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Critiquing Friedman

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  • jdcroft@yahoo.com
    George, myself and others have at different times mentioned Richard Elliot Friedman on this list. I here offer a personal critique of his work (From Who
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 1, 2001
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      George, myself and others have at different times mentioned Richard
      Elliot Friedman on this list. I here offer a personal critique of
      his work (From "Who Wrote the Bible".

      1. Friedman is incredibly strong on his analysis of sources. He
      clearly shows that the J and E source were complete before the end of
      the Divided Monarchy period on linguistic grounds. On this I believe
      he is accurate.

      2. Friedman then suggests that the Deuteronomistic History of Deu,
      Kings and Chr is a later work. On this I believe he is accurate.

      3. Friedman suggests that the JED redaction work created the first
      Torah. On this I think he is accurate.

      4. Friedman also suggests that the Priestly Source was a completely
      different, and earlier rival "Torah" to the JED version. On this I
      believe he is accurate.

      5. Friedman does not give a time and place for the writing of J and E
      except that it is sometime after the divided monarchy and the
      independence war of Edom. On this I believe he is accurate.

      6. Friedman believes it is Jeremiah who is the author of the
      Deuteronomistic document. On this I believe he is wrong.
      Deuteronomy not only includes the centralisation of the cult at
      Jerusalem, it also includes the collapse of the Judean kingdom, and
      so is Exilic in origin.

      7. Friedman believes the P source document was completed during
      Hezekiah's reign. On this I believe he is wrong. There is numerous
      pieces of evidence that show that the P source is a second temple
      document. Linguistically it is late (It is not early Hebrew in
      language or in tone).

      8. Friedman believes it is Ezra who is the priestly redactor who put
      JEDP together. On this I believe he is wrong. There is numerous
      evidence that juggests that this redactor was probably working during
      late in the 2nd temple period, early Maccabean period.

      Now on this I here put the John Croft theory up for comparison.

      1. I feel the ealiest source material is the E source. This was
      assembled and produced by Mushite priests of Shiloh, critical of the
      royal Israel court, living as refugees in Hezekiah's court. It was
      as Lloyd says, strongly pro Elohim but anti-Baal. It was probably in
      part put together under the stearage of Isaiah.

      2. The second source material is the J source. I feel that this
      material too was assembled at the court of Hezekiah, but by
      comparison to the E source was anti-Shechem, pro-Aaronite (anti-
      Mushite). It was produced by people anxious to assert the pre-
      eminence of the Judaic kingdom over the northern kingdom. It was
      probably put together by someone very close to Hezekiah's court, but
      modelled on and elaborated on the E source. It saw Yahweh as the
      southern equivalent of Elohim.

      3. These two sources, J and E I feel were edited together by ?Hildah?
      to provide the "book of Law" "discovered" by Hilkiah for Josiah.
      This provided what we can call "the first torah", and comprised the
      documents that basically went into exile. Jeremiah and his
      secretary, the scribe Baruch, may have been involved here.

      4. Following the death in battle of Josiah, and the collapse of the
      Davidic kingdom, this source needed heavy redaction. That the
      Davidic kingdom which would go on forever, under Josiah's family -
      the kingly version of Moses, was shown to be hollow. This source was
      strongly anti-Asherah-ite and was produced by the rivers of Babylon,
      by what was to emerge as the Deuteronomistic school.

      5. During the same Exile period, the Deuteronomistic school began -
      the law code was initially produced by Levite (Shilohite) priests in
      Babylonia in order to preserve the cultic identity of the exiles and
      prevent them from being absorbed and assimilated as had the previous
      10 tribes into the Mesopotamian melting pot. The book of deutero-
      Isaiah was also composed at this time and added to the JE redaction.
      This school created what I believe we can call is the "second Torah",
      and I believe one of the chief people here to be involved was Ezekiel.

