Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

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Secret Alias
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

Post by Secret Alias »

I am the one who brought this up originally. posting.php?mode=quote&f=6&p=148368 Because I am objective and fair-minded.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

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It is worth noting that the Jewish story of the bar Kochba revolt blames Samaritans for bringing about the fall of the revolt. I forget the exact details. But Samaritans are blamed.
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

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"During other periods, however, there was cooperation between the groups (Samaritans and Jews) – during the bar Kokhba rebellion, for example. https://steinsaltz.org/daf/avodah-zarah ... amaritans/

Here's the source Some hold that Bethar must have been in Samaritan territory, basing their opinion on a Talmudic tradition (Yer. Ta'anit 68d; Lam. R. to chap. ii. 2) that blames the fall of Bethar on Samaritan treachery.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

Post by neilgodfrey »

SA, it is a pleasure to engage in discussion with someone so "objective and fair-minded" as you tell us that you are. You did indeed bring up Bar Kochba before me so you are really on the ball -- much faster than I am. Sorry for being so slow. I will try to catch up. But there is one tiny quibble I have: you did say that the Bar Kochba business is a "left-over" business to be sorted out but I suggest that it is an important clue in understanding what the state of affairs was prior to the rebellion.

Further, I don't know how your other comments above relate to the question of the history of the name and identity of "Israel" between the northern kingdom of Israel and the Christian era. You seem to be addressing other points there.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

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Thanks to Secret Alias we are now able to discuss the implications of the Bar-Kochba references to Israel.

What is significant here, I think, is that we find the name Israel applied to a people or region that is different from its associations 900 years earlier in the time of the Assyrian empire. When did this shift happen and how can it be explained?

The bottom line in this discussion is the relevance of the word "Israel" as found in the Pentateuch. SA, if I understand him, argues that Israel was only ever applied to that population we now generally refer to as the Samaritans. We have seen that Israel in the time of the northern kingdom (9th century BCE) that was certainly true. But by the time we come to Bar Kochba we find it is no longer the case at all.

Here I think the Book of Ezra might be relevant. Some date this work to the Persian era itself; others date it much later, even as late as the first century BCE/first century CE. I tend towards that later date and think that it was written primarily as propaganda to justify the Pharisees and their interpretations of the Torah but it doesn't matter too much for the purpose of this discussion.

What is significant about Ezra is how it uses the word "Israel". Israel is never a place. It is not used as a geographical marker. "Judah" and "Jerusalem" are geographical names, but not Israel. Israel is always used as a reference to people or the god of those people.

1:3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.

That's the first use of "Israel" and it is associated directly with Jerusalem and Judah and the future temple there.

The next chapter lists the "men of the people of Israel" who went from Babylon with Zerubbabel to Judah. That can only be referring to descendants of those originally deported from Judah by Nebuchadnezzar.

And so on -- the rest of the references only support the above two interpretations.

Samaria is mentioned a couple of times but only as a toponym reference to the opponents of those of the "new" "Israel".

The book of Daniel is another work that is from the Hellenistic era. Again, Israel is mentioned only in association with the captives from Judah. At the beginning of the book we read:

[1] In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
[2] And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
[3] And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;
[4] Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

and later we read Daniel's prayer where he says:

[7] O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.

The first passage most naturally leads us to understand Israel as being a name that included, and in this context meant specifically, people from Judah. The second passage allows for a broader understanding of Israel to include the people who were taken captive much earlier by the Assyrians.

The point is that Israel clearly refers to a people and not to a place or geographical area. Israel moves around and is said to be all over the place in Daniel's prayer. It is also very clear from the context that Israel includes the people who are from or live in the region of Judah and often refers exclusively to them.

So Judah is a place; Israel is a name for a people wherever they happen to be, whether in Judah or elsewhere.

The Book of Ezekiel is another text that needs to be considered. Ezekiel is sent to "Israel" -- the name appears scores of times in that book. But again, it refers to a people, not a place. One of the earliest mentions of Israel is in association with Jerusalem. Ezekiel has to act out a siege of Jerusalem and it is explained that this is a sign for Israel. It would be rather bizarre if Israel did not mean the people associated with the land of Jerusalem.

What is clear from these writings is that we see a change in the meaning of the word Israel from its use in the ninth-century Assyrian and Moabite monuments.

