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Re: ABH Re: Narrative biblical traditions as lore

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  • LM Barre
    Rich,   The chief redactor is often thought to be Ezra the scribe.  Your is one later, isn t it? LM Barré   ... From: richfaussette
    Message 1 of 12 , Mar 31, 2009
      Rich,
       
      The chief redactor is often thought to be Ezra the scribe.  Your is one later, isn't it?

      LM Barré
       

      --- On Tue, 3/31/09, richfaussette <RFaussette@...> wrote:


      From: richfaussette <RFaussette@...>
      Subject: ABH Re: Narrative biblical traditions as lore
      To: AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 10:15 PM






      --- In AncientBibleHistory @yahoogroups. com, LM Barre <l_barre@... > wrote:

      "...I would suggest that the material in Joshua and Judges should be
      classified as "lore." I would also apply the term to the exodus
      traditions and the patriarchal traditions as well. This is why it
      does not do to simply quote biblical texts for historical
      reconstruction as though they offer reliable, historical data when in
      fact one is appealing to folklore, not historical reports."

      If you had said,

      "Folklore that was woven together into a grand political strategy by
      the chief redactor" then we would be in complete agreement, but I
      am not looking for complete agreement. Nicely put.

      Regards,

      Rich Faussette



















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • aris hobeth
      If you consider the 12th Dynasty Egyptian literature, it seems apparent to the reader that the events described have just recently happened. The writers,
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 1, 2009
        If you consider the 12th Dynasty Egyptian literature, it seems apparent to the reader that the events described have just recently happened. The writers, depite being propagandistic and selective, have evidently lived during the events they describe. Linking the events and characters to those in the Exodus (as I suggest) therefore places the writings as almost contemporary to the historic events. Of course, both the Biblical and Egyptian records disguise and elaborate, add conversations, use obvious (to them) symbolism, and puns (most lost to us). Some readers therefore consider the "tales" as fiction, lore, myth. However, I suggest that the events and characters are as realistic as the portrait sculpture of Sesostris III. He was a real historic person, and also was Moses! (I suggest that Moses as both Hebrew and Egyptian, ordered and edited the writings of both the Biblical and Egyptian versions of the events of his lifetime.)Sincerely, Aris M. Hobeth




        ________________________________
        From: LM Barre <l_barre@...>
        To: Ancient Bible History <AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com>; Biblical Heritage <biblical-heritage-center@...>; Mainstream Biblical Scholarship <mainstreambiblicalscholarship@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, March 30, 2009 9:26:05 PM
        Subject: ABH Narrative biblical traditions as lore


        If Noth's thesis regarding the Dueteronomistic History is correct, and that it was composed under the reign of Josiah (dtr1) or the exile (dtr2), then with the conquest, there is a time span of no less that 500 years between its composition and the setting of the events it claims to describe.  This is one reason to be skeptical about the alleged "information" it  purports to give.  Five centuries.  Given this, I would suggest that the material in Joshua and Judges should be classified as "lore."  I would also apply the term to the exodus traditions and the patriarchal traditions as well.  This is why it does not do to simply quote biblical texts for historical reconstruction as though the offer reliable, historical data when in fact one is appealing to folklore, not historical reports.  If one is inclined to cite texts as though they contain objective historical data, then it is incumbent to show why one can do so.  I find that this naive and
        uncritical assessment of the nature of the biblical material is fatally flawed, methodologically speaking.  Such proof-texing is not a sound approach.  Even if one is not a fundamentalist, the method is and should not be selectively applied as though that was a critical approach.  People here on this forum do this quite aware of the problem.  Texts must first be solidly exegeted and undertood before marshalling them for historical reconstruction.
         
        LM Barré
         

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







        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • richfaussette
        ... Rejecting or overlooking clear parallels from extra-Biblical information is every bit as naive and uncritical as simply accepting without question as
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 1, 2009
          --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Abbott" <richard_abbott@...> wrote:
          >


          Rejecting or overlooking clear parallels from extra-Biblical
          information is every bit as naive and uncritical as simply accepting
          without question as literal truth the contents.

