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

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Mar 8 22:45:25 EST 2005


Not all of us agree with the existance of this speculated "J" author, nor "D" nor "E" nor the whole mess.

While you admit to being a beginner, I cannot. While I don't have the formal education that others have, I have lost track of the number of times I have read Tanakh in Hebrew. Cover to cover. The last few times without points. This was not just reciting the text out loud, but using dictionaries and grammars to try to understand what I read. Hence, it would be false modesty to claim that I am a beginner.

Unlike Wellhausen, his predecessors and followers, I have no preconceived presuppositions that will lead me to assign dates for the authorship of books other than the internal ones, where they exist. 

Taking the internal dates, one can recognize a stylistic development of the language, where language use became increasingly stylistic, with figures of speach and flowery language, until the last generation who learned only Hebrew from both at home and neighborhood typified by Ezekiel and Daniel (by the time Daniel wrote his book, he was more at home in Aramaic, which he used in his daily work in the courts of Nebucadnezzar through Cyrus, than Hebrew), then after the Exile there is a stark simplicity with the greatest complexity found in direct quotes from pre-Exilic writings.

Working among immigrants, I see the same pattern as children who speak English better than their parents' languages, try to communicate with the immigrant generation. I hear the strong American accents, the inability to make some of the sounds common to the immigrant population, in other words, a change in the spoken language. That change among the immigrant population appears to be similar to a change in Hebrew caused by Aramaic to which I see clues in the post-Exilic Hebrew language. From a stylistic analysis, it looks as if the generation that returned from the Exile were more at home in Aramaic than Hebrew.

Now to the Kuntillet Ajrud writings: if one takes the internal dates of Tanakh, they are later than Torah (including Deuteronomy), many of the Psalms, and some of the historical records that were later redacted after the Exile as well as some other writings preserved in Tanakh. If the Kuntillet Ajrud writings are correctly understood (there is some question apparently on some of them) they typify not the beliefs of the Torah and prophets, but of the common people who, to the great consternation and disapproval of the prophets, practiced syncretism with great abandon. In fact, the picture given in Tanakh is that only a small percentage of the people consistently practiced the prophetic religion, culminating during Jeremiah's time that even the religious leaders turned their backs on Yahweh. So rather than being an example of early prophetic religion, Kuntillet Ajrud is an example of the very syncretism the prophets fulminated against.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>
> ...
> I view myself as a beginner :-)
> ...
> What does such a parallel show? In my opinion, if a site
> selected at random appears to match the beliefs of the
> independently conceived "J", it should give you a hard
> time explaining why the independently conceived "J"
> has no basis in reality.  "Just a coincidence" is not very
> convincing, since logical arguments were used to
> separate J from amongst the verses of the Torah.
> Yitzhak Sapir
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