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[XTalk] Re: HMt and the scientific method

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    ... [snip] ... Since a public claim has been made regarding not only the fact that Yuri has been addressed off list by a moderator concerning his submissions
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 30, 1999
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      Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

      > Crosstalkers,

      [snip]

      > Also I'm disappointed that so few other Crosstalk members seem to be
      > interested in this discussion. Although certainly it's not too surprising
      > considering the above (but perhaps it's also the holidays time?). It is
      > the failure of so many professionals in this regard that is being exposed
      > here. Nobody likes to be confronted with failure. Apparently, as I've been
      > informed privately by the moderator, there are quite a few on Crosstalk
      > who would not like me to say things that I'm saying now. They like the
      > current dogma to remain what it is -- life is easier this way. But I will
      > still speak up in defence of science, and I will expose pseudo-science.

      Since a public claim has been made regarding not only the fact that Yuri has been
      addressed off list by a moderator concerning his submissions on HMt but the
      essence of what the moderator has actually said in this correspondence, I
      (regretfully) feel it is my duty to point out publicly (a) that I am the moderator
      in question and, more importantly, (b) that in so far as I am capable of
      understand what I wrote, YURI HAS WHOLLY AND SELF SERVINGLY MISREPRESENTED WHAT I
      HAD TO SAY TO HIM. I said absolutely NOTHING to the effect that any list member
      was upset with the fact that Yuri was attempting to defend the view that HMt was
      ancient or was intent to challenge the critiques of this view, let alone that any
      list member wants "the current dogma to remain what it is".

      What I said was (a) that I (and others) were distressed by his retrogression in
      his posts to Jack Kilmon to a style of engagement that I thought he had
      abandoned, namely, personal aspersion and assertion without argument in place of
      reasoned response and (b) that while criticism (i.e., rationally showing why
      something cannot be the case or is dubious) of a position is welcome on XTalk,
      the sort of thing he had stooped to in his posts was not criticism but name
      calling. In other words, it was his METHOD of "argumentation" against positions he
      found questionable that was (and was found by others to be) severely wanting and
      unacceptable, NOT the fact that he taking on a (supposedly) cherished viewpoint.

      Should anyone doubt this, I will be happy to forward the full text of our off list
      correspondence so that you can see for yourself just how much Yuri's note above is
      a distortion of the facts as it is blatantly self aggrandizing.

      Yours sincerely,

      Jeffrey Gibson
      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson
      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... I want to make it clear that my position on the Hebrew Matthew used by ibn-Shaprut in the Even Bohan is one that I have held since I first came in contact
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 30, 1999
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        Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
        >
        > Crosstalkers,
        >
        > Our discussion with Jack is not being very productive of late, I'm afraid.
        > Perhaps it is my fault. Perhaps I lost patience with him at some point,
        > and made some flippant comments where I should have explained things more
        > clearly. So I will now try to explain my position more clearly.
        >
        > My purpose in this discussion is to point out that scientific method is
        > being betrayed in the case of Shem-Tob's Hebrew Mt. Yes, I accuse the
        > whole academe, and especially the text critical scholars, of failing to
        > appreciate the true significance of this text. So the problems with Jack's
        > views are certainly not unique. He represents the views of many others.

        I want to make it clear that my position on the Hebrew Matthew used
        by ibn-Shaprut in the Even Bohan is one that I have held since I first
        came in contact with Howard's 1987 publication and has nothing to
        do with the consensus of scholarship or the review of the latest
        publication by Petersen. I am not going to answer this post for those
        sections that reference my lack of scholarship or my amateur
        status. I fully admit to having some "maverick" viewpoints on
        certain issues...but again, so does Yuri. Whenever "mavericks"
        engage, it seems almost inevitable that one or both start taking
        shots at the other's "scholarship" or historical-critical
        methodology. I will not engage in that process.

        My "amateur" paradigms caused me to unacademically review first
        the *provenance* of the HMt used in this medieval polemic work.
        I know it's silly of me but it seemed to help when studying
        the Gospel of Thomas. Just as the social, religious, cultural,
        and political context of Alexandrian Gnostic Christianity played
        a role in my understanding GOT and the Nag Hammadi texts, I am
        unscholarly enough to believe that the historical context
        under which ibn-Shaprut lived in Medieval Spain might also
        offer a context for the HMt. Is there no hope for me?

