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

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Nov 18 12:12:07 EST 2006

On 11/17/06, Peter Kirk wrote:

> On 17/11/2006 20:35, K Randolph wrote:

> > Now what we have here is that, philosophically thinking, Yitzhak is
> > Greek, while Harold Holmyard, I and in this case Peter Kirk are all
> > Hebrew. ...

> I note that Yitzhak the Hebrew is said to be Greek, whereas Harold, you
> and I, all Gentiles (I think) are said to be Hebrew. That illustrates to
> me the total inappropriateness of labelling these philosophical poles
> "Hebrew" and "Greek". In fact they have very little to do with either
> language or culture, less still to do with race. However, I think they
> do have roots in a period of racism, when "Hebrew" was a label for
> something considered bad and "Greek" for something considered good.
> Therefore I would suggest that making distinctions with these labels has
> no place on this list, or anywhere in the contemporary world.

Although Karl is using these labels in apparently the opposite sense, that
"Hebrew" is considered good, whereas I who am supposed to represent
"Hebrew" actually represent "Greek" and hence bad, the entire list of
distinctions is rather superficial.

Karl maintains that I am exhibiting a "Greek" view, which is identified by
him as "ahistorical", "external appearance" (as opposed to "internal
reality"), "looks for logical unity".  In the book of Haggai, where the
discussion now centers, I am the one arguing for a historical
identification of Zerubbabel and the Temple, for its internal independence
from external sources, while Harold and Karl (I guess), for example, argues
for its symbolic (ahistorical) interpretation.  I don't know exactly Karl's
position, but Harold justifies this further by looking for unity amongst the
books of the canon.

One of the arguments raised was that Ezra doesn't agree historically with
Haggai, hence Haggai's prophecy must not be talking about the second
Temple, but about something future.  This approach is one of harmonization,
"looking for logical unity" as it were, and while here I do end up looking at
Ezra as not accurate historically for the early Persian period, the choice is
one of either Ezra being viewed inaccurate or Haggai being viewed inaccurate.
My choice to view Ezra as the one being inaccurate is based as follows:
(1) Ezra was apparently written later, (2) Ezra represents a more idealized
picture while Haggai represents a more historically believable picture,
(3) Ezra's description (of Cyrus' decree) can be compared with the Cyrus
cylinder.  These are historical considerations and while the end result is that
Ezra represents an idealized description of the history of the early Persian
period, it is a result of an historical analysis.  The harmonized view is the
result of an attempt to fit the two books within a logical unity that includes
not only the books of the Bible but also assumptions as to the Bible's
accuracy and the truth of the prophecy of Haggai.  These assumptions involve
contemporary theology that relate that not only do "true" prophecies come to
pass, and not only that we can tell when the shaking of Haggai 2:7 has come
to pass or not, but also that Haggai is a true prophet.  Rather than apply
Deut 18:21-22 to the issue, or to conclude that the shaking has already come to
pass, the contemporary (apparently Christian) theology chooses to view the
words of Haggai symbolically, viewing his prophecy as something to come only
in thousands of years, despite the fact that symbolism in prophecies appears to
be explicitly explained in the early Persian period, that prophecies do not
prophecize thousands of years ahead, that prophecies which prophecize
hundreds of years ahead do not hide this behind symbolism, and despite the
fact that Haggai 2:7 itself explicitly says that this will happen in
"a little while."
All these are external assumptions that are at home in contemporary times
more than they are in Haggai's time.  They speak against the idea that this is
a view that reads Haggai in terms of its "internal reality."

As far as theology is concerned, I doubt that the identification of something
being "theological" or not is nothing but "Greek" since theology is a Greek word
and one finds himself at loss to define it in Hebrew.  However, the problem is,
that as I've shown with the Wall Street Journal example, anything can be framed
in terms of a theology -- any view or position.  If a person taking an opposite
view can be described as theologically motivated as well, then all positions are
theological.  The word becomes meaningless.  Furthermore, in the book of
Haggai, my attempt is to still read Haggai within Haggai's own theological
world rather than any first century or contemporary theological world.  I never
made a choice between one or the other, I just claimed that the contemporary
theological setting is not the same as Haggai's original setting.

Yitzhak Sapir

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