second century etc.

Niels Peter Lemche npl at
Fri Dec 24 04:27:28 EST 1999

the following underlined part was not Dave but me,


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Polycarp66 at [SMTP:Polycarp66 at]
> Sent:	Friday, 24 December, 1999 04:23
> To:	dwashbur at
> Subject:	Re: second century etc.
> In a message dated 12/23/99 9:47:32 PM Central Daylight Time, 
> dwashbur at writes:
> << 
>  [snip]
>  >  This mail is principal in character. I do not say that there cannot
>  > be anything older than the 2nd century BCE. But it is hard to prove if
> we
>  > have no data, as you may see it. the oldest MSS for the Hebrew texts
> are
>  > still DSS, i.e. presumably 1 cent. BCE, or perhaps 1st cent. CE, which 
> means
>  > that the ungoing discussion about the dating of the DSS is very
> important
>  > also for the dating of biblical texts. Whenever we moves beyond the
> time
>  > limit set by the date of the earliest manuscripts, we are depending on
>  > personal ideas, wishes, guesses etc.
>  NPL,
>  Looking for a clarification here about methodology, so hopefully the 
>  analogy I use won't seem too terribly off-topic.  Westcott and Hort 
>  argued that the phenomena they saw in certain NT manuscripts of 
>  the 4th century CE enabled them to place the text underlying the 
>  mss around the second century, based on a number of criteria that 
>  would take us too far afield to list.  Am I correct in understanding 
>  that you question this kind of methodology?  IOW, if 4th-century 
>  mss are all we have, a 4th-century text is all we can discover?  If 
>  I've misunderstood you here, please correct me.
>   >>
> That makes two of us.  I have hesitated to say much regarding this having 
> only recently joined the list.  It seemed that I must have come in on the 
> middle of the discussion so I was not certain that I was correctly 
> understanding your position.  I think, however, that such a late dating is
> not a very tenable position even though I do not subscribe to a Mosaic 
> authorship of the Pentateuch (or any part thereof).  Perhaps you could
> refer 
> those of us who are new to the list to prior posts which would clarify
> your 
> position.
> george  

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