HB/OT

Søren Holst sh at teol.ku.dk
Thu Feb 15 09:17:04 EST 2001


Hi Bruce, Charles and Dave

"Hold the wedding" as Kinky Friedman would say. Letting oneself be insulted
is the second worst thing (next to being insulting) for keeping a civil
discussion going.

And scholarship is precisely that: A discussion. As soon as it stops being a
two-way communication, it stops being scholarship. Therefore, if somebody
says that a certain interpretation of the Hebrew Bible is "proven" because
the New Testament or Talmud or Qur'an (or personal revelations) say so, he
may for all I know be speaking the truth, but he's not making a *scholarly*
statement, because you can only agree or disagree with the claim, you can't
*discuss* it unless you share the person's religious convictions.

Personally I don't see what the fuss is about "Old Testament" - as a
christian of sorts I always took the "old" to mean "primary" and NOT
"superceded", but if it bothers anyone I'll try not to use it.

brakhot lekolkem
Soren Holst
Univ. of Copenhagen





> -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
> Fra:	b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk [SMTP:b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk]
> Sendt:	15. februar 2001 14:08
> Til:	Biblical Hebrew
> Cc:	dependabol at hotmail.com
> Emne:	HB, not OT, please.
> 
> Dear All,
> 
> I agree with the posting regarding the nomenclature to be adopted
> regarding the 
> Hebrew Bible. The term, 'Old Testament', is a Christian theological
> expression, 
> but the OT is a revamped version of the LXX/HB over a very variable
> history. I 
> believe that it was Jerome who persuaded the Pope of his day to adopt the
> HB as 
> the base text of the OT, rather than the LXX - and interestingly for
> reasons of 
> Jewish evangelism, because the rabbinical Jews would not take the LXX
> seriously.
> 
> Thus, the politically understandable, but dangerously tendentious,
> practice of 
> selecting 'our version' to be the foundation for strict theologies has
> produced 
> absurdities: arguments about a textus receptus which border on
> McCarthyism, and 
> in some less gentlemanly quarters trangresses that line with bold
> recklessness. 
> 
> Alongside this I have to Dan's recent statement that the Bible is a whole
> not 
> examinable in terms of Deuteronomic, Priestly, Chroncler or other layers
> of 
> tradition. In the naive world of anti-higher-criticism, opting-out of
> reason is 
> a badge of belonging to a religious body of opinion, guaranteeing
> acceptance, 
> but it excludes others for whom that theological unity is quite spurious.
> I 
> refer to those who live in and study the Torah and Talmud, Qumranology
> etc. If 
> we are to discuss the HB, let it be the HB we study in an atmopshere of
> mutual 
> respect. It was respect that made me, like Dan also in the Third World
> scene, 
> form the opposite concusion to his. I knew that the best thing I could do
> was 
> go home and get my PhD, so that I would be able to teach them how to apply
> the 
> insights which need not kill (whatever) faith but would guarantee that
> they 
> would have the choice whether or not to adopt Western theologies through
> the 
> presentation of an undifferentiated Bible where Western theology was held
> to be 
> a self-evidently integrated part of the Bible text itself. So the role of
> women 
> and the wearing of hats, or the singing of hymns or order of church
> government 
> was all part and parcel of being 'allowed' to study the HB in the
> missionary's 
> theological envelope and world-view - itself in deep need of examination
> as to 
> its cultural neuroses, self-justification and survivalism. Fundamentalism
> does 
> not liberate; it enslaves, manipulating the weak for the mission's home
> purpose 
> whatever other spiritual benefits it seems to confer on inexperienced
> believers.
> 
> Therefore, I am in favour of studying the HB, primarily - with extensions
> into 
> LXX, Samaritan Pentateuch, Targum, Peshitta, Mishnah/Talmud, and DS
> Scrolls - 
> in order to introduce a discipline and mutual respect into our
> cross-cultural 
> discusssion. If we deny that freedom and respect, we endorse that link
> which 
> many Christians, including myself, found it hard to acknowledge at first:
> that 
> between the theory and practice of Christianity and 20thC Anti-semitic
> Fascism.
> 
> Criticism is democracy. You cannot turn it off at tap. Neither can you say
> that 
> non-Christians must be forced to study their literature in anchronistic
> forms.
> 
> So, please, HB, not OT. And let criticism be stated unhindered by
> absolutisms 
> which are at root the desire of powerful interest groups to escape
> examination.
> 
> Bruce Gardner.
> 
> 
> 
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