[b-hebrew] Yahwism (was: their altar)

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Tue Mar 8 03:48:16 EST 2005


Yigal,

I have thought of that possibility of "our protector" ($omrenu)
perhaps in connection with the "ncry" of Khirbet El-Kom.  I
think I also remember "reading it" and I have much less
limited sources than you.  But perhaps I am only confused
with the Khirbet El-Kom.  Ahituv in his inscriptions handbook
raises a parallel to Khirbet El-Kom from Psalms that has
YHWH with the verb $mr.

Peter,

I fail to see the relevance of such arguments as the KKK 
metaphor.  Do you intend to try to compare 20th century
literacy with that of Biblical times?  Literacy of ancient 
cultures, most notably, before the printing press, was just 
too different and cannot be compared with that of modern 
times.  Even if your comparison had valid grounds, do you 
intend to suggest the probability of an opposing scenario 
has the same probability as all of American society 
disappearing and only Ku Klux Klan material surviving?  
That probability is equivalent to zero.  It was even 
equivalent to zero during the times when the KKK was 
active.  [By equivalent, I mean within the limits of 
scientific error of measurement].  

In any case, it seems that we are discussing two different 
things.  I am discussing history as it is likely to have 
occured based on the evidence available to us.  Given that, 
we can assume that Kuntillet Ajrud was a site of Israelites, 
not anyone else -- even if "smrn" is taken to mean "our 
protector" (by comparison with Khirbet El-Kom's "ncry"?),
because we also have the Israelite names and evidence of
Israelite involvement in the area from the Historiographic 
source (the Elijah episode in the book of Kings).  You are 
discussing "history" in the sense of the traditional history 
and how various scenarios may be concocted to preserve 
this traditional view.  In that case, yes, we may suggest 
that Kuntillet Ajrud was a pilgrim site for non-Israelites.  
It may even be the most likely scenario, given your goals.  
But it is not very likely at all, if we attempt to weigh all the 
evidence in the purpose of constructing a history that best 
responds to that evidence.  If we attempt to weigh all the
possibility, it is just one possibility among others, and
not very convincing because it has nothing to back it up.

Peter Kirk wrote:
> 
> Not necessarily, only that very little written material 
> has survived. 

For what it's worth, that is what I meant by "writing at all 
is very rare."  Nevertheless, do you have some way to 
explain why very little survived prior to this period and 
quite a lot (relatively) survives afterwards?  You should
realize that there is a major argument regarding the
advent of writing that suggests the Judaean territory
simply did not have the necessary administrative
tools to support writing before the 8th century BCE.
I disagree and believe writing was continuous from
Amarna onwards, but these are all issues that must
be dealt with.

> >... (would one expect a source from
> >London to tell the story of the Chosen Nation USA,
> >describing England as a small state in the Union?) ...
> 
> No, because this was never true - although at one time 
> more or less vice versa.

And this was brought as an example to why someone 
should question why a source from Jerusalem (London)
tells a story of the Chosen Nation Israel (USA), describing 
Judah (England) as a small state in Israel (Union).  I'm not 
saying there aren't answers, but this is a question that 
must be posed and can be answered any of various ways 
(from "this is how it was so since Jacob had twelve children 
that became tribal founders" to "whoever wrote this obviously
had no idea what the Monarchy period was like and was
postexilic.")  It stresses, though, that the Judahite outlook 
of the author is limited in that his overall political outlook 
seems to be Israelite.

> I am happy to agree that there are a lot of unknowns. My 
> objections come up only when someone, like Dora, comes
> up with assertions in this area, qualified only by the 
> patronising "Just one thing it sounds like you may not 
> be aware of".

I find her assertion less astounding than the scenarios 
you propose at the end.

> >Because the Deuteronomist would inject his own values 
> >into historical descriptions of earlier periods, this is 
> >evidence that must be ignored. ...
> 
> Not ignored. No evidence should be ignored. It should 
> of course be treated with care. But we must be aware 
> that ANY evidence we find, even contemporary 
> inscriptions, is necessarily injected with the values of 
> the individual author and so not representative of 
> society as a whole.

and later, regarding using J and only J to determine what 
the Yahwist found repugnant:

> Well, there is a methodological problem here, that we 
> don't know what is "J and only J", or even that J existed 
> at all at least as a coherent source. And of course if J 
> is later than D, that is quite incompatible with your 
> identification of the milieu of J with Kuntillet Ajrud.

I fear you are not following me.  The goal is to argue for 
consistency between J and Kuntillet Ajrud, religiously 
and politically.  For that, I don't need any later sources, 
nor do I need to concern myself with the possibility that 
the contemporary inscriptions and J are all injected with
some value system.  That is the whole  point.  To show
that the value system of J is consistent with the value 
system of Kuntillet Ajrud.  For that matter, J could 
easily be a made up document picked at random from the
Torah.  That doesn't mean it won't have statements that 
would translate to a value system, and that this value 
system can't be compared to Kuntillet Ajrud.

Yitzhak Sapir



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