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Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri

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  • drbrucekgardner@aol.com
    Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical comment,
    Message 1 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
      reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
      comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the Jewish
      People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
      references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are consistent
      with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in the
      6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary text
      (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
      which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever Did
      God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
      Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the point
      about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
      determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide theological
      variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
      monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
      application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


      To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of uncertain
      dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
      logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
      ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
      Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone else. If
      one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
      reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative, as the
      history of criticism reminds us.



      To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
      excluding another one in the same way,
      risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
      but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
      sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
      Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist and
      monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be tested,
      but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
      "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
      literary endeavour?


      Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
      seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
      zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



      Bruce Gardner
      Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.



      In a message dated 30/09/2011 22:02:16 GMT Daylight Time,
      RUSSELLGMIRKIN@... writes:





      Yes, but at least we know what was known at Elephantine in the fifth
      century. We do _not_ know what was known in Judah in the fifth century,
      unless
      we make unwarranted assumptions about the historical value of undated
      texts
      such as Ezra or Nehemiah or the Prophets. Surely contemporary non-literary
      evidence from Elephantine that is secure in date should be given priority
      over literary texts of unknown date.

      Best regards,
      Russell Gmirkin

      I do not think it possible to generalize from what was known at
      Elephantine to what was known in Judah at the time.

      Liz Fried
      Ann Arbor

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Niels Peter Lemche
      Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday. It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual, that s
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday. It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual, that's the reason.

        And to Gardner's mail:

        first, before we get to far from the subject, the Elephantine papyri: This list is not about biblical historicity.

        Second, the argument is wrong: It is nowhere to be proven that the mentioning of the names of Ezra and Nehemiah makes them historical. I could mention Tarzan without making him historical. Gilgamesh was probably in the hoary past a king from Lagash, but that will be the only historical part of the epic, etc etc.

        Third: Jeremias has nothing to say about Elephantine. a) can we date Jeremias? except from conventional beliefs that be belonged where he is said to belong? b) the context of Jer 44 and 46 is N.E Egypt. Migdol, as one of the place names mentioned there could be everywhere (meaning "tower"), the other names is about something in the eastern delta. How long is the distance from, say the present Suez canal to Elephantine?

        Fourth: The geography of Jerusalem in the Persian and Hellenistic periods is definitely a hot subject today. Some leading archaeologists like David Ussishkin would say that there was really nothing here before c. 200 BCE, making this discussion totally redundant

        Fifth: The post-exilic period is a concept, an ideological one, that comes from the Old Testament. We are investigating whether or not the concept is meaningful, as the Jewish society persisted in Iraq until 1951.

        Sixth: the term "Jew" in this connection is ideological and certainly not very precise. Which also means arguing that the Elephantine sociewty was Jewish is already presupposing something that is far from secure.

        Seventh: Bill Dever did not find out that Iron Age Yahweh of Juda/Samaria was a bachelor -- although he would be happy to be reckoned so. Here it would be more precise to quote the specialized literature by Tilde Binger, Paolo Merlo, Wiggins and more.

        But again, this is not the place to discuss the historicity of Ezra and Nehemiah. Such questions really belongs in biblical lists like Biblical studies. A remark like this "Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
        seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age" has nothing to do here.

        Niels Peter Lemche




        -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
        Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af drbrucekgardner@...
        Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 12:16
        Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


        Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
        reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
        comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the Jewish
        People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
        references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are consistent
        with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in the
        6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary text
        (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
        which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever Did
        God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
        Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the point
        about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
        determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide theological
        variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
        monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
        application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


        To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of uncertain
        dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
        logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
        ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
        Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone else. If
        one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
        reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative, as the
        history of criticism reminds us.



        To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
        excluding another one in the same way,
        risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
        but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
        sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
        Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist and
        monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be tested,
        but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
        "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
        literary endeavour?


        Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
        seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
        zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



        Bruce Gardner
        Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.



