Kevin Wilson at Blue Cord has raised some interesting and quite valid points regarding my Discovery and Scholarship post, prompted by and added to by Charles Halton at Awilum. (Sorry about the primitive linking here, this “pingback” stuff is too new voodoo for me.)
Charles nicely summarizes my point and objects to part of it with this: “One might argue that the re-evaluations have not gone far enough, fair enough. But, we see similar methodology in examining sources of documents in other ANE literature–it’s not like the Old Testament is the only ancient document that undergoes this sort of analysis.” It is definitely true that such examinations are happening now more often, seemingly exactly under the influence of Hallo’s contextual approach. I applaud this and want more of it. The in-depth examination of ancient texts, their language, their structure, and their own literary and historical context is imperative before any comparison can be made with other texts, including the Hebrew Bible. But such very welcome studies are also all very recent. Of course, the Hebrew Bible, with which western culture has been much longer familiar, has had many more such studies done, many of now-questionable value, and much solely of interest to studies on the history of scholarship. From this angle come my objections to certain fundamental elements of academic orthodoxy in Biblical studies, but in particular more widely to a certain mindset of or preference for complication over simplicity.