Question Concerning Inspiration (Jack Baker)

Bill Rea cctr114 at it.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Dec 12 17:47:44 EST 2000


Ian wrote:-

>Look at the battle that has raged over the Daniel text. This is one which
>has a clear second century context for at least the second half. The text
>becomes important as a historical document when one sees this. It's
>significance becomes clearer, is easier to understand for translators and
>can be shown to have great importance in our  understanding of the years
>after the pollution of the temple at the hands of Antiochus IV.

While I find the arguments for late dating Daniel *reasonably* convincing
I don't understand why you do. Given the demands you are making of
those you beleive in an historical context for, say 1 and 2 Kings,
I would have thought you would dismiss the late dating of Daniel as
based on mere wishful thinking. To me the evidence doesn't look at
that much different.

Among the volumes I have on Jeremiah, there is one called "Jeremiah -
An Archaelogical Companion" (or something similar). While I am not
going to claim that the book was penned in its entirety by Jeremiah 
(or Baruch) there is enougn in the "Companion" to convince me that
people like Jeremiah, Baruch and other people for whom we have clay
seals with their names on them, really did exist and that the book
is about real events. I fully acknowledge that a number of these seals
were acquired on the antiquities market with all the problems of dating
which that entails. This was discussed some years ago and I was scathingly
attacked by Jim West for being so gullible. But for me the evidence
is enough.

Some 15-20 year ago I thought history had a lot to offer the student
of Bible texts, but since that time I've been disappointed by its
contribution. While you might not think much of BAR, I dropped my
subscription this year because of how little it contributed to my
understanding of the texts.

In another reply Ian also wrote:-

>It's those people who wilfully persist in making literal readings of complex
>texts -- whose contexts (ie purposes for writing, time of writing, audience,
>etc) are unknown --, who don't attempt to give a serious treatment to the
>literature.

This type of statement is precisely why I've come to view historical
knowledge as not very useful in understanding the texts. You've pointed
this out many times, but I see no way out of the impasse within my
life time. I'm not sure what you expect people to do. I don't see 
waiting for historians to sort things out is a viable option for me.
What sort of reading do you propose for texts whose contexts, according
to you, are unknown?

Bill Rea, Information Technology Dept., Canterbury  University  \_ 
E-Mail b dot rea at it dot canterbury dot ac dot nz             </   New 
Phone   64-3-364-2331, Fax     64-3-364-2332                   /)  Zealand 
Unix Systems Administrator                                    (/' 




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