Current Introduction to my Book (*UPDATED*)

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Current Introduction to my Book (*UPDATED*)

Note: This is copyrighted and cannot be republished under any circumstances. This is also subject to possible change by the author.

This is what I have thus far as an introduction to my book. (More is written, over a hundred pages currently, but I'm only posting this)

*UPDATE* Upon many requests, I have revised this introduction. The second draft is below (replaced first draft) for your enjoyment and criticisms. Special thanks to Visual_Paradox and GreNME for their great advice on changes.


 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

It is an odd feeling to look back at how this project started, knowing how far I’ve come. Yet, even though it feels like I have trekked across some great distance, the scene which launched this project is clear to me still. It began with a simple question from a friend of mine, “Who were the Gnostics?” He asked because it was a subject I had been studying for personal interest for some years and I had talked to him about them before. This friend tried to explain the Gnostics to his wife one evening and had a problem recalling all the information. He asked me for the short, abridged version of who the Gnostics were and what impact they had on late antiquity. It was at that point when I realized there was no abridged version and no way to shorten such a complex cultural phenomenon as the Gnostics. The topic was so complex that defining them was difficult to do in many of the monographs I had read! So, I did what every honest historian would do; I told him I would get back to him after I wrote something.

On the way home from work that day, I mulled over the possibilities of how I would go about writing a short paper for him to give to his wife. One of the problems I had right from the start was organizing the multitude of thoughts that were rushing through my head. I knew, for example, that there were things I needed to clarify, concepts that needed to be explained and defined, and I would have to use a lot of words that did not exist in dictionaries or thesauri. The task started to seem daunting to me so I called my colleague and friend, Richard Carrier, and took a few minutes to describe my predicament. I wanted to write an article that encompassed a history of Gnosticism, I explained, and how I thought such a thing had been attempted but never really done on a scale of which I wanted to do it. Like a good friend (or perhaps his career as a college professor of antiquity gave him the patience to deal with my long-winded perspective) he asked me some questions and gauged what I was trying to do. His first piece of advice was to form some sort of outline, and followed up that suggestion with something to the effect of, “Why don’t you just write a book? I’d be very interested to read it.” It was a life changing suggestion and one that required some contemplation.

I had known from the start that writing a book would be time consuming and expensive. I also wanted it peer reviewed and, if possible, submitted to a monograph for publication. What I had realized was that if I was going to be taken seriously, I'd have to avoid many of the mistakes that more than a few people which held my position had made. One of those mistakes was ignoring the scientific process of peer review, and that was something that Richard had told me early on. Getting a position into the scholarly community was the one thing that should have been done, but hadn't, as the only way for a consensus was to be determined was to first have a position considered and reviewed. Currently, the consensus was based off of old scholarship, and a refreshing look at the position I held was certainly needed. But to my surprise, when I sat down to write out the outline that night, I realized just how large of a project it really was. In effect, I’d be covering some six centuries of antiquity, starting from the onset of the Hellenistic age, I’d move from generation to generation until the time shortly after the First Council of Nicaea. And, I had surmised, if I were going to present any sort of case at all, I’d probably have to reexamine the whole of Biblical scholarship, which included the Persian period and before. I’d also have to consider a large amount of extrabiblical material, spanning the Egyptian dynasties, the Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians, Hittites and other ancient Near Eastern societies. Once you threw in the Greeks, presocratic and Socratic philosophers, the Stoics, Sophists and Naturalists, what I was looking at wasn’t just a book on the Gnostics, but the entire evolution of society through the span of hundreds of years. When I walked back into work the next day and explained the plans I had for the book, my friend looked puzzled. At first he was in shock that I’d take on such a project and then he asked, “Could you at least write something short for me to take home to my wife?”

The only reason I’m relating this story is to give some background into the growth and development of this book. Seldom, I think, do scholars ever start a project and have it end the same way they imagined it would. My positions have changed some since that day on the phone with Richard, and as such my table of contents has altered to reflect those changes. The moment at which you become cognizant of the personal growth that results from the progression that you see in your studies is startling. My growth was minute compared to some of my colleagues. Thomas L. Thompson, while working on his doctoral thesis, completely revised his earlier positions and presented a paper that would be the foundation of a new consensus in scholarship on the historicity and theology of the patriarchal narratives. Initially, I had intended this book to show the evolution of Gnostic thought, but what I ended up with was something quite a bit more extensive, although it is hardly comprehensive.

With that in mind, I’ll explain the scope and purpose of this book. The main position of this paper is to show the evolution of an ancient Near Eastern mystery cult [1], with a large focus on Christianity, via the events that took place during the time of the second temple period (c. 536 BCE – 70 CE) through the Roman Period up until the Council of Nicaea (c. 325 CE). I’m sure some concern will be expressed with my heavy focus on Christianity, but rest assured it is because Christianity is the only surviving ancient Near Eastern Hellenistic mystery cult we can study today. There will be comparative discussions on other cults as well, mainly regarding how they interacted with each other and early Christianity; such cults as the Orphics, the Mithraics, the Dionysians, and Pythagoreans of the Greek and Roman Empires. Likewise, we shall examine in some detail the cults of the Jews, such as the Therapeutae, the Pharisees, and the Essenes. Not only will we focus on the interactions per se, but also how each interaction influenced a change in many of these cults with regards especially to Christianity, and how altered doctrines based on the confrontations with these cults over the first two centuries Common Era. As a consequence of the research I’ve done, it can be determined that there was no need for a historical founder (Jesus), as well the historicity of Jesus will be brought into question. Please, stay seated. The methodologies deployed here revolve around a growing understanding of the way Gentiles and Jews, and later Christians, understood manuscripts throughout the six-hundred year period that will be covered in many chapters of this book. I broke the book into six sections to deal with specific ideas, patterns and most importantly periods of the cult’s evolution, where I felt it would help the reader grasp the material as it got more detailed.

This book is written for a more scholarly audience, so it had to be written in a very specific format reflecting the needs of the reviewer. The style and manner in which I’ve written this book will reflect a scholarly monograph more than a book written for the layman, so I request patience from you in your reading of the text, and sometimes your diligence, and a promise that I will work to explain as much as possible for the reader and not leave a subject dangling in the air. Anything I have felt may hang up the reader has been explained and all digressions will be in footnotes available to anybody, both layman and scholar alike. I know that some parts of this text may feel as if they drag out, but I have tried to interject some personality into it to remove that dry quality. Part of how I sought to explain things were in the way I formatted the chapters and sections.

