Question Concerning Inspiration (was Joe)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sat Dec 9 19:34:52 EST 2000

>>That is why I am citing texts. Am I not even allowed to talk about the
>>This is the b-hebrew list, remember!
>Discussing (literal) significances of texts is not the same thing as doing
>history. As long as you are aware you are not doing history, you can
>to your heart's content. When you think for some reason that what you are
>doing is history, then, unless you have changed your methods and started
>working using contemporary evidence, you are deluding yourself.
>PK: I insist on my right to discuss the (literal or otherwise)
>of Biblical Hebrew texts on the b-hebrew list, including consideration of
>questions of historical accuracy.

Insist away, Peter. When you produce argumentation based on valid
contemporary evidence then perhaps you might start doing history as well.

>>[Omitted probabilities]
>>Conclusion: very probably the names of the kings of
>>Judah in the books of Kings are actual names of rulers of at least a small
>>state of Judah, "divided" from Israel. Isn't this argument a reasonable
>Obviously not. It's validity is terminally impaired when you think of the
>example I gave of a book called "Creation", which describes the ins and
>of the Persian empire with uncanny exactness. It has a lot of other
>unverified material, but, given the exactness of the historical content,
>unverified material must be correct as well according to your logic.
>I'm withholding information about "Creation" just as information is not
>available to you for the books of Kings. You know nothing about the
>writer(s), the means available, sources, or the purposes of writing....
>PK: Your statement is incorrect. (I have nailed you down for once!) I know
>this book, indeed I have a copy. It is a historical novel, a clearly
>recognisable modern genre.

Whether you know the author or not in this particular case is ultimately
irrelevant. The situation is what should make the problem clear to you. I
can of course find some piece of literature whose background you are not
aware of and your attempts at applying probability would fail. Surely that's

>Did this genre exist in antiquity?

What's the book of Judith? (Just so you know the genre, the writer talks
about Nebuchadnezzar of Assyria!)

>Given that the
>author, Gore Vidal, did his research well, I would expect that the book
>give a reasonably accurate general picture of the Persian empire at the
>in question, even though some of the details are unverifiable for this
>context, because they have perhaps been imported from similar cultures or
>from a different period. Though I think he projects rather too far into the
>past when he portrays the Jews in Babylon as bankers.
>... This
>lack of vital information should show the total irrelevance of your
>mathermatics. I know for a fact that the unverified material in "Creation"
>is not based on what happened in the past, but your mathematics cannot know
>or show that.
>PK: I assume the unverified material you refer to here is the details of
>individual's lives, rather than the general picture which is based on past
>customs if unverifiable in detail.

It is the series of events which make up the principal plot.

>But actually the situation is not
>comparable because Vidal had access to the evidence we have (except perhaps
>for very recent discoveries) and could distinguish in advance what is known
>today (with which he made his book correspond) from what is not known
>he filled in from his imagination).

The writers of Kings claim to have used source materials. I really don't
understand this attempt to make a special plea for the literature you want
to give probabilities to.

>However, the writers of Kings did not
>know what evidence would be available in 2000 CE, so the only way they
>ensure that their text agrees with that evidence would be for them to make
>it agree with all historical facts. But in fact we find that their text
>agree with the evidence now available. That tends to suggest that their
>is reliable history.
>PK: Suppose, purely hypothetically, that after the writing of "Creation"
>some evidence is found that several more of Vidal's characters actually
>existed. If that evidence was dug up somewhere (and so could not have been
>known to Vidal when he wrote), that would be good reason to think that
>was in fact writing history, using sources lost to us, under the guise of a
>novel - most unlikely in this instance, but such things have sometimes been
>done to get around restrictions imposed by totalitarian regimes, plus there
>have been many novels which are disguised autobiographies.


>>I know it's not absolute proof, but there is absolute proof of almost
>>nothing in this game.
>I think the evidence of a strong Israelite presence at Kuntillat Ajrud is
>close as anything you might want to call absolute proof of their presence
>there, a presence which argues against any notion of a divided monarchy.
>PK: It is evidence which tends slightly against this notion but is very far
>from absolute proof of it.

The absolute proof would be in the Israelite presence at Kuntillat Ajrud.
The rest is argument based on it. As there is nothing to show to
substantiate the claim of a "divided monarchy" and the archaeology of places
like Kuntillat Ajrud speak against such a notion I don't see why one uses it
at all, except for motives of belief.


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