Friday, December 26, 2008

The Documentary Hypothesis – a Critique



[Julius Wellhausen 1844 - 1918 an architect of modern Biblical Criticism]

The Documentary Hypothesis proposes that the Torah was written by several different authors between about 950 BCE through 450 BCE, at which point it was assembled into the present single document, probably by Ezra. This hypothesis is pretty much universally accepted by secularists.

There are several problems with this theory, in my humble opinion.

The first problem is the Samaritan Pentateuch. The Samaritans have not shared a common tradition with Jews since the division of the United Monarchy following the death of King Solomon. According to Ezra 4, the Samaritans were bitter enemies of the Jews in the time of Ezra. Clearly they would not have accepted a book composed by Ezra.

In addition to that, the Torah does not mention the city of Jerusalem, which was the center of Judaism from the time of King David up until the present.

Based upon this, it would appear that the latest the Torah could have been written would have been the time of Samuel, which was about 400 years after the Exodus.

In addition to this, no copies of the alleged pre-Ezra documents have ever been discovered anywhere, nor are they ever mentioned in any ancient literature. If they had been regarded as sacred for centuries, it is implausable that they quickly and entirely disappeared.

Also, it's logically inconsistent that secular scholars believe that the Torah is basically bogus, yet some apparently accept the Talmudic statement (Bava Basra 109b) that there existed in ancient Israel a priesthood descended from Moses, claiming that these priests wrote the E document. (See Richard E. Friedman in “Who Wrote the Bible” pages 48 and 79)

Advocates of the Documentary Hypothesis point out that different parts of the Torah are written in different styles. There is a simple explanation for this. The Talmud many times mentions God’s two character traits – the trait of mercy and the trait of justice. Mercy is represented by the name YHVH while justice is represented by Elohim (see Midrash Braishis Rabbah 73:3). The Talmud Tractate Megilah 31b states that Deuteronomy was written by Moses – it is a speech given by Moses, rather than having been simply dictated to him by God. Based upon this, we can understand why different portions of the Torah are written in different styles although they actually have a Mosaic authorship. Rather than refuting the single authorship of the Torah, Bible critics have merely rediscovered the midrash.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

To the best of my knowledge, the only time that DH style analysis was ever actually tested was the "Amber WItch" hoax. The whole methodology that the DH is based on was demonstrated to be a crock.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amber_Witch

Crawling Axe said...

The problem is deeper.

The methodology of Biblical criticism cannot apply to Judaism. It was developed by Protestant X-ians to attempt to find the original “New Testament” in Greek. The problem was, in the “New Testament”, there are more than 30,000 (thirty thousand) variations of words, phrases, paragraphs, etc. between different existing Greek versions (sometimes having religious significance — such as Yoshka being you-know-what vs. the other thing). The reason for this is X-ian copiers were really bad at their job and oftentimes made errors (in other cases, they inserted words or rearranged paragraphs to suit their own needs).

So, Biblical critics compare hundreds of texts and this way figure our what the original text may have said in this or that place.

This obviously does not apply, lehavdil, to Judaism. Jewish copiers were very meticulous in copying Torah and we don’t have several versions of Torah (the variations we do have are minimal, like “honor” vs. “honour”).

So, methodology and the whole philosophy of “we can figure out what the original text said and what its authors were” that one can maybe successfully apply in X-ian Bible cannot apply, lehavdil, to Torah.

Besides that, they are mamosh ignorant people for the most part. They will construct a hypothesis of when shem Elokim vs. shem Havaya is used, and show you ten examples supporting their hypothesis — ignoring fifty examples not supporting it. Furthermore, there is internal structure of Torah (e.g., chiasmus, mentioning of names and certain words exact number in particular parsha) which is broken up if you consider the multiple authors hypothesis.

Finally, the multiple authors hypothesis contradicts Kuzari argument which proves that Judaism could not have invented from scratch or evolved in the process of social evolution.

Frikle said...

