Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Kuzari: Deuteronomy Doesn't Validate the Sinai Revelation

Illustration by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld of Josiah hearing Deuteronomy read.

I am waaaay busy these days with work, dissertation, and teaching obligations, but I want to release some of the material I had already developed to answer the request of good Dovid Kornreich. Per this request, I agreed to provide greater detail about how the Sinai story began and developed.

This post will build on the last one and start to clarify the picture of Sinai. As a reminder: Sinai is not the whole of what the so-called Kuzari Principle is about. Rather, Sinai often serves as a representative example for Kuzari proponents, who apply Kuzari to argue that Jewish belief is trustworthy. Thus, they argue that Sinai must be true because such an event--a single divine revelation (theophany) before a nation of millions--could not be faked or invented. Whereas other religions claim private or semi-public revelations, thereby being open to fraud or error, Judaism claims that the entire nation of former Hebrew slaves witnessed God directly. At any time in the history of Jewish belief and tradition, the Kuzari proponent says, people could have discovered whether the story was false. A Jew could have asked her mother about the revelation. If the story were not true, the mother would have said "My mother and father never told me such a thing!"

The logical challenges to the Kuzari claim are many, as I have previously discussed at length. We have no good case at all for either divinities in general or divine-based explanations of actual phenomena. Kuzari-proponents offer no examples of either miracles or historically-verified events that are, like Sinai, too massive to have been false or mistakes. However, my biggest peeves with Kuzari and Sinai--and arguments involving them--involve imprecise terminology. I can be as guilty as anyone in using vague words; it's a common sin. But that's why we ask questions, and when we ask what Sinai is or what the Sinai story actually is, we get some interesting answers.

In this post, I am going to clarify what makes up the Sinai story and what doesn't. At the outset, I want to make sure we are distinguishing between the Sinai story, the report of a divine mass revelation, and the Sinai event, the historical phenomenon allegedly experienced by the nation of Israel immediately after their miraculous liberation from Egypt. My main concern is with the story, but the event is never far behind. Incidentally, we are not certain when the Sinai event could actually have occurred. Often, the date depends on the person telling you: I have seen dates (some with arguments) of 1313 BCE, 1250 BCE, 1446 BCE, and 2200 BCE. This range will have some importance a bit later.

Another caution, this time concerning the Sinai story itself. We need to be careful about identifying that which actually is the Sinai story and that which comments on and interprets the story. For this reason, I want to look at verses in Deuteronomy 4:9-40, where reference is made to the Sinai revelation. Here, we have a case where we are not--not, I say--given the Sinai story itself but are rather given commentary and interpretation on the story.
9. But beware and watch yourself very well, lest you forget the things that your eyes saw, and lest these things depart from your heart, all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children and to your children's children,

10. the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, "Assemble the people for Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.”

11. And you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire up to the midst of the heavens, with darkness, a cloud, and opaque darkness.

12. The Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of the words, but saw no image, just a voice.

13. And He told you His covenant, which He commanded you to do, the Ten Commandments, and He inscribed them on two stone tablets.

* * *

32. For ask now regarding the early days that were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from one end of the heavens to the other end of the heavens, whether there was anything like this great thing, or was the likes of it heard?

33. Did ever a people hear God's voice speaking out of the midst of the fire as you have heard, and live?

34. Or has any god performed miracles to come and take him a nation from the midst of a[nother] nation, with trials, with signs, and with wonders, and with war and with a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great awesome deeds, as all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

35. You have been shown, in order to know that the Lord He is God; there is none else besides Him.

36. From the heavens, He let you hear His voice to instruct you, and upon the earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire,

37. and because He loved your forefathers and chose their seed after them, and He brought you out of Egypt before Him with His great strength,

38. to drive out from before you nations greater and stronger than you, to bring you and give you their land for an inheritance, as this day.
Because this section does not tell the Sinai story but rather comments on it, what we are reading is a later interpretation. What is more, in this interpretation the Sinai story plainly serves as the ground for behavioral prescriptions and prohibitions such as those that fill the Torah from Exodus through Deuteronomy. Do this and don’t do that because of what you saw at Horeb/Sinai (note: Horeb is the name used exclusively in D, while Sinai is used exclusively in the J and E sources. Traditional religious commentators remark that the names signify different spiritual aspects of the place.).

