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SV: [ANE-2] Re: R. Gmirkin on the date of the Pentateuch

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  • Thomas L. Thompson
    Dear Aren, I don t think the issue is that there is a lack of linguistic studies interest on this issue so much as a degree of ambiguity in the reception of
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 15, 2006
      Dear Aren,
      I don't think the issue is that there is a lack of linguistic studies interest on this issue so much as a degree of ambiguity in the reception of the term "hellenistic period." Among most of us who have been involved in historical questions, this term is first of all chronologically defined and does not imply either high culture or language. In this respect, late 4th century is Hellenistic, even though--as John Strange, for example, has argued--Jerusalem's architecture is some three centuries before becoming "hellenized." At least in Asia, a growing imperial culture is noticeable already in the Assyrian period, with Aramean as its lingua franca (at least that is how I understand H. Niehr's 1990 study Der Höchste Gott). In terms of intellectual interchange, no sharp line can be drawn between the Assyrian/Babylonian and the Persian period, and even less between the Persian and Hellenistic periods. The decisive shift to Greek as one of the dominant languages in Palestine (in contrast perhaps to Alexandria) is I think due more to Pompei and the Romans than to anyone who grew up in Macedonia. Of course, linguistic scholars work with this kind of problem every day and can explain this better than I.
      As for what Gmirkin means by his Hellenistic dating of the Pentateuch: Until the book is available to be read--and I think it is a very exciting book--one can only deal with what he has said or on second hand descriptions as appears on Amazon. Let me, however, say that Gmirkin's understanding of the linguistic perspective on the problems he is dealing with will offend few.
      Thomas

      Thomas L. Thompson
      University of Copenhagen


      Aren Maier wrote:
      Hate to barge in, but could someone explain to me how the Pentateuch
      can date to the Hellenistic period - and not have ANY evidence of
      Greek language and/or influence in it ..... (or so, at least, just
      about what ever I've ever seen on this claims)

      Or is the linguistic study of a text passe, having being surpassed by
      typological studies of narrative similarities ...

      Just a little question from someone on the sidelines :-)

      Aren Maeir








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    • Thomas L. Thompson
      Thank you Russell, Of course, the proper response to someone who does not see the Greek connection is to point out texts that imply such a connection. My
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 15, 2006
        Thank you Russell,
        Of course, the proper response to someone who does not see the Greek connection is to point out texts that imply such a connection. My contribution is the loss of Lot's wife, Euridice.
        Thomas

        Thomas L. Thompson
        University of Copenhagen

        Russell Gmirkin wrote:
        See especially Van Seters on features of Hellenistic historiography found in
        the HB. Hellenistic influences appear to be displayed in the interest in
        geography (Table of Nations), eponyms, history hung on genealogies, foundation
        stories, and historical romances (such as the Joseph novella, Esther, some of
        the Daniel stories). These influences will perhaps not be as apparent to
        some immersed in biblical studies to the exclusion of classical literature.




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      • Thomas L. Thompson
        Dear Aren: When do you date the last texts written in Classical biblical Hebrew? Some of the DSS strike me as possible candidates. On Deut 32 s archaisms: Can
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 15, 2006
          Dear Aren:
          When do you date the last texts written in Classical biblical Hebrew? Some of the DSS strike me as possible candidates.
          On Deut 32's archaisms: Can you date any of them or is your definition of archaic derivative from Deut 32,7?
          Thomas

          Thomas L. Thompson
          University of Copenhagen

          Aren wrote:
          Also, in the Early Roman
          period Jewish texts (such as the DS scrolls), the language is
          distinctly late (dated so for a slew of linguistic reasons), and it
          is significantly different from the language of, again, most, if not
          all, of the Hebrew Bible.
          For an extreme example, how in the world could an archaic text such
          as Deut. 32 be of Hellenistic date ...




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        • arenmaeir
          To the best of my knowledge (which is based on reading the studies of others), the experts on ancient Hebrew (and Thomas, neither of us qualify as such),
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 15, 2006
            To the best of my knowledge (which is based on reading the studies
            of others), the experts on ancient Hebrew (and Thomas, neither of us
            qualify as such), clearly differentiate between the language of the
            Classical biblical Hebrew of parts of the Hebrew Bible, to that of
            the later books of the Bible and other extra-biblical texts (of
            Persian or Hellenistic date), such as the DSS. The DSS are VERY
            different linguistically from Classical biblical Hebrew, even in
            cases that the DSS scribes attempted to produce archaic-like texts.

