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Author Topic: Ornery U - History of Judaism
Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Jesse:
Only on turf "given by god" to Jews, and only in a conflict involving a Jew, neh?

No -- you're probably thinking of Muslim metalaws and dhimmihood; I'm talking about something quite different. Chabad says that they do no "proselytize" to Gentiles, but has essentially created a separate religious caste for Gentiles who follow Chabad's interpretation of the Noachide laws. (Obviously I don't think there's anything wrong with proselytizing). Chabad does not refer to such converts as Jewish but as "B'Nai Noach," literally sons of Noah. (which we all are, literally, if you read the Noah account literally as referring to a global flooding rather than as a flooding of the world known to the writers at the time).

The way I've seen Chabad folks frame it (not on this forum) is that G_d only expects Gentiles to fulfill these seven laws but Chabad need to interpret G-d's for us, otherwise we might not realize that Christianity and Islam are idolatrous, etc.

Outside Chabad, Jews differ on whether Christians and/or Muslims can be justified under the seven Noachide laws. IIRC Mamoides said that Islam was technically OK under Noachide laws, and that Christianity was more iffy but still probably OK. He also said that he was more comfy with Christianity than Islam because we gave more respect to the Torah even though we didn't observe parts of it.

The muslim dhimmihood metalaws that you're talking about construct a bizarre sort of hierarchical pluralistic theocracy, where Christians have their own courts for inter-Christian conflicts, Jews have their courts for inter-Jewish conflicts, but if a Muslim is involved then you have to go to the Muslim courts.

In contrast, Chabad's B'nai Noach hold all the same *beliefs* as Chabad Jews. They simply operate under a substantially less restrictive set of rules.

I warmly invite the experts to correct/clarify/expound on anything I've said here, particularly if we have any Chabad folks in the house.

[ February 22, 2008, 06:37 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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RickyB
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Islam is not idolatrous according to any Jew. Wrong, heretical, but not idolatrous. Christianity is.

Carlotta - I think Lisa answered your questions, and some of what I began to wrote down got erased, so only later today will I be able to jot down a brief history of the Messianic idea (one of three things Judaism gave to the world).

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Islam is not idolatrous according to any Jew. Wrong, heretical, but not idolatrous. Christianity is.

Ricky, I'm no expert on Judaism by any stretch of the imagination, but as far as I have seen, to say that "X is not Y according to ANY Jew" is incorrect per se. There are an awful lot of Jews out there, Ricky, and from my experience that means an awful lot of diverse opinions. [Big Grin] In that light, I suspect there's at least one Jew out there that agrees with me that there's some of element idolatry in the belief that setting a Koran on a television somehow blasphemes G_d. If I went out and found one, perhaps you might say that he was no longer a Jew. But then you would argue with him or her about the matter, and then go for cofee together without me. Neh?

[ February 23, 2008, 03:38 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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RickyB
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There is no serious Jewish authority that would argue that Islam per se is idolatrous. Certain attitudes among certain Muslims? Sure. I mean, much of the rest of orthodox Judaism thinks that Chabad as it is currently, is dangerously close to idolatry.
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RickyB
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OK, let's try a brief (Ed to add: Hah!) timeline of the messianic idea.

First, it's important to realize that the very existence of Judaism and Hebrew nationhood is based on the notion of deliverance, or salvation if you will. I am referring of course to the exodus. When taken in that light, you will understand why I say (and the sages tend to agree) that the prototype for the messiah is Moses. He may not have won many primaries with the s-s-s-speech imp-p-p-pediment, but he combines both the prophecy aspect and the mundane leadership aspect.

Next in the evolution of the idea you have the judges, divinely inspired heroes who save the people from a foreign oppressor. At this point there is little "morality" to the concept, except that the leader had to be (initially at least) faithful to god and his laws. The most important law in these stories is the one concerning idolatry, rather than inter-human relationships. However, the biblically informed will rightly point out that there are vignettes of advanced ethics in many of the judges episodes.

This trend continues in the early kingdom period when a "man of god" rebukes Jeroboam for the sin of idolatry.

The first change in the morality of the prophets appears with Elijah. He too, of course, is majorly concerned with idolatry and the struggle for religious supremacy, but is also famous for rebuking the king for injustice (yes, Nathan does this too, but it's different).

Anyway, Elijah is somewhere in the mid-9th century BCE. a hundred years or so later we already have Amos and Hosea, in the northern kingdom of Israel, heavily into social injustice (Israel was far more idolatrous than Judah, so they're on about that as well), and also talking about the end times, about a cataclysmic event after which nothing will be the same, and all the unjust will be punished. This is somewhere between 750-800 BCE.

Hosea is the first (that we know of) to explicitly introduce the notion of an individual messiah, saying "Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel."

A bit later comes Isaiah, (725ish-675ish BCE) who is he first heavy hitter of Messianism. It is important to note that many researchers believe that when Isaiah is talking about "a child shall be born to us" and "a scion from the stalk of David" he's not raphsodising about a far-off future, but referring to current events and specific contemporary figures, such as King Hezekiah.

Be that as it may, Isaiah's importance is in the scope of his Messianic vision. Also the universality thereof. The golden age to come after the apocalypse will explicitly include all nations "and on that day... blessed is my nation Egypt, blessed is my nation Assyria". The temple in Jerusalem will become the spiritual center of all people, and the source of justice and benevolent rule. It's not "in the end times we'll kick everyone's ass". This is an incredibly advanced sort of thinking for the time.

A hundred years after Isaiah, between 620-580 or so BCE, you have Jeremiah, who continues in Isaiah's universalist bent. You also have Habakkuk, who is kinda cryptic (so much so that the dead sea cults had a scroll called "Divining Habakkuk".)

Several decades later, Ezekiel, already prophesying in a post-destruction Judaism, is still on about a still greater cataclysmic war, which he calls "the war of Gog and Magog", and which eventually dovetailed into what we now call "Armageddon", so named after a geographical detail in St. John's colorful trip. Ezekiel is also the first to introduce, if only metaphorically at this time, the notion of the resurrection of the dead.

After Ezekiel you have the ones that are erroneously called the "last prophets" - Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, spanning the late 500's and early 400's BCE. These sort of revert to the "hyping a concrete candidate" mode and are believed (if you believe the premise to begin with) to refer to Zerubabel, leader of the early return to Judah during the reign of Cyrus.

Speaking of Cyrus, he is believed to have been regarded by the contemporary leaders of Judaism as something of a Messiah.

Ok, this is long and I have other crap to tend to. I'll do the 2nd temple part (where the whole Messianic thing really picks up, of course) later.

[ February 23, 2008, 05:15 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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RickyB
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OK, Messianism, part II:

OK, we lef toff with Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, who prophesied during the dawn of the 2nd temple era. As mentioned, many researchers bellieve they, like some earlier prophets, were hyping a concrete candidate with their talk of an individual savior. If so, we know that like in the earlier instances, it didn't pan out. But rather than renounce the prophesies as having been incorrect, Judaism recalibrated their time frame and intent.

Whether or not you subscribe to this theory, it's undeniable that one of the major dynamics of messianic thought is the tension between the "someday" approach and the "here and now" approach.

Ok, so following the dreary reality of the return to Zion, better than exile but not at all glorious, the messianic idea goes to "someday" mode. However, the messianic subject becomes ever more central in Jewish literature. Much of what is known as the Jewish apocrypha, books such as Ben Sira, Tobias and others deal heavily with the figure of the Messiah, and provide clues as to how to recognize him.

Now, here we come to a major bone of contention between myself and, for example, Lisa. Lisa believes that the oral torah existed, largely if not wholly intact, right from Mount Sinai. I of course do not. Lisa also denies what I'm about to discuss:

The return of the Jews from exile in Babylon caused the first and perhaps deepest rift in Judaism. First of all, poor mountain Jews who were apred the exile were rejected and not allowed to be part of the reborn nation.
Second, major theological changes were undertaken: The calendar was changed from a solar one to a lunar one, most probably under Babylonian influence.
The names of the months were changed from original Hebrew ones to Bayblonian ones
The ancient Hebrew script was abandoned in favor
And last but not least a slow, cautious process was begun of a) collecting various scriptures into a single canon and b) interpreting and adapting the torah to changing conditions. These changes were introduced by Ezra, who also instituted a whole bunch of other more minor ones and was basically second only to Moses in his impact as law-giver to the Jews.

