Are there two versions of the 10 commandments found in Exodus?

Caroljeen

Well-known member
On the evidence collected by scholars who study oral transmission in cultures with high levels of residual orality rather than textual production... for example, tape recording stories orally-transmitted at different points of time and comparing them. Walter Ong's Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (Routledge, 2002) would be a good place to start in exploring these and related issues...


Sure, the author of Exod 20:1-17 knows and quotes from the creation account (compare its Sabbath command with Gen 1:1-2:3), which reflects a monolatrous conception of the Israelite deity... this theology took hold in Israelite religion following the surprising failure of Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem (701 BCE). I date most of the preamble material of Deuteronomy (chs 1-11) to the reign of Josiah (ie. late 7th century BCE) so there is an approximately 75-year window during which the text of Exodus 20 could have been supplemented in the manner I've suggested... I would hesitate to narrow it down any further than this though I suspect it was earlier (ie. first part of the 7th century BCE) rather than later and closer to the time the Deuteronomists were writing.
I do have one more question. 🙃
I searched google for the time of the Israelite exodus from Egypt and the date given was 1446 BC. Does that mean the oral tradition of the story was passed down for over 700 years? (The only things likely written down were the covental code, the law (Deut 27), Moses song, and the 2 two tablets.) If that is true, I can understand why some scholars might speculate the documentary hypothesis, JEDP.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I would like to preface this reconstruction of Exodus 34 by saying that it felt very strange for me to tamper with words of the Bible. But I found it incredulous to think that the ritual decalogue in Ex 34:17-26, which seems so mundane and redundant being already written in the book of the covenant by Moses, should be the original and only decalogue and that the Ex 20 decalogue was a supplement/addition.
Alright, thanks for stating your starting assumptions... while redundancy is a valid reason for suspecting something might be secondary, the evaluation that something is "mundane" is not, it is a subjective evaluation that should not factor into a decision on the matter --- as far as it is possible we should keep our biases for or against texts in check. You have a clear preference for the 'traditional' decalogue, which is fine from a devotional standpoint, but I think you run into problems if this governs your decisions on what is or is not secondary in a text.

This purely speculative reconstruction of Ex 34 is what I think might have been if the original Ex 34 decalogue had not been tampered with and the ritual decalogue supplemented in its place. In other words, I’m restoring the Ex 34 decalogue to its original form before it was tampered with. In doing so, I’m showing you what I meant when I responded to you in post #55 of this thread, “If Ex 20 [decalogue] is left intact then Ex 34:1 and the Deuteronomy retelling would be in sync. The only thing out of sync is the ritual decalogue and Moses chipping away at the new set of tablets.”
Thanks for taking the time to illustrate what you meant earlier by undertaking this exercise of reconstruction... it was clearly articulated as to what you felt was original and what you felt was secondary --- there were, however, two shortcomings: (1) it was unclear whether the alleged additions (ie. verses 7, 14 and 27-28a) were made by the same editor who made the exchange of covenant words in verses 17-26 or whether these were made by another editor before and/or afterward, and (2) while you were clear about what you think happened, there were no reasons offered as to why the proposed exchange and additions occurred, which would be a necessary step for your reconstruction to be viable.

*Ex 34: 17-26 The ritual decalogue was removed because of its supplementary nature. It was repetitious and completely superfluous given its existence in the book of the covenant in which it is contained and where it has its rightful place. It was lifted out of the covenantal code arbitrarily, almost en bloc, and added to the story in a jarring way that leaves the reader perplexed and befuddled.
That "the reader [is] perplexed and befuddled" projects your own engagement with the text onto others who may feel quite differently... it would be best to own this reaction (keeping in mind what I note above about holding one's biases in check), and while your reconstruction is internally consistent, this begs the question of what therefore motivated a later editor to swap out the covenant words --- scribes intervene into the text to fix real or perceived problems, but there doesn't appear to be any major problem in your conjectured original form of the text to prompt such radical revision as you propose took place.

The charge of being superfluous can be reversed and brought against your position... if, as I believe you suggested earlier in the thread, the words of the 'traditional' decalogue were among all the words of the deity written down in the 'book of the covenant' according to Exod 24:4, then they are just as superfluous as the 'ritual' decalogue. In any case, the charge of being superfluous is unwarranted... assuming the 'ritual' decalogue was written on the stone tablets, their contents were not available for the Israelites to view --- they had their copy in the 'book of the covenant' and the deity had his, so to speak, on the tablets stored inside the ark.

(to be continued due to character limitation)
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Vs 7 and 14 These verses were redundant as they were duplicates to portion of the Ex 20 decalogue and removed.
So at the time the covenant words were exchanged or at some point afterward you are proposing that verses 7 and 14 were added... that is, they were not original because they duplicate sections of the 'traditional' decalogue --- these are astute observations demonstrating attention to the presence of repetitions as a sign something may be secondary, but in and of themselves are not convincing. Here are the texts for comparison:

20:5-6 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

34:7
keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation.