Then Israel was a reference to a kingdom.

That kingdom of Israel was wiped out. No more dynasty. No more king of Israel. No more kingdom of Israel from 722 BCE.

Then the literature from the time of the Babylonian captivity at the earliest through to the turn of the first century speaks of Israel as a collective name of a people who were located in Mesopotamia and Judah and "elsewhere". It never (not that I am aware of at the moment - maybe I'm overlooking a reference) refers to a place. It refers to a people who presumably acknowledge the God "of Israel".

It is in that tradition that we can understand why Bar Kochba could call himself a prince of Israel and the liberator of Israel even though his base was Judea.

Again: Israel = people who can move about in different places; Judah is a place. Unless I am mistaken... in which case I am sure someone will correct me.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

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The above leads us to the question of how to explain the origin of the name "Israel" as it was used in literature beginning some 300 years at least (maybe more like 400-450 years) after the fall of the northern kingdom ruled by the "kings of Israel". 300 years is a long time.

We know the region ruled by the dynasty of Omri and its successors up to 722 remained populated. Archaeological research affirms this point. (Sources available)

But this was a time and place where identities were linked to local city-states and villages, and perhaps to ethnic communities. There was no grand state named "Israel". The region is called Samaria. On the whole, Persians didn't disrupt local regions as a rule as long as they continued to pay their tax revenues.

But when the Greeks took over cultural changes were introduced. Greeks brought their ways with them. It was a time of change for many.

Historians have written of how people have actually invented traditions about their past in times of such change. Whole new histories and even new customs can be introduced on the pretext (a false pretext) that they are very old, going back centuries -- when in fact they are new. That has happened repeatedly in history. Sometimes an individual or group of individuals have been known to invent such traditions and pass them off as genuine traditional history and customs -- and have succeeded. That can happen, it has happened, even in relatively modern times. People can be willing to believe in a time of change and unfamiliar inroads by outsiders -- they do so as a defence against the new, as an effort to maintain or establish an identity that affirms them of their "roots" despite the changes around them.

What is clear from the evidence is that in one time Israel was the name of a kingdom; and after that kingdom was removed from history, centuries later, the name Israel reappears in a new context.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

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You are well prepared to argue against the straightforwardness of reality. I don't mean this disparagingly. In the case of the historicity of Jesus I do think that these "critical re-examinations" are well justified. Was someone a historical person or a fictitious one is different that saying that "Israel" or "Canada" or "Australia" or "the Moon" might be inventions. Come on. There is a fucking thing called "Israel" that dates back almost as far as history in the region. I acknowledge that countries can move. Like Armenia. But surely the association of Israel with the north and Judah with the south is established. It is also established that the Jews and Christians started to use "Israel" as something divorced from history, place or a specific people. In the Mishnah for instance "Israel" and "Israelites" is an idealized notion of Law-observers who are not priests. But that doesn't get away from "Israel" being originally used to denote the northern kingdom, its people and the land around Shechem. This is a fact. The Jewish and Christian "idealized" or even divorced from history usage of Israel meaning something it surely didn't for the earliest historical records and the Pentateuch. How does the Pentateuch understand the terminology? There is a conscious effort to make "Israel" the name of the father of the "sons of Israel" meaning descendants of Jacob. But there is also an association with the northern kingdom, the lands around Shechem:
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, blessing each one of them with a suitable blessing.
[49:29] Then he charged them, saying to them, "I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors - in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
[49:30] in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site.
NOTE: the fact that Jews have come up with some nonsense story about the cave being in Hebron aside the original understanding is still preserved in a source from the Persian period:

And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver[a] from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

There is nothing more to discuss. Joshua is a better source than late Jewish sources. Here is an overview of the sources in favor of the burial in Samaria https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph%27s_Tomb
[49:31] There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah -
[49:32] the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites."
[49:33] When Jacob ended his charge to his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

