Methods in biblical scholarship

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sun Dec 26 18:03:57 EST 1999

>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 -
>>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.
>PK: Precisely what examples of books do we have which can be proved to 
>have multiple authors? Or are you presupposing the DH again?

When have I presupposed a DH, Peter??

Did Isaiah who was an adult during the time of Ahaz also write about Cyrus??

Was the book of Daniel which partly shows a date of writing around 250 BCE
and partly around 165 BCE written by the same person??

Did David write all 150 psalms, considering at least one can definitively
be placed at the time of exile or later (By the waters of Babylon...)??

Did Moses chronicle his own death in Deuteronomy??

As NPL pointed out Samuel died in 1Sam25, so did he also report his own

We could work out a definitive list of just how many books show multiple
hands, but these should demonstrate the point.

And not trying to support the widespread use of the DH, have you got a
better explanation for the doublets and triplets in the literature?

>>>Is there any precedent in other
>>>literature of the period or earlier for such ambiguous portrayals of 
>>>main characters? On the other hand, we know that real people are like 
>>>that. So I consider this to be good evidence that the narratives are 
>>>based on accurate reports of these people's real lives.
>>What you expect from characters is not necessarily in any way reflective of 
>>what was required from figures in cultic writings of over 2000 years ago!
>PK: Good point. So, what was required from figures in cultic writings 
>of over 2000 years ago? And what examples can you give from around the 
>2nd century (rather than from the much earlier time of Gilgamesh) to 
>demonstrate it?

It doesn't work like that, Peter. You need to establish the relevance of
the analysis you are projecting onto the characters you are commenting on.
So, it's up to you to do the footwork. And I wouldn't be so quick to rule
out the relevance of Gilgamesh, traces of whose literature eventually show
up in the Arabian Nights. (NPL supplied a number of examples from various
periods including the Troy sagas which show us a range of ambivalent
figures. You might also consider many of the characters in the Aenead or
Plutarch's various lives. But in the end, it's your job, if you rely on
such logic as you wrote previously, to show what was required from figures
in cultic writings of over 2000 years ago.)



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