Archive for the ‘ancient hebrew’ Category

Soooo, I go offline to write up some stuff, and I have so much stuff to write at the moment that the only thing that prevents me from having a complete nervous breakdown is the sense of duty (DUTYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY);

anyway I go offline, and the next thing I see when I stumble vaguely downwards in the general direction of the  back-to-the-internets and ah-fundies-hell

(or, rather, am summoned back from the seventh circle of hell – the circle reserved for people who have to write things, so that they can concentrate when the sweet, screeching sound of wailing of Xian sinners fills their dark bitter hearts with much needed warmth& warm fuzzy feelings of glee, schadenfreude and GLEE – by e-mails and messages asking me DID U SEE THAT DID U?????)

well, what’s the next thing?


Bible Possibly Written Centuries Earlier, Text Suggests

asdfasdfasdfghasdfghasdfghasdfghasdfghadfghasdfghasdfghasdfgh NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Well. Let’s start from the beginning

(and also make the necessary disclaimer that I can’t really say anything until I see the article in a proper scientific journal, because, LOL, this is how it works)

(unless you’re a fuckwit who believes Albright& Thiele  – as a typical person who deals with ANE, my first reaction was “WTF is Thiele?”, my second reaction was to google, my third was “Ah, USian fundies, OKAAAAY!”, my fourth to e-mail a Prof who is an actual Semitist just to make sure. The Prof’s first reaction was “LOL THIELE”, her second “LOL FUNDIES” so there – that Albright&Thiele are scholars whose research should be still taken seriously in the year 2010. For one, it’s terribly outdated, second, their methodology was, frankly, appallingly unscientific, third, they were both archaeologists, and as such, not really trained to interpret texts properly. The Wiki editors, though, seem to be strangely enamoured of them. It probably has something to do with noxious fumes and  sulfurous vapours from the influence of  Conservapaedia  >.>)


what Galil Gershom seems to claim is:

1. The inscription from from Khirbet Qeiyafa is written in Hebrew.

2. It can be dated to X century BCE.

3. The presence of writing in Israel at such an early period could prove that the Bible was written much earlier than heretofore assumed.

Ad 1> His interpretation seems to hinge on the presence of two verbs which, as he himself admits, do occur in other Canaanite languages, albeit with lesser frequency.

It has to be noted that the text itself is very fragmentary and heavily damaged.

Also, I’d like to remind everybody about the blunders that are in fact sometimes made when it comes to interpreting ancient texts, such as these, where a private letter was suggested to be a part of an epic poem.

However, even if Gershom’s interpretation is correct, it means very little for the chronology of the redaction of the  Bible.

Ad 2> I’d have to take a look at whatever was published about the excavations. If anything has been published at all.

It might not have been, yet.

Ad 3> Here, we come to the crux of the argument, and where it’s time to call bullshit.

Because, the lack of Hebrew writing system is NOT the ultimate proof for the late redaction of the Bible. There are multiple other arguments, and trying to turn the scientific consensus (VI century BCE and later redaction) into another false controversy replete with straw men and non-sequiturs is a complete, utter and total failure on the part of whoever did it, be it Gershom himself or the maverick journalist who wrote the press release(1).

There are multiple other factors that have to be taken into account when dating ancient texts, such as, for instance, the cultural background. Sometimes older words for garments, vessels, and the like, have to be explained by added glosses, because they are no longer comprehensible to later readers. There is  ample evidence for such “gloss-like” passages in the Bible. There is also plenty of other indirect evidence for the “traditional” chronology being, basically, drivel and complete bullshit, intended to alleviate crazy biblical literalists’ existential Angst about their favourite book(2) not being true.

Also, even if the Hebrew writing was a later invention, it doesn’t mean that writing was unknown in Syria and Palestine. There is evidence that the Egyptian hieroglyphics had been known since at least early III millenium BCE in Arad and Southern Canaan, where they were sometimes used as decorative motives, which might suggest the local population couldn’t read them yet. In the XIV century BCE Amarna several hundred letters to and from Syro-Palestinian kings were excavated, all of them written on cuneiform tablets in Akkadian. Also, this:

The breakthrough could mean that portions of the Bible were written centuries earlier than previously thought. (The Bible’s Old Testament is thought to have been first written down in an ancient form of Hebrew.)

Yeah. The Earth was thought to be first created flat, too.

(It most likely was indeed written in a Hebrew alphabet, but arguments like that? Oh, FFS)

Right. I’ll just go and do some work now.