        In a message dated 30/09/2011 22:02:16 GMT Daylight Time,
        RUSSELLGMIRKIN@... writes:





        Yes, but at least we know what was known at Elephantine in the fifth
        century. We do _not_ know what was known in Judah in the fifth century,
        unless
        we make unwarranted assumptions about the historical value of undated
        texts
        such as Ezra or Nehemiah or the Prophets. Surely contemporary non-literary
        evidence from Elephantine that is secure in date should be given priority
        over literary texts of unknown date.

        Best regards,
        Russell Gmirkin

        I do not think it possible to generalize from what was known at
        Elephantine to what was known in Judah at the time.

        Liz Fried
        Ann Arbor

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



        ------------------------------------

        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • David Hall
        Niels,   I have read Finkelstein about the theory of a late Iron II expansion of Jerusalem after the fall of Hazor and the northern cities to the
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
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          Niels,
           
          I have read Finkelstein about the theory of a late Iron II expansion of Jerusalem after the fall of Hazor and the northern cities to the Assyrians.  There is a theory northern refugees moved into Jerusalem to avoid the Assyrian armies marching towards them.  There was a broad wall discovered on the slopes of Zion that is dated to pre-exilic times and is evidence of a much larger city than the Iron I Jerusalem of the SE ridge above the Kidron Valley.  This broad wall is a short distance from the Armenian Quarter and modern city wall of Old Jerusalem. 
           
          http://www.gojerusalem.com/discover/item_11470/The-Broad-Wall
           
          The old city was not exceedingly large in the 2nd century BCE.  The city growth was limited to the fact it had one spring at Gihon, cisterns, and at some time a well outside the city walls to the south.  The early first century Jerusalem had not yet expanded to the NE and its first NE wall was likely near the Via Dolorosa of modern times.  The Romans built an aqueduct from the south and Jerusalem expanded again out to the third wall.  Josephus wrote Pilate stole the temple korban (funds) in order to build an aqueduct to Jerusalem.
           
          It may be of interest; the book of Nehemiah and the Elephantine Island community both recorded the name Sanballat. 
           
          David Q. Hall
          Falls Church, Virginia
           
           
           
           


          ________________________________
          From: Niels Peter Lemche <npl@...>
          To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.com" <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:59 AM
          Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


           

          Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday. It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual, that's the reason.

          And to Gardner's mail:

          first, before we get to far from the subject, the Elephantine papyri: This list is not about biblical historicity.

          Second, the argument is wrong: It is nowhere to be proven that the mentioning of the names of Ezra and Nehemiah makes them historical. I could mention Tarzan without making him historical. Gilgamesh was probably in the hoary past a king from Lagash, but that will be the only historical part of the epic, etc etc.

          Third: Jeremias has nothing to say about Elephantine. a) can we date Jeremias? except from conventional beliefs that be belonged where he is said to belong? b) the context of Jer 44 and 46 is N.E Egypt. Migdol, as one of the place names mentioned there could be everywhere (meaning "tower"), the other names is about something in the eastern delta. How long is the distance from, say the present Suez canal to Elephantine?

          Fourth: The geography of Jerusalem in the Persian and Hellenistic periods is definitely a hot subject today. Some leading archaeologists like David Ussishkin would say that there was really nothing here before c. 200 BCE, making this discussion totally redundant

          Fifth: The post-exilic period is a concept, an ideological one, that comes from the Old Testament. We are investigating whether or not the concept is meaningful, as the Jewish society persisted in Iraq until 1951.

          Sixth: the term "Jew" in this connection is ideological and certainly not very precise. Which also means arguing that the Elephantine sociewty was Jewish is already presupposing something that is far from secure.

          Seventh: Bill Dever did not find out that Iron Age Yahweh of Juda/Samaria was a bachelor -- although he would be happy to be reckoned so. Here it would be more precise to quote the specialized literature by Tilde Binger, Paolo Merlo, Wiggins and more.

          But again, this is not the place to discuss the historicity of Ezra and Nehemiah. Such questions really belongs in biblical lists like Biblical studies. A remark like this "Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
          seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age" has nothing to do here.

