Background

Bruce Gardner b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk
Sun Feb 11 14:58:27 EST 2001


Dear Friends,
                      Following my remarks on Hebrew Bible [HB] redactional 
growth, while I do not wish to abuse the list, I think it may be useful 
background to mention that what I say about the Priestly Tradition is 
exemplified in my forthcoming book on Genesis 1-11.  In it, I reveal the 
covert, hieratic style of P's writings, and specifically the inclusion of 
sacred calendars hidden in the HB text (MT) but, typically for ANE hieratic 
elites, kept from the laity's understanding.

In this hieratic secrecy we see an original example of the familiar 
contrast between nistar and nigleh, i.e. that which is revealed and that 
which is hidden. I give full details of the calendars: in fact, they are 
parallel luni-solar, solar and sabbatarian schemes incorporating a clear 
dimension for mishmarot (1 Chron 24:7f). in other words, as the perceptive 
will already have gleaned, they are the forerunners of the tradition of the 
Qumran Cave Four scrolls 4Q320-330.  This is not fantasy or 'breaking the 
Scripture' it is merely seeing what is there for (now) anyone to see.

My book, The Genesis Calendar: The Synchronistic Tradition in Genesis 1-11 
(University Press of America, Lanham, MD, April, 2001) shows post-exilic 
Priestly tradition deliberately manipulating numbers and names for the 
purpose of giving a paradigmatic (i.e. festal) shape to community history, 
in a way that is quite foreign to Greek annalistic history, and so 
completely contradictory to ideas of truth derived from such a simplex 
approach to biblical tradition. As with the D tradition in the HB, and the 
Pauline corpus in the NT, some have tended to adopt, and apply across the 
board, a view of historicity which is not feasible in all cases. The HB is 
a multi-layered tradition and requires sensitive, intelligent surgery for 
each redactional layer; the old simplistic historicism just does not cut it 
any more: pure historicity is 'history' (or toast).

If anyone wants more detail about the book, just ask me at 
b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk and I will send the information. In any case, 
monolithic historicist religion has just received a body blow and we now 
have to open up the storm doors and talk to Jews about progression and 
tradition in light of a new discovery, which I have had the good fortune to 
make, where a man who was devoted to the truth may well have invented a 
story that Methuselah lived for 969 years. If we cannot accommodate this 
strange new fact in a multiplex approach to truth, we will have failed the 
test of history with an inattention to truth itself, because God, it seems, 
is not a historicist.

Sorry to add this so soon after my last post but I thought this news was 
well worth giving out.

Cheers,

Bruce.



------------
Bruce Gardner
b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk
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