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 Post subject: Judges textual issue
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 8:06 pm 
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Judges 1-16 is a simple historical record of the Judges of Israel; but Judges 17 onwards is on an entirely different subject, a narrative spanning from Micah to the acquittal of the tribe of Benjamin. Now, in ancient Hebrew literature, it is not entirely unknown for such a split to be found in a holy book (cf Ex, Lev, Num and Deut), but it is not at all common. What is the likelihood of Judges being two seperate sections of history from the same time period beind put together in the historical section of holy books?

I may answer my own question once I put some research in, but Judges is a very interesting book overall, so I thought others might be interested too.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 8:58 pm 
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I had a look at Kirby's www.earlyjewishwritings.com, which, for him, gave a remarkably neutral investigation of what the book entailed.

Some relevant comments:

J. Cheryl Exum writes: "The book may be divided into three parts: a double introduction, which deals with Israel's failure to conquer Canaan completely, first from a military and then from a religious perspective (1:1-3:6); the main body of the book, consisting largely of the adventures of the individual judges (3:7-16:31); and a double conclusion (chaps. 17-21), which sets the stage for the transition to monarchy by painting a picture of moral decline and political dissolution in a time when 'there was no king in Israel and every man did as he pleased' (21:25). The stories of the judges are thus framed by an introduction that looks back to the book of Joshua and a conclusion that looks forward to the books of Samuel and Kings." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 245)

Which explains the structure. However, one can argue that this explanation is not certain; the particular formation of the "double conclusion" is of a different style to the cyclical style of the "double introduction" and the Judges section.

Jay G. Williams writes: "Clearly one of the main points of the author is that almost from the beginning Israel fell into sin and therefore was subjected to historical punishment by Yahweh at the hands of her enemies. Only when Yahweh raised up a new hero to lead the people was Israel revived once more. As the story proceeds, however, the cycle becomes more and more disastrous for Israel. The last of the judges, Samson, is simply a great buffoon who kills a few Philistines but who does not lead Israel in battle at all. The story moves, then, from a glorification of the heroes to a call for a new and better way of organizing Israel politically and militarily. That is to say, Judges points forward to the books of Samuel and the rise of the kingship. The book ends with two rather gruesome stories (17:1-18:31 and 19:1-21:25) wihch illustrate graphically the corrupt condition of religion and justice under the judges." (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 159)

This is a fascinating quote. I love reading the Bible as a work of history and literature as well as the Word of God. In Genesis, we see the patriarchal era, with Adam looking to establish his seed on the untamed world, Noah seeking to save and repopulate the earth, Abraham forming a people around him, Isaac and Jacob seeing that their family prospers, and Joseph (as a semi-patriarchal figure) delivering his people into prosperity. All the way through we see the formation of laws and the reasons for certain rules.

Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy all show the continuing development of the people of God; they escape from Egypt via God's grace, travel, create a codex of laws, organize the people and their worship, travel more and defeat those on the outskirts of their territory, and then receive a parting speech.

Joshua is the tale of probably the greatest military commander the Jews ever had. It's an astounding tale of conquer and assimilation. However, pockets are left behind, and in Judges, as shown above, yet more are allowed to survive, including the large area of Philistia. The theme of the Saviour begins here in a more direct form that in that of Noah, Joseph and Moses, as it is an individual who takes the burden upon themselves with no other single leader to command the Jews.

We see the very interesting and important story of Deborah here, and odd little asides about otherwise unchronicled Judges' lives. We see the cycle of judgement, and as mentioned above, the demonstrated weakness of the "Libertarian" lifestyle.

And as mentioned, it sets up the coming of Ruth, Samuel, Saul and David.

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We are the Roman Church, "the greatest and most ancient church, known by all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul", "to whom Peter and Paul have bequeathed the Gospel sealed with their blood..."

We are the tenders of Peter's grave, we are "the budding faith Nero first made bloody in Rome. There Peter was girded by another, since he was bound to the cross."

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 Post subject: Re: Judges textual issue
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:13 am 
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MoreistCarmelite wrote:
Judges 1-16 is a simple historical record of the Judges of Israel; but Judges 17 onwards is on an entirely different subject, a narrative spanning from Micah to the acquittal of the tribe of Benjamin. Now, in ancient Hebrew literature, it is not entirely unknown for such a split to be found in a holy book (cf Ex, Lev, Num and Deut), but it is not at all common. What is the likelihood of Judges being two seperate sections of history from the same time period beind put together in the historical section of holy books?

I may answer my own question once I put some research in, but Judges is a very interesting book overall, so I thought others might be interested too.


While there is no confirmed author of Judges, tradition hold that it was probably Samuel. However, like the Torah which you mentioned above, the historical books appear to be redacted as well. The "great redactor" according to theory was Ezra who lived around 600BC. According to the documentary hypothesis the historical books fall under the Deuteronomical source. The account of Gideon does appear to be created from two differrent narratives.
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view. ... rch=Judges
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Judges

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:34 am 
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I had a good read of the theoretical sources of the OT books. Of course, if we are willing to let theories of multiple authors for these books, both credited as well as unascribed ones, then we are on a slippery slope to accepting the tri-partite source of the Four Fold Gospels, ie, Passion, Q Sayings, and Signs. And it's a very brief step from there to decide that all this means John and Matthew certainly did not write their Gospels, and Mark and Luke probably didn't.

And considering academic evidence far from even allows these hypotheses respect, it is a worrying sign of our times that so many are willing to declare atheism (in the form of "proving" Scriptural provenance false) against evidence - and that they are believed.

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We are the Roman Church, "the greatest and most ancient church, known by all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul", "to whom Peter and Paul have bequeathed the Gospel sealed with their blood..."

We are the tenders of Peter's grave, we are "the budding faith Nero first made bloody in Rome. There Peter was girded by another, since he was bound to the cross."

Alleluia


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