Cause he said so

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Sat Sep 9 23:12:02 EDT 2000

OK, Liz. Let's test the hypothesis "the DH is an adequate description of the
origin of the Pentateuch" against the hypothesis "the DH is not an adequate
description...", rather than against the straw man hypothesis, which no one
seems to want to defend, that "Moses wrote the entire Pentateuch". Or we can
look at smaller units if you wish. But in each case we need to test
hypotheses against reasonable alternatives, including the hypothesis that we
don't know the answer, not against straw men.

By the way, if you refer to the book of Isaiah does that imply that you are
proposing (or even believe) that one man Isaiah wrote the whole of that
book? Not necessarily. By the same argument, when Jesus spoke of the books
of Moses that does not necessarily imply that he was proposing that Moses
wrote the whole Pentateuch, nor even that he believed it. So no Christian
should feel obliged to hold to a hypothesis which is actually contradicted
by the internal evidence, at least in Deut. 34.

Peter Kirk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Liz Fried" <lizfried at>
To: "Peter Kirk" <Peter_Kirk at>; "Biblical Hebrew"
<b-hebrew at>
Sent: Saturday, September 09, 2000 12:21 PM
Subject: RE: Cause he said so

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Peter Kirk [mailto:Peter_Kirk at]
> > Sent: Saturday, September 09, 2000 1:24 PM
> > To: Biblical Hebrew
> > Subject: Re: Cause he said so
> >
> >
> > LMB,
> >
> > It is customary to consider each hypothesis on its own merits rather
> > only by comparison with alternative hypotheses. So it is quite proper to
> > examine your hypothesis in detail, with every possible test, apart from
> > looking at any alternatives.
> >
> > Suppose you were accused of a serious crime that was otherwise unsolved.
> > Would you be happy to be convicted on the grounds that you had
> > failed to pin
> > the blame convincingly on anyone else?
> Not to nit-pick, but to clarify matters,
> all hypotheses are examined against alternatives.
> Often the alternative is simply the null hypothesis,
> i.e., the hypothesis that A committed the crime is
> tested against the null hypothesis that A did not commit the crime.
> A hypothesis is never tested by itself, that is not
> hypothesis testing. You can test each candidate for
> authorship against a null if you wish.
> Test H1. Moses wrote it against the null that he didn't.
> What is the evidence that Moses wrote it anyway???
> How did that tradition start?
> Test H2. One person wrote the story of Noah against
> the null that more than one (at least 2) wrote it.
> etc.
> Liz
> >

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