Friday, August 11, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- is it an axiom or not?

The problem with DH is the pillar of Gd’s Name. DH says that elohim is Gd’s name in the E document. That means that when you find text that uses elohim you can assign it to E. It came from E. It got into its current position because the editor took that text from E and put it at its current position.
But in the 1970s CE, one scholar decided that use of elohim in the first aliyah of Genesis does not mark it as E. It is P. Why?
Because he said that its discussion of Shabbat could not have occurred until the Babylonian captivity with invention of the P text.
That conflicts with material in Amos and Hoshea. Both refer to Shabbat, and both of them died more than a century before the Babylonian captivity. Wellhausen states that it doesn’t matter what Amos and Hoshea said.
It matters a lot, unless there is evidence that Amos and Hoshea lived during or after the Babylonian Captivity, not centuries before it, or that the material attributed to them was invented during or after the Babylonian Captivity, not before it. In fact Sayce’s claim that Shabbat was a late invention was a misinterpretation of the evidence, as you’ll remember if you’ve been following this blog from the start.
In the last section I said that Biblical Hebrew had to be learned on the street because there were no grammar books.  It means that Amos and Hoshea do matter, because Amos the cowherd uses the same Biblical Hebrew grammar as the Torah.
Wellhausen didn’t have 21st century evidence about Semitic languages in general or Biblical Hebrew in particular. He was teaching at the time that Hermann Strack was publishing the Porta Linguarum Orientalium series with Delitzsch’s work on Assyrian. But that doesn’t mean Wellhausen read anything in either of Strack’s series (the other was Clavis Linguarum Semiticarum). He also didn’t have Sayce’s claims to mislead him; he had stopped publishing by that time.
If the writer from the 1970s did rely on Sayce, he doesn’t cite to him. He simply argued: P dates to the Captivity, it’s a work of ritual, so it must be the sole source of Shabbat, so the creation story must date to the Captivity.
You can see that this is another conjunction, and that the probability of each term is less than one. The conflict with the timing of Amos and Hoshea, and with the axiom of “elohim is from E”, suggests that its combined probability is low.
I’ll give more evidence later about problems with the “names of Gd” pillar. For now, there's more to say about the language issue in DH.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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