Now, this process was not universally accepted. various groups found themselves pushed to the margins of Jewish society and thought. The best known of these, authors of the Qumran scrolls, were priesthood-based, deterministic in outlook and positively obsessed with the end times, after which only the righteous would be left standing (they, unlike Isaiah and Jeremiah, were not universalists). This process is still embryonic, sparked by the various symbolic changes noted above. It will be much accelerated in the 3rd-1st centuries BCE. Right now we're still in the mid-late 5th.

It is important, however, to note that those changes weren't just symbolic (things rarely are), and signified a shift from a timeless, unchanging religion (as exemplified by the solar calendar, in which holidays always fell on the same day of the week), to a religion based on human observation and adaptation (as exemplified by the lunar calendar, which requires (used to, originally) the human observation of the new moon).

At this point, the shift of power from the priests is still minimal, and the "Grand Knesset", the new high council set up by Ezra, is invariably led by the high priest.

All this is about to get seriously shaken up due to a pretty boy from the mountains of northern Greece. That's in part 3 - the Hellenic era. Later.

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Jesse
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Ah, ok, I misunderstood what you were driving at, Pete.

My comment was in regard to my understanding of the law in Israel between the return from Captivity and the Greeks, and from the Macabees to the Roman Occupation.

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RickyB
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Carlotta, before I go on with my harangue, is this helping you any? [Smile]
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
a brief history of the Messianic idea (one of three things Judaism gave to the world).

The other two being the polio vaccine and 1970s NBC programming?

[ February 23, 2008, 08:49 PM: Message edited by: starLisa ]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
After Ezekiel you have the ones that are erroneously called the "last prophets" - Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, spanning the late 500's and early 400's BCE.

Why "erroniously"?

And without going point by point, what Ricky has given here is definitely not something any Orthodox Jew would agree with.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Why "erroniously"?"

cuz i comes after e?

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Lisa also denies what I'm about to discuss:

True that.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
The return of the Jews from exile in Babylon caused the first and perhaps deepest rift in Judaism. First of all, poor mountain Jews who were apred the exile were rejected and not allowed to be part of the reborn nation.

What Ricky is referring to is the fact that the Samaritan tribes who were brought into the northern parts of Israel by the Assyrians after the Assyrians had exiled the local populace (a practice well known from Assyrian inscriptions, as well as described in the books of Kings and Chronicles) wanted to participate in the rebuilding of the Temple. See, they'd semi-converted to Judaism when they got to the land, because they believed you should pray to local deities. Of course, they also worshipped polytheistically. Because of this, they weren't accepted by the Jewish community which returned from Babylon. The result was that they did everything in their power to harm us.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Second, major theological changes were undertaken: The calendar was changed from a solar one to a lunar one, most probably under Babylonian influence.

There's no indication that there was ever a solar calendar in Israel. The Babylonians, like the Jews, used a lunar calendar with intercalated months that kept the lunar calendar in sync with the solar one.

Needless to say, the rest of Ricky's story of mutation in the development of Judaism is a story which was created approximately 200 years ago, by scholars who felt the need to come up with an alternative explanation for where the Jews and the Bible came from, since the one they had at the time was a bit too "religious" for their tastes.

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hobsen
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Thanks for the link to the Hatrack threads on Judaism, Lisa. I particularly liked the person who solemnly explained that a girl who had her tongue pierced might not be able to be married in a Jewish cemetery. The customs of Orthodox Jews are certainly peculiar.

Or perhaps not that peculiar. For your general information, Ronald Reagan married Jane Wyman at Forest Lawn cemetery in 1940. Perhaps you knew that, but I did not, and the whole subject brightened my day.

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starLisa
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Wha-huh?
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hobsen
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Sorry, Lisa, I was joking. The person meant to say "buried" rather than "married," and it was later explained the information was wrong anyway. But I really enjoyed the mental images of such a ceremony. The Reagan detail is fact.

[ February 23, 2008, 09:54 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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Carlotta
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Ricky - my parents are watching our kids tonight and we're painting the baby's room so I'll have to read your post tomorrow. I'll be sure to ask any clarifying questions though, and thanks for taking the time to post all that!
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RickyB
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"What Ricky is referring to is the fact that the Samaritan tribes"

No. I'm talking about the remnants of Judah and Benjamin. Says so right in the text of Ezra. Why would he call them that if they were just more Samaritans? He knew that word. He used it too when needed. These are different people.

As for no solar calendar - Professor Rachel Elior of Hebrew U. would beg to differ, and she has the books and research to back up her views. You can believe that it was the dead sea priests who both came up with the solar calendar (which there can be very little doubt, fro their own texts, that they followed) on their own, AND convinced themselves of a non-existent past where it was the calendar of all the Jews/Hebrews. I find that view unsatisfying in light of Occam's razor. I also find it impossible to believe that contrary to all human nature and historical dynamics, Judaism didn't evolve but was born intact, like Athena, pretty much as we know it today. Things don't happen like that in history.

As for "why 'erroneously'" - because the book of Daniel, except perhaps the first few chapters, was written absolutely no earlier than the late 3rd century BCE, most probably early second (scholars like the date 167 BCE), and no way in hell was it written in the late Babylonian/early Persian era as the opening part and the best known scenes (lion's den, writing on wall) would have you believe. The proof for this, beyond some very simple and self evident linguistics, is the fact that the book contains gross historical errors about the Persian era, but is highly accurate when it comes to the Hellenic era.
So either you have a "nutty prophet" who is accurate about the far future but clueless about the present and very recent, or you have someone writing deep in the Hellenic era, and very logically knowing much more about the past 150 years than stuff that happened 300 years ago or more.

There are other, subtler indications, but no serious biblical scholar (sorry, Lisa) doubts that Daniel was composed later than any other bible book.

[ February 24, 2008, 12:25 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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RickyB
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"The other two being the polio vaccine and 1970s NBC programming?"

I was thinking more along the lines of Bob Dylan and chopped liver... [Razz]

No, seriously, Judaism's three gifts to the world are: Monotheism (Akhenaton notwithstanding), the morality of the prophets, and the messianic idea.

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Jesse
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I think Robert Zimmerman and Chopped Liver are better gifts. Thanks for the other options, though.
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kenmeer livermaile
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And what am I? Chopped Zimmerman? Robert's liver?
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"What Ricky is referring to is the fact that the Samaritan tribes"

No. I'm talking about the remnants of Judah and Benjamin. Says so right in the text of Ezra. Why would he call them that if they were just more Samaritans? He knew that word. He used it too when needed. These are different people.

Cite it, please.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
As for no solar calendar - Professor Rachel Elior of Hebrew U. would beg to differ, and she has the books and research to back up her views.

Not having seen said "books and research", I can't speak to it. But the entirety of the Bible says otherwise.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
You can believe that it was the dead sea priests who both came up with the solar calendar (which there can be very little doubt, fro their own texts, that they followed) on their own, AND convinced themselves of a non-existent past where it was the calendar of all the Jews/Hebrews. I find that view unsatisfying in light of Occam's razor.

So you're willing to accept their claims (if they made such claims) that they'd always had a solar calendar, but you dismiss the Jewish claims that we always had the Oral Torah. Interesting...

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
I also find it impossible to believe that contrary to all human nature and historical dynamics, Judaism didn't evolve but was born intact, like Athena, pretty much as we know it today. Things don't happen like that in history.

That's my point. If you start from the assumption that it's fiction, you have to come up with an alternative origin. Such as the one you're presenting here. If it came from God... well, that's different.

You were asked what Judaism says about certain things. Not what secular scholarship says about Judaism's views. If you want to present the latter, that's fine. But be honest about it, at least.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
As for "why 'erroneously'" - because the book of Daniel, except perhaps the first few chapters, was written absolutely no earlier than the late 3rd century BCE, most probably early second (scholars like the date 167 BCE),

Number one, Daniel was not a prophet. Not according to Judaism, at least. He had visions, but they were not on the level of nevua, or prophecy. That's why his book is in Ketuvim, and not in Nevi'im.

Second of all, the reason secular scholarship places Daniel later than his historical time is because his visions contain things that actually came true. And since secular scholarship starts from the a priori position that you can't predict the future, it has to conclude that Daniel was written after the events in question.

There's no logic to such a position, as it's entirely circular.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
and no way in hell was it written in the late Babylonian/early Persian era as the opening part and the best known scenes (lion's den, writing on wall) would have you believe. The proof for this, beyond some very simple and self evident linguistics, is the fact that the book contains gross historical errors about the Persian era, but is highly accurate when it comes to the Hellenic era.

