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Thread: Interesting

  1. #16
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    I have a copy. I use it as my English reference.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post that time had not solidified within Hebrew, and there wasn't even an alphabet, archeology and philology suggests, until around the 10th century BC. If there was no alphabet, and no written language...
    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Okay, it's impossible to prove a negative, but before you make the case that the preponderance of circumstantial evidence suggests the was no written language at the time please consider the following:

    Ancient Hebrew alphabet is a descendant of Phoenician alphabet which is turn traces its roots back to an Egyptian hieroglyphic form of witting. These early alphabets and writing systems existed at the time that the early books of the Bible claim to be written. You tend to make it sound as if written in general was non-existent but the best you could possibly assert is that the Hebrew alphabet as distinguished from its predecessors did not yet exist. And of course it is unheard of for a language to borrow an alphabet to record its language.

    Secondly, with regards to the changing of language, this tends to support not only the claim that the early books of the Bible were written early, but also that there was a tendency to preserve and not emend (even cosmetically) the original text. Vowel letters originally were understood so that in the Pentateuch it is very uncommon to find a holem for which the vav is provided. This practiced changed over time and lo and behold--the texts and books which claim to be written later have far more vowel letters. Also in the Post-exile prophets some influences of the Aramaic language (which is a later language) begin to appear. Add to this the fact the that Job describes an apparently ancient time and is written in linguistically archaic Hebrew and it seems to me that the linguistic evidence sides with the text over the scholars as to when the Bible was written.

    Finally, in the Bible Moses is described as having been raised in the upper classes in Egypt for forty years. You must deny this in order to make the assumption that he was the unlettered leader of an unlettered people. That is not a denial I am comfortable making.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    I'm not going to argue. I'd rather not be banned than debate with someone who wishes to debate without debating.
    I apologize if I come across as hostile or whatever I may come across as, but I have tried to engage in particular points of your comments. You must also grant that it is a sweeping topic that might benefit from dealing with specific points rather than broad generalities.

    Also, while I may be guilty of unsupported assertions, I am not alone. You have referenced little but the unspecific, vast clamor of all true scholars. My efforts will at very least try to show that the voice of scholarship is not nearly as uniform as some may think.

  3. #18
    Registered User Orionsbelt's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. - Mark Twain

  4. #19
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Look Phoenician hadn't even solidified by the projected date of Composition. There is no historical evidence to suggest that there was even a phoenician alphabet to trace the Hebrew one from by circa 1700 BCE or before (the book of Jubilee gives the date as 2733 after creation). Have you ever looked at hieroglyphs as a language though? As a written form, they are as different as English is to Japanese, as written Biblical Hebrew is to them. First of all, they are for the most part pictographs, and the narrative structure isn't nearly the same as the phonetic based language of Hebrew. Second of all, in terms of the way they are written, I don't think they even had as many characters to convey what is in the bible.

    Assuming that a proto-hieroglyph Torah may have existed, you still cannot justify the fact that the book must have gone through drastic revisions, in the sense that if you assume an Aramaic New Testament existed, you must accept that Aramaic and Greek are completely different languages, and therefore an extensive translation must have modified something, especially since the Greek is so heavy in Greek rhetoric, which, from my understanding, didn't exist in written Aramaic around the time.

    Lets be honest - there is all the evidence to support the fact that the Torah and all the other books were composed at later dates, though enough evidence to suggest an oral version in circulation before the emergence of the written form. I don't think there is much room for arguing, when quite simply, the language itself didn't exist in writing. No document in Hebrew exists from that time period. No form of writing. How then could a book as styled as the Bible been a) come to being, and b) been understood by the people, and c) read by the people. Unless you suggest it came down as a relic, hidden within the Ahron HaKodesh with the Tablets too, I don't think there is much room. Unless of course we are going even further to suggest God gave the power of some to read the text, which cannot be found, and had no basis in language. If that is so, who, and why does the Bible not mention such a thing? Was it Joshua? Moses could not have, otherwise he couldn't have penned the last sentence? Was it someone else? Even Joshua, or the first generation of prophets could not possibly be literature in Hebrew, and doubtedly were literate in any language, assuming they existed. Are we to suggest they too had a divine given insight?

    But there is more to it - the vast changes that occur to language over time, especially in places where foreign influences keep coming in and changing things. One merely needs to think of Latin, and how it forged so many numerous languages over 1000 years to get the picture. Are we to say that the written language didn't change over this time, as undoubtedly the spoken one did? If so, wouldn't that imply that the written language needed to be formed fully and understood? If so then, wouldn't that also imply that many people would need to understand it? You see where I am going?

    I wouldn't doubt that even within the small Hebrew community, even regional dialects had evolved over the period of time. I bet the people in the north, subject to Assyrian amongst other influences, probably spoke a different language than those to the west, who undoubtedly inherited something from the various sea invaders. And they too probably were different than those to the south, who probably picked much up from Egypt.

    Perhaps every tribe had their own dialect, perhaps certain cities? Language, when there is no written, is not able to cover space well, as has been shown numerous times in many historical situations. In a climate as Ancient Canaan, where things were changing daily, and influences coming from everywhere, undoubtedly a single strand of language would not have lasted long, if the bulk of the population were illiterate.

    Quite simply though, oral traditions, though unable to manipulate space as well as written, can however maintain time better. A story within an oral context is given higher significance, and can transfer down better. That is how Homer arrived in Hellenistic Alexandria, and Beowulf managed to make it into a manuscript. Quite simply, culturally significant events, and that which is esteemed within a society seems to be more lasting when not written down, as its constant usefulness is put to use, and modified to fit the change of climate and language.

    We have Native American stories going back as far as the crossing of an icebridge to come to the new world - how can one explain such a thing as that? Clearly the oral has a strong knack for staying.

    Or take a much more current example - Poland disappears for over a hundred years from the map of the world. Was there any doubt about the existence of Poland to the Polish people at this time? Did Poland really not exist? The text itself of the Bible may not have existed as a text, but as an organism, it was able to sustain far more by not being written down, as it was able to bend and change with the language and situations around it.

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