JEDP (Melchizedek) (JDS)

Ian Charles Hutchesson MC2499 at
Tue Dec 21 11:51:02 EST 1999

> ==========================
> Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 14:33:28 +0200
> From: "Jonathan D. Safren" <yonsaf at>
> To: Ian Hutchesson <mc2499 at>
> Subject: Re: JEDP (Melchizedek) (JDS)
> ==========================
> > >How about the eighth-century Sefireh Inscruption, where el 
> and elyon
> > are
> > >mentioned together? el elyon and el qoneh $amayim wa'eretz 
> are not
> > only
> > >ancient expressions, they are not even Israelite in origin.
> >
> > We are however dealing with Hebrew traditions.
> >
> [JSafren] Biblical Hebrew literature was not written in a vacuum. 

And you can't guess connections either. If you can't provide an established trajectory, you can't use what you don't have. I see no way for you to go from the document you have mentioned to the texts we are dealing with.

> It was
> a development of, influenced by, and dependent on the literature 
> of the
> region. Need I mention the expressions, terms, parallels, idioms,
> metaphors, etc. in Ugaritic which we also find in Biblical Literature?
> The Aramaic inscription from Tel Fekheriyeh has the words tsalma 
> and
> demuta in parallel, just as they occur in Gen. 1, So "literary 
> store"
> used by the biblical authors icluded "merchandise" from many 
> surrounding
> peoples.

You cannot simply assume that the phraseology you'd like to connect to has any connection though.

> >> > Adonizedeq, whether he is king of Bezeq as written, or king 
> of
> >> > Jerusalem, as some scholars have argued, is an early name.
> >>
> >> Whatever he was king of, do you really think that we are getting 
> a
> view
> into
> >> an early period?
> >
> >Yes. The whole picture presented by Judges 1, one of gradual
> infiltration by
> >disparate groups, few and local conquests, and final subjugation 
> and
> >assimilation (but not annihilation) of Canaanite populations 
> is the one
> which
> >archaeology supports.
> I don't see how this really helps you.
> [JSafren] It demonstrates that theophoric names ending in -tzedek
> (Melchizedek, Adonizedek) can be early. 

But you did demonstrate it. You gave no justification at all for assuming earliness for the document, so the conclusion has no weight as it stands. Judges is just as unuseful as Joshua, as far as I can see. If you can make a case for it being not what it appears to be, ie written well after its supposed temporal context, I'll be happy to read it.

> How about Ammisaduqa of the OB dynasty?

Sorry, what's the OB dynasty?

> At the same time all the evidence I have seen indicates that 
> there was no tradition at around 1200 BCE that would support the
> hypothesis that Judges in any way reflects historical situations.
> Isn't Garbini (and others) correct when they say that Dan was one
> of the Sea Peoples? What do you think of the *ten* tribes (note 
> which) of the song of Deborah? This is the work that talks about
> zillions being killed with the jaw bone of aRhodesian trotting duck.
> [JSAfren] You're confusing the Song of Deborah with the incident 
> of Shg\hamgar.

I was not confusing any-*@#-thing. I was showing what the text was generally like. 

> Moreover, the Song od Feborah doesn't mention the classical tribes 
> of later historiography, but several Northern tribes. Judah and 
> Simeon don't even come within the ken of the Song. They may nothave 
> even existed, or have settled, atthe time the Song was composed.

This I agree with.

> "Israel" at this time was closer to the"Israel" of Merneptah than
> the "Israel" of the Book od Samuel.

The relativity of the statement isn't very helpful.

> Then of course we might consider the little
> Adonizedek story itself: poor old Adonizedek says that he'd lopped 
> off the digits of seventy kings -- mind you we're talking about
> miniture central Judea, seventy is really impressive!
> If you want to say that the biblical narrative tends to use typological
> number and that Adonizedek's deathbed utterance wasn't tape-recorded,
> you're right. If you want to deny the historicity of an Adonizedek, 
> then
> it's a different matter. Perhaps I can't prove he existed, but 
> you can't
> provehe didn't exist. There's nothing at all miraculous about 
> the
> Adonizedek incident. God doesn't enter into it at all. You can't 
> put
> this into the same parcel as the Garden of Eden story.
> >> I think it's quite damning that despite the proposal that 
> >> Melchizedek refers to someone from a very early period, there
> >> is no speculation on, or use of,
> >> the mystical personage until Hasmonean times -- and then 
> >> Melchizedek becomes relatively popular.
> >
> >Many religious ideas come into full flower late, Ian, even though 
> >their roots may be early. The Jewish idea of Messiah developed 
> >during late Second Temple, but it was based on the ideal Davidic 
> >king envisioned by Isaiah and other prophets of the 8th and 7th 
> >centuries BCE.
> Sadly my datings of these works are very different from yours.
> [JSafren] "Different" doesn't mean "correct" in my dictionary. 
> It means "other, alternative". Please prove that "different" 
> means 'correct".

Naturally not. But you cannot assume your dates without establishing them. You haven't done so, so they have no value in this particular discussion -- wouldn't you agree?



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