          All the best,

          Richard


          Richard,

          When LMB asked me for parallels for my hypothesis regarding the
          structure of the pentateuch you did not respond to the extrabiblical
          vedic hymns or snips from the fargards I posted. Since I believe the
          roles of the priests and warriors in Joshua (rolling back the waters
          of the jordan, circuiting the city with the law) conform to the roles
          of priests and warriors in tripartition and the tripartition by Moses
          is essential to the structure of the pentateuch as I've desribed it,
          are you saying these details in Joshua were later included by the
          chief redactor to conform to the overriding structure of the
          pentateuch and do not comprise the essential Joshua which you believe
          is much earlier? What is pre-exilic and what is exilic and post
          exilic in Joshua? Can you be specific?
          Any input is appreciated.

          Regards,

          Rich Faussette
        • richfaussette
          ... No, I m leaning toward Ezra. Regards Rich Faussette
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 1, 2009
            --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, LM Barre <l_barre@...> wrote:
            >
            > Rich,
            >  
            > The chief redactor is often thought to be Ezra the scribe.  Your is one later, isn't it?
            >
            > LM Barré
            >  
            >

            No, I'm leaning toward Ezra.

            Regards
            Rich Faussette
          • Richard Abbott
            Hi Rich, you wrote ... The motif of achieving an apparently impossible river crossing is a very common one in the ANE in both 2nd and 1st mill and so I don t
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 1, 2009
              Hi Rich,

              you wrote
              >...you did not respond to the extrabiblical vedic hymns or snips
              >from the fargards I posted... the roles of the priests and warriors
              >in Joshua (rolling back the waters of the jordan... conform to the roles of priests and warriors in tripartition ... are you saying these details in Joshua were later included ...to conform to the
              >overriding structure of the pentateuch and do not comprise the
              >essential Joshua which you believe is much earlier? What is
              >pre-exilic and what is exilic and post exilic in Joshua?

              The motif of achieving an apparently impossible river crossing is a very common one in the ANE in both 2nd and 1st mill and so I don't find it easy to tie this to a particular time. It seems to be one of those things that was attributed to great military leaders and hence is part of authenticating Joshua as fit to lead Israel.

              At some stage I would like to gather lots of info about Joshua together - from what I have seen, the general structure of the conquest descriptions fits well against all of the national conquest annals, and probably best against NK Egypt.

              There is a great deal of debate about the description of tribal territories, as to when that fits most comfortably, with estimates ranging from genuinely in the tribal period through the early monarchy right through to exilic. Some of these estimates are based on comparative documents or genres from outside, but others are based purely on a theory of Biblical composition (which as I said before I find much less compelling as the presuppositions are usually very easy to challenge!).

              In terms of cultural borrowing, it seems to me that the earliest time for any possible vedic material is when Israelites came in contact with the Persians, so at the end of the Exile or post-exile. I certainly wouldn't rule out that contact, but it seems to me that the dominant shapers of Israel's writing just post-exile were Ezra and Nehemiah, and both were extremely conservative, reactionary even. I wonder how likely it is that they would consciously adopt a foreign style or motifs? Not an easy one to answer, and it may be easier to contemplate them using such in a more unconscious/habitual manner (much as I believe early Israel adopted Egyptian writing habits through familiarity even though the national rhetoric was that Egypt was Bad and to be rejected). Was vedic material well integrated into Persian writings of this era? This is pretty much at the opposite end of the OT to where I am familiar, so I am rather working in the dark.

              There certainly is a school of thought that Joshua is late, but from memory it relies heavily on Septuagint studies and the internal differences between LXX and MT in Joshua. I don't recall this approach having any real interest in extra-Biblical material.

              I'm not sure I have said much to address your interest and will give it some thought over the weekend...

              All the best,
              Richard
              http://www.oldtestamentstudies.net
            • richfaussette
              ... wrote: Hi Rich, you wrote ...you did not respond to the extrabiblical vedic hymns or snips from the fargards I posted... the roles of
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 3, 2009
                --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Abbott"
                <richard_abbott@...> wrote:



                Hi Rich,


                you wrote

                ...you did not respond to the extrabiblical vedic hymns or snips
                from the fargards I posted... the roles of the priests and warriors
                in Joshua (rolling back the waters of the jordan... conform to the
                roles of priests and warriors in tripartition ... are you saying
                these details in Joshua were later included ...to conform to the
                overriding structure of the pentateuch and do not comprise the
                essential Joshua which you believe is much earlier? What is
                pre-exilic and what is exilic and post exilic in Joshua?

