SV: historiography (Jonathan: was Solomon)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Tue Jan 4 19:31:39 EST 2000

Dear Thomas,

Thanks for putting my focus on Jubilees with respect to the table of nations.

>1) that the table of nations has 'been
>finalised' in Genesis is more than is apparent. The existence of a variant
>geography of nations in Jubilees suggests that we should ask whether this
>table isn't perhaps 'finalised' in Jubilees? Or is Jubilees a potential
>source for Genesis?

I don't think either is the case. A quick survey of the revelant literature
(and I would be careful about quick surveys) provides some interesting

a) order of the sons of the sons of Noah:

   1. Genesis  -> Japheth, Ham, Shem  (+ some further generations)
   2. Jubilees -> Ham, Shem, Japheth  (only to first generation)
      (Ham is first for narrative purposes)
   3. GenAp    -> Shem, Ham, Japheth  ( "        "        "    )
   4. Josephus -> Japheth, Ham, Shem  (Gen. augmented with geography)
   5. Ps-Philo -> Japheth, Ham, Shem  (Gen. plus fuller genealogy)

It is vaguely possible that both Jubilees and GenAp have sifted through
ch10 of Genesis to provide a list of the sons of the sons, then abandoned
the other materials in the table of nations, but it would seem to me highly
unlikely. Let me delineate a tentative family relationship:

                        "Ur-Genesis" (ie some earlier redaction)
            |                                   |
     ----------------                -----------------------
     |              |                |                     |
  Jubilees*       GenAp*         Josephus             Pseudo-Philo

*There is a possibility that Jubilees and GenAp have a dependence one on
the other, but GenAp doesn't leave us with enough material to really
analyse the problem.

Both Josephus and Ps-Philo show a knowledge of the full state of the table
of nations, including the second generation of sons, the story of Nimrod,
etc, though Jubilees (and probably GenAp) shows no knowledge of these
things. One can see a development in the Genesis table from an initial list
of sons of the sons of Noah (as basically found in Jubilees and GenAp) and
augmented with further generations, with the section dealing each son's
ending with a standard closing sentence. (The current form of Genesis has a
penchant for genealogies also noted in Chronicles -- it's a shame that the
early part of Gen is in such a poor state that there are no indications of
the genealogies -- at least that I can see.) Apparently at a later phase
the Nimrod tradition was added along with the Canaan description, so I'd
postulate two steps between that which was shared by Jubilees and Genesis
to our final Genesis. (Donald Redford has done a reasonable analysis of
Gen.'s table of nations in his "Egypt, Canaan and Israel...")

Another item of note is the son of Arpachshad in Jubilees is one Cainan,
who, unlike Genesis, is the father of Shelah and thus an ancestor of the
Hebrews. This fellow was responsible for the spreading of astrological
knowledge and is therefore condemned. Now while I could imagine Genesis
omitting this character, I can see no reason to spontaneously insert it, so
I must conclude that it was likely part of the earlier tradition that was
omitted by the "epitomising" Genesis.

>2) That Canaan is not only displaced to Africa in both Genesis and Jubilees,
>and that both texts seem aware of this displacement suggests to me at least
>that both Genesis and Jubilees are secondary texts drawing from a tradition
>of narrative geography, if not of a prior variant of this particular work.

Again it is interesting that Genesis doesn't actually displace Canaan to
Africa. It naturally lists Canaan amongst the sons of Ham, but I can't see
a displacement story as there is in Jubilees. Going on Gen. 10:15ff there
is no indication other than a Palestinian basis for the group. Jubilees, by
giving the actual land grab, is either adding to the traditions or drawing
on ones probably not available to Gen.

>3) exilic is not a date: early or late. As I have argued elsewhere, we have
>reasons to believe traditions of 'exile' and 'after exile' are potentially
>at play within this cultural world from as early as the late eigth century
>BCE to the common era.

While this may be true in its statement, I had in mind ideas that would be
available to people put in contact with the area of southern Mesopotamia,
knowledge of Ur, Chaldeans, Elam, Shinar, even Arpachshad, as well as
Babylonian creation and flood traditions. Hence I had in mind a time during
or after the stay of the Jerusalem elite in Mesopotamia. (And as contact
was maintained between Jerusalem and Babylon at least during the time of
Herod and almost certainly for quite some time before, the fertilisation of
ideas could have come any time post-destruction.)

>4) What are we dating: the earliest known references to concepts such as Ur
>Kasdim? the clustering of such concepts in geographical histories? the
>latest of such terms (and thus an a quo for this particular geographical

Partially the datings of the diverse references in the table in an effort
to show that the table is a composite with elements referring to items from
different centuries. (And naturally the latest indications do provide such
an a quo.)

>The text as we now have it within the massoretic tradition?
>All these questions are both answerable and debatable, but they should not
>be confused.
>5) dating 'the reference to Ur, etc.' itself implies that we are dating a
>specific literary form of the tradition' and not 'Ur of the Chaldees'.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough in the earlier post, but I don't
know how one could date "Ur of the Chaldees", unless you are referring to
the term itself and not the place. Then again, perhaps I just didn't
understand your point here.

>Dating Genesis or part of it is quite different from dating its contents.

While I don't have problems with the difference regarding dating of Genesis
and that of its contents, I don't see your distinction between part of it
and its contents, unless you're talking of the the life of items contained
in Genesis before they reached the Genesis tradition.



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