      6. Associated with the return of the exiles was the beginnings of
      a "Third Torah" - a completely separate "Priestly document" strongly
      pro-Aaronite. The Deuteronomistic "second Torah" also went back with
      Ezra and Nehemiah. This second torah was promptly accepted as
      truthful by the Samaritans, as a true record for what had happened
      (it was pro-Israelite kingdom but anti-Israelite monarchy). The
      Priestly Torah however was condemned as a lie (see the
      Deuteronomistic statements to the same effect, Friedman is strong
      here) There was then a battle between the Samaritan (Mushites) and
      the Judaites (Aaronite Zadokites) - between two groups both claiming
      to be Levites. The northerners accused the southerners of not being
      true "Hebrews" but called them "Persians" (Pharisee=Parsi). The
      southerners accused the northerners of not being true "Hebrews" but
      being Cuthaites (Southern Babylonians settled by the Assyrians into
      Samaria).

      7. The Maccabean revolt was the victory of the Southerners over the
      whole region creating the Hasmonean kingdom. This saw the redaction
      of the second Torah of the JED redaction, and the priestly Torah of
      the southern Aaronites into a single document, that has come down to
      us as "The Bible". The chronology was imposed and the whole P source
      edited into place. But the struggle did not end. In fact this
      victory of the Zadokites (Sadducees) led to another reaction that
      created the Qumran community and the Dead Sea Scrolls. And the rest
      is history.

      Regards

      John
    • g
      Hey, John..... are you on speed or something? This last post was AGAIN quite useful and provides a great baseline, in a peruasive way, for how to interpret
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 1, 2001
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        Hey, John..... are you on "speed" or something? This
        last post was AGAIN quite useful and provides a great
        baseline, in a peruasive way, for how to interpret the
        shifts and turns in biblical redaction. Excellent.

        Again, I may be tempted to tweak this here and there
        in the future, but it will suffice quite well for me
        as a starting point.

        I agree completely that Deuteronomy (or the core of
        what we call that) was heavily influenced by the Farsi
        (Pharisee) influences in Persia. The Parsee sect that
        traveled from Persia into India share many of the same
        rigid and dogmatic rule systems that we see "redacted
        back" into all parts of the bible. For example, the
        Exodus story where a man was executed for "working"
        on the sabbath is so unlikely to me.... but would have
        quite normally have come during the Deuteronomistic
        phase of redaction.

        I would like to explore sometime what kinds of changes
        Ezra MIGHT have been responsible for. It is clearly
        stated that he was involved in the gathering of texts...
        so I wouldn't doubt that some editing happened at the
        same time. At the moment your scenario doesn't really
        give him a "job" in this process, but maybe we'll come
        up with a refinement on this later.

        Again, I congratulate you on two fabulous posts in
        a row.

