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

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Mar 16 23:57:49 EST 2005


What we know of pre-exilic Hebrew language and the Hebrew text of Tanakh is what has survived to this day. What we have are the unified documents, some of which make specific claims to authorship and relative dates. There is not a scrap of material exterior to those unified documents that can be recognized as one of the so-called “source” documents. I need to see one of those source documents before I will admit that the attribution internal to the surviving documents is wrong. The attempt to recognize sources based on only theory without any surviving sources is speculation, pure and simple.

I find your insistance that we all agree with your philosophy akin to proselytism and offensive.

If you wish to maintain your philosophy and theories, it is not my place to insist that you change. All I ask is that you acknowledge that there are views other than your own.

You mentioned that Heshbon did not exist at the time of Moses. Based on what? How was the proposed date arrived at? The article you referenced mentioned that most of the surviving ruins date from the Roman period. How do you know that the town at the time of Sihon was not small enough to occupy only part of the present ruin, hence missed by a single trench? Or could it be that some of the oldest buildings were used for centuries, with the artifacts found in it dating from long after the buildings were built? (Even in the U.S., in Santa Fe, built on the site of an Indiain village, has at least one building that was tree ring dated to about 800 years old, yet it is still in use. Yet from its artifacts presently in it and its design, it could be no more than a century old. There’s less evidence to date the earliest buildings at Heshbon.) And you think such scanty and questionable data is proof?

Who was the Pharaoh who sacked Jerusalem after Solomon died? Was it Shoshenq, or is “Sesiq” a nickname for Raamases II, Sesi the Great? I hear that Egyptologists disagree, some say one way, others the other. If the experts disagree on dates, where the disagreement spans centuries, how can Egyptian data be much use in making exact dates for Biblical events? The only corrolation that I make is that it appears from descriptions in Exodus that Moses was born during the Hyksos period in Egypt, and that the pharaoh he dealt with was probably the last or next to last Hyksos pharaoh.

The archeological data are too little to prove either way, whether the attributed relative dates and authorships are accurate, or was it JEPD instead? Therefore, neither of us can insist that our reading is the only accurate way.

In closing, you claim one direction for the development of the official religious practices, based on your theories, and I claim the opposite direction based on modern techniques used to validate modern documents. Proof either way is not available. And part of it is how we read the Mosaic authorship of Pentateuch.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>

> Hello all,
> This discussion has shifted from the claim that Yahweh
> worship was somehow different in the 9th-mid 8th centuries
> than it was in the mid 8th to 7th centuries, and that earlier
> Asherah usage in association with Yahweh was acceptable
> to the administration.  Now it seems to discuss Mosaic
> authorship of the Pentateuch as well.  Since I have claimed
> that the Deuteronomistic view did not accept Asherah usage
> contrary to earlier administrative views of the Asherah, the
> fact that you (both Peter and Karl) accept Deuteronomy to
> be dated to Moses makes my claims dependent upon the
> dating of Deuteronomy.  I have no wish to debate Mosaic
> authorship of the Bible, however, and I will only respond to
> some points of evidence that were brought up in the last
> post, although now they seem to pertain much more to the
> issue of Mosaic authorship.  If you have a specific dating of
> Deuteronomy, put it forth with sufficient reasoning that is
> grounded in archaeological evidence and language, as has
> been done in  scholarship to date Deuteronomy to the end
> of the Monarchic period or later.
> Karl,
> You say,  "Likewise your questions concerning the text is a
> red herring, best answered by those who specialize in textual
> criticism."  Yet most scholars who specialize in textual
> criticism also accept criticism of the bible in general.  They
> may not accept the JPED theory, but a very great
> majority would agree that the Pentateuch as a whole does
> not actually claim to be written by Moses.  It may claim that
> God spoke to Moses, but it doesn't say that this event
> occured in the present time of the writer.
> You also say, "Numbers 21:28-30 mentioned an event that
> occured during Moses' lifespan." Heshbon did not exist before
> 1200 BCE, and the first major building at the site apparently
> occured only during the 9th-8th centuries, with the building of a
> reservoir/pool at the site.   Moses has been dated to the 13th
> century by some scholars (related to Albright I think), but
> some dates, which are based on the claim the Exodus
> happened 480 years before the Temple, using the Shoshenq
> campaign as a guide for the dating of the United Monarchy,
> date this to the 15th century.  In any case, as I pointed out,
> the first organized building at Heshbon occured during the
> Monarchic period, but in all the range of dates proposed for
> Moses, no Heshbon even existed.
> http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/heshbon.html
> As for your other claims regarding science, I used the word
> "science" informally and perhaps erroneously to denote a
> study where the participants agree that various theories can
> be validated or invalidated using some agreed-upon body of
> evidence, in this case archaeological evidence.  If you are
> unwilling to provide a date for Moses, you are simply
> speculating such a date can be found.  And the very great
> majority of scholars today disagree and reject that
> speculation.  While Wellhausen may have had little
> archaeological material to work with, today's biblical
> criticism is very much based on the usage of such
> archaeological evidence.  Most scholars still seem to
> accept the main division between a Priestly, Deuteronomic,
> and "JE" sources, although they may disagree on the dates
> of these sources, and this disagreement usually boils down
> to archaeological and linguistic grounds.
> ...
> Yitzhak Sapir
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