When you say that it contains gross historical errors about the Persian era, you mean that it says things about the Persian period which conflict with the modern view of that period. A view which is based wholly on the Greek accounts of the period. Accounts which contradict themselves left and right, btw.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
There are other, subtler indications, but no serious biblical scholar (sorry, Lisa) doubts that Daniel was composed later than any other bible book.

Given your definition of "serious biblical scholar" as someone who starts from the viewpoint that the Bible isn't what it purports to be, that's probably true. But... so what?
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"The other two being the polio vaccine and 1970s NBC programming?"

I was thinking more along the lines of Bob Dylan and chopped liver... [Razz]

No, seriously, Judaism's three gifts to the world are: Monotheism (Akhenaton notwithstanding), the morality of the prophets, and the messianic idea.

Eww. First of all, Akhnaton was a monolatrist, and not a monotheist. A henotheist at the most. Second of all, we were monotheists long before his time.
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RickyB
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"Cite it, please"

You know, I can, but I just checked up on the theory and it seems pretty weak. I no longer subscribe to that theory. It's based on the reference to "Tzarei Yehudah U'Binyamin" in Ezra chapter 4. Never mind. Point withdrawn, and I shouldn't have presented a cute theory as fact. I'm talking specifically about the rejection of non-exiled Hebrews. However, it stands to reason that there we such, because Babylon, great though it was, did not have the technical ability to exile every last semi-permanent hamlet and so on. So the theory makes sense, but its textual basing is weak.

"Not having seen said "books and research", I can't speak to it. But the entirety of the Bible says otherwise."

Does it, though? I'm wiling to be persuaded, but where does it say or imply in the bible that a lunar calendar was in effect? Now, to be persuaded that the dead sea priests had this solar calendar, you really have to read Elior, whom you once on a different thread seemed to have vaguely (and inaccurately) heard of. It is eminently clear from the texts of the scrolls that they not only had this calendar, they at least saw it as the original, and that they also differed from post-Ezra Judaism in the reckoning of dates (by a matter of days, iirc), as they interpreted the Noah chronology differently.

That they claimed their calendar to be the original is not in itself conclusive of anything, nor is even the references to their anger at a newer "impudent" "figuring of days". However, in all their differences with mainstream Judaism, they tend towards rejection of innovations and a desire for "ancient purity". Occam says it was so in this, as well.

It is utterly undeniable that the names of the months were changed by Ezra, as was the reckoning of the year, from spring to autumn (if not by Ezra then directly following. In the book of Ezra the year is still reckoned from the month of passover, in Nehemiah from Tishrei, 7 months later). Also undeniable is the move from the original Hebrew script to the Assyrian square one.

That's why it cracks me up so much to hear people talk about the mystical properties of (what is now known as) Hebrew script... In short, it is utterly undeniable that Ezra made some dramatic changes in the basic symbols of the nation and the religion, including the calendar.

Now, as I said above, the changes were not limited to symbols. The entire institution of Rabbinical Judaism, of leadership by scholars (merit) rather than priests (hereditary, ritual) or prophets (charisma), begins with Ezra. In all the bible you cannot find any mention of "rabbis", any mention of an institution of scholarship, of interpretation - of any interpretation period.

Of course, this is easily explained by the fact that in 1st temple times, there was prophecy - that is, widely acknowledged prophetic authority, based not on interpretation of scripture but on purported direct contact with god. Nowhere does a prophet say "since it says so and so in the Torah, I decree that the lord wishes so and so". They say "God said". End of story.

So the theory (also explicitly subscribed to by the authors of the Talmud, i.e. rabbinical Judaism) is that the prophets filled the leadership position later filled by the rabbis, and that's true enough as far as it goes, but there is zero indication of any oral law or interpretive tradition.

"So you're willing to accept their claims (if they made such claims) that they'd always had a solar calendar, but you dismiss the Jewish claims that we always had the Oral Torah. Interesting..."

Bad logic [Smile] Believing the priests had a solar calendar, or that it was the original Hebrew calendar, requires no supernatural agents. I believe in calendars. Your theory does require so. The two claims are not equally logical to the atheist/agnostic.

Which brings us to...

"That's my point. If you start from the assumption that it's fiction, you have to come up with an alternative origin. Such as the one you're presenting here. If it came from God... well, that's different."

You got it wrong. Not "starting from the assumption that it's fiction". Rather, "NOT starting from the assumption that "it" is necessarily true, and seeking explanations that don't require the belief in your god". I actually give the bible very high marks for veracity. The Mishna/Talmud as well. The question is editing, bias and omission.

As for this:

"You were asked what Judaism says about certain things. Not what secular scholarship says about Judaism's views. If you want to present the latter, that's fine. But be honest about it, at least."

This is absolutely true. I think it's quite obvious that I offer a critical, non-believing version of things, but this class is misnamed and I am going to make a request to OM as soon as I'm done fisking you [Smile]

"Number one, Daniel was not a prophet. Not according to Judaism, at least. He had visions, but they were not on the level of nevua, or prophecy. That's why his book is in Ketuvim, and not in Nevi'im."

Very good point, but he's still referred far and wide, in purely orthodox sources as well, as a prophet. Check it

"When you say that it contains gross historical errors about the Persian era, you mean that it says things about the Persian period which conflict with the modern view of that period. A view which is based wholly on the Greek accounts of the period. Accounts which contradict themselves left and right, btw."

No. Gross chronological and sequential errors. Take your pick
You can exaggerate the amount of discord regarding these points in scholarship, and it will still remain fascinating how much more consistent with modern research Daniel gets as he moves into Hellenic times. Seriously, that Daniel does not stand up to any accepted modern scholarship is simple fact. This is not like early bible stuff, where there's no evidence outside the bible one way or another for much of the stuff.

"And since secular scholarship starts from the a priori position that you can't predict the future, it has to conclude that Daniel was written after the events in question."

Strawman alert. That is not the argument presented.

"Given your definition of "serious biblical scholar" as someone who starts from the viewpoint that the Bible isn't necessarilywhat it purports to be or what orthodox Judaism tries to make it to be, that's probably true. But... so what?"

There. Fixed that for you, as flydye says [Smile]

"Eww. First of all, Akhnaton was a monolatrist, and not a monotheist. A henotheist at the most. Second of all, we were monotheists long before his time."

It is possible to be monotheistic without the prohibition on depiction. As for long before - you mean Abraham's clan? Cause Akhenaten almost certainly comes before Moses. One cute theory holds that Moses was a latter-day Atenist... [Smile]

BTW, I think I need to add a fourth gift to the list - abstraction, but that is less distinguishably unique.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Made me look up monolatrism.

quote:
Recognized scholars have formulated a substantial case for ancient Israel's practice of monolatry.[3]

"The highest claim to be made for Moses is that he was, rather than a monotheist, a monolatrist. … The attribution of fully developed monotheism to Moses is certainly going beyond the evidence."[4]

"As absolute monotheism took over from monolatry in Israel, those who had originally been in the pantheon of the gods were demoted to the status of angels."[5]

"The exclusivity of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel is an important element in Israel’s oldest religious tradition. However, it is not necessary to ascribe the present formulation of the commandment ["you shall have no other gods before me"] to a very early stage of the tradition, nor is it advantageous to interpret the commandment as if it inculcated monotheism. The commandment technically enjoins monolatry, but it can be understood within a henotheistic religious system."[6]

"The Deuteronomic Code imposes at the least a strict monolatry."[7]

"In the ancient Near East the existence of divine beings was universally accepted without questions. As for unicity, in Israel there is no clear and unambiguous denial of the existence of gods other than Yahweh before Deutero-Isaiah in the 6th century B.C. … The question was not whether there is only one elohim, but whether there is any elohim like Yahweh."[8]

Mongo no know. Mongo just read words.

I wonder if there's such a thing as polyatheism?

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kenmeer livermaile
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From what I read, it seems that Judaism provided the crucible, or creche, in which monotheism was formulated.

Of course, Catholicism went for a Holy Trinity, along with Marianism, but that's another matter.

Anyway, Galactacus rules.

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RickyB
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"Mongo no know. Mongo just read words."

Mongo, him bring interesting words. [Big Grin]

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sharpshin
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Argumentative hairsplitting is Judaism in action. Even us secular Jews love it. Almost as much as Chinese food.
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kenmeer livermaile
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Hey sharpshin, thanx to your wise counsel long ago, I have become exposed to the aural splendors of Jeff Beck.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
There is no serious Jewish authority that would argue that Islam per se is idolatrous. Certain attitudes among certain Muslims? Sure. I mean, much of the rest of orthodox Judaism thinks that Chabad as it is currently, is dangerously close to idolatry.

