14195Re: Locusts on the menu
- Apr 2, 2012Ian,
Sorry, but I cannot buy your argument at all. I have to side with Peter on this one.
To use your words, I really don’t think we can get away with demanding that the Hebrew author did not know what he was talking about. That is purely speculation. We have no way in the world of knowing for certain that the Hebrew author did not use this term of insects by analogy, due to a familiarity with an established idiom in his own tongue.
There are as many idioms native to the ancient Hebrews as there are to us today, if not more. This is absolutely not beyond reason.
And as for the use of “analogy” by biblical writers, please note that NT writers are notorious for this. For example, John (or proto-John, or whoever you want him to be) often used inflected endings on imperfect verbs that were proper only with aorist verbs. Early biblical critics took him to task for introducing grammatical errors into the text.
However, who are we to say that this is an error in the text? Now we have to enter the debate about whether language is descriptive or prescriptive for it to be “correct”. What if that is exactly how the Hellenized Jews of his neighborhood/environs regularly spoke, using aorist endings for imperfect verbs in their daily speech? Is he then wrong not to follow the local custom?
You are exactly right about one thing: English-speaking Westerners introduce “lots” of problems into ancient texts, wagging our fingers at the ancients in disgust, thanks to our superior knowledge. This is great wisdom indeed, is it not?
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