The first section, and thus the first part of my methodology, focuses on understanding where my book is not going to head, basically into the realm of apologetics; as well it shows how the misuse of history through apologetics has influenced scholarship and ways in which such bias sparked a quest into a historical Jesus which is not only fallacious, it is not grounded in history but speculation. I have also worked out why such quests are fallacious, and why they need to be rejected by modern scholarship. This is one of my most important sections, as not only will it deconstruct the existing framework of New Testament theology and history, but it also means that it is my duty to provide a better explanation of the events than those which are given by the questers (first – third historical Jesus quests). This section also lays out a clear picture of the trends of the Hellenistic age, and why such an age is vital to the first Christian century during the Roman period. In this section I also look at the psychological mindset of the cult follower, as pertaining specifically to apocalypticists, and how such minds would be adept at succumbing to the sort of literary style and religious dogmas of later Christian centuries. In using the famous Cognitive Triad by Aaron Beck, I shift focus temporarily from history to sociology. This particular chapter will allow the reader to see what sort of drastic changes were taking place, and give a deeper meaning to the Jewish Gnostics and early Christians, the bigger picture so to speak. My first section will wrap up some of the many questions involving the sociological and historical issues of the Hellenistic age, and make way for the following section. Whatever is left will be answered in the subsequent chapters.

The second section deals with mainly extrabiblical subject matter as well, and much of it will focus on the years leading up to the first century Common Era. This will paint the picture of the many types of spiritual cults and texts of those cults that were circulating, giving the third and forth sections depth. Based on the idea that the Hellenistic age was a blending of cultures, the exploration of this sort of melting pot of ideas will establish the foundation of early Christian beliefs, and how the early Christians are in their very nature a finely ground mixture of Greek and Jew, with a dash of Egyptian influence. We’ll also examine the Qumran debate to determine if the Dead Sea Scrolls really had any effect on Christianity, and if this obscure sect could be the elusive sect of the Essenes. I will establish a Christian tradition that also rose out of the Essene sect in this section.

The third section is where we start looking at the New Testament for what it was meant to be viewed as; not as historical narrative, but instead as allegory and reinterpretation. In previous sections I have established specifically the information required to make this position possible, especially in light of the type of genre; Can it be concluded that such a genre existed previously than the first century common era and was it known to the Jews? Such questions will have already been wrapped up, so as to move on to the Gospel accounts and comparatively determine if such trends continue. As we go through each Gospel, we’ll examine the redactions that took place, and how the esoteric teachings of early Christians like the redactor Mark were lost on later generations, whether through persecutions or a misunderstanding of that tradition. Dennis R. McDonald’s ideas will be reviewed as well, as another way to show the Greek link to Christianity, and how not only were the redactors of the Gospels drawing from Jewish traditions but also from those who they tried to gain approval from. This section ends with Luke-Acts and an examination of the doctrines of this second century redaction of Mark and Josephus bring about, including its prolific anti-Marcionite rhetoric; and then I go on to discuss John, and the re-establishing of old traditions lost in the redactor Luke, such as Jesus as the new Moses, and the original Gnostic theme of Mark.

For my forth section, Paul is the theme. I had almost switched the order sections three and four as I have always felt that Paul and the study of Paul are more important to the understanding of early Christianity, however I also knew I could not establish what I wanted to establish with Paul until I had explained in some detail the nature of the Gospels as allegory. It was a tough decision for me, but a friend had suggested that I should perhaps go in the order of the New Testament in the Bible, and as it turned out, I thought it was a good idea. For that reason, and only for that reason, Paul comes after the Gospel accounts here, as I feel that the reason Paul comes after the Gospels in the New Testament is that he supplements the Gospels as additional evidence, at least in the eyes of Christians. I feel that Paul coming after the Gospels in this book will do that as well, but Paul also stands on his own, and in that way also Paul will help explain and validate the previous sections. Paul is such a wonderful character himself, it is impossible for me to sum up the discussion of this section, other then to say that those who read this section will come away with a refreshing look at the epistles of Paul and his theology that was the struggle of second century Orthodoxy and the Gnostics.

Sections five and six are really quite similar, although separate. The fifth section exposes the earliest church fathers and, just as with Paul, allow a fresh new look at them, remiss of the older stereotypes by later Orthodox Christians of the third and forth Christian centuries. We’ll explore the necessity of oral tradition and its esotericism, as well as the nature of both Pauline and Marcan theology, and whether we can even find such theology in these early Christians. The sixth section specifically deals with the final leg of understanding the evolution of a mystery cult—the complete Orthodox remission. In other words, we see the death of the early traditions as they were meant to be, and the establishment of new traditions in its place, with the misuse of documents and figures to establish the complete doctrine and dogma of the newly established Catholic Church. It is, in effect, the death of Christianity and the birth of something that the early Christians would have scoffed at. And more importantly, it is the death of Gnosticism, and the loss of their ways and sacred texts, which finally were removed by the inquisition during the Middle Ages, only to be discovered again at Nag Hammadi, hundreds of years later.

Finally, the conclusion at the end of section six, in which I will lay out a road in which scholarship should be headed, and why. It is a re-examination of the first section, but taking into account all that the previous sections have explained, and why scholarship should examine the claims of this book, the importance of its examination, and also of establishing some sort of consensus whether for or against its conclusions.

Additionally, I’ll leave you with some closing remarks to wrap up this introduction to my book, for those who may agree or disagree with my conclusions. The purpose of this book is to generate a dialog, and as any good historian will tell you, nothing is ever certain and for all my work here, something may be found tomorrow which would complete invalidate it. This is the nature of my passion, but it is not just my passion. Many in the scholarly community share this passion with me, and understood the risks when they got involved; that for all their years studying the subject of classical civilization, their perspectives and inductions could be falsified in a matter of minutes. Yet, as dim as such a thing may appear, it should not be looked at negatively. As a whole, we need to discuss these subjects more, to continually test and challenge our conclusions ourselves in order to continue to grow and evolve as a strong community. Sure, one may look at Socrates as smug in a discussion, but would it also not be prudent to look at Socrates as somebody who first accepts his position as possibly being wrong, humbling himself before somebody he hopes to learn from? I would think such a philosophy should be adopted upon every book that dissents from a cherished position, and in the end only then can one decide if their position is stronger or weaker then the oppositions.

I seek not to debate, but to discuss. I don’t want to prove, but provide. I wish not to insult, but to critically examine and most important I will not preach but explain. I hope those who would look poorly on me understand that even if I come across as blunt, or harsh, even accusative, I have been sure to back up every claim and provide as many sources as have been possible. In the end, if one still feels that I have done poorly, may they voice their opinion and not be looked down upon for it. At the end of the day, that is exactly what I seek: discussion.

--- Rook Hawkins, 2007

 


 

[1] So as to there be no confusion with the terms being used, according to the American Heritage Dictionary (2nd College Edition), it places the following definition to the term ‘cult’, “A system or community of religious worship and ritual”, and also, “An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric interest.” These are the definitions in which one shall refer to when using the term ‘cult’ from here on in.


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Awesome work.  You need to

Awesome work.  You need to hurry and finish so I can read the rest cause im impatient ;p  I suggest everyone read this as this is something that I think will interest everyone (especially those of us who are a little less versed on the bible and the Gnostics).


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  I'd read that book. 

 

I'd read that book. 


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NICE!!!

I had no intention to read the whole intro (bed time), however it keept drawing me in until I got to the end. Needless to say I was sad that it ended... IT WAS THAT GOOD! If the rest is as well writen as this, then we are in for a treat! Keep up the hard fight Rook!

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I expected more, somehow.

I expected more, somehow.


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Intro is great Rook! Can't

Intro is great Rook! Can't wait to purchase the full version...

