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Old 02-07-2001, 05:53 AM   #1
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Post Biblical Crit from a Jewish perspective

I just thought everyone might find the following article interesting:

King David was a nebbish.

Many of us, particularly we Americans, don't see much of the Jewish side of Biblical criticism. It's nice to see that even in the Holy Land there are a few level heads.

--W@L

 
Old 02-07-2001, 08:13 AM   #2
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And because these guys say it ain't so, it must not have happened... Give me a break... This is the media talking.

The Jesus Seminar is attempting to do the same thing to the NT here in the US.

Level heads? I don't think so. They have an admitted agenda.

Ish
 
Old 02-07-2001, 10:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Writer@Large:
King David was a nebbish</font>
In Britain, nebbish is an adjective descriptive of someone with a big nose (neb). How's that for completing the circle?

Boro Nut
 
Old 02-07-2001, 11:21 AM   #4
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I finished this article and I have to say it is pretty telling that Finkelstein is criticized by both William Dever and Hershel Shanks. These two are both mainstream though they are pretty liberal to me. Biblical Archaeology Review is an excellent quarterly which I receive and it presents all views. I tend to agree much more with Dever and Shanks articles. BTW, if you read BAR or NEA (Near Eastern Archaeology), you will get the Jewish side of Biblical criticism. As a matter of fact, you will get the world's view since these quarterlies present the views of the world's mainstream biblical/near eastern archaeologists.

Ish
 
Old 02-07-2001, 11:24 AM   #5
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BAR, and two other excellent archaeological quarterlies...

www.bib-arch.org
 
Old 02-07-2001, 02:43 PM   #6
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Basically, archeologist Israel Finkelstein proposes that the "curtain of historicity" has to be moved later in time than had earlier been done -- Finkelstein proposes that David and Solomon had been kings only of Jerusalem and a small area around it. He proposes that on the basis of re-dating some ruins with the use of pottery-style correlations. That seems to me to be a tricky business, but it's interesting that there is no counterevidence in the form of big tablets in which David and Solomon brag about their achievements. Here are some earlier moves of the curtain:

The first time was with the stories of Abraham and Jacob and the other patriarchs; they contain anachronisms and other inconsistencies, something like a history of the colonial-era US that features the city of Washington, DC.

The next was the story of the Exodus and the wandering in the Sinai desert. There is not a trace of it in any of the Egyptian records of the time, though it would have been a big event if it had happened. One counterargument is that it would have been too embarrassing to report. However, such an event would have been almost as difficult to hide as the Hyksos, and official propagandists would likely have tried to make that event seem like a triumph, something like "we drove out a lot of pesky slaves and their traitorous leader".

The next was the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, and the Final Solution of the Canaanite Question, as it may be called. There were some destructions of cities there, that had earlier been cited as evidence, but when those destructions could be precisely dated, they were found to be significantly off.

And now, Kings David and Solomon may be moved to behind that curtain. How far it can go is an interesting question; a limit could be set from where Israel starts getting mentioned by others. For instance, Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem is described not only in the Bible but by Sennacherib's chroniclers, who brag about all the loot that Sennacherib's armies had brought back and about how they had held Israel's king captive "like a caged bird". This is likely a veiled reference to having failed to conquer Jerusalem, because one usually wants to conquer *all* of a city.
 
Old 02-07-2001, 03:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
Level heads? I don't think so. They have an admitted agenda.

Ish
</font>

Right. They have an agenda, but those whose aim it is to prove the Bible true don't. Sure.

Everyone has an agenda, Ish. It's all a question of which one you like.

--W@L
 
Old 02-07-2001, 03:36 PM   #8
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Writer@Large:
"Everyone has an agenda, Ish. It's all a question of which one you like."

You're right. There was someone else on these boards that I couldn't get to admit this point and it hacks me off. Everyone has a bias. So, anyway, I'd just like to make sure you realize your "level headedness" comment is quite relative. You may be one of the few to consider Finkelstein's ideas "level headed", but that's ok...

Ipetrich:
"Here are some earlier moves of the curtain:"

Please back that up with the scholars who "moved" this theoretical "curtain".

Ipetrich:
"The first time was with the stories of Abraham and Jacob and the other patriarchs; they contain anachronisms and other inconsistencies, something like a history of the colonial-era US that features the city of Washington, DC."

This is pretty bold. Again, you need to back it up. I find it really funny that from our modern vantage point we can look thousands of years into the past and say with such authority that a city did not exist. This is done by looking at the pottery and coins, etc, that are found in a certain strata. What if they were placed there later?

