[b-hebrew] "Desire of Women" in Heb. Text of Dan. 11:37

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Nov 15 14:08:36 EST 2006

On 11/15/06, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 14/11/2006 23:06, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
> > ...  Also, skepticism about the historical reality
> > underlying the Biblical claims is not a theological position.  Theology is the
> > study of the divine and the study of history does not need to be related to
> > the study of the divine (unless that is a theological position you hold).  So
> > the position that the book of Ezra must be historically accurate because it is
> > in the divinely sanctioned canon of books is a theological position.  But the
> > view that the book of Ezra is not necessarily accurate is not a theological
> > position.  To put the point further, the book of Hebrews may be in your
> > theological view, a 1st century book allowing us to see the views of the Jews
> > at that time.  But for me, it is just a book, ...
> Yitzhak, I agree with most of what you are saying in this message. It is
> important to distinguish between the meaning intended for example by
> Haggai and later interpretations of his book.
> But on the point above I must disagree with you. You are taking a
> theological position by rejecting the accuracy of Ezra or the authority
> of Hebrews. It may be a negative theological position, like that of the
> atheist who takes the position that there is no God, or perhaps that of
> the agnostic who takes the position that the existence of God cannot be
> proved or disproved, but it is still the position you take on a
> theological issue and so a theological position.

Just because you choose a text to be theologically meaningful to you does
not automatically make my position regarding that text also theological.  If
I choose to view the Wall Street Journal's stock quotes page as a list of
verse numbers that when decoded give me important verses that God has
provided me, that does not mean that most people's reading of that stock
quotes page is theological too.  I can read the Mesha inscription and its
mention of Kamosh without assuming the theological position that Mesha
was an evil idol-worshipper just because he worshipped Kamosh and the
Israelites worshipped Yahweh.   A theological position is only one that
allows you to better study God.  For example, the belief that the book of
Hebrews should not be held authoritative in order to understand God is a
theological position.   The belief that the book of Hebrews should not be
held historically accurate without having critically examined it using
sound historiographic methods in order to understand history is not a
theological position.  It does not have to do with studying God.  It has to
do with studying history.  If your position is that in order to understand
the divine message, the Bible must be held historically accurate, then
that is a theological position, and it probably implies for you that the
Bible is historically accurate.  The same can be said for Harold and the
book of Hebrews or for Shoshanna and the Talmud.  However, it doesn't
mean that all the historians who study the Bible using critical methods
are taking a theological position, unless their use of critical methods is
designed in some ways to better help them understand God, rather than
just history.

Yitzhak Sapir

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