[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Dec 29 20:01:23 EST 2007

Thanks for the specific examples, now we have something to discuss.

On Dec 29, 2007 11:33 AM, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Dec 28, 2007 3:23 PM, K Randolph wrote:
> > > Already the Talmudic sages were divided on the last verses of the
> Torah,
> > > and others (prominently Ibn Ezra) also noted anachronisms.  These were
> > > all good god-fearing people who believed in prophecy, and yet they
> allowed
> > > that anachronisms are not necessarily explained by prophecy.   What is
> > > significant, however, is that a prophecy can tell the future, but it
> > > speaks to
> > > the present.  Thus, even a prophecy of the future should show signs of
> > > recognizing all the conditions (for example, the political conditions)
> of
> > > the
> > > time it was given, even if they would be long gone by the time the
> > > prophecy
> > > is fulfilled.  Someone who substantiates a text's anachronisms on
> > > prophetic
> > > grounds, must still show how it applied to the time to which he
> believes
> > > it was originally given.
> >
> >
> > This is a view of prophecy that is not accepted by many on this list.
> The
> > moment that the requirement that a prophecy apply also to the time it
> was
> > given is removed, so also the "anachronisms" connected with them are
> > removed.
> >
> > You are adding a requirement that did not exist in the original text,
> i.e.
> > you practice eisegesis.
> The one who is adding is the one who claims that a given verse is in
> itself
> prophetic.  If we get the verse, "These are the kings of Edom who ruled in
> Edom before a king ruled in Israel," that verse cannot be assumed to be
> in any way prophetic without adding things not in the original text.…

Who said it was prophetic? Remember, Edom was set up as a political entity
hundreds of years before Moses. Remember, Esau was able to command 400 men
to go with him for what was essentially a pleasure excursion (Genesis 32:7,
33:1) indicating that he had made himself the head of a tribe, if not a
minor kingdom. There's no need to make this a prophecy.

Further, that does not mean that even then there was a king over Israel.

> … However,
> if you claim that it is prophetic, then I think the very least is to
> restrict
> yourself to examples of known prophecies from the Bible, whether true or
> false.  These always speak to someone.  They always convey the prophecy
> in terms that person understands.…

While often true, that is not always true. The example of Daniel 12:8 is one
where it is not true. How many others did the people hear, but did not
understand, only did not express their lack of understanding as did Daniel?

> …  Furthermore, they always use certain
> grammatical forms to relate to the future, even if that is the "prophetic
> perfect."  In any case, any verse or anachronism which is claimed to be
> in truth not anachronistic but prophetic, and which does not claim by
> itself
> to be prophetic, then at the very least, the claim that reads into the
> Bible
> that it is prophetic must show how it speaks in terms that the purported
> hearers understand, and using grammar that is consistent with other known
> prophecies.

Is this the only example you have? If so, then you don't have an argument.

> Shoshanna Walker wrote:
> > Could you please give me some examples of archeological evidence that
> > is incompatible with many details of the Torah.
> Karl Randolph wrote:
> > I echo Shoshanna Walker here concerning archeological evidence.
> I intend to deal with this in some way in the response to the Kenneth
> Kitchen
> article I just read, but here are some non-exhaustive examples.  I do not
> intend
> to argue them through.  Please read the book by Finkelstein and Mazar for
> further information.  What I list below is in general agreement by all
> archaeologists of Israel (although I may be corrected -- I'm basing myself
> on
> Finkelstein and Mazar here, primarily):
> There were no Philistines in Canaan during the time of the Patriarchs

That is disputed, saying that most scholars are dealing with a case of
mistaken identity. The Philistines of the Patriarch period were a Canaanite
people, not connected with the "Sea Peoples".

> Camels were not domesticated and used in caravans as in the time of
> the Patriarchs.

Again a disputed fact.

> There is no evidence for a population of the order of 600,000 having
> stayed or left
> Goshen.…

Are you looking at the right time period? Right records?

> …  Even Kitchen agrees that that evidence must exist.  (See the reply on
> his point which I'll send later on today or tomorrow).
> The time of Conquest at around 1200 BCE is the most logical time
> archaeologically,…

Historically indefensible. Further there is good reason to question the
"archeological dates". (Below)

>> because that is when many hilltop settlements appear which later become
> the
> Israelite towns.  Any other dating for the Conquest is more
> problematic.  But even
> this date is problematic:
> Heshbon, Arad, Ai, and Yarmuth were not inhabited during
> These new hilltop settlements also appear in the Transjordan, but Moab
> didn't
> conquer Canaanites.

The Transjordan was part of Israel, where the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half
the tribe of Manasseh settled down. So what's this comment about Moab?

> While both Hazor and Lachish were destroyed around this time, Hazor was
> destroyed approximately one hundred years prior to Lachish.

