The tribe of Dan

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at
Tue Sep 17 20:19:05 EDT 2002

If you would ONLY believe me

The M'forshim, those who wrote down the Oral Torah, knew SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU!

If ONLY you would listen


Dear Ian,

we actually agree over methodology but not about what one may expect in
the biblical text.

Thus I quite agree concerning anachronisms, but not about the way you deal
with them. You speak on one side about patches and about the impossibility
of agreeing over the original primary layer of the text. I don¥t agree
with you about this.

And than as soon as you get a maybe anachronism you call it terminus post
quem, while you still insist it is all only undatable patches.

> What we can hope for is some external evidence which
> reflects on the text, eg indications of terminus post
> quem, or anachronisms (such as the assumed domestication
> of camels in Genesis and Judges).

What if this is a late patch? Than it is a terminus ante quem, and you
have lost just useless your time with the domestication of chamels. Where
is your evidence against this?

What is this argument with the chamels relevant for: for the date of the
patriarchs, the date of the primary text, or for the last patch?

Is this a post-quem because it is going in your direction?

Well, I would return to my offer: deal with the context first before
picking some odd-looking sentence and declaring it apodictically as
deciding over a terminus post-quem.

The whole procedure looks like trying to adjust French history without
having a clear idea of its internal chronology (call it chronological
scheme so long it is unadjusted with external evidence) by equating a
Louis XI (saint Louis) with some Louis, king of France, suffering the
martyrdrom of the guillotine in a Prussian official source of the XVIIth

> External evidence comes to bear. There is a population
> group, ie a sea people, which settled in Southern
> Levant in a particular era which explains a number of
> things in the text, such as why there was a "Southern
> Dan" and why Dan would judge "like" a tribe of Israel.

Internal evidence makes this text look very different. You can not
override internal evidence by external maybes and ifs and make from a text
of cca. 1240 a later one. These are only ifs and maybes, no evidence.

One can speak of identity only if the same personae, same place, same
time, are involved. Sofar you have some doubtful Egyptian sources, whose
interpretation is seriously indebted to the Bible, which you try to
corroborate with some other biblical text, which you can not date.

The belief the Sea-Peoples called within the Egyptian texts would deal
with a migration depends indeed heavily on the Deut. and Exodus, saying
that the Hebrews worked on the building of Pi-Rameses (this leading to a
date late within the New Kingdom), and the passus recalling the coming of
the Kaphtorites. This all brought together Ramses, and the coming of the

While Pi-Rameses could be a lexical anachronism, like Paris staying for
Lutetia, the identification of the Kaphtorites with the Philistine is on
the other hand a late phaenomenon. The bible holds them in many stances as
different but neighboring nations. They have totaly mixed only by the 9-th
century BC.

The Medinet Habu texts and the archaeological dossier allow also
interpretations other than the migration theory. You are holding so much
to it because you consider it to be a yardstick. This must not be.

> No, you have the subject the wrong way around. We have
> a text which needs explanation. Why is Dan "like" a
> tribe? External data explains why. Without the external
> yardstick, you can say nothing about history from the
> text. All the material you are working on may be from
> some writer's fertile imagination: you have no way of
> knowing without the external yardstick.

You have no external yardstick since you have neither the possibility to
discern between historical and fictional and you have no internal
chronology to work with. I could pick up in your manner some undatable
biblical references and compare them with a contemporary text from the
year 2002, where some superficially similar things appear. It is not
worthy to discuss.

It is obvious you are propagating methods no historian would try to apply
to date Hammurapi, so long the Mesopotamian historiography offers the
tools to date him. There exists still a long, short, and supershort
chronology for him, making each a big difference. This is a pitty, but
this is still no ground to knock Babylonian chronography totaly out and
synchronise Hammurapi with Charlemagne on account of an obscure sentence
out of context (which context you decreed as irrelevant) and reject the
further work with Babylonian material.

Did you know that the Babylonian chronicles offer 3 different sets of data
for the Hammurapi dynasty? I would propose to throw them all away, and
declare it is impossible to work with the data.

> This is a further error. You cannot give a date based on
> solely internal evidence.

Of course you can. I might ask you by which means do you date Cheops for
example? So far I know there is no external evidence and synchronism for
the entire Old Kingdom.

I would still say, you have no idea, what wealth of material I have at

I have various important synchronisms even for the period before the
united kingdom. But so long I am not allowed to date the events within the
biblical chronological frame, there is also no posibility to bring them in
contact with any external evidence corresponding their real date. So you
are trying to block the development of a new chronological theory before
it could be tested in cross-dating.

You can cross-date only in itself datable events.

You are currently working with arbitrary assumptions (I feel so) regarding
the chronology of ancient Israel, and use this wrong chronology to
argumentate against this very one with which you are still operating on
account of the lacking external evidence. But you are calling the sources
wrong instead your chronological assumptions.

With the obligation to accept some arbitrary chronology I would be at pain
to argumentate for the historicity of the Napoleonic wars, so long it
would be desired to bring for them evidence from within the 15-th century
instead from the early 19-th century.

All the best,

B·nyai Michael

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