Question Concerning Inspiration (Bill)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Tue Dec 5 03:37:14 EST 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Rea <cctr114 at>
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
Date: lunedì 4 dicembre 2000 21.21
Subject: Re: Question Concerning Inspiration

>Ian wrote:-
>>To understand a text we are attempting to analyse we have
>>to be able to contextualise it.
>In that case we're stuck. We can't date them with certainty, hence we
>have no certain context, hence we can't understand them. Personally,
>I don't think things are as black as you are trying to make out.

Before a suitable context for the book of Daniel was acertained, the book
had a very different significance and importance than it does today. It was
mainly a mine for Christian speculation, the earliest of which was the
Marcan use of Dan 7:13. It is now seen today in the context of the
hellenistic crisis and provides important evidence for the period, along
with parts of Enoch and 2 Maccabees.

One can usually understand something from most any text. With biblical texts
one will understand perhaps a lot of what's on the surface of the last
redaction. What I think we are interested in is not so much understanding
something from a text, but getting at writer's intent, getting at how and
why the language is used.

>>It's fine and well to do literal
>>translations of a language for which there are still very many unknowns in
>>our knowledge, but what relationship have such translations to the
>>communications of the various writers and redactors?
>I translate quite a lot to keep my BH skills current. Most of the Bible
>translations on the market are not literal in any sense of the word.
>Most are either dynamic equivalence types or paraphrases. Even though the
>NASB and revisions make a marketing virtue out of their literalness,
>it's quite evident that even they do a lot of shaping of idioms to
>make them understandable to the reader.

Bill, you're playing with some notion of word for word translation rather
than literal translation which is based on a literal understanding of the

I was not originally thinking of bible translations though, but of the
individual's work at the textface. Without any of those clues I've
mentioned, the analyst is at the whim of the unfathomed text. This is quite
scary given the holes in our knowledge of ancient Hebrew. (We are helped a
little here though by the fact that there are a few ancient translations
into Greek, etc., to reconstruct the significance of metaphor and other
otherwise obscure linguistic phenomenon, but such translations accept the
source text on face value, as modern analysts lacking context are forced

>>I think one has to deal with when texts were written otherwise one may
>>do more than scratch their surface.
>As you seem to delight in point out, the evidence which would tell
>us when they were written is lost, or at the very least unknown to us.
>Waiting until we know the date of composition before attempting
>to understand the texts is a pointless waste of time. I would
>be dead before I was allowed to attempt to understand them.

If the archaeological indications I have put forward is in fact related to
what the situation was, then we have a good indication that the sources for
much of the material was compiled without knowledge of the true power
balance in Palestine before the period of Hezekiah. We have cut down the
range of possibiliy for when such texts could have been written.


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