[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Digest, Vol 61, Issue 13

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Jan 30 12:27:36 EST 2008

Dear Bill:

On Jan 29, 2008 4:44 PM, Bill Rea <bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:

> Karl wrote in reference to Ibn Ezra:-
> >When I studied DH, my professors and books I read did not mention him.
> Given that Ibn Ezra is important let me propose an alternative
> possibility. I'm guessing your professors were either genuinely or
> nominally Christian.  For that reason they ignored not just Ibn Ezra but
> lots of other very fine Jewish scholars as well.

Those who developed DH were not real Christians, but members of the state
churches, therefore nominal Christians.  You are probably right that that's
why they, i.e. all the people who pushed DH from the beginning of the 19th
century through mid 20th century, ignored ibn Ezra and other Jewish
scholars. With that being the case, that means that the works of ibn Ezra
were irrelevant to the development of DH. Oh yes, those who developed DH
also got a reputation for anti-Semitism.

To prove the above paragraph wrong, you need to find documentation showing
that those who developed DH and guided it through its first century and a
half, were familiar with ibn Ezra and his ideas. I was never shown any such
documentation, is there any?

The only reason I can see to include ibn Ezra today is to answer critics
like myself.

> Of Jacob Neusner Karl wrote:-
> >This sounds like post modernism, where everything is true, and nothing is
> >true. Or did I misunderstand him?
> One last word and then I will shut my electronic mouth. Rather than
> throwing out these kinds of accusations based, as far as I can tell, on
> pretty much nothing, it would be better to first actually come to
> understanding of what Jacob Neusner has to say. After all, he's prolific
> writer, his works are often profoundly insightful and they are not
> difficult to get hold of. However, he is Jewish and I was under the
> impression he was an ordained Rabbi, but I may be mistaken on that last
> point. Over the years in which you've been objecting to various peoples'
> ``philosophical presuppositions'' I have only recently begun to realize
> that its not just a Christian code phrase used to politely reject Jewish
> scholarship. For a long time you dismissed Jewish scholarship with that
> phrase. To give you some credit I'm begining to think you simply didn't
> know their background. While I don't agree with Christians ignoring Jewish
> contributions to Biblical scholarship, I could understand why you said
> such things. What I don't understand is that what you are really objecting
> to is people who try to deal with the evidence as honestly as they know
> how. Everyone who comes to ``the wrong conclusions'' gets labelled as
> having the wrong ``philosophical presuppositions''. This is simply
> ridiculous. Mostly you have zero idea of what their ``philosophical
> presuppositions'' are. It is the reason I've hammered away at the
> importance of Ibn Erza (or ibn Ezra if you prefer). I'm sure you can find
> some fine reasons never to learn about him and his contributions, but you
> do yourself a disservice.

Bill, you threw out a quote that appears contradictory, without including
some context to clear up that apparent contradiction. You claimed that it is
a very wise statement that I should think on. But to me it appears that he
is trying to have his cake and eat it too, i.e. to have both orthodox
Judaism and DH. The only way I can see to reconcile the two is to add a
third ingredient, namely post-modernism.

I gave you the option of clarifying the statement by admitting the
possibility that I misunderstood Mr. Neuser, but instead of clarifying it,
you come back accusing me of anti-Semitism.

You seem to claim that just because the person who champions a particular
view is a Jew, therefore the idea championed is Jewish. The Old Testament
prophets disagree with that idea. I see no reason to agree with it.

> That's it from me. Back to writing up my Ph.D. thesis which I need to
> hand in soon.

Once your graduate advisor accepts your thesis, then you have to research
and write your dissertation. That's a lot a work ahead of you.

> 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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