[b-hebrew] Tanach book order - different in Christian Bibles

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sun Sep 3 03:39:37 EDT 2006


One of the rules on this forum is that we do not push our private
beliefs concerning the dating of Tanakh. I will invoke it here for the
following reasons:

1) All of us start with beliefs that cannot be rationally defended.
Not one of us starts with 100% rationality. For example, which is to
take precedence—history or a rationally defendable argument? The
Hellenistic model was to take rationality, while Tanakh and the New
Testament chose history (on this level, both Tanakh and the New
Testament stand in stark contrast to Hellenism, an argument against
either document being Hellenistic). But why choose one model over the
other? That's a matter of faith, yours is no less faith than mine,
just a different faith.

2) This is a forum for discussing the language found in Tanakh, not
its authorship. While the oldest examples of Tanakh are copies from
Qumran with a frustratingly few examples of Hebrew from other sources
from when Tanakh was allegedly written other than what is internal to
Tanakh, we have insufficient historical data either to prove or
disprove the internal dates. Thus whether one accepts them or not is a
matter of faith, yours is a faith that they are not accurate, mine a
faith that they are.

3) The late dating of Tanakh, with Ayrian centric invention of all
major themes and ideas, from the documentation I have seen, started
around 1800 among German rationalists who believed evolution (yes,
evolution predates Darwin by millennia, Aristotle, for example,
believed that evolution procedes through natural selection, Darwin's
supposed innovation). But was that an accurate depiction of history?
According to M.C. Astour in his book "Hellenosemitica" 1967, much of
Greek civilization, even religious beliefs, was an import to Greece
from West Semitic tribes living in what is now Turkey around 3,000
years ago; e.g. the Dionysius cult, even in the terms used in its
practice, show semitic influences from Tamuz worship, yet Dionysius is
known from Linear B documents. So who borrowed from whom?

You brought up the example of "sumphonia" as an example of Hellenism,
but is it? The Masoretes who added the vowel points were influenced by
Hellenism, but what about the author of Daniel? The unpointed text
could just as well be pronounced as "xiwamepaniyahe" or it could have
been an instrument imported from Greece (international trade existed
back then), thus the use of this term is not evidence of Hellenistic
period authorship. Your doubt that Nebuchadnezzar could have had such
an instrument is personal opinion, not historical evidence.

Just as there was trade in objects, so there was trade in ideas as
well. The Jewish diaspora, started under Nebuchadnezzar, could very
well have reached Greece by the time of Plato, so you can't rule out
his being influenced by and taking examples from Hebrew sources. Jews
and Jewish ideas were known in Hellenistic cities in Asia Minor by
Plato's time.

You admit "But yes, these theories do ruin both judaism and
christianism if they are right." That admission is enough to say that
you are not to push your beliefs, for that is proselytism to your
religion. You may mention your beliefs, and others on this list may
counter with interpretations based on their beliefs, but in the
absence of historical data neither can insist in this forum that his
interpretation is the correct one. Proselytism is the venue of other
forums, please not here.

To close a much wordier response than I expected, and knowing that you
are new to this list, while you are free to mention your beliefs and
how they influence your understanding of Tanakh, even to its dating,
we are not to push our beliefs as the only correct interpretation of
controversial subjects because that is proselytism.

Karl W. Randolph.

Ps. As for Daniel's 70 sevens of years, Jerusalem was not destroyed
and needed complete rebuilding after Antiochus IV Epimanes, neither
was there a seven year war starting 483 years later, midway through
which sacrifices were stopped, yet both descriptions, as well as all
the other details of that prophecy, fit the rebuilding under Nehemiah.

