[b-hebrew] Josiah's book of the Law

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Aug 3 12:00:20 EDT 2005


I am not the list manager so it's not me who should say what is or
is not within the purvue of this forum.  Personally, I think that
discussions about claims made by the "Insight to the Scriptures"
regarding verses that are not part of the Hebrew Bible should be 
outside the purvue of this forum.  I also dislike the recent trend to 
bring in bible mystery, cherokee or japanese "evidence" but I guess
that is within the purvue of this forum.  Dora's claim regarding
evidence is necessarily an issue of belief.  Dora does not belief
the bible is evidence.  There are many people on the list who accept
that "if the Bible claims X, then X is true."  For those, this belief of
Dora's clashes.  Hence, Dora might have better said "There is no
archaeological evidence Solomon built the Temple."  However,
even those who think that everything the Bible says is true realize
that Dora was evidently aware of the Biblical claim (since it is the
primary source for the claim Solomon built the Temple) so by 
"evidence" she must have meant "non-Biblical" evidence.  However,
if Dora's statement is problematic, so is the following statement by

> The historical, written record claims that Solomon had the
> temple in Jerusalem built ...

It is a written record (and one that is attested only rather late for 10th
century events at that), but is it historical?  This is a matter of belief. 
That the Bible is historical is only one theory.  I would like to think that 
arguing pros and cons of whether certain specific Biblical claims are 
correct is well within the purvue of this forum.  I mean, if that's not but 
"Insight to the Scriptures" on NT verses is, perhaps this forum is not 
what I held it to be.  However, one should always be careful about 
matters of belief.  This becomes hard, as apparently, even using 
terminology such as "henotheistic" or "theophoric" with regards to 
Biblical verses, or even suggesting that the name "y$w(" which is 
found in the Hebrew Bible is  the etymology of "Jesus" evidently clashes 
with people's beliefs.  As such I think we could all put in a little attempt 
at consideration and understand that people write things in terms of what 
they believe.  Dora writes "evidence" refering to nothing in the Bible, you 
write "historical" refering to the Bible, etc.  It would appear to me that 
when the discussion stops referring to Biblical verses or archaeological 
evidence to support one stand or another and rather turns to the personal
beliefs of one or another, calling them (the beliefs and the ones who
voiced the beliefs) by denigrating names, that is when the discussion has 
overstepped its boundaries.

You are saying he hired workers, bought the supplies, etc, evidently
relating to Biblical verses of which Dora would not agree.  However,
the Bible names these months by name (Ziv, Bul, Etanim) which are known 
as Phoenician month names from external sources, while archaeological
evidence shows that Israelite and Judaean pre-exilic inscriptions refered 
to months by numerals (although evidently, there was no problem
with "idolatrous month names" as can be seen by the modern
situation).  This suggests that these names are _perhaps_ references
taken from Phoenician records.  That type of external reference,
which is unexpected and yet fits within the general context of the
story, building the Temple using Phoenician supplies, might suggest
an historical document (receipts from Phoenicia?) might lie behind
the Biblical description.  However, just like you might be satisfied 
simply by pointing out to the logic of using workers or supplies as 
explained in the Bible, it is reasonable for Dora to go on and ask for 
non-Biblical evidence and I guess every now and then the topic of "is 
the Bible evidence" will come up whether we like it or not, but that 
probably cause at least one side to sooner or later move into 
denigrating name-calling of the other's beliefs and will be closed.

So, for me to sum up,

> Dora's statement skirted, if not crossed,
> the line of ideological neutrality to advocacy.

Dora's statement no more skirted it than your reference to an
"historical written record," and I really wish we could discuss non-
Biblical evidence without getting "but why don't you accept the
Bible as evidence" at every turn.

Incidently, the argument was something like this:

1) Josiah is said to have found a book of law in the Temple, and we know 
that builders put law books in the foundations of temples.  What do you
think? [A this point I felt this was too tricky to get into especially in light
of recent discussions]
2) That must mean the book of law is the one Solomon placed there hence
proving that the Torah as we have it today was available at the time of
Solomon.  [From my point of view, this is an attempt to proselytize and I
attempted to ignore it.]
3) But there is no evidence that Solomon actually built the Temple.

This is when you went in and said "More accurately, you don't believe the 
evidence that was presented."  Now, Dora was referring to external
archaeological evidence.  Your statement seemed to draw it back to #1,
as if #1 is in any way a reason to hold that Solomon built the Temple,
even though even #1 didn't state that.  Rather #1 used Solomon's building
the Temple as supporting evidence for his suggestion, so moving backwards
creates somewhat circular reasoning.  I don't think #1 was trying to claim
that Solomon built the Temple because ancient rulers placed foundation
documents in the temple foundations.  So not only is there disagreement
between you and Dora about whether evidence could include Biblical
evidence, but it seems that on this issue you accepted that "evidence"
includes archaeological evidence but rather matched it up with the 
archaeologically attested rulers placing foundation documents that was
stated at the beginning of the thread.  So there appears to be some 
confusion in all of that as to what Dora meant by "evidence" and what you
meant by "evidence" in your reply.

Yitzhak Sapir

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