I looked up p.48 and 79 of Who Wrote the Bible and they contain no reference to Bava Batra

(I've yet to read the actual book btw, but I was curious as to how it quoted the Talmud in this case -- but it doesn't)

jewish philosopher said...

What I meant was is that Friedman claims that there was a group of priests descended from Moses in ancient Israel. The only source for that, as far as I know, is the Talmudic passage I cited. It seems somewhat inconsistent to on one hand consider the Torah to be bogus but on the other hand to consider the Talmud to be historically reliable.

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

Well who says they consider the Talmud to be historically reliable?

Look, critics of the Torah will always accept those facts which support their thesis and ignore or try to erase those which don't.

For example, Wellhausen's ramblings were thoroughly torn apart by Rav I Hertz, of Hertz Chumash fame.

Wellhausen's students were torn apart by Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann, the Melamed Ho'il.

All this hasn't stopped a new generation of secular intellectuals from continuing their tradition. They have to, otherwise they must accept the Torah is divine and authoritative.

However, I have to note your comment on the Samaritans contains a factual error. The people we call Samaritans, and presumbly its their Pentateuch you're talking about, have no connection with the Jewish people. They are the descendants of the Cutheans brought in by the Assyrians to live in northern Israel after the Ten Tribes were exiled. So their documents mean nothing to Jewish sources.

DrJ said...

1. The Samaritan "Bible"'s tradition is also a faith-based claim, and therefore cannot be used as a proof of anything. Like the Ethiopian Ge'ez Bible, it probably evolved late from other ancient texts influenced by contemporary local conditions. ( I assume that you would not accept THEIR claim that THEIR bible is the real "original" ancient text)

2. Friedman claims that the redactor is Ezra, but this is in dispute and not an essential detail of the DH. Just as Isaac Newton was the father of modern mechanics which since has undergone revisions, refinenements and corrections, so has Wellhousen's DH.

3. The lack of ancient "proto" texts is probably due to the limited longevity of parchment texts. The Torah itself refers to ancient texts that no longer exist (Book of the Wars of the Lord, etc). From the text I would assume that these books actually did exist at some time, since the writer was obviously speaking to somebody for whom the reference had meaning. Even for the Torah itself there are no surviving scrolls older than the second temple era (Dead sea scrolls, etc)

4. As for inconsistencies of bible critics--you're using all or nothing thinking. DH does not claim that the entire contents of the bible are FALSE. Some events may be historical, and some are allegorical (as the rabbis say). Ditto with Talmudic texts. Priests were a common feature of all ancient Near East religions.

5. Multiple authorship is based on far more than just "different styles". There are anachronisms, contradictions(internal and with other biblical books), doublets, and anthropomorphisms and differing points of reference.

jewish philosopher said...

Biblical critics, as far as I know, cannot give a plausible explanation for the Samaritan belief in the entire Torah or the total disappearance of earlier documents which are not even mentioned anywhere. The main argument for DH is the different styles of writing found in the Torah; however there is a non-DH explanation for this.

This post does not prove that Torah is divine, however I think it is unreasonable and hypercritical to date it before Samuel or to insist on multiple authors.

K said...

JP,

I despise statistical arguments, because stats are so easy to skew according to one's whims.

Is the phrase Noah walked with God supposed to be figurative or literal?

Who decides what is figurative or literal in the Hebrew Bible?

How different would you say the Hebrew Pentateuch is from the KJV? Do you know of a site that compares them side by side?

Have you ever heard the phrase "Jesus is the God of the Old Testament"???

Thanks for any help you give,
K

jewish philosopher said...

"Is the phrase Noah walked with God supposed to be figurative or literal?"

It means Noah constantly thought about God.


"How different would you say the Hebrew Pentateuch is from the KJV?"

Probably not much.


"Have you ever heard the phrase "Jesus is the God of the Old Testament"???"

No.

K said...

You don't need to post this, but I've been reading the Hebrew Bible and find it just as morally offensive as the KJV no matter who wrote it.

