The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 15575
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by Secret Alias »

Or maybe you're an unabashed egoist who doesn't believe in objectivity because you can't control your selfishness. We wouldn't be able to engage in scientific research if objectivity wasn't possible.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5608
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by neilgodfrey »

Secret Alias wrote: Tue Jan 03, 2023 7:08 pm Or maybe you're an unabashed egoist who doesn't believe in objectivity because you can't control your selfishness. We wouldn't be able to engage in scientific research if objectivity wasn't possible.
If you read what I actually wrote about objectivity you could not lob such an insult at me. All you have to do is read what I wrote and engage in a discussion of what I said.

You said you like having your beliefs challenged. How about discussing what Gmirkin said about the Samaritans instead of repeating that he did not reference them or their importance -- he did, you know.

Why not try to be just a wee bit nice, friendly, giving others a fair go by opening your mind to understanding what they say and responding in a cordial discussion with the points they make?

Hey, it's a new year. Let's try to get along without the insults, hey?
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2413
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by andrewcriddle »

neilgodfrey wrote: Tue Jan 03, 2023 4:54 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Jan 03, 2023 7:37 am
neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 2:00 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 6:34 am
If the Pentateuch as we have it is later than this we would expect this to be explicit in the text.
Not sure I am quite with you, sorry. Do you mean we would expect Jerusalem to be mentioned in the Pentateuch?
i would expect some basis in the Pentateuch for preferring Jerusalem to mount Gerizim. Not necessarily mentioning Jerusalem by name, maybe a sanctuary in the lands allotted to Judah.
Why so?
IF the Jews believed, before the composition of the Pentateuch, that the institution of a single sanctuary for worship meant NOT a single sanctuary location to be decided later BUT a single sanctuary at Jerusalem, THEN I would expect some indication in the text.
It may well be that an earlier text requiring a single sanctuary, location unspecified, was finally redacted by Jews who, despite believing that this sanctuary must be at Jerusalem, did not update the text to reflect this. However, I have more problems about our present Pentateuch being a basically original work by Jews who held that the single sanctuary must be at Jerusalem.

(I hope I've explained what I am arguing, YMMV as to how plausible my argument is.)

Andrew Criddle
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5608
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by neilgodfrey »

andrewcriddle wrote: Wed Jan 04, 2023 5:21 am
neilgodfrey wrote: Tue Jan 03, 2023 4:54 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Jan 03, 2023 7:37 am
neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 2:00 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 6:34 am
If the Pentateuch as we have it is later than this we would expect this to be explicit in the text.
Not sure I am quite with you, sorry. Do you mean we would expect Jerusalem to be mentioned in the Pentateuch?
i would expect some basis in the Pentateuch for preferring Jerusalem to mount Gerizim. Not necessarily mentioning Jerusalem by name, maybe a sanctuary in the lands allotted to Judah.
Why so?
IF the Jews believed, before the composition of the Pentateuch, that the institution of a single sanctuary for worship meant NOT a single sanctuary location to be decided later BUT a single sanctuary at Jerusalem, THEN I would expect some indication in the text.
It may well be that an earlier text requiring a single sanctuary, location unspecified, was finally redacted by Jews who, despite believing that this sanctuary must be at Jerusalem, did not update the text to reflect this. However, I have more problems about our present Pentateuch being a basically original work by Jews who held that the single sanctuary must be at Jerusalem.

(I hope I've explained what I am arguing, YMMV as to how plausible my argument is.)

Andrew Criddle
What I was most curious about and what prompted my question was not simply the expectation of an explicit preference for Jerusalem but "some basis in the Pentateuch for preferring Jersusalem to mount Gerizim".

I am reminded of another Greek foundation myth, that of Cyrene. The absence of the name Cyrene in the account serves to add to the mystery and supernatural air of the prophecy:
As the next morning was fair, they cast their hawsers off and sailed. Euphemus then remembered that he had had a dream in the night, and in deference to Hermes, god of dreams, he took pains to recall it. He had dreamt that he was holding to his breast the lump of earth which the god had given him and was suckling it with streams of white milk. The clod, small as it was, turned into a woman of virginal appearance; and in an access of passion he lay with her. When the deed was done, he felt remorse - she had been a virgin and he had suckled her himself. But she consoled him, saying in a gentle voice: ‘My friend, I am of Triton’s stock and the Nurse of your children; no mortal maid, but a Daughter of Triton and Libya. Give me a home with Nereus’ Daughters in the sea near Anaphe, and I will reappear in the light of day in time to welcome your descendants.’

