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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • 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 5 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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