Indeed, modern biblical scholarship locates the text in the section we’ve just seen with the D source. This source appears connected to the reign of Josiah, king of Judah (640-609 BCE), a religious reformer who reads the scrolls of instruction publicly (2 Kings 23:2), demolishes idols (2 Kings 23:15, 23:6,12), and makes Jerusalem the exclusive center of sacrifice. On the possible relation between D and Josiah’s reforms, biblical scholar Richard Elliott Friedman explains:
Josiah’s reforms are connected to instructions that are found in D; the narrative of Josiah’s making those reforms is told in terms and phrases that are typically found in D; and Josiah’s reforms are traced to the promulgation of a particular scroll, which is identified by the same words as the scroll that Moses writes in D. This interlocking chain of connections led to the extremely widely held view in scholarship that that the scroll that was read in Josiah’s day was D. There have been a variety of conceptions: It may have been just the law code that appears in Deuteronomy (chapters 12-26). It may have been the law code and some of the material that precedes and follows it. It may have been written earlier and then made public and authoritative in Josiah’s time. But there is little room for doubt that D is linked in some integral way to the reign of Josiah. (The Bible with Sources Revealed, p. 26)
Whatever the link between D and Josiah, the gap is anywhere from 670 to 1460 years between when Sinai is thought to have possibly occurred and when Josiah’s reign began.

Just think about the magnitude of that time gap, between 670 and 1460 years (about 24.5K days to 53.32K days). How confident are you in the accuracy of any modern report on something that allegedly happened between 670 and 1460 years ago (or, between 551 and 1341 CE)? How confident are you in the accuracy of a report that is itself dated from between the years 551 and 1341 CE?

Another thought experiment: If Josiah were your king and basically shared your religion, how comfortable would you feel telling him that your fathers never said anything to you about having stood at Sinai? How do you think he might respond to your clearing up his misconception? Josiah didn’t need the story to be factually true. He didn’t even need it to be believed. He needed it to be accepted; that is, he needed his favored reading to be accepted. I'm not saying he didn't believe it, but I am saying that he seems to have understood how to use some stories for political authority and power.

Let’s leave Josiah, then, by acknowledging that the D reference to Sinai is a later interpretation of the story: what is more, the reference does not validate the story. We thus have one data point in the development of the Sinai story. We know it was useful as a way to provide historical and religious context to Josiah and his ambitions. We still don't know how the story started or what, if anything, is true in it.

At this point, then, we are in much the same position with respect to Sinai as Kornreich is when he justifies his skepticism concerning other religious claims:

Religious ClaimKornriech's Response
Claim 1: Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of the Jewish God. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.I need to trust the account of 12 individuals who have not demonstrated any particular credibility.

I don't KNOW its not true, but there is insufficient evidence due to scant number of witnesses with questionable credibility.
Claim 2: Muhammad was the messenger of God, and the Qu'ran is the eternal and uncreated speech of God.Again, I don't KNOW its not true, but the claims give no method for verification. How do we know he is a prophet? Did he make true predictions? cause miracles?

How do we know it is a divine text? Did only one person receive it? Does it make true predictions?
Claim 3: Mahaguru Parthasarathy, and Indian man, proves the existence and divinity of Vishnu by being an avatar of the god.Same as #2--the claims give no method for verification. I need to trust the claim of an individual of unknown trustworthiness.

26 comments:

  1. Excellent post once again! I am starting to believe you should write a book about this topic. At lease an eBook.

    I love the way you show that the texts in Devarim are not really telling us that much and that the book is probably many centuries after the fact, disproving the whole notion we can have proof from within the Torah (a notion which somehow sounds awfully much like circular reasoning).

    Keep up the great work (although I know you haven't got much time on your hands).

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  2. Here, we have a case where we are not--not, I say--given the Sinai story itself but are rather given commentary and interpretation on the story.

    Please explain how the following verses you pasted from Deut. 4 are not reporting the event as it happened but are instead giving commentary:

    10. the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, "Assemble the people for Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.”

