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

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 15576
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

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

Post by Secret Alias »

And I think to some degree the act of thinking is to "kill" discussion. It's not supposed to be an orgy of this, that and the other thing. We want to lay down what is what and leave it laying there and hope it doesn't move. Having everything move around an amorphous blob without heads or tails is pointless. To use the sports analogy everything comes down to winning and losing. I don't mean winning for ego's sake, "that I win." But winning as "this is the right answer" "this is a better answer than that" "this is up, this is down" "this was first, this is later" "this was good, but this is better" "this isn't that" etc. Sometimes just saying "this is different than that" is a win. To some degree we strive for "yes" and "no" and "maybe" but not "maybe" "maybe" "maybe."
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 15576
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

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

Post by Secret Alias »

We speak, we discuss, we engage but ultimately it's all about keeping score.
John2
Posts: 3952
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

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

Post by John2 »

Do you agree that the Kingdom of Israel ceased to exist in 722 BCE? If not, what is your evidence to the contrary?

I know this isn't addressed to me, but you (Neil) aren't saying that there weren't any Israelites (by which I mean former citizens of the Kingdom of Israel and their descendants) living in "the land of Israel" (by which I mean anywhere "from Dan to Beersheba," as the OT puts it) after 722 BCE, are you? And if not, then what does it matter if the Kingdom of Israel no longer existed? "Am Yisrael Chai," as the song goes.

But if you aren't saying this, then do you see the Jews and Samaritans that were living in Judea in the 400's BCE (as per the Elephantine Papyri) as descendants of these earlier Israelites?

I don't think I'm understanding the significance of the fall of the Kingdom of Israel in this discussion and am seeking some clarification.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5611
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

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

Post by neilgodfrey »

Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:17 pm
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.
I don't follow you. If you are looking for just one answer to one question then maybe there is nothing to discuss. But there are many things I don't know and I know scholars don't know many things too -- there is so much to learn and discuss and explore.
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:17 pmUnder 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?
Well there are alternative ways of looking at the same data. But if you think only your interpretation or understanding is correct and beyond question then for you there is indeed nothing to discuss. But I think there are many things to learn. I don't pretend to know what was in the minds of ancient authors -- no-one can know that. We can only slowly learn bit by bit.
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:17 pmI guess I get frustrated because I strive for honesty.
Now this is where you need to back off, SA. You cannot go around accusing or assuming anyone who has a different idea from you is dishonest or not even interested in honesty. I know you have accused me of not caring about truth or honesty but those accusations are outrageous. You obviously did not read the post of mine whose title you objected to.

It really is possible for people who are equally sincere and honest to come to different interpretations of the same data. Usually the differences arise because of some hidden assumption that the parties have and of which they are not fully consciously aware.
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:17 pmIf you think the Hextateuch was written all at once then there can't be differences between the books.
Well now you are getting away from the specific thing I thought we were discussing at the moment. But okay -- you have made an assumption here. I can point to several works that were written by the same author in a relatively short span of time and they contain contradictions. Sometimes that happens and there are various explanations for that. Sometimes that author told a story one way or of one kind for one purpose, but even in the same work would contradict that story to make another point. That really did sometimes happen.

In fact, this is one area where I find myself raising questions of Gmirkin. Russell Gmirkin argues for a team of authors to explain the contradictions. I would point to Plato's own works that contain contradictions and would suggest that it is quite plausible that an author was imitating Plato, not only in his scientific style but also in his mythological style, and he was not bothered by contradictions that bother us because they served a different purpose for him -- something that is not what we like in our modern literature.
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:17 pm 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.
I don't follow you. If the book of Joshua says such and such then I accept that it says such and such. I try to understand the text, not argue against it.

I really don't see the problem that you appear to see. I am not sure what you think are the necessary conclusions you think I must draw from what the book of Joshua says.

Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:17 pm
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.
We can usually argue what the function of a text is -- that way we bypass the "intention of the author". What function does a text serve is a more useful question because that's something we can analyse.

If you think in black and white terms and don't allow for other points of view and seek to understand those, too, then there is never anything to discuss.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5611
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

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

Post by neilgodfrey »

Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:35 pm And I think to some degree the act of thinking is to "kill" discussion. It's not supposed to be an orgy of this, that and the other thing. We want to lay down what is what and leave it laying there and hope it doesn't move. Having everything move around an amorphous blob without heads or tails is pointless. To use the sports analogy everything comes down to winning and losing. I don't mean winning for ego's sake, "that I win." But winning as "this is the right answer" "this is a better answer than that" "this is up, this is down" "this was first, this is later" "this was good, but this is better" "this isn't that" etc. Sometimes just saying "this is different than that" is a win. To some degree we strive for "yes" and "no" and "maybe" but not "maybe" "maybe" "maybe."
Secret Alias wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:39 pm We speak, we discuss, we engage but ultimately it's all about keeping score.
Those are very curious ideas about what discussion means -- I simply don't relate to them, sorry.

