[b-hebrew] Re: Job & Sumer

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Jun 11 00:21:05 EDT 2004


Once upon a time similar claims were made for Aramaic: it's fairly recent, 
it's evidence that X, Y and Z are late, purported Aramaisms were evidence 
that this or that was post-exilic (or whatever a particular writer's 
hobby-horse was at the time), but discoveries later on showed that Armaic is 
much older than anyone could have imagined.  We have to keep in mind that 1) 
arguments from silence never prove anything because they always cut both 
ways, IOW yes, there's no evidence that there was a Hebrew language 
concurrent with the ancient Sumerian materials, but there's no evidence that 
there wasn't, either, so we've gotten nowhere; and 2) again, we are dealing 
with the accident of preservation, in which some writing materials survived 
and some didn't, and there's no real rhyme or reason to the patterns of 
preservation.  The fact is, the accident of preservation means that, beyond a 
certain point in time, arguments from silence are all we can work from 
because we just don't know what was or wasn't there.  But to repeat myself, 
arguments from silence prove absolutenly NOTHING, because they always cut 
both ways.

On Thursday 10 June 2004 21:02, david.kimbrough at charter.net wrote:
> Naturally you right, the LXX and DSS are not the oldest
> records of Hebrew writing.  The LXX is in Greek.  What I
> said was they were the oldest versions of Job we have.
>
> There is ample evidence that both the Babylonians and
> Sumerians had Job-like poems well into the 2nd Millennium
> BC.  There is no evidence that there was any language
> anyone would call ?Hebrew? in the same time period, much
> less a sophisticated body of Job-like poetry.  Maybe there
> was and we just don?t know about it.  However to suppose
> there was without evidence is speculation.  Scholars have
> to work with the evidence at hand.
>
> In any event any Israelites around at the time were
> shepherds who, according to traditional chronologies, were
> in captivity in Egypt.
>
> > From: Dave Washburn <dwashbur at nyx.net>
> > Date: 2004/06/11 Fri AM 12:26:06 GMT
> > To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> > Subject: [b-hebrew] Re: Job & Sumer
> >
> > Sure, why not?  We're dealing with what I call the
>
> accident of preservation,
>
> > for one thing.  The LXX and DSS were done on parchment or
>
> papyrus, whereas
>
> > the Sumerian documents were done on fired clay.  Is one
>
> likely to survive
>
> > longer than the other?  I would hope so.  Furthermore,
>
> the DSS are not the
>
> > oldest examples of "recorded Hebrew writing" that we
>
> have.  ISTM that the
>
> > paragraph below has one standard for Sumerian and another
>
> for Hebrew, which
>
> > is not a valid procedure.  We have no real idea how old
>
> the Hebrew language
>
> > is, and were it not for the accident of preservation, we
>
> wouldn't have any
>
> > idea that Sumerian ever existed.  Basing such crucial
>
> decisions on the whims
>
> > of nature seems like shaky ground to me.
> >
> > On Thursday 10 June 2004 11:41,
>
> david.kimbrough at charter.net wrote:
> > > Dave,
> > >
> > > Do you really think that a 4,000 year old Sumerian
>
> cuneiform poem is
>
> > > derived from a Hebrew poem.  One Sumerian version is
>
> dated at 1700 BC
>
> > > (Ludlul Bêl Nimeqi), hundreds of years before any
>
> recorded Hebrew writing.
>
> > > The earliest surviving version of Job are the LXX or
>
> DSS, which are, round
>
> > > 2,000 years old.  It seems like a slam-dunk to me.
> > >
> > > > From: Dave Washburn <dwashbur at nyx.net>
> > > > Date: 2004/06/10 Thu PM 05:08:04 GMT
> > > > To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> > > > Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Job
> > > >
> > > > Here's the part that has always bugged me: how do you
>
> know that these
>
> > > > other poems aren't renditions or derived from a very
>
> old Job story?  I
>
> > > > know it's chic to assume that the HB came last, but
>
> I've never seen a
>
> > > > good basis for such assumptions.  For that matter,
>
> why not conclude that
>
> > > > such a theme was popular in the ANE and several
>
> cultures built stories
>
> > > > around it?  There are lots of ways to look at this.
> > > >
> > > > On Thursday 10 June 2004 10:56,
>
> david.kimbrough at charter.net wrote:
> > > > > Chris,
> > > > >
> > > > > Job is a Hebrew rendition of a much older poem,
>
> "The Righteous
>
> > > > > Sufferer" which is known both in Sumerian and
>
> Babylonian.  The basic
>
> > > > > themes are same, a righteous man who performs all
>
> of the correct
>
> > > > > sacrifices and ceremonies falls from grace with the
>
> gods and suffers
>
> > > > > terrible afflictions.  He struggles to understand
>
> how bad things
>
> > > > > happened to righteous men but expresses despair
>
> ever knowing.  A little
>
> > > > > snippet -
> > > > >
> > > > > My god has forsaken me and disappeared,
> > > > > My goddess has failed me and keeps at a distance.
> > > > > The benevolent angel who walked beside me has
>
> departed,
>
> > > > > My protecting spirit has taken to flight, and is
>
> seeking someone else.
>
> > > > > My strength is gone; my appearance has become
>
> gloomy;
>
> > > > > My dignity has flown away, my protection made
>
> off....
>
> > > > > David Kimbrough
> > > > > San Gabriel
> > > > >
> > > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > > b-hebrew mailing list
> > > > > b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> > > > > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
> > > >
> > > > --
> > > > Dave Washburn
> > > > http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
> > > > Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
> > > > is like getting a kiss over the telephone.
> > > >
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > b-hebrew mailing list
> > > > b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> > > > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
> > >
> > > David Kimbrough
> > > San Gabriel
> >
> > --
> > Dave Washburn
> > http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
> > Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
> > is like getting a kiss over the telephone.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > b-hebrew mailing list
> > b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
>
> David Kimbrough
> San Gabriel

-- 
Dave Washburn
http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
is like getting a kiss over the telephone.




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