Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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StephenGoranson
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Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

Post by StephenGoranson »

1) If there had been a widely jointly agreed upon text made in the 270s, then one might expect later texts to be closer to one another, with fewer non-copy-error variants.

2) Imagining or asserting that Jews and Samaritans never wrote down their traditions until the 270s is improbable, evidently in part counterfactual, and, intentionally or not, apparently, prejudiced.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

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StephenGoranson wrote: Mon Dec 12, 2022 7:23 am 1) If there had been a widely jointly agreed upon text made in the 270s, then one might expect later texts to be closer to one another, with fewer non-copy-error variants.
If everyone agreed with the text then everyone could be expected to accept it as written. But the variants --- and even contradictions within the Pentateuch itself as noted by Gmirkin -- are indications that there were debates about aspects of the finished product. The priests responsible for the Pentateuch were presumably not the entirety of all people who had been in the orbit of priestly traditions since whenever.

Gmirkin does not assume a society where everyone is all of one mind from the beginning. Not even Plato was that naive.
StephenGoranson wrote: Mon Dec 12, 2022 7:23 am2) Imagining or asserting that Jews and Samaritans never wrote down their traditions until the 270s is improbable, evidently in part counterfactual, and, intentionally or not, apparently, prejudiced.
Gmirkin's argument is that certain "traditions" were not "traditions" prior to the Pentateuch. Elephantine evidence, for example, knows of no Moses and Exodus tradition associated with Passover and Unleavened Bread.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

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The difficulty is also that the Septuagint was celebrated as a translation not a composition at Alexandria. Not merely by Aristeas but by a festival at Pharos where it has been argued the lighthouse was itself the symbol of the "light" of the translation. Hard to see how a Greek lighthouse would fit into a celebration of Moses's writing of the Torah. But even still, you have two independent witnesses (and if Philo is right hundreds or thousands of witnesses/adherents at the Pharos festival) to the understanding that the Seventy were translators not authors of the Pentateuch.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

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Secret Alias wrote: Mon Dec 12, 2022 1:52 pm The difficulty is also that the Septuagint was celebrated as a translation not a composition at Alexandria. Not merely by Aristeas but by a festival at Pharos where it has been argued the lighthouse was itself the symbol of the "light" of the translation. Hard to see how a Greek lighthouse would fit into a celebration of Moses's writing of the Torah. But even still, you have two independent witnesses (and if Philo is right hundreds or thousands of witnesses/adherents at the Pharos festival) to the understanding that the Seventy were translators not authors of the Pentateuch.
I think you need to actually read the responses that have already been repeatedly made to your thoughts here. Simply ignoring what the other side says as if it has no relevance if they come to a different conclusion from you is not the way to a productive discussion.

But you have already explained that you don't trust books or scholars who contradict what you believe.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

Post by Secret Alias »

I am not understanding what you are saying. There are no books which set forth the argument that the Pharos festival replaced or was a development of the Alexandrian Jewish Festival of Weeks celebration. The idea appears as an offhanded remark in a footnote in Gmirkin's book. Let's think about this a little more carefully shall we (this is necessary as Gmirkin proposes a complete rethink of all we know to be true). Here is the chain of events:

1. the Pentateuch is created c 270 by Alexandrian Jews who are mis-taken to be its Greek translators
2. the Pentateuch spells out the celebration of Pentecost
3. Philo says that there was a celebration of the translation of the LXX at the island of Pharos which Gmirkin in a footnote suggests "might" have something to do with Pentecost because Pentecost is the memorialization of the Pentateuch (even though it is a memorialization of Moses's reception of the Ten Commandments)

It is difficult enough to believe that Jews would have been celebrating Pentecost (as Philo says they did) as an agricultural festival and then turn their attention to Pharos lighthouse and then said "forget the firstfruits, make it a 'light from a lighthouse' celebration. But surely the memorialization of the translation by the Seventy dated back to near the time of the Seventy. It wasn't started two centuries later. It seems unlikely that Philo can know of two different Pentecost celebrations in Alexandria.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

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Secret Alias wrote: Mon Dec 12, 2022 2:50 pm I am not understanding what you are saying.
Go back and read what has been said already. I don't mean read the conclusions only, but the arguments that led to them.
StephenGoranson
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Re: Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

Post by StephenGoranson »

I have an optional question (for anyone) about a sentence neilgodfrey wrote above (Mon Dec 12, 2022 12:51 pm).
[[Though I haven't read everything REG wrote, I have read a lot, including before and after the 2006 book.]]
If the putative delegation (270s, Alexandria) brought (oral?) traditions that then were written down, what does the following mean?