Euphemus, after committing his dream to memory, told it to Jason. The dream reminded Jason of an oracle of Apollo’s, and putting the two things together, he made a prophecy himself, exclaiming: ‘My noble friend, you are marked out for great renown! When you have thrown this clod of earth into the sea, the gods will make an island of it, and there your children’s children are to live. Triton received you as a friend with this little piece of Libyan soil. It was Triton and no other god that met us and gave you this.’ (Voyage, E.V. Rieu's translation. pp. 189-193)
Other foundation myths of Cyrene: https://vridar.org/2017/07/31/five-foun ... of-cyrene/

(There are several striking parallels between the Apollonius's story of the Argonauts and the Israelites journeying to Canaan, not the least of which each group is depicted carrying a sacred vessel through the wilderness. Whether an argument can be made for the Pentateuch being inspired in any way by Apollonius's version of the story is another question, though.)

My point here is that when I first read about that dream of the clod of earth and the way it was said to have such importance for the future, I was mystified. I was not aware of the genre of Greek colony foundation myths at the time. The myth did not identify Cyrene as the colony that was the subject of the prophecy.

And by not naming Cyrene the mystery of a supernatural prophecy was all the more enhanced, made "credible" in that world and time when supernatural prophecies were so often clouded in mysterious ambiguities that left the first hearers wondering what and how exactly the prophecy was to be fulfilled. It was the later generations who looked back and saw "clearly" that it was meant for such and such a city -- in this case Cyrene.

(Secret Alias, if you are reading this, noted that the people of Cyrene were not so "narcissistic" that they were "compelled" to make clear reference to their city in their foundation myth as you seem to assume people would be by nature.)

As for the issue of preferring Jersusalem over Mount Gerizim, there are several implicit hints of places that could be interpreted as references to Gerizim (beginning with the Garden of Eden "in the east") and Jerusalem (Abraham's offering of Isaac is at a place interpreted differently by Samaritans and Judeans). I think Gmirkin is right when he says the evidence in the text suggests a collaborative authorship. Another scholar who has argued for the Hellenistic origin of the Pentateuch, Barc, posits that the author was a bridge-builder, seeking to bring together Hellenistic and other groups, Samaritans and Judeans, into embracing a common myth. The rift between Samaritans and Judeans, between Hellenists and anti-Hellenists, broke out later. It is a mistake, from this perspective, to assume a hostile rivalry between Judeans and Samaritans at the time of the composition of the Pentateuch.

Genesis, as the introduction to the Pentateuch (or it was possibly originally only the first four books with Deuteronomy a separate story), makes no condemnation of other races or even other gods. It is a story of harmony at that level. The intolerant and genocidal views that entered in later parts of the multi-volumed work were not those of the Genesis author(s).

We still have more questions than answers about these books, but the answers we do have seem to point to efforts at cooperation or bridge-building of some kind. The story, even from the opening chapters of Genesis, is more about harmony and co-existence at a "racial/national" and theological level than rivalry.
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 15575
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by Secret Alias »

So "Israel" being the name of the northern kingdom isn't enough. Ok. Keep banging away.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5608
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by neilgodfrey »

Secret Alias wrote: Wed Jan 04, 2023 1:30 pm So "Israel" being the name of the northern kingdom isn't enough. Ok. Keep banging away.
What the hell are you talking about? If you have an argument, set it out, step by step. And no shifting the goal posts.

And remember, this is a discussion group as you keep reminding us. So cut the "banging away" nonsense and just discuss.
Last edited by neilgodfrey on Wed Jan 04, 2023 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5608
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by neilgodfrey »

andrewcriddle wrote: Wed Jan 04, 2023 5:21 am (I hope I've explained what I am arguing, YMMV as to how plausible my argument is.)

Andrew Criddle
In short, as a little addendum to my reply above, my reading of the many prophecies that are part of ancient literature are that most of them are delivered in a deliberately vague or ambiguous manner that leave the protagonists wondering how they will be fulfilled, but it is usually the reader/audience of the text who is in the know of those details.

It is the vagueness that makes the prophecy "real" as coming from a "higher guidance" that is mysterious to the mere mortals who are its playthings.
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 15575
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by Secret Alias »

What the hell are you talking about? If you have an argument, set it out, step by step. And no shifting the goal posts.
Ummm. Lets put it in terms you might understand. Imagine Australia and New Zealand share a religion which tells the story of a people called "Australia" but where New Zealand is generally regarded as having the rights to the religion and the name "Australia."

Image
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5608
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by neilgodfrey »

Secret Alias wrote: Wed Jan 04, 2023 3:25 pm
What the hell are you talking about? If you have an argument, set it out, step by step. And no shifting the goal posts.
Ummm. Lets put it in terms you might understand. Imagine Australia and New Zealand share a religion which tells the story of a people called "Australia" but where New Zealand is generally regarded as having the rights to the religion and the name "Australia."
Stop the condescending nonsense and actually discuss your argument. Set it out step by step for me. Let's talk nice, okay?
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 15575
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by Secret Alias »

But "Israel" = northern Israel. What don't you understand?
Post Reply