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ANAHITA  July 1997

ANAHITA July 1997

Subject:

Re: The age of the OT (response to Jim).

From:

Jim Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 14 Jul 1997 21:23:34 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (52 lines)

To Tilde Bingen,
   If you wanted this discussion to move off of ANAHITA, you should have made
a short reply on list and saved the long response for personal Email.
   Admittedly I wrote in haste, and thus inaccurately.  When I spoke of the
bulk of the Hebrew Scriptures as pre-exilic, I was not thinking of the texts
which date themselves to the exile and restoration.  However, I think Bingen
has presented a lop-sided view of European scholarship.
   You appealed to Eissfeldt, who is not recent, so I appeal to von Rad who
felt Deuteronomy dated to the reign of Josiah, and even the latest layer, the
"P" material, he believed contained extremely ancient material.  Also
Zimmerli felt the bulk of Jeremiah was pre-exilic and freely used Jeremiah as
a contemporary witness to Ezekiel (in spite of the fact that Jeremiah does
seem to have suffered significant post-exilic tampering).  Cogan and Tadmor
cleanly place Kings as pre-exilic, as does Jones.  Fox has demonstrated a
heavy dependence in Song of Songs to Egyptian love songs, a dependence better
suited to the monarchies than the post-exilic community.   Etc.
   Indeed, there is a problem in American scholarship, which I tend to read
into European scholarship.  Often in Biblical studies the scholar "proves"
independence from dogma by systematically choosing any option which attacks
dogma, thus leading to an inverse-fundamentalism.  (Classical studies has had
similar problems dealing with a variety of issues--both Classics and Biblical
studies raise VERY high emotions.)  Inverse-fundamentalism is about as good
for scholarship as fundamentalism (a term I am certain Bingen is misusing).
   Inverse-fundamentalism  especially describes the various, rather
ridiculous attempts to read "bet-Dawid" in the Tel Dan inscription as
something else . . . ANYTHING else.  That's fundamentalism.  Bingen speaks of
"dogmatic demands" of a religious community.  How about the dogmatic demands
of those desperately trying to empty historical materials of their historical
value?  Even an athiest or agnostic can find significant historical value in
the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures.  (Incidently, in the USA "Hebrew
Scriptures" is usually considered more polite than "Old Testament", as many
of our scholars are Jewish.)
   Perhaps the caution I request on the asherot inscriptions can be seen as
obscuritanist as the attacks on the "bet-Dawid" reading of the Tel Dan
inscription, but I don't think so.  We really don't know enough about the
asherah worship of the region to make firm conclusions.
Jim Miller

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