[b-hebrew] Language, migration and Jewish identity
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Nov 9 08:41:35 EST 2007
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.
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