          Niels Peter Lemche




          -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
          Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af drbrucekgardner@...
          Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 12:16
          Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


          Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
          reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
          comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the Jewish
          People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
          references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are consistent
          with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in the
          6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary text
          (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
          which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever Did
          God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
          Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the point
          about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
          determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide theological
          variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
          monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
          application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


          To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of uncertain
          dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
          logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
          ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
          Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone else. If
          one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
          reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative, as the
          history of criticism reminds us.



          To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
          excluding another one in the same way,
          risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
          but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
          sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
          Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist and
          monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be tested,
          but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
          "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
          literary endeavour?


          Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
          seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
          zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



          Bruce Gardner
          Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.



          In a message dated 30/09/2011 22:02:16 GMT Daylight Time,
          RUSSELLGMIRKIN@... writes:





          Yes, but at least we know what was known at Elephantine in the fifth
          century. We do _not_ know what was known in Judah in the fifth century,
          unless
          we make unwarranted assumptions about the historical value of undated
          texts
          such as Ezra or Nehemiah or the Prophets. Surely contemporary non-literary
          evidence from Elephantine that is secure in date should be given priority
          over literary texts of unknown date.

          Best regards,
          Russell Gmirkin

          I do not think it possible to generalize from what was known at
          Elephantine to what was known in Judah at the time.

          Liz Fried
          Ann Arbor

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



          ------------------------------------

          Yahoo! Groups Links






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Niels Peter Lemche
          dear David, Not Hazor, but Samaria. It is, however, contested that this was the reason. After all, it seems that Samarua was not destroyed, but a total of some
          Message 4 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
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            dear David,

            Not Hazor, but Samaria. It is, however, contested that this was the reason. After all, it seems that Samarua was not destroyed, but a total of some 20.000 persons were taken away. However, in the south the falkl of Lachish in 701, and Sennacherib's destruction of the built-up areas of Judah may have coursed the changes.

            As to Sanballat, it is an Assyrian name: Sinuballit. Which is interesting and should be kept in mind as something remembered.

            Niels Peter Lemche




            -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
            Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af David Hall
            Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 16:44
            Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri

            Niels,
             
            I have read Finkelstein about the theory of a late Iron II expansion of Jerusalem after the fall of Hazor and the northern cities to the Assyrians.  There is a theory northern refugees moved into Jerusalem to avoid the Assyrian armies marching towards them.  There was a broad wall discovered on the slopes of Zion that is dated to pre-exilic times and is evidence of a much larger city than the Iron I Jerusalem of the SE ridge above the Kidron Valley.  This broad wall is a short distance from the Armenian Quarter and modern city wall of Old Jerusalem. 
             
            http://www.gojerusalem.com/discover/item_11470/The-Broad-Wall
             
            The old city was not exceedingly large in the 2nd century BCE.  The city growth was limited to the fact it had one spring at Gihon, cisterns, and at some time a well outside the city walls to the south.  The early first century Jerusalem had not yet expanded to the NE and its first NE wall was likely near the Via Dolorosa of modern times.  The Romans built an aqueduct from the south and Jerusalem expanded again out to the third wall.  Josephus wrote Pilate stole the temple korban (funds) in order to build an aqueduct to Jerusalem.
             
            It may be of interest; the book of Nehemiah and the Elephantine Island community both recorded the name Sanballat. 
             
            David Q. Hall
            Falls Church, Virginia
             
             
             
             


            ________________________________
            From: Niels Peter Lemche <npl@...>
            To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.com" <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:59 AM
            Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


             

            Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday. It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual, that's the reason.

            And to Gardner's mail:

            first, before we get to far from the subject, the Elephantine papyri: This list is not about biblical historicity.

            Second, the argument is wrong: It is nowhere to be proven that the mentioning of the names of Ezra and Nehemiah makes them historical. I could mention Tarzan without making him historical. Gilgamesh was probably in the hoary past a king from Lagash, but that will be the only historical part of the epic, etc etc.