        Then I looked at the linguistic issues which raises all sorts
        of problems for a 1st century Palestinian provenance for
        HMt. The verbal parallels and vocabulary agreements with
        the Medieval "anti-Gospel" Tol'doth Yeshu outlined by Dr.
        Howard on pgs 206-211 of his book sure makes this amateur
        believe it was composed/translated by someone familiar
        with the Tol'doth Yeshu. This, along with its adherence
        to Jewish themes and the use of BH, Mishnaic and Medieval
        Hebrew, leads me to change my position on whether it was
        written by a Hebrew-competent Christian to that of a
        Jewish Rabbi.

        The question then becomes whether this text was composed/translated
        specifically for the purpose of anti-Christian polemic...and
        Medieval Spanish Rabbis certainly had much to be ticked
        off about....or by a Jewish Rabbi "commissioned" by the
        Spanish government to produce a Hebrew Gospel for Jewish
        conversos. These, in my unscholarly opinion, are far
        more likely than a Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew
        in the first century (to be read by whom?) and protected
        and preserved by Rabbis for 1200 years to appear in
        Medieval Spain.

        I think it may be very useful to get the opinion of a
        Jewish historian and scholar on this issue.

        Jack

        --
        ______________________________________________

        taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

        Jack Kilmon
        jkilmon@...

        http://www.historian.net

        sharing a meal for free.
        http://www.thehungersite.com/
      • Yuri Kuchinsky
        Dear Jeffrey, I think this post of yours commenting about what I wrote betrays a certain bias on your part. ... I just wonder, how can you say that I used
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 2, 2000
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          Dear Jeffrey,

          I think this post of yours commenting about what I wrote betrays a certain
          bias on your part.

          On Thu, 30 Dec 1999, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:

          > What I said was (a) that I (and others) were distressed by his
          > retrogression in his posts to Jack Kilmon to a style of engagement
          > that I thought he had abandoned, namely, personal aspersion and
          > assertion without argument in place of reasoned response

          I just wonder, how can you say that I used "assertion without argument" in
          my posts? I remember making all kinds of arguments for the antiquity of
          HMt.

          Are you now saying that I have not presented enough arguments for the
          antiquity of HMt? If so, then, in my view, your personal bias against the
          antiquity of HMt, and towards "the generally accepted wisdom" in this area
          is obvious.

          But perhaps you're right. You're not biased towards "the accepted wisdom"
          in this area, and in fact my arguments have been wanting and vanishingly
          insignificant. They have been so weak that they were not worth commenting
          upon? Maybe so.

          But would it be too much to ask you to show just where did I go so wrong?
          Please, Jeffrey, I will be extremely grateful if you gave me some hints
          about this.

          In my next post, I will include a slightly updated version of my arguments
          for the antiquity of HMt. This post will combine the long post of Sun, 26
          Dec 1999 with a part of my post of Dec 22 to produce 4 detailed arguments
          for the antiquity of HMt. All of them are so worthless and consist of
          "assertions" without "reasoned response"?

          And if you're too busy, I'll be grateful for anyone else to expose my
          error and worthlessness. Please, people, help me to see my error.

          Thank you very much in advance.

          Yours as always,

          Yuri.

          PS: I leave without comment your negative opinion of my paraphrase of a
          part of your private email where you paraphrased how some other unknown
          parties commented to you negatively on how I phrased my original arguments
          for the antiquity of HMt. Since my arguments for the antiquity of HMt have
          now apparently been found so insignificant in your opinion, the whole
          thing may be quite superfluous and illusionary anyway? I suggest that we
          should try to focus on valid historical arguments instead.
        • Yuri Kuchinsky
          Dear Jeffrey and other Crosstalkers, For convenience, I m including here a slightly updated version of my arguments for the antiquity of HMt. This post
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 2, 2000
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            Dear Jeffrey and other Crosstalkers,

            For convenience, I'm including here a slightly updated version of my
            arguments for the antiquity of HMt. This post combines the long post of
            Sun, 26 Dec 1999 with a part of my post of Dec 22 to produce 4 detailed
            arguments for the antiquity of HMt.

