Methods in biblical scholarship

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Tue Dec 28 01:00:37 EST 1999

>>Did Isaiah who was an adult during the time of Ahaz also write about
>>PK: You are presupposing that predictive prophecy is impossible.
>I'm presupposing that a prophecy had a context. Aren't you?
>PK: I can think of all sorts of reasons why Isaiah might have wanted 
>to give the name of the predicted liberator, not the least being that 
>it would validate his prophecy when it came true. But then, if I could 
>answer this question satisfactorily, would you accept this as 
>predictive prophecy?

If Isaiah was around before the fall of Samaria, 

>>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??
>>PK: Same again.
>You can't riggle here. The 165 BCE is rather ironclad, unless you want to 
>argue for a predictive prophecy that is correct about Antiochus IV up to 
>but not including his death, for at that stage the "prophecy" goes quite 
>PK: How can you be so sure that the events prophesied, or related, in 
>Daniel correspond with events before 165 BCE when you have almost no 
>reliable datable evidence for what those events might have been?

Polybius, Josephus, 2 Macc, various other historical sources. The events of
chapter 11 up to about v30 can be demonstrated easily. I've dealt
informally with some of the historical information in Dan11 on my website:

>>As NPL pointed out Samuel died in 1Sam25, so did he also report his own 
>>PK: Who before NPL has ever claimed that Samuel did write the books of 
>So Samuel is another pseudepigraphic work, like Enoch, right?
>PK: No, because "pseudepigraphic" means that the book contains within 
>its text a false attribution of authorship. Samuel was merely given a 
>name, which was probably never intended to suggest authorship.

OK, pseudonymous, like Jubilees, also misclassified as pseudepigraphic
(though one might wonder about the significance of "the book of Samuel the
Seer"). Nevertheless, would you like to contemplate a single author who
wrote in one chapter that Saul, after failing to get his armour-bearer to
kill him, finally kills himself and is followed by the armour-bearer in
death, wrote in the chapter immediately following that Saul was killed by a
just happened to be there resident alien Amalekite stranger who came and
told David and who David in turn immediately killed? Would the same writer
have forgotten that David killed Goliath and go on to say that El-hanan son
of Ja'are-oregim actually killed Goliath? Perhaps our writer was only a
redactor or rewriter writing a long time after the events and drawing on
written sources that had developed dealing with the deaths of Goliath and
Saul. The Davidic materials at the end of 2Sam have all the appearance of
early traditions that a redactor had come across after the writing of the
main body of work and stuck the material on at the end -- especially when
you consider that the immediately prior material in 2Sam23 gives us the
*last words* of David.

>>>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?
>>PK: Yes: the hand of a skilled writer who knew how his own language 
>>worked much better than you or me.
>This doesn't seem like a better explanation, just dogma unfortunately. Try 
>it with Abram and Sarai in Egypt, or Abraham and Sarah in Gerar, or Isaac 
>and Rebekah in Gerar.
>PK: I could say exactly the same about the DH explanation. For this 
>triplet, as I said recently on this list, I guess that the author was 
>trying to make the point of how some people never learn their lessons.

What lessons do you get out of this story told three times, Peter? That it
was ok for patriarchs to lie and gain from their lying? It's incredible to
me that you take this attitude to the story in its three guises. But then
I'd read the above as you admitting between the lines that you don't take
the information as having actually happened, if it is only an "author"
trying to make a point.

>>Plus some cases in which history
>>actually came close to repeating itself - that does happen, you know.
>I can see you're a gambling man.
>PK: No, though with a cert like this one I would be tempted.

Certifiable, for sure. Abraham doesn't remember having done the same thing
in Egypt as he is about to try in Gerar? Perhaps he remembers, but doesn't
remember the consequences? Or perhaps he remembers even the consequences,
"hey pass off my wife as my sister and I'll get all sorts of goodies out of
these rascals when they find out what they were actually doing just like
what happened with pharaoh"? But then, this ruse was originally an attempt
at safety (just as it was for Isaac).



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