[b-hebrew] Wellhausen JEPD Theory re Patriarchal Narratives

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Sun Dec 23 16:23:02 EST 2007


 
Yigal Levin: 
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 
at Gilead 
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? 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois



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