 

Keep up the good work and the good musical ear as well.


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totus_tuus wrote: I

totus_tuus wrote:
I expected more, somehow.

That's good.  Hopefully the rest of the book will fulfill that expectation. 

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WOW Rook, I am so very lucky to have found you, and RRS. I am go

WOW Rook, I am so very lucky to have found you, and RRS. I am going to send this "Introduction link" to everyone I know, as most of course blindly call themselves christians. I am so very very very happy you wrote this. Be nice to yourself, I luv ya man. This is truely helpful,  ..... mark


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Great intro Rook. I'll

Great intro Rook. I'll definitely be ordering an autographed copy if you have them available.


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Rook_Hawkins

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

totus_tuus wrote:
I expected more, somehow.

That's good. Hopefully the rest of the book will fulfill that expectation.

 

Haha, that's great.

 

Maybe this question has been answered before, but is there a rough estimate of when the book will become available?

Other than "when it's done" of course. =P 

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Nice work!

Great Work man! I can't wait till you get this out to the masses! Do you have a publisher set up? or is it going to be just through RRS?

 

If Reading Kicks ass.....And Rook hawkins Kicks ass...you put the two together you got some Kick ass shit!

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THe original plan was for

THe original plan was for the end of the year.  Initially I thought a year would be enough time to complete this book, but it seems to be growing more volumous by the day, and the resources I need keep getting larger and more complex.  So the more I read, the more I realize I need to add to make this the most authoritative and complete book available on the subject.  So...as of right now "when it's done" is the best estimation I can give.  I'm hopeing I can get at least most of it written by January - but that seems more like wishful thinking than an accurate date at the moment.  Keep in mind I am also getting this reviewed, and so there will be some delay as I wait on my reviewers, and correct anything that they find needs correcting.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote: THe

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
THe original plan was for the end of the year. Initially I thought a year would be enough time to complete this book, but it seems to be growing more volumous by the day, and the resources I need keep getting larger and more complex. So the more I read, the more I realize I need to add to make this the most authoritative and complete book available on the subject. So...as of right now "when it's done" is the best estimation I can give. I'm hopeing I can get at least most of it written by January - but that seems more like wishful thinking than an accurate date at the moment. Keep in mind I am also getting this reviewed, and so there will be some delay as I wait on my reviewers, and correct anything that they find needs correcting.

I can accept "when it's done". I was just wondering about an estimated date since your posting of the intro seemed like a teaser of things soon to come.

But a teaser of things eventually to come is okay too. 

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Ummm, sorry to all the

I'm a stupid tart boy who was edited by a mod to ridicule the stupid tard boy.


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   geezz Occams Raison,

   geezz Occams Raison, so where is your atheist shit ? 

rook rocks, published or not , jesus wrote nothing, glad rook does .... and you ?

errrr ,

so explain it to us .....    


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I AM GOD AS YOU

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

   geezz Occams Raison, so where is your atheist shit ? 

Pardon?  Where's my what?  What on earth are you talking about?

Quote:
rook rocks, published or not ,

Er, maybe.  But an elegant writer he is not.  As I used to explain to my undergraduate students when they tried to write like this, "The essence of good style is a combination of clarity and simplicity.  Think about exactly what you want to say and then say it as simply and clearly as you can."  Rook's style is the very opposite of this maxim - meandering between an attempt at a scholarly style and a highly colloquial style.  The result is truly awful. 

Quote:
 jesus wrote nothing,

No.  So? 

Quote:
glad rook does ....

I just hope his editor has sharpened his blue pencil and has several spares at hand.  Who exactly is publishing this stuff?  I'm amazed that something so amateurish has been accepted by anyone, at least in its current form.

 

Quote:
and you ?

I've got a higher degree in English and used to work in publishing.  But let me guess - that still doesn't give me grounds for informed criticism, right?

Quote:
errrr ,

so explain it to us .....    

Explain what, exactly?  You post is gloriously unclear.

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Occams, thank you for your

Occams, thank you for your completely worthless criticism.  Please keep in mind this is just an introduction - not my first chapter (or any of the other 21 after).  My editors, who have both probably published more than you ever will, actually enjoy my writing style and appreciate it, as both a scholarly work and as literature. 

When it comes down to it, I trust Thomas L. Thompson and Richard Carrier's opinion over anybody who has as much of an obscure personality as you have since you started an account on this message board.  

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Rook_Hawkins

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Occams, thank you for your completely worthless criticism. 

What made it "completely worthless"?  Since I have a background in this stuff, surely the fact that I found your writing jarring says something to you, even if you think your style is fine.  Sure, no-one likes criticism, but  if someone wrote a comment on something I'd written saying they found it awful to read, I'd go back and look at it again.

 Still, perhaps you have a much stronger belief in your abilities and talents than I do in mine.

Quote:
Please keep in mind this is just an introduction - not my first chapter (or any of the other 21 after).

Are they not written in this odd style then?

 

Quote:
My editors, who have both probably published more than you ever will, actually enjoy my writing style and appreciate it, as both a scholarly work and as literature.

They are Carrier and Thompson, I take it?   

Quote:
When it comes down to it, I trust Thomas L. Thompson and Richard Carrier's opinion over anybody who has as much of an obscure personality as you have since you started an account on this message board.

    I have no idea what that last part is meant to mean, but does this mean that these two are editing your work on behalf of a publisher or that they are editing it before you present it to one?  Or is Thompson publishing it through his monograph series and Carrier is doing some reading of drafts?

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Philip K. Dick


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Nobody is a bigger critic

Nobody is a bigger critic of my work than I am, trust me.  My problem with your 'critique' is that it was substantively negative with no helping points.  

I don't know you, I've never heard of you, and you claim yo have experience in this sort of thing, yet you have been this vague person in the background, with your first few posts directed at what seemed to be an assoholic sort of backwash way of attempting to discredit me.  So, you can understand if I lack the sort of trust in your credibility and sincerity that you would prefer.  

When I get very positive reviews from my editors, being as that I know them and the quality of their work, I have to hold their opinions over yours.  Todangst who is also a mod here, who has two masters and is working on his doctoral thesis has said numerous times that he holds my work on par with his own.  Again, I have to take his word over yours.  Perhaps this introduction does need some revising, and I admit at the beginning of the post above that this is not to be republished anywhere because it may need that revision, but I don't know you, and I don't trust you - so as far as I'm concerned, you could just be some punk kid who doesn't like what I have to say and is here specifically to attempt to discredit me personally.

Earn that trust and prove me wrong.  Either way it isn't going to happen in the tone you've been taking since your arrival.     

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    Occams; Your

    Occams; Your criticism is welcomed, but scholary prudes offering no "imformed (friendly) criticism" ? .... is nah, not. You basically only said I don't like that song .....

 Are you also against rock and roll and hip hop and slang ? Glad we don't have to only listen to "elegant" classical music.

Style ? It's like music. Who's the target audience ? Just getting the unread masses interested is in itself an accomplishment. That is what rook does for me. He's fun to read. Wow, history is not just for nerds.

...."colloquial", using conversational style, slang .... I'm all for it, even rapping.

