zellmer at cag.pworld.net.ph
Sun Jan 24 06:51:58 EST 1999
Jim West wrote:
> The point is that the language of the OT is extremely uniform- and points to
> a compositional date around the Maccabean/Hasmonean eras. If you were, for
> instance, to suppose that Josh stems from the 13th century and Daniel from
> the third, you have a thousand year spread where the language remains
> incredibly uniform. Apply that same thousand year spread to English and
> make even the smallest attempt to say that the language has remained
> essentially unchanged--- and you have the heart of the problem.
> The Hebrew Bible, further, contains a relatively uniform theology. Again,
> suppose that the theology of the Church is the same now as it was a thousand
> years ago and the problem is reiterated.
> The Hebrew Bible was evidently composed quite late. Else I invite you to
> explain the constancy of the language throughout the whole. (without
> recourse to the notion that it was dictated by God like that).
While I agree that Mark Joseph was not demonstrating an understanding of critical
thought on the composition of the Hebrew Bible (whether he was deliberate in his lack
of understanding or not, only he can answer), I find it interesting how modern
scholarship seems to want things both ways. They point to the "uniformity" of the
Tanakh and say, "See, it was all composed about the same time, and that was quite
late." Then they point to lack of uniformity and say, "See, there are several
different sources," or "We can see that the Hebrews developed monotheism relatively
late in time because we can trace that development." For example, Ian, who appears to
agree with you with a late composition date, has noted about the progressive use of
some of the names of God, one being the "Lord of Hosts." If you note the consistency
of the language (please forgive me if I misunderstood what you were pointing out by
"constancy") and the uniformity of theology and conclude by these a late date, how do
you account for the consistency in these differences to the point that Ian and others
can see a progression? There are several possible explanations, which would include a
major late editing to remove archaic words. However, then you have the difficulty of
why some of the late portions are written in Hebrew and others are in Aramaic. Jim,
it would seem much simpler to posit a very small amount of shift in the language.
I think your English example is not applicable, since we are talking about a period of
time when the world changed as much in 1000 years as it changed in all history before
it. Also, English is a notorious hodge-podge of borrowings from various languages,
and it is spoken literally around the world. Hebrew, on the other hand, demonstrates
only a couple of dialects which was found in a very small geographical location.
Question: how much did the ancient Egyptian language change over the period of time
that was recorded, which is much more than 1000 years? I don't have the answer to
that, but that would be a much better comparison. The literacy rate and writing
usages would probably be similar between the two cultures, although I admit that
contention would be a matter for debate.
Jim, while my personal view of plenary verbal inspiration would not accurately be
described by your term, "dictation," I take exception to your asking a question and
precluding a possible honest answer. Just because *you* or *you and 99% of others*
reject such an answer as being out of the question, that does not necessarily make you
right and the ones who hold to such a view wrong. Please remember, even the liberals
eventually came to the conclusion that Dan Quayle was right. ;^>
Anyway, I know I can't convince you, and, as far as I can determine, I'm not much open
to change in this area myself. So we'll just have to live with each other's opinions.
Paul and Dee Zellmer, Jimmy Guingab, Geoffrey Beltran
Ibanag Translation Project
zellmer at faith.edu.ph
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