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

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  • gfsomsel@juno.com
    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
    Message 1 of 37 , May 2, 2006
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      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.


      -- "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

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jack Kilmon
      From: Niels Peter Lemche ... I am having problems accepting this particularly with texts so heavily redacted over centuries. The
      Message 37 of 37 , May 4, 2006
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        From: "Niels Peter Lemche" <npl@...>

        > The Book of Isaiah cannot be older than its youngest component.

        I am having problems accepting this particularly with texts so heavily
        redacted over centuries. The "historical Isaiah" (The Isaiah of chapters 1-39) lived somewhere during the last half of the 8th and earliy 7th centuries BCE. Deutero-Isaiah (ch. 40-55) lived some 150 years later and Isaiah III (ch. 56-66) later yet. It would seem to me that a text cannot be dated older than its OLDEST component with the caveat that older material can be added later. I think the most comprehensive work to date on Isaiah is "The Book Called Isaiah" by H. G. M. Williamson of Oxford.

        The oldest component that can be dated by epigraphy, of Numbers is the
        Priestly Blessing discovered on silver amulets from Isaiah's time but this does more to show the complexity of this problem. It cannot be stated with certainty that the blessing was not copied from a text of Numbers (the amulet blessing is missing a line found in numbers) and it cannot be stated with certainty that the text WAS copied from numbers rather than from an oral tradition that later found its way to Numbers.

        I do see three different hands (Deutero-Isaiah the most lyrical) in Isaiah, though.

        Jack Kilmon
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