The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

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Secret Alias wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 8:36 pm So God has spoken. His answer did not change anything. We discussed. He forgot to consider the Samaritans or did not consider them important to the development of the Pentateuch. Thanks for treating Gmirkin like he's Maimonides or something.
No. That's not what I said or implied at all. Please re-read.

Yes, his answer did not change anything -- it did not even lead to a discussion. Simply saying that you disagree is not a discussion. A discussion gets into explaining why you disagree. It involves addressing his actual evidence and argument. You simply said you disagreed without doing any of that. You simply repeated the point he was responding to as if he had made no response at all. You may as well not even have read his remarks except for the line that indicated he was proposing another viewpoint.

What he wrote was of interest to others but evidently of no interest to you -- not even enough for you to engage with.

No, he did not "forget to consider the Samaritans". You appear not to have even read his remarks. No, he did not "consider them of no importance to the development of the Pentateuch". Forgive me, but I think others read Gmikin's responses to your questions but you did not. He was very clear about the Samaritans and their importance.

No, I am not treating Gmirkin as "an authority". I am only disappointed that you did not address his responses to your questions.

If you think the alternative to ignoring and not responding to the detailed discussion he presents is to treat him as a divine authority, you are lost in extremes.

I have many questions about Gmirkin's work. But my questions are based on reading it, not ignoring everything about it but his conclusion.
Last edited by neilgodfrey on Mon Jan 02, 2023 6:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

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neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 2:00 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 6:34 am I've just been reading Plato's Laws and it may be worth noting that the passage in Hecataeus is IMO more obviously influenced by the Laws than is the Pentateuch.
I'd be interested in some sort of table or list of what you see as the influences.
I should clarify that my question was motivated by an interest in comparing points of contact between Plato's Laws and the Pentateuch -- I was not meaning to suggest I had any doubts about overlap between a Hecataeus founding story and Plato's Laws.
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by andrewcriddle »

DCHindley wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 8:37 am
andrewcriddle wrote: Sat Dec 31, 2022 4:39 am
FWIW Hecataeus on the Jews around 300 BCE explicitly links Moses with the establishment of the temple at Jerusalem.
The leader of this colony was one Moses, a very wise and valiant man, who, after he had possessed himself of the country, amongst other cities, built that now most famous city, Jerusalem, and the temple there, which is so greatly revered among them.
Hi Andrew,

How confident can we be about the content, much less the date, of specifics of Hecataeus’s work considering it comes from a paraphrase by Diodorus 250+ years later?

This is all copied & pasted from Wikipedia articles, with a little modification by me to iron out inconsistencies and scattered data:
Hecataeus of Abdera … (Greek: Ἑκαταῖος ὁ Ἀβδηρίτης), was a Greek historian and Pyrrhonist philosopher who flourished in the 4th century BC. … No complete works of Hecataeus have survived, and our knowledge of his writing exists only in fragments located in various ancient Greek and Latin authors' works.

Diodorus Siculus (Bibliotheca historica, i.46.8, ca 60 BCE) tells us that Hecataeus visited Thebes in the times of Ptolemy I Soter [who was pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt from 305/304 BCE to his death ca 282 BCE], and composed a history of Egypt, [the Aegyptiaca] … [mentioning Moses and Jerusalem, this also being] the first mention of them in Greek literature.

[However] Diodorus mostly paraphrases Hecataeus, [making] it … difficult to extract Hecataeus' actual writings … ([reference is made to] Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Müller's Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum).
IMHO, because a paraphrase sort of brings the original “up to date,” it can contain materials that are anachronistic. There is that possibility that the digression about the Jewish nation is Diodorus’ own contribution.

DCH
Pseudo Hecataeus, On the Jews by Bezalel Bar-Kochva argues that the line
But under the empires which rose up in later ages, especially during the rule of the Persians, and in the time of the Macedonians, who overthrew the Persians, through intermingling with foreign nations, many of the traditional customs among the Jews were altered
is by Diodorus bringing the account up to date, but the rest is an accurate citation of Hecataeus.

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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

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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.
neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 2:00 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 6:34 amI've just been reading Plato's Laws and it may be worth noting that the passage in Hecataeus is IMO more obviously influenced by the Laws than is the Pentateuch.
I'd be interested in some sort of table or list of what you see as the influences.
a/ The idea of the land as previously uninhabited.
b/ The numerological/calendar basis for the 12 tribes.
c/ The priests etc appointed by merit not heredity.
d/ The emphasis on training young people for proficiency in war.

Andrew Criddle
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by andrewcriddle »

On the issue of knowledge before Diodorus of the material about the Jews in book 40; Pseudo Hecataeus, On the Jews by Bezalel Bar-Kochva presents a detailed argument that pseudo-Hecataeus (very late 2nd century BCE) is responding to Hecataeus with an account of the Jews which is more favorable to diaspora Jews.

