Genesis

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sat Sep 2 19:01:31 EDT 2000


> Dear Jeremy, I think you should get a different bible.
> The bible I recommend is the Harper-Collins Study Bible,
> it is the NRSV,and has notes and commentary by the foremost
> biblical scholars of our time.
> The bible has the OT, NT, and the Apocrypha, plus maps and charts.
> It is the most literal and up-to-date translation.

This is purely a matter of opinion, which should be obvious to all.  
For one thing, "literal" is not necessarily best.  For another, the 
NIV study Bible has a much broader spectrum of scholars from 
various points of view, which is rather unlike the NRSV which 
seems to have had a definite agenda.  It may be your favorite, but 
to blatantly proclaim it as the best is a vast overstatement.

> I reply more below:
> -
> 
> ----Original Message-----
> From: Jeremy Sasser [mailto:jeremy at fish.pair.com]
> Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2000 10:23 AM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Genesis
> 
> 
> <<n the introduction of Genesis in The NIV Study Bible:
> 
> During the last two centuries some scholars have claimed to find in the
> Pentateuch four underlying sources.>>
> 
> Every *scholar* accepts these four sources in the Pentateuch.

In other words, anybody who doesn't accept these four sources 
can't be a scholar.  I'm sorry, Liz, but defining something out of 
existence is not good scholarship.  There are plenty of scholars 
from all sides of the spectrum that now realize how thoroughly 
indefensible the JEDP schema is.  I would recommend you try not 
to speak in such absolutist terms.

> <<The presumed documents, allegedly dating from the tenth to the fifth
> centuries B.C., are called J (for Jahweh/Yahweh, the personal OT name for
> God),>>
> 
> J is for the Yawist, the one who calls God by his personal name.
> 
>  <<E (for Elohim, a generic name for God), >>
> 
> For the Elohist, the one who refers to God as Elohim.
> 
> <<D (for Deuteronomic) and P (for Priestly).  Each of these documents is
> claimed to have its own characteristics and its own theology, >>
> 
> Each of these *do* have their own vocabulary, formulary, and theology.

Only if certain statements are taken in isolation from each other.  
This is a topic in itself, and the evidence is nowhere near as solid 
or absolute as you suggest it is.  In fact, reading the journals, it 
seems to be disintegrating more day by day.  

> <<which often contradicts that of the other documents. >>
> 
> Yes.

There's that wonderful absolutism again.  And it's still unwarranted 
by the evidence.

>  <<The Pentateuch is thus depicted as a patchwork of stories, poems and
> laws. >>
> Anyone can see that the Pentateuch/Torah is composed of stories, poems, and
> laws.

No kidding.  The key word there is "patchwork."

> <<However, this view is not supported by conclusive evidence, >>
> There is a law of evidence called Bayes' Theorem. It says that rational
> people, no matter
> how disparate their original beliefs, will come to the same opinion in time,
> if given sufficient and identical evidence -- PROVIDED that they are not
> *certain* of their original position. People who are dogmatic, and
> completely fixed in their original position will not change their mind no
> matter how convincing the evidence, or no matter how much of it they see.

The key phrase there is "sufficient...evidence."  In the case of the 
DH, this is not the case.  For views that deal with this lack of 
evidence, and yes, they are from real scholars, check out LaSor, 
Hubbard and Bush's "Old Testament Survey," as well as a couple 
of older sources like Harrison's "Introduction to the Old Testament" 
and Gleason Archer's "Survey of Old Testament Introduction" (dry 
as dust but still relevant to the subject).  Were there sources?  Of 
course, the texts themselves often say so.  Was there editing?  Of 
course.  One need only look at the reference to "Dan" in Genesis 
14 to see that.  Is the DH the definitive explanation of all this?  Not 
in the least.


Dave Washburn
http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
"Éist le glór Dé."



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