[b-hebrew] Language, migration and Jewish identity

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Nov 9 08:41:35 EST 2007

Yitzhak Sapir: 
Here are my answers to your three  questions.  (Pursuant to the good  advice 
of George Athas, I will try to keep my posts  short.) 
1.  Famed German scholar Gerhard von Rad, at p. 187 of his book "Genesis"  
(1961), paperback edition 1972, states: 
"The 'iniquity of the Amorites' is here [at  Genesis 15: 16] to be understood 
as their sexual  corruption…." 
In my own opinion, however, “the iniquity of  the Amorites” at Genesis 15: 
16 has nothing to do with sex.  Rather, “the iniquity of the Amorites”  
references the truly iniquitous actions of the Amorites in northern Lebanon and  
western Syria in the mid-14th century BCE, when those  Amorites iniquitously sold 
out northernmost Canaan to the dreaded Hittites,  thereby potentially 
subjecting the new Hebrews to a possible genocide at the  hands of the fearsome 
2.  To the best of my knowledge, in the last 40 years not a single scholar at 
 a leading university in the West has written an article or book comparing 
the  Amarna Letters with the Patriarchal narratives.  No detailed debunking of 
any claimed  comparison has been done either.  There simply is nothing recent 
out there at all that has been published  on this subject by any secular 
scholar at a leading university, to the best of  my knowledge. 
3.  Probably the most famous Biblical Minimalist is Niels Peter Lemche.  In 
his book “Prelude to Israel's Past"  (1998) at p. 25, Niels Peter Lemche refers 
to the Patriarchal narratives as  “fairy tales”.  To put that comment  in 
some context, here is a little of pp.  24-25: 
"For the authors of the Pentateuch, the  narratives are idyllic portrayals of 
the patriarchs….  We are moving in a world of fairy tales  and sagas where 
mythical motifs are blended with  legend." 
Although mainstream secular scholars would  not use the inflammatory phrase 
"fairy tales", they in fact for the most part  agree with most of Niels Peter 
Lemche’s analysis of the Patriarchal narratives,  at least in broad outline.  
That is  to say, most all of today's mainstream secular scholars see the 
Patriarchal  narratives as having been composed by multiple authors in the mid-1st  
millennium BCE, with none of those multiple authors knowing what they were  
talking about in terms of the secular history of the early  Hebrews. 
I myself disagree completely with that  secular academic analysis of the 
Patriarchal narratives.  In my controversial view, there is only  one author of 
the Patriarchal narratives.  He lived in the Patriarchal Age.  He was a Hebrew, 
possibly the first Hebrew, living in the  mid-14th century BCE.  He  knew 
exactly what he was talking about, which is why there is so much pinpoint  
historical accuracy between what the received text of the Patriarchal narratives  
says, and what we know from the Amarna Letters and other secular sources was  
actually going on in the mid-14th century  BCE. 
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois

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