[b-hebrew] Academic Debate

Kevin Riley klriley at alphalink.com.au
Tue Oct 30 22:39:49 EDT 2007

I agree with starting with the text and assuming the writer's intentions to
be honest - i.e. s/he is not writing to deceive.  But that does not mean
that there is no agenda, no purpose other than to record facts.  I guess I
should have thought about how to express myself better before writing.  What
I meant was the assumption that the text is only factual, and therefore if
it says "all" it means "all", is a presupposition.  My presupposition is
that God is behind the text, and therefore it is reliable, but also that God
is behind the real world, and therefore there is no fundamental difference
between the intention of the text and the record of events in archaeology,
etc.  So I guess what I meant was the general privileging of written text -
of written words - over everything else.  The story doesn't demand that "all
 means "everyone".  If the archaeological record, or written records outside
the Scriptures, indicate that "all" doesn't mean "everyone", then I do not
assume the words in Scripture are to be believed against the evidence. 
Neither do I assume they will more likely be wrong.  The meaning of
Scripture - virtually every verse - can be argued, just as the conclusions
of archaeology and history can.  I prefer to assume the basic honesty of all
 and come to a conclusion that makes the best use of all.  It becomes a
spiral where archaeology and other sources influence how we understand the
words of Scripture, and that in turn informs how we understand the
archaeological record.  I try to avoid saying "the words say..." therefore
archaeology must be wrong as much as saying "archaeology proves..."
therefore the words of scripture are wrong.  I am not saying anyone on the
list is saying this, but some are much closer to the ends than I am
comfortable with.  I know we try to avoid bringing in issues of religious
belief, but it seems that unless we are sometimes honest enough to say where
we are coming from, we simply misunderstand each other and go around in
circles, with both sides wondering if the other is stupid or merely blind. 
Sometimes we say "the evidence is not convincing" and tacitly invite the
other person to continue their attempt to convince us, when what we mean is 
my religious/philosophical beliefs make it difficult/impossible to believe
the evidence" - if we said that, the other would know that the conversation
is going nowhere.  Some people do that - Shoshanna is one person that does
so - and it makes it much easier to know when to not reply with further
evidence that is not going to get anywhere.  I appreciate that, although I
suspect some may not.  I am not offended when someone has different beliefs,
but I am annoyed when they implicitly deny those beliefs are influencing
their reading.  If we stick merely to the words themselves, I think we will
often have to admit that we can't find agreement.  I don't believe Karl
would argue that "all" must *always* mean "everyone", nor would anyone argue
that it never means "everyone".  Without access to the author, can we ever
really settle whether it does or doesn't mean "everyone without exception"
Kevin Riley
-------Original Message------- 
From: dwashbur at nyx.net 
Date: 31/10/2007 12:27:09 PM 
On 31 Oct 2007 at 12:17, Kevin Riley wrote: 
> -------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
> to impeach the written record? 
> ******************************** 
> Is not the primacy of the written record a presupposition? [snip] 
It is indeed, but in a case like this it's a reasonable one because, in a
very real sense, it's 
Virtually all we have. We either begin with the assumption that it's
accurate (as you say, 
However one defines that term) and go from there, perhaps making necessary
>From fields such as archaeology (your term "historical record" is confusing,
I think you meant 
"archaeological record" because "historical record" would naturally include
the written 
Materials) as conclusions become solid. And there's the rub: virtually
nothing in the 
Archaeological record that can't be challenged by somebody. A says the
Supports the written record, B says no, it doesn't. C says it doesn't, D
says yes, it does. If 
We're going to make any progress in our understanding of history, we have to
*somewhere.* If we start with nothing, we end up nowhere. Hence, beginning
with the at 
Least reasonable accuracy of the written record is a presupposition, but it
s both a 
Reasonable one and a necessary one. 
Karl can answer for himself if he has anything else he wants to address, I
just wanted to 
Jump in on that particular question. 
Dave Washburn 
Why do it right when you can do it again? 

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