Fw: [b-hebrew] LORD
Yigal-Levin at utc.edu
Sun Feb 16 16:38:00 EST 2003
At 04:18 PM 2/14/2003 -0600, Pastor Mark Eddy wrote:
>Dear Prof. Yigal,
You got me. Can we make do without the titles?
>From: "Yigal Levin"
>> Dear Pastor Mark,
>> Even if you do not accept them, I'm sure that you are aware of the
>> conclusions of critical biblical studies of the past century or so.
>I am certainly aware of them. But I do find it harder to believe that a
bunch of post-exilic priests made
>up the entire history of Israel (as some minimalists would contend), than
to believe that the narratives
>are based on relatively contemporaneous evidence. And the prophets wrote
at the time that the narratives
>describe. Most of the narratives don't sound like the myths of that (and
earlier) time(s). And the
>literary genre of the novel wasn't yet invented. I have never understood
why "the book of the law" found
>during the time of Jeremiah was supposedly only Deuteronomy and not the
whole Torah, or why they would
>have assumed that it came from Moses if it had just been written by the
Deuteronomic historians who were
>still writing their history at the time this book was discovered. The fact
that the LXX translators didn't
>have a clue about what some of the words they were translating meant leads
many Bible students to believe
>that many parts of the Hebrew Bible were written well before the 3rd
Mark, I'm far from being a minimalist, but I do recognize that the earliest
"real" evidence we have for the literary composition of most of the OT is
the DDS (2-1 cent. BCE) - so any date before then is POSSIBLE. That does
not make it likely.
The same is true for the LXX - we have no manuscripts from BCE - but I'll
accept the 3rd cent. BCE date as likely.
>> But even if David DID write Ps. 110, since the whole psalm is in the third
>> person, there is no reason to assume that he's speaking from his own
>I agree that he is not speaking from his own expeience, except that he is
recording an oracle of YHWH,
>which he apparently received.
>> The psalm is a poem describing a conversation between YHWH and
>> someone - that someone NOT being the writer. So, in this case, whether or
>> not we accept that the writer's name was David and that that David was the
>> King is irrelevant.
>I agree with some of this, but not all. The psalm does describe what YHWH
says to someone other than the
>writer. But the writer of the psalm does refer to himself in the phrase
"my Lord." The write is identified
> with "my." The writer calls "that someone" "my Lord." So it can make a
big difference who this David is.
>The Hebrew Bible knows of no David other than the one who became king. It
would seem that the burden of
>proof is on those who think this David is some other David.
I didn't say that "David" was another David. What I (and most critical
scholars) assume is that the psalm was written without the words "LeDavid"
(to/of/for/by David), and that these where later added by someone who knew
of some Davidic psalms, had a tradition of David as "Ne(im Zemirot Yisrael"
and did NOT have any other tradition about those particular psalms (unlike
the Asaph, Moses and other psalms). I am even willing to accept that SOME
of these MAY have been composed by David (the one and only), maybe even
110, but I think (as in the case of the Gospels) that internal evidence is
worth more than the traditional "byline".
>> As far as Melchizedek, you are right that, according to Gen. 14, he was a
>> priest-king, a gentile and certainly not descended from Aaron. SO - what
>> DOES the psalmist mean? Let's theorize a little:
>> 1. He (David?) didn't know the "J" story in Gen. 14, which was written
>He had to have known this story, or else he wouldn't have mentioned
Melchizedek. It doesn't make sense to
>say that Psalm 110 made up a name, which would have been meaninless to
anyone at the time, which a later
>writer then had to write into his (ficticious?) history about Abraham.
Why not? Assuming the Abraham story to be MOSTLY creative writing, why
could not the writer have known of a tradition of a Canaanite rightous
priest-king in (Jeru)salem? Look at the Balaam text from Deir Alla. Does it
PROVE the "historicity" of the Balaam of Numbers? Of course not. All it
proves is that there was a Transjordanian tradition about a powerful seer
called Balaam bar/ben Beor, and that the writer (or source) of that part of
Numbers knew of this tradition. Was this a 7th, 9th or 12th century
tradition? Who can know?
>> 2. He (David?) didn't know that according to "P", only Aaronides were
>> supposed to be priests? Was Zadok an Aaronide?
>The same historian that tells us about David's life also tells us about
the hereditary priesthood, even
>tracing the curse on Eli's family to its end many generations later in
David's day. 1 Chr. 6 traces
>Zadok's ancestry to Aaron. The author of Samuel-Kings also certainly
thought that Zadok had a legitmate
>claim to the hereditary priesthood. The story about Samuel's condemning
Saul for making sacrifices shows
>that they knew that kings of Israel were not also authorized to be priests.
Chronicles, which traces Zadok to Aaron, is later than Samuel-Kings. Yes,
"The author of Samuel-Kings also certainly thought that Zadok had a
legitmate claim to the priesthood." But who said "hereditary" or that
"hereditary" meant (to him) "Aaronide". Saul is condemned for not for
making a sacrifice, but for not waiting for Samuel. The Chronicler, who
assumes that all "priests" must be from the house of Levi/Aaron, makes
Zadok an Aaronide and Samuel into a Levite.
>> 3. The similarity to Melchizedek that he was looking for WAS, in fact, that
>> of king-priest. Does that make Ps. 110 Hasmonean?
>This is way too late for the composition of Samuel-Kings or the final
compilation of the Psalms.
I don't think that it was that late either, but in light of the epigraphic
evidence, can you prove that it was any earlier?
>Samuel-Kings reads Israel's history in the light of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy was obviously an addition to
>pre-existing books of the Torah.
Again - I'm not sure. Why could not Deut. have been written first, and the
others a "prequils".
The historic David could easily have known about Melchizedek. The
>Hasmoneans came after the LXX, which came after the writing of the entire
All of this is very possible, but impossible to prove.
>> I don't know, and I admit that I don't know. You don't know either, but you
>> believe, which is your right. But that doesn't make for sound academic
>We ought to believe facts. We have to make value judgments about whom we
trust to give us the facts.
We obviously differ on the "value judgments" that we make.
>Objectively speaking the texts of the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament
are much better attested than
>any other ANE texts that have been handed down to us.
If by "handed down" you mean Manetho etc., you are right. But when dealing
with ANE INSCRIPTIONS, we usually have the original, in its context, while
the Bible is a collention of many-times edited copies of copies copies of
copies of copies...
I'm skipping the part about the gospels, since it's basically the same
argument with different names.
>> Please do not take any of this as either a personal attack or as an attack
>> on your faith. It is all a part of the open, and hopefully mutually
>> instructive discourse that we have come to expect on this list.
>I usually don't take anything as a personal attack, even if it's meant
that way. I have developed a very
>thick skin (or head?) over the years. So don't worry about me. I hope that
what I write will also be part
>of open and mutually instructive discourse.
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