[b-hebrew] Re: Job & Sumer

George F. Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Fri Jun 11 11:12:50 EDT 2004

Of course, K & D cite some good though not utterly compelling reasons for
considering it to be exilic.  I see no reason for considering it to be
early.  And why could it not be both exilic and based upon some Sumerian
original?  I think there is no more reason to simply equate Daniel with
the Dan'el of Ugarit than there is to equate Job of the HB with a similar
character in Sumerian literature.  Many times a figure in tradition is
used as a basis for a new composition which may differ in significant
ways from the tradition.  Job was a part of the literary (perhaps only
oral) tradition as is evidenced by Ezekiel's reference to him (Ezek
14.14, 20).


On Fri, 11 Jun 2004 07:43:01 -0700 Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> 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.
> >
> >gfsomsel
> >  
> >
> 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)
> http://www.qaya.org/

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