[b-hebrew] Moses' writing? [was: The New Testament]

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Oct 27 14:15:12 EDT 2006


Now that I have a moment, I will give a detailed answer to your statements.

On 10/26/06, rochelle altman <willaa at netvision.net.il> wrote:
> Whatever, Karl,
That introduction gives a clue that the following may be sloppy
thinking, or worse.

> The Israelites didn't live in segregated conclaves, towns of fairly good
> sized populations -- nope, they were scattered all over the place, or so
> you seem to assume. In Egypt of all places. Wow!
Where do you get that "seem to assume"? A rural population does NOT
equal scattered all over the place. I never said that they were
scattered all over the place. That you claim that is either a case of
sloppy scholarship on your part (which casts aspersions on the rest of
your scholarship) or a deliberate attempt to malign my statements by
putting them into straw man logical fallacies.

The only source we have of Israel's disposition in Egypt is Tanakh. We
find that when Israel descended to Egypt, that they were given the
task of taking care of pharaoh's cattle, a rural occupation. We find
that they were settled in a specific locality, namely the eastern
delta of the Nile, a distance from the urban center of the country.
How heavily was the delta settled at that time? We don't know. But if
it was like Canaan at that time, then it was sparsely settled, so that
Israel could have a rural enclave where they made up the majority, if
not all, of the population. Then when the new pharaoh came, he found a
rural population that he subjected to tribute labor. Furthermore, we
find indications that Israel was a self-governing entity, a sort of
nation within a nation, following its own traditions, so that the
tribute labor was not commanded on an individual by individual basis,
but by ordering the leadership of the nation to provide the tribute
labor needed for pharaoh's projects.

> Residents of farming communities and hamlets didn't have to know the
> governing customs in order to survive, isn't that what you contend?
Knowledge and following are two different things. Even if the city
rules are known to some in the farming community, but the farming
community does not follow them, then knowledge of city practices is
not necessary for survival in the farming community.

In this case you mention official documents being on stone of a
certain format, but how many farming communities had places for those
official tablets and had them set up? As many as one in fifty?
Finally, if Israel was a self-governing entity within Egypt that
lacked that tradition, would they have any?

> Peasants and nomads are not the most tradition ridden social groups,
> right?

I indicated just the opposite. Why do you twist my words to the
opposite of what I said? This is another example of a straw man
logical fallacy.

> .... They don't have to know the rules of the land they are in..
> .
See above.

> Illiterates don't have to know the rules or how to recognize official docs
> in order to survive, correct?
Who said they were illiterates?

> Luchot are hubcaps not tablets made of stone, wood or metal.Correct?
This question is twaddle that does not deserve an answer.

Though on second thought, LWX merely meant "tablet", which could be
either wood or stone, or even metaphorical. Hence the emphasis that
the two tablets of the treaty were made of stone.

> Moshe is God's voice, he speaks to the people for him, at least as
> presented in the MT. Exodus isn't full of that, right? No, siree, unique,
> not another ANE tradition. (what the heck do you think priestesses and
> priests did anyway? They were the voices of the God(s) their job was to
> speak to the peoples for the gods and vice versa. Naw, Moshe isn't
> following ANE traditions.)
There were urban traditions, farming traditions, nomad traditions, and
God wasn't restricted by any of them.

Israel had no priestesses (except among idolatry), and the job of the
priests was to officiate at religious functions and to serve as judges
based on their study of God's laws written in Torah. Hence we find
that most revelation was given to prophets, not priests. I don't know
about ANE traditions, but that is the picture given in Tanakh.

> The Israelites never followed any ANE traditions, not even to the making of
> animal idols.
Since when does there is no evidence that they followed certain ANE
traditions equal that they did not follow any ANE traditions? Further,
there were always individuals among Israel who wanted to be just like
their neighbors, even to worshipping idols.

> They were just conscripted laborers, oh yeah? Ever actually read the
> complaints? Do so some time. They kvetch about taxes, not the labor.
The specific complaint listed was the making of adobe bricks. That was
a construction site activity (they didn't have trucks to shlep them to
the site as we do today). The Israelite leadership was given the task
of choosing workers to send to the construction sites to make sure
sufficient bricks were made. Or didn't you read Exodus?

> Solomon's; temple wasn't built in the tradition of ANE temples and ANE
> temples didn't have courtyards -- with walls, right?. Ever read up on
> Herod's temple -- small for historic reasons? That's why he built that huge
> plaza, couldn't change the dimensions of the Temple.
OK. So I missed a red herring logical fallacy nested among your straw
man logical fallacies. Herod's temple is irrelevant to the discussion
of Biblical period Jewish practices, especially for the nearly five
century period between the writing of the Torah (Genesis through
Deuteronomy) and the construction of the first temple made of stone.
Nor is there any evidence that Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy) was
carved into stone in the first stone temple.

> And I don't assert that the PaleoLev is confirmation; I mention it as a
> possible indication. Nothing more.
That sounds like a backing off. I was under the impression that you
considered it proof.

> Whatever pleases you is fine by me.
Good and honest scholarship is what pleases me. That does not mean
that all scholars will agree, but it does mean the avoidance of
logical fallacies, in particular in the give and take of discussion.

> Enough. I have work to do. I finally managed to get a copy of an article
> that I need to finish a project I've been working on for more than two years.
> bye, bye,
> risa
In closing, this letter did mention one thing from BH, namely the
meaning of LWX. Further, the understanding of the practices of the
peoples helps in the understanding of the language used to describe
them, thus the question of how much of ANE tradition did Biblical
period Israel follow is a valid BH question.

We must also recognize that Tanakh was not a neutral report, rather it
propagandizes for a particular belief. That belief contradicts certain
ANE practices, openly so, which raises the question, how many other
ANE traditions does it merely neglect to follow?

Karl W. Randolph.

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