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

Philippe Wajdenbaum pwajdenbaum at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 4 07:30:54 EDT 2006


Dear Karl,

Thank you for your answer. I am glad we can discuss this issue. Among the 
three scenarios that you cite, the common ideas circulating around the 
Mediteranean and the Levant is the most used among modern scholars. The 
borrowing by the Greeks from the Jews was the idea of Clement and Eusebius.
The last scenario, borrowing by the Jews from the Greeks, is rarely 
defended, because two religions at least are at stake in this. Yet it is a 
possibility.

You are right to say that there are no sufficiant historical data to prove 
or to disprove anything. But there is one thing: the Greek authors, excepted 
Homer, are known through many sources and were real men. The evolution of 
the Greek thought can be traced through centuries. I took the example of 
Plato: first he wrote the Republic, an ideal city governed by some laws. 
This project was unachievable, he failed to create it in Sicily. Later, he 
created a new ideal city in his Laws, wich, as I wrote, is to be divided 
into twelve lots given to twelve tribes. Plato imagines many laws, some of 
them are exactly the same as in Torah, for instance the transmission of the 
lot, the laws on murder, and many more. The central point of  this text is 
that he says the legislator should become a poet and tell myths to the 
people in order to make them obey the law willingly.

To me it seems like this text gives the project for the Torah. This idea is 
shocking, off course, but the reading of the Laws gives this strange feeling 
that Plato invented this during all his life, and that later one of his 
disciple tried to really give life to this ideal city and created biblical 
Israel. In order for people to obey the laws, he transformed many Greek 
myths into biblical stories, taking his inspiration from Homer, Euripides, 
Herodotos, and the others.

I cannot demonstrate it in a short message, but I think I do have the proofs 
chapter by chapter. If explaining them is considered proselytism, then I 
will not share them with the list. I don't  want to push my ideas, just to 
express them: there is a difference. I would understand if it is not 
welcomed.

Nonetheless, if I am wrong about who copied who, there are still the facts: 
many laws and ideas are common to Plato's Laws and the Torah. So I don't 
understand why, among the hundreds of thousands of books commenting those 
texts, I cannot find one that compares them (except Eusebius)? Isn't it 
because it is a very embarassing point for scholars? And why is Platos' Laws 
the least published and the least studied of his works? Isn't it because it 
raises a question nobody is ready to answer?

Regards,

Philippe Wajdenbaum


>From: "K Randolph" <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
>To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
>Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Tanach book order - different in Christian Bibles
>Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2006 16:24:37 -0700
>
>Philippe:
>
>I don't think there will be any problem merely pointing out
>similarities between Greek literature and Tanakh.
>
>The problem is when one tries to determine who borrowed from whom.
>There are three possible scenarios: the Greeks borrowed from the
>Hebrews, the Hebrews borrowed from the Greeks, and there were ideas
>that were common to both cultures (indeed, known throughout ancient
>Levant) that similarities are the result that both were similar in the
>first place.
>
>
>In Herodotos' day, the Jewish diaspora had already reached all over
>the Persian Empire, including those Greek cities under Persian
>control. Likewise Jewish ideas were known wherever there were Jews.
>Thus it is possible that Herodotos knew of Jewish ideas, while not
>being familiar with the relatively insignificant province of Judea.
>
> >
> > ...
> >
>I refer to my question above, where I tend to point to the book of
>Romans, chapter two, where Paul wrote that there are a lot of
>similarities between Jewish ideas and the rest of the world, because
>the ideas are common to all people. While the Church Fathers may have
>claimed that the Greeks stole from Tanakh, Paul took the third option
>I mentioned above, claiming that they were common ideas.

> >
>It could be that if the similarities are mentioned, the question
>immediately comes up, which came first? Who borrowed from whom? But as
>I mentioned at the beginning, the similarities could be from the fact
>that many of the ideas were common to all peoples, not just one from
>which all others borrowed.
>

>
>Your beliefs are religion, if you define religion according to
>function, not form.
>
>The problem is that we know so little about ancient history. Even the
>years when prominent kings reigned can, in some cases, be off by as
>much as centuries. While we recognize that such disagreements exist,
>it is not our purpose to push one side over the other.
>
>When was Tanakh written? Internally, several of the books give a date.
>For example, Daniel makes the claim that it was written by the court
>official who retired at the end of the 70 year Babylonian Captivity.
>Isaiah wrote the names of the kings who reigned during his life. There
>are several other similar examples, though not all books have
>authorship dates. Are those trustworthy dates? Some of us say "Yes"
>while others say "No". The reason I bring this up, is that if those
>dates are accurate, then it is impossible for borrowing to have come
>from Hellenism to Tanakh, but it leaves open the possibility of shared
>ideas or borrowing from Tanakh to Hellenism. If those dates are not
>accurate, then all bets are off. But we have no external data either
>to verify or falsify those internal dates, so whichever position we
>take, it is one of faith. That's why we don't proselytize on this
>forum.
>
>Karl W. Randolph.
>_______________________________________________
>b-hebrew mailing list
>b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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