            I'll be grateful for all valid criticisms of these arguments. Thanks in
            advance.

            Best wishes,

            Yuri.

            Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

            "No theory is too false, no fable too absurd, no superstition too
            degrading for acceptance when it has become imbedded in common belief" --
            Henry George

            -------------------


            FOUR ARGUMENTS FOR THE ANTIQUITY OF HEBREW MATTHEW

            Crosstalkers,

            When trying to solve a big historical puzzle, logically, one solves the
            easy parts first before going on to more difficult matters. And the easy
            part in this case is that HMt is clearly an ancient text. Not only that,
            but parts of it may actually go back to the earliest Christian times.

            So let me try again to show conclusively that HMt is an ancient text.

            First of all, let me stress one thing here. In my view, in this particular
            case, in determining the age of HMt purely textual arguments may be not of
            primary relevance anyway. This is because for solving this puzzle better
            arguments are available from elsewhere.

            Even if in this case the textual arguments were to be inconclusive,
            non-textual arguments are quite sufficient to demonstrate that this text
            is ancient. So I will just tell Petersen that his critiques are
            superfluous and beside the point. The arguments that he makes, besides
            appearing forced and off-base, are also largely irrelevant. Why, for
            example is he bringing up continuously Middle Dutch Liege Harmony? In fact
            his whole critique can be considered as one big instance of the logical
            fallacy of special pleading, since a single gospel cannot derive from a
            harmony. Never in the history of the world has a gospel of Matthew derived
            from a harmony, so this seems like a case of special pleading for sure.

            If the contents of this document are such that it simply could not have
            been authored in the middle ages, then it was not authored in the middle
            ages. As simple as that -- any textual arguments notwithstanding.

            It's like finding an empty Coke can in some ancient Roman tomb, and then
            trying to make an argument that this can is ancient because some of the
            words printed on it seem to have Latin forms. This is what Petersen does,
            essentially -- irrelevance.


            1 -- HMT TEXT PREPARED BY A CHRISTIAN BELIEVER

            I already gave one strong argument for the antiquity of HMt. This text was
            clearly prepared by a Christian believer. I have seen no objections to
            this so far from anyone. So let me repeat this argument here.

            We can assume our Hebrew text was prepared by a religious Jew. It was
            prepared either by a Jewish Christian, or by an orthodox Jewish apologist
            seeking to make a critique of Christian religion. So what's the answer
            here? On this account, our evidence indicates quite clearly that the text
            was prepared by a Christian believer. This evidence is plentiful and
            includes both stylistic and theological elements. Here's about the
            literary style of HM,

            "Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew is characterized by literary
            devices such as puns, word connections, and alliteration.
            These are numerous -- the text is saturated with them, far
            beyond what appears in the Greek -- and belong to the very
            structure of the Hebrew Text. .. The text's literary niceties
            appear to come from the hand of a believer, not a hostile
            polemist." (Howard, 1995:184)

            Also, highly significantly, there's the use of the Divine Name (pp.
            229-232). An orthodox Jew would have never included them, as Howard
            explains.

            If an orthodox Jew would have wanted to make up a Hebrew translation of Mt
            in the middle ages, the logical course of action would have been to
            translate from the standard Greek or Latin text that would have been
            readily available. But the contents of HMt is very far indeed from a
            standard Greek or Latin text, of course. So it is inconceivable that the
            kind of a text our HMt is would have been prepared in the middle ages by
            an orthodox Jew. This point is so self-evident that it almost seems like a
            waste of time to belabour it.

            On the other hand no Jewish Christian believers embracing beliefs as
            reflected in our HMt have been known in medieval Europe. They didn't exist
            there, so they couldn't have prepared such a translation.

            And here are three more non-textual arguments that are quite conclusive in
            and of themselves.

