was Michael -- Re: deuteronomy (Peter)

Bill Rea cctr114 at it.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Mar 14 17:18:50 EST 2001

Ian wrote:-

>This is an interesting conflicting stance, Bill. You talk about a
>historical core and you apparently admit that you could not find it if
>you tried. It seems therefore that it is in no sense historical.

Let me elaborate, using Jeremiah as an example. Jeremiah is interesting
because there is a very substantial difference between the Greek and
Hebrew versions. The simplest explanation appears to me to be that there was 
continuing editing of the work over a long period of time. I translated
the whole book while studying it with several commentaries, King's
archeological companion, and a number of journal articles. 

The book seems well founded in history as we understand the period.  A
number of clay seals with names of various officials and scribes
recorded in Jeremiah have been recovered. I certainly believe there is
a lot of authentically Jeremianic material in the book, most
commentators did/do too.  The question is how to seperate that from
later editors' work. Here you can have pretty much any answer you want.
Some accepted only the poetry. But as I said yesterday I found every
proposal wanting. If the professional Bible scholars can't reach a
consensus, it's bit much to ask me to split out the original from
the later editing.

Perhaps our terminology differs too. I use the phrase "historical core"
to mean things actually happened. Take Jeremiah 35 for example.
This isn't poetry, so by some standards not authentic. But I see
nothing in Jeremiah setting wine before the Rechabites and asking
them to drink which would suggest it's some addition by a later editor
for his own purposes. I doubt this incident would be judged "historical" 
by your standards. There is no record outside Jeremiah that we can
use to substantiate the book's account. But who else apart from 
Jeremiah or the Rechabites would want to record it? That's not to
say there was no later editing of that section. I don't consider myself
competent to decide which is which.

Bill Rea, Information Technology Dept., Canterbury  University  \_ 
E-Mail b dot rea at it dot canterbury dot ac dot nz             </   New 
Phone   64-3-364-2331, Fax     64-3-364-2332                   /)  Zealand 
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