not to break through to the Lord to look; otherwise many of them will perish. 22 Even the priests who approach the Lord must consecrate themselves or the Lord will break out against them.” 23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people are not permitted to come up to Mount Sinai; for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and keep it holy.’” 24 The Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you; but do not let either the priests or the people break through to come up to the Lord; otherwise he will break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.
Exodus 19:16-25, New Revised Standard Versionhttps://www.biblegateway.com/pas…
6 You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!” 7 For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? 8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?
Deuteronomy 4:6-8, New Revised Standard Versionhttps://www.biblegateway.com/pas…
32 For ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of? 33 Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived?
Deuteronomy 4:32-33, New Revised Standard Version https://www.biblegateway.com/pas…
Here is an example from the Aztec civilization. That is, they have also claimed to have had a national revelation. There is nothing special about God speaking to an entire nation of people. In fact, this type of revelation is common but not as common as group revelation (e.g., Christianity) or individual revelation (e.g., Islam). Furthermore, even if we assume that the claim of national revelation only occurred once and this event is the Jewish experience, we still cannot say that God did it. The national revelation is a type of contract. That is, a contract between God and the people. As I understand, in the ancient world such contracts were made by kings with the people that they ruled. Therefore, it’s easily conceivable that authors of the Torah used this contract approach in order to invent a kingdom like relationship between them and their God. A wonderful idea but nothing supernatural at all (it’s just a wonderful story passed down from history and it continues being done in the modern world).
The Aztec’s National Revelation
They stopped dumbstruck. Far below stretched the high plateau, dotted with lakes and bordered by mountains. It was, the ancient legends tell, a “Field of Dazzling Whiteness”. Everything seemed to be brilliant white: the trees, the reeds, the meadows, the water – even the fish and the frogs. Were they really all so white, or was it simply that the new Mexicans were blinded by the beauty unfolding before their eyes? The people fell to their knees and prayed. The chiefs and the priests wept with joy. “At last we have come to our sacred land,” they told the Mexicans. “It is Anåhuac, the Land by the Waer. Our wishes have been granted. Rejoice, everyone. Rejoice, for our god has led us to the promised land.” But could their wanderings really be over? Anxiously they awaited a sign from their god. And suddenly the voice of Huitzilopochtli thundered forth. “Stay, Mexicans! With all your strength and all your wisdom, make this country your own. Though you sweat blood and tears, you shall win what you have been seeking. Gold and silver, precious stones and splendid finery shall be your reward. You shall harvest cocoa, and cotton, and many fruits. Beautiful gardens will delight your eyes. This is your country!”
The Torah is not the only text where God speaks to an entire nation of people. The issue here is not the timeline (e.g., it was borrowed from Torah or it came after Torah) but the fact that such a claim was made by another nation (another nation also claimed to have had a national revelation). Therefore, there is nothing special about claiming to have had a national revelation as found in the Torah. Moreover, there are many such sources in the world of the supernatural. This type of revelation is not unique to the Jewish people or a very good argument for the divine origins of the Torah.
Aztec Huitzilopochtli Myth and revelation of Huitzilopochtli
South and Meso-American Mythology A to Z
Fifth Creation of the World by Marumda and the Pomo tribes
Revelation of Gitche Manitou at Pipestone, Minnesota
I. The Peace-Pipe by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow @ Classic Reader
Epic of Gilgamesh (and related flood myths)
These are just a few of the many sources that show the normalcy of national revelation in the history of world religions. I should add that this does not mean that Judaism is false or that the Torah is not of divine origin. What it does mean is that this argument or type of reasoning is not rationally proper for educated communities. For example, one can argue via intellectual criticism (e.g., higher biblical criticism) and moral criticism (e.g., moral epistemology) that the Torah does not have any divine origin. Therefore, the national revelation of Israel and the survival of the Jewish do not mean God exists or that God gave the Torah to the Jewish people.
I hope this answer helped.
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