[b-hebrew] Re: Job & Sumer

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Jun 11 10:43:01 EDT 2004

On 11/06/2004 07:26, George F. Somsel wrote:

>This has somewhat puzzled me.  Why would one wish to place the
>composition of Job at such an early date (assuming for the moment the
>reality of the Exodus)?  Even such conservatives as Keil & Delitzsch
>thought the work was a product of the exilic period as a M$L LY&R)L.  Is
>this simply a general resistance which is to be met with in all cases? 
>No JEDP but Moses.  No Maccabean apoclalyptist but Daniel.  No wisdom
>writer of Job during the Exile but Moses?  What is the basis for wanting
>to retroject this back to the time of the origins of Israel?  Surely it
>reflects a patriarchal scene, but this does not necessitate that it be
>composed early.

Nor does it necessitate that it was composed late. In fact we really 
don't know and have no way of knowing - except that there just might be 
some truth in old traditions like the one Tony cited from the Talmud.

If any resistance is being shown in this thread, it is to David 
Kimbrough's unqualified assertion that "Job is a Hebrew rendition of a 
much older poem". David implied that it must be because it is similar to 
and later than the Sumerian text. I and others have replied that this 
argument from dating fails because there is no evidence that Job is in 
fact the later text, only an argument from silence that it is not 
provably earlier than the DSS or whatever. The argument from similarity 
also fails because this may be no more than superficial.

So, Job may be exilic. Or it may be derived from a Sumerian original 
(but probably not both). Or it may be from the patriarchal era, or even 
older. Or something else - even Maccabean. We have no way of knowing, so 
anyone who says anything more definite is simply speculating, or 
repeating old speculations.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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