[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Digest, Vol 71, Issue 1

Bill Rea bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz
Sun Nov 2 16:02:01 EST 2008

Rev. Bryant wrote:-

> The first presupposition is that if it is a theological text, it is therefore
> not historical nor scientific.

I think you're mistaken to call this a presupposition. It seems to me
something few would argue with. A theological text is concerned with things
other than history and science as we define and practice history and science
today. The shard in question seems to be somewhere around 3000 years old and
what it actually says is being actively worked on. Scholarship and science
as it is practiced today requires evidence. When the article was written the
translation of the shard hadn't even been completed. In that circumstance
the only reasonable path is to wait until the team publishes, then we can
engage with the evidence which ever way it may fall.

>The second presupposition is that the Hebrew
> text
> is not historical about the early history of the Israelites.

Again, I don't think this is a presupposition. People, in general, come to
their understanding through a lot of thought, some more than others of
course. Just because someone examines the evidence and reaches a different
conclusion to you doesn't mean that their conclusion is a presupposition.
People shift their understanding all the time. This shard may, and I
emphasize may, influence people's understanding of the historical content of
the Hebrew text. We just don't know.

>The third
> presupposition is that since the Israelites arose from the hill country of
> Canaan, then the Hebrew alphabet is taken from there. Dever and others promote
> this. Yet it is quite evident from the Hebrew text itself that the Hebrew
> alphabet was well advanced by the time they got to the Transjordan since they
> had spent 430 years in Egypt pretty much isolated in Goshen with some contact
> with the Egyptians until they were enslaved; another 40 years in the
> Wilderness
> Wandering of Exodus through Deuteronomy; and another 7 years during the
> Conquest
> of Joshua. That is a minimum of 477 years in which their language and alphabet
> developed. 

I have read these texts for more than 40 years and I don't see anything in
them which tells us what the state of their alphabet was. They appear to
simply be silent on the matter. Can you be more specific?

> I do agree that those who report these inscriptional finds would serve the
> scholarly community much better if they published very clear photos of the
> finds. 

Not necessarily. The investigators have the right of first publication. You
cannot expect the type of photos you are wanting until after that.

> Furthermore, there must be a better way to make sure that the FINAL
> REPORT IS PUBLISHED BEFORE the archaeologist is allowed to do another dig!
> Basically, No Report, No Dig.

Ah, here we agree! :-)

Bill Rea Ph.D., ICT Services, University of Canterbury \_
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