34:14 for you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.


The first thing to note is that the alleged additions, separated in the Exodus 34 text by seven verses, are found together in the Exodus 20 text but in reverse order... any theory of the secondary status of the former would need to account for their separation and reversed dispersal in Exodus 34, as well as their purpose as supplements.

I think a good case can be made that they formed an integral part of the earliest-recoverable form of the story in Exodus 34... note that Moses' petition in verse 9 that the deity pardon their iniquity and sin repeats back a portion of his promise from verse 7 --- namely that he is willing to forgive iniquity and transgression and sin. While verse 6 might suffice to prompt Moses' request, it flows best from verse 7. The verse itself sends mixed signals about whether the deity is or is not willing to forgive and under what conditions, ambiguities that a later writer might want to clarify... and this is precisely what we find in 20:5-6 --- the intergenerational punishment is connected to the deity's jealousy over the worship of other gods, construed as rejection, while the steadfast love for a thousand generations is connected to loving and obeying the commandments given by the deity.

As for the prohibition on worshipping any other god, it is arguably the first of the "ten words" in the 'ritual' decalogue (as I so identified it in my first post to this thread here) just as it is the first of the "ten words" in the 'traditional' decalogue. If an editor exchanged one set for another, as you suggest, its placement in verse 14 as a subordinate clause to that which precedes it rather than between verses 16 and 17 as an independent clause is difficult to explain. Indeed, it is part of a repetitive structure in verses 11 through 16 leading into the remainder of the "ten words":

11 Observe what I command you today. See, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

12 Take care not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going,
or it will become a snare among you.
13 You shall tear down their altars, break their pillars, and cut down their sacred poles 14 for you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

15 You shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land,
for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, someone among them will invite you, and you will eat of the sacrifice. 16 And you will take wives from among their daughters for your sons, and their daughters who prostitute themselves to their gods will make your sons also prostitute themselves to their gods.
17 You shall not make cast idols.

Verse 11 sets up the entire section with the deity's instruction to observe what he is about to command, followed by what he promises to do... namely drive out the various inhabitants of the land he is leading them to. Verses 12-14 and 15-17 have identical tri-part structures terminating with the first and second commands of the 'ritual' decalogue respectively. Verses 12a and 15a (green text) repeat a command, in the context of the covenant the Israelite deity is making with them (verse 10), not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land named in verse 11. Indeed, one must be careful not to see all repetitions as evidence of secondary or supplementary material, but as a means by which the writer seeks to emphasize and to elaborate. Verse 12b (blue text) reports tersely they will become ensnared if they do make a covenant while verses 15b-16 (blue text) spell out exactly how they will become ensnared... namely by sharing the food sacrificed to their gods (more on this in a moment). Verses 13 and 14 (purple text) join the first command of the 'ritual' decalogue to the one-time command to destroy the inhabitants' sacred places, the locations for preparing and eating the sacrifices that will ensnare those who participate... as a precursor to how the Israelites are to live in the land and worship their god it is not part of the 'ritual' dialogue itself, which is comprised of perpetual commands, but nonetheless inextricably connected to it. Verse 17 (purple text) follows on the reference to gods in verse 16 and shifts focus from the foreign deities' sacred spaces to images of deities themselves, the second command of the 'ritual' decalogue. What follows in verses 18 through 26 picks up on the theme of eating the sacrifice from verse 15 with the rules regulating the Israelites' versions of these rituals --- even the laws concerning the firstborn and the Sabbath are tied to this theme.

In summary, both the alleged additions in verses 7 and 14, as well as the 'ritual' decalogue itself in verses 17 through 26 are interwoven with the contents of the chapter you've otherwise identified as original.

(to be continued due to character limitation)
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Vs 27, 28a These verses were removed because they were in conflict with verse 1. God had planned to write the original decalogue from Ex 20 on the new tablets that Moses had made as he had done with the first set of tablets in chapter 31:18. The supplement/addition to Ex 34 changed the text to say that Moses wrote the decalogue on the two new tablets that he had made.
This is a good example of the second shortcoming I noted above... you have articulated that you think Exod 34:27-28a was a supplement to the chapter and thus removed it in your reconstruction, but you haven't provided a reason why a scribe would have added these comments in the first place. Indeed, why would a scribe introduce such a flagrant conflict as this, transferring authorship of the words on the stone tablets from the deity over to Moses? Stripping the deity of such agency is highly unlikely as motivation for deliberate scribal intervention into the story...

“This covenant” that God is speaking of in vs 10 is the same covenant that God is speaking of in Ex 19:5 and refers to the Ex 20 decalogue.
I have no objection to your first claim... namely that Exod 19:5 anticipates 34:10 and that these are references to one and the same covenant --- indeed, Moses' petition in 34:9 not only repeats back a portion of the deity's words in 34:7 as outlined above, but echoes this remote (at least in the extant form of the book) promise at 19:5 that the people would become the deity's possession out of all the nations if they obey. I don't see that a case has been made, however, linking that covenantal promise specifically to the 'traditional' decalogue of the following chapter, which can only be connected to a covenant by inferring its inclusion in the words spoken and recorded at 24:4, which is a different covenant than the one detailed in chapter 34... at best it is a renewal of the other covenant that was broken, but this isn't clear.


