Autographs, MSS and REAL Historiography Re: Methods in bibli cal scholarship

Niels Peter Lemche npl at
Wed Dec 29 18:38:15 EST 1999

	[Niels Peter Lemche]  Well, last mail today, I imagine, and probably
too late for Ken Litwak. I have never -- not even in my own mail -- seen so
many misspellings that it almost make the mail unintelligle. 
> I have some things I want to note about the response I got.  
> .  I have, admittedly, read much more by Thomas THompson that Lemche. 
> I'm threfore representin the view I reaad in THompson and I'm also
> building on what Niels Lemche has writtne in posts on this list.  Is he
> disavowing the contents of those posts?    Just becuase you don't like
> how I read Thomas Thompson or your own posts is hardly justification for
> saying that I don't know what I'm talking aout.
> 2.  The case with classical writigns is no different at all from the
> Hebrew Bible.  The question is, what is the relation between theearlist
> known MS and the autograph.  The question is, does the date of teh
> earliest known MS have anything to do with the date of the autograph,
> other than setting the latest possible date. ?  You didn't answer that. 
> YOu just made an ad hominem atack on me.  
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  I'm so used gto you guys making ad hominem
attacks that I have probably become immune. Nevertheless, the case I gave
about Caesar: Caesar's account (or his secretary's) of his wars can be
compared to information in other alleged contemporary  sources like
Sallustius and Cicero. In together these sources create a kind of network
that fits. Maybe all of this is invented, but in that case it is adaptly
done. We can also go further to a definite 1 cent CE source, the Monumentum
Ancyranum, and see what we find here, compare it to Caesar, Cicero,
Sallustius and whatever other source you have.
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  Herodotus is more difficult, but the trend
sems at the moment to be that he never visited Babylon, that he might not
even have been in Egypt, or had a very badly informed local guide. His
Persian war is questionable, although je was born shortly before the
outbreak. Thucydides can be compared to Xenophon, and other classical
literature, including in some ways Plato. The text so to speak go together
and create another network that could be invented, yes but fits whatever
evidence we find, including art and architecture. In order to maintain your
point you will have to argue that everything is invented by hands living,
say at least five hundred years after the events themselves. You are
creating too many problems.

	I am not going to comment on your reading of Thomas. When he is back
from his break here at Christmas, he might join the discussion himself.

>   Finally, as a matter of ffact, I've hread several anceint authors on
> ancient hisoriography, especially THucydides, Josephys, Xenophon and
> Lucian, but QUintillain is in there too, and I've done so mostly in
> Greek.  What about you?  What did you read in them aout ancient history
> writing that I didn't?  Please enlighten us on whatyou think ancient
> historians wre up to.  
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  
	Although your mail at this point seems out of balance, I will have
to admit that I started with Greek in my Gymnasium, some tirty-five years
ago (3 years with daily lessons in Greek-Latin-French-English-German), and
continued ever after. Wrote my notes as a rookie at the university in Latin.
So this leads nowhere. I am happy to hear that you are acquainted with this
literature. So you of course also appreciate Cicero's lecture on history as
the teacher of life in de Oratore. Much more about this in the Van Seters
Festschrift (forthcoming) and soon in Ehud Ben Zvi's electronic journal.

> I hope it's not that nonesense about ancient
> historians didn't intend to convey fact but just wanted to entertain. 
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  
	I love this..and side with Pilate: What is the truth? What did
classical authors mean by the word 'facts'. Yes they believed Thucydides to
be more 'factual' than Herodotus, and at least two schools of historians
developed. But what was the status of history writing? For what purpose? Did
they not invent? Did Thucydides not compose a speech, he never heard, maybe
from secondary sources, maybe as he saw it fit or likely?

> It's plainly obfious to the most casualobserver from reading THucydides
> and Lucian, for example, that such a view is a modern myth not based on
> the actual data.  I'm willing to discuss this though, but I don't
> suppose this is the place to step through LUcian's on History Writing in
> Greek.  I'mr aedy though, if you've got data on this.  I suspect, like
> others, that you make this claim but can't show me passages from these
> authors when push comes to shove to show a idfferent positoin.  Sure,
> you can point to Homer, but those who wrote aout histoircal method, like
> Lucian, put Homer in a totally different category from Thucydides andthe
> like.  
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  
	Yep, they did. But what about people like Palmer and Webster, not to
say Schliemann, who believed in his Homer like other people in the Bible?

>    As for classical evidence, I can point to lots of alleged historical
> events known to us only from texts which there is no hard evidence for. 
> Since all the classical texts come from the 6tth cent AD or alrer, they
> wree obviously all doen y the same group so of course they reflect the
> same positions.  
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  

	You haven't told me how you will control your biblical evidence, but
try start looking at the Sennacherib episode in 2 Kgs 18.


> Ken Litwak

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