[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Jan 7 08:30:24 EST 2008


On Jan 6, 2008 12:53 PM, Bill Rea <bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:

> Karl wrote:-
> >You mentioned cladistic analysis, but you mentioned neither for nor
> >against if it could be used for DH.
> I thought my statement that it didn't deal with authorship was clear
> enough. But I guess not.

My understanding (and I just checked your message again) was just that it
had not been applied.

> >DH's parsimony? I thought the opposition was for the opposite reason.
> Yes, parsimony. I expect your confusion is because you have your own
> private meaning for the word which does not agree with standard usage
> much in the same way you have unique, highly idiosyncratic definitions
> for words like ``science'', ``observation'' and ``evidence''.

When you wrote "parsimony", my first reaction was to check the dictionary
that comes with MacOS 10.4, because I didn't see how it applied to the
question. The definition given there is:

parsimony |ˈpärsəˌmōnē|noun extreme unwillingness to spend money or use
resources : a great tradition of public design has been shattered by
government parsimony.
PHRASES principle (or law) of parsimony the scientific principle that things
are usually connected or behave in the simplest or most economical way, esp.
with reference to alternative evolutionary pathways. Compare withOccam's
razor .
ORIGIN late Middle English : from Latin parsimonia, parcimonia,
from parcere 'be sparing.'

After checking the dictionary, I see the multiple authorship theory as more
complex than the single authorship picture given in the text. Hence, I don't
see how parsimony fits this theory.

As for the other definitions, I got them from reading Dr.s George Gaylord
Simpson and William S. Beck and many other scientists. Look on Amazon.com,
how many books authored by them are still being sold: how many books on
science by you should I find there?

> Parimony is about getting maximum explantory power from a minimum number
> number of variables. It requires *balancing* explantory power against
> number of variables. In many situations parsimony can be measured
> with information criteria and an optimal number of explantory variables
> chosen. In the DH vs single-author hypothesis, there are a large number
> of problems with a single author hypothesis for which the supporters
> engage in all sorts of special pleading. For a number of these problems
> you don't even have to be able to read Hebrew, they can be seen in most
> English translations. Ultimately it becomes simpler, i.e. more
> parsimonious, to believe that the text was composed by combining several
> earlier closely related traditions. Whether those traditions were
> oral or written or a bit of both is not hugely important.
> The fact is that if people examine the evidence most people are convinced
> the that DH is on the right track. I'm not a professional Hebrew scholar
> but when I was learning Hebrew and doing some related Biblical study I
> came into contact with the DH. The evidence was persuasive and so I
> switched away from believing in a single author who composed the whole
> five books of Moses from scratch. Most people do.

I had a professor many years ago try to convince us in class that DH was the
way to go, but then he included in his lectures what sounded like
contradictory statements which made me wonder if the only reason for DH was
philosophical (religious) and not based on objective standards. Then I read
a PhD dissertation showing the history and philosophy of DH that verified my
initial impression of the theory.

> >One of the main reasons I heard over the years for opposing the
> >methodology of DH is that it can be applied to only one document, that it
> >cannot accurately describe any other document. If it cannot be applied to
> >any other document, why should we trust it when applied to Bible? It
> >doesn't matter if the method has been computerized, if it can't
> >accurately describe other documents where the authorship is known, then
> >it is useless in supporting DH as well.
> This is a red-herring. There is no problem developing unique methods to
> deal with unique problems. However, I believe other list members have
> addressed this issue, so I will leave it.

This is akin to saying that the reasons we have for heliocentrism apply only
to the sun and our planets, but we should not expect those reasons to apply
to other planets and stars. If DH cannot be applied to Tolstoy or other
modern authors or literary works and give accurate results, then why should
I trust it concerning Bible?

> Bill Rea, ICT Services, University of Canterbury \_
> E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz                </   New
> Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax  64-3-364-2332        /)  Zealand
> Unix Systems Administrator                    (/'

Karl W. Randolph.

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