[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Jan 19 19:09:33 EST 2008

On Jan 10, 2008 9:56 PM, K Randolph wrote:

> On Jan 10, 2008 12:43 AM, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

> > On Jan 9, 2008 11:27 PM, K Randolph wrote:
> >
> > …  Don't take what he says out of context.

> Two complete pages is "taking out of context"? Especially where he gives
> examples to illustrate what he meant? Don't be silly.

First, you are now taking what I say out of context (symbolized above by the
ellipsis before the "Don't").  I just warned you not to take it out of
context, not
saying that you did.  His claim, however, is only regarding the 10th
century low
chronology issue.  The question is whether the 10th century is represented in
the Iron I archaeological levels, or in the Iron II archaeological
levels.  Amihai
Mazar's viewpoint on earlier (as well as this and later) periods is clearly
explained in the book published with Finkelstein.  In light of your positions on
this list, however, I was afraid you would use what he claims about the 10th
century Iron I/II issue to make conclusions regarding the Exodus or the
Patriarchs, etc.  That would be taking it out of context.  So just be
sure not to
do that.

> It was widely taught in European universities as early as 1820.

What exactly was widely taught in European universities?  Who
convinced scholars
in the US?

> Prof. (Rev. Dr.) Charles M. Mead is
> > named as one of these scholars.  Perhaps instead of asking questions that
> > cast doubt but have no basis, you should provide evidence for your assertions.
> He made a claim, I'm asking upon what basis does his claim stand? Who does
> he count as "scholars"? If he restricts it to public secular universities,
> then he might be correct. But if he includes all schools of higher
> education, there is good reason to say that what he said was a falsehood, as
> most private schools that had Old Testament scholars were church schools,
> and at 1889 almost none of those accepted DH.

Again, you have provided no evidence for the questions.  Even questions need
evidence.  You can't just cast doubt on anything you wish without providing some
evidence for the doubt.  All things being equal, you should take his
word for what
it means.  A scholar means any scholar.  Why would someone think otherwise?

> > Also, in your response to Bill, you continue to claim that the Documentary
> > Hypothesis along with advances of Biblical literary analysis is based on an
> > ideology.  What ideology was behind Ibn Ezra's suggestion that the book of
> > Isaiah was written by two different authors?…
> What about ibn Ezra? Did his work lead directly to the modern theory? Or was
> his work largely unknown to those who formulated the modern hypothesis? If
> the latter, then your mentioning of him is mere noise that needs to be
> filtered out of the discussion, a red herring logical fallacy.

Ibn Ezra's work is indeed credited as far as the Documentary Hypothesis is
concerned.  That is, Spinoza based himself in part on Ibn Ezra, and others
based themselves upon Spinoza.  But if we are discussing the Deutero-Isaiah,
then I don't know if there was explicit mention of his views, or if
later scholars
read his commentaries (many of his works were translated to Latin).  But this is
what you wrote originally:

> DH is not only Torah, rather it is connected with the division of Isaiah to
> two or three authors, ...  all parts of the same movement whose roots go back
> more than two centuries, ... to before Gesenius developed his lexicography in
> accordance to the movement, ... Those roots have objections that have never
> been adequately answered, therefore the refinements, that which came later,
> are largely irrelevant.
and later on in this post to which I now respond you add:
> Looking at the history of DH, it started with the presupposition that Bible
> was written later than the historical records indicated, and that the books
> that make up Bible were compilations of earlier documents.

And here I ask, what roots and presuppositions with which you have problems are
behind Ibn Ezra's suggestion?  Why is the division of Isaiah to two
authors here
part of  this "movement"?

> >  Have you ever tried yourself to test the Documentary
> > Hypothesis objectively?
> >
> > I did.…
> I doubt very much that you did.

Since you do not know me, don't doubt me.  Take it as a given.

> Of course I did not try to test the DH objectively. Even to consider that is
> an oxymoron. By the time one is trained enough even to be introduced to DH,
> he is no longer a tabula rasa (if he ever was), he already has an
> ideological framework which he uses to organize his thoughts. He also uses
> that ideological framework to evaluate ideas that are new to him. That is,
> if he thinks logically and consistently.

You're simply wrong.  That I knew what the Documentary Hypothesis in general
claims does not mean that I organized my thoughts by some ideological
framework.  I did not.

> > …  Is there any test that you
> > could construct that would convince you that the Pentateuch is not
> > a unified work?…

[skipping a part where you deal with cases where we find the originals, because
this was not the question]

> > …  Yes, we may not have the original documents that made
> > it up -- but that doesn't change the fact that the final work may be a result
> > of composition.  So how would you determine if the final work is or is not
> > the result of composition including, among others, sources much later
> > than Moses, allowing for the possibility that in the second case, the
> > original independent source documents did not survive?
> Unless you have the original documents, you don't have a case (unless they
> are cited as in Kings and other books dealing with history). You can't cite
> differences in style, as these books were written over a span of years and
> nobody maintains the same style unchanged over a long time. Also some books
> were written as written records, while Deuteronomy in particular was an oral
> speech that was recorded. We have written records that imply or better
> single authorship, you need something better to nullify what we have.

No.  We have the Diatessaron, and it was believed to be of the apostolic age,
and to have been the original gospel, and yet, this is clearly not the
case.  How
do we know that the Pentateuch, while it may be read and interpreted as
internally consistent, is not similarly a composite?  The fact that we
don't have
the originals does not change the truth about whether it is or is not
a composite.
Having the originals would prove it was not a composite.  Not having them does
not prove that it is not!  (Should I say, "absence of evidence...").
Similarly, the
fact that we can interpret the Pentateuch to mean that it was written by a
single author (ie, places where it speaks of "Torah" refer to the whole book)
does not mean that this is the only interpretation.  Therefore,
neither absence of
source documents nor an interpretation is sufficient conditions to
determine that
the work is not a composite.  They are necessary conditions -- they
are just not
sufficient conditions.  So we are still missing a test that would
supplement these
necessary but insufficient conditions and would show that the work is not a
composite.  You did not provide one.

Yitzhak Sapir

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