Lot was an @ss to offer his daughters out like common whores. If God is all powerful, why wouldn't Lot expect God's angels to look after themselves. No surprise, Lot's daughters turned out to be incestuous.

I also take issue with Abraham throwing out Hagar into the wilderness. It was low of him to have sex with the maid in the first place.

I think it's a crappy kind of god who torments a man by making him attempt to take his own child's life as a "test."

It's a lousy brother (Isaac) who makes his twin (Esau) trade his birthright for his own life.

Laban should have been sued by Jacob for breach of contract, even if Jacob may have been shallow in desiring the prettier sister instead of the eldest.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, were all polygynists and/or adulterers, and it seemed to be okay with them and their culture and their god.

This isn't an all inclusive list, but those are the bits that rankle me the most.

I also don't buy that the copies of your bible were perfectly made throughout all time, especially when it seems that your people descend from far from perfect specimens. The oral traditions are even more suspect. Ever play telephone?

jewish philosopher said...

K, what you are saying is "Based on my beliefs, which are some very watered down residue of Christianity called humanism, I don't think the Jewish God or the ancient Jewish heros were really very moral." And therefore?

A social darwinist could come along and say that humanism is immoral because it allows the weak to thrive and is stopping evolution. So?

An animal rights activist would say anyone who eats chicken is a murderer.

There are Jewish Biblical commentaries which explain everything - according to our belief system. You can make up any system you want to, but I don't have to agree with it.

And I think the Talmud is pretty reliable.

Anonymous said...

There is a competing theory called the tablet hypothesis.

http://www.trueorigin.org/tablet.asp

This states that the Bible is a compilation of earlier texts compiled by Moses. Just the opposite of the Documentary Hypothesis. I wish the skeptics would make up their minds.

onionsoupmix said...

Hey JP. Here's an idea. Read your own damn links before you post them. If you read the Megillah 31b link, you'll see the author clearly concludes that Devarim wasn't a speech Moshe made on his own. Didja just miss this part?

"We cannot take this statement - Deuteronomy being Moses' own words - literally. Moses could not have composed this book on his own, for a prophet is not allowed to say in God's name what he did not hear from God"

jewish philosopher said...

Hey, I do read them onion. And I think the difference in style in Deuteronomy can be attributed to it having been filtered, so to speak, through Moses rather than dictated directly by God.

onionsoupmix said...

Alas, your conclusion contradicts that of the author you cite. Moreover you fail to cite any rabbinic authority to back up your position.

I don't know if you've noticed, but in Orthodox Judaism, your own little explanation makes no difference if you don't have a rabbinic authority to back you up.

jewish philosopher said...

Onion, would it perhaps be more appropriate for a charming young lady like you to retreat to the kitchen and perfect her soup recipes instead of engaging in these scholarly disputations?

onionsoupmix said...

I have a special soup just for you JP. It's what I serve to all BTs who know very little about their new faith and profess themselves as holier and better than everyone who do not believe as they do.

The soup is made up of equal parts humility, knowledge and experience and you need an extra-large helping.

jewish philosopher said...

Could we just have low fat vegetable?

zibble said...

Look, critics of the Torah will always accept those facts which support their thesis and ignore or try to erase those which don't.

That's a laugh, because Fundamentalists take this approach to the nth extreme!

jewish philosopher said...

I consider all the facts.

Anonymous said...

Please forgive for going off topic
but I thought that this article was interesting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/science/30tier.html?_r=2&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Basically a sceptic is admitting to the value of religious observance. However, he is claiming that there is an evolutionary explanation. Even when they acknowledge the value of religion, they have to deny the truth.

Anonymous said...

Are you familiar with Casuto's book by the same name? I recall getting a copy in Mea Sharim way back. Good arguments against the DH

jewish philosopher said...

No, I don't think I've heard of it.

Shalmo said...

Since the earliest complete manuscript of the Masoretic edition of the Torah is very, very late (around the 9th century CE), there's no way at this point that it could be "proven" to be the authentic one. One might ask that were the extreme care and precision you mention that Jewish scribe have practiced in regards to writing the Torah in fact true, why the need them for the Masoretes to have come up with their own edition in the first place? And that as late as the post-Christian time period?