Andrew Criddle
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

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I think I am amazed at Andrew's ability to synthesize information and provide a terse summary of the pertinent information. Yes this is all better argued and better explained than I have been capable of despite citing the same material.
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

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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.
neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 2:00 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Jan 01, 2023 6:34 amI've just been reading Plato's Laws and it may be worth noting that the passage in Hecataeus is IMO more obviously influenced by the Laws than is the Pentateuch.
I'd be interested in some sort of table or list of what you see as the influences.
a/ The idea of the land as previously uninhabited.
b/ The numerological/calendar basis for the 12 tribes.
c/ The priests etc appointed by merit not heredity.
d/ The emphasis on training young people for proficiency in war.

Andrew Criddle

Yes, those are valid points of comparison.

Before I read Gmirkin, though, I came up with the following list of overlaps between Plato's Laws and the Pentateuch:

1. The purposes of the law were said to make people
  • --"holy / of good character like god",
  • -- to make them happy,
  • -- to give them blessings,
  • -- to give them wisdom,
  • -- victory in war
2. The law was to be written down and introduced with a Preface that narrated the divine origin of the laws and how they were passed on through one man. The laws were to inspire awe of god for their origins.

3. The first law was to honour god

4. High on the list was to honour parents

5. laws against covetousness

6. laws re homosexuality

7. laws re witchcraft

8. laws re treatment of slaves

9. against interest bearing loans

10. regarding wine and drunkenness

11. the importance that the written laws should not be mere commands and threats but that they should be couched in messages of exhortation promising rewards for obedience (see 1)

12. 12 tribes division -- and military leaders chosen from each

13. the important role of lots to avoid disputes, and services of priests (e.g. priestly duties in temple were assigned by lot)

14. laws re attitudes towards strangers

15. laws were to include warnings against forgetting them and god when they find themselves successful and blessed

16. state to bear the name of the god

17. religious festivals to be regular institutions to foster love and adhrence to the law

And all of that was before I read Gmirkin's Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible.From there can be added to the above:

a. the similar deliberative bodies: assemblies and councils, for trials of capital offences, for declaration of war and establishment of treaties

b. circuit judges, venues for assemblies, private citizens with powers of arrest, permissible for person to kill a wrongdoer in the act, hearsay evidence generally not permitted, necessity for 2 or 3 witnesses, warnings against favouritism in judgement, laws re retaliation and land pollution, the necessity for private citizens to act as informers...

c. the goring ox was to be killed -- contrast lasw in Mesopotamia where the animal was not to be killed. Plato ordered it killed.

d. various laws on assault, injury, .... some details here

d. foundation stories --- andrew covered aspects of those. More detail here.

e. laws for the poor and fields of harvest

too many details to list: see here for a list of items.
Last edited by neilgodfrey on Tue Jan 03, 2023 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by neilgodfrey »

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?
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

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Because people and cultures are horrible narcissistic wretches. Every culture thinks their holy city is the navel of the universe. History is measured from according to the story of their worthless ancestors. No one has an idea or a thought or a notion that isn't somehow developed from egoism. So early Islam moved the religion of Muhammad from a Jerusalem centered cultus to one which embraced Arabic stone worship. So Mormonism with Jesus coming to America. So the silly development of certain branches of Judaism to wailing at the wall of Jerusalem when Moses advocated no permanent structure for the religion. The list goes on and on. I can't believe that you as a modern thinker can't see the geographical interest in northern Israel, the fact that northern Israel is called "Israel" while the southern area is called "Judea" (i.e. "not Israel"). It reminds me of Bob Price leaving evangelical Christianity but not abandoning its redneck politics. Surely if a Jewish writer wrote the Pentateuch he wouldn't have given such preference to "Israel" rather than "Judea" and made "Judah" the father of the "Judaeans" such a wretch. But I talk to the wind ...
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

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Secret Alias wrote: Tue Jan 03, 2023 5:26 pm Because people and cultures are horrible narcissistic wretches. Every culture thinks their holy city is the navel of the universe. History is measured from according to the story of their worthless ancestors. No one has an idea or a thought or a notion that isn't somehow developed from egoism. So early Islam moved the religion of Muhammad from a Jerusalem centered cultus to one which embraced Arabic stone worship. So Mormonism with Jesus coming to America. So the silly development of certain branches of Judaism to wailing at the wall of Jerusalem when Moses advocated no permanent structure for the religion. The list goes on and on. I can't believe that you as a modern thinker can't see the geographical interest in northern Israel, the fact that northern Israel is called "Israel" while the southern area is called "Judea" (i.e. "not Israel"). It reminds me of Bob Price leaving evangelical Christianity but not abandoning its redneck politics. Surely if a Jewish writer wrote the Pentateuch he wouldn't have given such preference to "Israel" rather than "Judea" and made "Judah" the father of the "Judaeans" such a wretch. But I talk to the wind ...
Okay, being a self-hating Jew does not make your views more likely to be valid -- seeing others through your own experiences and psychological makeup.

I am well aware of the difference between the northern and southern kingdoms. My question is legitimate and I trust Andrew will respond in a way that leads to further intellectual level discussion. Something you have demonstrated repeatedly you are quite incapable of.

You are not talking "to the wind" but your wind is doing the talking -- oh dear ;-)

P.S. .... I have attempted quite a few times to engage you in serious discussion by attempting thoughtful responses to your comments but you have ignored most of them, it seems. I am serious when I say I would like to discuss certain approaches at an intellectual -- not visceral -- level with you.
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