            Third: Jeremias has nothing to say about Elephantine. a) can we date Jeremias? except from conventional beliefs that be belonged where he is said to belong? b) the context of Jer 44 and 46 is N.E Egypt. Migdol, as one of the place names mentioned there could be everywhere (meaning "tower"), the other names is about something in the eastern delta. How long is the distance from, say the present Suez canal to Elephantine?

            Fourth: The geography of Jerusalem in the Persian and Hellenistic periods is definitely a hot subject today. Some leading archaeologists like David Ussishkin would say that there was really nothing here before c. 200 BCE, making this discussion totally redundant

            Fifth: The post-exilic period is a concept, an ideological one, that comes from the Old Testament. We are investigating whether or not the concept is meaningful, as the Jewish society persisted in Iraq until 1951.

            Sixth: the term "Jew" in this connection is ideological and certainly not very precise. Which also means arguing that the Elephantine sociewty was Jewish is already presupposing something that is far from secure.

            Seventh: Bill Dever did not find out that Iron Age Yahweh of Juda/Samaria was a bachelor -- although he would be happy to be reckoned so. Here it would be more precise to quote the specialized literature by Tilde Binger, Paolo Merlo, Wiggins and more.

            But again, this is not the place to discuss the historicity of Ezra and Nehemiah. Such questions really belongs in biblical lists like Biblical studies. A remark like this "Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
            seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age" has nothing to do here.

            Niels Peter Lemche




            -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
            Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af drbrucekgardner@...
            Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 12:16
            Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


            Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
            reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
            comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the Jewish
            People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
            references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are consistent
            with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in the
            6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary text
            (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
            which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever Did
            God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
            Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the point
            about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
            determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide theological
            variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
            monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
            application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


            To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of uncertain
            dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
            logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
            ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
            Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone else. If
            one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
            reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative, as the
            history of criticism reminds us.



            To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
            excluding another one in the same way,
            risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
            but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
            sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
            Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist and
            monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be tested,
            but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
            "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
            literary endeavour?


            Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
            seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
            zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



            Bruce Gardner
            Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.



            In a message dated 30/09/2011 22:02:16 GMT Daylight Time,
            RUSSELLGMIRKIN@... writes:





            Yes, but at least we know what was known at Elephantine in the fifth
            century. We do _not_ know what was known in Judah in the fifth century,
            unless
            we make unwarranted assumptions about the historical value of undated
            texts
            such as Ezra or Nehemiah or the Prophets. Surely contemporary non-literary
            evidence from Elephantine that is secure in date should be given priority
            over literary texts of unknown date.

            Best regards,
            Russell Gmirkin

            I do not think it possible to generalize from what was known at
            Elephantine to what was known in Judah at the time.

            Liz Fried
            Ann Arbor

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



            ------------------------------------

            Yahoo! Groups Links






            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



            ------------------------------------

            Yahoo! Groups Links
          • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
            In light of NPL s comments below, I will refrain from engaging in Bruce Gardener s comments on biblical historicity other to state that he misunderstands my
            Message 5 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
            • 0 Attachment
              In light of NPL's comments below, I will refrain from engaging in Bruce
              Gardener's comments on biblical historicity other to state that he
              misunderstands my position and that I welcome historical data from any literary
              source that has been subjected to proper historical criticism, which, I hasten
              to add, Dr. Gardner appears to attempt to perform.

              With respect to the archaeological debate on Jerusalem that NPL mentions in
              point 4 below, I would invoke the Elephantine Papyri no. 30 [Cowley],
              which is addressed to "Johanan the high priest and his colleagues the priests
              who are in Jerusalem" along with a body of "nobles" as contemporary evidence
              in 408 BCE of the importance of Jerusalem in religious matters and some of
              the social institutions present there. As an indisputably contemporary
              document, IMO this constitutes the best available evidence at present for
              Persian period Jerusalem (the archaeological remains remaining relatively mute
              at present date).

              Best regards,
              Russell Gmirkin




              Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday.
              It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual,
              that's the reason.