            Howard writes the following in his article _A Response to William L.
            Petersen's Review of Hebrew Gospel of Matthew_,

            http://www.jv-site.org/scripts/TC/vol04/Howard1999-x.html

            Re: pages 212-223 of his book,

            "72. This section of the book is entitled, "Theological Motifs
            in Shem-Tob's Matthew." The motifs are made up of various
            themes such as divorce, swearing, the Gentiles, the Christ, and
            John the Baptist. In each instance the Hebrew text of Shem-Tob
            treats these subjects differently than they are treated in
            orthodox Christian writings. The Middle Dutch Liege
            Harmony does not explain the origin of the theological
            patterns contained in these motifs. Three examples follow."

            Why have Petersen and all other critics of HMt been neglecting all this
            solid evidence? Doesn't this represent a betrayal of the historical
            scientific method on their part?


            2 -- JESUS IS NOT CHRIST

            Let's start with what Howard writes about the Christ,

            "74. Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew has the peculiar
            characteristic of not referring to Jesus as the Messiah/Christ
            until ch. 16. Before this, the Hebrew text never calls Jesus the
            Messiah. In the canonical text of Matthew, Jesus is called the
            Christ from the very beginning. A comparison of the Greek
            and Hebrew texts suggests that these two text forms have
            different theological agendas."

            So what's going on here in this text? Here we have a clear case of the
            Hebrew text separating Jesus and Christ. A serious scholar of early
            Christianity will not fail to see the importance of this in the context of
            early Jesus movement. Indeed, this seems to be a clear marker of these
            texts going back to the very early period of Christian movement. There's a
            lot on my webpage about this, for example in my review of Goulder,

            http://www.trends.net/~yuku/bbl/8gou.htm

            where I quote Goulder as follows,

            "This at once suggests that both authors [i.e. Ignatius, as well as the
            author of the Pastorals] are facing the same threat, a christology which
            separates Christ from Jesus, and they are alike insisting on his unity by
            constantly combining the two names."

            Also see,

            http://www.trends.net/~yuku/bbl/acan.htm

            Where I quote Irenaeus re the same subject as follows,

            "Those, again, who separate Jesus from Christ, alleging that Christ
            remained impassible, but that it was Jesus who suffered, preferring the
            Gospel by Mark..." (HERESIES, Book 3, 11, 7)

            And also this is relevant,

            http://www.trends.net/~yuku/bbl/acan1.htm

            Where I quote 1 John as follows,

            "Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the
            antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son." (1 John, 2:22)

            All these quotes indicate very clearly that these early (proto)orthodox
            authors are all fighting the same heresy, the heresy that is in fact found
            in our HMt. My estimate is that this is a very early theological motif
            that clearly goes back to before 70 ce.

            The appearance of this motif in a medieval translation is totally
            impossible. This theological element definitely goes back to the earliest
            times of the Jesus movement.


            3 -- GOSPEL NOT TO BE PREACHED TO THE GENTILES?

            And now let's see what Howard writes about the Gentiles,

            "73. Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew envisions the incorporation
            of masses of the Gentiles into the Kingdom of God not in this
            present age but only after this present age ends (Matt 25:31
            -46). Its theology thus corresponds to the Hebrew Bible and
            later Jewish thought (including some forms of Jewish
            Christian thought), in which the entrance of the Gentiles is
            anticipated in the golden age to come. In the canonical texts of
            the Church, the Gospel of Matthew ends with the Great
            Commission (Matt 28:19), mandating the disciples to "Go
            therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in
            the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
            This ending clearly opens the doors to the Gentiles for the
            present time. But this ending does not occur in the Hebrew
            text. It reads instead, "Go and teach them to carry out all the
            things which I have commanded you forever." This is said
            apparently only in reference to the Jews, and nothing is said
            about teaching or baptizing the Gentile nations."

            Interesting, isn't it? Here we have a clear case of the Hebrew text
            outlining a whole different scheme of salvation, compared to the Greek.
            Again, this seems to be a clear marker of this texts going back to a very
            early period of Christian movement.

            My estimate is that this motif may go back to around 60-80 ce. Indeed, at
            that time, starting from around the martyrdom of Paul in Rome that was
            brought about through a conflict precisely in this area, the historical
            context sounds just about right. Additionally, when Jerusalem was
            destroyed in 70 ce, this created the historical background when
            proselytising among the Gentiles would have really started to accelerate.
            So the original Jewish community would have shown their opposition to new
            ideas in this area by coming up with such texts as these.

