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Re: [ANE-2] Berossus and Genesis (was toilets and Dead Sea Scrolls)

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  • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
    Stephen also writes, in part: Why... compare Moses with a lawgiver from Sparta, rather than, say, a lawgiver from the ancient near east? Denial of law writing
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 1, 2006
      Stephen also writes, in part:

      Why... compare Moses with a lawgiver from Sparta, rather than, say, a
      lawgiver from the ancient near east? Denial of law writing before 273 BCE is just
      one of the unacceptable declarations in the new book by Gmirkin. If there is
      interest on this list, other less than reliable and satisfactory aspects of
      the book could be mentioned.

      Stephen,

      I will pass over the generally inaccurate characterizations of my book in
      your posting, which are largely self-evident, to address what appears to be a
      legitimate question on ancient lawgivers. The example of Lycurgus of Sparta
      is most directly relevant to Hecataeus of Abdera, since the latter's
      fictionalized foundation story of Jerusalem drew heavily on Spartan political ideals
      (as I had already mentioned). But classical sources list a variety of other
      ancient lawgivers who, according to Greek notions, were also typically viewed
      as founders of their respective nations. The characteristic political
      institutions of a given ancient nation or people were stereotypically attributed
      to their founder/lawgiver, and these institutions were viewed as the "laws"
      governing that society (whether written or not). There are many instances of
      barbarian (non-Greek) lawgivers who appear to have left no body of written
      law. Some are listed in Strabo, Geography 16.2.38-39 (from Posidonius) and in a
      related catalog in Diodorus. Posidonius very carefully described the laws
      of Moses and other barbarian lawgivers as "commandments," using a Greek term
      that does not imply a written form. Posidonius typically associated the early
      "golden age" of a nation with an absence of written laws, which in his
      idealized scheme appeared only later in order to counteract the evils of tyranny
      (see Berossus and Genesis 68 n. 20 for discussion and secondary literature).

      Moses first appears in extra-biblical sources in the foundation story by
      Hecataeus of Abdera, where Moses appears as a stereotypical founder/lawgiver.
      The most we can infer from this is that the Greeks had heard of the figure of
      Moses as somehow associated with the Jews as some sort of a founding
      capacity, as author of the Jewish nation or way of life. As I discuss at pp. 28-33,
      there was certainly no authoritative written Jewish law in 404 BCE as clearly
      evidenced by the Elephantine papyri, and there is also absolutely no basis
      for associating Moses with a body of written laws in 320-315 BCE on the basis
      of Hecataeus of Abdera.

      As a clarifying example from the Pentateuch on how a lawgiver need not leave
      written laws, both Abraham and Moses are there portrayed as founder of the
      Jewish people/nation, and (contradictorily) both as the author of the Jewish
      custom of circumcision. Abraham was as much a lawgiver as Moses (by Greek
      notions) with respect to establishing the practice of circumcision, yet left no
      written laws attributed to his name. Laws established over a people or
      society by a founder/lawgiver do not thus necessarily imply written laws, even in
      the context of the Pentateuch. The Noachan laws represent another such
      example of a Pentateuchal legal tradition that was authored, and yet not written,
      by its originator.

      But let's stop talking theory. Extra-biblical Jewish tradition provides a
      very direct, compelling case for the existence of an unwritten body of Jewish
      law that the populace attributed to Moses. The Pentateuch was the literary
      product of the highly educated cultural elite of Judea that later formed the
      core of the Sadducees, namely the elders of the Sanhedrin (the "Seventy" that
      gave their name to the Septuagint) and (more importantly vis a vis legal
      issues) the circle of priests directly associated with the high priest (see my
      discussion at Berossus and Genesis, 249-255). Their priestly descendants, both
      spiritually and literally, the Sadducees, from whom the Pharisees parted ways
      in the 170s-160s BCE, naturally only recognized the Pentateuchal regulations
      which their own circles had earlier authored, while ordinary Jews recognized
      and preserved other extra-Pentateuchal legal traditions the Sadducees
      rejected. This body of regulations "not recorded in the Law of Moses" formed the
      core of Pharisee legal tradition that distinguished them from the Sadducees
      (Ant. 13.297-298). The Pharisees claimed their sect observed the full and
      accurate (though oral) "ancestral customs" (patria) and "ancient laws" of the Jews
      (cf. Ant. 13.297-298; 14.41, etc.; Diodorus 40.2). It is likely that the
      Pharisee "Oral Torah" preserved substantial legal materials from the Judaism of
      c. 273-272 BCE which the Pentateuchal authors chose not to record. The
      Pharisees claimed these legal materials had been transmitted orally through the
      generations from Moses down to their own time, per Talmudic tradition (and
      indeed these rulings were not recorded in writing until Jamnia according to most
      historians). Given that the majority of Jews during the Second Temple
      period thus recognized a body of "Mosaic" law that was preserved in oral rather
      than written form, I am surprised that you seemingly do not, since I think I
      recall that Second Temple Judaism was the focus of your degree.

