Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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Leucius Charinus
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by Leucius Charinus »

StephenGoranson wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 6:23 am If I understand R. Gmirkin's proposal correctly. in c. 273-272 a bilingual group (perhaps 70 or 72, perhaps reflected in Letter of Aristaeus, which RG thinks partly accurate, partly not) went to the Alexandria library, read Plato, Berossus, and some other Greek writers, and wrote the entire Torah, with Greek translation also done then or soon after. (Next step, I just wonder, might be the Greek version first?)
I actually asked him whether, if in fact all the sources were in Greek, would it not be more likely that the Greek LXX was written first and (only) then translated to Hebrew. His position was that the Hebrew was first on the basis of "Hebraisms" {?} in the Greek. I was not entirely convinced by this however I was happy to acknowledge the c.272 BCE chronology, the Greek sources, Ptolemy II's influence and the library of Alexandria.
This seems to me far-fetched, overestimating the Greek influence and underestimating the Semitic-language traditions.
My understanding is that the dominance of the Greek influence followed the conquests and political dominance of Alexander the Great. Everything else was shifted to second place after Alexander's Hellenistic conquest and the consequent dominance of his generals.
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by StephenGoranson »

Of course Alexander the Great was quite influtential,
but,
before he came through,
the ancient near east
was not a blank slate.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by neilgodfrey »

StephenGoranson wrote: Fri Jul 01, 2022 7:29 am . . . unpersuasive . . . . weasel words . . . .
StephenGoranson wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 6:23 amoverestimating the Greek influence and underestimating the Semitic-language traditions.
Do you have a specific example of where Gmirkin's particular argument on just one element in the Pentateuch can be demonstrated to "overestimate Greek influence and underestimate Semitic-language traditions"?

Not asking for a complete review of any of his books. Just one clear-cut example, with page references and a demonstration of the particulars of how one of his arguments fails to establish an objective case for greater influence of Greek influence over a Semitic-language tradition.
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by Avis Redivivus »

I agree with Neil. Having read and re read Gmirkin I find his arguments well reasoned and fascinating.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by neilgodfrey »

StephenGoranson wrote: Fri Jul 01, 2022 7:29 am I haven't read it. I hope it gets reviewed.
You're in luck. I have been sent a review copy so it will be reviewed, no doubt in some depth.
StephenGoranson wrote: Fri Jul 01, 2022 7:29 amFwiw, I was not persuaded by some of his previous work, including Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch (2006).

. . . .

In 2006, iirc, he credited Berossus with inspiring the beginning of Genesis. Now Plato? Minimising Hebrew contribution?
You may be confusing other work by someone else, since Gmirkin introduced us to his thesis of the influence of Plato in 2016 -- in the only other "previous work" or book by Gmirkin.
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by StephenGoranson »

The "Now" in "Now Plato?" refers to Fri Jul 01, 2022 7:29 am, time of writing. I.e., added Greek writer.
I already gave a page number, Berossus page 2, quoted from previous online text, with reasons, more than once.
That did not satisfy you; it seems a safe bet that more would not satisfy you.
I used to have a complete photocopy of the Berossus book, which I made from a library copy.
I added my underlinings, annotations, evaluations, additional bibliography, etc.
In recent months I have been decluttering, so I recycled that paper.
I could walk to the library for it, but I have other things to do, and it's so hot.
I often read book reviews. Perhaps you--and anonymous others--may consider whether RG gave Hebrew Bible due consideration for being Hebrew.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by neilgodfrey »

I ask for evidence that supports your assertions and you say you will not give it because I would not be convinced by any of it --- presumably you do not think any other readers here will be convinced by it either.

I think a reasonable conclusion is that you cannot supply the evidence for the benefit of any interested reader here.
StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:03 am The "Now" in "Now Plato?" refers to Fri Jul 01, 2022 7:29 am, time of writing. I.e., added Greek writer.
I already gave a page number, Berossus page 2, quoted from previous online text, with reasons, more than once.
That did not satisfy you; it seems a safe bet that more would not satisfy you.
That's a tad unfair. You only said that there were "weasel words" on the pages but did not identify which words we were to identify as "weasel words" and nor did you argue for why they were "weasel words". Simply saying read page 2 for weasel words is not a rebuttal, certainly not an alternative argument.

(Though later you give us other excuses for not giving us the evidence so I do think you would provide it if you could!)

You wrote:

> I find the book unpersuasive, despite its frequent use of words such as
> "doubtless" in its string, thicket, of hypotheses and assertions. The bold
> thesis statement is restated later, but with various weasel words added (e.g.
> pages 21, 251, 253).

