Methods in biblical scholarship (Peter)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Fri Dec 31 13:47:33 EST 1999

Dear Peter,

This is getting worse. You go from sad to sadder with your third attempt to
explain away the conflict in accounts of Saul's death. This time you say
forget about the writer's understanding of the situation totally, forget
the cohesion in verses 6 & 7 totally as they were not part of the assumed
"eye witness account" (you wanna justify that enormous assumption?) you
have created out of the passage, forget the structure of the passage from
v1 to v7. The writer didn't know at the time of writing that when he said
that Saul died in v5 he hadn't, but in v6 he had.

The reason that the narrator supplies for Saul's desire to end his life is
that he had been badly wounded by Philistine arrows (v3) as he was unable
to flee from the inevitable mockery of the Philistines if he remained
alive. He was dying at this point. What textual clues have you got that
when v5 indicates

                         KIY M"T $F)UWL

that it doesn't mean what it does in other cases?

You go on, with accomplices, to postulate that the text has been translated
badly on what seems to be a conclusion-driven analysis of the text. This is
not scholarship. This is will to believe taken to an extreme. Three
attempts -- the first based on not reading the text, the second on
manipulating the telling, and the third an attempt on a philological level
to change the meaning -- have all failed and leave us asking for a fourth
that might actually deal with the text. Here is part of your third attempt
(re Gen 50:15, 1Sam25:39):

  The difference in both of these cases [from that in 1Sam:31:5]
  is that the narrative has already stated that the person in
  question has died (Gen 49:33, 1 Sam 25:38).

You believe somehow that the same forms mean something different; you
invent an unstated anaphoric reference necessary to make the verbform
indicate the complete act in the examples I gave. Obviously the specific
text in consideration doesn't help you at all. What I'd like from you is
some linguistic clue that might cause you to go against the flow and
postulate a reading that is seemingly unsupported from elsewhere regarding
the same verb.

  This is not actually stated in 1 Samuel 31:4-5 - especially 
  if M"T may be a participle not a QATAL form, as Dave has 
  pointed out.

It might be interesting to see a few examples of this hypothesized
participle from elsewhere in the OT/HB. (-:

Isn't it time, Peter, to face the fact that we have two *written* sources
that an editor of Samuel has used?



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