Discussion is best when it is purposeful, seeking to understand each other, learning new things and ways of looking at things, building up a better and bigger picture of the world and others and what we are reading ...

As for "winning" -- that's not discussion. That's playing games and trying to score points. That's not discussion at all.

Or it's "debating" -- and again, I find little interest in debates except as an observer when I try to learn from each speaker.
Last edited by neilgodfrey on Sat Jan 07, 2023 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5611
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

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

Post by neilgodfrey »

John2 wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:48 pm
Do you agree that the Kingdom of Israel ceased to exist in 722 BCE? If not, what is your evidence to the contrary?

I know this isn't addressed to me, but you (Neil) aren't saying that there weren't any Israelites (by which I mean former citizens of the Kingdom of Israel and their descendants) living in "the land of Israel" (by which I mean anywhere "from Dan to Beersheba," as the OT puts it) after 722 BCE, are you? And if not, then what does it matter if the Kingdom of Israel no longer existed? "Am Yisrael Chai," as the song goes.

But if you aren't saying this, then do you see the Jews and Samaritans that were living in Judea in the 400's BCE (as per the Elephantine Papyri) as descendants of these earlier Israelites?

I don't think I'm understanding the significance of the fall of the Kingdom of Israel in this discussion and am seeking some clarification.
The question is what we mean by the term "Israel".

The archaeological evidence (citing Finkelstein and others in works by Whitelam and Thompson) is that the population in the highland regions that we call Samaria, the region of the Iron Age kingdom of Israel that ceased to exist in 722, ... that population continued, even increased again some-time after 722. People were living there but they identified more likely as Samarians after their city Samaria. We have no evidence that there was an ethnic identity of "Israel" among those people. We don't know what they called themselves -- or even if they thought of themselves as anything other than "from a place outside Samaria" or some other village or market area.

The name of "Israel" itself disappears after 722 only to re-emerge in theological writings with ten different meanings as I listed above. And from at least one of those theological meanings and that theological literature in which Israel held a key position, the people of Judea took on the identity of Israelites by the time of Bar Kochba most clearly.

It appears that there was some kind of connection between the Samarians and the people around Jerusalem because many from the north fled south to escape Assyria in the eighth century. I suspect that sense of connection came from a common language and worship of Yahweh as one of their chief gods. But I suppose like any groups of people, there are periods of rivalry, cooperation, friendship, war --- usually depending on changing fortunes in trade and economy, common enemies, family power struggles, special religious festivals, etc. Nabateans and Edomites also worshiped Yahweh but the Judeans didn't always treat them very nicely.


Does that make sense? I'm refreshing and clarifying my own thoughts as I type so I hope I haven't added to any confusion.
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 15576
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

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

Post by Secret Alias »

This is the problem with "mythicism." It's pretends to be a "study" or reevaluation of historical constructs in antiquity when it is description of the modern (atheist) system of "deconstruction." Yes there are mythicists who aren't atheists per se (but why scholars need to "identify" with a tag is beyond me anyway). Mythicism doesn't describe an ancient belief, concept or movement. There were no "mythicists" in antiquity. There were myths there was "mythopoesis." But no -ism. The -ism, part in mythicism in my opinion, is putting historical concepts into the meat grinder in order to destroy them.

With that said "Israel" was just a name associated with a people (in the earliest Egyptian reference) and then a land associated with the people (the land around Shechem). Was their a "myth" associated with these people and this land. I don't know. We're likely never to know. Same with "Hebrew" "Judah" etc. Why aren't you this interested in the origins of "Judah" "Egypt" "Syria" etc? Mythicism is a modern process of putting ancient historical concepts through a meat grinder. The mythcist sees something he doesn't like and seeks to destroy it.
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 15576
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

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

Post by Secret Alias »

You can just say "yeah it looks like Israel was located around Shechem and 'Judah' is not Israel." If there is some piece of evidence I am ignoring maybe it doesn't. But that's what the evidence seems to show. That's what you get when you draw a straight line between all the evidence. But you can't say that because you're an activist. The agenda is to turn "Israel" into a mythical concept that can move around and thus doesn't have any reality. No. The reality is that we don't have a lot of data from that period. How much do we know about "Edom"? About the same as Israel or Judah. The point is that you have to want to let the evidence dictate what you believe.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5611
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

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

Post by neilgodfrey »

