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Whether Moses was the first to write down the stories of Abraham and his descendents or served as an editor himself, we just don't know. It is difficult to find fixed events in Genesis that can be connected absolutely to dates established from archaeology.
Our focus will not be on speculative theories of sources, but on the Book of Genesis that comes down to us in the Bible and the meaning of that revelation. One approach to dating Abraham is to backtrack from the first fixed event we find in the Bible -- a statement that Solomon laid the temple foundation in the 480th year after the exodus (1 Kings 6:1), which would date the exodus at about 1447-1446 BC.
Even the names Terah, Laban, Sarah, and Milcah contain elements that reveal allegiance to the moon-god. Sumerian culture in southern Mesopotamia had a number of gods in its pantheon: four leading deities -- An, Enlil, Enki, and Ninhursag -- and three chief astral deities -- Nanna (the moon), Nanna's son Utu (the sun), and Nanna's daughter Inanna.
Enlil was considered the chief god, with his cult center at the city of Nippur.
His devotion to God was such that he was willing to sacrifice his only son.
He grew wealthy, married again after Sarah's death, and died at the age of 175 years.
You'll notice that Abraham and Sarah are referred to as "Abram" and "Sarai" in chapters 11 to 16 until God changes their names in 17:5 and .
As we begin our study of the life of Abraham, we'll be traveling back through time nearly 4,000 years into a semi-nomadic, Middle Bronze Age culture far removed from our own.
While many of the customs will be explained in the lessons to follow, here's an introduction to Abraham's life and times.
Another approach to dating Abraham uses a combination of history and archaeology.
One prong is the dating of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) by some kind of cataclysmic event, which archaeological evidence seems to point to around 1900 BC. You can also compare the lifestyle described in Genesis to archaeological findings to find a match.