                Richard A. responded:
                The motif of achieving an apparently impossible river crossing is a
                very common one in the ANE in both 2nd and 1st mill and so I don't
                find it easy to tie this to a particular time. It seems to be one of
                those things that was attributed to great military leaders and hence
                is part of authenticating Joshua as fit to lead Israel.

                rich now responds:

                Thank you for replying. We went over the significance of the parting
                of waters for divine figures back in November, I think, but just now
                I was pointing out the *roles* of priests and warriors in the conquest of Jericho.
                The priest has the magical religious role (parting water, crumbling
                city walls) and the warriors fight (make the self sacrifice).


                In the case of a king like Cyrus, which we briefly discussed, he can
                part water because he is divine, priest and king. He has both roles.

                Richard A. wrote:
                At some stage I would like to gather lots of info about Joshua
                together - from what I have seen, the general structure of the
                conquest descriptions fits well against all of the national conquest
                annals, and probably best against NK Egypt.

                rich asks:
                I was wondering, because of my perspective, if you have engaged in
                any sociological analysis of these conquests and the other
                national "conquest annals," do they speak of tripartition and the
                roles of priests and warriors in engagement like we see in Joshua?

                Richard A. wrote:
                In terms of cultural borrowing, it seems to me that the earliest time
                for any possible vedic material is when Israelites came in contact
                with the Persians, so at the end of the Exile or post-exile. I
                certainly wouldn't rule out that contact, but it seems to me that the
                dominant shapers of Israel's writing just post-exile were Ezra and
                Nehemiah, and both were extremely conservative, reactionary even. I
                wonder how likely it is that they would consciously adopt a foreign
                style or motifs?


                rich responds:
                2 Kings 17: 24-2514
                "Then he [Shalmanaser, king of Assyria] invaded the whole country and
                reaching Samaria, besieged it for three years. In the ninth year of
                Hosea he captured Samaria and deported its people to Assyria and
                settled them in Halah and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in
                the cities of Media."13

                "…Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva,
                Hamath, and Sephairvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in
                place of the Israelites; so they occupied Samaria and lived in its
                cities. "

                So, they are with the Persians/Medes (Herodotus does not distinguish
                carefully between them) from the first Assyrian deportation in 722
                BC. (Do a search on Jews of Khorasan or Yezd)

                Later, Nehemiah was the royal cup bearer for the Persian king. He was
                not just allowed in the presence of the great king. He was the royal
                cupbearer.

                Richard A. wrote:
                Not an easy one to answer, and it may be easier to contemplate them
                using such in a more unconscious/habitual manner (much as I believe
                early Israel adopted Egyptian writing habits through familiarity even
                though the national rhetoric was that Egypt was Bad and to be
                rejected). Was vedic material well integrated into Persian writings
                of this era? This is pretty much at the opposite end of the OT to
                where I am familiar, so I am rather working in the dark.



                rich responds:
                Remember Darius's remarks about his Persian line. "I am an Aryan, of
                Aryan seed." Things have solidified for me only recently. You helped
                me confirm my suspicions about the translation of Leah's dull eyes. I
                knew there was Vedic influence in the Torah, because I could see the
                self sacrifice (which is Vedic) explicitly described, but I had not
                yet looked closely at Joseph in Egypt and so I didn't see the
                shepherd/farmer structure at that time or the Persian agricultural system of royal lands.

                Richard A. wrote:
                There certainly is a school of thought that Joshua is late, but from
                memory it relies heavily on Septuagint studies and the internal
                differences between LXX and MT in Joshua. I don't recall this
                approach having any real interest in extra-Biblical material.

                rich remarks:
                Not interested in provenance?

                Richard A. wrote:
                I'm not sure I have said much to address your interest and will give
                it some thought over the weekend...


                All the best,
                Richard

                You have been very helpful. I'd be eager to hear about those conquest
                annals and if they contain any "political science."

                Thanks again for the reply.