I'm going to have to agree with Ricky. Believe me, if there were any way to label Islam as idolatrous, I would have heard of it by now. It isn't. It's erronious, but not idolatrous.

[ February 24, 2008, 07:31 PM: Message edited by: starLisa ]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Not having seen said "books and research", I can't speak to it. But the entirety of the Bible says otherwise."

Does it, though? I'm wiling to be persuaded, but where does it say or imply in the bible that a lunar calendar was in effect?

Say? Nowhere. It doesn't discuss it in those terms. But imply? The fact that all holidays are given in terms of months is one thing. The one time the beginning of the year is mentioned, is in Exodus 12, where it says, "This month to you is the first of months. It shall be the first to you of the months of the year". It's all about the months.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Now, to be persuaded that the dead sea priests had this solar calendar, you really have to read Elior, whom you once on a different thread seemed to have vaguely (and inaccurately) heard of. It is eminently clear from the texts of the scrolls that they not only had this calendar, they at least saw it as the original, and that they also differed from post-Ezra Judaism in the reckoning of dates (by a matter of days, iirc), as they interpreted the Noah chronology differently.

A lot of Dead Sea scholarship is very iffy. It's a bunch of theories based on very little source material. And it may or may not be correct, but even if it is, it only applies to the Dead Sea sect. I don't see the relevance.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
That they claimed their calendar to be the original is not in itself conclusive of anything, nor is even the references to their anger at a newer "impudent" "figuring of days". However, in all their differences with mainstream Judaism, they tend towards rejection of innovations and a desire for "ancient purity". Occam says it was so in this, as well.

Nah. All "reform movements" (except possibly for the Reform Movement, which isn't actually one) have claimed to be restoring things to an imaginary "better days". It's human nature. You hear older folks complaining about how kids were more polite in the old days. Everyone has this shiny picture of the old days, when things were right. The Conservative Movement wants to think that it used to be a lot easier to change Jewish law, so they pretend that it was like that, and that they're simply living according to how things used to be. But there's no historical basis for it. It's just wishful thinking.

Islamic history is also full of these reform movements. It's hardly a Jewish phenomenon particularly.

In the face of such reform movements in all cultures and all times, Occam would laugh at you using the claims of a small desert sect as the "least hypothesis". "Least probable hypothesis", maybe.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
It is utterly undeniable that the names of the months were changed by Ezra,

No. It's undeniable that the Jews started using the Babylonian names of the months at around that time. It is likely to have taken root before the time of Ezra. You can't say it's undeniable, let alone "utterly undeniable" when there isn't a whit of evidence supporting the claim. Other than the fact that lacking any better candidate, some secular scholars have chosen to crown Ezra as the Great Decider.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
as was the reckoning of the year, from spring to autumn (if not by Ezra then directly following. In the book of Ezra the year is still reckoned from the month of passover, in Nehemiah from Tishrei, 7 months later).

Cite it, please. I've actually done quite a bit of work on the chronology of the Israelite monarchies, and it's fairly clear that the kingdom of Judah used a calendar beginning in the spring, while the northern kingdom of Israel used a fall calendar. But this was a political calendar. There were always multiple calendars in use among our people. Check out the first Mishnah in Rosh Hashana.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Also undeniable is the move from the original Hebrew script to the Assyrian square one.

You call it the Assyrian one. But the Assyrians didn't use it. The fact that the Hebrew name for it is Ktav Ashuri has nothing to do with the nation of Assur (Assyria). And yes, Jewish tradition says that we made that change around the time of Ezra. I don't see any reason to dispute it.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
That's why it cracks me up so much to hear people talk about the mystical properties of (what is now known as) Hebrew script... In short, it is utterly undeniable that Ezra made some dramatic changes in the basic symbols of the nation and the religion, including the calendar.

Still no. Jewish tradition, which is the basis for calling that script Ktav Ashuri, says that we had both scripts all along. But Ktav Ivri (paleo-Hebrew) was used commonly until the return from Babylon. As far as the calendar, you haven't cited anything to support your claim.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Now, as I said above, the changes were not limited to symbols. The entire institution of Rabbinical Judaism, of leadership by scholars (merit) rather than priests (hereditary, ritual) or prophets (charisma), begins with Ezra.

Of course not.

And as a side note, for anyone else reading this, while I'm happy to reply to Ricky's claims, you should note that what he is presenting is not what Judaism has to say on these matters. It's what secular scholarship has to say about it. Some secularized Jews have given in and accepted the verdict of these historians, but Judaism continues to say what it has always said.

Yes, teaching the people was the job of priests and Levites. And while we were living in our land as we were supposed to, that's how it worked. Not that it was exclusive to priests and Levites, or that their heredity granted them authority (except for things like diagnosing tzara'at) to determine Jewish law. There were a lot of changes made when we came back from Babylon. We had always prayed to God, but now formalized liturgy was formulated. We had always learned the Oral Torah, but now statements of that Torah were formulated as well and categorized, though not written down.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
In all the bible you cannot find any mention of "rabbis", any mention of an institution of scholarship, of interpretation - of any interpretation period.

Right. Because there was no need. To use the old cliche, there isn't a single verse that says anything about Abraham defecating. But I suspect he did.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Of course, this is easily explained by the fact that in 1st temple times, there was prophecy - that is, widely acknowledged prophetic authority, based not on interpretation of scripture but on purported direct contact with god.

Prophecy was never permitted to determine Jewish law. Not after God gave the Torah to Moses. That's not what prophecy was for. It was for correcting nuances, primarily. The Torah said to be charitable, and it said to bring sacrifices. Some people thought that the sacrifices were the main thing. The prophets corrected that mistaken impression.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Nowhere does a prophet say "since it says so and so in the Torah, I decree that the lord wishes so and so". They say "God said". End of story.

Nowhere do they state what Torah law is. A prophet who claims to be settling a point of Jewish law via prophecy is to be put to death.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
So the theory (also explicitly subscribed to by the authors of the Talmud, i.e. rabbinical Judaism) is that the prophets filled the leadership position later filled by the rabbis, and that's true enough as far as it goes, but there is zero indication of any oral law or interpretive tradition.

Except for that tradition itself. And the deafening silence from dissenters. And the fact that it's that same tradition that gave us the Bible itself. If you can't trust the tradition about what it is, you can't trust it at all.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"So you're willing to accept their claims (if they made such claims) that they'd always had a solar calendar, but you dismiss the Jewish claims that we always had the Oral Torah. Interesting..."

Bad logic [Smile] Believing the priests had a solar calendar, or that it was the original Hebrew calendar, requires no supernatural agents.

See, this is the problem I have here. And I think some other folks here will find this interesting as well. There are some Jews -- Ricky appears to be one of them -- who are just horribly embarrassed at the idea of God. All that God stuff and supernatural ickyness just makes them cringe.

Read everything Ricky writes on the subject of Judaism with this in mind. He doesn't approach the subject with an open mind. He approaches it with the basic assumption that there's no God, nothing supernatural. As things are now, so have they ever been, and anything that says otherwise is clearly a bunch of children's stories. They may be stories with some cultural value to them, but intelligent folks with critical minds are adult enough not to ever take them seriously.

"No God" is what Occam's Razor demands, according to Ricky. Why? Well, because it does, that's why. So he has to come up with all sorts of convoluted theories to account for where Judaism came from that don't include any of what Judaism says, and all the complexity of such theories don't conflict with Occam's Razor, because the alternative is to accept the possibility of God. And that's simply too horrible to consider.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"You were asked what Judaism says about certain things. Not what secular scholarship says about Judaism's views. If you want to present the latter, that's fine. But be honest about it, at least."

This is absolutely true. I think it's quite obvious that I offer a critical, non-believing version of things, but this class is misnamed and I am going to make a request to OM as soon as I'm done fisking you [Smile]

Fisking? I don't know what that is. And can't you change subject names on this board by yourself? You can on Hatrack.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Number one, Daniel was not a prophet. Not according to Judaism, at least. He had visions, but they were not on the level of nevua, or prophecy. That's why his book is in Ketuvim, and not in Nevi'im."

Very good point, but he's still referred far and wide, in purely orthodox sources as well, as a prophet. Check it

Far as I can tell, those are mostly secular and Christian sources.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"When you say that it contains gross historical errors about the Persian era, you mean that it says things about the Persian period which conflict with the modern view of that period. A view which is based wholly on the Greek accounts of the period. Accounts which contradict themselves left and right, btw."

