Re: higher criticism

From: George Murphy (
Date: Wed Oct 16 2002 - 22:44:19 EDT

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    bivalve wrote:
    > Whether harmonization or multiple sources seems more plausible will
    > generally be a subjective judgement, although the two are nto always
    > mutually incompatible.
    > > The 2 & 7 of every kind in the flood story<
    > 7 of clean kinds and 2 of unclean kinds does not seem to be a very
    > strained harmonization.

    "Two of every sort" (6:19) - not 2 of every unclean sort, no
    qualifications. Then in
    7:1-3, 7 pairs of every clean kind & 1 pair of every unclean. The standard
    harmonization is not really harmonization at all but simply reading
    the second passage
    in preference to the first.

      The chiastic structure thoughout the Flood
    > story supports a single source.

    No, it shows that there is a unity at the level of larger textual
    units. It does not
    show that the redactors who brought the text into its present form
    were not working with
    a text which originated from different sources.

    > >the Midianites & Ishamaelites of Gen.37:25-28<
    > The story of Gideon explicitly identifies Midianites as a subset of
    > Ishmaelites, indicating some flexibility in the latter term.

    This simply distracts our attention from the text in which the two
    groups are clearly
    different. Even if v.28 said "Then Ishmaelite traders passed by" it
    would sound odd &
    suggest two sources because it seems as if they hadn't been
    introduced before. _A
    fortiori_ when they are given different names.

    > >Moses' multiple ascents of Mt. Sinai<
    > Could you cite the specific ascents in question? Obviously coming
    > down, getting rid of the calf, and going back for a replacement copy
    > implies two ascents, but I vaguely recall additional ascent
    > references that provide much more of a challenge to harmonize.

    Exodus 20:21, 24:9, 24:15 & 32:30.
    > >E.g., the picture of Hagar carrying her 17 year old son through the
    > >wilderness is rather odd.<
    > A quick look at the passage failed to turn up mention of carrying
    > him. What verse do you have in mind here?

    Genesis 21:14-15. What impression would you get of the age of "the
    child" just from
    these verses? Note, e.g., "she" - not "they" - departed ...


    George L. Murphy

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