Secret Alias wrote: Mon Jan 09, 2023 8:28 am This is the problem with "mythicism." It's pretends to be a "study" or reevaluation of historical constructs in antiquity when it is description of the modern (atheist) system of "deconstruction." Yes there are mythicists who aren't atheists per se (but why scholars need to "identify" with a tag is beyond me anyway). Mythicism doesn't describe an ancient belief, concept or movement. There were no "mythicists" in antiquity. There were myths there was "mythopoesis." But no -ism. The -ism, part in mythicism in my opinion, is putting historical concepts into the meat grinder in order to destroy them.
Again -- you continue to repeat your beliefs without ever once responding to the request for you to check if your beliefs have any supporting evidence. (Diatribes by James McGrath are not evidence.) Why do you always bring up "mythicism" at some point in your addresses to me. You have obviously not read anything I have written about Jesus mythicism and I sure as hell don't know what what you think the relevance of your claims are here.
Secret Alias wrote: Mon Jan 09, 2023 8:28 amWith that said "Israel" was just a name associated with a people (in the earliest Egyptian reference) and then a land associated with the people (the land around Shechem). Was their a "myth" associated with these people and this land. I don't know. We're likely never to know. Same with "Hebrew" "Judah" etc. Why aren't you this interested in the origins of "Judah" "Egypt" "Syria" etc? Mythicism is a modern process of putting ancient historical concepts through a meat grinder. The mythcist sees something he doesn't like and seeks to destroy it.
All of that is mere assertion, a statement of your assumptions and beliefs. I have attempted to set out clear evidence that there is NO EVIDENCE that "Israel" was used as a geographical or even ethnic identitier immediately following 722 CE.

You began by showing me maps of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah as if I was supposed to draw some "obvious conclusion" that those names, in particular Israel, were applicable unbroken right through the centuries even after the demise of the kingdom of Israel.

I am attempting to address the evidence.

You are responding with what you seem to call "reality" but that is nothing more than a repetition of your assumptions and long-held beliefs.

I am looking for evidence.

If you think we don't need evidence as the basis of our assertions then I suggest you are the real "Israel mythicist" -- believing in something that has no evidence for its existence is surely the belief in a myth.

But I have never said --- please note this -- I have never said the people did not exist there in that northern area once identified as the "kingdom of Israel" but I have pointed to the EVIDENCE of what they were known as in the Persian era and the EVIDENCE that it wasn't "Israel".
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5611
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

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

Post by neilgodfrey »

Secret Alias wrote: Mon Jan 09, 2023 8:44 amThe agenda is to turn "Israel" into a mythical concept that can move around and thus doesn't have any reality.
That is absolute rubbish and you clearly have not read with any care anything I have tried to explain. Your accusation is tantamount to accusing me or anyone who disagrees with you of dishonesty. I thought we were going to move beyond that sort of business and discuss the actual evidence.

The concept "Israel" obviously has a very significant reality and it is the job of dedicated scholars to understand what that reality actually was. That is my interest, too. You cannot just assume it has one reality in your own imagination and call everyone else dishonest or fools. You need evidence to support your claims for whatever reality you think the word has.

Secret Alias wrote: Mon Jan 09, 2023 8:44 amThe reality is that we don't have a lot of data from that period.

Which makes it all the more imperative that we examine carefully what data we do have and not jump to conclusions beyond it. We need to clear our minds of all prior assumptions and beliefs and start from scratch.
Secret Alias wrote: Mon Jan 09, 2023 8:44 amHow much do we know about "Edom"? About the same as Israel or Judah.
Well, I have just acquired access to [url-https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/edom-idumea/]this volume [/url]to see exactly "how much we DO know about Edom".
Secret Alias wrote: Mon Jan 09, 2023 8:44 amThe point is that you have to want to let the evidence dictate what you believe.
But you don't seem to really believe that. You have simply ignored the evidence I have set out in my point of discussion, and Russell Gmirkin set out some of the evidence in his, and you simply ignore it all and respond without addressing any of it except to say "you don't agree" -- but you give no evidence of any relevance to support your beliefs. Using documents hundreds of years away from the time in question is not valid evidence. You like analogies: imagine trying to argue in court that the will that you just discovered fifty years after your rich uncle's death in your own basement overturned the legally certified will accepted at the time of his death? Doesn't work that way,

You have had dismissive things to say about scholars despite your sometimes professed "awe" of them. Scholars are not always smarter than anyone else (some are quite average, I know for a fact, and some even dishonest, but let's leave those aside) -- what they have is resources at their fingertips to be able to dig out facts and evidence. And a bit of training to learn how to process and interpret that evidence in a valid way.

Now I have set out evidence for the people of the long-gone kingdom of Israel being called Samarians and their land being called Samaria. If you have evidence that Israel was what they were known as instead or as well, then produce it.

When you do we can put it together with my evidence -- which actually includes references to the meanings of "Israel" -- and we can have a discussion.
Post Reply