            As to Deut 32, the early date of this text, from what I recall of
            the discussions of this text, is based on the archaic linguistic
            aspects in the text (e.g., "Canaanisms" found in the Ugaritic texts,
            etc.), that again, are earlier than the Classical biblical Hebrew of
            less archaic, pre-exilic portions of the Bible, etc..

            I do realize that I am venturing into highly contested, and to a
            large extent, completely entrenched, opinions, but, what the heck ...

            Aren

            --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas L. Thompson" <tlt@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dear Aren:
            > When do you date the last texts written in Classical biblical
            Hebrew? Some of the DSS strike me as possible candidates.
            > On Deut 32's archaisms: Can you date any of them or is your
            definition of archaic derivative from Deut 32,7?
            > Thomas
            >
            > Thomas L. Thompson
            > University of Copenhagen
            >
            > Aren wrote:
            > Also, in the Early Roman
            > period Jewish texts (such as the DS scrolls), the language is
            > distinctly late (dated so for a slew of linguistic reasons), and it
            > is significantly different from the language of, again, most, if
            not
            > all, of the Hebrew Bible.
            > For an extreme example, how in the world could an archaic text such
            > as Deut. 32 be of Hellenistic date ...
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • Niels Peter Lemche
            We know so little about orthography in these centuries (especially the 6th which is practically void of evidence except for the very first part)that it is just
            Message 5 of 9 , May 3, 2006
              We know so little about orthography in these centuries (especially the 6th which is practically void of evidence except for the very first part)that it is just as questionable to use that method.

              Especially the Persian Period is empty, but there might be a reason. I propose that people have a look on various parts of Oded Lipschits, including The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem, Eisenbrauns 2005, and several articles on the subject.

              I do not necessarily endorse Gmirkin's dating, but it is more than just a casual comparison. I know that the moment Greece is brought in, several colleagues use and especially used to get red spots (if not for Gordon's old idea about a Mycenean relationship). Van Seters went for the 6-5th century by mean of comparison, other people have asked about Herodotus (Weselius, Flemming Nielsen and more: didn't Freedman himself go together with Sarah Mandell about the same?).

              Gmyrkin's (or his supporters') main idea is that history writing arose as a consequence of the Greek conquest as one way of maintaining a kind of 'national' ('' because the term national should not be confused with what happened in Europe in the Days of Napoleon--another Alexander who went out to conquer the world and establish a new order -- followed by explosive German nationalism) identity (which was the most important job of history writing post 1789): In Egypt (Manetho), Mesopotamia (Berossos), and other places. That a Jewish 'national' history should be linked up with this general trend makes a lot of sense and we escape the idea that the invention of 'history' was done twice, and in an unlikely place as tiny Judah in the late 7th or early 6th century (just before closing down).

              So it is much more complicated than spelling

              Niels Peter Lemche

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              Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Re: R. Gmirkin on the date of the Pentateuch

              The entire concept of dating a work based upon the perceived relationships to other literature seems to me highly suspect since it imposes upon the development of the literature a schema of one's own construction rather than seeking to find indications within the literature which are unrelated to one's own preferred history of development.
              D. N. Freedman in _Studies in Hebrew and Aramaic Orthography_, pp. 3-15 (Eisenbraun's, Winona Lake: 1992) posits the establishment of the text of the Torah with its promulgation by Ezra in the 6th-5th cent. B.C. based on orthography. This seems to me to be more secure than a dating based on subjective factors such as one's own schema for the development of the literature.

              george
              gfsomsel
              _________

              -- "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir@...> wrote:
              Dear Russell,

              Thank you for quoting some of your work. It's something that I
              appreciate as it will probably be some time before I get to look
              at your book.

              I have now looked up most of the references to which you referred.
              I do not feel they make your points. For example,

              I asked:
              "Why do you think Canaanite elements are not present in the texts?"

              You referred me to:
              R. Clifford, Creation Accounts p. 117-26, 137-50;

              On page 141-142, the Genesis creation account is compared to
              the Philo of Byblos cosmogony. The general structure of
              Clifford's analysis of Genesis seems to be to start out by
              asserting that "(as will be seen) its dependence on other ancient
              cosmogonies cannot be specified with any exactness," and
              following this, to compare it to various cosmogonies to show the
              various points of dependence. In this outline, Philo's cosmogony
              takes an important place in this comparison.

