historiography

Ruthy & Baruch alster at comandcom.com
Thu Dec 30 02:49:46 EST 1999



Prof. Lemche wrote:
 
> But now, late here, only a remark about Moshe Schulman's methodology. 
<snip>
his problem is that he does not realize that his
> proposal for a procedure has been followed for more than a 150 years, and
> with rather limited success. If he takes my Prelude to Israel's Past (Die
> Vorgschichte Israels), he will see how I present several different
scenarios
> for the dating of the Yahwist, but also that it is damned hard to choose.
He
> is right so far as inner textual evidence is much more decisive than an
> alleged historical background that can only be proved by applying the
> hermeneutical circle, but he is wrong if he thinks that we are not aware
of
> this problem.

I agree that our failure to _prove_ early dating over 150 years invites
other methods, but this does not mean that any other method will do.  A new
method would have to be logically _superior_ to the one that failed. 
Otherwise we'll just have to group Biblical studies with so much else in
the humanities where there is no decisive proof, only hypotheses.  

By the way, as to _The Name of the Rose_:  What will archaeologists say
when they dig up the American Museum of Natural History?  :-)
But seriously:  Forgery and fiction both exist, and it is impossible to
entirely rule out the Bible from belonging to one of those categories.  But
I think that with all the discrepancies between the Bible and the rest of
ancient history, enough fits in that we can say that Biblical authors knew
as much ancient history, language and theology as Eco knew his medieval
stuff.  Information which I'm not sure was around in 2nd cent. BCE.

Kol Tuv
Baruch Alster
Kochav Ya`akov, Israel
 




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