            The appearance of this motif in a medieval translation is totally
            impossible. This theological element goes back to a very early time in the
            life of the Jesus movement.


            4 -- SALVIFIC ROLE FOR JOHN THE BAPTIST

            And now let's see how John the Baptist is portrayed in HMt. The portrayal
            of JB in this Hebrew text seems quite valuable and is highly unusual
            indeed. In fact it seems to shine the light on some very early and
            otherwise sparsely attested doctrines within the Jesus movement.

            This is what Howard writes about John the Baptist,

            "75. Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew exalts John the Baptist
            above the role he plays in the canonical Matthew; cf. Matt
            11:11, 13; 17:11. In summary, these passages assert that none
            is greater than John the Baptist, the prophets and the law
            spoke concerning John, and John came to save all the world.
            Traditional Christianity uses this language only in regard
            to Jesus. Its appearance in the Hebrew Matthew to describe
            John elevates the Baptist to a salvific role."

            And Howard continues,

            "This clearly flies in the face of the orthodox interpretation of
            John [the Baptist]."

            This is remarkable indeed. The full implications of this should be hard to
            miss for any serious scholar of early Christianity. All this seems to
            indicate that the community preserving our HMt, at some stage, had been a
            baptising community of Jewish Christians that had a very "unorthodox"
            agenda. They thought of Jesus primarily as a man among men, and they even
            thought JB superior to him in some respects. These are some early
            theological motifs indeed.

            The full signifance of all this still has not been appreciated by the wide
            academic community. This chapter in Howard, where he, among other things,
            adduces some valuable relevant evidence from the Pseudo-Clementines, is
            great, and a lot more may be said on the subject.

            Also, in this section of his book, in a segment called "John the Baptist:
            The Fourth Gospel and Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew" (Howard 1995: 220-221),
            Howard deals with the subject of the Gospel of John and how it may relate
            to HMt. Here Howard discusses the polemic against John the Baptist in the
            Gospel of John, and he comes to the conclusion that this polemic is in
            fact directed against a community that _precisely_ fits the theological
            views as reflected by HMt.

            "I demonstrate that Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew depicts the
            Baptist in the exalted terms the Fourth Gospel polemizes
            against. "If the Fourth Gospel was directed against the
            followers of John the Baptist," I write, "one could hardly
            conceive of a more appropriate document to represent this
            community than a Shem-Tob type Matthew" (Howard 1995:221)."

            To reiterate, the theological views as expressed in our HMt are precisely
            the views that the Fourth Gospel speaks against. A coincidence? I don't
            think so.

            The appearance of such motifs in a medieval translation is quite
            impossible. These theological elements go back to a very early time in the
            life of early Christian movement. The Middle Dutch Liege Harmony certainly
            does not explain in any way the origin of the theological patterns
            contained in these motifs. Hence the Middle Dutch Liege Harmony seems to
            be a complete irrelevancy and even a red herring in this context. Any
            hypothesised but otherwise unknown medieval Latin gospels also seem like
            red herrings in this context. Yes, I think these are just smoke-screens
            designed to obscure the really important issues about this ancient Hebrew
            text -- to obscure the full significance of this text for the scientific
            study of early Christianity. I think Petersen failed to do justice to the
            scientific method with his hasty dismissals of HMt.

            If the contents of this document are such that it simply could not have
            been authored in the middle ages, then it was not authored in the middle
            ages. Once we understand this, then further discussion can begin about
            various compositional layers that were probably added to the earliest
            strata of HMt over the centuries of its transmission.

            Best wishes,

            Yuri.
          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... Bias? I was simply setting the record straight with respect to your claim about WHAT I had said to you off list. You claimed, did you not?, (and I quote)
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 2, 2000
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              Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
              Dear Jeffrey,

              I think this post of yours commenting about what I wrote betrays a certain
              bias on your part.

