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Paula Mc Nutt, for instance, notes that the Old Testament narratives "do not record 'history' in the sense that history is understood in the twentieth century ...
In Protestant England the philosopher Thomas Hobbes in his major work Leviathan (1651) denied Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, and identified Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles as having been written long after the events they purported to describe.The Bible exists in multiple manuscripts, none of them an autograph, and multiple canons, which do not completely agree on which books have sufficient authority to be included or their order (see Books of the Bible).The early discussions about the exclusion or integration of various apocrypha involve an early idea about the historicity of the core.One may compare doubts about the historicity of e.g.Herodotus; the consequence of these discussions is not that we shall have to stop using ancient sources for historical reconstruction, but that we need to be aware of the problems involved when doing so.The influential medieval philosopher Maimonides maintained a skeptical ambiguity towards creation ex nihilo and considered the stories about Adam more as "philosophical anthropology, rather than as historical stories whose protagonist is the 'first man'." The publication of James Hutton's Theory of the Earth in 1788 was an important development in the scientific revolution that would dethrone Genesis as the ultimate authority on primeval earth and prehistory.
The first casualty was the Creation story itself, and by the early 19th century "no responsible scientist contended for the literal credibility of the Mosaic account of creation." The battle between uniformitarianism and catastrophism kept the Flood alive in the emerging discipline, until Adam Sedgwick, the president of the Geological Society, publicly recanted his previous support in his 1831 presidential address: We ought indeed to have paused before we first adopted the diluvian theory, and referred all our old superficial gravel to the action of the Mosaic Flood.
Supporters of biblical literalism "deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science.
We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood." But prominent scholars have expressed diametrically opposing views: "[T]he stories about the promise given to the patriarchs in Genesis are not historical, nor do they intend to be historical; they are rather historically determined expressions about Israel and Israel's relationship to its God, given in forms legitimate to their time, and their truth lies not in their facticity, nor in the historicity, but their ability to express the reality that Israel experienced." A central pillar of the Bible's historical authority was the tradition that it had been composed by the principal actors or eyewitnesses to the events described – the Pentateuch was the work of Moses, Joshua was by Joshua, and so on.
The Ionian Enlightenment influenced early patrons like Justin Martyr and Tertullian - both saw the biblical texts as being different to (and having more historicity than) the myths of other religions.
Augustine was aware of the difference between science and scripture and defended the historicity of the biblical texts e.g. Historians hold that the Bible should not be treated differently from other historical (or literary) sources from the ancient world.
Very few texts survive directly from antiquity: most have been copied – some, many times.