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A little more on the Documentary Hypothesis

 
goodgraydrab
 
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goodgraydrab
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28 December 2009 20:53
 
Daniel O. McClellan - 28 December 2009 12:31 PM

Do you have the university and year for this dissertation? I’d like to look it up, but the only publication I can find by this gentleman is an Institute of Islamic Thought book on Ramadan.

University of Wales. I didn’t see any dates. Here’s his web page, you’ll see it at the bottom of the page.  http://hilal-discourse.net/articles.aspx 

I disagree with this assertion. The final form of the Hebrew Bible took shape between the late Second Temple Period and the Rabbinic Period. During that time period the deities of surrounding cultures were far more transcendent, ontologically. The Septuagint actually tries to manipulate the text toward a less anthropomorphic view of deity in many places specifically to bring it more in line with contemporary ideas about deity.

His analysis and discussion makes sense to me. I think you’re actually reiterating at least some of what he is saying.

The text inherited by the scribes of that time period had a much different shape and the portions that can be reconstructed from the pre-exilic period do not mitigate anthropomorphism at all in its promulgation of a universalized deity.

I’m not going to argue the details of the Bible because I’m not knowledgeable or that interested. If you read his comments though, he stated that anthropomorphism is contained throughout.

This is inaccurate. To begin with, “progressive” is a value judgment which has no place in academic evaluations of the Hebrew Bible.

I’m not convinced that it is inaccurate. The guy got his PH.D., afterall. You seem to be ignoring the obvious fact of development over time and deflecting out of context an observation that must surely have some place in academic evaluations of the Hebrew Bible because that is precisely what his dissertaion is.

National, universal, and ethical monotheism, as well as henotheism, are rather dated terms in the contemporary academic discussions of monotheism. Monolatry is much more appropriate than henotheism. The two words are viewed a synonyms in the academy today. This dissertation is either out of date or is only marginally associated with contemporary monotheism scholarship.

You seem to be quick with the criticisms. He uses the term and discusses monolatry. Out of date? I’m sure the guy is not ancient.

The idea of a “progressive element” is the main fallacy to which I referred. The biblical authors not only had distinct ideas from each other, diachronically and synchronically, but their rhetoric ebbed and flowed according to their needs, not exclusively to their theology. This is why Psalm 82, an exilic composition, appeals to very early pre-exilic ideas about Yahweh and Elyon, and why the Bible could be moved away from anthropomorphism (in Alexandria) and then moved right back (by the Rabbis). The evolutionary model is one that holds to linear development that becomes increasingly sophisticated and philosophically self-aware. This is not how the Bible developed.

I don’t perceive the suggestion that anyone is charting a straight line, however, time is linear and changes can be subtle. Perhaps you should read his dissertation. I don’t think he’s taking the strict linear ‘evolutionary’ approach to which you continue to refer. I don’t see how anyone can deny a progressive element over time.

This is that fallacious progression to which I made reference. Scholars today don’t map the development of monotheism so linearly or monolithically.

But there is a development of monotheism to which you are concurring with the stress on degree.

The story is not quite so simple or convenient, and Kaplan did most of his work in the 60’s. If we take evolution to just mean “change,” then yes, it’s evolution, but the sense Andrew and Kaplan use is one of linear progression toward a more intellectual, moral, and sophisticated theology. This is a presentistic value judgment, but it also ignores the ebb and flow of Jewish monotheism and the impetuses for its change.

I think change to a more intellectual, moral and sophisticated theology is quite evident, even to a lay person. On the one hand you criticize a position, then on the other, your explanation seems to concur with it. Shah’s paper discusses the ebb and flow of Jewish monotheism and the impetuses for its change.

If it rests exclusively on the assumption of the evolutionary model I described above, as Andrew’s statement was, it is built on a fallacious foundation.

I’m not familiar with a bona fide evolutionary model. 

There’s much more to it than that, though.

True, but this much I can say with confidence. It doesn’t seem to me that a proper analysis of the Bible would or should rest exclusively on any one assumption regarding any model or hypothesis proposed as an explanation.

 
 
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28 December 2009 20:58
 
Daniel O. McClellan - 26 December 2009 08:09 AM

I’m a Latter-day Saint, by the way.

I don’t want to steal this thread, but would you be interested in a discussion about the Book of Mormon elsewhere?

 
Daniel O. McClellan
 
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Daniel O. McClellan
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28 December 2009 21:09
 
Bruce Burleson - 28 December 2009 07:58 PM

I don’t want to steal this thread, but would you be interested in a discussion about the Book of Mormon elsewhere?

Depends. If you have serious questions I’m happy to.

 
Daniel O. McClellan
 
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28 December 2009 23:52
 
goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM
Daniel O. McClellan - 28 December 2009 12:31 PM

Do you have the university and year for this dissertation? I’d like to look it up, but the only publication I can find by this gentleman is an Institute of Islamic Thought book on Ramadan.

University of Wales. I didn’t see any dates. Here’s his web page, you’ll see it at the bottom of the page.  http://hilal-discourse.net/articles.aspx

Thanks. I’ll take a look.

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

His analysis and discussion makes sense to me. I think you’re actually reiterating at least some of what he is saying.

Some of it.

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

I’m not going to argue the details of the Bible because I’m not knowledgeable or that interested. If you read his comments though, he stated that anthropomorphism is contained throughout.

But he also says its mitigation appears to be spread out as well.

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

I’m not convinced that it is inaccurate. The guy got his PH.D., afterall.