              And to Gardner's mail:

              first, before we get to far from the subject, the Elephantine papyri: This
              list is not about biblical historicity.

              Second, the argument is wrong: It is nowhere to be proven that the
              mentioning of the names of Ezra and Nehemiah makes them historical. I could
              mention Tarzan without making him historical. Gilgamesh was probably in the hoary
              past a king from Lagash, but that will be the only historical part of the
              epic, etc etc.

              Third: Jeremias has nothing to say about Elephantine. a) can we date
              Jeremias? except from conventional beliefs that be belonged where he is said to
              belong? b) the context of Jer 44 and 46 is N.E Egypt. Migdol, as one of the
              place names mentioned there could be everywhere (meaning "tower"), the
              other names is about something in the eastern delta. How long is the distance
              from, say the present Suez canal to Elephantine?

              Fourth: The geography of Jerusalem in the Persian and Hellenistic periods
              is definitely a hot subject today. Some leading archaeologists like David
              Ussishkin would say that there was really nothing here before c. 200 BCE,
              making this discussion totally redundant

              Fifth: The post-exilic period is a concept, an ideological one, that comes
              from the Old Testament. We are investigating whether or not the concept is
              meaningful, as the Jewish society persisted in Iraq until 1951.

              Sixth: the term "Jew" in this connection is ideological and certainly not
              very precise. Which also means arguing that the Elephantine sociewty was
              Jewish is already presupposing something that is far from secure.

              Seventh: Bill Dever did not find out that Iron Age Yahweh of Juda/Samaria
              was a bachelor -- although he would be happy to be reckoned so. Here it
              would be more precise to quote the specialized literature by Tilde Binger,
              Paolo Merlo, Wiggins and more.

              But again, this is not the place to discuss the historicity of Ezra and
              Nehemiah. Such questions really belongs in biblical lists like Biblical
              studies. A remark like this "Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little
              critical merit and risks
              seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age" has
              nothing to do here.

              Niels Peter Lemche




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              Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 12:16
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              Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


              Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
              reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
              comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the
              Jewish
              People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
              references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are
              consistent
              with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in
              the
              6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary
              text
              (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
              which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever
              Did
              God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
              Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the
              point
              about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
              determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide
              theological
              variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
              monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
              application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


              To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of
              uncertain
              dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
              logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
              ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
              Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone
              else. If
              one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
              reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative,
              as the
              history of criticism reminds us.

              To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
              excluding another one in the same way,
              risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
              but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
              sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
              Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist
              and
              monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be
              tested,
              but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
              "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
              literary endeavour?

              Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
              seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
              zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



              Bruce Gardner
              Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.








              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Niels Peter Lemche
              Dear Russell, Jerusalem is a most elusive place, It is never there when you need it the most. We have a series of letters from Jerusalem in the Amarna period,
              Message 6 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
              • 0 Attachment
                Dear Russell,

                Jerusalem is a most elusive place, It is never there when you need it the most. We have a series of letters from Jerusalem in the Amarna period, but so far nothing that looks like a city has been found dating to the LB period. Then the 10th century BCE ? An area of conflict, and I stay with my Tell Aviv friends and Margreet Steiner saying that it is not there, in spite of the traditions said to belong to this century. Then we have the Persian period and early Hellenistic period which is now also getting into trouble.

                I have aired the possibility that it is not the city that is important but its religious tradition. There need not be a city in order that a kahan rab should be there. A temple would do fine even a sanctuary of some sort (think also of recent downdating of the second temple of Jerusalem to the second half of the 5th century [Edelman]).

                The place's religious prestige is difficult to doubt. It But there is a kind of cultural memory to the idea that David opened for the religious tradition by pkacing the ark of the Lord at Araunah's treashing ground and in the discussion in connection with the plans of building a temple, if this God really needs a temple.

                Te argument that not enough diggings have taken place in Jerusalem is rubbish although often heard. I suppose that it would be impossible to find another place on earth as extensively digged as Jerusalem (maybe Rome can compete). As to an administrative centre in the Persian Period, other candidates have been aired, such as Ramat Rahel.

