[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

Moshe Shulman mshulman at ix.netcom.com
Mon Dec 24 19:17:38 EST 2007

At 06:45 PM 12/24/2007, you wrote:
>On Dec 24, 2007 8:26 PM, Moshe Shulman wrote:
> > Yigal until it is reproducible it is just a fantasy and not even a
> > scientific theory. Anyone coming from a Scientific/Mathematical
> > background as I do, will tell you that. To be reproducible the same
> > theory needs to be applied to other works of literature where we KNOW
> > that there are multiple authors and single authors with multiple
> > styles and work. It does not. (Try doing it with Tolkein and you see
> > the failure of it. LOTR is by a single author and Silmirilian was
> > edited and has additions from his son. It cannot be done.) While DH
> > does give some interesting insights into the text, if it were true
> > that it is a revised, combined text, there is no way of knowing how
> > many hands were involved in it.
>I come from a scientific/mathematical background.  Let me begin by
>pointing out that Yigal Levin, an archaeologist, is also from a
>"scientific" background.  Science is not just the hard sciences.


>Reproducibility is not a main trait of a scientific theory.  This is

Really? IF you propose a theory and cannot test it, then that is a 
very weak theory. In fact Popper would say that any theory that is 
not provable/disprovable is not a scientific theory at all.

>especially the case in historical reconstructions.  We cannot

This is irrelevant to a discussion on multiple authorship of a text. 
That is not a question of history. One can discuss when a text might 
have been written, but that is a iffeent issue and not one dealt with 
in the DH.

>reproduce the beginning of the universe, but that doesn't mean
>that the Big Bang is not a theory.  It is a theory, and it makes
>predictions, and those predictions can be tested, and we can

Actually this is a good because it is what should be the case here. 
While we cannot prove it, what we do (and it is common in 
Mathematics) is ASSUME it true and make a test that could disprove it 
(or add evidence to it's truth.)

>attempt to falsify them.  Picking a modern text and trying to
>analyze it -- then concluding that we cannot determine editing
>work is poor methodology.  Just because one type of editing

Only if the methodology used to decide if a text has multiple authors 
it invalid. What makes an ancient text of multiple authorship 
inherently different from a modern text of multiple authorship? If 
one has a method to dissect one, then it should work for the other. 
IF NOT, then one needs to examine the methodology being used to 
divide a text by authors. Every work I have read on the subject is 
circular in reasoning and non-reproducible.

>does not allow us to reconstruct two editors, does not mean
>that it is the only type of editing processes that could have
>been taken.  In fact, Van Seters apparently claimed at a

The only type of editing that would allow for the DH is if there were 
multiple sources and  the editor did a cut and paste job. I don't 
think any serious person would contend that this was the way people 
edited at any time in the past. Let me give a counter theory which 
indicates your problem. Let's say a Mr X at some time (choose whoever 
you want and when) takes some stories he heard orally, and some 
written texts he has seen, and with his own additions moulds them 
into one book. Unless you had a copy of the originals which he used, 
you could never know what came from where, and what was original to 
Mr X. But this is what DH proposes. BTW The Silmarillian was in fact 
made this way by Tolkein's son and without outside material you will 
never know who wrote what. The problem I have is that DH has an 
invalid assumption to it's methodology. It assumes the text it 
divisible, without providing a non-circular method of getting to that point.

>Incidentally, I have a study (in preparation, currently on hold)
>of a Biblical book where I show that a group of verses of the
>book was most likely conflated from several sources, each
>representing the same original section.  Besides some very
>convincing insights that this provides into some oddities in
>those verses, the theory is also supported by the fact that
>one of the translations of the book contains only three of
>the five sources.  The ending of the first source was previously
>conjectured to be the original ending of the entire book on
>different grounds (it is where the plot seems to end).  I have
>not read Van Seters books, but it seems to me (based on what
>I understand so far) that this study would provide strong
>evidence against his theory.

Moshe Shulman   outreach at judaismsanswer.com 718-436-7705
Judaism's Answer:  http://www.judaismsanswer.com/

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