What's this about Lachish? That was not one of the cities deliberately
destroyed by Joshua.

> Furthermore, continuity in all aspects of life in the Israelite towns
> suggests that
> they were no other than the Canaanites who lived there prior to the
> destructions
> and upheavals that took place in the end of the Late Bronze Age.
> For more information, please read Finkelstein/Mazar, "The Quest for
> the Historical
> Israel".  Here is part of Mazar's discussion in that book about the
> Patriarchs:
> "During the 1970s, John Van Seters and Thomas Thompson suggested, in two
> detailed monographs, exilic or post-exilic dates for the entirety of
> the Patriarchal
> traditions, and argued against their affinity to any second-millennium BCE
> backgrounds.  Their views became influential, and today most scholars
> indeed
> define the Patriarchal tradition as a late invention with no
> historical validity.
> "Yet the questions of when and with whom these stories originated and what
> is
> the background to their creation can still be asked.  I continue to
> believe that
> some of the parallels between the second-millennium BCE culture of the
> Levant
> and the cultural background portrayed in the Patriarchal stories as
> mentioned
> above are too close to be ignored, indicating that perhaps certain
> components
> in the biblical stories are recollections of memories rooted in the second
> millennium and preserved through common memory and oral traditions.  Such
> stories and traditions could have been transmitted orally over many
> generations
> until they were inserted into the biblical narrative sometime during the
> first
> millennium BCE.  To be sure, in the process of oral transmission, many
> features
> had been lost, expanded upon, distorted, or changed over the ages, and
> still
> others, reflecting much later historical situations, added.  This does not
> mean
> that the stories should be taken at face value as reflecting the deeds
> of actual
> people, nor should they be taken literally as reflecting actual
> Israelite history.
> On the contrary, this aspect of the stories may indeed be a late
> innovation.  I
> merely wish to claim that some elements of the second-millennium BCE
> milieu
> mentioned above, such as private names, place-names, and the status of a
> Semitic prince in  the Egyptian court, may suggest that the stories
> contain
> kernels of old traditions and stories rooted in second-millennium BCE
> realia.
> As we will see below, this line of thought can be applied to the Exodus
> and
> Conquest traditions."
> One example of such a memory is suggested by Mazar to be Hazor's burning
> by fire.  Hazor was in the 2nd millennium BCE a very large city-state,
> larger
> than any other, and the palace and temples in Hazor were indeed burned to
> the ground.  So the mention of Hazor's burning, in exception to the rest
> of the
> towns in Joshua 10-11, and its designation as the "head of all these
> kingdoms,"
> does fit (Josh 11:10-11).  It suggests a cultural memory which survived
> among
> the traumatized peoples of Canaan.  But Lachish was not destroyed "without
> a trace" before Hazor as in Josh 10:31-33.…

Read those verses, they don't say "destroyed "without a trace"" as you

> …  It was destroyed a hundred years
> later.  So Joshua is not historical, but some of the details are based on
> authentic memories.  Other details, as is the entire structure of the
> book,
> are not.
> Yitzhak Sapir

There are questions that throw doubts on all your claims concerning dates.

Who was the pharaoh of the Exodus? It is almost certain that the pharaoh at
the time that Moses was plucked out of the Nile was Hyksos, as recognized by
clues in the book of Exodus and that they had practices foreign to native
Egyptians. I suspect that what broke the back of the Hyksos military might
and allowed the Egyptians to drive them out was the loss of their best
troops in the Red Sea.

Given the deliberate destruction of Hyksos records by the native Egyptians,
if the pharaoh of the Exodus was Hyksos, the surviving Egyptian records
would be very, very unlikely to record the Israelite Exodus.

There are Egyptologists who dispute the traditional dates given for many
pharaohs: one claim being that Raamses II was the pharaoh who sacked
Jerusalem after Solomon died, not the pharaoh of the Exodus. If that's the
case, that would put the end of the bronze age/beginning of the iron age, at
about the time of King David. The greatly expanded settlements a reflection
of the peace and security afforded by the kings of Israel, Saul, David and
Solomon, so would be dated at that time.

Finkelstein/Mazar are just one strand of the discussion, and could very well
be wrong, as you well know.

According to Joshua, only three cities were destroyed during the invasion;
Jericho, Ai and Hazor. All the others were captured and looted, but not
razed. Thus by the historical sources, there should be almost no
archeological evidence of the invasion. Isn't that what we find for about
1400 BC?

From the above, I conclude that there is a lot of sloppy, or is it
ideologically biased, scholarship going on, marshaling facts to fit a
predetermined conclusion. And that conclusion is that the Bible is
historically inaccurate. So far the data you have provided are surrounded by
question marks, making them unable to disprove the historicity of the Bible.

Karl W. Randolph.

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