Your inclusion of Exod 34:29-35 to cover the entire chapter opens up the question of its relationship to the whole... indeed, this opens up a whole other can of worms that is going to complicate things even further. There is an important footnote in the NRSV at verse 29... Moses is described as coming down from Mount Sinai "with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand" --- the word 'covenant' is footnoted to the following comment: "Or treaty, or testimony; Heb eduth." This is a different word than that found in the previous verse and throughout the first part of the chapter... there the word is berith (or brit, as our interlocutor over on the Judaism board introduced it using a modern pronunciation). The verse echoes a previous one and I'll juxtapose them here using the translation "testimony" for eduth along with a third verse (translations are my own rather than from the NRSV):

And he {the deity} gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone written by the finger of God. (Exod 31:18)

And he turned and Moses went down from the mountain and the two tablets of the testimony were in his hand (tablets inscribed on both sides, on this side and that side they were inscribed) --- now the tablets were the work of God and the writing was the writing of God, that which was engraved on the tablets). (Exod 32:15-16)

And it came to pass that when Moses went down from Mount Sinai and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand, when he went down from the mountain Moses did not know that the skin of his face radiated when he spoke with him {the deity}. (Exod 34:29)

I'm going to introduce a scholarly German term, define it and illustrate it using the above... it is Wiederaufnahme, which means "resumption" and appears in English biblical scholarship as "resumptive repetition" --- it is "a literary device whereby an editor, after an interpolation, returns to the point of interruption and before continuing repeats part of what immediately preceded the interpolation" (Jeffrey H. Tigay, "The Evolution of the Pentateuchal Narratives in the Light of the Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic" in Empirical Models of Biblical Criticism, edited by Tigay [Wipf & Stock, 2005], p. 48).

There are two interlocking examples of "resumptive repetition" in the above verses: (1) tablets of stone written by the deity (31:18 // 32:16) and (2) Moses descent from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand (32:15 // 34:29), which signal that the intervening texts (32:1-14; 32:17-34:28) constitute a large interpolation, a supplement in other words. Note how the blue text flows together without the editorial resumptions (bold purple):

And he {the deity} gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone written by the finger of God. And he turned and Moses went down from the mountain and the two tablets of the testimony were in his hand (tablets inscribed on both sides, on this side and that side they were inscribed); when he went down from the mountain Moses did not know that the skin of his face radiated when he spoke with him {the deity}.

The eduth was introduced in the Sinai narrative as something that Moses must insert into the ark (25:16, 21), a gold-plated chest covered with a pure gold lid hammered into the shape of two cherubs, which is thereafter referred to as "the ark of the testimony" (25:22; 26:33-34; 30:6, 26; 31:7; 39:35; 40:3, 5, 21). Following the instructions for the construction of the ark, the tent structure to house it and its operation (25:1-31:11), the deity commands that the Israelites must observe his sabbaths, spelling out penalties and culminating with the following:

Therefore the Israelites shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant (berith). It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. (Exod 31:16-17)

Note that the Sabbath is herein introduced alone as a covenant and the command to observe it constitutes the third word of the "ritual" decalogue that it shares with the "traditional" decalogue (within the "ritual" decalogue it appears about half way through as its centerpiece) --- the inference from the connection of this text to that above (it forms an unbroken chain with the initial verse: Exod 31:16-18) is that what appears on the eduth is the Sabbath covenant (the text of which would certainly fit on two stone tablets just as easily as one of the two decalogues), which was the earliest tradition of the Sinai covenant, later supplemented by the "ritual" decalogue, the bulk of which expands on the plural sabbaths (ie. the annual festivals and sacrifical meals) and their proper maintenance.

(to be continued due to character limitation)
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Now with my proposed restoration of Ex 34 there is also a continuity with the story that is retold by Moses in Deuteronomy 4-5
Your reconstruction does offer some continuity, but it is incomplete... to further the exploration above of the ark, eduth and sabbath covenant, there is the problem of reconciling Exodus 34 (and the story within which it is embedded) with Deuteronomy 10. Here are the opening verses of each, keeping in mind that the Deuteronomists know of the earlier text and are quoting and revising it (revisions in bold, relocations underlined, omissions from the Exodus source flagged with blue text):

Exodus 34:
1 The Lord said to Moses, “Carve out two tablets of stone like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you smashed. 2 Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai and present yourself there to me, on the top of the mountain.

Deuteronomy 10:
1 At that time the Lord said to me, “Carve out two tablets of stone like the former ones, and come up to me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood. 2 And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you smashed, and you shall put them in the ark."