    11. And you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire up to the midst of the heavens, with darkness, a cloud, and opaque darkness.

    12. The Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of the words, but saw no image, just a voice.

    13. And He told you His covenant, which He commanded you to do, the Ten Commandments, and He inscribed them on two stone tablets.

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  3. "Please explain how the following verses you pasted from Deut. 4 are not reporting the event as it happened but are instead giving commentary."

    Deuteronomy 1-30 are essentially the farewell speech of Moses before his death.

    Interestingly, Moses is said many times to be speaking "across the Jordan," one of the early signs that led commentators to wonder whether Moses himself was the author (or conduit, as it were) of the Torah. These words reflect the perspective of an author who is in Israel.

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  4. Indeed, modern biblical scholarship locates the text in the section we’ve just seen with the D source. This source appears connected to the reign of Josiah, king of Judah (640-609 BCE)...
    ...Whatever the link between D and Josiah, the gap is anywhere from 670 to 1460 years between when Sinai is thought to have possibly occurred and when Josiah’s reign began.


    Indeed, it seems that modern biblical scholarship is woefully ignorant of the Jewish Bible.

    As I mentioned in the comments to an earlier post, The text of Deuteronomy is referred to by name in the Book of Joshuah-- which comes immediately after the five books of Moses. This is 700 years before King Josiah.
    Other books of the Bible before King Josia refer to the Torah Of Moses as well.

    Of course bible critics simply claim that King Josiah made up the text of book of Joshuah as well and inserted references to Deuteronomy in all the preceding books in order to make it authoritative.

    But once you start playing that game and assigning late authorship with fake early attribution to a book and to select passages in books-- simply in order to make a theory hold together, we are out of the realm of serious historical scholarship.

    If anything can be inserted later and falsely attributed, why do bible scholars take the passage about King Josiah finding a "lost" scroll of Moses in the Temple as historical? Maybe Ezra inserted those passages into the Book of Kings 200 years later-- and the gap between the Sinai event and its recording is now even greater?

    For more examples of Richard Elliot Freidman's faulty scholarship, please see this:

    http://www.dovidgottlieb.com/comments/Who_Wrote_The_Bible.htm

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  5. Deuteronomy 1-30 are essentially the farewell speech of Moses before his death.

    This fails to address the question.

    Moses goals for reporting the events at Sinai may not have been historical goals, but this does not render all that he said into "commentary" by definition!

    The words he uses in his farewell speech are words of a report.

    Interestingly, Moses is said many times to be speaking "across the Jordan," one of the early signs that led commentators to wonder whether Moses himself was the author (or conduit, as it were) of the Torah. These words reflect the perspective of an author who is in Israel.

    Please see above link for more of this:
    http://www.dovidgottlieb.com/comments/Who_Wrote_The_Bible.htm

    Friedman cites the objection that the phrase “across the Jordan” to identify Moses location presupposes that the writer was inside the land of Israel, since that phrase refers to the east side of the Jordan. However, according to the text, Moses never entered the land of Israel. Therefore, Moses could not have written that phrase. But the phrase "across the Jordan" is in fact used to refer to the east side of the Jordan even when the speaker himself is on the east side. See Numbers 32:32: "We will cross over ... to the land of Canaan, and our possession of our inheritance [of the land] [will be] across the Jordan." The tribes of Gad and Reuven are agreeing to fight to conquer Canaan and then return to the east side to live. And they make this statement while still on the east side. Nevertheless, they call the east side, where they are standing, "across the Jordan". Moses statement should be understood in exactly the same way. [B]

    My conclusion: Bible scholars like Freidman are ignorant of the Bible.

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  6. "Of course bible critics simply claim that King Josiah made up the text of book of Joshuah as well and inserted references to Deuteronomy in all the preceding books in order to make it authoritative."

    I am not aware of this claim or the evidence used to support it.

