SV: [b-hebrew] Samaritan script/proto-hebrew

Thomas L. Thompson tlt at
Mon Mar 21 06:27:23 EST 2005

Dear Yitzhaq,

With considerable hesitation, I would say that Ingrid's work engages your arguments particularly in what she sees as supersessionist developments of the specifically Jerusalem traditions of the so-called deuteronomistic and Davidic traditions. It is in her chapter 4 of Jerusalem's Rise to Sovereignty ("Deuteronomist vs. Jahwist" 169-222), in which she deals with both the common ground of the two traditions as well as their competitive roles. She opens this discussion by engaging Van Seters in debate. She then takes up the question of the status of the law and the conflicts implicit to the David and Moses traditions. This is in Chapter 5 (223-253).

I don't think chronology is one of Hjelm's primary concerns and I have some doubts that she finds redaction theories of the Deuteronomistic history--and in particular a "pre-exilic" stage of Dtr, terribly convincing as the first three chapters of her book disputes such theory in considerable detail. In any case, one would have to make separate arguments for continuities in tradition and continuities in population and cult. I don't know how much you would agree with her suggestions that the Jewish adoption of the Pentateuch is Persian period or later.


Thomas L. Thompson

Professor, University of Copenhagen


Yitahaq Sapir wrote:
> I tried to read in the two books by Hjelm that were available to
> me about her views, but I had limited time to read through
> them.  I don't think of them as ever having been unified to the
> point of a single cult center and a single administration.  Rather,
> it seems more of imposed and voluntary peace treaties and
> occupations between the two, as well as the development of a
> shared heritage due to those "treaties."  In the Persian period,
> I believe they had agree to accept as authoritative a common
> Pentateuch, including all sources, each of which had its
> history in one or the other community.  Based on a
> reconstruction of calendarical elements, I believe that the
> Pentateuch makes reference to a 12x30 day calendar with
> an intercalated 30 day month every 6 years.  This calendar,
> in my opinion, is the first one to employ a spring New Year,
> at least in Judea, and it was accepted with Persian
> influence in the 4th century.  This is based, among other
> things, by references to this calendar in Daniel and
> Henoch, which indicate it must have existed by the 3rd
> century.  This would date the redaction of the Pentateuch
> to the mid-4th century and since both Samaritans and
> Jews accepted the Pentateuch largely as a redacted
> complete document, it seems to me that at this date might
> also be a good date for a "peace treaty" between the two
> to accept common religious motives, while perhaps
> agreeing to disagree on a location for the Sanctuary.  I
> realize it is problematic to rest a theory on a reconstruction
> of a calendar that is extremely speculative, but in the end,
> this date of the redaction does not differ greatly from the
> more common dates of redaction proposed on other
> grounds for the Pentateuch, as far as I know.
> In my view, then, both were separate peoples, both had
> origins in the First Temple period, that due to wars and
> geographical proximity had caused them to develop
> common religious motives.  Perhaps, in light of this, the
> Edomites should be considered a third group as well, but
> one that did not survive conquest in the Second Temple
> period.  In any case, in the 4th century, both accepted
> upon them the Pentateuch as authoritative, and this
> period of 4th - 2nd century may have been the most
> peaceful amongst them.
> It was unclear to me what her view on the Pentateuch is,
> from my skimming of the books.  (Again, I had little time).
> It seems she accepts Van Seters' argument that J is
> post-exilic, as well as various arguments that Qumran is
> not Essene.  She also seemed to mention that the Jews
> borrowed a Samaritan Pentateuch.  This would seem to
> mean that all J, E, P, D, and the redactor were Samaritan
> in origin. I am not sure if her theory of reconstruction
> requires all that, but I generally believe that reconstructions,
> especially where they differ from previous consensus,
> should depend least on other similar "revolutionary"
> reconstructions, because if one "revolutionary" view turns
> out to be misled, it would mean that the whole theory
> falls apart.  Anyway, in all these arguments regarding
> the Deuteronomist vs the Yahwist, I got confused as to
> what is her date for the compilation for the Pentateuch,
> what is her date for the borrowing or mutual acceptance
> by both Jews and Samaritans of the Pentateuch, and
> what is the background for this.  Most of the above is
> based on comments in her "Jerusalem's Rise to
> Sovereignty."  Perhaps you can point me to a specific
> place where she addresses these questions?
> Anyhow, thanks again for the summary of her views, as
> well as for the Magen excavation report that is
> unfortunately not available to me now (the Qadmoniot
> volume was).
> Yitzhak Sapir

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