The significant difference between the two versions is that the Deuteronomists insert a command for Moses to build a wooden ark into which he is to place the rewritten tablets. The claim is prefaced with the temporal marker "at that time", which is the culmination of forty days and nights of Moses petitioning the deity on behalf of the Israelites who have sinned with the fashioning of a golden calf (9:7-29)... this conflicts with the chronology of the Exodus narrative where Moses received instructions concerning the ark prior to coming down the mountain and smashing the first set of tablets. And while the ark is made by the metallurgist Bezalel in Exodus after Moses returns from the mountain with the replacement tablets, the Deuteronomists present Moses himself making the ark before he goes up the mountain (10:3)... these constitute irreconcilable chronological conflicts between the two books --- the presentation of the ark as a simple wooden chest in Deuteronomy (rather than a gold-plated wooden chest adorned with golden cherubs as in Exodus) reflects the iconoclasm of the Deuteronomists and their ongoing ideological battles with the theology presented in Exodus.

Thank you, En Hakkore, for explaining what you do and allowing me to try to do the same.
You're welcome... I hope it was a productive exercise and that my comments above reflect the appreciation I feel for the work and insights you brought to the discussion. My critical feedback is intended constructively and, as I noted early on in our dialogue, to stimulate thought about these texts. If you want to leave things as they are, that's cool, but if you have any further comments you wish to make in response to the above, I should be able to reply before I start my sabbatical from CARM a week from today...


Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
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En Hakkore

Well-known member
I do have one more question. 🙃
I searched google for the time of the Israelite exodus from Egypt and the date given was 1446 BC.
A 15th-century BCE date for the (alleged) Exodus appears on the very conservative/fundamentalist end of the spectrum... most scholars (including Christian ones) would date such an event (if it happened) to the 13th century BCE --- my own position is a median one within biblical scholarship, best represented in the work of William Dever (see the two recommends below). Briefly put, I accept a small historical kernel of some slaves who escaped from Egypt (not miraculously) and they joined with other disenfranchised peoples in the breakdown of Late Bronze Age Canaanite society to form a group we now know as ancient Israelites... their origins are, in other words, primarily indigenous --- this accords well with the archaeological record, in particular the absence of evidence for rapid and widespread destruction of Canaanite cities in the time period suggested by either date above, a relief to those of us uncomfortable (to say the least) with texts narrating the annihilation of these people down to the last babe in arms!

Does that mean the oral tradition of the story was passed down for over 700 years? (The only things likely written down were the covental code, the law (Deut 27), Moses song, and the 2 two tablets.) If that is true, I can understand why some scholars might speculate the documentary hypothesis, JEDP.
I've linked below to about 40 paper presentations at a conference on the Exodus held at the University of California San Diego back in 2013 that you can watch (or not) at your leisure over the next few months... they cover a range of topics that we've touched on in the course of our own dialogue --- concerning the dates proposed for the Exodus there is a paper by Lawrence Geraty (Video #4), a paper by Dever (Video #13) outlining the above position on Israelite origins, a paper by Friedman (Video #25) offering a feisty defense of the traditional Documentary Hypothesis, plus papers by those who, like myself, approach the composition of the Pentateuch using more complex models... for example Konrad Schmid (Video #27) and Thomas Römer (Video #31). These are just some highlights as there are many other engaging papers and big names in scholarship on Exodus and related disciplines (Egyptology, cultural memory, archaeology).

Kind regards,
Jonathan

UCSD Exodus Conference (2013)

Dever, William G. What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel (Eerdmans, 2001)
________. Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? (Eerdmans, 2003)
 

Slyzr

Well-known member
Sure, in Exod 34:28 it is claimed that Moses was with the Israelite deity, fasting for forty days and nights... pertinent is the last part: "And he {Moses!} wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments." In the previous verse, Moses had been instructed by the deity to write "these words"... that is, those which the deity had just spoken and by which they were to be bound in covenant (cf. 34:10). Between these verses (34:11-26) is found a substantially different set of "ten commandments", though there are a few overlaps with the more familiar versions found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 (though even those have some minor differences). Similar to your own breakdown, which merges two commandments into one for #2, it is not entirely clear how one arrives at only ten, but what follows is one reasonable reconstruction of this decalogue's core (other arrangements are certainly possible) --- overlaps with the other versions are in bold:

1. You shall worship no other gods
2. You shall not make molten gods
3. All that first opens the womb is mine
4. You shall not appear before me empty-handed
5. Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest
6. Three times in the year all your males shall appear before me
7. You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven
8. You shall not leave the Passover sacrifice until morning
9. The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to my house
10. You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk

Since there are no ethical guidelines, this version of the "ten commandments" is sometimes called the "cultic decalogue" or "ritual decalogue" since its focus is on ritual matters.

Linked below is an hour-long lecture by Michael Coogan on the broader subject of the "ten commandments" down through the ages given at the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East that you (and others) may find informative... he spends about five minutes on the subject of this version in Exodus 34 beginning at the 17:20 mark of the video.

