JEPD Evidence

Niels Peter Lemche npl at
Sun Dec 19 09:21:37 EST 1999

Dear Jonathan Bailey,

Scholarship is not a free for all. You are simply introducing to the field
in a veruy outspoken way--and I am grateful because you make it in the
open--elements that have nothing to do with a scholarly discourse. With your
basis in Germany, you must know the implications of Kant's categories and
the irrelevance of religious sentiments, notions based on such sentiments,
the place of the supranatural in science etc. etc. Probably you do not
understand this, but if this is the case, you have chosen the wrong subject.
In a scholarly discourse, anything that relates to the supranatural must be
left out of consideration. And I do not care whether or not you will agree,
but I would fail and probably any scholar worth his or her salt would do the
same if a student here wrote a thesis and included such ideas as the ones
you have been advocating in this mail and other similar answers to this
list. Try to get focused on the subject of scholarship. I do not want to be
more rude than necessary but a scolarly discussion belongs to a scholarly
list and a discussion about personal religious sentiments and convictions
belong in a religious list where such subjects are discussed.


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Jonathan Bailey [SMTP:jonathan.bailey at]
> Sent:	Sunday, 19 December, 1999 12:53
> To:	Biblical Hebrew
> Subject:	Re[6]: JEPD Evidence
> ---------- Original Message ----------
> >	[Niels Peter Lemche]  In 1998, an Iman gave a lecture to me and my
> >students in Damascus. One of his points was interesting. A commity of
> >liberal Muslim theologians had worked for years on the text of the Qur'an
> in
> >order to see whether it was the work of man or of God. Great surprise,
> they
> >had to conclude that such a text could not have been written by any man,
> so
> >it must be God who was the author. I repeat my earlier remark that this
> idea
> >about inspiration belongs in a different context.
> I will make up a story about a group of humanistic bible theologians who
> set about to 
> discover whether Torah was from men or from God. Great suprise, they had
> to 
> conclude that such a text could not have come from God, so it must have
> been a 
> mish mash of pagan myths.
> I don't know what you are trying to get at with your Muslim story, but I
> will say that I 
> wrote my post to Kirk late last night, and my mentioning of the
> possibility that the 
> divine origin of Torah affecting our analysis of it was really not to
> clever an argument in 
> that context, and I will indeed keep such statements to a minimum. I do
> challenge you 
> however, to see your desire to exclude any religious argument from our
> discussions 
> as really a plea for the universal adoption of the religion of secular
> humanism in the 
> list, and to remember, that though this list is a non religious list, it
> was originally 
> started by Christians, and then joined by Jews and members of other
> religions, and 
> their views should also be welcome here. Now I am certainly not advocating
> sermons 
> out of the OT, but since it seems that the history of the Hebrew text is
> on-topic for 
> this list, one should be prepared for a variety of views concerning the
> generation of the 
> book, particularly since the book claims to be the written revelation of
> God on earth. If 
> you can't tolerate people who are willing to treat the book like the word
> of God, then 
> do not study the bible.
> I am not asking you to reply to my posts or share threads with me. I am
> just asking 
> you not to get so upset by the fact that there are people on the list who
> are not 
> coming from the same place you are. I will certainly not be upset if you
> wish to 
> discuss the process by which primitive hunter-gatherers invented Yah. The
> list is 
> open to all.
> Jonathan Bailey
> Hochschule für Jüdische Studien
> Heidelberg
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