Methods in biblical scholarship (Moshe)

Moshe Shulman mshulman at
Thu Dec 30 16:17:36 EST 1999

At 09:02 PM 12/30/1999 +0100, you wrote:
>At 15.46 29/12/99 -0500, you wrote:
>>At 09:18 PM 12/29/1999 +0100, you wrote:
>>>At 10.52 29/12/99 -0500, Moshe Shulman wrote:
>Now while the "Watchers" has followed a certain theological development
>which places the burden of the flood on the intrusion of the Watchers into
>the human world and the fall of man through the Watchers, Genesis is
>offering a different paradigm for the flood: the deeds of the Watchers are
>not tied to the wickedness of humankind, but to their inherent waywardness
>as displayed by the fall in the garden. If there had been the fall in the
>garden available for the writers of the Watchers, could they have developed
>their paradigm regardless?
>The different approach to the fall taken by Genesis explains why its
>version of the Watchers story has been obfuscated. You may like to attempt
>to generate a theory that the "Watchers" was developed after the Genesis
>materials existed, but to do so you would have to explain how something as
>well entrenched as you would have it was completely ignored by the writers
>of "Watchers".
>>2. You posit a 'long' development period for a text. Why could
>>that not have been written for the first time in 200BCE based on legends?
>Please read the Watchers text carefully. We have a layer that has Semiyazah
>as the principal ringleader. Then we have a layer based on Azazel -- this
>is vaguely related to the Lev Azazel material, but in no sense dependent.
>These are different developments. Ch9 is later again, depending on the
>prior existence of the two traditions put together. Seems are quite
>apparent in the text. Enoch is introduced into the Watchers story in the
>third person, 12:1, and almost immediately continues in the first person.

Ian I would say the above is a clear argument to show that the Enoch text
is an embellishment of a smaller earlier text. A few lines in one becomes
expanded to a long story in a later text.

>>4. You assert that Genesis assume a source, and yet provide no
>>logical proof. Again we have two texts, A and B on the same subject matter,
>>with A being short and B long. What criteria are you using that would allow
>>us to assume that A relies on B. Size is not a valid argument, and that
>>appears to be the only thing that you are using.
>Plainly simple. Gen. doesn't supply enough information to sustain its
>content. You may posit an oral tradition, but Jubilees knows the written

Two comments. 1. That a text is short does not mean it is shortened from
another written text. The opposite would be a better argument. (i.e. a
longer exposition being based on a shorter.) This is clearly the case in
the Midrashic genre. 2. Where does Jubilees state that it is using a older
written source? 

>>>>>The interesting question has been asked before: why has Genesis
>>>>>regarding the Enoch material?
>>>>This can be asked the other way, why has there developed a whole Enoch
>>>>liturature around an obscure character in Genesiss. 
>>>That Enoch walked with God presupposes information not included in Genesis.
>>Presupposes what? 
>The reader has some knowledge of what is not said.

1. What makes you think that is a written source? 2. Would you explain as
to why you think the Biblical text would have a need to shorten a story
from a written text, where an oral tribal tradition would not fit just as
well. 3. You also are assuming that the author of the Biblical text
actually agrees with the story in Enoch. What evidence do you have that
they both look at the events in the same manner.

>>>That those were the heroes of old presupposes information, the
>>>non-statement of which obscures the source. Back to the long pre-history of
>>>the Watchers and we find that this is not dependent on any written source
>>>or single tradition otherwise it wouldn't have the textual seams that it
>>>has. It developed on its own. Genesis didn't.
>>You are assuming that the history of the watchers is older then the history
>>of a person named Enoch who left this world under mysterious circumstances.

Then why must it be E -> B, when it could be X -> Y(1) -> B and X -> Y(2)
-> E (Y representing different interpretations of the life of an ancient
'hero' called Enoch.)

>>Now I agree that according to all when Genesis was written was long after
>>Enoch, whether he was a real person or a legend. However, that does not
>>mean that when Genesis was written the author had anything more then the
>>oral traditions he was using. 
>You then accept that there is an unstated tradition behind the Gen Enoch

Of course. Even the most fundimentalist understanding of the Biblical text
does. They would not say that the lives of ancient people like Abraham and
Enoch were unknown, until Moses sat down and wrote about them. I can relate
stories of ancestors 4 generations back, that I have received orally, even
though the social situation now is much different to in those times. I can
relate stories I have heard of people living a few hundred years ago, that
have been passed down to me. 

>>You are asserting that Genesis requires the
>>written text of Enoch (or an earlier copy.) This is just an assertion
>>without facts. Maybe you have some argument based on the Hebrew of both
>>passages. If so present it.
>Given that most of Enoch as we have it is in Geez, hardly from the Hebrew.
>We merely have enough Hebrew to show that most of Enoch as we know it today
>was found at Qumran with the exception of the Similitudes and that the
>Astronomical book was more extensive than the version we have today.

I think that there is enough in Qumran to make such research possible. Is
there a relationship between the style of Hebrew in the Q Enoch and the
Biblical Hebrew or is it written in the Hebrew of other sectarian documents?

moshe shulman mshulman at    718-436-7705
CHASSIDUS.NET - Yoshav Rosh  
Outreach Judaism             
ICQ# 52009254

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