(1) As usual and for anec-datal reasons, I’m a strict adherent of the “always blame the science journalist” theory.

(2) It never ceases to be amusing how some many people claim their favourite book is one they never read.

1. Via a Camels with Hammers commenter:

John’s Scalzi’s trip to the Creation Pseumuseum + photos. The post includes delightful scatological imagery, such as this:

The guy who built the temple, satisfied that it truly represents his beloved load of horseshit in the best possible light, then opens the temple to the public, to attract not only the already-established horseshit enthusiasts, but possibly to entice new people to come and gaze on the horseshit, and to, well, who knows, admire its moundyness, or the way it piles just so, to nod in appreciation of the rationalizations for its excellence or to clap in delight and take pictures when an escaping swell of methane causes the load of horseshit to sigh a moist and pungent sigh.

Yes, please. I might have to pick up his books one day, after all.

Also, creationist commenters and their typically overblown dramatics:

274. John Scalzi on 13 Nov 2007 at 9:43 pm

“Re: the Ark and Dinosaurs isn’t big a deal when you realize that the DInosaurs didn’t have to be full grown to be on the Ark.”

I’m sorry, I’m getting the giggles again, here.

275. Joe on 13 Nov 2007 at 9:54 pm
John, to think, my mom told me I wasn’t funny. I guess she was wrong. Put a gun to my head and tell me to renounced Christianity or you’d shoot me…Pull the trigger because I am not doing that. It isn’t because I am me, I don’t like being shot at, it’s because I fear God, not man.

Heh heh. The evil Scalzi, shooting poor persecuted creationists in the head again. Which makes a little sense, after all, since it’s not like they use them all that much anyway. I bet he also had Christian-baby-porridge for breakfast!

(Commenter number 300 also claims that Scalzi is so mean, because he’s just like Ann Coulter, heh heh. Heh heh!)

(A few comments down, Joe also proudly announces that he 1) never met Pascal, 2) gambling’s not for him. I’d think TROLL TROLL TROLL, only Poe’s law)

Also, I’d like to maybe repeatedly emphasise that there are 101 photos. With captions. Go, now!

2. A truly bizarre article about the oppression of women in fundamentalist regimes. On the one hand, it raises several important points, on the other:

The use of women’s naked bodies to market commercial products in the West is merely another application of the idea that women are commodities. Anyone who visits the redlight district in Amsterdam can see for himself how wretched prostitutes, completely naked, are lined up behind glass windows so that passers-by can inspect their charms before agreeing on the price. Isn’t that a modern-day slave market, where women’s bodies are on sale to anyone willing to pay?

Yeah, right. Because being oppressed by men with political and religious power is just like deciding to be a sex-worker.

I’m not saying everything is legal and perfect in the blessed land of socialism and sexual permissiveness, and that there’s no human trafficking and that sort of stuff. It’s just that apples and oranges, dude.

What’s also quite disturbing is how women/feminists/activists who are supposedly against the sex industry and pornography for the sake of the women always end up blaming the sex-workers anyway, and not maybe suggesting the logical solution, which would be “so let’s convince people that paying for sex is uncool or something“. Because, seriously, demand and supply, dudes!

3. My Randroid special this week: how the Market (blessed be His name) works when nobody’s looking.

4. Twitter novel. The Japanese, of course, have been there first.

5. WTF is wrong with this dictionary? It should come with trigger warnings D:

6. Concordat Watch‘s got stuff on the creepiest of concordats out there. Like the one in Dominican Republic:

Back in 1954 the dictator, Trujillo, concluded a concordat with the Vatican which is still in force. On 11 July 2006 representatives of the Dominican Republic’s more than 1,600 Protestant churches filed an appeal against this concordat with the Dominican Supreme Court (SCJ). They claimed that it is unconstitutional. However, over two years later on 22 October 2008 the Supreme Court upheld the concordat. In its ruling it states that although the State assumes the obligation to teach the Catholic religion and moral education in elementary and secondary public schools, in no way prohibits that education by another religion in their establishments, nor has evidence been contributed that demonstrates that this has been prevented by virtue of what is agreed to in the Concordat.

No to mention the outrageous one in Cote d’Ivoire.

7. I’m reading MerodachBaladan‘s kudurru! Posts about Assyrian/Biblical propaganda coming soon, yay!

8. ALSO, I CAN HAS A LEXICAL LIST ZOMD. (They look like that, but mine is smaller and much harder on the eyes. Ow!)