ONE AUTHOR Monotheism was: "admittedly syncretistic..

Jonathan D. Safren yonsaf at
Mon Jan 28 02:31:32 EST 2002

> > . "The book of Balaam" was a separate
> work later inserted in the Torah (cf. the inverted nun's and their
> midrashic explanation)BB 14b according to the Munich manuscript.

[JDS] You're confusing the Balaam Narrative with the Song of the Ark, Num.
11. There are no inverted nuns in the Balaam Narrative. But "kivvanta
le-da(t gedolim" - the same things that disturbed the Rabbis about the
Balaam Narrative disturbed you too - no Moses, no Aaron, no Divine promises,
Israel in the background, non-Israelites as chief protagonists,
non-Israelite prophecy.

> >
> So I think I'll end with the question posed by Kugel:" Why, in other
> words, did Wellhausen not flourish in eleventh-century Spain?"
> Any thoughts?

Why didn't Galileo, Newton or Einstein? The theological and philosophical
orientations of the time, before the Renaissance and before humanism, didn;t
allow for it, and people weren;t trained to think that way. Even so, there
are notable exceptions, such as R. Yitzhak the karaite that Imentioned and
that R. Abraham Ibn Ezra attacls (though, as we have seen, he himself had
his doubts).
Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College

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