I'm also thankful for the underground free press and pop culture.

There's more than one way to skin a cat, and rook is bloody "hands on" helpful.

"Your post was gloriously unclear". LIke wise and thanks. Can we be friends?

I'm a dumb ass proud drunk ..... you ?

I remember stumbling on a book targeted to the very young, with big pictures and all, published by readers digest, out of print?, "The life and times of Jesus", ? It sparked an interest in me ... it was un religious basic old history stuff. I was hooked ..... It was even more fun than "The Denial of Death", by Becker .....


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Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Moved to trollville


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Occams Raison wrote: Ummm,

Occams Raison wrote:

Ummm, sorry to all the fans, but that was truly awful. It reads like a really verbose effort by a high school kid who's trying too hard to emulate a scholarly style.

 

This is actually getting published soon? By who? And do you have an editor, because you really need one if this eye-watering extract is anything to go on.

 

Seriously - who is publishing this in its current unpolished and awkward form?

  Did you read it? If you read it maybe you would be able to point where it is awkward, unpolished?  It seems to me if your going to say something bad or confusing about a paper you should at least quote it, say why it is bad and possible give your interpertation.  However you didn't even try to do any of this which makes me think you know absolutely nothing about about what was written. 

Sounds made up...
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Occams Raison

Occams Raison wrote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Nobody is a bigger critic of my work than I am, trust me.

Good to hear it. But the problem with that is that we don't know what we don't know. One of the advantages of a university education, especially when it proceeds to postgraduate level, is that your work (and your style of communication) is under constant external critique by peers, mentors and rivals. Your style (and, I suspect, your research) reeks of someone who hasn't had the benefit of that experience.

You suspect incorrectly.  And I disagree.  I think this position is naive, there are more than a fair share of scholars who publish frequently in journals with no college education.  I know, as I read them when I receive my copies of these journals.  I really distrust anybody with this glaring elitist attitude.  College is great, I'd love to attend - perhaps you can lend me the money to go.  Until that day, however, my 8 years of research and writing trumps most undergrads who probably will never use their education for any actual purpose other than to get a job.  

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My problem with your 'critique' is that it was substantively negative with no helping points.

Sorry if I didn't have the time to make more than a few quick points. But a couple of them should have been "helping". The one about your awkward mixture of formal style with colloquial idiom, for example.

Again, you have not pointed out where this takes place.  You assert a bit and prove nothing. 

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I don't know you, I've never heard of you, and you claim yo have experience in this sort of thing, yet you have been this vague person in the background, with your first few posts directed at what seemed to be an assoholic sort of backwash way of attempting to discredit me.

I'm not entirely sure what "assholic" means, but I can guess.

It means you've been an asshole since you have come on this board.  If that doesn't spell it out well enough for you, I don't think it can be explained monosyllabically enough for you to ever actually get it.  

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Maybe my "backwash" approach is because I've detected that you don't like criticism of any kind.

People who know me disagree.  This is a cover for you - I take criticism well.  I don't take criticism full of insults and sarcasm well.  There is a huge difference.   

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I can be more direct in future if you like, but somehow I suspect you and your minders won't like that any better.

You should just stop suspecting things, you suck at it. 

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When I get very positive reviews from my editors, being as that I know them and the quality of their work, I have to hold their opinions over yours.

I notice you didn't answer my question about your "editors".

I have answered you, before, in other threads.  Perhaps you need to read what I write instead of ignore it?  I've explained this to you upon your initial inquiry into who I was. 

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Who exactly has accepted this book for publication?

I never said it was certainly being published - what I said was I was under peer review.  That education you boast about has not helped your reading comprehension. 

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You mentioned Thompson, so I assume this means the Copenhagen International Seminar has accepted it - is that correct?

For peer review - yes.  Upon revisions, it may be published through that monograph. 

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If so, where does Richard Carrier fit in? I wasn't aware he was associated with Thompson's series.

 Carrier is reviewing it as an addition.  He has volunteered to look it over and provide additional critiques, as Thompson, although he is a friend, is a Theologian mainly.  I focus primarily on historicity, and I wanted to be sure I covered all angles.  I'm also sending a revised copy to be reviewed by a Greek Studies professor, Eric Schumacher, to gain additional perspective.  I want to be sure I cover as many different angles as possible.

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Todangst who is also a mod here, who has two masters and is working on his doctoral thesis has said numerous times that he holds my work on par with his own. Again, I have to take his word over yours.

I'm not sure I'd take the word of a psychologist on matters of prose style. If there's a field renowned for torturing the written word, it's that one.

 How many doctoral theses from psychologists have you really read?  C'mon now, you're just being silly.

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Perhaps this introduction does need some revising, and I admit at the beginning of the post above that this is not to be republished anywhere because it may need that revision, but I don't know you, and I don't trust you - so as far as I'm concerned, you could just be some punk kid who doesn't like what I have to say and is here specifically to attempt to discredit me personally.

At my age being mistaken for a "punk kid" is a refreshing compliment.

Again, saying it doesn't mean a thing. 

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Thank you. And I can assure you it does need some revision, which is all I said.

You say a lot and prove nothing. 

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Earn that trust and prove me wrong. Either way it isn't going to happen in the tone you've been taking since your arrival.

I get the impression that the main way to earn that "trust" is to not take any critical "tone" at all.

Spoken like somebody who has never read a single thing I've posted apparently.  Have you read through my blog?  Have you read any of the reviews people have written about me?  There is a reason why Jake, of the Atheist Network, labeled me the most open minded guy I know.

Your tone hasn't been one of critical concern - it has been one of shadiness.  You have been more than elusive in character, and your elitism, combined with your ignorance of what I've written, makes you sound like an asshole.  Can you also take criticism, or will you ignore that this has been the manner in which you have posted? 

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This forum doesn't strike me as being terribly open to anything but mutual affirmation and self-congratulation.

You are obviously blind, ignorant or dishonest.  I'll let others decide. 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)


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Hey Rook, I love the

Hey Rook, I love the concept of the book and how you intend to accomodate both audiences, layman and scholar alike. The relaxed writing style is also refreshing for such a work. I've grown tired of pompous, elitist writing.

If there is anything I would complain about it is not a mixture of formal and colloqial styles--language is a tool we control rather than something controlling us--but its wordiness. I'm about to hit the sack so I'll just go over the first paragraph and show where I think improvements might be made. I might do other paragraphs tomorrow if you feel this has been helpful.

As I write this now (delete "now"?), it is an odd feeling to look back at where (replace with "how"?) this whole (delete "whole"?) project started. The scene is very (delete "very"?) clear to me still, as it began with a simple question from a friend of mine, “Who were the Gnostics?” He asked because it was a subject I had been studying for personal interest for some years, (delete comma?) and I had talked to him about them before. Apparently, (delete "apparently"?) this friend had (delete "had"?) tried to explain the Gnostics to his wife one evening, (delete comma?) and had a problem recalling all the information. He asked me for the short, abridged version of who the Gnostics were and what impact they had on late antiquity. It was at that point where ("It was at that point where" -> "That was when"?) I realized there was no real (delete "real"?) abridged version, (delete comma? add "and"?) no way to shorten such a complex cultural phenomenon as the Gnostics. The topic was so complex that defining them was difficult to do in a single monograph! So, I did what every honest historian would do; I told him I would get back to him after I wrote something up (delete "up"?).

