[b-hebrew] Re; authorship (was something else)

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Dec 24 13:36:52 EST 2004

On Friday 24 December 2004 05:20, Jim West wrote:
> To: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] logograms--an ode to Hebrew
> At 07:14 AM 12/24/2004, you wrote:
> >Jim, what you seem to have missed is that some books, although not Genesis
> >of course, are written in the first person, e.g. Nehemiah and the bulk of
> >Deuteronomy (not of course the last chapter), or have other internal
> >authorship claims, e.g. those in Jeremiah already mentioned. In fact a
> >large part of all the prophetic books (except for Jonah) consists of
> >material explicitly attributed to the prophet, although there is no
> >indication of who collected and redacted the material. You don't have to
> >accept these authorship claims if you don't want to, but you shouldn't
> >ignore them.
> But a sermon BY a prophet and recorded by someone else can hardly be called
> a book by that prophet.  that's akin to saying "this book of "bushisms" is
> by george bush because they are quotations from bush.  Not so.  Neither can
> we claim that a book of quotations by Kierkegaard is a book by
> Kierkegaard.  To be sure, Jeremiah contains material from Jeremiah (as all
> the prophets contain material from the prophet named in the first verse or
> two) but that is not the same thing as saying the book is written by them.

You're taking a flying leap here.  There is only one book in the HB that 
explicitly says that a prophet's words were "recorded by someone else" and 
that's Jeremiah, who says he dictated his words to Baruch.  Note that the 
text does NOT say that these sayings were collected later or are a book of 
quotations a la your "Bushisms" example, it says that Jeremiah dictated his 
words right then and there and Baruch wrote them down as he was saying them.  
So this is quite a different matter.  No other book gives any hint that the 
writing took place by someone else after the fact or was a later collection, 
so you're reading that into the text.  If you're going to insist that 
everyone else limit themselves to what is explicit in the text, you need to 
play by the same rules.  To use the American colloquialism, you pulled the 
"collected quotations" idea out of left field.  It's not in the text, so you 
can't use it to back up your claim that no biblical book claims to have been 
written by a specific person.  This discussion seems to have one set of rules 
for one view and another set of rules for the other.  That's a no-no.

> as to Nehemiah- he's as fictional as Moses and Abraham; and fictional
> people don't write books, they are the subject of them.

I suppose you'll say, as before, that the burden of proof is on those who see 
Nehemiah as a real character to prove it, but you're wrong again.  You are 
the one making a statement that is in explicit contradiction to the text 
itself, so the burden of proof is on you to back up your statement.  No 
amount of verbal gymnastics will change that fact, so the ball - and the 
burden of proof - is in your court.

Dave Washburn
"No good.  Hit on head."   -Gronk

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