Re: The Problem With The Theory That the Pentateuch Was Written in Alexandria
Posted: Thu May 25, 2023 6:08 pm
They are very variable "rules" and if they were real rules, clear and certain rules, then I don't understand why there is so little agreement in the various books and articles on which bit came first, etc, or which direction the relationship moved.austendw wrote: ↑Thu May 25, 2023 3:49 pmWell, literary criticism has certain "rules". There are certain identifiable technical factors that can distinguish an earlier and a later text by one's literary relation to another. And if there are supplements to supplements one can identify a relative chronology.neilgodfrey wrote: ↑Thu May 25, 2023 1:17 pm It is a matter of interpretation. One interprets the overlaps, stratification, etc as either accumulations over an extended time or one interprets them as some sort of collaborative project.
The evidence is the same as yours -- the inferred different social, religious groups etc. who contributed to the different layers.
Did they succeed each other over an extended time or did they work together?
And often the "rules" are actually nothing more than interpretations based on certain presuppositions about chronology. (In the book whose introduction you linked to earlier, Katharina Pyschny, for example, has no qualms in tossing overboard a number of mainstream "traditional" chronological sequences in her discussion of the Korah-Dathan-Aaron-Moses narrative.)
Again -- that the author of Genesis 1 may well have had some notion of an earlier "8 acts of creation" that he was adapting but it does not follow that there was a Genesis account with a creation story that of 8 days or not even divided into days beforehand. It only means that the author has adapted a story to create what we read in Genesis 1. There is no need to postulate any long time between an early Genesis and a later Genesis.austendw wrote: ↑Thu May 25, 2023 3:49 pm It is for example quite clear that when laws concerning the Sabbath day and how holy and significant it is can I think always be shown to be supplementary additions to earlier base texts. The Sabbath laws are always supplements added to earlier texts. The most obvious case is the first in Genesis 1. The six day creation scheme plus a rest day, awkwardly added to the eight acts of creation, added to the the fact that no other cosmogonic narrative anywhere divides the process into days, strongly indicates that these passages were added to an earlier creation account that lacked both day divisions and the divine rest. They were later additions as the Sabbath clearly is an addition to the festival list in Leviticus 23.
So why does that "fact" of "updating" or "harmonising" have to have happened over a long period of time?austendw wrote: ↑Thu May 25, 2023 3:49 pmWhat specifically contrary adendas that were diametrically opposed to earlier agendas are you referring to? There are many reasons why ancient documents came together and I've gone through some of them in my previous post. But older texts that presumably weren't totally objectionable and were valued in themselves could be "extended" to incorporate "updated" views. Or made to harmonise with other texts. Of course it's possible that editors did scrap some texts that they felt they could do without, for ideological reasons or for editorial expediency. We'll never know if they did or not.neilgodfrey wrote: ↑Thu May 25, 2023 1:17 pm Again the same question: How likely is it that those with a particular agenda added to a document with a contrary agenda instead of replacing it or revising it entirely to conform to what they believed the correct agenda?
The strongest contradiction is the characterization of Yahweh between Genesis and Exodus -- but I have yet to return to an earlier comment of yours to address that in more detail. Another is the Samaria - Jehud/Judea "conflict".
I imagine exactly the same sort of process happening with the various priest-scribes all sitting around in the pub having drinks and telling the best handwriter how to write the story -- he starts out telling us about the need to send a message to the Levites to keep their place and not aspire to the priesthood, but then Joe says -- it's not the Levites I'm so worried about, but it's the riff-raff who think they can just defy the temple entirely and go off and sacrifice anywhere on their own authority. Okay, says the writer, Bob, I'll add that bit about Dathan not wanting to go up to the Tent of Meeting, too. [That image is not mine, by the way, but a flippant rendition of a scholar discussing something "off the record".]neilgodfrey wrote: ↑Thu May 25, 2023 1:17 pmYes, it may well be a compromise, but I see it as a redactional compromise, rather than authorial collaboration from the start. That ultimate redactional aim was to be as inclusive as possible, to unite different scholarly schools in one all-inclusive formula, and often to find ways of accomodating and disguising differences between texts or harmonising them. Actually it has been argued by some diachronic scholars that the Holiness School, one of the later post-priestly schools, actually does seem as a matter of content and style to combine characteristics of the other strands - both priestly and non-priestly.neilgodfrey wrote: ↑Thu May 25, 2023 1:17 pmIf they kept different agendas side by side then some might think that suggests some sort of collaborative compromise.
If Joe was not part of that pub scene but was worried that what he was reading in the Pentateuch did not have a story about the riff raff simply denying the Mosaic authority altogether, I think it would be easier for him to construct his own story and add it to the Pentateuch rather than mix it up with another tale with a different theme. But Numbers 16-17 mixes up two messages in a slightly confusing manner: one stressing the rights of the priests against the Levites and the other stressing the importance of recognizing the centralizing Mosaic cult itself.
That sounds more like the work of "a committee", not a series of redactors each with their own agenda.
I understand the nature of the diachronic type of hypothesis. It is impossible to avoid it in any work on the Pentateuch. It is discussed in depth and detail. But it is always nested in the assumption of a historical reconstruction and gradualness of its creation through different sociological and economic and political and cultic phases. But those phases are derived from interpretations of the text itself -- in other words, circularity.austendw wrote: ↑Thu May 25, 2023 3:49 pm"One after the other" is a simplification of what diachronists are proposing, as indicated in my previous post. Some of these scribal schools developed in parallel over time - eg Priestly and Deuteronomistic "schools" - only later coming together when other redactors took on the job of collating and combining to create a unifying anthology of shared tradition.neilgodfrey wrote: ↑Thu May 25, 2023 1:17 pmThe volume may nevertheless contribute to a renewed discussion of the shift of the focus of the pentateuchal study from the literary stratification of different layers to social, economic, religious, and political agendas behind the texts and the scribes who produced them.
The question raised by the Hellenistic provenance viewpoint is whether such agendas came one after the other or were in some sort of contemporary dialogue.