Keep up the good work Smiling

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


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 I remember back in my

 I remember back in my writing classes, my teacher would tell the class whenever you see the word "very" our writings, replace it with the word "damn". Then your editor will just remove it for you.   At times it is a very unnecessary word.

Sounds made up...
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No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.


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Visual_Paradox wrote: Hey

Visual_Paradox wrote:
Hey Rook, I love the concept of the book and how you intend to accomodate both audiences, layman and scholar alike. The relaxed writing style is also refreshing for such a work. I've grown tired of pompous, elitist writing.

If there is anything I would complain about it is not a mixture of formal and colloqial styles--language is a tool we control rather than something controlling us--but its wordiness. I'm about to hit the sack so I'll just go over the first paragraph and show where I think improvements might be made. I might do other paragraphs tomorrow if you feel this has been helpful.

As I write this now (delete "now"?), it is an odd feeling to look back at where (replace with "how"?) this whole (delete "whole"?) project started. The scene is very (delete "very"?) clear to me still, as it began with a simple question from a friend of mine, “Who were the Gnostics?” He asked because it was a subject I had been studying for personal interest for some years, (delete comma?) and I had talked to him about them before. Apparently, (delete "apparently"?) this friend had (delete "had"?) tried to explain the Gnostics to his wife one evening, (delete comma?) and had a problem recalling all the information. He asked me for the short, abridged version of who the Gnostics were and what impact they had on late antiquity. It was at that point where ("It was at that point where" -> "That was when"?) I realized there was no real (delete "real"?) abridged version, (delete comma? add "and"?) no way to shorten such a complex cultural phenomenon as the Gnostics. The topic was so complex that defining them was difficult to do in a single monograph! So, I did what every honest historian would do; I told him I would get back to him after I wrote something up (delete "up"?).

Keep up the good work Smiling

 

Dear Occams Raison, 

I'm pretty sure that's the sort of critique Rook is looking for, not with vague general comments but specific things that look like they need fixing. Give it a whirl! 

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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Here's two more paragraphs:

Here's two more paragraphs:

On the way home from work that day, I considered the many different paths I could take to write ("the many different paths I could take to write" -> "how I could write&quotEye-wink a short paper describing the Gnostics for his wife. There were certainly things (what kind of things? If this is clarified by the latter part of the sentence, try simplifying the sentence so it's clarified.) I needed to clarify, concepts needed to be explained and defined, (delete comma?) and of course ("of course" makes it sound like an "obvious" truth but to the layman audience it is not so it could seem like "ivory tower condescension" to your layman audience) I would have to use a lot of ("a lot of" -> "many"?) words that did not exist in (add "most"?) dictionaries or thesauri. The task started to seem daunting and above me, (delete comma?) so I called up (delete "up"?) my colleague and friend, Richard Carrier, and started explaining ("and started explaining" -> "to explain"?) my predicament. At first (delete "at first"?) I explained how I wanted to write an article that encompassed ("that encompassed" -> "encompassing"?) a history of Gnosticism; how I thought such a thing had been attempted but never really done on a scale of which I wanted to do it. (The semicolon prompts the reader to expect a full sentence while this is a fragment. Perhaps an em dash would be more suitable.) Like a good friend (or perhaps his career as a college professor of antiquity gave him the patience to dialog with me) he asked me some questions, gauged what I was trying to do, and asked, “Why don’t you write a book? I’d be very interested to read it.” It was certainly (delete "certainly"?) a life changing suggestion. When I walked back into work the next day and explained the plans I had for the book, my friend looked ("looked" -> "was"?) puzzled. At first (delete "at first"?) he was in shock ("in shock" -> "shocked&quotEye-wink that I’d take on such a project (period?) and (delete "and"?) then he asked, “Could you at least write something short for me to take home to my wife?”

In relating ("relating" -> "telling&quotEye-wink this story to another friend and colleague, Thomas L. Thompson, he reminded me of the great importance and impact such small questions can have. Like me, he had started off ("had started off" -> "started"?) in a similar fashion, (delete comma?) however ("however" -> "but"?) he was writing for a PhD. His research took him in the opposite direction from where he had (delete "had"?) started. To Thompson, his life is full of incredibly ancient works of literature, which he seems to appreciate more than any other theologian I have ever met or conversed with. My own ("own" could be wordy or a useful emphasis, consider removing) journey has taken me into a world that is hard to describe to anybody who has not read the words of Plato or pondered on the plays of Euripides. But there is more to writing this book than simply reading texts and translating documents. As out of place as this may sound, (there will be a tie in) one of the best things about writing this book was the ability to sit at my computer and listen to Miles Davis. Even if the controversial position of this book receives boatloads of negative criticism from the community (what community?), it would never taint the rekindled love I have for music. It is perhaps a true statement that every historian also has a great love for music, (delete comma?) and perhaps that is simply (delete "simply"?) because we see the influence that (delete "that"?) music has played not only on society but on music itself. As cultures change, so does the music, and what better way to learn about culture then ("then" -> "than&quotEye-wink through music?

(Someone please kill the smilies.)

I hope this has been helpful, Rook.

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


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Greetings, Rook. That's not

Greetings, Rook. That's not a bad introduction, and while I don't necessarily agree with Occam's Raison I do think I see the point he may have been ham-fistedly trying to make regarding the prose itself.

The narrative and the description taking the reader through a list of events leading you to produce the work that follows is important as the goal for such an introduction, so with that your introduction is on-target. The problem, though, is not that your narrative in the introduction jumps around-- on the contrary, that gives the process bringing the book to your reader depth-- but that you are missing a few key transitions that tie these different aspects into the following chapters the person who holds the book is about to read. Your segue into music is an example of a good one, your transition to Portugal is an example of one that was hasty and jarring to the reader. My suggestion would be to include in your transition to Portugal (as a location) a similar wording that brings the reader to Portugal with you: how did you come to live there? Can you bring the reader to this location in one or two sentences? Also, while it seems personable to use colloquialisms like "boatloads" in your text, I'd advise against it since there are equally colloquial phrases (even by cutting it down to "loads" ) that make the wording more easily transferrable and universal.

"And isn’t it a shame that the importance of our past goes unnoticed by millions of people every day, the appreciation for our ancestors and their accomplishments fades, it seems, with each passing generation." I like the message this sentence and those that follow try to convey, but I shouldn't have to warn you that it and the sentences that immediately follow stride along the fine line between effective commentary on academics and intellectual arrogance. I tend to get the impression from your words that you're engaging in the former, but you may wish to revise a bit-- rewrite it a few times-- to see if you can divorce it more from accidentally being mistaken for the latter. In your own prose's defense (and playing devil's advocate against myself), to some these kinds of words will always be taken as arrogance, but what I'm trying to suggest is the attempt to minimize it a bit further than it seems you already did. Even in that, though, what I'm saying is only a suggestion and it doesn't necessarily have to change, as I know the feeling you convey. I'm just trying to avoid a nodding of heads and knowing looks that always follow when such subjects come up, with people muttering to each other, "people are so stupid." After all, that doesn't seem like it's the message you're trying to convey, does it?