    Please note that neither REF nor I claim that Josiah wrote D. Here is the latter part of what I quoted from REF: "the scroll that was read in Josiah’s day was D. There have been a variety of conceptions: It may have been just the law code that appears in Deuteronomy (chapters 12-26). It may have been the law code and some of the material that precedes and follows it. It may have been written earlier and then made public and authoritative in Josiah’s time. But there is little room for doubt that D is linked in some integral way to the reign of Josiah."

    Is there any part of the quoted bit that you dispute?

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  7. "This fails to address the question."

    I disagree. The farewell speech is delivered after Sinai. The context of Deuteronomy establishes this quite clearly.

    I understand that my above point conflicts with the orthodox explanation, but I find that explanation incredible. It's like the Ptolemaic universe: you can still use it to explain what's going on up there, but you end up having to cover over so many exceptions that you wonder whether there isn't a better way.

    "The words he uses in his farewell speech are words of a report."

    Just so I am clear: where and when are you saying that Moses delivers his farewell speech? Where and when does the Exodus narrator deliver the events of the Sinai revelation?

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  8. We still don't know how the story started or what, if anything, is true in it.

    At this point, then, we are in much the same position with respect to Sinai as Kornreich is when he justifies his skepticism concerning other religious claims:


    Just for the record, the skepticism is satisfied for me by a number of claims and arguments made by Judaism that are not made by these other religions. It is these unique claims and arguments (The KP being only one of them) which sets Judaism apart.

    But just because you are not convinced by those claims and arguments which makes Judaism superior to these other religions doesn't mean I'm being inconsistent!

    I know you aren't claiming or even implying that I'm being inconsistent, but I just wanted to make it explicit. I'm not requesting that you clarify the post.

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  9. "Just for the record, the skepticism is satisfied for me by a number of claims and arguments made by Judaism that are not made by these other religions. It is these unique claims and arguments (The KP being only one of them) which sets Judaism apart."

    Understood. It's a good point.

    By the same token, my rejection of traditional Jewish claims about the existence of God, the historicity of Abraham, the deluges, and so forth are based on several different arguments and lines of evidence.

    The question at the end of all this is something like: "We disagree. We really, really disagree. We cannot seem to convince the other that he is wrong in his views. Can each of us live with this?"

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  10. Just so I am clear: where and when are you saying that Moses delivers his farewell speech?

    40 years after its occurrence. He was an eye-witness to the event and is reporting what he witnessed first-hand


    Where and when does the Exodus narrator deliver the events of the Sinai revelation?

    Anywhere between 120 days after the Sinai revelation and forty years after.
    I'm inclined to believe it was 120 days after because there are slight textual variants between the two versions of the Ten Commandments.
    If they were delivered to the people simultaneously, it would be a little awkward to explain the discrepancies.
    (Note that these two versions are not necessarily two versions of a single original text which was corrupted. The Talmud explains that it was a unique feature of God's speech which conveyed two messages simultaneously.
    If it is indeed a result of corruption as secular scholars no doubt claim, the lack of editing to unify such a basic foundational religious text such as the Ten Commandments is literally incredible--not credible. Of course this doesn't stop bible scholars from coming up with incredible ad hoc explanations about the glaring editing failures anyway...)

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  11. The question at the end of all this is something like: "We disagree. We really, really disagree. We cannot seem to convince the other that he is wrong in his views. Can each of us live with this?"

    Naturally, I disagree.
    :)
    I would put it this way:
    What do we consider a historically verified event? What sources/ scholarship criteria do we share, if any?

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  12. Sorry, I just noticed this:

    Is there any part of the quoted bit that you dispute?

    No, but you used that quote to somehow derive that there was some kind of vast gap between the date that the Deuteronomy report is claimed to have taken place and its first historical reappearance at the time of King Josiah.

    You use this gap as the punchline to the whole post: to reduce the historical reliability of the Deuteronomy text.

    I will quote your words:

    Just think about the magnitude of that time gap, between 670 and 1460 years (about 24.5K days to 53.32K days). How confident are you in the accuracy of any modern report on something that allegedly happened between 670 and 1460 years ago (or, between 551 and 1341 CE)? How confident are you in the accuracy of a report that is itself dated from between the years 551 and 1341 CE?

    This vast gap is falsified by the Book of Joshuah and all subsequent books of the bible that make reference to the Torah of Moses and/or its unique content.

