[b-hebrew] Dan (was: Where Was Jacob's Ladder)

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Sat Nov 10 19:32:04 EST 2007

Dear Yigal,

Again, we are getting into the area of presuppositions that one brings to the

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2007 12:37 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Dan (was: Where Was Jacob's Ladder)

> Dear Karl,
> 1. While there could have been other "Dan"s in the Semitic-speaking world, I
> actually don't know of any. Could you please point me to a reference?
> 2. Abraham set out from Hebron, either going down into the Jordan Valley and
> then north, around the Sea of Galilee and up the upper Jordan, or along the
> hill-country and the Jezereel Valley, and then into the upper Jordan, in any
> case passing near the Dan we know on his way towards Damascus. The Dan that
> we know is situated right near this major route.
> 3. The text does not actually say that he stopped at Dan or interacted with
> its inhabitants in any way. It just uses "Dan" as a geographical marker.
> This would indicate that the writer assumed that this Dan would be well
> known to his audience.
> 4. Laish's being isolated in the time of the Judges could well have had more
> to do with its geopolitical situation, as a single Canaanite city within
> mostly Israelite territory, than with its actual distance from the main
> roads.
> 5. The book of Genesis does not "claim authorship" at all. In fact, neither
> does the Pentaeuch as a whole, unless one understands passages near the end
> of Deuteronomy about Moses writing "et hattorah hazzot" as referring to the
> entire Pentateuch and not just to either Deuteronomy or a particular
> passage. It is actually tradition, firts attested hundreds of years later,
> that claims that Genesis was written by Moses. Now I have no problem if
> someone who believes that Moses, as a prophet, wrote what he did under
> divine influence, and used the name Dan because he knew that that was what
> the place would be called in the future. Moses' final vision of the Land in
> Duet. 34:1-3 does the same, naming not only Dan, but also lands of Naphtali,
> Menasseh, Ephraim and Judah, none of which were called that until after
> Moses' death. If one's approach is that of modern science, which, while not
> denying the possiblity of prophecy, cannot use it as an answer to the
> question of "where did the author get his information from?", must conclude
> that this particular passage, in its present form, must have been written at
> least after the time of the Judges. No "pious fraud" involved.
> 6. In short, the only reason that you have to suppose that this is a
> different Dan than the well-known city is that you pre-suppose that the
> story must have been written before Dan had become Dan. There is no evidence
> to back up your claim.
> Yigal Levin
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "K Randolph" <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
> > While I have no problem with Bethel, the story in Genesis 28 happened
> > well before Abraham's sons died, possibly before they wrote about
> > Abraham's life (assuming the "toldot" referred to "biography" (or
> > something like it), but does the toponym "Dan" refer to the same
> > place? I don't think so.
> >
> > First of all, "Dan" was not an unusual name in the ANE. Over the
> > years, I have  read of different places in Semitic speaking areas that
> > were named "Dan".
> >
> > Secondly, the impression I get in Genesis 14 is that Abraham pursued
> > the kings along the main highway heading north from Sodom, while Laish
> > was described as an out of the way place in Judges.
> >
> > Thirdly, there is the time element: if Genesis was written well before
> > the events in Judges, there is no way that the same place was referred
> > to in both books. Of course, that is taken as evidence by some people
> > that Genesis was "pious fraud" in that it claimed earlier authorship
> > than it actually had.
> >
> > My conclusion is that there were two different places that were named
> > "Dan" and mentioned in Tanakh, The former place was heading north up
> > the Jordan River, the later place in northern highlands. The former
> > forgotten, maybe because the latter was more important to Israel.
> >
> >
> > Karl W. Randolph.
> > _______________________________________________
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