This reads like a good first draft for an effective introduction for your book. As I mentioned in our e-mail messages I definitely look forward to the book (and, as you can see, further reading of the site prompted me to register), and I think you're an example of someone who is determined to follow due diligence in your study and search for understanding and your methods for disseminating it. Hopefully, you don't take my words as unnecessarily critical without good faith.


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Thanks for your

Thanks for your citicisms. I knew I had some flakey points in this first draft, which is why I posted it as well, to get feedback. I will take those points under consideration when I redraft it.

Additionally, this introduction will probably change as my book progresses anyway. I just wanted a little something for my reviewers, and also I wanted to give my readers a little knowledge as to what I plan to write on. I know it is a little premature - and I may have to remove it when I am garunteed publication, but I thought maybe a treat was in order. This is a brief segment from my second chapter, second section. It is only a segment: (Same rules apply! Do not repost without permission, this is subject to change based on review)

 


 

2.2 Judaica Before and During the Hellenistic Age

"We can now say with considerable confidence that

the Bible is not a history of anyone's past." – Thomas L. Thompson [i]


Upon first glance, the quote above from Thomas L. Thompson seems extreme. Of course there has to be a history of the Israelites. At the very least there must have been an Exodus, an Abraham and Moses, a monarchal period under David and Solomon, some conquest of the various Canaanite tribes lead by Joshua. Historians and archaeologists must have verified at least some underlining truth to these stories and more, after all not a month goes by where some program airs on the History Channel or the Biography Channel in which there are some groupings of experts to discuss the discoveries and evidences of such things. Perhaps, instead of covering the history before the Diaspora, this section should just focus on the Diaspora and beyond, and leave the text of the Hebrew Scriptures to speak for itself? Surely, this is a rather arrogant position on the part of Thompson, to boastfully claim that there is no historical credulity to the Scriptures, right?

\u003c/span\>Those shows on the History Channel—especially\nthe ones with space aliens building the pyramids—might be entertaining, but as\ndiscussed in the last chapter they aren't accurate historically.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>Also, as is seen with the quests for the\nhistorical Jesus, it seems also that scholarship has a tendency to take certain\nthings for granted and can be overcome with presuppositions that blind or\notherwise cloud up issues that should be looked at more thoroughly.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>Scholarship is not prone to mistakes, and\nthankfully it realizes this and attempts to correct itself as much as it\ncan.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>Certainly, another look at\nThompson's quote should bring about some lingering fascination.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>His position above has over previous decades\nbeen scoffed at, and it has been labeled many things, from the 'minimalist' position\ndiscussed earlier to the 'revisionist' position it is also currently described\nas.\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__edn2\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__ednref2\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>[ii]\u003c/span\>\n\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\>\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>Yet, even as astonishing an idea as it is,\nsuch perspectives are becoming the standard among the scholarly community.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>Walter Brueggemann\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__edn3\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__ednref3\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\n\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>[iii]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\>\nwrites, "Within recent decades…the emergence of new critical methods, together\nwith fresh perspectives and new questions, have lead many critical scholars to\nconclude that the story line given in the Old Testament is itself no reliable\nguide for 'what happened.'" (p. 4) He continues, "Reliance upon extrabiblical evidence\nsuch as archaeological remains and inscriptions, moreover, has lead many\nscholars to the conclusion that much of what is claimed as 'history' in the Old\nTestament has no basis in 'verifiable fact.'",1] ); //-->Well, as it goes, things are a lot more complicated than they appear. Those shows on the History Channel—especially the ones with space aliens building the pyramids—might be entertaining, but as discussed in the last chapter they aren't accurate historically. Also, as is seen with the quests for the historical Jesus, it seems also that scholarship has a tendency to take certain things for granted and can be overcome with presuppositions that blind or otherwise cloud up issues that should be looked at more thoroughly. Scholarship is not immune to mistakes, and thankfully it realizes this and attempts to correct itself as much as it can. Certainly, another look at Thompson's quote should bring about some lingering fascination. His position above has over previous decades been scoffed at, and it has been labeled many things, from the 'minimalist' position discussed earlier to the 'revisionist' position it is also currently described as.[ii] Yet, even as astonishing an idea as it is, such perspectives are becoming the standard among the scholarly community. Walter Brueggemann [iii] writes, "Within recent decades…the emergence of new critical methods, together with fresh perspectives and new questions, have lead many critical scholars to conclude that the story line given in the Old Testament is itself no reliable guide for 'what happened.'" (p. 4) He continues, "Reliance upon extrabiblical evidence such as archaeological remains and inscriptions, moreover, has lead many scholars to the conclusion that much of what is claimed as 'history' in the Old Testament has no basis in 'verifiable fact.' \n\u003c/span\>This judgment makes the story line of the Bible, to say it boldly,\nfiction." (\u003ci\>ibid.\u003c/i\>) Reiterating these\npoints, Ernest Nicholson\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__edn4\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__ednref4\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[iv]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\>\ntakes a stab at the recent 'revisionist' position, highlighting Thompson and\nPhilip Davies as what he calls the main 'protagonists' of this 'revisionist'\nmovement.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>"A new debate on the supposed\nantiquity of the patriarchal traditions was opened by substantial studies by\nJohn Van Seters and Thomas L. Thompson" who "critically re-examined" the works\nof Albrecht Alt.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>In a mock response to\nhis own articles question, "Was there an Exodus?," Graham Davies writes, "Only\na generation ago this would have seemed an absurd question to ask…[but] now all\nthis has changed.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>Everything about the\nearly history of Israel\nis in doubt, including the Exodus."\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__edn5\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__ednref5\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[v]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\>\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>At the conclusion of his monograph, \u003ci\>History and Ideology in Ancient Israel\u003c/i\> (1988),\nGiovanni Garbini remarks at his books 'unexpected conclusion;' "The Narratives\nwhich are to be found in the Hebrew Bible are less than historical, and\ntherefore it is useless to look for an 'idea of history' in them." (p.178) In one\nof the opening chapters of Philip R. Davies book, \u003ci\>In Search of 'Ancient \u003c/i\>\u003ci\>Israel\u003c/i\>\u003ci\>'\u003c/i\> (2006), he writes, "neither the\n'patriarchal period' nor the 'wilderness period' nor the 'period of the judges'\ncan be transformed into an epoch in the history of Palestine."\n(p. 26) Even with some criticism still lingering this viewpoint, or rather this\nchange of viewpoint from past decades, has latched on some serious numbers in\nthe scholarly and archaeological communities.",1] ); //--> This judgment makes the story line of the Bible, to say it boldly, fiction." (ibid.) Reiterating these points, Ernest Nicholson [iv] takes a stab at the recent 'revisionist' position, highlighting Thompson and Philip Davies as what he calls the main 'protagonists' of this 'revisionist' movement. "A new debate on the supposed antiquity of the patriarchal traditions was opened by substantial studies by John Van Seters and Thomas L. Thompson" who "critically re-examined" the works of Albrecht Alt. In a mock response to his own articles question, "Was there an Exodus?," Graham Davies writes, "Only a generation ago this would have seemed an absurd question to ask…[but] now all this has changed. Everything about the early history of Israel is in doubt, including the Exodus." [v] At the conclusion of his monograph, History and Ideology in Ancient Israel (1988), Giovanni Garbini remarks at his books 'unexpected conclusion;' "The Narratives which are to be found in the Hebrew Bible are less than historical, and therefore it is useless to look for an 'idea of history' in them." (p.178) In one of the opening chapters of Philip R. Davies book, In Search of 'Ancient Israel' (2006), he writes, "neither the 'patriarchal period' nor the 'wilderness period' nor the 'period of the judges' can be transformed into an epoch in the history of Palestine." (p. 26) Even with some criticism still lingering this viewpoint, or rather this change of viewpoint from past decades, has latched on some serious numbers in the scholarly and archaeological communities. \n\u003c/span\>\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp style\u003d\"line-height:200%\"\>\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>The\nquestion has effectively shifted.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>From\nthe initial question held by scholarship for decades, "Shouldn't the Hebrew\nScriptures stand for itself historically?" the new question has become, "Why \u003ci\>hasn't\u003c/i\> the Hebrew Scriptures stood for\nitself historically?"\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>The main reason\nfor this shift, and one which will be discussed below in minor detail, is that\nthe new methods and archeological finds have yielded a very different picture\nthan the one painted in the Scriptures themselves.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>The differences are so exponential, that the\ngrounding arguments for the historicity of the narratives have been on a steady\ndecline for generations.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>Niels Peter\nLemche opens his book with amazing wit when he writes, "Recent developments in\nthe study of ancient Israel\nhave caused a lot of concern.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>We hear rumors\nthat biblical scholars have questioned the value of the Old Testament as a\nsource for the history of Israel,\nthereby dismissing the entire Old Testament as a book of guidance for Christian\nas well as Jewish believers.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>To a\ncertain degree this is true, at least as long as the Old Testament is used\nprimarily as a historical textbook."\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__edn6\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__ednref6\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[vi]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\>\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>J.M. Miller and John Hayes\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__edn7\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__ednref7\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[vii]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\>\ngive a very compelling perspective on the nature of this shift.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>They write:\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp style\u003d\"margin:0in 0.5in 0.0001pt;line-height:200%\"\> \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp style\u003d\"margin:0in 0.5in 0.0001pt;line-height:200%\"\>"One option, of\ncourse, is to ignore the credibility problems noted above, to disregard the\nlack of specific nonbiblical control evidence, and to presume the historicity\nof the Genesis—Joshua account as it stands.",1] ); //-->

