The daughter of Jeftah died? (Was: Lee to Liz)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Tue Jun 4 09:44:05 EDT 2002

>>>> These are things that can't currently be known, to my
>>>> knowledge, with any certainty.
>> He does not at all argue for the historicity of the
>> material.
>> I don't see that Liz's criterion is an assumption at all.
>> It is a necessity for any historical argument: one needs
>> to know how the information comes to us for it to have
>> historical validity. A story detached from any historical
>> context is, as is, unhistorical. Though this is the case
>> for the vast majority of the biblical narrations, it is
>> only a historical reflection and does not in itself say
>> whether the events happened or not, but that they cannot
>> be used for historical purposes (as claims that they
>> actually happened indicate).
>This is the key, I think, to your argument Ian. You are not in fact talking
>about the historicity of the events described in Judges, but rather the
>historicity of the artifact, the text of Judges. 

Nice obfuscation. No. The text of Judges is one step -- in a 
broken chain -- to reclaim the events as historical.

>The story may still be
>"historical" (i.e., that it records events that really occurred) even though
>it is, as you describe, "detached from any historical context." That doesn't
>make it unhistorical, it just makes it less useful for research.

We are using terms differently. The story of Jephthah is 
*unhistorical* to me, not that it didn't happen, but that we 
have no means of making historical judgments from it, so, as 
I made it clear earlier, "unhistorical" doesn't mean "it 
didn't happen", nor does it mean "less useful for research 
(on the understanding that research means historical 

Think of the situation as a set with two elements, historical 
and unhistorical. Then think of unhistorical as a set with 
two elements, possibly happened and did not happen. The first 
element in this second set may be reclaimed with new data, but 
is relatively useless for historical purposes at present, as 
we have no way to separate it from the "did not happened" 


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