historiography

Jim West jwest at Highland.Net
Wed Dec 29 09:52:30 EST 1999


At 04:20 AM 12/29/99 -0800, you wrote:

>
>I don't understand how you can assign a burden of proof here for one
>position over another.  

Because those who wish to posit the existence of something before there is
any evidence for that something are obliged to show by weight of evidence
that it did exist before there is a trace of it.

>It seems to me that if a manuscript purports to be
>from a certain time period, the burden of proof must lie in disproving that
>statement,

So if a ms purports to be from say Moses, you believe the burden to
demonstrate otherwise rests on those who question Mosaic authorship?  I say
the opposite is true- those who support Mosaic authorship are obliged to say
WHY they accept the notion.  In court, one must PROVE one's case and not
merely state it.

> or at least equal weight must be given to the actual words of the
>text as is given to the date of extant manuscripts.  Historically, documents
>we now label pseudepigraphic only became that way because the manuscripts
>were proven to be not what they claimed to be.  In other words the burden of
>proof lay in disproving the claims of the text.  This approach to me seems
>to have just as much merit as your approach.

I disagree.  When one assumes authorship or time of origin he or she is
obliged to say why he is convinced of that position.  Those who look to hard
evidence (like an actual manuscript) have the benefit of real evidence and
not mere supposition or the acceptance of a traditional understanding.
Exodus, for example, may have existed before the 2nd century BCE- but
without ms support that is a mere supposition and those claiming otherwise
are obligated to offer proof.  

Best,

Jim
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jim West, ThD
jwest at highland.net
http://web.infoave.net/~jwest





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