[b-hebrew] Wellhausen vs. Patriarchal Narratives

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Dec 28 10:06:39 EST 2007

Yitzhak Sapir:
1.  You wrote:  “Prof. Wellhausen lived well into the discovery of the Amarna 
archives.  He even lived to know of the decipherment of Hittite.”
Yes, but Prof. Wellhausen developed his JEPD theory decades before the 
Hittites were discovered.  And the Amarna Period did not become well known until 
decades after Prof. Wellhausen developed his JEPD theory.  Prof. Wellhausen knew 
little about the secular history of the mid-14th century BCE, whereas today, 
we probably know more about Years 14 and 15 of Akhenaten’s reign than virtually 
any other period of time in the ancient world.
Why on earth should we accept a theory of the Patriarchal narratives that was 
developed before the basic facts of the mid-14th century BCE were even known?
2.  You wrote:  “Your reading of Sur is not "controversial."  It is just 
plain wrong!”
We know from the Bible and secular sources that the only way for the Hebrews 
to make big money, for many centuries, was to sell, on occasion, agricultural 
products to Sur/Tyre, the island city-state in southern Lebanon.  The Bible 
references this secular phenomenon as follows:
(a)  “Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy [Sur’s/Tyre’s] 
traffickers;  they traded for thy merchandise wheat of Minnith, and balsam, and honey, 
and oil, and balm.” Ezekiel 27: 17
(b)  “And Solomon gave Hiram [of Sur/Tyre in trade] twenty thousand measures 
of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of beaten oil”.  I 
Kings 5: 25
We know for certain that Isaac is either (i) in or near the Sinai Desert 
(your view, along with the view of all fundamentalists), or (ii) in or near 
southern Lebanon, somewhere in the general vicinity of Sur/Tyre, when the following 
“And Isaac sowed in that land, and found in the same year a hundredfold;  and 
the LORD [YHWH] blessed him.  And the man waxed great, and grew more and more 
until he became very great.”  Genesis 26: 12-13
It is impossible that that could happen in the Sinai Desert.  Even if we 
ignore what the text actually says and envision Isaac as living in the Negev 
Desert (though Genesis 20: 1 explicitly states that Abraham settled between Sur and 
Qadesh, which is the place to which Isaac later returns), it would still be 
impossible to get rich growing agricultural crops in the Negev Desert.  The one 
and only spot in greater Canaan where Genesis 26: 12-13 makes sense is 
somewhere in the general vicinity of Sur/Tyre.
You can glibly say that my view of Sur is “just plain wrong”, but my view is 
sensible.  Your view of Sur, by stark contrast, (i) is shared by all 
fundamentalists, and (ii) makes no logical sense whatsoever.
3.  You wrote:  “While Prof. Wellhausen did know about Akhenaten, the Amarna 
archive, Hittites, and the history of the 14th century BCE, you don't!”
Please back up that serious charge by pointing to some misstatement of fact I 
have made about Akhenaten, the Amarna archive, the Hittites, or the secular 
history of the mid-14th century BCE.  I have in fact spent years researching 
those very subjects.
4.  You keep saying that (i) Jim Stinehart knows nothing, (ii) the 
archaeological evidence is inconsistent with a mid-14th century BCE Patriarchal Age, and 
(iii) the stories in the received text of the Patriarchal narratives are 
inconsistent with a mid-14th century BCE Patriarchal Age, having been composed by 
four Hebrew authors in the mid-1st millennium BCE.  But you back up those 
three big claims with nothing.  Absolutely nothing.
Please set forth (a) at least one story in the Patriarchal narratives that 
does not fit a mid-14th century BCE Patriarchal Age, and (b) at least one bit of 
archaeological evidence that is inconsistent with the historical Patriarchal 
Age being the mid-14th century BCE.
How can we know that your theory of the case is right if you do not set forth 
anything at all that supports your theory of the case?  I keep relating story 
after story in the Patriarchal narratives to the well-documented secular 
history of the mid-14th century BCE.  You say I’m dead wrong, but where are your 
Please set forth what you’ve got (or at least part of what you’ve got), out 
in the open, and then we’ll all take a look at it, in the open.  Is that too 
much to ask? 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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