Re: [asa] JDEP

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Sun Sep 03 2006 - 19:59:16 EDT

At 09:33 AM 9/3/2006, wrote:

>In a message dated 9/2/2006 6:35:39 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> writes:

>"...One of the main reasons for dating the Mosaic Law to the fifth,
>or even fourth, century B.C. is the evolutionary theory. That is,
>religion was not advanced enough by this time to account for the
>high moral and ethical standards exhibited in the Mosaic Law.
>I always include references to scholars when I make significant
>statements. I provide title and page. Notice the text above. This
>text cites no scholars, we do not know where he gets this idea (one
>of the main reasons...?) or how he justifies his assumption that
>"religion was not advanced enough" (what does this mean?). ~ Rich

@ He provided extensive end notes and references linked throughout
the commentary. How did you miss them? Try again:
Here is merely one of the references: Introduction to the Old
Testament by R. K. Harrison

>Here is another snip from Colin Smith's piece from the url you
>provided: "Origen, and others of the Alexandrian tradition, favored
>an approach to Old Testament theology that saw the entire work as an
>allegory--beneath any Old Testament text there could be found, if
>one looked hard enough, an allegorical reference to a New Testament
>event or person. While such a Christocentric view of the Old
>Testament is certainly laudable, this approach did not show respect
>for the fact that the books of the Old Covenant were written within
>a historical context by historical figures." The concensus among
>historians and archeologists is that there were no patriarchs. ..~ Rich

@ Correction: "The concensus among historians and archeologists who
are biased in a certain direction is that.."

Before Moses

More: Jesus attributed the 5 books to Moses:

   ".....But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let
them hear them.' 30 And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if some one
goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 He said to him, 'If
they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be
convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'" ~ Jesus
Christ (] Luke 16:19-31 [)

>Genesis is entirely allegorical so Origen is not wrong. The books of
>the old covenant were not written within a historical context by the
>historical figures we think wrote the texts. Scholars no longer
>believe a version of the book of deuteronomy was "found" in the
>temple in the 7th century. That is when it was written. ~ Rich Faussette

@ Correction: "Scholars biased in a certain direction no longer believe..."

A Critique of the Late Date of Deuteronomy

It was noted earlier that, for the [fill in the blank] scholar, the
dating of Deuteronomy depends largely upon placing its origin during
the reign of Josiah (seventh century B.C.), and identifying it as the
document recovered during that time (2 Kings 22:8). Evidence for this
is supposedly found in the reforms of Josiah that followed the
discovery of this document that seem to reflect the Deuteronomic
legislation, in particular the centralization of Israelite worship in

The difficulties with this reasoning are plain from the text itself.
To begin with, nowhere does Deuteronomy make the claim that Jerusalem
is to be the central place of worship. Jerusalem is not named either
explicitly or implicitly. Moreover, one must question the assertion
that the concern of Deuteronomy is to centralize Israelite worship,
such that people could not worship elsewhere. As Harrison points out,
"The real force of the contrast in Deuteronomy 12 is not between many
alters of God and one, but between those of the Canaanites dedicated
to alien deities and the place where the name of God is to be
revered... the question is not their number but their character."58

It would surely be no strange thing for Hilkiah the priest to have
recovered the book of Deuteronomy. As is evident from 2 Kings, both
kingdoms had slipped more than once into apostasy, and it would not
be surprising to learn that the Mosaic law had been lost at that
time.59 The problem comes with then hypothesizing that this book of
the law was a recent creation by the hands of the prophets to force
Josiah's hand toward reformation. This is to read more into the text
than the text itself permits, and the subjective nature of such an
assertion is even more obvious when the presupposition of the
evolutionary nature of religion is stripped away. If the high moral
nature of the Deuteronomic legislation does not necessarily place it
at a late date, then there is no reason to suppose that Deuteronomy
cannot be Mosaic.

James Orr, writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, raises
some very simple yet compelling questions with regard to the [fill in
the blank] theory. For example, how could the priest present to the
king a book purporting to be of Mosaic origin when, so to speak, the
ink is still wet? Surely such a modern work would not have the look
of antiquity and the king, unless he was extremely dull-witted, would
not be deceived by such a clear forgery. Also, the text of 2 Kings 22
indicates an awareness of this book's existence, and the recognition
of its authority when it was read. If this book were a novel
invention, surely it would not have received such an eager hearing,
and be recognized as the book of the law?60

Moreover, as Orr correctly points out, scholars are not in agreement
on either the authorship of this work, or its date. Many, including
Wellhausen, Graf, Keunen, and Colenso, have no difficulty in
asserting that Deuteronomy is a "pious fraud": a book written at the
time of Josiah to provoke reform. Other, more [fill in the blank]
scholars, feeling the force of the "pious fraud" argument, wish to
give the work at least some sense of antiquity, so they push its
composition back to the days of Hezekiah or Manasseh. However, since
they have only their conscience as a basis for this, what is there,
apart from an allegiance to the evolutionary theory, that prevents
them from assigning its authorship to Moses, or at least to his
time?61 Also, if this work is a "pious fraud," is it one at the hands
of the prophets or the priests? Does it reflect a prophetic agenda
for moral reform, or a priestly agenda regarding the sanctuary, the
priesthood, and the centralization of worship in Jerusalem? Orr
suggests that the very fact that there would be a conflict of
interest indicates the unified nature of the work apart from either
the prophets or priests of Josiah's time.62

Against the theory of a seventh-century origin for Deuteronomy,
Harrison points out that Deuteronomy does, in fact, fit the situation
of Israel on the brink of entering the Promised Land. The Israelites
were about to enter a land that was under Canaanite rule, and the
influence of Canaanite religion would be strong. For this reason, the
Lord commanded Israel to destroy all traces of Canaanite worship, so
that the pure worship of the Lord would not be tainted by pagan
rituals (Deuteronomy 7, and 12, for example).63 The Deuteronomic
legislation is clearly preparatory (notice the language in 18:9;
19:1; and 26:1, for example). It is surely presumption to assume that
this cannot be the case; only by denying the supernatural and
asserting the evolutionary view could one doubt that this legislation
was given to Moses to establish the religious framework of the people
once they had settled in Canaan.

While it is possible that the reforms of Josiah were influenced in
part by provisions in Deuteronomy, the purpose of Deuteronomy went
well beyond the reforms of Josiah. As Harrison succinctly puts it,
"To set the matter in correct perspective it need only be observed
that the reformation of Josiah resulted in an abolition of idolatry,
and not in the establishing of a centralized sanctuary, the latter
having obtained since the days of Solomon."64 The suggestion that the
purpose of Deuteronomy was fulfilled in the reforms of Josiah surely
underestimates the scope of the Deuteronomic legislation, and
overestimates the scope of the reforms of Josiah.

A Critique of the Unhistorical Nature of the Patriarchal Narratives

Some of the initial objections to the assertions made regarding the
supposed unhistorical nature of the patriarchal narratives have
already been addressed in the discussion of the evolutionary theory
and the place of the supernatural. There is more that can be said,
however, of a positive nature regarding the general historicity of
the accounts of the patriarchs.

It is true to say that little is known of the patriarchs themselves
outside of the Scriptural record, and archaeology has not helped the
Biblical scholar on that front. However, archaeology has provided the
scholar with a wealth of information regarding the culture of the
early- to mid- second millennium B.C. Near East that enables us to
place the patriarchal narratives into this location and
timeframe. [snip] Continue here:

~ Janice

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Received on Sun Sep 3 19:59:49 2006

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