                Regards,
                Rich Faussette
              • Richard Abbott
                Hi rich, thanks for this very interesting post. Some thoughts about it... you wrote ... Not yet, though I think that would be an interesting study. However,
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 7, 2009
                  Hi rich,

                  thanks for this very interesting post. Some thoughts about it...
                  you wrote
                  > The priest has the magical religious role (parting water, crumbling
                  > city walls) and the warriors fight (make the self sacrifice)...
                  > I was wondering, because of my perspective, if you have engaged in
                  > any sociological analysis of these conquests and the other
                  > national "conquest annals," do they speak of tripartition and the
                  > roles of priests and warriors in engagement like we see in Joshua?

                  Not yet, though I think that would be an interesting study. However, isn't your suggested division between priests and warriors just what you'd expect purely on the basis of "job description"? What I mean is that if we had a description where one group did magical religious stuff and another did fighting stuff, wouldn't we just see that as almost a definition of priest and warrior?

                  and I wrote
                  > ...it seems to me that the earliest time for any possible vedic
                  >material is when Israelites came in contact with the Persians, so at
                  >the end of the Exile or post-exile.
                  and you replied
                  > 2 Kings 17:24-25:14... they are with the Persians/Medes ... from
                  >the first Assyrian deportation in 722 BC.

                  Yes, a very good point I hadn't thought of. Nehemiah as cupbearer was more in line with my previous thought.

                  I wrote
                  >I don't recall this approach [Joshua LXX studies] having any real
                  >interest in extra-Biblical material.
                  and you replied
                  > Not interested in provenance?

                  I have just now pulled the relevant book of the shelves and had a quick flick through it! Yes, there is consideration of the various early MT and LXX texts, plus other early versions where they might shed light on technical or uncertain issues. However, there is no interest at all in extra-Biblical comparisons. It was quite odd looking through it, actually - at one stage a few years ago I found the book and its approach interesting, but now it seems rather blinkered and sterile.

                  For instance, there are deductions made on the basis of extra details contained in MT as compared with LXX as to which might be based on an earlier text, and which might represent redaction etc. However, without any kind of external baseline to reference, the process is, at the end of the day, simply a plausible guess which has been neatly argued. In the absence of external control, it is only a plausibility argument whether a longer text has been worn down, or a shorter one padded out!

                  In fact, some of the same kinds of (apparently) unnecessary repetition in the MT are found to be mirrored in the equivalent conquest accounts from other nations, many of which date from centuries before the probable date of the LXX text. So on these grounds, repetitious and rhetorical modes of description are exactly what you'd expect, rather than being a signal of poor editing! Basically, the book seeks to argue purely from inner-biblical textual signs with no inclusion of other texts or of general historical background. Ah well...

                  All the best,
                  Richard
                  http://www.oldtestamentstudies.net
                • LM Barre
                  Richard,   You wrote:   However, without any kind of external baseline to reference, the process is, at the end of the day, simply a plausible guess which
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 8, 2009
                    Richard,
                     
                    You wrote:
                     
                    However, without any kind of external baseline to reference, the process is, at the end of the day, simply a plausible guess which has been neatly argued.
                     
                    Because our study is empirically based, our method can only generate probability of a given thesis or "guess."  You seem to imply that we can achieve to something more.

                    LM Barré
                     

                    --- On Tue, 4/7/09, Richard Abbott <richard_abbott@...> wrote:


                    From: Richard Abbott <richard_abbott@...>
                    Subject: ABH Re: Narrative biblical traditions as lore
                    To: AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2009, 8:35 PM






                    Hi rich,

                    thanks for this very interesting post. Some thoughts about it...
                    you wrote
                    > The priest has the magical religious role (parting water, crumbling
                    > city walls) and the warriors fight (make the self sacrifice).. .
                    > I was wondering, because of my perspective, if you have engaged in
                    > any sociological analysis of these conquests and the other
                    > national "conquest annals," do they speak of tripartition and the
                    > roles of priests and warriors in engagement like we see in Joshua?

