[b-hebrew] theories and standards
kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon May 18 15:16:35 EDT 2009
On Mon, May 18, 2009 at 10:04 AM, Gabe Eisenstein <gabe at cascadeaccess.com>wrote:
> Dave Washburn wrote:
> "I'm not sure how you got to the idea that this theory requires all of
> these things, but it doesn't. There's nothing implicit in what
> language the earliest records were kept in, or even what was the "mother
> of all languages." The age of the earth has nothing whatsoever to do
> with it. We're talking about a literary theory related to structure and
> genre, nothing more."
> [end Dave]
> You're right, I was assuming that the theory took the words in Genesis
> to have been written by Adam, Noah, et.al. as is; I didn't consider that
> they might be translations. (Never mind that this alternative raises
> more problems than it solves.)
> No, the theory merely *implies* it.
There are different responses to the theory, two of which I consider
plausible: the story in Genesis is a pious fraud foisted on a credulous
people starting shortly before the Babylonian Exile, continuing into the
post Exile age (Documentary Hypothesis); or it is a true history (which is
the point of view I take). A third option, that the words don’t mean what
they mean I consider incoherent.
> But if the theory isn't saying that Adam, the first man, wrote about his
> life, then I have misunderstood it completely.
No you haven’t misunderstood it.
> Maybe it's just saying
> that the fictional account was written in the Bronze Age.
The usual answer (which I reject) is that the fictional account was written
much, much later.
> But then
> what's this talk about "the earliest records"? And why did Karl analyze
> the various sections according to the viewpoints of their "authors"? Is
> it only that the real author arranged the text so that it fit the
> viewpoints of the fictional narrators?
> Karl seemed to me to be saying that Adam and Noah, real people, wrote
> true accounts (which, as we know from Karl's other writings, he thinks
> were edited by Moses, another real person). And the accounts imply that
> the first humans lived in what we call the Bronze Age. (They also seem
> to imply that the earth was created in the Bronze Age, but maybe you can
> get out of that with long primordial "days".) From this it seems to
> follow that language (and humans) spread from the Middle East to Europe,
> Asia and the Americas in a very short time -- or more generally, that no
> human cultures existed before the Bronze Age.
> What struck me was that you can study history going back to the Stone
> Age, or you can read the Bible in isolation as a self-consistent true
> account, but you can't mix the two together without becoming incoherent.
> Much of what is claimed to be history really isn’t. Strictly speaking,
history are the events recorded in writing. The Bible claims to have
preserved the most ancient of records. As for pre-history, when did that
occur? Did it occur? Is there such a thing as pre-history? There is no way
we can tell for certain.
There is even a lot of uncertainty concerning recorded history as to its
accuracy. That’s at the heart of my disagreement with Jim Stinehart, that
his beloved Thutmosis III best fits the historical record for late 10th
century BC, not for when he believes it happened. And that is just one
I happen to trust that the Bible gives an accurate account of history, other
people say it is fiction. To each his own. We are here to discuss the
language, not whether or not what the message imparted by the language is
true or fiction.
> Gabe Eisenstein
> Karl W. Randolph.
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