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Old 04-23-2001, 05:21 PM   #21
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Nomad:
In the review the reviewer offers a number of reasons to treat the book with caution, and points out some significant flaws in its arguments.

Yes, he gives his biased opinions.

Nomad: Your post, on the other hand, was totally devoid of content except for your attack on the writer as being a biased source.

Please point out how any of my "post" is in error.

Nomad: Since I see no reason to take your word for it that he was, in fact, biased, I am asking you to substantiate your claim.

Frankly, Nomad, I don't care if you take my word for it or not.

Nomad: Give it a try, if you can.

You have disparaged Morton Smith, Robert W. Funk, John Shelby Spong, Helmut Koester, G. A. Wells, Earl Doherty, John Dominic Crossan, et al, without even bothering to read their books. Retract all your derogatory remarks about them and I will retract my statement about the Christian "reviewer." Fair enough?

rodahi

 
Old 04-23-2001, 11:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:

Nomad: Your post, on the other hand, was totally devoid of content except for your attack on the writer as being a biased source.

rodahi: Please point out how any of my "post" is in error.</font>
I pointed out that your post was content free, just like this one is content free. Since you appear to be unwilling to offer a thoughtful critique of the review beyond labelling it as biased, your interest here was in spouting off and running.

You have achieved your goal.

Nomad
 
Old 04-24-2001, 05:40 AM   #23
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Well, how about Richard Carrier's response to Dever's review?

There's plenty of substance there.
 
Old 04-24-2001, 06:14 AM   #24
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I read Carrier's review with interest. It sounds like The Bible Unearthed agrees with what I have been saying. There never was a united kingdom. When I get home this evening I will go to www.amazon.com and send for the book. Thanks for the reference. (If the authors are too fundamental for my taste I will let you know.)

Thanks, Offa
 
Old 04-24-2001, 08:24 AM   #25
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by sentinel00:
Well, how about Richard Carrier's response to Dever's review?

There's plenty of substance there.
</font>
Thanks for the article sentinel.

The first problem with the review is Carrier's opening critique. He says:

First, Dever attacks the book for saying nothing new, yet he cites not even a single book aimed at "general readers" that advances a complete synthetic history of Israel based on key archaeology completed since the 1990's. There is none.

Actually, there is such a book (although Dever does not list it), and I have offered it in this thread. It is called Who Wrote the Bible? and is authored by Richard Elliott Friedman. Friedman is one of the foremost authorities on the Hebrew Bible, and he thrashes many of the underlying assumptions of The Bible Unearthed. The fact that Carrier would make such an irresponsible statement as to say that there are NO general reader level books that incorporate the archeological findings of the 1990's is either disingenuous, or betrays Carrier's ignorance in the matter.

On a related note, I am left to wonder why Carrier considers only popularized books to be acceptable in this regard. He states that Dever is being elitist in his rejection of the findings of Finklestein and Silberman's. Is this to say that scholarly level critiques, papers and books are not to be considered? If so, why?

Carrier's next laugher comes in the following paragraph where he takes Dever to task for actually criticizing the authors for their failure to include footnotes and end notes. Here is what Carrier says:

First, books for laymen rarely have footnotes or endnotes. Dever is betraying his elitism again, or else his ignorance of what non-scholars like to read.

Um... excuse me? Us poor dumb layman aren't interested in reading footnotes and endnotes? How does Carrier know this? Does he have polling data to support him? Is he actually being serious here?

Friedman has no problem including such notes in his work. Many other popular works that I have read do exactly the same thing. If anyone wants a listing of some of these books I will be happy to provide them.

But I count no fewer than ninety scholars mentioned by name in the body and appendixes.

Quick question: Do any of these mentioned scholars get cited by actual work, book, article with page numbers and references that can be crossed checked? If not, why not? This is a serious question BTW. If the authors do this, then I have no complaint. But if they do not, then this is inexcusable laxity in my view, and they should be called to task for it.

That is hardly a "few," and this considering the fact that the authors overtly declare their desire to name as far as possible only authors published in English (appropriate, considering their lay audience).

Okay, this is getting even worse. Only authorities that are published in English are mentioned? And Carrier thinks that this is appropriate?

Look, I don't expect every lay reader of scholarly works to cross check every single reference offered (or even any of them for that matter), but by citing sources, then we, the layreaders, can at least expect that other experts in the field will be able to take the author's to task for sloppy work. An excellent example of this is how Bishop John Shelby Spong was shreaded by Raymond Brown, N.T. Wright and others for his terrible displays of amateurish scholarship. A good example of where a popular book DOES actually cite sources extensively, leaving his work open to examination by lay readers and scholars alike, is Eyewitness to Jesus by P. Carsten Theide as well as Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus by Donald Harman Akenson. Probably the preeminent example of how to offer a book for laymen on a complex subject is Introduction to the New Testament by Raymond Brown. Brown specifically wrote this book for laymen, yet offers not only a solid bibliography (probably unequalled in any work on NT studies), but also relevant quotes coupled with page numbers. Perhaps not ever lay reader will check these references, but the fact that they are offered greatly increases the confidence of the reader that Brown is being both thorough, and honest in his presentation. At the same time, if he is not, then his peers will easily be able to call him on it. The absense of such documentation by Silberman is inexcusable, and Carrier's defense of that deliberate lack of lucidity is almost as bad.

And to make the point even more clearly, Dever tells us in his own words in his review that Then there are outright misrepresentations. I have never espoused Norman Gottwald’s “peasant revolt” model of ancient Israel’s emergence, but they claim I did. And here and there the authors’ arguments are disingenuous.

If Silberman misrepresents Dever's own views, how many other views do they misrepresent? This is not a small point, and Carrier ignores it completely!

