The daughter of Jeftah died? (David to Liz)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Tue Jun 4 07:37:48 EDT 2002


>Liz wrote: "When you say "brought together" by a D narrator, who was that
>D-narrator, when did he live, how did he know the story?"
>
>Herodotus and Josephus signed their names on their histories.  The writer
>of Judges did not.  Does that mean that Herodotus and Josephus wrote facts
>and the author of Judges wrote fiction?  Or does it merely mean that at the
>time of the writing of Judges it was not customary for historians to sign
>their names; or perhaps he was a court historian (Esther 2:23) and was not
>allowed to sign his name.

It means that we have a means of locating the writing in time. 
We know who wrote the text and why. By "who" I mean that we 
have some idea of the writer as a cultural entity. By "why" I 
mean that we have some idea of the motivation behind the 
production of the text. It is not a matter of signing a name, 
but of knowing the context of the production of a text. If a 
text cannot be contextualised, it doesn't mean that the 
writer(s) wrote fiction, but that it cannot be treated as 
historical information. 

>When did he live?  Sometime after there was a king in Israel, because he
>frequently mentions that at that time there was no king in Israel.
>
>How did he know the story?  How did Herodotus or Josephus know the stories
>they wrote?  The same way any historian knows his facts: by research --
>collecting documents, oral traditions, and eyewitness accounts.

This is assumption and not dealing with the question at all. 
Why did Thucydides only write about his own era? Or Polybius? 
We know the methodologies of these writers. You don't know 
the methodologies of the writers you claim to.

>You're being too skeptical.  

In dealing historically with a text, Liz is merely being 
responsible. To treat a text as historical, you need to 
be able to demonstrate its historicity in some manner.

>It sounds like if you don't know his name, the
>street address of his scriptorium, his date of birth, and his mother's
>maiden name, you won't accept it as a historical account.  

This is churlishness.

>That's the same
>kind of skepticism that, in a slightly more radical form, is endangering
>the present by refusing to believe accounts of the past and learn from
>them.

What you call "skepticism" is sound historical method. 
Such a rejection of sound historical method is not far 
from the kind of thinking that leads to the weird and 
wonderful analyses of the past that came from such 
writers as von Daniken, Velikovsky, Rohl, Hancock and 
one could add to a lesser extent Albright, when he was 
not sticking to archaeology or epigraphy.

Without an awareness of epistemology there is no way to 
decide whether a culturally recorded past reflects what 
actually happened or is left unsupported (and possibly 
not what happened at all). One cannot simply assume things 
were as a text describes. One often doesn't know why a 
text was written and without that knowledge one cannot 
assume to know that the text was either based on history 
or if it were intended to be taken as such. The different 
approaches to the text we have seen here shows that we 
don't have the knowledge.

Liz's question "how did he know the story?" is strictly 
necessary in historical research.

Many texts were written without the writer having any 
interest in history.

If you are not doing history then there is no need for 
sound historical methods.


Ian


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"I thought love was only true in fairy-tales"
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