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11895Re: SV: SV: SV: [ANE-2] on denying diversity

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  • victor avigdor hurowitz
    Jan 4, 2010
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      Dear Niels Peter,
      I don't know how much we are in disagreement, but I am certainly in
      disagreement with what you write here and quite astonished that you say
      it. Since when is HN monolithic? What has Biblical scholarship been about
      since Astruc if not its literary complexity and composite nature? It's
      complexity has been the bane of its readers from the "redactors" who tried
      to put divergent literary "stuff" into a coherent whole all the way down
      to
      today when harmonist readers looking for the unified word of God try to
      explain away all its contradictions. AS I said, we have a diverse sea
      which from time time "authorities" try to unify by introducing
      "orthodoxy". That's Judaism and it begins in the Bible! Personally, I live
      by the unifiers but do my scholarship by the diversifiers, and I don't
      think I"m the only one.
      Victor Hurowitz
      BGU





      On Mon, 4 Jan 2010, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:

      > Dear Victor,
      >
      > are we in disagreement her? My point was that if people begin defining Jews following the HB only, they end up with a very monolithic and unhistorical image of Judaism.
      >
      > And the warning against judging the Elephantines using biblical standards is ok to me. After all, I was brought up with Barth's definition of ethnicity, that are the person you think you are and other people think you are.
      >
      > Niels Peter lemche
      >
      >
      >
      > -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
      > Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af victor avigdor hurowitz
      > Sendt: den 4 januari 2010 18:47
      > Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > Emne: Re: SV: SV: [ANE-2] on denying diversity
      >
      > Dear Niels,
      > Although I tyr to be an observant Jew, I have no delusions about Judaism
      > being
      > monolithic, and accept fully that it is diverse, and that it has been
      > diverse for quite a long time even though there are from time to time
      > centers of authority, orthodoxy, etc. which try to institute diversity by
      > making one view authoritative in contrast to others, and who
      > interpret Scripture and the past as if it has always been their way. But
      > lets face it,
      > even the Rabbinates would not say that Karaites were not Jews and
      > Pharisees would not say the Saducees were not Jews. And the prophets who
      > ranted against idolatry did not deny that the idolators and Baal
      > worshipers were not Judeans or Israelites or even members of some
      > covenant community. They were just law breakers, and were they not
      > affiliated as they were there would be nothing wrong with their doings. So
      > why should
      > I say that the people of Elephantine were not Jews? Just because their
      > observance was different than what ever may have been in Jerusalem? Or
      > because their temple flew in the face of Deuteronomy? Judaism was diverse,
      > and I accept that fully, and precisely because of that I have no problem
      > calling the Yahuist Judeans of Elephantine Jews. So what if they
      > intermarried? Nehemiah may not have liked them, but he probably
      > wouldn't like Ruth either, and why should that bother
      > you? If you want diverse Judaisms compare Daniel and Esther. Daniel is a
      > vegetarian and refuses the royal fare (why? the text doesn't say
      > explicitly but it makes no allusion to Torah), while Esther seems to have
      > no
      > qualms about receiving her daily food portions, and I doubt that Ahasuerus
      > kept sepearate dishes and holov Yisroel in his fridge. That the Rabbis
      > made her frum is their problem; the
      > author of the Megillah seems not to have been bothered by it. So why
      > should it bother you? Haman knows that the laws of the Jews are different
      > than those of the other peoples in the Empire, but that doesn't mean they
      > were living according to the Shulhan Arukh, nor does it mean that Esther
      > observed them, for had she observed them she'd have blown her cover and we
      > wouldn't ahve a megillah to begin with. So stop being an Orthodox
      > Rabbi and learn from the Bible itself-
      > call it literary or historical as you wish- that Judaism was not
      > Yiddishkeit, and now that you've heard my opinion stop reacting to me as
      > if I'm representing something else.
      > Victor Hurowitz
      > BGU
      >
      >
      >
      > On Mon, 4 Jan 2010, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
      >
      > > Dear Victor,
      > >
      > > There have been such people who wanted to associate the shasu with Yahwist etc, and thus seeing them as the original "Jews."
      > >
      > > I suppose the problem is really that starting from the present Pentateuch people have a fixed idea about Judaism, forgetting that such a term is maybe just as misleading as "Christianity;" as if there ever was such a thing like Christian unity, one form of Christianity. And when speaking of temples, wasn't it so that a high priest in the days of the Maccabees who were thrown out of office went into exile in Egypt and there built his own temple? Maybe he had the same idea as many people later on: Jerusalem is in my heart, so where I am, you (I) have Jerusalem!
      > >
      > > It would be meaningless to demand that the Elephantine community was "Jewish" in any orthodox sense since orthodoxy in their days may be quite different from what a later Rabbinic Judaism saw as "orthodox."
      > >
      > > And it also boils down to the acceptance that every living society will always house a plurality of opinions, not least religious ones. So even if this Torah-based Judaism existed in the Persian Period, we have no reason to believe that it was the only version around.