No. Gross chronological and sequential errors. Take your pick

I stand by what I said. When two sources disagree, you can't simply say that one counts and the other doesn't, so the second one is in error. Not honestly, anyway.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"And since secular scholarship starts from the a priori position that you can't predict the future, it has to conclude that Daniel was written after the events in question."

Strawman alert. That is not the argument presented.

It's not a strawman. That's the most common reason why secular scholars claim the book of Daniel to have been written in the Hellenistic period. That's a fact, Ricky.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Given your definition of "serious biblical scholar" as someone who starts from the viewpoint that the Bible isn't necessarilywhat it purports to be or what orthodox Judaism tries to make it to be, that's probably true. But... so what?"

There. Fixed that for you, as flydye says [Smile]

Heh. But I disagree. I think you're starting from the position that it isn't. You even showed it above, when you dismissed one view because it requires God.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Eww. First of all, Akhnaton was a monolatrist, and not a monotheist. A henotheist at the most. Second of all, we were monotheists long before his time."

It is possible to be monotheistic without the prohibition on depiction.

Akhnaton didn't claim that other deities didn't exist.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
As for long before - you mean Abraham's clan? Cause Akhenaten almost certainly comes before Moses. One cute theory holds that Moses was a latter-day Atenist... [Smile]

I know. Moses and Monotheism, by Sigmund Freud. But now, Akhnaton does not come before Moses. Not even according to the conventional Egyptian chronology. Unless you hold by Cecil B. DeMille.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
Galactus rules.

Fixed that for you.
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sharpshin
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
Hey sharpshin, thanx to your wise counsel long ago, I have become exposed to the aural splendors of Jeff Beck.

Glad to hear it kenmeer.

Ask any knowledgable electric guitarist who they think is the best that's ever been. You'll never hear Beck's name. Ask them why not and they'll say oh, I thought you meant out of all the rest of 'em. Beckie is truly in a class by himself. He's the greatest aural painter, even greater than Jimi, in the history of rock-- and he does it all with no gizmos, no effects, no stomp boxes, just his bare fingers (including the picking hand), the guitar and the amp. He's a pure electric guitarist. No electricity, no Jeff Beck. He also personifies pure rock and roll attitude. He does what he wants, when he wants, and if you don't like it, eff you.

I don't even have to hear him playing "People Get Ready" for the hairs to stand up on the back of my neck. All I have to do is play it in my head from memory. And that tune goes waaaay back in his career.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled topic.

[ February 24, 2008, 09:07 PM: Message edited by: sharpshin ]

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hobsen
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Some Christian scholars have spent a lot of time trying to determine the year of the Crucifixion from clues derived from the Jewish calendar. Others have said that time has been wasted, because the Jewish calendar was determined by observation in the first century and was for that reason irregular. Wikipedia tends to confirm the latter; but I am skeptical of Wikipedia as a source, so comments on the following extract would be welcome:
quote:
Whether or not an embolismic month was announced after the "last month" (Adar) depended on whether "the barley was ripe". It may be noted that in the Bible the name of the first month, Aviv, literally means "spring" but originally it probably meant "the ripening of barley". Thus, if Adar was over and the barley was not yet ripe, an additional month was observed. However, according to some traditions, the announcement of the month of Aviv could also be postponed depending on the condition of roads used by families to come to Jerusalem for Passover, adequate numbers of lambs to be sacrificed at the Temple, and on the ripeness of the barley that was needed for the first fruits ceremony.

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RickyB
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"Say? Nowhere. It doesn't discuss it in those terms. But imply? The fact that all holidays are given in terms of months is one thing. The one time the beginning of the year is mentioned, is in Exodus 12, where it says, "This month to you is the first of months. It shall be the first to you of the months of the year". It's all about the months."

Sorry, irrelevant. Even in solar (and especially lunisolar) calendars, months are followed and used for reckoning. I'm willing to be persuaded that there was a double calendar, but that there was an ancient calendar that was replaced seems rather convincing.

"A lot of Dead Sea scholarship is very iffy. It's a bunch of theories based on very little source material. And it may or may not be correct, but even if it is, it only applies to the Dead Sea sect. I don't see the relevance."

The relevance is that this sect (cult) represented a diverging path of Judaism that we don't know nearly enough about. Dead Sea scholarship may be in its infancy, but the scrolls say what they say. I can't find my copy of Elior right now. I'll get to it.

"Nah. All "reform movements" (except possibly for the Reform Movement, which isn't actually one) have claimed to be restoring things to an imaginary "better days". It's human nature. You hear older folks complaining about how kids were more polite in the old days. Everyone has this shiny picture of the old days, when things were right. The Conservative Movement wants to think that it used to be a lot easier to change Jewish law, so they pretend that it was like that, and that they're simply living according to how things used to be. But there's no historical basis for it. It's just wishful thinking."

The Jewish "Conservatives" aren't uniformly apoplectic about newfangled changes, and idn't remove themselves to one of the most hellish environs on earth in protest and disgust. Yonkers, maybe... [Razz]

"Islamic history is also full of these reform movements. It's hardly a Jewish phenomenon particularly.

In the face of such reform movements in all cultures and all times, Occam would laugh at you using the claims of a small desert sect as the "least hypothesis". "Least probable hypothesis", maybe."


Reform movements like the Jewish conservatives, or fundamentalists like the dead sea cults? :-D


"No. It's undeniable that the Jews started using the Babylonian names of the months at around that time. It is likely to have taken root before the time of Ezra. You can't say it's undeniable, let alone "utterly undeniable" when there isn't a whit of evidence supporting the claim."

I would have accepted your nitpick (the change happened, fact) if not for this:

"Other than the fact that lacking any better candidate, some secular scholars have chosen to crown Ezra as the Great Decider."

You mean like the sages, who were so in awe of Ezra's role as lawgiver and "restorer" that they said "He was worthy that the Torah be given by him, only Moses came first"? That Ezra? Sounds even more decider-ish than Dumbya [Razz]
"Cite it, please. I've actually done quite a bit of work on the chronology of the Israelite monarchies, and it's fairly clear that the kingdom of Judah used a calendar beginning in the spring, while the northern kingdom of Israel used a fall calendar.

In Ezra there's a reference to the new year starting in Nissan, and in Nehemiah in Tishrei. The change was made. Nowhere since Ezra do you see Nissan (or any other calendar) used.

"But this was a political calendar. There were always multiple calendars in use among our people. Check out the first Mishnah in Rosh Hashana."

Right, and one of those, apparently, was the priest's solar calendar, which was abandoned, and they were pissed about it.

"You call it the Assyrian one. But the Assyrians didn't use it. The fact that the Hebrew name for it is Ktav Ashuri has nothing to do with the nation of Assur (Assyria)."

No? I'm not absolutely sure, but it was most definitely brought back from Mesopotamia, and was not in use among out people before that.

"Still no. Jewish tradition, which is the basis for calling that script Ktav Ashuri, says that we had both scripts all along. But Ktav Ivri (paleo-Hebrew) was used commonly until the return from Babylon. As far as the calendar, you haven't cited anything to support your claim."

Really? And it is only happenstance that absolutely no use of this script can be found anywhere by Jews before the exile? That ALL orthographic evidence from the 1st temple period is in Ivri?

"And as a side note, for anyone else reading this, while I'm happy to reply to Ricky's claims, you should note that what he is presenting is not what Judaism has to say on these matters. It's what secular scholarship has to say about it. Some secularized Jews have given in and accepted the verdict of these historians, but Judaism continues to say what it has always said."

Haven't I made that clear? <g> I take exception to the "always said", of course, but I'll concede that regarding the past 1500 years at least [Big Grin]

"Yes, teaching the people was the job of priests and Levites. And while we were living in our land as we were supposed to, that's how it worked. Not that it was exclusive to priests and Levites, or that their heredity granted them authority (except for things like diagnosing tzara'at) to determine Jewish law. There were a lot of changes made when we came back from Babylon. We had always prayed to God, but now formalized liturgy was formulated. We had always learned the Oral Torah, but now statements of that Torah were formulated as well and categorized, though not written down.

quote:Originally posted by RickyB:
In all the bible you cannot find any mention of "rabbis", any mention of an institution of scholarship, of interpretation - of any interpretation period.

Right. Because there was no need."