On 9/2/06, Philippe Wajdenbaum <pwajdenbaum at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Harold,
> you wrote:
> HH: The two men you mention have had a deadening disbelief that they
> want to pass on to others. Don't fall victim to a theory that would deny
> to Israel its ancient history and to Christians the historical
> foundations of their faith. Their schemes make the Old Testament a
> misrepresentation of reality. They are like the Holocaust deniers, only
> they take things a step farther. They take God's glory through history
> away from Israel.
> PW: I have come to those conclusions by my own findings, and after that I
> got to read Thompson's work and find it correct. I would never deny the
> holocaust, being the grand-child of a holocaust survivor. To discuss about
> the dating of the Bible is one thing, the holocaust is another one; and I
> find it easy to disregard some well argumented theories only because they
> hurt our beliefs.
> But yes, these theories do ruin both judaism and christianism if they are
> right. The problem with those archeologists is that they sometimes lack of
> evidences. I think I have some strong evidences, by the comparision of
> biblical texts and Greek texts. The question of who copied who is a
> difficult one, but I try consider it only with rationnality, not with faith.
> Just one example: most biblical scholars avoid the big question mark that
> lies in Plato's Laws, written around 350 BC. This book is extremely similar
> to the Torah, it seems to be the project for it: let's conquer a land,
> divide it into twelves lots given to twelves tribes, and let's give them
> sacred laws forever. And let us tell the people some stories so that they
> will obey the laws willingly. Eusebius of Caesarae noticed that (Evangelic
> Preparation 12), and concluded that Plato copied Moses. But in the 21st
> century, do we still have to believe this? Why couldn't it be the opposite?
> Or at least, why can we not compare those texts; as no one ever did it since
> Eusebius in the 4th century?
> And it is not only with Plato that one can find surprising parallels: all
> the Greeks authors show some.
> Who copied who?
> Regards,
> Philippe Wajdenbaum
> Dear Karl,
> you wrote:
> >You make the assumption that if a word is found in Greek as well as a
> >Semitic language, that it had its origin in Greek (or proto-Greek). I
> >don't agree with that assumption (for one, I find it chauvenistic and
> >two, there are no historical nor linguistic reasons to make that
> >assumption). It is common that the names of objects are adopted into
> >new languages with technology transfer, e.g. "computer" is known world
> >wide. Who had the technology first? Often we don't have enough data to
> >answer. Therefore you cannot assert that these were Greek instruments,
> >therefore Daniel was a late writing.
> >
> >My understanding is that the only reason that Daniel is dated late by
> >several authors is because his descriptions are too detailed to be
> >chance, yet are accurate. But the prophecy of the seventy sevens of
> >years, starting with the rebuilding of Jeursalem under Nehemiah ca.
> >415 BC give or take a few years, ending in a time of a seven year war,
> >midway through which the sacrifices were stopped (the temple was
> >destroyed) and other details, either Daniel was written after the
> >Jewish revolt of 67 AD or this is true prophecy.
> >
> >Karl W. Randolph.
> >
> P.W. : There is nothing I can answer if you believe that Daniel is true
> prophecy. So I suppose it is the same for Noah's prophecy concerning Japhet
> dwelling in the tents of Shem (Gn. 9) and of Bileam about the fleats coming
> from Kittim (Nb. 24). Kittim is the son of Yavan, son of Japhet, all of them
> impersonating the Greeks; to me it is strong evidence of late writing of the
> Torah. Or it is true prophecy , but I don't believe it.
> I am not trying to push those theories in a provocative way, I think that a
> 100% hellenistic Bible is a possiblity, and it is not so dissapointing for
> me, on the contrary, I admire the intelligence of the writers who created a
> perfect synthesis of Greek litterature.
> And about the way you count the seven times seventy years, it lies on some
> contradictory data from Nehemia and Ezra; some scholars think it matches
> with the year of the profanation of the temple by Antiochos IV, wich seems a
> reasonable conclusion.
> Finaly, there are linguistic evidences for the instruments: sumphonia has a
> Greek etymology, "sum" meaning "toghether" as in many Greek words, and
> "phonia" meanging "to hear, to sound"; wich gave "symphony", different
> instruments playing togheter. There is no semitic root to that word. I
> really doubt that Nabuchodonosor had such instrument; at least not with that
> name.
> Regards,
> Philippe Wajdenbaum

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