Lots of people with PhD’s are wrong about stuff, and a PhD in hand only places him about four years ahead of me. I looked over his dissertation, as well. It’s a rather dogmatic piece. Here’s his thesis: “The author claims that the Qur’an can contribute more than the Bible in the modern debates regarding God.” Another value judgment that is rather silly. He continues:

The Hebrew Bible’s God paradigm is anthropomorphic and progressive. The divine unity and transcendence is neither presented systematically nor safeguarded properly. The Christian Incarnational theology is also anthropomorphic and corporeal. It is problematic and contradictory in its traditional literal sense. Such an understanding of the divinity of Christ was a result of centuries of later reflections and not necessarily what Jesus preached about himself. The Qur’anic God paradigm is transcendental. God’s unity, uniqueness, and transcendence is systematically presented, properly safeguarded, and manifestly connected with the moral aspect of the human life.

So his intention is to criticize the theology of the Hebrew Bible and Christian Scriptures. He prioritizes Quranic theology, which is steeped in Greek philosophical ideals. This is a flawed premise to begin with. Granted, I’m not offering a thorough review of his work, but these are pretty serious issues.

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

You seem to be ignoring the obvious fact of development over time and deflecting out of context an observation that must surely have some place in academic evaluations of the Hebrew Bible because that is precisely what his dissertaion is.

My Oxford masters thesis is on anthropomorphism and monotheism. I presented a portion of it at this year’s annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. I know what direction the academic evaluations are headed. This gentleman’s paradigm is outdated. The most recent publication he cites is 1995, which is probably about the year this came out, putting it over a decade old, and there has been a great deal of work done since then. 

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

You seem to be quick with the criticisms. He uses the term and discusses monolatry. Out of date? I’m sure the guy is not ancient.

He distinguishes between henotheism and monolatry without so much as a word, which shows either a reticence to discuss the scholarship or a lack of awareness about it. Both terms have fallen out of favor, but monolatry less so than henotheism. New terms are being suggested, but nothing has solidified yet.

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

I don’t perceive the suggestion that anyone is charting a straight line, however, time is linear and changes can be subtle. Perhaps you should read his dissertation. I don’t think he’s taking the strict linear ‘evolutionary’ approach to which you continue to refer. I don’t see how anyone can deny a progressive element over time.

I don’t deny that there is change, and that certain elements consistently influence that change in certain directions, but to call this progressive is to give modernity a privileged theological perspective, which is a fallacy.

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

But there is a development of monotheism to which you are concurring with the stress on degree.

To a certain degree, but I don’t agree that it should be tied to some progressive philosophical evolution. Anthropomorphism came about just as much through socio-political propaganda as through philosophical orthodoxy.

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

I think change to a more intellectual, moral and sophisticated theology is quite evident, even to a lay person. On the one hand you criticize a position, then on the other, your explanation seems to concur with it. Shah’s paper discusses the ebb and flow of Jewish monotheism and the impetuses for its change.

And discusses it within a framework of value in relationship to an ideal, namely, Quranic theology. There’s the fallacy.

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

I’m not familiar with a bona fide evolutionary model.

Hegel’s theories of the evolution of religion provide the basic model followed by most of the people Shah references, but Katz provides a pretty clear outline.

goodgraydrab - 28 December 2009 07:53 PM

True, but this much I can say with confidence. It doesn’t seem to me that a proper analysis of the Bible would or should rest exclusively on any one assumption regarding any model or hypothesis proposed as an explanation.

When the model is fallacious and has been rejected for years then I’m under no obligation to apply it.

 
Andrew
 
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Andrew
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29 December 2009 15:52
 

Back to reading.

 
 
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29 December 2009 21:02
 
Daniel O. McClellan - 28 December 2009 08:09 PM
Bruce Burleson - 28 December 2009 07:58 PM

I don’t want to steal this thread, but would you be interested in a discussion about the Book of Mormon elsewhere?

Depends. If you have serious questions I’m happy to.

Your answer to this question will determine whether I have other questions: Do you consider the Book of Mormon to be historically accurate?

 
Daniel O. McClellan
 
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29 December 2009 21:06
 
Bruce Burleson - 29 December 2009 08:02 PM

Your answer to this question will determine whether I have other questions: Do you consider the Book of Mormon to be historically accurate?

I’ve suspended judgment. There is a lot of interesting evidence that suggests it is, and a lot that suggests it’s not. I try to keep an open mind.

 
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29 December 2009 21:16
 
Daniel O. McClellan - 29 December 2009 08:06 PM
Bruce Burleson - 29 December 2009 08:02 PM

Your answer to this question will determine whether I have other questions: Do you consider the Book of Mormon to be historically accurate?

I’ve suspended judgment. There is a lot of interesting evidence that suggests it is, and a lot that suggests it’s not. I try to keep an open mind.

I’ll continue this discussion on another thread, “The Book Of Mormon” under “Christianity”.

 
GAD
 
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30 December 2009 04:13
 
Daniel O. McClellan - 29 December 2009 08:06 PM
Bruce Burleson - 29 December 2009 08:02 PM

Your answer to this question will determine whether I have other questions: Do you consider the Book of Mormon to be historically accurate?

I’ve suspended judgment. There is a lot of interesting evidence that suggests it is, and a lot that suggests it’s not. I try to keep an open mind.

Go directly to jail, do not pass Go or collect $200.

 
 
Daniel O. McClellan
 
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30 December 2009 09:40
 
GAD - 30 December 2009 03:13 AM

Go directly to jail, do not pass Go or collect $200.

What a zinger.

 
GAD
 
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30 December 2009 15:41
 
Daniel O. McClellan - 30 December 2009 08:40 AM
GAD - 30 December 2009 03:13 AM

Go directly to jail, do not pass Go or collect $200.

What a zinger.

Well, again, I pale in comparison to you, suspended judgment on the POS BOM LOL!

 
 
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