The question has effectively shifted. From the initial question held by scholarship for decades, "Shouldn't the Hebrew Scriptures stand for itself historically?" the new question has become, "Why hasn't the Hebrew Scriptures stood for itself historically?" The main reason for this shift, and one which will be discussed below in minor detail, is that the new methods and archeological finds have yielded a very different picture than the one painted in the Scriptures themselves. The differences are so exponential, that the grounding arguments for the historicity of the narratives have been on a steady decline for generations. Niels Peter Lemche opens his book with amazing wit when he writes, "Recent developments in the study of ancient Israel have caused a lot of concern. We hear rumors that biblical scholars have questioned the value of the Old Testament as a source for the history of Israel, thereby dismissing the entire Old Testament as a book of guidance for Christian as well as Jewish believers. To a certain degree this is true, at least as long as the Old Testament is used primarily as a historical textbook." [vi] J.M. Miller and John Hayes [vii] give a very compelling perspective on the nature of this shift. They write:

 

"One option, of course, is to ignore the credibility problems noted above, to disregard the lack of specific nonbiblical control evidence, and to presume the historicity of the Genesis—Joshua account as it stands. \n\u003c/span\>This has been the approach taken throughout much of Jewish and Christian\nhistory, although earlier historians obviously worked without knowledge of most\nof the ancient Middle Eastern texts and archaeological data available to modern\nscholars.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>If the historian who follows\nthis option is prepared to take the Biblical account fully 'as it stands,' the\nresulting historical survey will begin with the creation of the world\napproximately six thousand years ago, presuppose an early period during which\nhuman beings lived enormously long life spans, date the Israelite exodus from\nEgypt during the fifteenth century \u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:10pt;line-height:200%\"\>B.C.E.\u003c/span\>, describe the Israelite taking of Canaan as a miraculous\nconquest, and so forth.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>As might be\nexpected, however, not many modern historians favor this first option."\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp style\u003d\"line-height:200%\"\> \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp style\u003d\"line-height:200%\"\>And why should the critical\nhistorian or scholar want to favor this option?\u003cspan\> \n\u003c/span\>As Miller and Hayes directly point out, to follow this option would be\nto dismiss the glaring problems of the text in relation to not only the\narchaeological and anthropological data, but also one would have to ignore the\nintertextual unreliability as well.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>That\nis, one would have to ignore the contradictions between the books, the variance\nin style, the late dating of many of the texts like Sirach and Tobit, not to\nmention some of the more grandiose claims like miracles and mana.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>If one were even to pretend for a moment that\nthe scriptures were historical in nature, it doesn't make a very effective\ngroup of historical documents.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>It is\nsocially dead, telling us little of the culture and lifestyle of the Hebrew\npeople, void of a great deal of information which would allow us to study or\nunderstand the common Hebrew person.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>If\none were to just look at the book of Judges, or Exodus, or Leviticus all you\ncould conclude is that the Hebrew people as a whole were impious, deserving of\nthe wrath of God over and over again, and generally failed to follow the\nhundreds of statutes placed on them.",1] ); //--> This has been the approach taken throughout much of Jewish and Christian history, although earlier historians obviously worked without knowledge of most of the ancient Middle Eastern texts and archaeological data available to modern scholars. If the historian who follows this option is prepared to take the Biblical account fully 'as it stands,' the resulting historical survey will begin with the creation of the world approximately six thousand years ago, presuppose an early period during which human beings lived enormously long life spans, date the Israelite exodus from Egypt during the fifteenth century B.C.E., describe the Israelite taking of Canaan as a miraculous conquest, and so forth. As might be expected, however, not many modern historians favor this first option."