Anyhow, as I mentioned before, what we do mainly have from prior to the very late Masoretic texts are the LXX in Greek, the Dead Sea Scrolls material and the Samaritan Pentateuch. In comparing these to the current Masoretic, while substantially much of it is the same, there are notable differences. And if it can be shown that the earlier texts agree on something, that that agreement disagrees with the Masoretic, but that this alternate version makes more contextual sense, then it is a pretty good argument for demonstrating that in that instance the Masoretic is the one that has been changed. Now, does this "prove" the genuineness of the alternate sources? No, of course not. All it proves is that the alternate is what was common amongst Jews around the second century BCE. In terms of the actual Mosaic text itself, or a Torah version from before this late time period, other than possible short fragments you don't have any.

So, some comparisons then. Taken from here:

http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/dss.htm

MT = Masoretic Text
DSS = Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q referring to the fourth cave at Qumran)
LXX = Septuagint
SP = Samaritan Pentateuch


QUOTE
1&2 Samuel

For the past two centuries textual critics have recognized that the Masoretic Text (MT) of 1&2 Samuel has much textual corruption. The Samuel MT is shorter than the LXX and 4QSama. The Samuel MT has improper word division, metathesis, and other orthographic problems. Certain phrases and clauses go against the Hebrew grammar rules. Parallel passages vary from each other (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.227-8).

In 1952 Roland De Vaux and Lankester Harding found manuscripts of Samuel under three feet of debris in Qumran Cave 4. 4QSama shows that the Old Greek Bible (LXX) was based on a Vorlage similar to 4QSama. Josephus agrees with 4QSama in 6 places against the MT and LXX. Josephus, 4QSama, and LXX share about three dozen readings against the MT (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.229).

Where the book of Chronicles parallels 1 Samuel, the readings of Chronicles follow 4QSama rather than the MT 42 times. Only one time does Chronicles agree with the MT. Over 100 times 4QSama does not agree with any ancient reading (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.230-31).

The Book of Samuel varies widely and frequently from the Masoretic Text. 4QSama preserves a number of superior readings that help correct errors in the Masoretic Text (DSS Bible, 213). Let's look at some of these.

One dramatic example is in I Samuel 11 where the MT and KJV left out the first paragraph. The Longer reading in the DSS explains what happens in this chapter. It says:

"Nahash king of the Ammonites oppressed the Gadites and the Reubenites viciously. He put out the right eye of all of them and brought fear and trembling on Israel. Not one of the Israelites in the region beyond the Jordan remained whose right eye Nahash king of the Ammonites did not put out, except seven thousand men who escaped from the Ammonites and went to Jabesh-gilead" (The Dead Sea Scroll Bible translated by Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich page 225). Then verse one of I Samuel 11 starts.

1 Samuel 14:30

There is a mis-division of words here in the MT. The 4QSama divides it differently which makes better sense. The MT has hkm htbr rather than hkmh hbr in the 4QSama.

1 Samuel 14:47

There is a singular instead of a plural noun in 4QSama. 4QSama is the better reading.

1 Samuel 15:27

There is an omission of the subject in the MT. According to 4QSama Saul is the subject who grabbed the garment, not Samuel.

1 Samuel 17:4

How tall was Goliath? The MT says, "six cubits and a span" while 4QSama says, "four cubits and a span." People don't usually grow to be over 9 foot tall, so the "four cubits"(7 feet) seems the most reasonable height of Goliath.

1 Samuel 26:22

The MT preserves two variant readings by combining them while the 4QSama just records the one correct word. The MT has an ungrammatical reading.
Biblical Texts that need to be changed as a result of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Genesis 1:9

4QGenk has added "and dry land appeared" indicating that the longer reading of the LXX is from an ancient Hebrew text that the MT lost by haplography. The LXX addition says, "and the waters below heaven gathered into their gathering place and dry land appeared" (See Charlesworth, 2000, p.200).