I look forward to continuing discussion on the subject...

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Patriotical decalog.

According to the buddist tradition, this is then reviewed by living people.

Thus the change in law.

as an aside, and somewhat of support of the ten listed above.

You shall not boil a kid in it's mother's milk.

For women are to give life and not death.

Which means just that, they are to let us live, and have hope we can live.

Kind regards Jonathan,
 

Caroljeen

Well-known member
I've linked below to about 40 paper presentations at a conference on the Exodus held at the University of California San Diego back in 2013 that you can watch (or not) at your leisure over the next few months... they cover a range of topics that we've touched on in the course of our own dialogue --- concerning the dates proposed for the Exodus there is a paper by Lawrence Geraty (Video #4), a paper by Dever (Video #13) outlining the above position on Israelite origins, a paper by Friedman (Video #25) offering a feisty defense of the traditional Documentary Hypothesis, plus papers by those who, like myself, approach the composition of the Pentateuch using more complex models... for example Konrad Schmid (Video #27) and Thomas Römer (Video #31). These are just some highlights as there are many other engaging papers and big names in scholarship on Exodus and related disciplines (Egyptology, cultural memory, archaeology).
I watched Geraty's presentation. I found his mention of the speculation and unknowing involved in dating the exodus to be exactly as you have described. Also his assessment of the top 10 exodus dates and his placement of them on the continuum of probability of the exodus from the most likely to least likely the same as well. He seemed to take his assigned presentation as somewhat of a chore. imo, which I found funny.
I watched most of Dever's presentation but fell asleep through some of it. His smugness regarding the certainty and lack of speculation (as opposed to his colleagues) that can be found in the archeological record was amusing. He was interesting to listen to. Thanks for the link.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I watched Geraty's presentation. I found his mention of the speculation and unknowing involved in dating the exodus to be exactly as you have described. Also his assessment of the top 10 exodus dates and his placement of them on the continuum of probability of the exodus from the most likely to least likely the same as well. He seemed to take his assigned presentation as somewhat of a chore. imo, which I found funny.
Yes, delivery of Geraty's "assignment" was a bit on the dry side for that reason! Hmm, after spending the bulk of the presentation on the arguments for and against the traditional and consensus positions, I thought the ten or so dates he ran through toward the end were in chronological order from earliest to latest... in any case, I'm glad you found it informative and even humorous.

I watched most of Dever's presentation but fell asleep through some of it. His smugness regarding the certainty and lack of speculation (as opposed to his colleagues) that can be found in the archeological record was amusing. He was interesting to listen to.
In fairness to Dever and to contextualize his comments, he has spent a chunk of his career combatting a group of radical "revisionist" scholars associated with universities in Sheffield and Copenhagen... they are known colloquially as "minimalists" and Dever dubs them "nihilists" --- there is a chapter devoted to them in the first book I recommended titled "The Current School of Revisionists and Their Nonhistories of Ancient Israel" (pp. 23-52). As I recall, the comment to which you refer came out during the Q&A with a question from Schmid (not a "minimalist" btw) who is a textual scholar (like myself) rather than an archaeologist (like Dever) --- I agree with your evaluation that he places far too much certainty in analysis of material culture, which does not speak for itself and must be interpreted, just like texts. He does acknowledge toward the end the need for textual scholars, orality scholars and archaeologists to collaborate more effectively...

Thanks for the link.
You're welcome... if you get a chance to watch Friedman's paper presentation, you'll find him a hoot --- he is even more sure of himself and about his defense of the Documentary Hypothesis -- and flat out says so! -- but interjects jokes throughout that take the edge off such rhetoric. There's one joke toward the beginning that requires some knowledge of Hebrew to get the punch line... if you need help with it, let me know and I'll explain. :)

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Caroljeen

Well-known member
Yes, delivery of Geraty's "assignment" was a bit on the dry side for that reason! Hmm, after spending the bulk of the presentation on the arguments for and against the traditional and consensus positions, I thought the ten or so dates he ran through toward the end were in chronological order from earliest to latest... in any case, I'm glad you found it informative and even humorous.
I didn't explain myself well.
He did run them chronologically but he would describe each one which would enable me to put them in the order I would want to also see...from most probable to least probable.
In fairness to Dever and to contextualize his comments, he has spent a chunk of his career combatting a group of radical "revisionist" scholars associated with universities in Sheffield and Copenhagen... they are known colloquially as "minimalists" and Dever dubs them "nihilists" --- there is a chapter devoted to them in the first book I recommended titled "The Current School of Revisionists and Their Nonhistories of Ancient Israel" (pp. 23-52). As I recall, the comment to which you refer came out during the Q&A with a question from Schmid (not a "minimalist" btw) who is a textual scholar (like myself) rather than an archaeologist (like Dever) --- I agree with your evaluation that he places far too much certainty in analysis of material culture, which does not speak for itself and must be interpreted, just like texts. He does acknowledge toward the end the need for textual scholars, orality scholars and archaeologists to collaborate more effectively...
True. I caught the beginning and the end. I'll have to watch it again another time.
You're welcome... if you get a chance to watch Friedman's paper presentation, you'll find him a hoot --- he is even more sure of himself and about his defense of the Documentary Hypothesis -- and flat out says so! -- but interjects jokes throughout that take the edge off such rhetoric. There's one joke toward the beginning that requires some knowledge of Hebrew to get the punch line... if you need help with it, let me know and I'll explain. :)
I might listen to that tonight after I read some more of Boyd's book.
I don't know if you read his book, but the part on Barth had my heading spinning somewhat. I couldn't put all the pieces together but I think that is what Boyd will do in the next chapter.
 