              You also referred me to:
              R. Hess, "One Hundred and Fifty Years", p. 14-15, 17

              In page 14, Hess writes, "However, Ugarit has produced an
              abundance of themes and concepts related to the earlier chapters
              of Genesis." While I don't consider Ugarit to be Canaanite, you
              apparently do, and in any case, it is a source of NWS culture, even
              if not strictly Canaanite.

              Or the reference to:
              D. Tsumura, "Genesis and Ancient Near Eastern Stories", p. 32-33, 42.

              Tsumura does go into a discussion of "Canaanite Background to
              Genesis 1?" All Tsumura argues is that "it is difficult to assume that
              an earlier dragon myth existed in the background of Gen 1:2". p. 42
              is more ambiguous. Tsumura also takes issue with comparisons to
              Babylonian and Sumerian cosmogonies and myths in p. 31-32 or 39.
              Now, I think it is perfectly legitimate to use studies even if you don't
              agree with all their conclusions, and sometimes assumptions. Thus,
              Clifford assumes Isaiah to be 6th century but you probably date
              Isaiah later. Your study would then interact with Clifford's and show
              which elements of comparative creation myths are to be accepted in
              a later dating of Isaiah and which are not. But in this case, when
              Tsumura's essential thesis is apparently to show the independence
              of the Genesis creation story of both Canaanite and Babylonian
              creation stories, your use of Tsumura to support your point on the
              absence of Canaanite influence while ignoring or perhaps refuting
              Tsumura's points on the absence of Babylonian influence appears
              to me as somewhat "dishonest." If you refute his claims on the
              absence of Babylonian influence, perhaps the claims of absence of
              Canaanite elements can be just as easily refuted if you wanted to.

              Your claim of Canaanite influence, centers on the mythological
              battle with the sea: "I would expect some of these same traditions
              to appear in Genesis, which lacks, e.g., any allusion to the
              cosmological battle with leviathan that is a recurrent Canaanite
              mythological motif elsewhere in the HB." Now, you appear to
              recognize that Philo's cosmogony does not contain such a battle.
              Clifford enters a long discussion as to why the Ugaritic myths are
              not true cosmogonies, and that, at least in our current state of
              knowledge, we cannot claim they are. This means that the only
              place where these "Canaanite" (or NWS) elements of the battle
              with the sea appear as part of cosmogonies is in those parts of
              the HB that you refer to. You yourself suggest that "a Canaanite
              version of these myths" is a "chimera lacking any real evidence."
              So while it is likely that these later parts of the HB were
              influenced by Canaanite or NWS sea-battle myths, we find
              ourselves in a pecular situation where the use in those parts of the
              HB of the sea-battle myths as part of a cosmogony might speak
              for Babylonian influence, while those cosmogonies in the HB which
              are free of the sea-battle myths, including Genesis, may preserve
              a cosmogony less influenced by Babylonian cosmogonies, and
              which more accurately preserves a Canaanite worldview (which may
              have seen the two elements, cosmogony and sea-battle myths as
              separate things).

              Certainly the elements of chaos, wind, and darkness which appear
              in Genesis 1:2 appear to suggest the "dark, turbid chaos" and the
              creation wind that Philo mentions. Furthermore, the later
              separation of the waters, influenced as it is, by the heating of the
              sun, seems to suggest the sequence of the creation of light
              followed by the separation of waters in Genesis. The word for
              chaos, tehom, appears to be a true cognate and therefore speaks
              against a borrowing from the Babylonian concept of Tiamat. Rather,
              these elements seem to suggest that perhaps the Genesis
              cosmogony has as its backbone a Canaanite cosmogony that
              diverged slightly different as far as the creation of life is concerned.

              Yitzhak Sapir
              http://toldot.blogspot.com




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            • Niels Peter Lemche
              Dear Yitzhak, Thank you for your diligence in engaging the evidence, although we disagree about the proper conclusions that can be drawn. Yitzhak: In page 14,
              Message 6 of 9 , May 3, 2006
                Dear Yitzhak,

                Thank you for your diligence in engaging the evidence, although we
                disagree
                about the proper conclusions that can be drawn.

