historiography

Jim West jwest at highland.net
Wed Dec 29 15:27:22 EST 1999


At 01:21 PM 12/29/99 -0600, you wrote:
>Niels,
>
>I will preface my remarks with the fact that I am merely a student and not
a scholar
>in the sense of the word for which it seems to be used on the list. I am
also new to
>the list so I haven't made many comments trying to make sure I understood
the nature
>of the discussion.  I will also note that last night while I was looking
through my
>collection of "Bible Archeology Review"  I came across your name in one of
the letters
>to the editor.  I certainly was impressed.

Niels Peter's credentials are not limited to a letter to the editor.  Take a
look at Amazon.com and any of the many bibliographic search engines on the
web to get a taste of his accomplishments.

>
>Let me also say I saw the use of the term "minamalist" (I believe that is
correct)
>associated with your name. Could you explain to me what that term means?

It is a false and misleading derogatory epigram placed on various folk like
Tom Thompson, NP Lemche, and Davies by those who are more fundamentalist in
their theology.

>
>It also indicated that you believe that the text of the Hebrew Scriptures
originated
>around a time no earlier than 200 B.C.E.  I hope this is not a
misinterpretation of
>the words I read in BAR, and in the various emails that have been scrolling
accross my
>screen.

Niels Peter is not the only scholar of note to hold this position.  See
Thompsons writings as well and Fred Cryer's as well as Keith Whitelam.

>
>If we were to place this position in a historical context of the 1930's
before the
>discovery of the Qumran communities stash of hebrew texts that the oldest
manuscripts
>found up to that time would be the basis for our determination of the age
of the
>writing.  We would then I persume  conclude that the oldest text that was
extant in
>that day, the Massoritic text or whatever, would be the oldest evidence for
the Hebrew
>Scriptures.

But even the Qumran texts dont predate the 2nd century BCE.

>
>Extrapulating the current conclusions that you and Ian seem to be making,
wouldn't
>that mean that from the perspective of the 1930's the text couldn't be much
older than
>the Massoritic text (or whichever text was the oldest at that time).?  Is my
>represtentation of your position correct?

Not at all.  There are dozens of mss which predate the MT Codex L.  

>
>I would think this would be a hard position to maintain.

Read the seminal essay in the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament
(year and date escape me at present-- NP will most likely happily provide it).

best,

Jim

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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





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