This is another aspect of your theory that simply flies in the face of all we know about historical dynamics. Back in the old temple days, all this dizzying array of oral law was so univerדally known and accepted, that it's not even mentioned. The people couldn't even keep to one god for most of the time, but they were so idyllically "one with" the oral law, that they separated their dishes and such like breathing air, and didn't even mention it. Then in 2nd temple times, all of a sudden it needs to be discussed, disputed, and in one rare instance killed over. Does not compute.

"Prophecy was never permitted to determine Jewish law. Not after God gave the Torah to Moses. That's not what prophecy was for. It was for correcting nuances, primarily. The Torah said to be charitable, and it said to bring sacrifices. Some people thought that the sacrifices were the main thing. The prophets corrected that mistaken impression.

quote:Originally posted by RickyB:
Nowhere does a prophet say "since it says so and so in the Torah, I decree that the lord wishes so and so". They say "God said". End of story.

Nowhere do they state what Torah law is. A prophet who claims to be settling a point of Jewish law via prophecy is to be put to death."


I know, “It is not in heaven”. Which proves that the oral law was not a factor in leadership of the people. How it could have existed from day 1 as you say and not have been, is beyond me.


"Except for that tradition itself. And the deafening silence from dissenters."

What silence? Read the scrolls! They were screaming about the impudent, unpure "other Jews" who were turning their backs on the old way and adopting newfangled hubristic notions. You can keep believing they were delusional, and that's not an invalid position, but that this is what the scrolls say is not really debatable.

"And the fact that it's that same tradition that gave us the Bible itself."

The various dissenters had versions of their own. Is part of the point. The Sadducees had the torah and bible too and reached different conclusions...


"If you can't trust the tradition about what it is, you can't trust it at all."

I don't trust. I check. I cross reference. I apply logic. I also give sources some credit based on past performance, and as I've mentioned, both biblical and post-biblical Jewish sources get high marks. It is extremely rare, if at all, that stuff is flat out made up. It may be masked by bias, exaggerated or oddly contexted, but if it says it happened, something probably happened. Not necessarily exactly how or why, though. And if it's wrong or misleading sometimes, it doesn't have to be all the time. I can and do cherry-pick, or pomegranate pick rather, like Rabbi Meir <g>

"See, this is the problem I have here. And I think some other folks here will find this interesting as well. There are some Jews -- Ricky appears to be one of them -- who are just horribly embarrassed at the idea of God. All that God stuff and supernatural ickyness just makes them cringe.

Read everything Ricky writes on the subject of Judaism with this in mind. He doesn't approach the subject with an open mind. He approaches it with the basic assumption that there's no God, nothing supernatural. As things are now, so have they ever been, and anything that says otherwise is clearly a bunch of children's stories. They may be stories with some cultural value to them, but intelligent folks with critical minds are adult enough not to ever take them seriously.

"No God" is what Occam's Razor demands, according to Ricky. Why? Well, because it does, that's why. So he has to come up with all sorts of convoluted theories to account for where Judaism came from that don't include any of what Judaism says, and all the complexity of such theories don't conflict with Occam's Razor, because the alternative is to accept the possibility of God. And that's simply too horrible to consider."


Leaving all the wild and damp emotionalist projection (cringe, horrible, embarrassed, children's stories) aside, this is still not entirely accurate. It would, I think, be more accurate to say that I leave the question of god aside, and attempt to explain the bible and the history of Judaism as just that - history. Something that happened to human beings, and can be viewed in light of what's known about human dynamics. Lisa, on the other hand, seems to insist that the view that the history of the Jews is detatched from the normal human experience should be equally valid. I have (sincerely and warmly) invited her to start an Ornery U - Orthodox Judaism thread, in which that view would be the working hypotheses, and mine the carping dissent [Big Grin]

Now this, I have to highlight from the above passages:
"As things are now, so have they ever been"

This Lisa is sarcastically attributing to me, but think - she is in fact the one saying that, about the entire structure of rabbinical Judaism. All of it, right at Mount Sinai with the tablets. No process, no development. Just thought that was an choice of words.

"Fisking? I don't know what that is. And can't you change subject names on this board by yourself? You can on Hatrack."

Fisking is what you, I and others do here on Ornery all the time (ed. to remove confusing quip so as not to be misunderstood needlessly) - take apart an article point by point. So named after journalist Robert Fisk who famously showed the inaccuracies in something by someone. As for changing myself - Only within the editing window. Not days after. It's done now, and thanks OM <g>

"Far as I can tell, those are mostly secular and Christian sources."

Mikranet is Christian? Someone should tell them... <g> And that's just on the first page. Sorry, I stand by having proven my point. Not every fine point you hold to be true is accepted even by Orthodox Judaism at large.

"I stand by what I said. When two sources disagree, you can't simply say that one counts and the other doesn't, so the second one is in error. Not honestly, anyway."

No, sorry. Not two sources. A bunch of sources - pretty much all credited ones - vs. one. I believe that they call that preponderance.

"It's not a strawman. That's the most common reason why secular scholars claim the book of Daniel to have been written in the Hellenistic period. That's a fact, Ricky."

Yeah, but I ain't most scholars, and I ain't said that. <g>

"Heh. But I disagree. I think you're starting from the position that it isn't. You even showed it above, when you dismissed one view because it requires God."

Close but not quite. I am not categorically averse to the supernatural. Once you have eliminated the impossible, as Sherlock once said... However, I do subscribe to the general rule that anything that can be explained satisfactorily in natural terms obviates the supernatural explanation. I changed the name of the thread already <g>

"Akhnaton didn't claim that other deities didn't exist."

He forbade their worship. I mean, the commandments don't either, if you wanna get technical. They just say "thou shalt not have other gods". Not that they don't exist [Big Grin]

"I know. Moses and Monotheism, by Sigmund Freud. But now, Akhnaton does not come before Moses. Not even according to the conventional Egyptian chronology. Unless you hold by Cecil B. DeMille."

Um, a cursory glance gives me an accepted Jewish date of 1312 BCE (2448 After Creation [Jewish Calendar]) for the exodus. Akhenaton is generally dated about half to three quarters of a century earlier. Works very, very well.

[ February 25, 2008, 04:27 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Say? Nowhere. It doesn't discuss it in those terms. But imply? The fact that all holidays are given in terms of months is one thing. The one time the beginning of the year is mentioned, is in Exodus 12, where it says, "This month to you is the first of months. It shall be the first to you of the months of the year". It's all about the months."

Sorry, irrelevant. Even in solar (and especially lunisolar) calendars, months are followed and used for reckoning. I'm willing to be persuaded that there was a double calendar, but that there was an ancient calendar that was replaced seems rather convincing.

To you, I guess. But since there's no evidence for it, at least none you're willing to present, and since Jewish tradition claims otherwise, I'm going to have to say no.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"A lot of Dead Sea scholarship is very iffy. It's a bunch of theories based on very little source material. And it may or may not be correct, but even if it is, it only applies to the Dead Sea sect. I don't see the relevance."

The relevance is that this sect (cult) represented a diverging path of Judaism that we don't know nearly enough about. Dead Sea scholarship may be in its infancy, but the scrolls say what they say. I can't find my copy of Elior right now. I'll get to it.

You're talking about a tiny little sect of separatists. This would be like a historian in the year 4000 trying to prove a point about what Christianity was based on David Korush's cult in Waco.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"No. It's undeniable that the Jews started using the Babylonian names of the months at around that time. It is likely to have taken root before the time of Ezra. You can't say it's undeniable, let alone "utterly undeniable" when there isn't a whit of evidence supporting the claim."

I would have accepted your nitpick (the change happened, fact) if not for this:

"Other than the fact that lacking any better candidate, some secular scholars have chosen to crown Ezra as the Great Decider."

You mean like the sages, who were so in awe of Ezra's role as lawgiver and "restorer" that they said "He was worthy that the Torah be given by him, only Moses came first"? That Ezra? Sounds even more decider-ish than Dumbya [Razz]

What's your point? That doesn't mean that he did the things that your secular scholars claim.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Cite it, please. I've actually done quite a bit of work on the chronology of the Israelite monarchies, and it's fairly clear that the kingdom of Judah used a calendar beginning in the spring, while the northern kingdom of Israel used a fall calendar.

In Ezra there's a reference to the new year starting in Nissan, and in Nehemiah in Tishrei.

Seriously. Cite it. Or retract it. I say there are no such references. Bear in mind as well that the book of Ezra/Nehemiah was a single book, like Kings and Samuel and Chronicles. The break into two books was a much, much later innovation.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
The change was made. Nowhere since Ezra do you see Nissan (or any other calendar) used.

