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Re: orion Orion Mishnah as History

  It is a little more complex than that, but that is more or less the
idea. An example would be the piont brought up about Pliny mentioning
Chinese with pale skin, blue eyes and red hair. It was suggested that
Pliny had made an error based on our modern understanding of what Chinese
look like.  When in fact there was a mass migration of
"European" peoples, that have been moving east since prehistoric times,
were then being forced back west by the Huns. Here we have a classic
example of the problem. Pliny assumed that this group was representative
of the Chinese and then we assumed that he was wrong, stupid,lied, and so
on. Then we take such material to conclude that Pliny is unreliable.This
is a typical ethnocentric view of the past (not an ethnocentricity based
upon bigotry, but a biase based upon our own cultural experiences). We
often  imposed such biases upon our subject matter, often subconsciously.
  A big problem with some of the material I see passing my eyes on this
forum is making that same sort of error. But it is not one we all can see
unless pionted out. To understand what is going on in Qumran, we need
other traditional Jewish sources to reconstruct at some level the social
and cultural influenes and forces that shaped them. Josephus and Maccabees
are very good historical sources, but are limited culturaly. What about
the institutional life at Qumran, their political tradition, their life
styles an so on. We not only need something to compare, but also to
contrast to see how are they the same and how are they different from the
other sects. The Mishnah is perfect for this. It reflects
various traditions passed down from many teacher to their students for
generations. Here we get an idea of what sort of oppossing views existed
and so on.
  There is another aspect of the Mishnah, the historical aspect. Aboth 1
is a lineage of the passing down of the Oral tradition from Moses to the
modern Rabbis. This is a history, as they believed it to be. They included
the recognized law making bodies of their most ancient past. It is very
doubtful that the Sanhedrin in this text is a product of fiction. It
has to be a real and a recognized body that actually existed in order to
legitimize rabbinic claims. Plus this body is refered to in the NT, at
least one Greek source (I have to get it, but I found in Ben-Sasoons
history), hinted to in Josephus/Macc. (When Manelaus made an agreement
with the Maccabrees/Hasideans, but later threw them out of the temple, I
should look that one up too). There is also hints in the DSS (4Q285).  
  When a scholar says on this forum "The Sanhedrin and the Hasideans are a
work of fiction", that is a very extreme statement unbecoming of someone I
would have any respect for as a scholar, as I am assuming alot about such
an individual, such as that they are very selective about what they read.
This is perhaps why I was so uptight about this issue. I am Sorry if I
offended anyone, but I stand by my conclusion that those who make such
grand overly generalized umbrella  conclusions about the sources and their
many authors is not a practitioner of science and why I think Revisionism 
is not a scientific school of thought. Even if the Mishnah was fiction, we
still need to understand the cultural reasons for it. Why fictionalize the
Sanhedrin, because the Christians did it? Why not say the Sanhedrin never
existed? Why name a specific man as its leader, and not name others from
earlier periods, such as members of the Assembly of Elders? These issues
have to be addressed.
  Well enough is enough. Again if I mention Mishnah, address the specific
citation. I do not want to have to go through this again. The only reason
why I am writing this is simply out of respect for those who asked me to
make clearer my position. 


> The comments about the 4 sources were actually made by Bradley Harrison, my
> remarks were the >> and the no >.   But this is what I understood BH
> saying:  When someone goes to interpret a text, particularly one that was
> edited out of diverse sources, there are a number of layers of folk beliefs
> (which I equate with saying that people have different perspectives, that
> writers write out of different social, religious and cultural contexts,
> etc.)  Thus to explain in reverse order. A reader reads and interprets out
> of their cultural and historical location, the interpreter (which I took to
> mean editor of the book, but if one assumed a teaching situation, then it
> could refer to the teacher) has his/her own perspective and beliefs, and
> the sources the interpreter draws upon (whether the editor or the teacher)
> each were composed in their own cultural/historical context.
> If I am way off base in my interpretation, perhaps Bradley will clarify it
> himself.
> I hope this helps.
> Paul
> Paul V. M. Flesher, Director
> Religious Studies Program
> University of Wyoming
> Laramie, WY  82071-3353
> PFlesher@uwyo.edu
> 307-766-2616