        George



        --- In AncientBibleHistory@y..., jdcroft@y... wrote:
        > George, myself and others have at different times mentioned Richard
        > Elliot Friedman on this list. I here offer a personal critique of
        > his work (From "Who Wrote the Bible".
        >
        > 1. Friedman is incredibly strong on his analysis of sources. He
        > clearly shows that the J and E source were complete before the end
        of
        > the Divided Monarchy period on linguistic grounds. On this I
        believe
        > he is accurate.
        >
        > 2. Friedman then suggests that the Deuteronomistic History of Deu,
        > Kings and Chr is a later work. On this I believe he is accurate.
        >
        > 3. Friedman suggests that the JED redaction work created the first
        > Torah. On this I think he is accurate.
        >
        > 4. Friedman also suggests that the Priestly Source was a completely
        > different, and earlier rival "Torah" to the JED version. On this I
        > believe he is accurate.
        >
        > 5. Friedman does not give a time and place for the writing of J and
        E
        > except that it is sometime after the divided monarchy and the
        > independence war of Edom. On this I believe he is accurate.
        >
        > 6. Friedman believes it is Jeremiah who is the author of the
        > Deuteronomistic document. On this I believe he is wrong.
        > Deuteronomy not only includes the centralisation of the cult at
        > Jerusalem, it also includes the collapse of the Judean kingdom, and
        > so is Exilic in origin.
        >
        > 7. Friedman believes the P source document was completed during
        > Hezekiah's reign. On this I believe he is wrong. There is numerous
        > pieces of evidence that show that the P source is a second temple
        > document. Linguistically it is late (It is not early Hebrew in
        > language or in tone).
        >
        > 8. Friedman believes it is Ezra who is the priestly redactor who put
        > JEDP together. On this I believe he is wrong. There is numerous
        > evidence that juggests that this redactor was probably working
        during
        > late in the 2nd temple period, early Maccabean period.
        >
        > Now on this I here put the John Croft theory up for comparison.
        >
        > 1. I feel the ealiest source material is the E source. This was
        > assembled and produced by Mushite priests of Shiloh, critical of the
        > royal Israel court, living as refugees in Hezekiah's court. It was
        > as Lloyd says, strongly pro Elohim but anti-Baal. It was probably
        in
        > part put together under the stearage of Isaiah.
        >
        > 2. The second source material is the J source. I feel that this
        > material too was assembled at the court of Hezekiah, but by
        > comparison to the E source was anti-Shechem, pro-Aaronite (anti-
        > Mushite). It was produced by people anxious to assert the pre-
        > eminence of the Judaic kingdom over the northern kingdom. It was
        > probably put together by someone very close to Hezekiah's court, but
        > modelled on and elaborated on the E source. It saw Yahweh as the
        > southern equivalent of Elohim.
        >
        > 3. These two sources, J and E I feel were edited together by
        ?Hildah?
        > to provide the "book of Law" "discovered" by Hilkiah for Josiah.
        > This provided what we can call "the first torah", and comprised the
        > documents that basically went into exile. Jeremiah and his
        > secretary, the scribe Baruch, may have been involved here.
        >
        > 4. Following the death in battle of Josiah, and the collapse of the
        > Davidic kingdom, this source needed heavy redaction. That the
        > Davidic kingdom which would go on forever, under Josiah's family -
        > the kingly version of Moses, was shown to be hollow. This source
        was
        > strongly anti-Asherah-ite and was produced by the rivers of Babylon,
        > by what was to emerge as the Deuteronomistic school.
        >
        > 5. During the same Exile period, the Deuteronomistic school began -
        > the law code was initially produced by Levite (Shilohite) priests in
        > Babylonia in order to preserve the cultic identity of the exiles and
        > prevent them from being absorbed and assimilated as had the previous
        > 10 tribes into the Mesopotamian melting pot. The book of deutero-
        > Isaiah was also composed at this time and added to the JE redaction.

        > This school created what I believe we can call is the "second
        Torah",
        > and I believe one of the chief people here to be involved was
        Ezekiel.
        >
        > 6. Associated with the return of the exiles was the beginnings of
        > a "Third Torah" - a completely separate "Priestly document" strongly
        > pro-Aaronite. The Deuteronomistic "second Torah" also went back
        with
        > Ezra and Nehemiah. This second torah was promptly accepted as
        > truthful by the Samaritans, as a true record for what had happened
        > (it was pro-Israelite kingdom but anti-Israelite monarchy). The
        > Priestly Torah however was condemned as a lie (see the
        > Deuteronomistic statements to the same effect, Friedman is strong
        > here) There was then a battle between the Samaritan (Mushites) and
        > the Judaites (Aaronite Zadokites) - between two groups both claiming
        > to be Levites. The northerners accused the southerners of not being
        > true "Hebrews" but called them "Persians" (Pharisee=Parsi). The
        > southerners accused the northerners of not being true "Hebrews" but
        > being Cuthaites (Southern Babylonians settled by the Assyrians into
        > Samaria).
        >
        > 7. The Maccabean revolt was the victory of the Southerners over the
        > whole region creating the Hasmonean kingdom. This saw the redaction
        > of the second Torah of the JED redaction, and the priestly Torah of
        > the southern Aaronites into a single document, that has come down to
        > us as "The Bible". The chronology was imposed and the whole P
        source
        > edited into place. But the struggle did not end. In fact this
        > victory of the Zadokites (Sadducees) led to another reaction that
        > created the Qumran community and the Dead Sea Scrolls. And the rest
        > is history.
        >
        > Regards
        >
        > John
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