Methods in biblical scholarship

Niels Peter Lemche npl at
Sun Dec 26 17:18:55 EST 1999

> See some more comments on this one below.
> Peter Kirk
>         [Niels Peter Lemche]  From the interchange between Peter Kirk and
> Ian H.
> > Peter wrote:
> >
> > >I'm not sure how soundly, that the self-attestation of a book,
> > >its internal evidence of authorship and dating, should be taken at 
> > >face value unless good reason is shown why a particular inaccurate 
> > >attestation has been given -
> >
>         [Niels Peter Lemche]
> > and Ian
> > I don't think we can give the writer the benefit of the doubt, unless
> you 
> > can establish a trend for only one person writing a work in the Hebrew
> > religious tradition. We have a number of examples of more than one
> writer 
> > to a text, so it would seem to be the norm rather than the exception.
> >
>         [Niels Peter Lemche]  First we have to see whether the authorship
> can be authentic. If not we have a different situation. Let's forget the 
> Pentateuch for a moment and take the case of the Books of Samuel. Did
> Samuel 
> write his books?...
> PK: Has anyone ever said that Samuel did write this book? There is 
> certainly no internal authorship claim. Note that in LXX the name 
> Samuel does not appear in the title. So this is, I'm sorry to say, a 
> red herring. The self-attestation of the books of Samuel is not to 
> their authorship (which is unknown) but to the relative dating of the 
> events reported in them.
> .. Hardly as he dies in 1 Sam 25. Then we have a case of presuo-authorship
> in the HB. When this has been established, it is much easier to cope with 
> the rest, Song of Songs or Qohelet or Proverbs (Solomon), Psalms (David), 
> and people who believe in th Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch has a 
> problem because they have to explain why the situation is different here.
> > >and also how a recently written book
> > >could become accepted as ancient scripture. (Yes, I know that there
> > >are demonstrably pseudonymous books from Hellenistic times e.g. Enoch, 
> > >but they were never taken as canonical.)
>         [Niels Peter Lemche]
>         The is blatantly wrong...
> PK: Yes, but not for the reason you think. My meaning was "they were 
> never taken as canonical in the Jewish tradition", sorry for not 
> making that clear. So I am more asia-centrist than eurocentrist. 
> Meanwhile, is there evidence that Enoch was ever treated by Jews on 
> the same level as the bulk of the Hebrew scriptures?
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  
	Jewish tradition. I think--my memory is fading--that even my old
nestle of the NT included a reference to Henoch as scripture, so if this is
the case, then certainl not only canonical books were considered scripture
when that piece was composed. Again, the old argument. The way the
manuscripts of the DSS collection were stored does not show any indication
that any of the biblical books were in special regard in comparison to say
Jubilees. Although Abg, Flint and Ulrich has been able to publish their
first Bible' the DSS manuscripts do not point in the direction of a
canonical biblical collection, so we are back to the rabbis.


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