Caroljeen

Well-known member
[QUOTE="En Hakkore, post: 620499, member: 391" if you get a chance to watch Friedman's paper presentation, you'll find him a hoot --- he is even more sure of himself and about his defense of the Documentary Hypothesis -- and flat out says so! -- but interjects jokes throughout that take the edge off such rhetoric. There's one joke toward the beginning that requires some knowledge of Hebrew to get the punch line... if you need help with it, let me know and I'll explain. :)
[/QUOTE]Please interpret the joke...He was passionate about what he taught. Only the priests? He will have to edit a lot of the story to make that work.
 

Caroljeen

Well-known member
if you get a chance to watch Friedman's paper presentation, you'll find him a hoot --- he is even more sure of himself and about his defense of the Documentary Hypothesis -- and flat out says so! -- but interjects jokes throughout that take the edge off such rhetoric. There's one joke toward the beginning that requires some knowledge of Hebrew to get the punch line... if you need help with it, let me know and I'll explain. :)
Please interpret the joke...He was passionate about what he taught. Only the priests? He will have to edit a lot of the story to make that work.
How does he know the proper pronunciation of YHWH?
 
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Caroljeen

Well-known member
Alright, thanks for stating your starting assumptions... while redundancy is a valid reason for suspecting something might be secondary, the evaluation that something is "mundane" is not, it is a subjective evaluation that should not factor into a decision on the matter --- as far as it is possible we should keep our biases for or against texts in check. You have a clear preference for the 'traditional' decalogue, which is fine from a devotional standpoint, but I think you run into problems if this governs your decisions on what is or is not secondary in a text.
Good point. I wanted to see what it would look like to put the Ex 20 decalogue in Ex 34 and keep the Ex 34 decalogue as strictly part of the covenantal code.
Thanks for taking the time to illustrate what you meant earlier by undertaking this exercise of reconstruction... it was clearly articulated as to what you felt was original and what you felt was secondary --- there were, however, two shortcomings: (1) it was unclear whether the alleged additions (ie. verses 7, 14 and 27-28a) were made by the same editor who made the exchange of covenant words in verses 17-26 or whether these were made by another editor before and/or afterward, and (2) while you were clear about what you think happened, there were no reasons offered as to why the proposed exchange and additions occurred, which would be a necessary step for your reconstruction to be viable.
1. I honestly didn't even consider it but if I was to speculate, the editor (a polite term for someone who is tampering with a sacred text, imo) would have added those when he took the original decalogue out of Ex 34 to make it look and sound somewhat familiar to the text he removed.
2. You are asking me why someone would want to exchange the original decalogue that was rewritten by God on the second set of tablets in Ex 34 after Moses smashed the first set? The original decalogue being the first set of 10 commandments given in Ex 20, correct? I would have to speculate that whoever did it was a scribe who lived in a time before Deuteronomy was written. It was likely just a scribal error. He lost his place while copying Ex 34 and inadvertently replaced the original Decalogue with later portions of the covenantal code. (I would hate to think he did it maliciously.)
That "the reader [is] perplexed and befuddled" projects your own engagement with the text onto others who may feel quite differently... it would be best to own this reaction (keeping in mind what I note above about holding one's biases in check), and while your reconstruction is internally consistent, this begs the question of what therefore motivated a later editor to swap out the covenant words --- scribes intervene into the text to fix real or perceived problems, but there doesn't appear to be any major problem in your conjectured original form of the text to prompt such radical revision as you propose took place.
This scribe (later editor) must have had a fever and was a little delirious to intervene in such a way. But let's say that the later editor was in his right mind. Perhaps his preference was to have the words from the covenantal code as the ten words. He held the code in much higher esteem than he did the words spoken by God to all of the people from mount Sinai because the book of the covenant was attested to with the sealing of the sacrificial blood.
The charge of being superfluous can be reversed and brought against your position... if, as I believe you suggested earlier in the thread, the words of the 'traditional' decalogue were among all the words of the deity written down in the 'book of the covenant' according to Exod 24:4, then they are just as superfluous as the 'ritual' decalogue.
I suppose you could do that.