      > >
      > > When dealing with the Elephantines, it would perhaps be more rewarding to discuss their relations with Judea in the Persian Period. The "heterodoxy" versus the address to Jerusalem in connection with the destroyed temple. Here might be a lot of interest for the study of the origins of Judaism, as it turned out to be much later. How did it in its many forms come from Alpha -- the "original expressions of Yahwism -- to Omega -- the Rabbinic orthodoxy (or wish to control what was allowed to be Judaism).
      > >
      > > As to puzzles, Tom, when he came to Denmark nearly twenty years ago, changed to lego-bloks. These you can put together nicely in many different ways. I suppose that historical studies is more like this kind of occupation, as historical puzzles nearly always are short of many bricks.
      > >
      > > Niels Peter Lemche
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
      > > Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af victor avigdor hurowitz
      > > Sendt: den 4 januari 2010 16:24
      > > Til: Thomas L. Thompson
      > > Cc: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > > Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] on denying diversity
      > >
      > > I won't deny posssibility, but would you really prefer associating the
      > > Yahuists of Yeb with the Shasu? And how do you explain a sudden
      > > appearance of Yahu names in Mesopotamia in post-Iron Age contexts? I
      > > prefer to go with what is most likely. I
      > > prefer putting puzzles together to taking them apart even when the pieces
      > > fit nicely.
      > > Victor
      > > BGU
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > On Mon, 4 Jan 2010, Thomas L. Thompson wrote:
      > >
      > > > Dear Victor,
      > > > Of course, the Yahu of the Shasw is somewhat uncertain. Nevertheless, there seems to have been a Yahu not only in Samaria but also in Teman and there was, I believe, a Yaubidi at Hamat. There are also a considerable number of Yahu names in Mesopotamia in post-Iron Age contexts. Arguments of convenience, of course, should have no trouble associating them with either Jews or Samaritans, but why deny possibilities of greater diversity?
      > > > Cheers, Thomas
      > > >
      > > > Thomas L. Thompson
      > > > Professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen
      > > >
      > > > ________________________________
      > > >
      > > > Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com på vegne af victor avigdor hurowitz
      > > > Sendt: ma 04-01-2010 15:22
      > > > Til: featherrobert
      > > > Cc: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > > > Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Origin of Judaism
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Dear Robert,
      > > > All this is beside the point. Do you know of any other group besides
      > > > people from Judah and Israel who worshipped YHW(H)? Who cares where the
      > > > original settlers came from, but some of them called themselves yhdy' and
      > > > I can hardly think of any other place more suited to these people's origin
      > > > than Judah. I don't know what "mainstream" Judaism was then, but you are
      > > > talking like an Orthodox Jew who thinks that anything but Torah True
      > > > Judaism as interpreted in the Art Scroll Siddur and Torah Tidbits is not
      > > > Judaism. It's amazing how truly orthodox critical scholars can be in
      > > > denying diversity. As I said, you should be focusing on what unites these
      > > > people
      > > > and not what divides them. As for Maclaurin's statement cited here, I must
      > > > confess that it is incomprehensible to me. And why do you say with
      > > > certainty that prior to 419BCE they appear not to have celebrated
      > > > Passover? Is the so-called Passover papyrus so well preserved and so well
      > > > understood that we can make such a definitive statement? You're demanding
      > > > too much of these people and reading too much into what we don't really
      > > > know.
      > > > Victor Hurowitz
      > > > BGU
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > On Mon, 4 Jan 2010, featherrobert wrote:
      > > >
      > > > > Dear Victor,
      > > > > I don't doubt the people on Yeb followed a form of Judaism and worshipped YHW, in association with other associates, rather reminiscent of the Kuntillet Ajrud phenomena. The real point is - can you use what we know of their experience to correlate experience in Canaan? I think only to a limited extent. To say they `maintain contacts with Jerusalem' is not strictly true. Both Reuven Yaron, of the Hebrew University, and G.W.Anderson, University of Edinburgh, conclude we just don't know when or how the original Aramaic speaking settlers came to Elephantine. When Cymbyses and the Persians marched into Egypt, c525 BCE, they found a long-established priestly colony that worshipped YHW and Astarte - the Egyptian version of Anathbethal. They also followed Egyptian legal, fiscal, and social precedents which conformed to Egyptian practice of many centuries earlier.
      > > > >
      > > > > Prior to 419 BCE they appear not to have celebrated Passover. How do you explain this?
      > > > >
      > > > > We have to be very cautious about using evidence of their practices as even sub-streams of mainstream Judaism. The common denominator between the streams of modern Judaism you mention is that they all believe in only one G-d. E. Maclaurin's extensive study of their form of worship concludes it `could not have existed in a Hebrew group which had been exposed to the influences of Sinai and Canaan after the settlement.'
      > > > >
      > > > > Robert Feather , London.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > ------------------------------------
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      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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