[b-hebrew] Wellhausen JEPD Theory re Patriarchal Narratives
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Sun Dec 23 16:23:02 EST 2007
Let’s analyze the following first suggestion of yours as to a story in the
Patriarchal narratives that is redolent of the 1st millennium BCE, and that is
not redolent of the mid-2nd millennium BCE.
You wrote: “The story of the "treaty" between Jacob and Laban the Aramean
in Gen. 31, is an obvious reflection of the Israel-Aram frontier in the same
area in the 9-8 centuries BCE.”
1. Laban is Jacob’s father-in-law. Jacob/“Israel” is the first leader
of a monotheistic people in the Bible (as Abraham exiled all his sons except
Isaac). Tushratta, the leader of Nahrima/Naharaim on the upper Euphrates
River in the mid-14th century BCE, was the father-in-law of the first leader of
a monotheistic people in secular history, Akhenaten. There is nothing
remotely like that in “the 9-8 centuries BCE”. (Note that the mid-14th century
BCE word “Naharaim” is right there at Genesis 24: 10, referencing the upper
Euphrates River. The state of Nahrima/Naharaim/Mitanni went extinct after
the 14th century BCE.)
1. The last straw in the breakdown of the two men’s relations is that
the father-in-law from the upper Euphrates River (Laban, in Genesis, Tushratta
in the Amarna Letters) is beside himself with rage at the failure of his
monotheistic son-in-law (Jacob in the Patriarchal narratives, Akhenaten in the
Amarna Letters and the secular history of the mid-14th century BCE) to deliver
certain statues (teraphim in Genesis, gold statues in the Amarna Letters).
There is nothing remotely like that in “the 9-8 centuries BCE”.
1. The background to this is that the father of the first historical
monotheistic leader of a people (Isaac in the Patriarchal narratives, Amenhotep
III in the secular history of the mid-14th century BCE) had married a woman
from the upper Euphrates River, and everything had worked out just fine. But
now when the monotheistic son marries a woman from the same Hurrian
location, relations between the first monotheists and the Hurrians on the upper
Euphrates River break down completely. So when the fearsome Hittites, under the
greatest Hittite king of all time, Suppililiuma I, attack
Mitanni/Naharima/Naharaim, the first monotheists do not lift a finger to help.
This entire story literally reeks of the Amarna Letters and the
well-documented secular history of the mid-14th century BCE. One of the biggest
developments in the secular history of the mid-14th century BCE was when Akhenaten
shockingly thumbed his nose at his father’s greatest ally: Nahrima/Naharaim.
And the last straw was the same bizarre item as is faithfully reflected in
the Patriarchal narratives: a virulent dispute over, of all the crazy things,
certain statues that the monotheistic son-in-law from far to the west failed
to deliver to his father-in-law on the upper Euphrates River.
How close do you want it? How could any story imaginable follow the Amarna
Letters more closely than the very story you point to?
Heavens, if this is as good as the 100-year-old Wellhausen JEPD theory of
the Patriarchal narratives gets as to a story that allegedly reflects the 1st
millennium BCE but not the mid-2nd millennium BCE, then why does anyone give
any credence to that old, outdated, non-historical theory?
Yigal Levin, anyone who has read the Amarna Letters will recognize the story
of the irate father-in-law from the upper Euphrates River breaking with his
monotheistic son-in-law from far to the west over the bizarre last straw
issue of certain statues that the monotheistic son-in-law failed to deliver.
Every single story throughout the entirety of the Patriarchal narratives is
just like that. The amount of specific details picked up from the Amarna
Letters in the Patriarchal narratives is truly astounding. That was the time
period of the birth of Judaism. That was the historical Patriarchal Age. The
author of the Patriarchal narratives is the first Hebrew in secular history,
who is desperately trying to get Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten to defend Canaan
against the dreaded Hittites, to save his fellow pre-Hebrews from
annihilation. This story of Tushratta vs. Akhenaten, and Tushratta’s incessant whining
in the Amarna Letters over and over again about the gold statues that his
son-in-law Akhenaten was supposed to deliver to Tushratta (and never did), could
not be left out of the Patriarchal narratives, because it was a critical
factor in the first Hebrews fearing an imminent onslaught from the Hittites.
In my humble opinion, you could not have picked a worse story to try to make
your point. Can’t you come up with even one story in the Patriarchal
narratives that is not plastered all over the mid-14th century BCE Amarna Letters?
Isn’t there at least one story somewhere in the Patriarchal narratives that
uniquely reflects the ambience of the 1st millennium BCE, rather than the
historical Patriarchal Age of the mid-14th century BCE?
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