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On homosexuality, history and interpretation (formerly The Family Research Council is lying again)
seeker
Robert wrote:
Hi Seeker,

First of all, I definitely want to answer the post that you have written above. I will do this in the future as time permits.

Seeker wrote: Let me summarize and save you a little time Robert. You have presented two basic arguments.

1.) You have stated that any artifact should be automatically accepted unless it is proven to be a forgery.


Never! When an artifact is discovered, the archaeologist should:
1. Determine what it is.
2. Determine the date it was deposited by examining the surrounding context.
3. Run 14C and numerous other tests where applicable.
4. Surrender the artifact to an epigrapher or paleographer if an inscription is found.
5. Run a chemical analysis of the patina in the inscription.
6. I'm sure that there are many other things that I haven't listed.

If the above requirements are satisfied and peer reviews are undertaken that show no methodological flaws, the artifact may safely be labeled as "authentic." This does not mean that scientists are 100% sure that an artifact is authentic; it simply means that the positive evidence outweighs the negative.


Then you agree that attempting to use the Silver Scrolls as definitive proof is not warranted. You can't have it both ways here as I've shown, epigraphy alone is a very weak dating method. The confidence in an artifact like the Mesha stone is very high because it can be dated by several different methods including epigraphy, stratigraphy etc. That confidence cannot be regarded the same way with an artifact like the Scrolls.

To be honest, this seldom happens with a major discovery of an artifact. Chemical analysis of the inscription's patina also accompanies the interpretation by paleographers and epigraphers. Unfortunately, however, when an item is unprovenanced (as you are implying), we lose the archaeological context. In many cases (but not all) I would say that paleography, 14C tests and chemical analysis can sufficiently establish a date for an artifact and its inscription.


Your statement above is true but it is slightly disingenuous in this context. The Silver Scrolls are dated SOLELY on the basis of epigraphy. The is no confirmation from carbon dating, stratigraphy (because of potential site contamination) or any other method. The reason this seldom happens with an artifact is because no scientific study would use such a low confidence method as the sole method for establishing it as evidence.

I agree.


Good, I accept your concession.

The Silver Scrolls are accepted as authentic by the vast majority of archaeologists and paleographers. It is already listed in major publications (journals and texts) by leading scholars as dating to pre-exilic times. The proposition that it is a forgery has been completely dismissed.


You are contradicting your own statements above. I remind you that the concluding paragraph in your first argument in this very post was;

"If the above requirements are satisfied and peer reviews are undertaken that show no methodological flaws, the artifact may safely be labeled as "authentic." This does not mean that scientists are 100% sure that an artifact is authentic; it simply means that the positive evidence outweighs the negative."

Clearly this is not consistent with the notion that the possibility of it's being a forgery is 'completely dismissed'.

This is why I told you earlier that I couldn't scientifically prove that the Exodus from Egypt had occurred. I don't use archaeology in an improper way. Amihai Mazar (a secular humanist) respects my methodology. Mazar and Tov recently won Israel's highest award for scholarship.


LOL I have to admit, as unprovenanced claims go this one is pretty good. It makes you sound as though you converse with Mazar on a daily basis.

Mazar may be a secular humanist but that doesn't mean he doesn't have an ideology.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
seeker
JohnH wrote:
I have found, as far as that goes, some of Seeker's resort to outside agency weak. Confusion and debate in the dating of artifacts has no meaning in a discussion of their relevance. Excuse me, it has some relevance as to the provenance of the artifact and therefore its relevance, but it has no relevance as to the overall meaning of the artifact.


It's easy to get caught up in appeals to authority. My main purpose in this discussion is to show that there is no such thing as monolithic agreement among 'experts' when it comes to the physical evidence and that there is a lot of poor scholarship in this field because of the strong ideologies involved.

I said early on that the dating doesn't really matter because the meaning of the artifact id so highly debatable. The point though in bringing up dating is that EVERY aspect of this artifact is so highly problematic that it really can't be used to nake any real point without so many qualifiers as to make the whole point meaningless.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
Seeker, I understand your intent and do not disagree on a fundamental basis with it. I only point out that any discussion of the provenance of old artifacts real or forged misses an essential point. I have suggested that it does not matter and I will continue to do so. The actual date oral traditions are written down do not prove the truth of the oral traditions. They may prove that those traditions are old or not.
Edited by JohnH on 05/30/2010 15:40
 
Bob of QF
Robert wrote:
Why don't you change, Bob of QF? Read one book on ANE archaeology. Then, perhaps, we can have an actual discussion about the Bible instead of meaningless exchanges.


