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Re: orion response to R. Gmirkin

  The early Rabbis are history, Neusner is a fad. Anyhow, I do not recall
mentioning anything about historical truth, because it is an oxymoron. 
   My complaint was not about truth but the ethnocentricity of some
approaches as the Revisionist appproach, that is an attack upon the
scientific methodology of such an approach and not the religious
orientation or the theology (though such is part of the problem) of its
adherents. I just feel that Neusner and those like him have thrown the
baby out with the bath water and have no reguard for the folkgeist or its
institutions, as if they were not historical phenomina. 
  Still is yet anyone to give me a working model socially and culturally
for the creation of the mishnaic literature that would justify a desire by
early rabbis to fictionalize thier own heritage with cross cultural


in the future I will try to put all such comments into one letter, but I
have to wait until I get a Power PC and respond from home, as I am a Mac
user and the labs here are all IBM.  Sorry for all the posts.    

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

> Dear Bradley Harrison,
> "Historical truth" is an oxymoron. History has no truth. It happened 
> and is meaningless. Meaning and truth are fictions. That is, they are 
> created for very specific purposes where  understanding plays a 
> central role. History as  Neusner  (and Davies)
> practice it is a very specific genre of discourse that requires 
> evidence before one posits  events and happenings in their 
> constructs about the past. This is not done for the sake of either 
> meaning or any truths that belong to philosophy or theology, but for 
> the sake of a discourse that wishes to ask critical questions of 
> tradition.. Tradition, itself, offering us a meaningful past asserted 
> for self-understanding  is quite something else than history. It is 
> theology. Do not blame Neusner for not being a 
> rabbi. His purpose is quite something else. He does history. The rabbis do not 
> pretend to do that.
> Thomas
> Thomas L. Thompson
> University of Copenhagen