The monarchy didn't exist after that, Ricky. Nisan was the beginning of the Jewish regnal year.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"But this was a political calendar. There were always multiple calendars in use among our people. Check out the first Mishnah in Rosh Hashana."

Right, and one of those, apparently, was the priest's solar calendar, which was abandoned, and they were pissed about it.

Apparently? Would you like me to quote that Mishnah in its entirety, and you can show me where it says anything about a solar calendar? Which was never used by Jews, except possibly by the tiny Dead Sea sect (not that I'm even willing to accept that until some evidence is shown)?

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"You call it the Assyrian one. But the Assyrians didn't use it. The fact that the Hebrew name for it is Ktav Ashuri has nothing to do with the nation of Assur (Assyria)."

No? I'm not absolutely sure, but it was most definitely brought back from Mesopotamia, and was not in use among out people before that.

I disagree. There's no evidence that it was brought back from Mesopotamia, and you can't prove that it wasn't in use among our people before that, because it's pretty much impossible to prove a negative. All you can say is that the inscriptions that have been found were in Ktav Ivri.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Still no. Jewish tradition, which is the basis for calling that script Ktav Ashuri, says that we had both scripts all along. But Ktav Ivri (paleo-Hebrew) was used commonly until the return from Babylon. As far as the calendar, you haven't cited anything to support your claim."

Really? And it is only happenstance that absolutely no use of this script can be found anywhere by Jews before the exile?

You do realize that very little of any written material is extant from before the exile. Or after the exile, for that matter, for centuries. We wrote on degradable materials for the most part. You know that. Hide parchment. The fact that the Dead Sea scrolls were found is due solely to the fact that they were in such a dry place. It was unusual in the extreme. There's next to no written material preserved from the First Commonwealth, and much of what there is isn't even from us. It's Moabite.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
[QBquote:Originally posted by RickyB:
In all the bible you cannot find any mention of "rabbis", any mention of an institution of scholarship, of interpretation - of any interpretation period.

Right. Because there was no need." [/b]

This is another aspect of your theory that simply flies in the face of all we know about historical dynamics. Back in the old temple days, all this dizzying array of oral law was so universally known and accepted, that it's not even mentioned. The people couldn't even keep to one god for most of the time, but they were so idyllically "one with" the oral law, that they separated their dishes and such like breathing air, and didn't even mention it.[/QB]

Hold on there. Idolatry was the exception, and not the rule, at least in Judah.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Then in 2nd temple times, all of a sudden it needs to be discussed, disputed, and in one rare instance killed over. Does not compute.

It didn't need to be in Second Temple times, either, until fairly far in. Disputes were few and far between, and many of them first started when the Saduccees took over the Sanhedrin and made it impossible for rare disputes to be decided decisively.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Prophecy was never permitted to determine Jewish law. Not after God gave the Torah to Moses. That's not what prophecy was for. It was for correcting nuances, primarily. The Torah said to be charitable, and it said to bring sacrifices. Some people thought that the sacrifices were the main thing. The prophets corrected that mistaken impression.

quote:Originally posted by RickyB:
Nowhere does a prophet say "since it says so and so in the Torah, I decree that the lord wishes so and so". They say "God said". End of story.

God said, yes. God said "bring this sacrifice" or God said "do this or do that", no. If you think otherwise, cite it.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Nowhere do they state what Torah law is. A prophet who claims to be settling a point of Jewish law via prophecy is to be put to death."


I know, “It is not in heaven”. Which proves that the oral law was not a factor in leadership of the people.

Non sequitur. Not only does it not prove that, it has absolutely nothing to do with it. What a strange statement.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
How it could have existed from day 1 as you say and not have been, is beyond me.

Circular reasoning.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Except for that tradition itself. And the deafening silence from dissenters."

What silence? Read the scrolls! They were screaming about the impudent, unpure "other Jews" who were turning their backs on the old way and adopting newfangled hubristic notions. You can keep believing they were delusional, and that's not an invalid position, but that this is what the scrolls say is not really debatable.

Again, you're talking about a separatist sect that was on the level of David Koresh's group in Texas. Don't make them something they weren't.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"And the fact that it's that same tradition that gave us the Bible itself."

The various dissenters had versions of their own. Is part of the point. The Sadducees had the torah and bible too and reached different conclusions...

And...?

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"See, this is the problem I have here. And I think some other folks here will find this interesting as well. There are some Jews -- Ricky appears to be one of them -- who are just horribly embarrassed at the idea of God. All that God stuff and supernatural ickyness just makes them cringe.

Read everything Ricky writes on the subject of Judaism with this in mind. He doesn't approach the subject with an open mind. He approaches it with the basic assumption that there's no God, nothing supernatural. As things are now, so have they ever been, and anything that says otherwise is clearly a bunch of children's stories. They may be stories with some cultural value to them, but intelligent folks with critical minds are adult enough not to ever take them seriously.

"No God" is what Occam's Razor demands, according to Ricky. Why? Well, because it does, that's why. So he has to come up with all sorts of convoluted theories to account for where Judaism came from that don't include any of what Judaism says, and all the complexity of such theories don't conflict with Occam's Razor, because the alternative is to accept the possibility of God. And that's simply too horrible to consider."


Leaving all the wild and damp emotionalist projection (cringe, horrible, embarrassed, children's stories) aside, this is still not entirely accurate. It would, I think, be more accurate to say that I leave the question of god aside, and attempt to explain the bible and the history of Judaism as just that - history.

Without God. With God considered to be an extraordinary claim that runs counter to Occam's Razor. That's hardly objective, Ricky.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Something that happened to human beings, and can be viewed in light of what's known about human dynamics. Lisa, on the other hand, seems to insist that the view that the history of the Jews is detatched from the normal human experience should be equally valid. I have (sincerely and warmly) invited her to start an Ornery U - Orthodox Judaism thread, in which that view would be the working hypotheses, and mine the carping dissent [Big Grin]

Well, actually, I don't think you had. But if you'd prefer, I'll do that.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Fisking? I don't know what that is. And can't you change subject names on this board by yourself? You can on Hatrack."

Fisking is what you, I and others do here on Ornery all the time (ed. to remove confusing quip so as not to be misunderstood needlessly) - take apart an article point by point.

Ah. Thanks.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Far as I can tell, those are mostly secular and Christian sources."

Mikranet is Christian? Someone should tell them... <g>

First thing that showed up for me was some "Yeshua" nuttiness. And I maintain what I said. Even if Daniel is considered to be a prophet by some, what is in his book is not considered prophecy. Or it would have been put in the Neviim section of Tanakh.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Heh. But I disagree. I think you're starting from the position that it isn't. You even showed it above, when you dismissed one view because it requires God."

Close but not quite. I am not categorically averse to the supernatural. Once you have eliminated the impossible, as Sherlock once said... However, I do subscribe to the general rule that anything that can be explained satisfactorily in natural terms obviates the supernatural explanation. I changed the name of the thread already <g>

I acknowledge your claim. I disagree.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Akhnaton didn't claim that other deities didn't exist."

He forbade their worship. I mean, the commandments don't either, if you wanna get technical. They just say "thou shalt not have other gods". Not that they don't exist [Big Grin]

Actually, yes. The Torah claims that other deities don't exist.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"I know. Moses and Monotheism, by Sigmund Freud. But now, Akhnaton does not come before Moses. Not even according to the conventional Egyptian chronology. Unless you hold by Cecil B. DeMille."

Um, a cursory glance gives me an accepted Jewish date of 1312 BCE (2448 After Creation [Jewish Calendar]) for the exodus. Akhenaton is generally dated about half to three quarters of a century earlier. Works very, very well.

Nope. That's not how it works. There is a dispute between Jewish and Greek chronology over how long the Persian period lasted. A dispute of about 166 years. If the First Temple was destroyed in 587 BCE, the Exodus was in 1476 BCE. If it was destroyed in 421 BCE, the Exodus was in 1310 BCE. But if it was destroyed in 421, all of ancient near eastern chronology would have to be brought down equally by 166 years, which would bring Akhnaton down as well. It's all of a piece. The Exodus was definitely before Akhnaton, even according to the conventional chronology.
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RickyB
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I'm working on the comeback^ scroll. In the meantime, anyone have other questions about the history and development of JUdaism and the Jewish people?
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RickyB
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OK, comeback scroll, and I'll try to put some time between this and the next, to see if we can get some other topics going edgewise.
********************************

To you, I guess. But since there's no evidence for it, at least none you're willing to present, and since Jewish tradition claims otherwise, I'm going to have to say no.

