Hasmonean Bible

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Mon Jun 21 06:47:51 EDT 1999


Dear Peter,

You wrote:

>I have not yet had time to look at your 
>web pages, but if the argument for the dating of Daniel (I didn't 
>mention any particular books, by the way) 

No. I did to add a bit of tangibility to an otherwise unfocussed attack.

>is based (as have been most 
>of the arguments I have seen) on the impossibility of genuine 
>predictive prophecy, and silence in the lack of early citations, don't 
>expect me to be convinced by it.

No, the material is not. But then there is a lot more I could add on the
historical background to the book of Daniel.

>You asked: "While I don't exclude the possibility, could you tell me 
>some way of ever testing the genuineness of such "prophecy"?"
>
>Your question was posed and answered by the author of the book of 
>Deuteronomy (18:21-22), a passage which incidentally shows that 
>prophecy was expected to have a predictive element. If we find a 
>manuscript or inscription with a firm date containing a prophecy of an 
>event which is known to have taken place after that date, that is a 
>good test of the genuineness of that prophecy. We find a possible 
>example of this in the Qumran Isaiah scroll which apparently contains 
>(especially in chapter 53) prophecies of the life and death of Jesus 
>Christ.

So, without any firm date you are unable to give any method of 'testing the
genuineness of such "prophecy"'. Can you give me any documetn in the OT/HB
that has such a firm date? ie goes beyond mere internal evidence for dating?

>Meanwhile, if all we have to go on for the dating of Daniel, Ezra etc 
>is silence, e.g. the absence of citations in Josephus, we can say 
>nothing more than "we don't know" in support of the late dating of 
>those books. But I, unlike you, take into account the internal 
>evidence of the books, as a priori evidence that the events described 
>in them actually took place unless demonstrated otherwise. 

Then you give up any claim of objectivity for your dating of a text.

If you found a copy of Gore Vidal's Julian with title page conveniently
missing you'd have to say on internal dating that it was an early work. 

>I think 
>this would be the normal historian's approach to a historical 
>document; 

In no sense is that the normal academic historian's approach. A document is
a document and it's value has to be established along rigorous grounds.
Standard texts such as Tacitus and Suetonius are secondary sources, whereas
the tide of epigraphy and archaeological remains are the primary sources
for Roman history in the first century.

>I suspect that if it were not our history books would be 
>very thin. But then this is going back over old arguments which I 
>don't want to restart.

Fortunately this is grossly mistaken. You should read Cyril Aldred's
historical writings on Akhnaten based principally on the archaeological
remains.

History based solely on texts is an exercise in belief. Though Josephus is
a secondary source for the second century BCE, there is quite a lot of
archaeological support for his information. You naturally know the enormous
lack of archaeological support for the OT/HB books.


Yours,


Ian




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