Question Concerning Inspiration (was Joe)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Wed Dec 13 09:33:10 EST 2000

>Actually, it wasn't so much these if's that I was complaining about as some
>in other parts of your posting which I snipped.

I'm pleased that you find something of note in some of my prose. But why
simply post them, when they have already been posted in a context? I can't
see that out of context they're going to be much help to anyone.

>Especially the following
>from recent postings, which show how you combine a hypothetical if with a
>leading question:
>"If there is no evidence for such an existence as Judah, why would you
>assume that "the six chambered gate would be a Judean typology"?"
>"If the historical books don't have an accurate understanding of the
>when were they written?"
>And here's a double one from 6 December:
>"If there was no "divided monarchy" as the evidence I've outlined suggests,
>then my original statement is correct: <<If the archaeological indications
>have put forward are in fact related to what the situation was, then we
>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.>>"

>In the business of translation, the contextualisation of a text is
>important. Without such aid as a historical contextualisation can provide,
>one limits the efficacy of one's translation work.
>PK: Precisely. That's why my interest in history is not just a sideline.
>However, I don't find your approach to contextualisation very helpful, as
>the only historical context which you allow, in Daniel,

This was probably the only one we had a chance of agreeing on. You
definitely wouldn't accept a post-Josephus context for the redaction which

brought us the canonical Ezra and Nehemiah (and Chronicles for that matter).

However, when one knows that Daniel wasn't written in the sixth century BCE,
you can start to understand why the Aramaic is so problematical, ie that it
doesn't reflect any known Aramaic, especially not Persian chancelry Aramaic.
This is Garbini looked beyond literal (and incomprehensible) readings of the
text and found what was meant in a number of cases in his article of
"Biblical Aramaic" you may have seen on my website.

>is in contradiction
>to what the text actually states (that these words were given to Daniel in
>the 6th century BCE), and as a translator I am bound to give priority to
>text over a speculatively reconstructed historical context.

I can only assume that you don't accept the historical context reconstructed
for Daniel. Does this mean you are willing to accept that the text has a
different context? perhaps one based on a literal reading of the text? which
forces adherents to invent kings, play games with the significance of the
text and stretch times to maintain credibility for such a reading?

>If there is no
>external evidence concerning the historical context e.g. of Kings, what can
>I do other than translate in harmony with the historical context as
>presented in these books?

Historical context is not something "presented in" a text. It may be
reflected in the text, but you need to establish a context before you can
judge the value of what is "presented in" a text. Your question seems to
mean: if I haven't got clues about a contextualisation, what can I do other
than make a literal translation. The expected positive response sounds

If the text does not represent the period it is writing about (which is the
reason why I put forward the evidence about Kuntillat Ajrud and other
sites), it was either deliberately misrepresenting the period, or it was
written well after the period. Both are possible, but the latter seems more
probable to me. This is of course only one step in the ascertainment of a
historical context for the text.

>PK: In the light of your replies to Christine, how would you go about
>translating the books of Kings, or Gulliver's Travels, or for that matter
>the last part of Daniel? Or would you refuse to do so?

The last would be the easiest approach. A modern translation which is not
aimed at mass consumption but at communicating the full range of
significance available in a text should have copious notes in order to
provide as much of that significance as possible, to provide information
about problems in the text. It may get difficult to separate the commentary
from the translation.


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