[b-hebrew] Graf-Wellhausen discredited

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Dec 21 13:52:14 EST 2007


On Dec 21, 2007 5:10 AM, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Dec 21, 2007 3:15 AM, K Randolph wrote:
> > Dear Yitzhak, Bryant, et al:
> > This is getting beyond mere discussions of the issues, to advocacy. This
> is
> > not the advocacy of a certain understanding of the Hebrew language,
> rather
> > actual proselytism to an ideological position, or in more common terms,
> > proselytism to a faith or religion.
> Mr. Williams' message was not just bordering on proselytism, it was much
> worse, and probably reflects as unfavorably upon you as it does upon me,
> or
> anyone who might not be convinced by Mr. Stinehart's "puns."

To be honest, I don't know what Mr. Stinehart claims, I haven't been reading
his posts.

> One of the reasons I posted my message was to provide a counterbalance to
> your message about different groups viewing the Documentary Hypothesis
> differently.…

How was I wrong? The historical evidence is that the theory was founded on
and continues to be based on a certain ideological position (religious
faith) and unless one shares that faith, he will have a different view on
the subject. I certainly do, and I'm only one among many.

> … For example, one cannot claim that the "round earth" theory is
> discredited just because some groups never accepted the idea.
>  "Discredited"
> when applied to scientific theories speaks and refers to the position of
> the
> theory in scientific circles alone.  This is why my post concentrated on
> what
> kind of "discrediting" has been going on in those circles.

You are bringing in "science" again, but what is science?

Is it a study defined by its methodology, as was claimed by all the science
textbooks that gave a definition for science in which they all agreed on the
same definition, that I read when I was in college, or is it an amorphous
belief based on the latest pronouncements of its high priesthood
(professional scientists) and I am an old stick-in-the-mud for holding onto
an outdated definition?

Connected with this, what is evidence? Does "evidence" include the
interpretations and theories of specialists, or is it limited to primary
data? According to the definition of science I was taught, scientifically
valid evidence is limited to the primary data where the observations can be
repeated. That definition from the science textbooks excludes history as a
valid area for scientific study. That same definition also excludes the
study of the supernatural as an area for scientific study.

However, science is only one source of knowledge.

> You may want to think that anyone who accepts the Documentary Hypothesis
> must have an assumption rejecting the supernatural.  I take many scholars'
> word for it that they do not reject the supernatural.  I personally
> don't think any
> supernatural phenomena has been demonstrated scientifically to date, but I
> do
> not reject the possibility.…

You are right, I overstated the case. However, many of the "late" dates
assigned by the Documentary Hypothesis are clearly based on a rejection on
the supernatural claims of the documents. For those who take the documents
at face value, those supernatural claims are evidence of the supernatural
acting into history.

> … This applies to both your idea that the theory is
> somehow "based on faith" which it is not,…

You can make this claim only by ignoring the recorded history of the theory.

> …and also to your description of
> certain Evangelicals as "heretics" or people who make the very term
> meaningless.…

Didn't you read what I wrote, that that's what I was taught?

Anyways, if the term can refer to anyone from a believer in the inerrancy of
the Bible to a disciple of Bultmann, then to what ideological position
(faith) does it refer to? Who is excluded on the basis of ideology? If it is
to denote a theological movement, what theology is meant when almost any
theology can be accepted as part of it?

> … The Documentary Hypothesis may never be discredited if there
> is no better theory with more explanatory power.  Whether that is the case
> or
> not is a personal assessment, because we cannot see the future.
> I really recommend readers interested in the archaeological aspects of the
> question read "The Quest for the Historical Israel":
> http://www.eisenbrauns.com/wconnect/wc.dll?ebGate~EIS~~I~FINQUESTF
> Yitzhak Sapir

Going back to what Yigal Levin wrote, that in the archeological record the
absence of evidence, is not the evidence of absence. Add to that, much of
what we think we know from archeology, may be misunderstood. Even recorded
history is so fragmentary that often assigned dates are merely matters of
convenience within a realm of possible error.

Because so little is really known, there is no way either to disprove nor
prove the Documentary Hypothesis, nor to prove or disprove Biblical
inerrancy. Both are taken on faith. Because it is a matter of faith, I do
not intend to comment on it further.

You may have the final word, but please do not misrepresent what I wrote.

Karl W. Randolph.

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