Just because one is not presenting to their fellows in a university setting does not excuse sloppy methodology, poor presentation, and a deliberate attempt to make the cross checking of sources more difficult. I hope Carrier does not write like this in his own books.

Quite simply, a bibliography is not good enough is an authority is being quoted, and this is first year university stuff. You cite the book, the page number, and relavent quotation. Again, did the authors do this or not? Based on Carrier's review it sounds like they just offered a lengthy book list.

My final question on this review has to do with Carrier's failure to address Dever most devastating critique of The Bible Unearthed. Again quoting Dever's review:

The most damaging weakness of the book is that Finkelstein and Silberman never resolutely confront the fundamental dilemma in the entire controversy. If the Hebrew Bible is largely pious propaganda—in effect, a monstrous literary hoax that has fooled almost everyone for 2,000 years (until they set matters straight)—how can it be the basis for any religious belief or moral and ethical system?

Once again Carrier's silence is deafening.

So, when Carrier accuses Dever of being "guilty of this unacceptable crime" and concludes with the outrageous statement: "I (Carrier) shall never be able to trust anything Dever writes in the future, given his shamelessly biased, false, and useless review of this book, and you should think twice before using him as a reviewer again." I am left to wonder at Carrier's motives. His review of Dever's review is sloppy, misses Dever's key points, fails to address (and even excuses) Silberman and Finklestein's sloppiness in their presentation, and engages in bold character assassination of Dever. Considering the fact that Dever is reviewing a book that misrepresents HIS OWN VIEWS, I would say that Carrier's feigned outrage at Dever's justifiable outrage is very telling.

Carrier should be ashamed of himself.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited April 24, 2001).]
 
Old 04-24-2001, 08:43 AM   #26
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Carrier states in his letter to the editor that Dever's review is an overreaction. If this is the case (which I don't believe), then Carrier's letter is an overreaction to an overreaction.

On an earlier thread, I mentioned some of what Nomad covers above and also pointed out that some of Fikelstein's views are non-mainstream. They must be read with that in mind. Silberman, I believe, is only a journalist meant to spice things up so people will buy the book.

Ish
 
Old 04-24-2001, 09:01 AM   #27
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To Ish and Nomad,

First of all, it is my understanding that Finkelstein's findings were first published as scholarly works in all major scholarly review journals. There was plenty of time for his peers to check his references and findings, and critique them accordingly. That he later teamed with a journalist and wanted to publish for the "lay public" is unique for that body of scholars. If Finkelstein is in fact non-mainstream, why don't any of these reviews bring up his difficulty with his peers, rather than just lambast his book for public consumption? Is it a lack of research or substance?

Oh, and one more thing Nomad, as vocal and vehement as you've been against this book, at some point, you're gonna have to read it!
 
Old 04-24-2001, 09:20 AM   #28
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sentinel00, Dever provided some substance in his review.

You are right that Finkelstein publishes his theories in journals. The main journal being that of the school where he teaches in Tel Aviv.

Some of his ideas are criticized as non-mainstream by other scholars. Finkelstien attributes this to religious and national bias against his findings... You might too... I don't see it this way.

I've had a problem finding the website that I mentioned in the other thread that lists a few of the main differences in scholarly thought. Perhaps I will still locate it.

I'm not saying don't read it. Just read it with the knowledge that there are plenty of scholars who disagree with his conclusions. His book alone won't give you the overall view that you might want of OT history/archaeology.

Try Archaeology & The Old Testament by Alfred Hoerth, too. It is also a good book written for the layman.

Ish
 
Old 04-24-2001, 09:32 AM   #29
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by sentinel00:

First of all, it is my understanding that Finkelstein's findings were first published as scholarly works in all major scholarly review journals. There was plenty of time for his peers to check his references and findings, and critique them accordingly.</font>
I don't doubt this, but wonder why he didn't include these references in his book. If he did, great, and Dever should be rapped for saying he did not. But if he didn't then he invites a very legitimate criticism on this point.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> That he later teamed with a journalist and wanted to publish for the "lay public" is unique for that body of scholars.</font>
Depending on what you mean by "that body of scholars" this is not quite true. Carsten Thiede teamed up with Matthew D'Ancona in writing Eyewitness to Jesus and other books. D'Acona is a journalist with the London Times (and also a graduate from Oxford). I believe other scholars have done similar things. My guess is they want to make their work more comprehesible to non-experts, and I have no problem with this so long as they don't go overboard in their claims (which, I think, Thiede does BTW).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If Finkelstein is in fact non-mainstream, why don't any of these reviews bring up his difficulty with his peers, rather than just lambast his book for public consumption?</font>
Dever IS a peer, and if he was misrepresented in the book, this is inexcusable.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Oh, and one more thing Nomad, as vocal and vehement as you've been against this book, at some point, you're gonna have to read it! </font>
Actually, once I get through this Jesus Myth nonsense, I do want to do more reading on the OT. My knowledge on this front is very limited at this point, and I definitely need to examine the arguments in more detail.

At the same time, I have tried to be neutral in my treatment of the book itself (pending reading it of course ). My complaint here is with Carrier's review of Dever's review (a very odd sort of thing to be doing on a book review list BTW), and what I consider to be his character assassination of Dever, and inexcusable statements. If Carrier really was interested in defending the book, then he would refute the specific and most damning critiques offered by Dever, and he failed completely in doing that. This is why Carrier should be ashamed of himself.

Nomad
 
Old 04-24-2001, 09:37 AM   #30
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This website should help clearify positions within OT history/archaeology somewhat, at least. It does not necessarily show mainstream vs. non-mainstream, though it can certainly be read between the lines.

Israelite Origins

Ish
 
 

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