A lot of Dead Sea scholarship is very iffy. It's a bunch of theories based on very little source material. And it may or may not be correct, but even if it is, it only applies to the Dead Sea sect. I don't see the relevance.

“You're talking about a tiny little sect of separatists. This would be like a historian in the year 4000 trying to prove a point about what Christianity was based on David Korush's cult in Waco.



Well, since most scholars believe at this point that the Qumran authors were among the group knows broadly as Essenes, that makes them far less negligible than a Koresh. Smallest group of the main three, but still worthy of note by Josephus, of scattered acknowledgments of their existence as a group in the Mishnah and Talmud. More like Huguenots in France (sans the violent struggles and intra-faith massacres...). Definitely more significant than Koresh.


What's your point? That doesn't mean that he did the things that your secular scholars claim.

Not in and of itself, but you were mocking the choice by skeptics of Ezra as the focal point of a supposed major religious reform. I showed you that even the sages singled him out as one uniquely cut out for the job.

Seriously. Cite it. Or retract it. I say there are no such references. Bear in mind as well that the book of Ezra/Nehemiah was a single book, like Kings and Samuel and Chronicles. The break into two books was a much, much later innovation.

That the break of the books came later is true. The Nehemiah reference I cannot find at this time, and I am willing to modify my claim that Nissan wasn't used as the beginning of the year after Nehemiah, since it happens in Esther.

The monarchy didn't exist after that, Ricky. Nisan was the beginning of the Jewish regnal year.

Nissan was decreed by god as the first month of the year long before the monarchy. It's true that there were different counts, different calendars and different new years, but the point remains that at a certain point, Nissan was abandoned as first month. I can easily point out that the “Nissan is first month of kings” passage smacks of apologetism designed to cover precisely what I'm saying, but please note this is NOT the type of argument I rely on. However, this (the moving of the new year) is a minor point compared to the calendar itself, or even the names of the months. Definitely minor compared to the script.

Apparently? Would you like me to quote that Mishnah in its entirety, and you can show me where it says anything about a solar calendar? Which was never used by Jews, except possibly by the tiny Dead Sea sect (not that I'm even willing to accept that until some evidence is shown)?

Obviously if we go solely by the Mishna, we'd have no debate [Smile] You must understand that I am not, a-priori, accepting the dead sea priests' claims. Nor do I think they were the majority and somehow, trickily dispossessed. I do think they were a minority, that most of the people preferred the pharisee way, but they were not as vanishing small as you would make it, and there are indications that they were of non trivial impact on the nation as whole. I also find their claims about the calendar worthy of further investigation. Particularly in light of the fact that their calendar fits them so well, as the lunar calendar fits the differences between them and the newer approach.

[b]I disagree. There's no evidence that it was brought back from Mesopotamia, and you can't prove that it wasn't in use among our people before that, because it's pretty much impossible to prove a negative. All you can say is that the inscriptions that have been found were in Ktav Ivri.


No evidence? That's kinda pushing it. But the difference is, if a Hebrew stele is found from the 800's BCE in Ashuri, I'll change my opinion. No backbone, you know. Just prove them wrong and they change the theory... [Smile] I mean, do you seriously contend that the Hebrews always had the Ashuri script, before there even was an Ashur? That the original Torah of Moses was written in that, and not Ivri?

You do realize that very little of any written material is extant from before the exile. Or after the exile, for that matter, for centuries. We wrote on degradable materials for the most part. You know that. Hide parchment. The fact that the Dead Sea scrolls were found is due solely to the fact that they were in such a dry place. It was unusual in the extreme. There's next to no written material preserved from the First Commonwealth, and much of what there is isn't even from us. It's Moabite.

See above. I mean, I couldn't find it in a quick search, but what is the earliest this script was found anywhere?


Hold on there. Idolatry was the exception, and not the rule, at least in Judah.

And yet it happened quite a bit. Even in Judah. Besides, even in Judah you find zero examples of interpretive, scholarly authority. People aren't singled out for spiritual authority because they exhibit great learning. It doesn't even say (as far as I remember, I could be wrong on this detail) that god chose them to speak to because of that. It is not presented as the top virtue the way it is in rabbinical literature. At all. The Nevi'im and Ketubim do not have precisely the same values as rabbinical literature.

It didn't need to be in Second Temple times, either, until fairly far in. Disputes were few and far between, and many of them first started when the Saduccees took over the Sanhedrin and made it impossible for rare disputes to be decided decisively.

First, you make it sound like intra-pharisee dispute didn't exist. Not only did it, it sometimes got violent. Second, yes, the Sadducee-Pharisee rift only starts in earnest more than 300 years after the 2nd temple is built. That's a testament to Ezra's greatness <g> Second, halachot began being handed down before the appearance of Sadducees as such, in the Grand Knesset. It was a long, slow process, and priests were at the forefront for many years. The Seleucid years brought that to an end.

God said, yes. God said "bring this sacrifice" or God said "do this or do that", no. If you think otherwise, cite it.

I don't understand this.

Non sequitur. Not only does it not prove that, it has absolutely nothing to do with it. What a strange statement.

Again, you're talking about a separatist sect that was on the level of David Koresh's group in Texas. Don't make them something they weren't.

Again you relegate them to Koresh size without a shred of evidence. No one writing about the major religious movements in America in the early-mid 90's would have mentioned the Davidians. The Essenes were mentioned. I mean, it's kinda disingenuous of you to pretend that the scrolls don't mean anything, when if it was only up to your sources we wouldn't even know that much. And your answer is basically “trust us, we know the only unvarnished truth”. Does not work like that.

“The various dissenters had versions of their own. Is part of the point. The Sadducees had the torah and bible too and reached different conclusions...[/qb][/QUOTE]And...?”

And they had the bible just like your tradition. Just being “of the tradition that begat the bible” doesn't guarantee seeing things your way, which is precisely what you were implying.

Without God. With God considered to be an extraordinary claim that runs counter to Occam's Razor. That's hardly objective, Ricky.

Like I said, this be a history class. It's more objective than your approach, which requires to accept things because Judaism says so. Just because it's Judaism's take on Judaism doesn't make it the truth. Would you accept a Vatican published edition as the definitive history of the RC church?


Well, actually, I don't think you had. But if you'd prefer, I'll do that.

On the “OM – Urgent request” thread [Smile]

First thing that showed up for me was some "Yeshua" nuttiness. And I maintain what I said. Even if Daniel is considered to be a prophet by some, what is in his book is not considered prophecy. Or it would have been put in the Neviim section of Tanakh.

<sigh> Such distinctions are beyond me. I see texts by rabbis on websites by recognized yeshivas referring to “The prophet Daniel”. Mongo him just read words, and alla that [Smile]

I acknowledge your claim. I disagree.

Fine. I double disagree. So there!

Actually, yes. The Torah claims that other deities don't exist.

And actually, Akhenaton doesn't actually recognize other gods either. This line is particularly weak. If you want to argue that Akhenaton recognized the existence of other gods but forbade their worship anyway, it would be interesting to see but not that central to anything.

Nope. That's not how it works. There is a dispute between Jewish and Greek chronology over how long the Persian period lasted. A dispute of about 166 years. If the First Temple was destroyed in 587 BCE, the Exodus was in 1476 BCE. If it was destroyed in 421 BCE, the Exodus was in 1310 BCE. But if it was destroyed in 421, all of ancient near eastern chronology would have to be brought down equally by 166 years, which would bring Akhnaton down as well. It's all of a piece. The Exodus was definitely before Akhnaton, even according to the conventional chronology.

No. <g> You admit yourself that the Jewish count of years is fatally flawed, unless one pushes the entire accepted dating of the ancient near east by 166 years. Who says those “missing” years aren't before Moses? Or between Moses and David? Or are you seriously suggesting that the Jewish count is correct and all others mistaken? That the Persian era lasted only some 30 years? That Alexander lived 2160 years ago and not 2330? Besides, I'm not wed to the Akhenaton theory. For all I care it can be Akhenaton was a latter-day left behind Mosesite. [Smile]

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kenmeer livermaile
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" Galactus rules.

Fixed that for you."

Donka schoen. I haven't read comix since childhood.

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seekingprometheus
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Can one of you explain the significance of the solar/lunar calendar spat?

Is this just a trivial nitpick with a lot of gas, or are there further ramifications invisible to the outsider?

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kenmeer livermaile
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Invisible, maybe, but not undetectable [Wink]
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