First? I'm not an atheist-- that is more of your quick-to-jump-to-unfounded "conclusion".

Again.

Second, in answer to your question about reading about "bible archeology".....

Why?

I have read the entire bible 100's of times. I have taken college-level courses on it's history, how it was constructed and so on.

As result of that, I have come to the conclusion that it's entirely a human fabrication; signifying nothing.

YOU, on the other hand, pretend it is a book with Magical Significance.

As result of this pretending, you refuse--utterly-- to consider anything that would prove otherwise-- you don't even let yourself think about it, let alone read anything in that venue.

Instead, you pick and choose carefully what you DO read-- you select with great precision ONLY those tiny fraction of items which feed into your pretending.

In short? You are both intellectually dishonest and mentally lazy.

And you have the irony to say *I* am "lazy"..... as if.

You banty about your pretentious "knowledge" on the bible as if it MEANS SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT.

Newsflash: it does not.

The bible is just a purely human-created book of fiction--- and 99% of it was deliberately fabricated to IMPRESS YOKELS into following the priesthood that fabricated it out of nothing.

NOTHING of the lame bible-apologetics that you have presented refute in the least, any of the above.

Nothing.

At the heart of the matter is this: the bible is fiction.

You cannot prove otherwise.

Pretending that it is NOT fiction is a waste of time.
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
Bob of QF
JohnH wrote:
Seeker, I understand your intent and do not disagree on a fundamental basis with it. I only point out that any discussion of the provenance of old artifacts real or forged misses an essential point. I have suggested that it does not matter and I will continue to do so. The actual date oral traditions are written down do not prove the truth of the oral traditions. They may prove that those traditions are old or not.


Emphasis mine:

Game. Set. Match.

End of discussion.

Rofl
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
seeker
JohnH wrote:
Seeker, I understand your intent and do not disagree on a fundamental basis with it. I only point out that any discussion of the provenance of old artifacts real or forged misses an essential point. I have suggested that it does not matter and I will continue to do so. The actual date oral traditions are written down do not prove the truth of the oral traditions. They may prove that those traditions are old or not.



John, we agree as I've said about five times now but I think you are gravely doing this conversation an injustice. The point I'm making is that he doesn't necessarily even have an oral tradition here.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
Seeker, I am somewhat confused. I find it hard to believe that anything written down at the times in question did not have some history as an oral tradition. Even, I would suggest, if it had to do with "legal" arrangements. I will admit I will not go back through the whole of the discussion. I still do not remember a mention of the written not being based on what existed. If it was based on what existed than it probably had a history of being in an oral tradition. I do not know this, I primarily surmise it from the times we are speaking of and the nature of the written things we know.

Perhaps you could suggest to me what you understand and where I may have misled myself. This is neither a challenge nor a suggestion I know more than you do, it is an honest question looking for understanding.
 
seeker
JohnH wrote:
Seeker, I am somewhat confused. I find it hard to believe that anything written down at the times in question did not have some history as an oral tradition. Even, I would suggest, if it had to do with "legal" arrangements. I will admit I will not go back through the whole of the discussion. I still do not remember a mention of the written not being based on what existed. If it was based on what existed than it probably had a history of being in an oral tradition. I do not know this, I primarily surmise it from the times we are speaking of and the nature of the written things we know.

Perhaps you could suggest to me what you understand and where I may have misled myself. This is neither a challenge nor a suggestion I know more than you do, it is an honest question looking for understanding.


You aren't completely wrong but there is a difference between copying something down and co-opting a concept for a completely different purpose. In the case of the covenant, for example, you have a concept that was very wide spread in the ANE of a land grant by a conquering king to his vassals. The Maccabees repurposed this concept, creating the notion of a nation granted their land by God as a way of claiming authority higher than that of the Greeks and later the Romans.

Prior to that period Judah was basically a Persian territory with beliefs and behaviors that were indistinguishable from other parts of the Persian Empire. That is why there were Jews spread throughout the former Persian Empire, The Persian religion simply came to be identified as Judaism as Persians protected themselves during the Greek era.

Rather than simply writing oral traditions the Maccabees were making subtle changes to take the oral traditions that were around and re-arrange them. A covenant by the King of Persia creating the territory of Judah becomes the Covenant from God granting the promised land to his chosen people, Plato's perfect society is transformed into pre-monarchic Israel, ancient legends about Sargon and other ANE heroes become stories about the mighty civilization of Israel.

