[b-hebrew] Documentary Hypothesis

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Jan 28 16:46:29 EST 2009


On Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 10:47 AM, Gabe Eisenstein <gabe at cascadeaccess.com>wrote:

> I can't stand reading anymore of this "science is just another
> ideology/faith" stuff.

Who makes this claim? Have you been reading carefully?

> Not only does Karl not understand the basic
> nature of science

I just deleted the offlist thread with you personally from a week ago, in
which I clearly showed that my understanding of science comes directly from
some of the top biologists of the 20th century, who also happened to be
missionaries for evolution. There is also an article at
gives the same definition that I learned. Do you say that those
textbooks were wrong? Has the definition for science changed? Did these
science professors at not understand science? Or is it possibly you who

> (for example, his picture of competing "ideologies"
> cannot explain why the whole vast edifice of modern biology works as it
> does

How much more would have been known about biology if researchers had not
wasted so much time and effort chasing down flights of fancy to connect to a
faith in the non-scientific theory of evolution? See also

> -- why one "ideology" has created modern technological civilization
> while the other simply pours out verbiage),

And which is which? See

> this notion of ideologies
> logically reduces to complete relativism, where everyone is free to
> choose his own premises.

I am firmly of the belief that everyone is free to have his own ideas and
opinions, but not his own facts.

> Instead of talking about faith and ideology, a philosopher would say
> that there are different language-games involved here, with different
> paradigms of inference. The real mistake is to think that scholars
> (mainstream university scholars) and fundamentalists share some common
> notions of truth and evidence.

Are you sure about "truth and evidence"?

Though there is some truth in this: the educated "fundamentalist" tends to
think functionally, while the "mainstream" thinker more according to form.
See also http://www.wikinfo.org/index.php/Hebrew_thought

> They do not, and it is the misfortune of
> this list to be a forum for such utter miscommunication.

Shouldn't this be a learning opportunity, to try to bridge that gap?

> In the case of Deuteronomy, there is much more to the theory of its
> 7th-century origin than just the note about its being "found" in the
> Temple. There is the body of laws that contradict the early laws of
> Exodus, and do so in exactly the ways that would be needed if local
> shrines had been allowed before but were now being banned, in line with
> a new centralized system. And of course there are the great stylistic
> differences, as well as a different theological mindset. (See Moshe
> Weinberg's great book on this.)

So you think people don't change over the span of their lives? Indication is
that Exodus was written close to four decades before Deuteronomy. Secondly,
look at the contexts of the two works: one was written while founding the
set of laws, while the second a farewell address in a more folksy,
conversational manner, summing up high points of 40 years, not just Exodus.
Isn't it unreasonable to expect the two to be exactly the same? And notice,
these differences are expected even if the same person wrote both books.

> All of these things must remain hidden
> from fundamentalists, in the same way that the contents of biology are
> hidden from them.

Shouldn't you be more careful in what you say?

> Getting back to the subject of Hebrew... I recall that in answering a
> question of mine about the third-person ending NW (with "nun
> energicum"), Yitzhak Sapir gave an explanation that involved "The
> original reconstruction of the verb way back when before Hebrew", and
> presupposed a linguistic evolution. I also note that, in addition to the
> work of Hurvitz on stages in the development of Hebrew mentioned here
> previously, there are books along the same lines by Robert Polzin, Gary
> Rendsburg and Ziony Zevit. This is the kind of thing I would love to see
> examined by the Hebrew scholars here, but it is anathema to the
> fundamentalists.

And why do you suppose that is the case? Do you suppose it is due to
insufficient evidence?

> So I would like to see the fundamentalists get their own list or website
> (just as Karl often harangues poor Jim to do), and leave this list to
> scholars.

OK, Gabe, how many times have you read, I mean reading for understanding,
the Tanakh in Hebrew, cover to cover, with the intent of understanding? Even
once? How many of your questions and conclusions are based on that reading?

> Gabe Eisenstein

There is plenty to discuss on a forum such as this—difficult passages to
decypher, understandings of words and idiomatic phrases, grammar,
etc.—without once getting into divisive areas of theories concerning history
without definitive evidence, either "fundamentalist" or "mainstream". This
is the approach Rolf Furuli called the third approach. This is an area where
both "fundamentalist" and "mainstream" scholars can work together.

What I had against Jim Stinehart is that he violated this third approach: as
far as I can tell, his main schtick was history and his own particular
theory thereof, the linguistics were merely a sideshow to try to bolster his
main theory.

As far as I know, there are other fora where you can discuss these divisive
issues. But please, can we use this forum where we can come together to
discuss the language itself without going into areas where neither side has
good evidence?

Karl W. Randolph.

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