              On Thu, 30 Dec 1999, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:

              > What I said was (a) that I (and others) were distressed by his
              > retrogression in his posts to Jack Kilmon to a style of engagement
              > that I thought he had abandoned, namely, personal aspersion and
              > assertion without argument in place of reasoned response
               

              Bias? I was simply setting the record straight with respect to your claim about WHAT  I had said to you off list.

              You claimed, did you not?, (and I quote) that

              Apparently, as I've been informed privately by the moderator [my emphasis], there are quite a few on Crosstalk who would not like me to say things that I'm saying now. They like the current dogma to remain what it is -- life is easier this way.
              All I did was to note that, contrary to your claim, I never said any such thing and that what I did say was quite different from what you claimed I said. So the real issue is not whether my remark  quoted above that you argue by assertion is true or shows a bias, but whether what I claimed I said  to you in the private post to which your onlist post refers, namely,  was or was not what I had privately "informed you of".

              So, Yuri. Three questions: Did you or did you not make the claim on list what I have quoted above from your onlist message,  namely,  that you were informed by me that I told you that there are quite a few on Crosstalk who would not like me to say things that you had been saying with respect to HMt?

              Is it true that I actually said any such thing?     Quote me, please,  any part of my recent correspondence with you that shows that  I actually said what you represented me as having said. Where and when did I (as you claim) say that " there are quite a few on Crosstalk who would not like me to say things that I'm saying now. They like the current dogma to remain what it is."?

              Isn't  it  true that what I actually said in my correspondence with you -- the very correspondence you referred in your onlist claim about what I had privately informed you of -- was what I claimed to have said? In other words, when I wrote the message you referred to as the private communication, isn't it true that what I said was that I (and others) were distressed by what I claimed (rightly or wrongly) was your retrogression in his posts to Jack Kilmon to a style of engagement that I thought he had abandoned, namely, personal aspersion and  assertion without argument in place of reasoned response?

              I claim that you misrepresented me wholly. This is not bias. It is a matter of fact. Did you or did you not misrepresent what I said to you in the private correspondence to which you referred?

              To help you answer this, I have enclosed below the full text of our correspondence on HMt up to the point where you made your on list claim regarding what I had communicated to you.

              And I'm **still** awaiting the answer to my question regarding the nature and extent of your training as an historian.

              JG
              --
              Jeffrey B. Gibson
              7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
              Chicago, Illinois 60626
              e-mail jgibson000@...
               

            • Yuri Kuchinsky
              Esteemed Crosstalkers, I refuse to communicate with Jeffrey B. Gibson any further until such time as when I receive his apology for publishing my private email
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 3, 2000
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                Esteemed Crosstalkers,

                I refuse to communicate with Jeffrey B. Gibson any further until such time
                as when I receive his apology for publishing my private email without my
                permission. Prof. Gibson has been on the Net long enough to know that such
                an act constitutes a severe breach of Netiquette. I feel we have to
                maintain some sort of ethical standards on this list. It seems like
                because of monstrous and ritualistic lying by the likes of Clinton and
                Jamie Shea we're seeing a substantial deterioration of ethical standards
                in our society.

                Also, I certainly refuse to accept that I misrepresented what Prof. Gibson
                said in his email. This was simply my interpretation of what he said. He
                has his interpretation of my comments, and I have my interpretation of
                his. Really. Such petty accusations are not worth commenting about. One
                would think we're still in high school.

                Regards,

                Yuri.

                Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

                You never need think you can turn over any old falsehoods without a
                terrible squirming of the horrid little population that dwells under
                it -=O=- Oliver Wendell Holmes
              • Yuri Kuchinsky
                Crosstalkers, Doubts have been expressed by Jack and others as to what extent Hebrew was used in Israel in the 1 c. These doubts seem to be misplaced. Hebrew
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 3, 2000
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                  Crosstalkers,

                  Doubts have been expressed by Jack and others as to what extent Hebrew was
                  used in Israel in the 1 c. These doubts seem to be misplaced. Hebrew was
                  certainly both spoken and written in Israel in the 1 c. Much religious
                  literature was written at that time in Hebrew. Here's some info from the
                  Enc. Britannica,

                  [quote]

                  http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/0/0,5716,108150+6,00.html

                  Palestinian literature [Hellenistic period]

