historiography

Niels Peter Lemche npl at teol.ku.dk
Thu Dec 30 03:25:28 EST 1999




> Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
> > 
> > What do you think that we have been doing for the last 200 years (almost
> 400
> > if you include Spinoza)?
> > 
> > Of course I would agree with the gentleman that said that it was
> ridiculous
> > to date the text according to the date of the manuscript extant. But
> this
> > date is a fact (of some kind), and to change the age of the text to
> > something earlier demands hypotheses and analyses, that's why the burden
> of
> > proof rest on people that argue in favour of an earlier date, and if we
> have
> > a satisfying explanation for the text that says that it need not be
> older
> > than, say the 2nd or 3rd century BCE, why should we move further into
> the
> > darkness? 
> Because not all of use consider the explanation satisfying.  There are
> linguistic and historical issues that ned to be done with.  Instead, if
> we (including you) assume an earlier date than the earliest MS, the
> field should be open for setting a date for the autograph.  We then
> should look at all the date, including the language and spelling used,
> and determine what seems a likely date for composition.  Again
> remember:  this is a separate issue frrom the facticity of the contents
> of the document.  
> 
> 
> Ken Litwak
> 
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  What autograph? Ur-Genesis? Ur-Isaiah? I think
that we have evidence that really speaks against the usual notion that there
ever was an old Ur-Isaiah. Even if we stay with the age old idea about the
composition of this book, we have to get to Trito-Isaiah before we have the
book of Isaiah, i.e. according to traditional scholarship the 4th or 3rd
century BCE. At that time, already the first part had been revised several
times, including the little apocalypse, Ch 24-27, and the extracts from the
DH at the end, or as the introduction to Ch 7 (which says that the so-called
'Gedenkschrift' as we have it in the book is not going back to the 8th
century but comes at the earliest from the 5th century--post DH).
Deutero-Isaiah is another case, probably heavily redacted (cf. the never
ending discussion about the status of the servant-songs). So the idea of an
Ur-Isaiah, what is this really? And of Ur-genesis...some scattered mythical
fragments perhaps? How if Cryer is right that certain parts of Genesis are
not present among the DSS versions of this texts--not that any fragmentary
manuscript preserves all of Genesis, but if all of them (accepting their
very fragmentary state) are silent about the same? So was there ever a
pre-massoretic Genesis in the form that we know it. Or what about Jeremiah,
so different in the LXX and in the HB? Which one is the Ur-Jeremiah? 

	We have to distinguish between the earliest fragment of, say Isaiah,
and the Book of Isaiah as preserved in the HB and in the DSS (the complete
scroll). Even traditional scholars of the historical-critical school will
have to accept that there was no book of Isaiah at the end of the 8th
century, at most a collection of prophetical saying of this prophet, that
was edited again and again for centuries.

	NPL




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