      Best regards,
      Russell Gmirkin



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Yitzhak Sapir
      ... Can you give an example of a ruling from the preserved substantial legal materials of the Judaism of circa 273-272 BCE ? Also, how do the Samaritans fit
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 2, 2006
        On 12/1/06, Russel Gmirkin wrote:

        > But let's stop talking theory. Extra-biblical Jewish tradition provides a
        > very direct, compelling case for the existence of an unwritten body of Jewish
        > law that the populace attributed to Moses. [...] Their priestly descendants, both
        > spiritually and literally, the Sadducees, from whom the Pharisees parted ways
        > in the 170s-160s BCE, naturally only recognized the Pentateuchal regulations
        > which their own circles had earlier authored, while ordinary Jews recognized
        > and preserved other extra-Pentateuchal legal traditions the Sadducees
        > rejected. [...] It is likely that the
        > Pharisee "Oral Torah" preserved substantial legal materials from the Judaism of
        > c. 273-272 BCE which the Pentateuchal authors chose not to record. The
        > Pharisees claimed these legal materials had been transmitted orally through the
        > generations from Moses down to their own time, per Talmudic tradition (and
        > indeed these rulings were not recorded in writing until Jamnia according to most
        > historians).

        Can you give an example of a ruling from the "preserved substantial
        legal materials"
        of the Judaism of "circa 273-272 BCE"?

        Also, how do the Samaritans fit in with the Sadducees?

        Yitzhak Sapir
      • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
        Yitzhak Sapir wrote: Can you give an example of a ruling from the preserved substantial legal materials of the Judaism of circa 273-272 BCE ? Also, how do
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 2, 2006
          Yitzhak Sapir wrote:


          Can you give an example of a ruling from the "preserved substantial
          legal materials"
          of the Judaism of "circa 273-272 BCE"?

          Also, how do the Samaritans fit in with the Sadducees?



          Fair questions. First, let me answer in generalities. Wellhausen posited
          an "Oral
          Torah" of traditional Jewish religious practices preserved by the priesthood
          prior to
          the formal written codification of Jewish laws which he believed was
          complete by
          458 BCE, but which we may ascertain from the Elephantine papyri had not yet
          occurred by 404 BCE, and which I argue only took place in 273-272 BCE,
          facilitated
          by the largesse of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The priests that authored the
          regulations
          in P only recorded a subset of the Oral Torah of that time, which for
          instance we know
          differed in many particulars from other contemporary legal traditions found
          in D, and
          which also omitted other legal traditions that later became part of Pharisee
          practices.
          According to Josephus, the essential dispute between Sadducees and Pharisees
          was
          over Pentateuchal vs. extra-Pentateuchal legal traditions that the Pharisees
          believed
          also reflected Mosaic law. This extra-biblical legal tradition was
          sufficiently well
          developed and commanded enough loyalty in the 170s-160s BCE to serve to
          define the
          Pharisees as a sect distinct from Judaism of the ruling priestly faction
          that subsequently
          became known as the Sadducees. It seems unreasonable that the Pharisees
          developed
          their distinctive legal principles out of thin air, but rather inherited a
          respectably older
          tradition that they could credibly claim descended from Moses. Hence the
          general
          inference that Pharisee legal traditions likely had their origin in Mosaic
          "Oral Torah"
          excluded from the Pentateuch.