                  During this period literature was composed in Palestine in Hebrew,
                  Aramaic, and Greek, with the exact language still a subject of
                  dispute among scholars in many cases and with the works often
                  apparently composed by more than one author over a considerable
                  period of time. Most of the works composed in Hebrew, many of them
                  existing only in Greek--Ecclesiasticus, I Maccabees, Judith,
                  Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Baruch, Psalms of Solomon,
                  Prayer of Manasseh--and many of the Dead Sea Scrolls are generally
                  conscious imitations of biblical books, often reflecting the
                  dramatic events of the Maccabean struggle and often with an
                  apocalyptic tinge (involving the dramatic intervention of God in
                  history).

                  ...

                  [Book of] Enoch (perhaps originally written in Hebrew)

                  ...

                  _Jubilees, Book of_ also called THE LITTLE GENESIS, pseudepigraphal
                  work (not included in any canon of scripture)...

                  Jubilees is preserved in its entirety only in an Ethiopic
                  translation, which was derived from a Greek translation made from
                  the Hebrew. Fragments of the Greek and Hebrew texts are also extant.
                  ... Book of Jubilees (now known to have been
                  composed in Hebrew, as seen by its appearance among the Dead Sea
                  Scrolls), and Biblical Antiquities, falsely attributed to Philo
                  (originally written in Hebrew, then translated into Greek, but now
                  extant only in Latin) ...

                  [end quote]

                  And here's some more very strong support for the currency of Hebrew in 1
                  c. Israel,

                  [quote]

                  http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/4/0,5716,108154+6,00.html

                  The sacred language: Hebrew and the vernacular tongues

                  The transformation of Hebrew into a sacred language is, of course,
                  bound up with the political fate of the people. In the period
                  following the return from the Babylonian Exile, Aramaic, a
                  cognate of Hebrew, functioned as the international or imperial
                  language in official life and certainly gained a foothold as a
                  vernacular. It did not, despite claims made by some scholars,
                  displace the everyday Hebrew of the people. The language of the
                  Mishna, far from being a scholar's dialect, seems to reflect--in the
                  same way as the Koine (common) Greek of the New Testament--popular
                  speech. Displacement of Hebrew--both in its literary form in
                  Scriptures and in its popular usage--did take place in the
                  Diaspora, however, as evidenced by the need to translate
                  Scriptures into Greek in some communities and into Aramaic in
                  others.

                  [end quote]

                  All this indicates very clearly that there can be no serious objections to
                  HMt being at home in Israel in the 1 c. or later.

                  As far as the inscriptional evidence is concerned, as Joseph A. Fitzmyer
                  notes in his "The Languages of Palestine in the First Century A.D.", often
                  it is impossible to say in which language the funeral inscription is made,

                  "There are, of course, ossuaries with Semitic names that could have been
                  inscribed by Hebrew-speaking Jews as well as by Aramaic-speaking Jews. The
                  use of ben instead of bar in the patronymics is not sure indication of a
                  Hebrew proper name, even though it is often used to distinguish Hebrew
                  from Aramaic inscriptions on the ossuaries." (1997 reprint, p. 44)

                  Fitzmyer, himself, is certainly persuaded of the use of Hebrew in this
                  time period,

                  "That Hebrew was being used in first-century Palestine is beyond doubt, as
                  we have been saying..." (ibid, p. 45)

                  Also, we have numerous Patristic sources indicating the existence of a
                  Hebrew Mt in the early centuries of Christianity. Were all those Fathers
                  of the Church imagining all those things? After all, they consistently
                  report contacts with Jewish Christian groups of all sorts, all having some
                  sorts of Hebrew gospels of Mt, most likely different versions and
                  recensions.

                  It would certainly appear as rather presumptious for any historian to
                  dismiss all that evidence out of hand.

                  Regards,

                  Yuri.

                  Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

                  The world is made up, for the most part, of fools or knaves, both
                  irreconcilable foes to truth; the first being slaves to a blind credulity,
                  which we may properly call bigotry, the last too jealous of that power
                  they have usurped over the folly and ignorance of the others -- which the
                  establishment of the empire of reason would destroy -- George Villiers
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