Genesis 4:8

Genesis 4:8 leaves us with the unanswered question about What did Cain say to Abel? The Samaritan Pentateuch and the LXX have what Cain said. The LXX says, "Let us go out into the field." 4QGenb does not have this reading, but scholars think the sentence dropped out because of scribal error (Ibid., 15).

Exodus 1:3

4QExodb in Exodus 1:3 has "Joseph and Benjamin" while the MT, SP, and LXX have only "Benjamin." Frank Cross thinks 4QExodb reading should be preferred (Ibid., 201-203).

Deuteronomy 32:8

4QDeutj and the LXX say, "according to the number of the sons of God" while the MT and SP say, "according to the number of the sons of Israel." "Sons of Israel" does not make sense here. This is probably a theological change. The 4QDeutj and the LXX seem to preserve the older reading that implies a god, or guardian angel for each nation.

Joshua 8:34-35

4QJosha locates the paragraph about Joshua's construction of an altar (Joshua 8:30-35, MT) at the beginning of Joshua 5. The LXX locates this paragraph at Joshua 9:7-8. Josephus follows the 4QJosha tradition which is probably the earliest or original order of Joshua.

Judges 6:6-11

4QJudga is different from the MT and the LXX in that it lacks Judges 6:7-10. These missing verses are said to be a literary insertion added by an editor. Here is clear evidence of scribal expansion of the MT.
Psalms

There are a number of additional Psalms in the DSS than in our Bible. Psalms 1-89 are basically the same as ours in the DSS (Psalm 32, and 70 are absent). From Psalm 91 on there are radical differences in arrangement, and/or in different Psalms that have never been seen before (Psalm 90 is not preserved). There are a total of 15 different Psalms which are not included in our present Bible, nine of which were completely unknown. None of the Psalm scrolls found has our present day arrangement of the Book of Psalms.

Psalm 22

Psalm 22:17 in the MT "like a lion are my hands and feet" which does not make sense. The LXX and 5/6HevPs read "They have pierced my hands and feet."

Psalm 145 is an alphabetical psalm. Each verse begins with the next letter in the alphabet, but "N" verse is missing in the MT and KJV. In the DSS it is there, so somehow a scribe left this verse out.

Ezekiel

The oldest known texts of Ezekiel are from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scroll Bible states, Small fragments from six manuscripts of Ezekiel were found at Qumran and another atop Masada. All of them and the traditional Masoretic Text fairly uniformly attest the same textual tradition. Only seven minor variants are clearly preserved, though reconstruction according to spatial requirements indicates that in two places (5:13 and 23:16) the scrolls may have had a shorter text than the Masoretic Text" (page 407).


Now regarding the earlier mentioned tikuune soferim:


QUOTE
Tikkune Soferim

Early rabbinic sources, from around 200 CE, mention several passages of Scripture in which the conclusion is inevitable that the ancient reading must have differed from that of the present text. The explanation of this phenomenon is given in the expression ("Scripture has used euphemistic language," i.e. to avoid anthropomorphism and anthropopathy).

Rabbi Simon ben Pazzi (third century) calls these readings "emendations of the Scribes" (tikkune Soferim; Midrash Genesis Rabbah xlix. 7), assuming that the Scribes actually made the changes. This view was adopted by the later Midrash and by the majority of Masoretes. In Masoretic works these changes are ascribed to Ezra; to Ezra and Nehemiah; to Ezra and the Soferim; or to Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Haggai, and Baruch. All these ascriptions mean one and the same thing: that the changes were assumed to have been made by the Men of the Great Synagogue.

The term tikkun Soferim has been understood by different scholars in various ways. Some regard it as a correction of Biblical language authorized by the Soferim for homiletical purposes. Others take it to mean a mental change made by the original writers or redactors of Scripture; i.e. the latter shrank from putting in writing a thought which some of the readers might expect them to express.

The assumed emendations are of four general types:

* Removal of unseemly expressions used in reference to God; e.g., the substitution of ("to bless") for ("to curse") in certain passages.

