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Re: orion Re: Response to Harrison

   Sorry to be too abusive, and I was not really trying to attack Phillip. 
I can understand that certain events may not have happened just as they
were described. But I am not so much concerned here about a specific event
as so much as with an entire cultural phenomina and its institutions. The
original argument was not what really happened at the Sanhedrin, but
whether or not it existed as an institution and who lead it, when and how
and under what conditions. To conclude that the first Nasi of the
Sanhedrin never existed because you dislike the source in which he is
named is problematic. 
  Now my view of Phil's ethnocentricity was not a
reflection of his cultural heritage, but of his scholastic approach as a
"revisionist". I was not attacking his faith but his scientific position.
I do not feel that a source should be thrown out simply because a modern
scientist distrusts the ancients who wrote it.  How can we come to
understand the ancient institutions of a given society if we distrust too
much to motivations of those who valued and tried to preserve them and 
were part of that society. The ethnocentricity here is not Jew vs
Christian (though in part it is), but modern man vs his very subject
matter, ancient man. What is the point in studying ancient peoples with a
revisionist out look of it. 
   What makes history is not what really happened in a scientific post
Enlighenment sence, but how and why people had preserved it, and how they
in turn reacted to it. We cannot conclude that since George Washington
never cut down that cherry tree, that he never existed, and hence was not
the first president of the USA. You see the illogical logic of this
statement as we have other sources and so on, but that is the logic that
some have embrassed in terms of certain records of our more ancient past. 
   The Mishnah is a very valid source that should never be seen as total
fiction. Why do some see the Mishnah as fiction? Is it because we do not
value or do not have our own oral traditions, or that we have a low
reguard for the folkgeist that we hold such a view, then that view and
those like it is ethnocentric.
Mr. Bradley Harrison         

On Fri, 31 Oct 1997, Thomas L. Thompson wrote:

> Mr. or Ms. Harrison or Bradley
> seems rather harsh in dismissing poor Philip Davies' description of the 
> rabbi's historical fictions as being motivated by ethnocentrism. However, 
> he or she uses only a politically correct form of rhetoric 
> for a response. Of course, "Christ's" trial was a fiction. Even such 
> a "Christ," namely Messiah, is a theological, and therefore 
> fictional, concept; and it is also a matter  of course that Paul's Sanhedrin visit -- 
> paralleling Steven's "trial"-- was also fictive. Such critical 
> assertions -- and Philip agrees with me here -- are not ethnocentric. 
> Let's not open up a religious war here. 
> Philip, hardly a Christian except by my catholic standards, must be 
> allowed to paint even the rabbis with his critical brush. 
> Christian's, even Catholics fare no better at his hands. His aim  is 
> scholarship, not religious supersessionism. That game must be 
> surrendered to Islam, not Christianity.
> Thomas
> Thomas L. Thompson
> University of Copenhagen 
> >     Mishnaic fiction? Even in the DSS this fiction was refered to and even
> > duplicated in their own political tradition. Your position is very
> > ethnocentric I fear, i.e. if it is written in a traditional Jewish sources
> > then it is fiction. I suppose Christ's trial was fiction, and when Paul
> > presented himself to the Sanhedrin, this was fiction too.