                Yitzhak:
                In page 14, Hess writes, "However, Ugarit has produced an
                abundance of themes and concepts related to the earlier chapters
                of Genesis." While I don't consider Ugarit to be Canaanite, you
                apparently do, and in any case, it is a source of NWS culture, even
                if not strictly Canaanite.

                Well, if my memory doen't fail me, we have sources (I think it
                was Rainey who mentioned them) that in Ugarit Canaan was reckoned
                to be another place.
                People have never understood the emic/etic argument behind my
                Canaanites from 1991. The Canaanites of the OT is simply 'non-
                Israelite inhabitants of Palestine'. The perspective is on one hand the
                people of God, Israel, and on the other godless Canaanites --
                and then, of course we have the no good Philistines.
                Niels Peter Lemche

                Russ:
                I do not consider Ugarit to be Canaanite, yet Ugaritic literary texts
                appear
                to be reflected in the Canaanite pantheon, and the Canaanites appear in
                this
                case to be plausible intermediaries for the appearance of Ugaritic
                motifs in
                the HB.

                Yitzhak:
                <snip>
                Now, I think it is perfectly legitimate to use studies even if you
                don't
                agree with all their conclusions, and sometimes assumptions.
                But in this case, when
                Tsumura's essential thesis is apparently to show the independence
                of the Genesis creation story of both Canaanite and Babylonian
                creation stories, your use of Tsumura to support your point on the
                absence of Canaanite influence while ignoring or perhaps refuting
                Tsumura's points on the absence of Babylonian influence appears
                to me as somewhat "dishonest."

                And then he ended up or was risking ending up with a creation
                story that is Greek related as argued among others by Van Seters
                in ZAW sometime in the 1980s.
                NPL

                As for the very long discussion about creation battles which
                follows (hey, gentlemen, have you ever heard about deleting
                unnecessary parts of a mail?), We of course have reflections of
                such a battle in the OT. We have nothing from Ugarit but as
                admitted, it could be a coincidence, as we have the battle between
                Baal and the Sea.

                Then in Mesopotamia, we have it. In other places? Who knows? We
                might find reflections here and there. We may also postulate the
                ubiquity of the theme. But it is a postulate.

                The dogma is that you are only allowed to make conclusions from
                the available evidence, but it is not forbidden to point to the
                scarcity of evidence. Making conclusions preliminary. If only people
                in my field would adhere to these rules, life would be easier.

                And, finally, dear Russell or Yitzhak, it is bad manners to use
                the word 'dishonest'. Reminds us of Dever's rhetorics against the
                minimalists andf only tells us that there is no argument
                available, so impose such terms on your opponent. The up-coming
                issue of SJOT includes a contribution by David Henige about this
                kind of rhetoric (exemplified by an analyses of an article by Bill
                Dever).

                Niels Peter Lemche
              • Jan-Wim Wesselius
                ... Dear NP, I would prefer not to be taken together with the scholars (however competent) who *compare* the Hebrew Bible with various works of
                Message 7 of 9 , May 3, 2006
                  On 5/3/06, Niels Peter Lemche <npl@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > <snip>
                  >
                  > I do not necessarily endorse Gmirkin's dating, but it is more than just a
                  > casual comparison. I know that the moment Greece is brought in, several
                  > colleagues use and especially used to get red spots (if not for Gordon's old
                  > idea about a Mycenean relationship). Van Seters went for the 6-5th century
                  > by mean of comparison, other people have asked about Herodotus (Weselius,
                  > Flemming Nielsen and more: didn't Freedman himself go together with Sarah
                  > Mandell about the same?).
                  >

                  <snip>

                  Dear NP,

                  I would prefer not to be taken together with the scholars (however
                  competent) who *compare* the Hebrew Bible with various works of classical
                  Greek and Latin literature. In my opinion, such comparison is bound to lead
                  one astray, however interesting the parallels may be. Note that for a number
                  of aspects of the Hebrew Bible the closest parallels are to be found in
                  Ovid's Metamorphoses, centuries after the latest possible date for the
                  Primary History.

                  What I did, especially in my article in SJOT of 1999 ("Discontinuity,
                  Congruence and the Making of the Hebrew Bible"), was to show that most
                  "historical" books of the Hebrew Bible derived their ToC (along with some
                  other structural features) from other works in and outside of the Hebrew
                  Bible: an up to then unobserved, but hardly unique strategy of
                  intertextuality.