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  13. "you used that quote to somehow derive that there was some kind of vast gap between the date that the Deuteronomy report is claimed to have taken place and its first historical reappearance at the time of King Josiah."

    No, this is not quite correct. The vast gap actually refers to the time between (a) the date of the Sinai revelation and (b) the time of Josiah's reign. As I say: "Whatever the link between D and Josiah, the gap is anywhere from 670 to 1460 years between when Sinai is thought to have possibly occurred and when Josiah’s reign began."

    This is indeed a long stretch of time, no matter when in history we try to locate Sinai. If the D source is approximately as old as Sinai (in which case I guess we would be talking about Deuteronomy itself), it was very very old even to Josiah. On the other hand, if the D source is composed closer to Josiah's reign, then one may legitimately question its grasp of facts from many centuries before. If the D source is some combination of near-Sinai and near Josiah--well, then we're in a real pickle.

    In all three cases above, we have reasonable cause for skepticism about what the D source reports. That's why independently corroborating evidence is vital. Without such corroboration, why should anyone believe the literal truth of a statement such as "The Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of the words, but saw no image, just a voice"?

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  14. This is indeed a long stretch of time, no matter when in history we try to locate Sinai. If the D source is approximately as old as Sinai (in which case I guess we would be talking about Deuteronomy itself), it was very very old even to Josiah.

    I'm just not following you. Why are you harping on Josiah all the time? Why not harp on Joshuah or any of the other Jewish leaders in the Bible before or after Josiah who also were on record to have made reference to the Torah of Moshe and exhorted the people to follow the directives of Deuteronomy?


    In all three cases above, we have reasonable cause for skepticism about what the D source reports. That's why independently corroborating evidence is vital.

    To repeat, why isn't Joshuah chapter 8 capable of independently corroborating Deuteronomy's existence and acceptance?

    Without such corroboration, why should anyone believe the literal truth of a statement such as "The Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of the words, but saw no image, just a voice"?

    Um, I would say the Kuzari Principle justifies it, but I guess that would be begging your historical question. So I won't say it.
    :)

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  15. "Why are you harping on Josiah all the time?"

    Josiah serves as a historical point of reference. I mentioned Josiah in my comment to clarify the point of the "gap" that had come up in an earlier comment.

    "To repeat, why isn't Joshuah chapter 8 capable of independently corroborating Deuteronomy's existence and acceptance?"

    Because the Deuteronomist composed the Book of Joshua, too. At least, that's the hypothesis of Deuteronomistic history: http://web.campbell.edu/faculty/vandergriffk/INTDtrH.html

    "I would say the Kuzari Principle justifies it."

    The principle, if that term applies, offers a reason for thinking that the Sinai story and/or the Torah might be (all or mostly) true. However, it also assumes a continuous oral and written tradition, and a stable tradition at that. Can that continuity and stability be assessed?

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  16. Because the Deuteronomist composed the Book of Joshua, too. At least, that's the hypothesis of Deuteronomistic history: http://web.campbell.edu/faculty/vandergriffk/INTDtrH.html

    Aha! I knew it!

    Surely you realize that Biblical Scholars also claim that the scribes in the time of Josiah fabricated Deuteronomy itself! They ARE the Deuteronomists!
    I quote from the excerpt of this book posted on my blog:
    http://www.amazon.com/Scribal-Culture-Making-Hebrew-Bible/dp/0674032543/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291696585&sr=1-1

    The scribes of the Torah Edition thought of Deuteronomy as a book containing a revelation, and they put their conception in the mouth of Moses.
    Though allegedly written by Moses, the Book of Deuteronomy did not see the light before the reform of Josiah in 622 b.c.e.; the story of its spectacular discovery in the temple is an invention designed to convey a false aura of antiquity.



    SO if you are going by Deuteronomistic hypotheises, you accept the theory that the FIRST appearance of Deuteronomy was at the time of Josiah, correct?

    But how do you know? Maybe the incident of Josiah finding the scrolls itself was made up by Ezra 200 years later? Once you open this pandora's box of fake attribution, you can't claim to know anything about when Deuteronomy first appeared in history.