This is lying on a grand scale, with versions of well-known stories twisted just enough so that they could still be recognized but the message changed. The bible is one great exercise in saying 'no the story you heard was wrong, it was really...' with claims of authorship that gave it authority as predating everyone else's writings. The oral traditions they copied were not even theirs for the most part.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
Seeker, thank you I now better understand the importance of dating. I will continue to think that the provenance of small parts like the apparent correct history of small parts of something that has readily provable falsehoods does not prove much. But that was clearly not the importance (at least to Robert) of acceptance of the exact dating. The silver scrolls being from 700BCE for example providing a reference to Yahweh that predates later references prove that the latter references were to an already accepted god. Ready arguments can be made against that reference proving much and if I remember correctly you already have.

An interesting side note. I made several google searches about the Maccabees, their bible and possible sources, and the general historical accuracy of the bible. I think that google either sorts by relevance or most visited sites. Regardless of the sort pretty much all of the sites shown on the first two pages were put there by believers. Even Wikipedia's entry on the Maccabees basically parroted the biblical story. I found that one particularly interesting.
 
seeker
JohnH wrote:
Seeker, thank you I now better understand the importance of dating. I will continue to think that the provenance of small parts like the apparent correct history of small parts of something that has readily provable falsehoods does not prove much. But that was clearly not the importance (at least to Robert) of acceptance of the exact dating. The silver scrolls being from 700BCE for example providing a reference to Yahweh that predates later references prove that the latter references were to an already accepted god. Ready arguments can be made against that reference proving much and if I remember correctly you already have.

An interesting side note. I made several google searches about the Maccabees, their bible and possible sources, and the general historical accuracy of the bible. I think that google either sorts by relevance or most visited sites. Regardless of the sort pretty much all of the sites shown on the first two pages were put there by believers. Even Wikipedia's entry on the Maccabees basically parroted the biblical story. I found that one particularly interesting.


Ultimately you are right John, those small scraps of verse aren't really proof of anything. Personally I like taking that next step to show how different traditions can generate verbiage that sounds as though it belongs to the OT but maybe that is just pedantry on my part.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
The inclusion of various traditions known from the time the bible was written is in fact an interesting discussion. I know that you are talking about specific phrases from the old testament, but even the new has plenty of examples. The tradition of rebirth is commonly known to have multiple predecessors.

This particular thread has probably wandered far enough afield already and maybe a new thread or three is required. Without a theist to discuss things with may cost any thread some interest.
 
seeker
JohnH wrote:
The inclusion of various traditions known from the time the bible was written is in fact an interesting discussion. I know that you are talking about specific phrases from the old testament, but even the new has plenty of examples. The tradition of rebirth is commonly known to have multiple predecessors.

This particular thread has probably wandered far enough afield already and maybe a new thread or three is required. Without a theist to discuss things with may cost any thread some interest.


That's precisely it though. The OT and the NT are both products of the cultural milieu of the time they were written. Old time biblical scholarship relied on a trope about oral tradition making the stories more ancient than they were but where is there any proof of the kind of culture that might produce that tradition.

Judah was a small and sparsely populated region for most of its existence with only two real exceptions, the era right after the Assyrians conquered Israel and the Hasmonean era and only in the Hasmonean era was there a literate culture. It makes no sense at all that the pre-Persian era Kingdom of Judah would independently come up with a fiercely independent religious system that just happens to correspond exactly with Achaemenid Kingdom era religious beliefs so really the most likely era for the development of the NT has to be the Hasmonean era.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
derF
I was of the understanding that the NT was a collection of stories (some very old) that were assembled sometime during the first half of the first millennium. At least I think that is what the documentary "Who Wrote the Bible" claimed.

Here's another account.

http://www.allabo...-bible.htm
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
seeker
That's pretty much what conventional wisdom maintained derF but when one looks for any evidence of an oral tradition from which to assemble the OT you run into serious issues. The biggest flaw in that theory is that in the few cases where it is thought that a ancient oral tradition might have been preserved there of a clear record of painstaking efforts to keep that record pure.

A great example is the Vedic chants that were supposedly used to preserve the oral tradition that underlies the Rig Veda. They go through a careful set of ritual chanting that requires exact attention to each word of the preserved tradition This is how they do it

Without some mechanism like that an oral tradition changes pretty quickly. There is no such tradition with the abramic religions, in fact the fidelity of copying even within the hundred years or so that the Dead Sea Scrolls cover shows a lot of copying variations making it highly unlikely for an oral tradition to have survived with any integrity.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Bob of QF
seeker wrote:
.... making it highly unlikely for an oral tradition to have survived with any integrity.


So.....what you are saying, basically, is that the claims of biblical antiquity are all .... horse-hockey?

As Lewis Black quipped:

"What the Jews are really good at, is ....

....

