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

Dan Wagner Dan.Wagner at datastream.net
Fri Mar 2 16:39:29 EST 2001


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Raymond de Hoop [mailto:rdehoop at keyaccess.nl]
> Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2001 02:09
> To: Dan Wagner; Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: Is this a rock or not? I Would like to know
> 
> Dan, you wrote:
> 
> > (1) all the Biblical writers agree on that claim, yet they 
> don't appear from
> > the text itself to be deceived and/or deceiving people but 
> rather men of
> > sincere conviction and integrity;
> 
> Nonsense, you'll find that claim for their writing very 
> seldom. 

Seldom? I already pointed out over 40x in Leviticus alone; we could go
through lots more impressive statistics. The prophets rarely say a single
word without saying "thus says the Lord," "the oracle of Yahweh," or
whatever. Now some books are in fact rare or less, such as the poetical
books & wisdom literature. But we are talking about a different genre. Even
Eccl. says it's given (to the writer) by one Shepherd and should convict the
reader. And 2 Sam. following the same context as what is Psalm 18, and
talking about David as psalmist, says in *historical genre* that it was the
Spirit who spoke by him. I take that as normative for the psalms. But in
prophecy and law, it's repeated regularly that the message was from Yahweh.

> In the NT
> you may find a single claim by Paul and one or two claims 
> with reagrd to the
> prophets. But accepting this claim as evidence is not "apart 
> from reasons
> founded in my personal theology and worldview" but DUE to 
> "reasons founded
> in your personal theology and worldview".

I think you are referring to the specific all-encompassing statements, and
i'll grant you they are few. But my point is that the writers of the
HB--whenever they address the issue--are constantly claiming that their
message is from God. In no case do we have the idea of men just writing
their own ideas concerning theological matters in the OT. (I'm willing to
use the NT to confirm my point, but i'm not importing it. Also, i don't
think Paul or Peter are trying to teach any new doctrine, but simply
observing what is already affirmed in the OT itself. 2 Tim. 3:16 does not
even intended to teach inspiration, but rather *assumes* it, and intends
rather to teach the *applicability* of all those inspired Scriptures.)

> 
> > (2) from a historiography perspective,
> > there is little evidence of any normal human agenda--even within the
> > supposed "layers of tradition"--since the "bad side" 
> (failures, sins,
> > corruption, defeats in battle, etc.) of the promoted 
> hero(s), class, nation,
> > tribe, priesthood, etc. is presented (if relevant) 
> consistently and with
> > integrity rather than covered up as in other ANE literature;
> 
> Tell me about the "bad side" (failures, sins,
> corruption, defeats in battle, etc.) of the "promoted hero" 
> called Jesus.

If you recall basic Christian theology, you should know why He was
sinless/undefeated! But in any case, i assume you're referring to the NT,
not dealing with the historical perspective of the OT.

> 
> With regard to the Hebrew Bible, you do not discern between 
> the different
> layers in the text, for example of Genesis or of parts of the 
> DtrHistory in
> 1 & 2 Kings.

Correct; i don't. I reject that kind of criticism. It breaks down the
literary structure and often robs the author of his complete, coherent
message. I view it as primarily a convenient tool for those who don't want
to accept the integrity of the text for ulterior motives.

> 
> > (3) i don't
> > find the supposed multiple, diverse agendas anyway -- the 
> evidence put forth
> > does not impress me personally as anything more than 
> hypotheses motivated by
> > *modern human agenda*;
> 
> Again, this is not "apart from reasons founded in my personal 
> theology and
> worldview" but DUE to "reasons founded in your personal theology and
> worldview". Moreover, see the comment above.

Actually i'll admit that they are integrated--my worldview, theology, and
scholarly analysis. I probably worded it too strongly, but i hope that if i
set for my "non-secular" reasons you would recognize a difference. I'm
referring on this point to such things as literary analysis as pointing to
integrity of the texts. That's not a mere faith a priori.

> 
> > (4) the unity of the diverse texts as i already
> > mentioned, i see only one agenda throughout--one 
> message--the need and means
> > of human salvation by Yahweh, and i can't see how such a 
> unified message
> > would come from so many people in diverse times and 
> circumstances without
> > some unifying "influence" upon those men;
> 
> Again, this is not "apart from reasons founded in my personal 
> theology and
> worldview" but DUE to "reasons founded in your personal theology and
> worldview".

You're repetition remains without substance. I guess that's my own fault
because all i was doing was *summarizing* my reasons. I think they are,
especially collectively, good reasons, even if each of them potentially has
alternative explanations. I don't pretend to say that there is no
alternative, but simply to answer those who questioned *why* i believe in
inspiration by the Spirit.

But there *is* an amazing unity to the HB, and the works i cited for Ian
will point you in that direction if you care to read them.

> 
> > (5) the uniqueness of the HB &
> > religion in its ANE context--where did such a strange thing 
> come from in
> > such an entirely different kind of world--the moral code 
> (contrast Ugarit
> > next door), monotheism (1 or 2 transient exceptions 
> possible in Egypt &
> > Nineveh, perhaps both due to Israelite influence!), etc., 
> especially when
> > most of the people were not even inclined to follow it?
> 
> Its religion is absolutely not unique, the parallels to 
> Ugaritic, Egyptian
> and Assyrian religion, laws etc.  are manyfold.

Parallels do not establish a common religion! Surely you can't believe they
do. The religion of the HB is *radically* different in its essence from the
other ANE religions, though at various random points it certainly intersects
most of them. 

> The supposed Israelite influence in Egypt is historically impossible.

Not impossible. I'm not saying it's certainly the case, but it's possible.

> Israelite religion was during Iron Age II still polytheistic 
> and may only be
> called monolatristic for a part of that period.

Abraham was polytheistic before his call, and there was idolatry at many
points in the history by many. But this was never the religion taught by
Moses or the prophets. There was always a faithful remnant. In any case, we
are talking about the religion consistently *taught* by the HB, not

necessarily as *practiced* by the populace.

> 
> > (6) the enduring
> > quality of that same HB and religion which continued throughout all
> > subsequent ages unlike *any* other ANE religions or 
> documents (though we
> > have rediscovered some others by archaeology, of 
> course)--here we all sit
> > still disputing about them today! Those are some of 
> "secular" reasons which
> > collectively contribute to my conclusion; of course i have other
> > faith/authority/worldview reasons.
> 
> Again, this is not "apart from reasons founded in my personal 
> theology and
> worldview" but DUE to "reasons founded in your personal theology and
> worldview". In other words, you are not giving secular reasons but
> (historically shaky) assumptions accepted in faith.

So by your "again" you are telling me that my view that there are no other
ANE religions and religious literatures which have remained in vogue by
peoples continuously from those times until now is an "assumption accepted
in faith" and "historically shaky"? Please inform me of which other enduring
religions/literature you're referring to.

Dan Wagner



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