[b-hebrew] Job: Who Influenced Whom?

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Jun 11 18:19:45 EDT 2004

On Friday 11 June 2004 10:34, david.kimbrough at charter.net wrote:
> It is important to re-state what the debate is about.
> QUESTION: Is there any evidence that the Sumerian Job-like poems of 1700 BC
> were influenced by a pre-existing Hebrew poems?
> ANSWER: No there is no evidence that any such Hebrew poems existed or that
> any language existed at that time that might be called Hebrew.

No one has actually said that the Sumerian was influenced by the Hebrew.  I 
merely pointed out that it cannot be stated with any confidence that the 
Hebrew was influenced by the Sumerian, any more than it can be stated that 
the reverse was true. 

> AMPLIFICATION: It is impossible to prove a negative.  It can never
> demonstrated that Job was not written in 3,000 BC or 2,000 BC or 1,000 BC. 
> The fact that something cannot be disproven, proves nothing.  I cannot
> disprove the fact that there are little green men living on the far side of
> the moon.  That however is no argument that they actually are there.

Like the above regarding the question of Hebrew influence, this is a straw 
man.  The comparison to "little green men living on the far side of the moon" 
is an attempt at a reductio ad absurdum that doesn't work, partly because 
with Job we are dealing with historical questions that can be tested, at 
least to some degree, for reasonableness, and partly because we do in fact 
have very detailed pictures of the far side of the moon and it definitely 
appears to be uninhabited.

> It can be proven that Job was not written in 1,000 AD however.  This is
> because is evidence, in the form of the LXX and DSS, that in fact there
> were written versions of Job around 100 BC, in both Greek and Hebrew
> 1) Job is said to own 3,000 camels.  It is pretty well established that
> camels were not domesticated too much before 1,000 BC.  Job is also
> presented as being a sedentary individual, not a migratory shepherd as
> would be more appropriate to a Israelite of the patriarchal era.

The camel question has been answered several times, and it's clear that some 
sources are out of date.  More important, nobody said Job was an Israelite, 
and the text never hints that he is.  This is yet another straw man based on 
incorrect information.

Dave Washburn
Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
is like getting a kiss over the telephone.

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