Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Philip Davies: Watch Your Language

Thanks to Jim West for this. As Jim says, Philip Davies is "a delightful and enjoyable scholar" and in this piece "writes a delightful and thoroughly enjoyable op-ed on scholars and the language they use."

It's from Bible and Interpretation and here's a sample:

Here is one of my original proposed dictionary entries (p. 333):


(a) A probably fictitious entity supposedly composed of the elements of two nation-states formed in Palestine during the Iron II period under the kings David and Solomon

(b) The name given to a kingdom centered in the Ephraimite hill country of Palestine between the end of the 10th and the end of the 8th centuries BCE, possibly deriving its name from a group mentioned in the MERNEPTAH STELE.

This entry greatly oversimplified the issue: the Israels that the biblical writers offer us are more varied and variegated: the books of Deuteronomy, Kings, Ezekiel, Chronicles, and Ezra, for instance, all differ on what “Israel” includes (make up your selection from Samarians, Judeans, and Judeans claiming to be returned from exile, proselytes, gerim). It is now clearer, too, that Judah and Israel probably originated independently, developed independently and, though closely associated during their history (by temporary political union and vassalage), were at their demise antagonistic neighbors.

So go and read the rest.

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