I didn't want to use the traditional decalogue with the ritual decalogue as the Eikosilogue in Ex 34. Just as you think some of the things in Exodus 20 are" jarringly" out of place, I felt the same way about the Ex 34 decalogue
In any case, the charge of being superfluous is unwarranted... assuming the 'ritual' decalogue was written on the stone tablets, their contents were not available for the Israelites to view --- they had their copy in the 'book of the covenant' and the deity had his, so to speak, on the tablets stored inside the ark.
That's your opinion.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I didn't explain myself well.
He did run them chronologically but he would describe each one which would enable me to put them in the order I would want to also see...from most probable to least probable.
Ah, ok... which dating do you find most probable?

Please interpret the joke...
OK, so Moses goes to see the psychiatrist... in the first dream he thinks he's the ohel mo'ed and in the second dream he thinks he's the mishkan. The psychiatrist concludes that Moses is "too tense" --- it's a play on words in English that requires knowledge of the two Hebrew terms. Ohel mo'ed is Hebrew for "tent of meeting" and "mishkan" is Hebrew for "tabernacle"... the doc's diagnosis is that Moses is "two tents". :D

He was passionate about what he taught.
He was that!

Only the priests? He will have to edit a lot of the story to make that work.
Are you referring to his claim that only the Levites came out of Egypt?

How does he know the proper pronunciation of YHWH?
He doesn't... he just thinks he does! In any case, the vocalization 'Yahweh' is just as contrived as 'Jehovah' --- the latter comes from the vowels of 'Lord' (Adonai) inserted into the Tetragrammaton whereas the former comes from the vowels of 'The Name' (Hashem). Nobody knows how it was originally pronounced... I suppose it could have been one of these, but it could have been something else entirely like 'Yahuweh' or some other combination of the consonants and vowels.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
I don't think Yahweh is "just as contrived" since it is derived from hypothetical morphology, not interpolating a substituted word's vowels.

Things like the documentary hypothesis are not wrong in their idea of the text being heavily edited many times, but are all too simplistic in their theories.
 

Caroljeen

Well-known member
So at the time the covenant words were exchanged or at some point afterward you are proposing that verses 7 and 14 were added... that is, they were not original because they duplicate sections of the 'traditional' decalogue --- these are astute observations demonstrating attention to the presence of repetitions as a sign something may be secondary, but in and of themselves are not convincing. Here are the texts for comparison:

20:5-6 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

34:7
keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation.

34:14 for you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.


The first thing to note is that the alleged additions, separated in the Exodus 34 text by seven verses, are found together in the Exodus 20 text but in reverse order... any theory of the secondary status of the former would need to account for their separation and reversed dispersal in Exodus 34, as well as their purpose as supplements.
Evidently the scribe who added the ritual decalogue to Ex 34 was dyslexic.

Honestly, I'm not fussy when things are not exact in the Bible. What are those type of editors called?
I think a good case can be made that they formed an integral part of the earliest-recoverable form of the story in Exodus 34...note that Moses' petition in verse 9 that the deity pardon their iniquity and sin repeats back a portion of his promise from verse 7 --- namely that he is willing to forgive iniquity and transgression and sin. While verse 6 might suffice to prompt Moses' request, it flows best from verse 7. The verse itself sends mixed signals about whether the deity is or is not willing to forgive and under what conditions, ambiguities that a later writer might want to clarify... and this is precisely what we find in 20:5-6 --- the intergenerational punishment is connected to the deity's jealousy over the worship of other gods, construed as rejection, while the steadfast love for a thousand generations is connected to loving and obeying the commandments given by the deity.
Good point.
I didn't want to alter the Ex 20 decalogue when I reinserted it and took the extension (Ex 34) decalogue out.
As for the prohibition on worshipping any other god, it is arguably the first of the "ten words" in the 'ritual' decalogue (as I so identified it in my first post to this thread here) just as it is the first of the "ten words" in the 'traditional' decalogue. If an editor exchanged one set for another, as you suggest, its placement in verse 14 as a subordinate clause to that which precedes it rather than between verses 16 and 17 as an independent clause is difficult to explain. Indeed, it is part of a repetitive structure in verses 11 through 16 leading into the remainder of the "ten words":
Sometimes editors make mistakes. ;)
11 Observe what I command you today. See, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

12 Take care not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going,
or it will become a snare among you.
13 You shall tear down their altars, break their pillars, and cut down their sacred poles 14 for you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

15 You shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land,
for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, someone among them will invite you, and you will eat of the sacrifice. 16 And you will take wives from among their daughters for your sons, and their daughters who prostitute themselves to their gods will make your sons also prostitute themselves to their gods.
17 You shall not make cast idols.