But that is not an argument at all. It is only a contrary assertion without any evidence to support it. All I asked for was one specific example of one element of his work in which you can fault him for unduly favouring a non-Semitic source over a Semitic one.

I checked my digital version for the word "doubtless" and did not see it used any controversial context. Can you show me one instance that I missed?

You also wrote:

> It is unclear, for example, whether the book settles on
> translation by the seventy or seventy-two proposed fluent bilingual visitors
> to the Library of Alexandria or "a single individual (or a very small group) as
> shown by consistent style and vocabulary."(251)

But when I consult page 251 I do not see that RG's point about a single individual or 70/72 is addressing a "thicket of hypotheses and assertions" at all. He is simply citing a well-known point, a truism, if you will, sourced from Jellicoe:
According to The Letter of Aristeas, the project initiated by Ptolemy II Philadelphus
took place in two distinct phases: the acquisition of a definitive Hebrew
text of the Pentateuch from Jerusalem and the translation of that text into Greek
at Alexandria. Pseudo-Aristeas confined the activity of the Septuagint scholars to
translation, but a simple translation of the Pentateuch from Hebrew to Greek
would hardly have required the efforts of seventy-two scholars. As is well known
from Septuagint studies, the Septuagint Pentateuch was actually the translation
of a single individual (or a very small group), as shown by consistent style and
vocabulary. 71
It follows that Pseudo-Aristeas's description of the Septuagint
scholars as translators cannot be taken at face value. . . . (pp 250f)


71 Jellicoe, The Septuagint and Modern Study, 56.
And you can read Page 56 of Jellicoe's book in Google books. I am in Thailand at the moment so my URL is to the Thai URL, so if the link does not resolve readily for you no doubt a fresh search will bring the same result:

https://books.google.co.th/books?redir_ ... &q&f=false

or how about a screenshot:
Screen Shot 2022-08-04 at 9.30.28 pm.png
Screen Shot 2022-08-04 at 9.30.28 pm.png (67.41 KiB) Viewed 121 times
StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:03 am I used to have a complete photocopy of the Berossus book, which I made from a library copy.
Was that legal? Would not a conscientious librarian ensure signs at photocopiers advising users of the copyright rules?

Is it wise to make such admissions on a public forum?
StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:03 amI could walk to the library for it, but I have other things to do, and it's so hot.
No problem.... you can access the book on Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/document/4763503 ... the-Date-o
StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:03 amPerhaps you--and anonymous others--may consider whether RG gave Hebrew Bible due consideration for being Hebrew.
Did you know that RG actually compares the Hellenistic source hypothesis, in detail, episode by episode, law by law, with related Semitic sources?

Forgive me, but your statement only suggests to those of us who have read RG's work that you have not read RG's actual arguments. I have posted on Gmirkin's works in depth: https://vridar.org/tag/gmirkin-berossus-and-genesis/ -- where I point out that RG acknowledges clear Semitic sources for the Hebrew Bible, and he compares these with other sources. (And https://vridar.org/series-index/russell ... rew-bible/)

You do not seem to know how RG presents his hypothesis and how he relates it to the case for Semitic sources.

You can provide no specific example of any particular argument of his that demonstrates why you found it "unpersuasive" or to support your claim in a single instance of RG unfairly downplaying Semitic sources. I am sure if you could you would love to do nothing more than demonstrate the specific evidence for your assertions.

Unfortunately, we have to accept that you had it all there but that the dog ate it.
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by mlinssen »

LOL!

You're being just a tad unfair now Neil, you know very well that all arguments behind Stephen Goranson's claims can be found on the internet
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mlinssen
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Re: Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts [Gmirkin]

Post by mlinssen »

Oh, I just now see that I ended up in the wrong section of ECW.
I have no horse in this race and will hurry back to the Christian section
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billd89
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Re: Corrections

Post by billd89 »

neilgodfrey wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:03 am ...
71 Jellicoe, The Septuagint and Modern Study, 56.

And you can read Page 56 of Jellicoe's book in Google books. I am in Thailand at the moment so my URL is to the Thai URL, so if the link does not resolve readily for you no doubt a fresh search will bring the same result:

https://books.google.co.th/books?redir_ ... &q&f=false

or how about a screenshot:

Screen Shot 2022-08-04 at 9.30.28 pm.png
fyi, generally for this kind of re-direct nuisance "... google.co.th/books?redir_esc=y&hl=th&id=Z_TiM53E32UC&q=style#v=onepage&q&f=false" problem bits are underlines and can be manually corrected in the address bar by typing "...google.com/books?id=Z_TiM53E32UC&pg=PA56".
mlinssen wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:58 am LOL!

You're being just a tad unfair now Neil, you know very well that all arguments behind Stephen Goranson's claims can be found on the internet
;)
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