[b-hebrew] repost of full question
torythrp at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 23 04:14:04 EDT 2008
--- K Randolph <kwrandolph at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I did not say, not to discuss dates, rather not to
> argue about them. For
> example, was Daniel written by an official in the
> court of Nebuchadnezzar,
> or was it written about 150 BC? I and some others
> take the former, others on
> this list insist on the latter: therefore we have
> made a gentleman's
> agreement to disagree, and not to argue about dates.
You said "arguing dates is off list for this group"
which sounds like something a moderator would say if
arguing dates related to the composition of a Jewish
authored text in biblical Hebrew or Aramaic was
against list rules. If all it is is a gentleman's
agreement between you and some others here, then you
and the others should opt not to participate in the
> > Of course historians are not good scientists.
> Historians study
> the unobservable past by analyzing surviving
> records, while science is based
> on observing the present.
I have no idea what you mean. Science also studies the
unobservable past by analyzing surviving records, i.e.
> > > To sum up: while there is a scholarly consensus,
> > > must recognize that it
> > > is based on a certain amount of guesswork,
> > > guesses, but fuzzy
> > > enough that one cannot use that scholarly
> > > dogmatically.
> > >
> > > Karl W. Randolph
> > Yes we can. In scholarship we can continue to
> speak in dogmatic terms
> > until the situation changes, and until the balance
> of probability shifts.
> This attitude has brought much disrepute to
> scholarship. If scholars were
> humble and admitted that there's a certain amount of
> uncertainty, then what
> is dogmatically said will be more believable.
A good scholar is dogmatic about where the balance of
probability lies. He or she is not trying to win a
believability contest. If the balance of probability
should favor a hard to believe theory the good scholar
is dogmatic about the harder theory because that is
where the evidence points.
> > There is evidence the earth is flat, and that is
> why people believed it to
> > be flat
> > for many years; but there is now more and better
> evidence to say it is
> > round. Nothing wrong with being dogmatic about
> This is a bad example. Ptolomy, if I remember
> correctly, about 50 BC
> measured the circumference of the earth, and was not
> far off.
If you misunderstood the example that doesn't make it
bad. I said the reason people believed in a flat earth
was because of evidence it was flat; it looks flat to
the naked eye and is flat for many miles from any
given location. I didn't say everyone endorsed the
interpretation of the evidence provided by the naked
eye. But since a good many people before the 4th
century BCE had just this evidence to go by and not
much else, to say they shouldn't have been dogmatic
about the earth being flat despite the evidence
available to them is like faulting them for not having
a sixth sense, or for not being as wise as Ptolemy, or
for not having read certain parts of the Jewish Bible,
etc. Also, Ptolemy did not live in 50 BCE or even
"about 50 BC"E.
> > It does not matter how many holes exist in a
> current consensus. What
> > matters, and what makes a consensus a consensus,
> is that it has to have
> > fewer holes than any alternatives. If you think
> you may have an idea with
> > fewer holes, publish it, explain why it is better
> > the existing consensus, and yours may well become
> the new consensus.
> > Do I need go beyond a mention of David Rohl, Peter
> James and others, whose
> works are being bitterly opposed by the consensus?
> Their data has fewer
> holes than the consensus.
No I can assure you their data does not have fewer
holes. They have simply substituted old and well-known
problems for newer and more problems created by their
own theories. That's why their views have so far been
unable to dethrone the reigning consensus among
scholars. And being unable to unseat the consensus
view does not mean the consensus view is correct or
flawless. It just means, as I have said, that the
balance of the evidence to-date does not point as
strongly in another direction. But that may change.
The good news is that change and shifts in our
understanding are not dependent on scholars armed with
a consensus keeping an open mind. When facts speak
even the gods will be silent.
More information about the b-hebrew