Re: [ANE-2] Re: R. Gmirkin on the date of the Pentateuch
- Dear George,
So you seriously believe that a 6th-5th cent. B.C. date for the promulgation
of the Torah is unrelated to David Noel Freedman's preferred history of
With regard to source criticism as a means of dating texts, this has been
used very effectively in classical studies for years. If text A uses text B,
and text B uses text C, and the dates of A and C, then this furnishes
extremely objective evidence that the date of B lies between A and C.
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.
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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.