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

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Thu Aug 4 07:33:08 EDT 2005

Karl, I felt that regarding much of what you wrote, I disagreed on every
other sentence, but on very small issues that are technicalities.  So I'd
rather not discuss them.  Instead, I'd just like to point out that you 
interpret the word "evidence" one way (the Bible is evidence) while I
interpret evidence as another way (the Bible is either evidence but only in 
the absence of any a priori claims as to the Temple, its existence, or its 
founder, or the Bible claims the Temple was built by Solomon and then the 
Bible is by definition not evidence because it is the one making the claim, 
and evidence is external information brought in to support that claim).  
Similarly, there are disagreements on the meaning of the word "historical."
That is, there are nuances of the meaning of these words on which we 
apparently take different sides.

Karl Randolph wrote:
> > 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
> Exodus also mentions the month Abib.

Abib is probably not a Phoenician month name.  Phoenician month 
names are known: "From the last centuries [B.C.E.] most of the months 
of the Phoenician calendar are attested in Semitic inscriptions from Sidon,
Kition, Idalion, Tamossos, Larnax Lapethos, Pyrgi, and Carthage: yrx
bl, yrx mp), yrx mrp), yrh zbx$m$, yrh )tnm, yrx p(lt, yrx krr, yrx zhx,
and yrx xyr."  [The Cultic Calendars of the ANE, Mark Cohen, p. 384]
As you can see, both Bul and Etanim are attested here.  In various
Judaean inscriptions such as the Arad ostraca, we find numeric 
references to months.  The argument went something of the form:
Since month names are numeric in pre-exilic Judaean inscriptions, 
and since the mentioned months are Phoenician, the mention of 
Phoenician month names in context with Phoenician building activity
in the Temple suggests that some historical source is indeed behind
the Temple building description.  Abib is probably not a Phoenician 
month name, but Ziv probably is, while both are not attested.  However,
the main point is not that the Bible mentions other month names but 
that these month names are matched up against specific epigraphic
evidence.  Note, however, that I don't specifically claim any knowledge
of what this source contained.  I suggested it could be a receipt from
Phoenicia to illustrate just how little it could be.

> > 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.
> >
> You know I don't do that. This is a red herring.

I didn't mean to say you did.  It definitely looks like it sounded way,
so I'm sorry.

Yitzhak Sapir

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