[b-hebrew] Academic Debate

Kevin Riley klriley at alphalink.com.au
Tue Oct 30 21:17:43 EDT 2007

-------Original Message------- 
From: K Randolph 
Date: 31/10/2007 11:38:57 AM 
There is yet another question: is the external evidence of such a quality as
to impeach the written record? 
Is not the primacy of the written record a presupposition?  You are assuming
that it is accurate, and then demanding that the evidence for other views be
persuasive before you will consider revising your understanding of the
written record.  I think we all agree that proving God wrote anything is
outside our capabilities, so are we not instead left with the question of
whether the written record accurately [however you wish to define that]
represents reality?  In other words, the historical record that you say is
not sufficient to warrant reconsidering the written record, also is not
sufficient to warrant accepting the written record.  If you do not start
with the assumption that the written record is accurate - I.e. literally
factual - then your conclusions can be very different.  If you do not start
with the assumption that "all" must mean "everyone" as opposed to "most
people" - which is a possible meaning elsewhere - or that the record is just
an eyewitness account rather than a rhetorical piece with an agenda and so
the use of language may be rhetorical rather than literal, then there is no
reason to insist on the primacy of the written word as understood literally.
 Unless we specifically include the authorship of God and an understanding
that that in itself guarantees accuracy - which we cannot do if we wish to
study the Hebrew text in a group like this - then we are all left only with
historical evidence and our understanding of linguistics with which to argue
our case.  I don't believe either can deliver a knock-out blow for either
side on this question, but some of us find the evidence persuasive enough to
read "all" as "most people".  It obviously isn't persuasive enough for
everyone, and unless we are to address the issue we all avoid [due to list
rules] of inspiration and inerrancy, is it possible to come to a conclusion
or are we just restating what we have said many times before?  How much
evidence does it take to persuade someone who holds to a belief in an
inspired inerrant scripture that *one* text in the Bible/Tanakh is wrong?  I
suspect about the same amount as it takes to convince an atheist that God
did inspire an inerrant scripture.  I doubt that much evidence exists.
Kevin Riley

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