    This was the point I was making earlier.

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  17. "Surely you realize..."

    Yes. Indeed, it's an argument, not just a claim. That means the claim has both evidence and logic behind it. People don't need to accept every argument they hear, of course. Neither do they need to accept every aspect of an argument.

    As to when Deuteronomy itself first appears in history, I tend to follow that argument from Friedman I quote.

    "But how do you know?"

    We know through observation of the evidence and through testing hypotheses. Reconstructing the textual history of Deuteronomy and the possible realities described in it is inexact, at best.

    The reconstructions put forward have both data and convergence of data supporting them. Hence, they are relatively credible. Let me stress again that the reconstructions need not be accepted 100% to be seen as serious and credible attempts to deal with the evidence we have.

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  18. Perhaps the following quote from Friedman will clarify some matters: "D [i.e., the D source] is part of a longer work, known as the Deuteronomistic History (Dtr), which includes the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 kings. Dtr contains sources that are as old as J and E or possibly even older, but the formation of the work took place in the reign of King Josiah of Judah, circa 622 BCE. It was later extended into a slightly longer second edition; this took place during the exile that followed the destruction of the southern kingdom of Judah by Babylon in 587 BCE" (p. 5, emphasis added).

    The above is clearly not a claim that "the scribes in the time of Josiah fabricated Deuteronomy itself."

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  19. We know through observation of the evidence and through testing hypotheses. Reconstructing the textual history of Deuteronomy and the possible realities described in it is inexact, at best.

    The reconstructions put forward have both data and convergence of data supporting them. Hence, they are relatively credible.


    I'm interested in going all the way with you on this one. To me, this is the heart of the dispute

    Please specify (in future posts, perhaps) 1) the observed evidence and 2) tested hypotheses
    which reconstruct the textual history of Deuteronomy-- which do not commit logical fallacies. Namely: of assuming the conclusion at the outset. Meaning they do not initially view the evidence through the prism of the conclusion.

    I have yet to come across such fallacy-free evidence and hypothesis testing in Biblical scholarship.

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  20. Dovid,

    I'm not sure I understand what you are asking me to do. For clarification, can you point me to a specific example where "they... initially view the evidence through the prism of the conclusion"?

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  21. Dovid, I hope you'll be able to answer my question above and help me out.

    You raise an interesting question, though: what the observed evidence is.

    I'd like to deal with this in a separate post. Be on the look-out for it.

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  22. Well, the splicing of the Sinai event into three different accounts based on the different names of God and other subtle textual cues is already assuming each name of God must represent a different document.
    It fails to first establish why it is not equally plausible that a single author is invoking multiple names of God to convey multiple theological nuances through the text.

    Another example is the attribution of the Book of Joshuah to "the Deuteronomist" himself and not to a historical Joshuah-- simply because it refers to the text of Deuteronomy which scholars (somewhat arbitrarily) date to the time of King Josiah.
    They fail to establish why it is not equally plausible that there was a historical Joshuah who wrote his own book.

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  23. I'm not sure I understand what you are asking me to do. For clarification, can you point me to a specific example where "they... initially view the evidence through the prism of the conclusion"?

    What are the "three separate accounts" of the Sinai event based on? Is it not assuming that each name of God represents a different document?
    You have failed to establish why it could not have just as easily been a single account with use of different names of God to convey certain subtle theological nuances.

    Why must the book of Joshua been written by "the Deuteronomist" himself? Just because it refers to the book Deuteronomy by name and continues where it left off?

    But what's wrong with the straightforward assumption that the book of Joshuah was written by a historical Joshuah in chronological order after Moses finished writing Deuteronomy?
    Doesn't that more easily explain the references to Deuteronomy?

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  24. I'm sorry I posted twice. I didn't notice that the comments were being moderated and I thought the first comment was lost.
    Any reason for the switch?

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  25. "Any reason for the switch?"

    After 10 days, all comments automatically become moderated. I've found this helps eliminate spam.

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  26. Dovid,

    I'll reply to your last comments in a separate post.

    Thanks!

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Feel free to comment if you have something substantial and substantiated to say.