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Re: orion-list Pliny Qumran analysis (A. Baumgarten question)
A follow up on my question, elaborating some of the reasons I asked it:
(1) I think we need to wonder whether we are setting the bar of the
evidence we might require that would cause us to change our minds too
high. Remember, we are dealing with fragmentary bits of evidence, which we
often don't know how to put in their proper context. I think this should
inspire a healthy degree of skeptical modesty about the absolute certainty
of any of the conclusions for which we argue.
As an aside, we were just in Crete on vacation. In the museum in Heraklion
we saw two reconstructions of the same wall painting from one of the
Minoan palaces - one reconstruction now considered incorrect and the other
now accepted. The difference between the two was astounding. The pictures
were entirely different, told different stories etc.
(2) When we are trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, how do we
draw the line between interpretations which are possible, compared to
those that we consider probably, and as opposed to others that we consider
proven. This is a very slippery slope, which we are likely to slide down
with great speed to benefit our own favored notions. Again, some cautious
modesty would help.
Having written all this, I suppose I am as guilty as anyone else of all
the errors against which I warn, so if anyone feels offended by what I
have written, as if I had them in mind (not my intention), let that person
understand what I wrote above as self criticism and of me holding myself
up as the bad example.
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