Dating the Pentateuch- Canaan's Conquest Anomalies

Niels Peter Lemche npl at
Fri Jan 28 10:05:47 EST 2000

> Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
> >         [Niels Peter Lemche]  So what is most important? To keep the
> > biblical narrative or the history supposed to lie behind? You cannot
> have
> > both. If you keep the historical part (if any) no biblical story remains
> any
> > more about a great nation leaving Egypt, and of the promise to the
> patriarch
> > that he should go there and become a great people. And if you keep the
> > biblical version, no history left, only at the most a vague memory of
> > something that might have happened. So no way to exscape the conclusion,
> you
> > cannot have both history and story.
> >
> >
> The Exodus narrative as it stands cannot be defended except as theological
> literature.
> But I disagree with you when you say that you cannot have both history and
> story.
> In my opinion, behind this theological narrative stands an oral tradition
> of
> some ancestors of the Israelites having been slaves in Egypt and escaped,
> with a
> man with an Egyptian name at their head. Mot 2,000,000, to be sure, but
> perhaps
> a few hundred, a clan or two.
> Remember 1 Sam 2:27, where the unnamed prophet says to Eli that YHWH
> revealed
> himself to his family when they were still "inEgypt to the House of
> Pharaoh"?
> Perhaps Egyptian priests? Or just simply slaves.
> The Egyptian background of the Israelites is just too strong to be
> disregarded.
> --
> Jonathan D. Safren
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  Jonathan you are making my life too easy, what
is left is not the story of the Bible but something you constructed that
might or might not have anything to do with what happened, and it is only a
parody of the biblical version, having lost the essence of that narrative.
The same problem arises, when people ask the David of the Bible to be a
historical person. This great king never was, but this does not say that
there was never a David. One David belong to history and is the subject of
historical investigations, the other to literature. You can only mix them
together if you can verify that the David of history was the great king of
the Bible or viceversa. This has to do with categories.


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