                  All the rest is consequences from and commentary on that fundamental
                  observation. A small number of people have shouted very loudly against the
                  supposed consequences (indeed, it would mean that the Primary History was
                  written after 440 BCE by authors who had access to Greek literature), but
                  without tackling the observations underlying them, so the value of their
                  remarks is null and void. I discussed these comments in some detail on my
                  website www.jwwesselius.nl, feeling somewhat too embarrassed to put my
                  reaction in print.

                  A somewhat watered-down reaction, however, can be found on p. 256-257 of my
                  article on the book of Daniel in Aramaic Studies 3 (2005) 241-283. See also
                  my article in H.M. Niemann and M. Augustin, Stimulation from
                  Leiden(Frankfurt 2006) 35-43.

                  My apologies to the list for the self-promotion, but I cannot make my point
                  without mentioning these articles.
                  With kind regards, Jan-Wim Wesselius, Theological University Kampen, The
                  Netherlands


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
                  Dear Niels Peter, People have never understood the emic/etic argument behind my Canaanites from 1991. The Canaanites of the OT is simply non- Israelite
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 3, 2006
                    Dear Niels Peter,

                    People have never understood the emic/etic argument behind my
                    Canaanites from 1991. The Canaanites of the OT is simply 'non-
                    Israelite inhabitants of Palestine'. The perspective is on one hand the
                    people of God, Israel, and on the other godless Canaanites --
                    and then, of course we have the no good Philistines.
                    Niels Peter Lemche


                    I found your book quite convincing, and I use the term Canaanites in the
                    sense of "pre-Israelite inhabitants of Palestine" (who likely included the
                    ancestors of the Israelites) and later 'non-Israelite inhabitants of Iron II
                    Palestine' (where Israelite and non-Israelite are as retroactively defined in the
                    [Hellenistic era] biblical text). We don't appear to find Canaanite as a
                    self-designation in the records of the ANE. Like you, I doubt the Iron II
                    'Canaanites' and 'Israelites' much used either term, certainly not in the
                    either-or manner found in the polemics of the later HB.

                    And, finally, dear Russell or Yitzhak, it is bad manners to use
                    the word 'dishonest'...

                    And yet I give Yitzhak high points for engaging the evidence, trying to
                    follow my argument and accurately representing my positions. Bygones!

                    Best regards,
                    Russell Gmirkin







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                  • Niels Peter Lemche
                    Somehow I agree with George here. Again, like in archaeology, a text is dated according to the youngest part, and not the oldest. But the idea that a text from
                    Message 9 of 9 , May 3, 2006
                      Somehow I agree with George here. Again, like in archaeology, a text is dated according to the youngest part, and not the oldest. But the idea that a text from say 250 BCE will not contain information from another and earlier period is not very convincing. In discussing such matters, we need to include more than one parameter.

                      The Book of Isaiah cannot be older than its youngest component. This means the book as preserved in the HB and in the DSS. This does not say that, e.g., the Deuteronomistic parts were written in the 3rd or 2nd century BCE.

                      Again, it is necessary to find methods that allow us to control the speculation.

                      Niels Peter Lemche

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                      Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Re: R. Gmirkin on the date of the Pentateuch

                      In other words, the Pentateuch cannot have been written prior to approx. the 3rd qtr of the 3rd cent. B.C. therefore any reference thereto must postdate that time. I would say that this argument is somewhat circular in itself.


                      george
                      gfsomsel
                      _________

                      -- RUSSELLGMIRKIN@... wrote:

                      George,

                      Such dateable texts might be those such as First Isaiah which is fairly
                      universally accepted as being from the time it purporsts


                      I was going to comment on the circularity of a dating argument that contains
                      such assumptions, but NPL already did. Let me just add that an important
                      implication of the dating of the Pentateuch to c. 273-272 BCE as argued in my
                      book is that texts such as First Isaiah that utilize the Pentateuch must
                      necessarily postdate 273 BCE in their final form. Materials in the prophets
                      without Pentateuchal allusions might predate 273 BCE, and a very valuable future
                      study would be to rigorously identify such potentially older materials and to
                      look for commonalities in genre and language. (For instance, it seems to me
                      that Pss. 1-50 were already in existence in 273 BCE based on that criterion,
                      unlike the remainder of Psalms which are full of Pentateuchal references.)
                      My intuition is that the woe oracles may be older compositions.

                      Best regards,
                      Russell Gmirkin





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