          In terms of general theoretical methodology, one may propose that Pharisaic
          legal
          principles that can be shown to have originated in the 160s or earlier and
          which differed
          from Sadducee and/or Pentateuchal laws may be an artifact of the Oral Torah
          of the pre-
          Pentateuchal period. The difficulty is in establishing Pharisee and
          Sadducee practices of
          this early period. The Dead Sea Scrolls are highly relevant here, but also
          highly
          controversial, so I will tactfully omit them from the present discussion.
          Talmudic traditions
          could probably be invoked to identify such questions as the impurity
          conveyed by liquids
          and such-like as issues that divided Pharisees and Sadducees from time
          immemorial. But
          I think Ezra-Nehemiah may be one of the most interesting sources of
          extra-Pentateuchal
          legal traditions. Although some of the Aramaic letters in Ezra likely came
          from the Persian
          period, the (predominantly) LBH portions that contain Pentateuchal
          references must thus
          postdate 273 BCE, and in my sequel volume Berossus and Kings I will argue
          that the LBH
          texts date to no earlier than 200 BCE. Select chapters in Ezra-Nehemiah
          critical of the
          high priests and the Tobiads contain obvious polemics against the
          association of the last
          Oniag high priests with the Tobiads and may be dated to c. 175 BCE based on
          comparisons with 2 Maccabees and other considerations and come from the
          anti-Oniad circles associated with Simon the temple captain. There is a
          historical argument to be
          made that the overthrow of the Zadokite high priestly line by Simon and his
          party was
          related to the schism between the Pharisees and Sadducees about this time.
          If that is
          the case, then the anti-priestly post-Pentateuchal chapters in Ezra-Nehemiah
          may come
          from the earliest Pharisee circles, and the requirement that priests put
          away foreign wives,
          without a basis in Pentateuchal law, and predating the Hellenistic Crisis,
          may be an
          example of the type of older Oral Torah you asked about.

          The question regarding the Samaritans is a tricky one. It is likely there
          was a Samaritan
          contribution to the authorship of the Pentateuch reflected in E, and some
          anti-Samaritan
          content in J, whose authors appeared to have dwelled in Judea proper. That
          both J and E were incorporated in the Pentateuch probably reflects the
          diverse composition
          of the Sanhedrin (council of elders) of 273 BCE, reminiscent of the
          involvement of
          Samaritans in the governance of Yehud in the Elephantine papyri. Both J and
          E are
          quite accepting of "heterodox" practices, illustrating the diversity within
          Jewish religion.
          Theophrastus also describes heterodox Syrian practices in c. 315 BCE, with
          astrological
          observations in conjunction with night burnt offerings with honey at an
          unidentified temple
          which was likely the one at Mount Gerizim, and Pseudo-Eupolemus provides
          further
          witness to Samaritan syncretism in c. 250 BCE. I don't see much evidence to
          connect
          the Samaritans to the Sadducees (or to the proto-Sadducee priestly circles
          behind P).

          Best regards,
          Russell Gmirkin




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Peter T. Daniels
          Mr. Sapir asked a very specific question. It was not addressed in the succeeding reply, which (where it did attempt an argument) argued quite circularly. --
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 3, 2006
            Mr. Sapir asked a very specific question. It was not addressed in the succeeding reply, which (where it did attempt an argument) argued quite circularly.

            --
            Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...



            ----- Original Message ----
            From: "RUSSELLGMIRKIN@..." <RUSSELLGMIRKIN@...>
            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Sunday, December 3, 2006 12:40:17 AM
            Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Berossus and Genesis (was toilets and Dead Sea Scrolls)


            Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

            Can you give an example of a ruling from the "preserved substantial
            legal materials"
            of the Judaism of "circa 273-272 BCE"?

            <...>

            Fair questions. First, let me answer in generalities.

            <...>
          • David Hall
            I have prepared a web page with a photo gallery of drawings from the Beni Hasan, Egypt tombs. These images of domesticated animals were photocopied from a
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 3, 2006
              I have prepared a web page with a photo gallery of drawings from the Beni Hasan, Egypt tombs. These images of domesticated animals were photocopied from a 1900 art folio Beni Hasan, by Newberry, Carter, et alia. From what I have read Howard Carter was probably the chief artist responsible for the drawings. This is the same Howard Carter who discovered King Tut's tomb.

              The drawings are in the public domain.

              http://dqhall59.com/Beni_Hasan/index.htm

              David Q. Hall
              dqhall@...







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