 

And why should the critical historian or scholar want to favor this option? As Miller and Hayes directly point out, to follow this option would be to dismiss the glaring problems of the text in relation to not only the archaeological and anthropological data, but also one would have to ignore the intertextual unreliability as well. That is, one would have to ignore the contradictions between the books, the variance in style, the late dating of many of the texts like Sirach and Tobit, not to mention some of the more grandiose claims like miracles and mana. If one were even to pretend for a moment that the scriptures were historical in nature, it doesn't make a very effective group of historical documents. It is socially dead, telling us little of the culture and lifestyle of the Hebrew people, void of a great deal of information which would allow us to study or understand the common Hebrew person. If one were to just look at the book of Judges, or Exodus, or Leviticus all you could conclude is that the Hebrew people as a whole were impious, deserving of the wrath of God over and over again, and generally failed to follow the hundreds of statutes placed on them. \u003c/span\>In\nfact it seems as if there is more socio-cultural understanding of God than\nthere is of the Hebrew people.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>One could\neasily say that God is the focus of the Old Testament, historically, and not so\nmuch his people.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>As stated above, such\nwritings are not so advantageous to the truth-seeking historian who wants to\nlearn about the various socio-cultural issues of daily life among the Jews.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cdiv\>\u003cbr clear\u003d\"all\"\>\n\n\u003chr align\u003d\"left\" size\u003d\"1\" width\u003d\"33%\"\>\n\n\n\n\u003cdiv\>\n\n\u003cp\>\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__ednref1\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__edn1\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[i]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\> Thomas\nL. Thompson, \u003ci\>The Mythic Past\u003c/i\> (1999),\np. xv\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp\> \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cdiv\>\n\n\u003cp\>\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__ednref2\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__edn2\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[ii]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\> Ernest\nNicholson, \u003cu\>Current 'Revisionism' and the Literature of the Old Testament\u003c/u\>,\n\u003ci\>In Search of Pre-Exilic \u003c/i\>\u003ci\>Israel\u003c/i\>\n(John Day, 2004)\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp\> \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cdiv\>\n\n\u003cp\>\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__ednref3\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__edn3\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[iii]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\> Walter\nBrueggemann, \u003ci\>An Introduction to the Old\nTestament: The Canon and Christian Imagination\u003c/i\> (2003)\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp\> \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cdiv\>\n\n\u003cp\>\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__ednref4\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__edn4\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[iv]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\> \u003cu\>Current\n'Revisionism' and the Literature of the Old Testament\u003c/u\>, p. 5\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp\> \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cdiv\>\n\n\u003cp\>\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__ednref5\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__edn5\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[v]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\> Graham\nDavies, \u003cu\>Was there an Exodus?\u003c/u\>, \u003ci\>In\nSearch of Pre-Exilic Israel\u003c/i\> (John Day, 2004), p. 23 \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp\> \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cdiv\>\n\n\u003cp\>\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__ednref6\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__edn6\" title\u003d\"\"\>",1] ); //--> In fact it seems as if there is more socio-cultural understanding of God than there is of the Hebrew people. One could easily say that God is the focus of the Old Testament, historically, and not so much his people. As stated above, such writings are not so advantageous to the truth-seeking historian who wants to learn about the various socio-cultural issues of daily life among the Jews.



[i] Thomas L. Thompson, The Mythic Past (1999), p. xv

 

[ii] Ernest Nicholson, Current 'Revisionism' and the Literature of the Old Testament, In Search of Pre-Exilic Israel (John Day, 2004)

 

[iii] Walter Brueggemann, An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination (2003)

 

[iv] Current 'Revisionism' and the Literature of the Old Testament, p. 5

 

[v] Graham Davies, Was there an Exodus?, In Search of Pre-Exilic Israel (John Day, 2004), p. 23

 

\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[vi]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\> Niels\nPeter Lemche, \u003ci\>The Israelites in History\nand Tradition\u003c/i\> (1998)\u003c/p\>\n\n\u003cp\> \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cdiv\>\n\n\u003cp\>\u003ca href\u003d\"#11684b7aed335da1__ednref7\" name\u003d\"11684b7aed335da1__edn7\" title\u003d\"\"\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:12pt\"\>\n[vii]\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/a\>\nMiller-Hayes, \u003ci\>A History of Ancient \u003c/i\>\u003ci\>Israel\u003c/i\>\u003ci\> and \u003c/i\>\u003ci\>Judah\u003c/i\>\n(1986) \u003c/p\>\n\n\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>\u003cbr clear\u003d\"all\"\>\u003cbr\>-- \u003cbr\>Rook Hawkins\u003cbr\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.rookhawkins.com\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>http://www.rookhawkins.com\u003c/a\>\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>Rook Hawkins' Wishlist:\u003cbr\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/AMHRZD8WOGKW/\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\nhttp://www.amazon.com/gp\u003cWBR\>/registry/wishlist/AMHRZD8WOGKW\u003cWBR\>/\u003c/a\>\n",0] ); //--> [vi] Niels Peter Lemche, The Israelites in History and Tradition (1998)

 

[vii] Miller-Hayes, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah (1986)

 

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Occams Raison
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JeremiahSmith wrote: Dear

This comment has been moved here.


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Occam's Raison, don't you

Occam's Raison, don't you believe that you're being just a bit unnecessarily harsh? I'm not exactly disagreeing with you about the entire process of academic peer review, but the thing is that you seem to have already made up your mind on the nature of what Rook is working on without having been privy to all of the pertinent data about the process his work is going to follow toward publication. You may very well be correct in that the work won't be formally peer reviewed, but the truth is that at this point neither you nor I know that given the information presented.


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Occam's Raison wrote: It

Occam's Raison wrote:

It probably is, I just didn't have the time to post a critique like that at the time. But if my naughty comments have encouraged others to do so then they have achieved something. At least this thread isn't simply an exercise in pumping Rook's ego anymore.

So it was less about you being helpful and more about you wanting to 

give Rook a verbal ass-kicking? Just want to know where you stand. 

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If there are no more useless

If there are no more useless comments from the libel crowd, perhaps I can get some helpful criticism on my most recent update to the first post, being as I did just rewrite some of it.  And I'd like to get comments on mt blurb from my second chapter I posted on the previous page. =)

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GreNME
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Well, I'm not sure I think

Well, I'm not sure I think taking those two things out completely were the best thing to do for the prose, but perhaps you can take them and re-work them on their own and see if they might be more apropos somewhere else, whether in the introduction or possbly on the sleeve. I do think that they had a value in that they would help to make the book, once picked up by nonchelance, seem slightly more enticing to someone who might be interested in the subject but previously not committed to purchasing on the subject.

 

However, that's more of a commentary on possible marketing consideration than the complete-ness or incompleteness of what you have here for an introduction. You lay it out cleanly, you state your objectives, and you even mention in it that you aren't seeking a shouting match with anyone in particular with the writing to follow. The positive of it is that if gives the reader a good indication of what is to follow. I'll try to proof-read it again to see if I notice anything that sticks out that I'd have a commentary on-- I'll wait for the book to comment directly on the content-- but this shorter and straight-to-the-point version seems effective to me.

 

Oh, and don't let Occam's Raison annoy you too much. If he's correct about anything he said in his diatribes, it's that you can probably count on worse criticisms than what he's made. This is one of the chances you take in putting yourself out there, and in that at least you'll likely be measured on how you react to it, not how close the criticisms are to "truth" or not (I don't always trust "truth" in all its forms, for what that's worth). 


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{MOD EDIT: user to be

{MOD EDIT: user to be banned for creating multiple accounts in violation of forum policy}


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n. pl. ass·es (sz) 1.

n. pl. ass·es (sz) 1. Any of several hoofed mammals of the genus Equus, resembling and closely related to the horses but having a smaller build and longer ears, and including the domesticated donkey.2. A vain, self-important, silly, or aggressively stupid person. See Euthymius, RRS Forums.

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