* Safeguarding of the Tetragrammaton; e.g. substitution of "Elohim" for "YHVH" in some passages.

* Removal of application of the names of false gods to YHVH; e.g. the change of the name "Ishbaal" to "Ishbosheth."

* Safeguarding the unity of divine worship at Jerusalem.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretic#Tikkune_Soferim

::::::This list, which gives substantially more cases of agreement between the LXX and the DSS in distinction to the Masoretic: http://www.geocities.com/r_grant_jones/Rick/Septuagint/spappendix.htm

(there's around 200 or so instances listed on there where the LXX and the Masoretic disagree in the Torah, yet the DSS supports the LXX version). Your argument sounds like "The Torah tells us not to change the scripture, therefore, we never would have done it", even though the documentary evidence clearly shows that's exactly what happened, and your own past scholars have admitted as much ("Rabbi Simon ben Pazzi (third century) calls these readings "emendations of the Scribes" (tikkune Soferim; Midrash Genesis Rabbah xlix. 7), assuming that the Scribes actually made the changes. This view was adopted by the later Midrash and by the majority of Masoretes. In Masoretic works these changes are ascribed to Ezra; to Ezra and Nehemiah; to Ezra and the Soferim; or to Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Haggai, and Baruch. All these ascriptions mean one and the same thing: that the changes were assumed to have been made by the Men of the Great Synagogue..)

jewish philosopher said...

The issues are about a few words or phrases in Torah at most. I don't see any reason to be very worried about this. We rabbinical Jews use the most reliable text available.

Shalmo said...

"The issues are about a few words or phrases in Torah at most. I don't see any reason to be very worried about this. We rabbinical Jews use the most reliable text available."

JP are you blind? read my post again should you have the intellectual honesty to do so.

There is FAR more than just a few words or phrases that are different in the various Torahs as I have just shown in my previous post. Why is it that earlier versions of the Torah aka Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls agree with each other more than your Masoretic. The answer is that the changes are gradual and came about slowly. Hence the Septuagint is closer to the Dead Sea Scrolls, because the changes that were made to the masoretic version weren't made to the Septuagint since that came earlier, etc etc.

Anyway so now I have proved that mosaic authorship of the Torah is utterly false and there is no refutation for it. Great! So now all that is left is for the Jewish people to give up Judaism.

Shalmo said...

But what do we do if there are discrepancies between all the Torah scrolls.

Here is rabbinical insight on the subject:

Maimonides (Rambam), Hilkhot Sefer Torah 8, 4:
Since I have seen great confusion in all the scrolls [of the Law] in these matters, and also the Masoretes who wrote [special works] to make known [which sections are] "open" and "closed" contradict each other, according to the books on which they based themselves, I took it upon myself to set down here all the sections of the Law, and the forms of the Songs [i.e. Ex.15, Deut.32], so as to correct the scrolls accordingly. The copy on which we based ourselves in these matters is the one known in Egypt, which contains the whole Bible, which was formerly in Jerusalem [serving to correct copies according to it]. Everybody accepted it as authoritative, for Ben Asher corrected it many times. And I used it as the basis for the copy of the Torah Scroll which I wrote according to the Halakha.


If you think Maimonides' testimony was grim, wait 'til you read the rest:

RaMaH (R. Meir Ben Todros HaLevi) in his introduction to Masoret Seyag LaTorah:
...All the more so now that due to our sins, the following verse has been fulfilled amongst us, "Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, Even a marvelous work and a wonder; And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the prudence of their prudent men shall be hid"(Is. 29:14). If we seek to rely on the proofread scrolls in our possession, they are also in great disaccord. Were it not for the Masorah which serves as a fence around the Torah, almost no one would find his way in the controversies between the scrolls. Even the Masorah is not free from dispute, and there are several instances disputed [among the Masorah manuscripts], but not as many as among the scrolls. If a man wishes to write a halakhically "kosher" scroll, he will stumble on the plene and defective spellings and grope like a blind man through a fog of controversy; he will not succeed. Even if he seeks the aid of someone knowledgeable, he will not find such a one. When I, R. Meir HaLevi Ben Todros of Spain, saw what had befallen the scrolls, the Masorah lists, and the plene and defective spelling traditions, due to the ravages of time, I felt the need to search after the most precise and proofread codices and the most reliable Masoretic traditions, to resolve the conflicts. The newly-produced scrolls should be abandoned in favor of older, more faithful ones and among these the majority of texts should be followed as commanded in the Torah to decide any controversy, as it is written: "After the multitude to do..."(Ex. 23:2).