                    Not yet, though I think that would be an interesting study. However, isn't your suggested division between priests and warriors just what you'd expect purely on the basis of "job description" ? What I mean is that if we had a description where one group did magical religious stuff and another did fighting stuff, wouldn't we just see that as almost a definition of priest and warrior?

                    and I wrote
                    > ...it seems to me that the earliest time for any possible vedic
                    >material is when Israelites came in contact with the Persians, so at
                    >the end of the Exile or post-exile.
                    and you replied
                    > 2 Kings 17:24-25:14. .. they are with the Persians/Medes ... from
                    >the first Assyrian deportation in 722 BC.

                    Yes, a very good point I hadn't thought of. Nehemiah as cupbearer was more in line with my previous thought.

                    I wrote
                    >I don't recall this approach [Joshua LXX studies] having any real
                    >interest in extra-Biblical material.
                    and you replied
                    > Not interested in provenance?

                    I have just now pulled the relevant book of the shelves and had a quick flick through it! Yes, there is consideration of the various early MT and LXX texts, plus other early versions where they might shed light on technical or uncertain issues. However, there is no interest at all in extra-Biblical comparisons. It was quite odd looking through it, actually - at one stage a few years ago I found the book and its approach interesting, but now it seems rather blinkered and sterile.

                    For instance, there are deductions made on the basis of extra details contained in MT as compared with LXX as to which might be based on an earlier text, and which might represent redaction etc. However, without any kind of external baseline to reference, the process is, at the end of the day, simply a plausible guess which has been neatly argued. In the absence of external control, it is only a plausibility argument whether a longer text has been worn down, or a shorter one padded out!

                    In fact, some of the same kinds of (apparently) unnecessary repetition in the MT are found to be mirrored in the equivalent conquest accounts from other nations, many of which date from centuries before the probable date of the LXX text. So on these grounds, repetitious and rhetorical modes of description are exactly what you'd expect, rather than being a signal of poor editing! Basically, the book seeks to argue purely from inner-biblical textual signs with no inclusion of other texts or of general historical background. Ah well...

                    All the best,
                    Richard
                    http://www.oldtesta mentstudies. net



















                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Richard Abbott
                    Hi Lloyd, you wrote ... yes, a very good point and I should explain what I mean a little better. First, I completely agree with you that we have no chance of
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 9, 2009
                      Hi Lloyd,

                      you wrote
                      > Because our study is empirically based, our method can only
                      >generate probability of a given thesis or "guess." You seem to
                      >imply that we can achieve to something more.

                      yes, a very good point and I should explain what I mean a little better. First, I completely agree with you that we have no chance of attaining certainty in this area, it is all a balance of probability and of course we all weigh the relative strength of different pieces of evidence differently.

                      What I had in mind when I wrote this was something which seems quite common in older biblical studies (whether sympathetic or hostile to the idea of historical value in the text). A study that only considers internal-biblical matters, such as the Joshua LXX study I was talking about a couple of days ago, seems to me to be particularly vulnerable to this kind of plausible guesswork.

                      Let's try to give an example. A lot of DH work looks only at the biblical text. An older version just looks at the use of Yahweh versus Elohim. Newer versions look at other key words, or use of particular turns of phrase, etc. Critics of the approach point out that the effect of a redactor might be to annihilate _any_ traces of the original texts. But without some kind of external control it is all speculation, based to a greater or lesser extent on textual evidence.

                      Very few DH-style analyses attempt to explore other ancient texts as a baseline - Damrosch who I have mentioned before is an exception. A number of folk who criticise DH on literary grounds try to find out if folk in the ancient world did anything like what DH suggests was done with the Hebrew Bible (by and large they didn't). Others try to use statistical analyses to tease out source blocks, but to have any cred they must consider external texts where something of the textual history is known... and by and large the results from these studies wash out any statistical variations alleged to arise from DH. A good study would be the use of kmt and t3 mri as alternative designations for Egypt - there are (I believe) good reasons for an author choosing one or the other in New Kingdom texts, but in DH studies one can easily imagine folk seizing on this as a way to divide sources!

                      So what I was trying to get at is that the use of external text is (in my view) essential for moving biblical studies away from pure subjectivity and towards a more evidence-based approach... but as you point out recognising that this goal can never be reached.

                      All the best,

                      Richard
                      http://www.oldtestamentstudies.net
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