A 'Thrashing' Floor?

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Mar 9 09:56:20 EST 2001

I'm only going to respond to part of this post:

> For other examples of theological history revised from different perspectives, 
> look at the 'doublets', such as the wife/sister stories in Genesis 12, 20 and 
> 26, and Exodus17/Numbers 20 versions of water from the rock. Genesis 1:1-2:4a 
> and 2:4bf, roughly-speaking show the update (1:1-2:4a) of a previous tradition 
> (2:4bf) judged by the relative sophistication and abstraction of the first over 
> the second, with its recognisably priestly concern with sacred numbers inside a 
> universal conception of God as Creator of the whole world (cf. Isaiah 40) which 
> to me indicates the Exile, Return and after, because the universal world-view 
> is compatible with the syncretistic approach of the Persians whose victory over 
> Babylon set Jews (who chose to be so) free to return to re-establish Jerusalem.

The sheer volume of assumption in the above paragraph is 
staggering.  It assumes that people (assuming the historicity of the 
patriarchs, which I do) would never make the same mistake more 
than once, and that a succeeding generation would never repeat a 
previous one's mistake; it assumes an evolutionary model of 
religious ideas which has never been proven, merely assumed in 
such studies; in addition, it assumes that we have the capability in 
our exalted modernity to figure out how that evolutionary model 
worked; it assumes that the biblical writers couldn't possibly do 
something as simple as giving readers two different views of the 
same creation, just from different angles; in short, it assumes that 
we have everything we need to get inside the minds of the writers 
and the characters behind the stories, and that we know more 

about Hebrew literature than the Hebrews did.  It all makes a pretty 
picture, but it's a hopelessly artificial picture that may or may not 
have any basis in objective reality.

Dave Washburn
"No study of probabilities inside a given frame can ever
tell us how probable it is that the frame itself can be
violated."  C. S. Lewis

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