                Niels Peter Lemche




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                Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af RUSSELLGMIRKIN@...
                Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 17:35
                Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


                In light of NPL's comments below, I will refrain from engaging in Bruce
                Gardener's comments on biblical historicity other to state that he
                misunderstands my position and that I welcome historical data from any literary
                source that has been subjected to proper historical criticism, which, I hasten
                to add, Dr. Gardner appears to attempt to perform.

                With respect to the archaeological debate on Jerusalem that NPL mentions in
                point 4 below, I would invoke the Elephantine Papyri no. 30 [Cowley],
                which is addressed to "Johanan the high priest and his colleagues the priests
                who are in Jerusalem" along with a body of "nobles" as contemporary evidence
                in 408 BCE of the importance of Jerusalem in religious matters and some of
                the social institutions present there. As an indisputably contemporary
                document, IMO this constitutes the best available evidence at present for
                Persian period Jerusalem (the archaeological remains remaining relatively mute
                at present date).

                Best regards,
                Russell Gmirkin




                Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday.
                It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual,
                that's the reason.

                And to Gardner's mail:

                first, before we get to far from the subject, the Elephantine papyri: This
                list is not about biblical historicity.

                Second, the argument is wrong: It is nowhere to be proven that the
                mentioning of the names of Ezra and Nehemiah makes them historical. I could
                mention Tarzan without making him historical. Gilgamesh was probably in the hoary
                past a king from Lagash, but that will be the only historical part of the
                epic, etc etc.

                Third: Jeremias has nothing to say about Elephantine. a) can we date
                Jeremias? except from conventional beliefs that be belonged where he is said to
                belong? b) the context of Jer 44 and 46 is N.E Egypt. Migdol, as one of the
                place names mentioned there could be everywhere (meaning "tower"), the
                other names is about something in the eastern delta. How long is the distance
                from, say the present Suez canal to Elephantine?

                Fourth: The geography of Jerusalem in the Persian and Hellenistic periods
                is definitely a hot subject today. Some leading archaeologists like David
                Ussishkin would say that there was really nothing here before c. 200 BCE,
                making this discussion totally redundant

                Fifth: The post-exilic period is a concept, an ideological one, that comes
                from the Old Testament. We are investigating whether or not the concept is
                meaningful, as the Jewish society persisted in Iraq until 1951.

                Sixth: the term "Jew" in this connection is ideological and certainly not
                very precise. Which also means arguing that the Elephantine sociewty was
                Jewish is already presupposing something that is far from secure.

                Seventh: Bill Dever did not find out that Iron Age Yahweh of Juda/Samaria
                was a bachelor -- although he would be happy to be reckoned so. Here it
                would be more precise to quote the specialized literature by Tilde Binger,
                Paolo Merlo, Wiggins and more.

                But again, this is not the place to discuss the historicity of Ezra and
                Nehemiah. Such questions really belongs in biblical lists like Biblical
                studies. A remark like this "Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little
                critical merit and risks
                seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age" has
                nothing to do here.

                Niels Peter Lemche




                -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                Fra: _ANE-2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com)
                [mailto:_ANE-2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com) ] På vegne af
                _drbrucekgardner@..._ (mailto:drbrucekgardner@...)
                Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 12:16
                Til: _ANE-2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com)
                Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


                Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
                reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
                comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the
                Jewish
                People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
                references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are
                consistent
                with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in
                the
                6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary
                text
                (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
                which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever
                Did
                God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
                Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the
                point
                about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
                determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide
                theological
                variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
                monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
                application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


                To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of
                uncertain
                dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
                logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
                ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
                Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone
                else. If
                one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
                reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative,
                as the
                history of criticism reminds us.

                To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
                excluding another one in the same way,
                risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
                but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
                sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
                Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist
                and
                monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be
                tested,
                but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
                "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
                literary endeavour?

                Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
                seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
                zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



                Bruce Gardner
                Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.








                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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