Anyway, I don't think the moving of this "historical curtain" is necessarily a "mainstream" idea. If you back it up with some reputable scholars' works, then I will consider it.

Ish

 
Old 02-07-2001, 07:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:

Anyway, I don't think the moving of this "historical curtain" is necessarily a "mainstream" idea. If you back it up with some reputable scholars' works, then I will consider it.

Ish
</font>
Ish, I disagree with what you wrote here.

One, if the entire Jewish population left Egypt and the Pharoh's army drowned in the Red Sea(Sea of Reeds), not to mention all those damn plagues, why isn't there any mention of any of it is Egyptian records. I mean, for Christ's sake the Nile River turned into blood for a day, supposedly. That is a huge thing and unique thing. Or how about the death of every firstborn son in Egypt? I would think that would make the next day's papers. Don't you? This is something that has been discussed numerous times here and I have a read a few articles about. It almost borders on the realm of common knowledge.

And second, why does Lpietrich have to show scholars who have "moved the curtain"? Lpietrich is say that Finklestien is moving the curtian. While I don't think that Lpietrich coined the phrase, he is using a metaphor for describe what Finklestien is doing. It isn't that hard a concept to grasp. In the instance that he stated about Abraham and the patriarchs, if you read the Torah with a discerning eye you would see the anachronisms and inconsistencies for youself. There is no need to quote what you can read on your own. Yes, he may need to show more specifics on his second example and cite cities, but all I need was to so that one of them makes sense and thus the "curtain" is moved.

Without wax,
Spider

 
Old 02-07-2001, 10:19 PM   #10
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Spider:
"In the instance that he stated about Abraham and the patriarchs, if you read the Torah with a discerning eye you would see the anachronisms and inconsistencies for youself."

I love subtle put-downs like this... Spider, my "discerning eye" has read the Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim (or Tanach) more than once in English. As a matter of fact, I am currently in the process of reading it in the original Hebrew. And you?

(My name is a transliteration of a Hebrew word in case no one has caught on yet.)

Anyway, to the point...

I will not say that there are no anachronisms or inconsistencies in these stories because that would be impossible to prove. However, I will say that if there are any, this shouldn't make one dismiss the stories as meaningless and without historical value.

Regardless, as I said in the previous post, any anachronisms are possibly the result of the arrogance of modern man presuming a perfect knowledge of the past. We base our history of the world on assumptions which can crumble with each new archaeological discovery.

If Finkelstein may be appealed to, then I will appeal to David M. Rohl. Speaking of anachronisms, he claims that our modern chronology for the history of Egypt is flawed. Based on his restoration of Egypt's historical timeline, he believes he might have found the tomb of Joseph in Egypt among many other things (Pharoahs and Kings: A Biblical Quest - David M. Rohl, 1995). He's got credentials, and one look at his book will tell you he's done his homework. Now he's much more "level headed" in *my* opinion.

Spider:
"why isn't there any mention of any of it [the plagues] in Egyptian records?"

Well, first of all this is an argument from silence, but then so is a lot of mine really. Second, it's not so amazing to me. What did the Egyptians record? They recorded great military feats not defeats. Even if they had recorded the plagues, the Egyptians were notorious for chiseling away their "bad" history. They would chisel out a "bad" king's name, works, and image in the hopes that he and his works would be forgotten forever. For example, Akhenaten decided that everyone should worship the god Aten alone, so he had the names of other Gods chiseled away. So you see, it's not too hard for me to believe that they might have wanted wipe out the memory of these events forever, assuming the plagues were ever even recorded in the first place...

Spider:
"why does Lpietrich have to show scholars who have "moved the curtain"?"

Because he gives somewhat specific examples of why this hypothetical "historical curtain" has moved back. I don't think Ipetrich meant Finkelstein's arguments alone "moved the curtain back" but also others before him, unless I misunderstood.

Spider:
"...I don't think that Lpietrich coined the phrase..."

You are right. It is used on the third page of the article mentioned at the beginning.

Here is the paragraph:
"There is a kind of curtain drawn across the Bible. After it you can find history, before it not. Most responsible scholars in the '20s began with Abraham. As time progressed, the curtain moved further down, and people were debating whether Exodus really happened, then the conquest. Now the big debate has slipped even further [into the present]. It has gotten down to being about the monarchy."

This, I think, is pure baloney... To say that perceived anachronisms and inconsistencies draw a curtain across the historicity of those stories is ludicrous. Perhaps this is a terminology problem... A slight blur I *might* understand.

Ish


 
 

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