"Gmirkin's argument is that certain "traditions" were not "traditions" prior to the Pentateuch."

[[PS. I am not asking about the sentence that follows that one--" Elephantine evidence, for example, knows of no Moses and Exodus tradition associated with Passover and Unleavened Bread."- because I consider that an argument from silence.]]
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Secret Alias
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Re: Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

Post by Secret Alias »

I have trouble distinguishing when proponents of this theory are merely "blue skying" possibilities in an abstract sense and when he wants us to take something as a serious candidate for truth, history, fact etc. The very existence of "Samaritans" so-called necessarily implies some sort of tradition that they were "guarding" in the same way that there had to be something before the "Pharisees" because they represented something "separate" from an earlier orthodoxy. Could the Samaritans have rabidly defended a tradition which wasn't written down but was only codified in Alexandria in 270 BCE? My sense is that no, their status as "Samaritans" necessarily implies a written text, a formal tradition that was passed on by word of mouth based on this written text. It couldn't have just been "guardians" of Gerizim, watchkeepers of the land etc. Now maybe someone very clever can make that case. But it would seem to me that as long as there were "Samaritans" they were watching, guarding, protecting, keeping the WRITTEN commandments, the WRITEEN Torah even though it has also been well demonstrated that the interpretation of this text was passed on either in written (Marqe) or oral (post-Marqe) form.
ABuddhist
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Re: Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

Post by ABuddhist »

StephenGoranson wrote: Tue Dec 13, 2022 6:23 am I have an optional question (for anyone) about a sentence neilgodfrey wrote above (Mon Dec 12, 2022 12:51 pm).
[[Though I haven't read everything REG wrote, I have read a lot, including before and after the 2006 book.]]
If the putative delegation (270s, Alexandria) brought (oral?) traditions that then were written down, what does the following mean?

"Gmirkin's argument is that certain "traditions" were not "traditions" prior to the Pentateuch."

[[PS. I am not asking about the sentence that follows that one--" Elephantine evidence, for example, knows of no Moses and Exodus tradition associated with Passover and Unleavened Bread."- because I consider that an argument from silence.]]
One tradition which Gmirkin refers to as postdating the Pentateuch, if I recall his wrings correctly, is that of Moses as Lawgiver, although he reassesses the dates of the earliest extrabiblical references to Moses as a lawgiver as part of his argument.
Last edited by ABuddhist on Thu Dec 15, 2022 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Two failures of the 270s creation proposal?

Post by neilgodfrey »

StephenGoranson wrote: Tue Dec 13, 2022 6:23 am I have an optional question (for anyone) about a sentence neilgodfrey wrote above (Mon Dec 12, 2022 12:51 pm).
[[Though I haven't read everything REG wrote, I have read a lot, including before and after the 2006 book.]]
If the putative delegation (270s, Alexandria) brought (oral?) traditions that then were written down, what does the following mean?

"Gmirkin's argument is that certain "traditions" were not "traditions" prior to the Pentateuch."

[[PS. I am not asking about the sentence that follows that one--" Elephantine evidence, for example, knows of no Moses and Exodus tradition associated with Passover and Unleavened Bread."- because I consider that an argument from silence.]]
I did not limit my comment to written traditions but included all traditions, including orally relayed ones.

Yes, the argument based on Elephantine evidence that there were no traditions about Moses or the Exodus associated with Passover is indeed an argument from silence. But it is a more justifiable argument that claims that though there is no evidence to support the claim, though the record is silent, we believe that these people were talking about Moses and the Exodus when they celebrated Passover -- even though the evidence hints that they had entirely agricultural thoughts on their mind.

I think it is reasonable to infer 0 when the evidence is 0. It is less justifiable to infer 1 when the evidence is 0.
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