Verse 11 sets up the entire section with the deity's instruction to observe what he is about to command, followed by what he promises to do... namely drive out the various inhabitants of the land he is leading them to. Verses 12-14 and 15-17 have identical tri-part structures terminating with the first and second commands of the 'ritual' decalogue respectively. Verses 12a and 15a (green text) repeat a command, in the context of the covenant the Israelite deity is making with them (verse 10), not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land named in verse 11. Indeed, one must be careful not to see all repetitions as evidence of secondary or supplementary material, but as a means by which the writer seeks to emphasize and to elaborate. Verse 12b (blue text) reports tersely they will become ensnared if they do make a covenant while verses 15b-16 (blue text) spell out exactly how they will become ensnared... namely by sharing the food sacrificed to their gods (more on this in a moment). Verses 13 and 14 (purple text) join the first command of the 'ritual' decalogue to the one-time command to destroy the inhabitants' sacred places, the locations for preparing and eating the sacrifices that will ensnare those who participate... as a precursor to how the Israelites are to live in the land and worship their god it is not part of the 'ritual' dialogue itself, which is comprised of perpetual commands, but nonetheless inextricably connected to it. Verse 17 (purple text) follows on the reference to gods in verse 16 and shifts focus from the foreign deities' sacred spaces to images of deities themselves, the second command of the 'ritual' decalogue. What follows in verses 18 through 26 picks up on the theme of eating the sacrifice from verse 15 with the rules regulating the Israelites' versions of these rituals --- even the laws concerning the firstborn and the Sabbath are tied to this theme.

In summary, both the alleged additions in verses 7 and 14, as well as the 'ritual' decalogue itself in verses 17 through 26 are interwoven with the contents of the chapter you've otherwise identified as original.
You are a master at weaving a story together.

I look at the verses 11-16 as more of a continued instruction for Israel regarding their disobedience in chapter 32. There may not be as smooth and seamless flow as I would have preferred when I put the Ex 20 decalogue back into its rightful place but I still think it works.
 

Caroljeen

Well-known member
Ah, ok... which dating do you find most probable?
I want to say 1250, but I'd have to go back and watch that section again.
OK, so Moses goes to see the psychiatrist... in the first dream he thinks he's the ohel mo'ed and in the second dream he thinks he's the mishkan. The psychiatrist concludes that Moses is "too tense" --- it's a play on words in English that requires knowledge of the two Hebrew terms. Ohel mo'ed is Hebrew for "tent of meeting" and "mishkan" is Hebrew for "tabernacle"... the doc's diagnosis is that Moses is "two tents". :D
That's a crafty use of words.
Are you referring to his claim that only the Levites came out of Egypt?
Yes. Why is he even trying to find a way to make the numbers work? Is he Jewish?
Everyone isn't like you in that you find something contradictory and then your work is done. You don't try to do anything else with it.
He doesn't... he just thinks he does! In any case, the vocalization 'Yahweh' is just as contrived as 'Jehovah' --- the latter comes from the vowels of 'Lord' (Adonai) inserted into the Tetragrammaton whereas the former comes from the vowels of 'The Name' (Hashem). Nobody knows how it was originally pronounced... I suppose it could have been one of these, but it could have been something else entirely like 'Yahuweh' or some other combination of the consonants and vowels.
He's entertaining. I bet his students like him. He needs a little spray to hold his hair in place. It was a little distracting from his presentation.
 
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Caroljeen

Well-known member
I responded to your first 2 posts that comment on my reconstruction. Hopefully either tomorrow or Friday I'll respond to your last 2 posts.
I'm learning from the things you have said, and I appreciate your observations and well thought out critiques even though it may sound like I'm being a little too glib at times. thank you, @En Hakkore
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I don't think Yahweh is "just as contrived" since it is derived from hypothetical morphology, not interpolating a substituted word's vowels.
I believe I already addressed this... it is no coincidence that these are the vowels from Hashem or that it is often pronounced (not by Friedman, mind you) as 'Yah-WAY' (ie. tsere). The morphology proposed to substantiate Yahweh is drawn from a combination of the shortened form יה (=Yah) --- a pertinent text for the subject at hand would be Exod 15:2 from the 'Song of the Sea' --- plus the second syllable from imperfect forms of the verb היה such as ehyeh (אהיה) or yihyeh (יהיה), resulting in 'Yah-WEH' (ie. seghol, as Friedman pronounces it). While possible, I find it overly mechanical... contrived even before the problem of its relationship to the substitutionary Hashem is brought to bear on the matter of its origin. A better, but by no means conclusive case, can be made for a three-syllable pronunciation based on theophoric use of the divine name (ie. יהו -yahu). In the end, no one knows... except maybe Hashem. ;)

Things like the documentary hypothesis are not wrong in their idea of the text being heavily edited many times, but are all too simplistic in their theories.
On this we are agreed, which is why I adopt a model of successive layers of supplements rather than a pastiche of once independent sources.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I responded to your first 2 posts that comment on my reconstruction. Hopefully either tomorrow or Friday I'll respond to your last 2 posts.
I'm learning from the things you have said, and I appreciate your observations and well thought out critiques even though it may sound like I'm being a little too glib at times. thank you,
No worries and take your time... well, not too much time (end of day Friday or even Saturday morning is good) --- I'll respond to all four comments together on the weekend in a summary of sorts before we exchange farewells (at least for now).

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
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