It gets darker:

R. Yom Tov Lippman Milhausen, in his work Tikkun Sefer Torah:
Because of our many sins, the Torah has been forgotten and we can not find a kosher Torah scroll; the scribes are ignoramuses and the scholars pay no attention in this matter. Therefore I have toiled to find a Torah scroll with the proper letters, open and closed passages, but I have found none, not to mention a scroll which is accurate as to the plene and defective spellings, a subject completely lost to our entire generation. In all these matters we have no choice [i.e. we are halakhically considered anusim]; but how to write the correct forms of the letters we do know and their laws are like that of tefillin. Thus if we allow the ignorant scribes to continue to follow their usual practices [in shaping the letters], here we sin on purpose [mezidin].

Don't really think so. Who knows what Maimonides and the two other Rabbis didn't disclose to the general public. Maimonides, in fact, when writing to the Jews of Yemen, lied to them by saying that there exist no discrepancies at all between all the Torah scrolls of the world, not even in vowelization. Obviously, this was to keep their faith up. Disclosing what he knew to them could've really shaken their faith.

Anyway I have now officially disproved Judaism.

I hope you have the intellectual honesty to keep this post online and not delete as jewish fundamentalist tend to do when their religion is debunked.

jewish philosopher said...

The differences between the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Masoretic text are insignificant. The most important on is the addition of a reference to Mount Gerizim in the Samaritan Ten Commandments.

Regarding the issue of doublets, have you seen the commentary of Rashi on the Torah? I think you may find in enlightening.

Larry Tanner said...

According to one biblical scholar, archeological research and careful textual analysis has helped us to see "that the oldest mention of Israel, appearing on a victory-stela that Pharaoh Merenptah erected in 1208 BCE, provides a strong argument against the biblical history hitherto
espoused. The inscription names Israel as a group of people and identifies them as predating later Palestinian residents. It thus contradicts the Old Testament
picture of an Israel consisting of twelve affiliated but still distinct tribes who, according to biblical chronology, conquered Canaan at about this time. Moreover, we have an abundance of Egyptian documents from the fourteenth century BCE, the time of Israel’s sojourn in that country; but not one refers either to Israel’s presence in and subsequent flight from Egypt, or to Moses, who according to the Bible had contact with the royal dynasty of the Pharaohs. From all this evidence arises the intriguing likelihood that the Israelites themselves were
originally Canaanites."

This is intriguing.

jewish philosopher said...

The Exodus took place in 1313 BCE and the conquest was 40 years later in 1273 BCE.

The eruption of Thera is also not mentioned in existing Egyptian records, demonstrating the lack of completeness in those records.

E-Man said...

"The first problem is the Samaritan Pentateuch. The Samaritans have not shared a common tradition with Jews since the division of the United Monarchy following the death of King Solomon."

Just wnted to tell you the Samaritans were not around until much later and had nothing to do with King Solomon. They are the Kutim in the Gemorah, the Converts because of lions. After the ten tribes were exiled the samaritans replaced them in the north of Israel. Just wanted to correct that fact.

jewish philosopher said...

I know that. However if the Jews and Samaritans have the same the Torah, that Torah must date from the time of Solomon at latest.

Meir Goldberg said...

Shalmo, you havent dis proven anything. See this article http://www.torah-code.org/controversy/THE_ACCURACY_OF_OUR_WRITTEN_TORAH.pdf