Chapter 50

[50:1] Then Joseph threw himself on his father's face and wept over him and kissed him.
[50:2] Joseph commanded the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel;
[50:3] they spent forty days in doing this, for that is the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.
[50:4] When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph addressed the household of Pharaoh, "If now I have found favor with you, please speak to Pharaoh as follows:
[50:5] My father made me swear an oath; he said, 'I am about to die. In the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.' Now therefore let me go up, so that I may bury my father; then I will return."
[50:6] Pharaoh answered, "Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear to do."
[50:7] So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,
[50:8] as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father's household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen.
[50:9] Both chariots and charioteers went up with him. It was a very great company.
[50:10] When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed a time of mourning for his father seven days.
[50:11] When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "This is a grievous mourning on the part of the Egyptians." Therefore the place was named Abel- mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan.
[50:12] Thus his sons did for him as he had instructed them.
[50:13] They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham bought as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite.
[50:14] After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
[50:15] Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers said, "What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?"
[50:16] So they approached Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this instruction before he died,
[50:17] 'Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.' Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
[50:18] Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, "We are here as your slaves."
[50:19] But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God?
[50:20] Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.
[50:21] So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones." In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
[50:22] So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father's household; and Joseph lived one hundred ten years.
[50:23] Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph's knees.
[50:24] Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."
[50:25] So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, "When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here."
[50:26] And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
The end of Genesis and the Tetrateuch and Pentateuch and the Hexateuch reinforce the same reality. "Israel" was buried in "Israel" = Shechem.
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

Post by John2 »

The end of Genesis and the Tetrateuch and Pentateuch and the Hexateuch reinforce the same reality. "Israel" was buried in "Israel" = Shechem.

It may not be in the archaeological record, but Israel means more than the land around Shechem and the Kingdom of Israel in the OT (e.g., Judges 20:1: "Then all Israel from Dan to Beersheba and from the land of Gilead came together as one and assembled before the Lord in Mizpah"). The expression "all Israel from Dan to Beersheba" is used nine times in the OT and encompasses land that became the Kingdom of Judah.

Israel means more broadly "the sons of" Israel (Jacob) and "the land of" the sons of Israel (Jacob), and it's the only meaning it has in the Torah, and the boundaries of the land are even larger there (e.g., Ex. 23:31: "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the Euphrates"). This is why Jews and Samaritans use the Torah.They're both "sons of Israel" and live in "the land of Israel." Joseph being Jacob's favorite son doesn't affect this status.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

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Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pm You are well prepared to argue against the straightforwardness of reality. I don't mean this disparagingly.
To say I am arguing "against reality" IS disparaging. Be honest with yourself. You are so habituated into thinking one way that any new idea that challenges your long-held belief appears to you to be divorced from reality. It takes time to get to understand a new idea and properly analyze the flaws in traditional beliefs. Most people react emotionally with sneers, ridicule and insults.
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pm In the case of the historicity of Jesus I do think that these "critical re-examinations" are well justified. Was someone a historical person or a fictitious one is different that saying that "Israel" or "Canada" or "Australia" or "the Moon" might be inventions.
What does any of this have to do with what I have posted. Nothing -- quite apart from the fact that I do tire of your repeated false accusations that I have ever argued for a "mythical Jesus".
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pmCome on. There is a fucking thing called "Israel" that dates back almost as far as history in the region.
Can you keep the emotive language out of it and let's reason dispassionately -- with the objectivity you claim to have.

I have just demonstrated that it is wrong to assume that Israel "dates back almost .... ". I have just demonstrated that there is no continuity of Israel as a name for a region.

Do you disagree with that?

Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pmI acknowledge that countries can move. Like Armenia. But surely the association of Israel with the north and Judah with the south is established.
We have history. History is a record of changes. What is your evidence that Judah and Israel continued as named entities without break from the Iron Age?

If you look at a historical map you will see many places appear and disappear. History moves.

Do you agree that the Kingdom of Israel ceased to exist in 722 BCE? If not, what is your evidence to the contrary?
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pm It is also established that the Jews and Christians started to use "Israel" as something divorced from history, place or a specific people.

Yes, indeed. "Israel" has many meanings -- as I set out here http://vridar.info/bibarch/arch/davies4.htm

The Israel of the Bible has at least 10 different meanings. In the Bible Israel can mean:
  1. the name of the ancestor Jacob
  2. the name of the league of 12 tribes
  3. the name of a united kingdom whose capital was Jerusalem
  4. the name of the northern kingdom whose capital was Samaria (after the above kingdom broke up)
  5. after 722 bce, another name for Judah
  6. after the exile into Babylon, another name for the socio-religious community in left in the province of Yehud
  7. the name of a group within this community, the laity (as distinct from 'Aaron')
  8. the name for the descendants of Jacob/Israel
  9. a pre-monarchic tribal grouping in Ephraim
  10. adherants of various forms of Hebrew and Old Testament religion.

Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pm In the Mishnah for instance "Israel" and "Israelites" is an idealized notion of Law-observers who are not priests. But that doesn't get away from "Israel" being originally used to denote the northern kingdom, its people and the land around Shechem.
If people use "Israel" as a theological concept then it does "get away" from the use of the term as a historical reality. Yes, the term "Israel" did have a historical reality as a dynastic kingdom in the Iron Age, but that's not the Israel that the Mishnah is speaking of in reality.

See above. People can talk of Israel while picturing it in their mind as a historical place but in reality what they mean is something theological. They re-interpret history as theology. That's possible.

Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pm This is a fact.
I have set out facts with maps. Do you disagree with that evidence. You used maps to instruct me --- I am showing you other maps that give a more complete picture.
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pm The Jewish and Christian "idealized" or even divorced from history usage of Israel meaning something it surely didn't for the earliest historical records and the Pentateuch. How does the Pentateuch understand the terminology? There is a conscious effort to make "Israel" the name of the father of the "sons of Israel" meaning descendants of Jacob.
Correct.
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pm But there is also an association with the northern kingdom, the lands around Shechem:
That is also correct. But what we need to be careful about is not mixing up different times and uses as if they all happened at once by the same people.

Above all, we need to be careful to understand our different sources. Some use "Israel" as a theological term. Some use it as a historical term to refer to an Iron Age kingdom.

And people love to write stories of the past fabulous and mythical worlds or parables. Some people like to write about King Arthur's England and identify as a descendant of that time that is made mythical by the writer -- even though the reality was far from glamorous.

The evidence tells us that some people liked to write a story about Moses leading his people from Egypt. Egypt was a real place and Pharaohs really existed, but the story is a myth set in a real place and time.

Ditto, I suggest, for the stories in the Bible about Elijah and Joshua and Jezebel in the northern kingdom of Israel. There are elements of historicity in those stories -- some of the kings really did live -- but the stories are theological tales. At the time of writing those stories the evidence we have tells us that the Kingdom of Israel did not exist any more.
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pm
There is nothing more to discuss.
Why do you even come to this discussion forum. You clearly do not like discussing ideas. You seem only to want to write many posts of your own ideas and get cranky, insulting very often, when people challenge your ideas. You then tell them their ideas are silly and shut down the discussion. And you complain that other people don't want to discuss ---

We were all waiting for you to discuss Gmirkin's ideas when he presented them as answers to your ideas but you just shut down and said you "disagree" and repeated everything he had responded to as if he had said nothing.

Now you are saying my ideas are silly and there is nothing to discuss because you think a new idea that is not your long-held view is against reality.
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 4:34 pmThe end of Genesis and the Tetrateuch and Pentateuch and the Hexateuch reinforce the same reality. "Israel" was buried in "Israel" = Shechem.
Yes, indeed! It does. But you have not explained how that scenario in any way undermines anything I have posted until now.
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Re: Can someone enlighten me about SA's argument, please?

Post by Secret Alias »

There is nothing more to discuss.
Not everything is up for discussion when we know that we aren't going to find an older tradition than Joshua. Under a 270 BCE hypothesis Joshua is as old as Pentateuch. That's the problem with revolutionary theses. How do you argue against Joshua's interpretation of Genesis 50? I guess I get frustrated because I strive for honesty. If you think the Hextateuch was written all at once then there can't be differences between the books. Whether or not different people wrote the books they were canonized together (under 270 BCE understanding). How do you argue against Joshua's interpretation of where Joseph was buried? Please tell me. Joshua can't have been written any later than 270 CE.

That's why I say there is nothing more to discuss. If you accept X then Y necessarily results. In this case, Joshua's interpretation of Genesis 50 closes the book on any discussion of where Joseph was buried under Gmirkin and even with the normative understanding it's very hard to argue against.*

* It's very hard to argue what the intention of the author was.
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