..... Bullshit"

Smile
Edited by Bob of QF on 06/07/2010 18:29
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
seeker
Sort of Bob.

They were competing with the Greeks, Romans etc all of whom claimed that their civilizations were very old and had stories of their origins. The Jews simply took the stories that were common around them and, by negating and 'correcting' created an ancient history for themselves.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Robert
Hi Seeker. How have you been? Here we are once again! Wave

I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to write, but I promise you that I haven't been idle. I thought our discussion on whether or not much of the Bible had been written during the Hasmonean Era was quite interesting. My conclusion on the topic remains the same, however. I am convinced that the vast majority of the Bible was written much earlier than approximately 150 B.C.E.

We explored three major avenues of inquiry bearing on the date of the composition of the Bible:
1. Dead Sea Scrolls and Letter of Aristeas.
2. The Silver Scrolls.
3. The Ivory Pomegranate.

In regard to the DSS and Letter of Aristeas, I have consulted the latest scholarship written by the foremost authorities in the field (especially Vanderkam; Tov; Freedman; and Cross). The work of these scholars confirm what I had previously written; namely, that several manuscripts of the DSS can be dated to the third century B.C.E. Further, the Hebrew Vorlage would obviously be dated much earlier than the Qumranic translations. This proves that major portions of the Bible were not compiled during the Hasmonean Era. This is the present state of Dead Sea Scroll scholarship.

I also checked additional sources relating to the Silver Scrolls. The standard archaeological textbooks do not deviate from the fact that this artifact was found in situ and dates both archaeologically and paleographically from pre-exilic times. The Israel Antiquities Authority even re-examined the Scrolls recently and declared them to be authentic for a second time.

As far as the Ivory Pomegranate goes, events surrounding this artifact appear to have come to a standstill. The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Museum along with eminent outside experts all came to the conclusion that the pomegranate's inscription alluded to the Temple of Yahweh. They disagreed among themselves, however, whether or not the object was real or a forgery. Yitzhak Roman later broke the stalemate by employing a scanning electron microscope to prove that the artifact was indeed ancient. Unfortunately, the director of the IAA has not yet responded to the latest finding. This does not really matter, however, since it is now clear that the pomegranate is ancient and the panel of experts have concluded that the inscription mentions Yahweh's Temple.

Undoubtedly, Seeker, you will disagree with almost everything that I have written. I am satisfied, nevertheless, that I have done a thorough job researching the latest findings on the DSS, Silver Scrolls and Ivory Pomegranate. In my opinion, there is very little left to say on this topic that has not already been discussed between us in the past.

For my part, I think I'll move on to other debates on this site that look interesting. We've probably butchered this topic to death already. Smile
Edited by Robert on 03/20/2011 17:54
 
seeker
Robert wrote:
Hi Seeker. How have you been? Here we are once again! Wave

...

Seeker, you will disagree with almost everything that I have written. I am satisfied, nevertheless, that I have done a thorough job researching the latest findings on the DSS, Silver Scrolls and Ivory Pomegranate. In my opinion, there is very little left to say on this topic that has not already been discussed between us in the past.

For my part, I think I'll move on to other debates on this site that look interesting. We've probably butchered this topic to death already. Smile


LOL, agreed.

The Hebrew Vorlage, for those who may not know, is essentially a reconstruction of what people think the LXX was translated from. Its essentially a made up document.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
seeker, because Robert responded to this, dare I say it, ancient history thread I actually reread most of it. I realized that many of my posts missed the point of the discussion that was going on between the two of you. I must apologize.

Although, I will say in my defense that it was a discussion that only the most fanatical of believers (not you seeker) would find important. Establishing when portions of the bible were first written proves nothing. The importance of this to believers ("biblical" scholars) proves more how shaky they feel the document is.

As a footnote it is interesting that all of the Wikipedia entries on the subjects that were discussed are clearly written by believers. The uncritical nature that is expressed for the provenance of various portions of the bible is almost shocking.

edited a second time for Roberts benefit.
Edited by JohnH on 03/21/2011 19:19
 
Robert
Hi JohnH,

Most of my evidence was drawn from nonbelieving scholars who are considered to be in the vanguard of their respective fields. Since I have nothing to hide, I will divulge their names and do my best to demonstrate that they have no religious affiliations. I will only do this, of course, if you ask. Believe me, there is no Christian conspiracy afoot. Smile

One final note. I would consider the elucidation of the date of the composition of the Bible to be an advancement of science. Certainly this quest would be worthy of the support of secular humanists, atheists and agnostics. This is probably why so many of these individuals are attracted to the field.
Edited by Robert on 03/21/2011 19:15
 
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