Is this a rock or not? I Would like to know

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Fri Feb 16 14:07:08 EST 2001

>Well, Gaon was a pioneer for modern philology to be sure. However, Matthew
>was before the 70 AD fall of Jerusalem.

This is your assumption, Dan. You may also find people who agree with you
but, if you are referring to the "author" of the gospel of Matthew, then
no-one knows when that text we have was written with any certainty. When was
it clearly first cited by the fathers? That might help establish a dating
for the text, but popping out conventional datings for GMt doesn't help the
situation here at the moment. I would guess that your pre-70 GMt is a wrong
estimate. I'd probably think *mid-second century* as a good starting point.

>Was he not thus familiar with a Hebrew language

Was "he"? One cannot simply assume the thesis contained in your question or
that the writer was singular.

>which maintained some significant degree of continuity with
>Biblical Hebrew?

It is a hypothesis.

>At least much more so than Gaon, or even the Targums. From
>a secular standpoint, i would assume that while Matthew's interpretation
>Jesus or Paul, as Hebrew Rabbis)

What got put into the mouth of Jesus doesn't equal what Jesus said. You are
historicizing literary figures.

>might not be final, it should at least be
>worthy of discussion. I can't see any scholarly reason why it should be
>categorically dismissed.

Isn't our basic job to discuss what the writers of the Hebrew texts were
saying? How do you imagine these writers writing the materials that you want
to interpret in a particular way: were they cogniscent of the contents of
the materials they were writing? If they were, then *their* message -- as
writers of the texts -- is what should interest us, how it is worded, who it
was written for, why it was written, when it was written. These things come
from the text and the precise historical period it was written in.

>Further, since such interpretations are significant to Christians for
>understanding the Hebrew Bible,

This is a statement of (obviously some form of Christian) belief which will
not be acceptable to all on this list. A text should be understandable when
one has control of all the words in the text and how they functioned at the
time of writing.

>it's actually impossible to exclude them
>entirely from consideration unless the Christian interpretation is
>dismissed/excluded a priori.

How does what one says a hundred, two hundred, maybe five hundred years
later change the meaning of the writer's text?

>If one is willing to discuss the viability of
>only those interpretative alternatives which are non-Christian, then that
>should be one's own, self-imposed decision.

Are we not discussing what the *writers* wrote?

If you can establish some means of making the interpretations that interest
you relevant to the production of the texts under discussion, it would make
your case more credible.


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