The Chiastic Theory
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03-07-2013, 02:47 PM
The Chiastic Theory
This thread is essentially a redo of the Documentary Hypothesis thread which seems to have devolved into a shouting match with little being accomplished.

I would like to start out by saying that I was a proponent of the Documentary Hypothesis until this January,(in fact I think There are some threads where I have defended it here), and it was not some spiritual conversion which led me away from this theory but a conversion in the face of what I thought to be overwhelming evidence.

The First thing I think we should do is look into the DH. What I intend to specifically attack is the theory that the Pentateuch is merely a hodge podge of separate unrelated stories that were assembled by many others in a somewhat clumsy way. I will Try to Demonstrate that the Pentateuch or at least large sections of it were likely written by a single or very few Authors.

I should also state what a Chiasm (or Chiasmus in Greek) is. It is a literary style which forms itself into a V. The most important part of the work is the Chi which is in the middle

The area I would like to attack is the Flood Narrative s it is one that is often attacked by the DH as being two separate narratives clumsily put together.

Here is the Chiasm.
A.Noah (6:10a)
B. Shem, Ham, Japheth (6: 10b)
C. Ark to be built (6: 14-16)
D. Flood Announced (6:17)
E. Covenant with Noah (6:18-20)
F. Food in the Ark (6:21)
G. Command to enter the Ark (7:13)
H. 7 days waiting for flood (7:4-5)
I. 7 Days waiting for flood (7:-10)
J. Entry to Ark (7:11-15)
K. Yahweh shuts Noah in (7:16)
L. 40 Days flood (7:17a)
M. Waters Increase (7:17b-18)
N. Mountains covered (7:18-20)
O. 150 Days waters prevail (7:21-24)
P. God remembers Noah (8:1)
O’ 150 Days Waters abate (8:3)
N’ Mountain tops Become visible (8:4-5)
M’ Waters abate (8:6)
L’ 40 days (End of) (8:6a)
K’ Noah Opens window of Ark (8:6b)
J’ Raven and Dove leave Ark (8:7-9)
I’ 7 days waiting for waters to subside (8:10-11)
H’ 7days waiting for waters to subside (8:12-13)
G’ Command to leave the Ark (8:15-17)
F’ Food outside the Ark (9:1-4)
E’ Covenant with all Flesh (9:8-10)
D’ No flood in the future (9:11-17)
C’ Ark (9:18a)
B’ Shem, Ham, Japheth (9:18b)
A’ Noah (9:19)

As One can see there is an inherent order to the Flood Narrative that should at least suggest a single Author.

Also it is valuable to remember that in Judaism Numbers were incredibly important. In this narrative we see the number 7, which is the covenantal number. It is also repeated which is a Jewish literary method of emphasis as can be seen by the psalm Holy, Holy, Holy lord God of Hosts. Also in This is the number 40 which means great penance. Which is incredibly appropriate considering the flood was a punishment. I am unsure What the 150 means or if there is any meaning behind it. (I probably wasn't paying attention in class). As a final possible note about the numbers, My Biblical Literature Professor stated that the days of the flood add up to 401 days. (Unfortunately I hadn't been doing my readings so I didn't realize that the numbers in the book can either be added up to 408 or 394. Although the fact that he teaches this every year leads me to believe he has an answer which I will ask him about this fall. ) If there is a correct way of making 401 then this becomes significant since again 40 is the number for penance and 40 X 10 would again relate to the concept of emphasis through repetition. And as a final piece the 1 is often used to denote the fruit of what was before it. 401 would mean the fruit of a great penance.

As a conclusion to this post I would like to make two points. The first is that this is not an isolated Chiasm and they can be found throughout the Pentateuch. Including many Macro Chiasms which can span an entire book. However I do not believe I have any cross Book Chiasms so I will concede that I can not convince you that there is less than five authors but I hope I can convince you that each author was responsible for his own book.

The second point I would like to make is a thing which I am calling the Tradition Hypothesis as a response to the sources hypothesis in the DH. Although the words mean essentially the same thing I think it is good to use different words in order to avoid confusion. What I propose is that although a single author wrote the Pentateuch (my opinion is that there was two Gen-Lev and Deut) They nevertheless drew upon multiple traditions in the same way I might write a work and draw upon the Ancient Greek Philosophy and Aquinian Theology and Perhaps Byzantine Iconography. However it would still be a single work by me.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

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Down to the jail went Good St. Nick!

When people say WWJD just remember that flipping tables and whipping people is still a valid option.
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03-07-2013, 02:48 PM
RE: The Chiastic Theory
Sorry but I could not get the V shape for the Chiasm. All the spaces disappeared

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

Up to the heretic, smack, smack, smack!
Down to the jail went Good St. Nick!

When people say WWJD just remember that flipping tables and whipping people is still a valid option.
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03-07-2013, 06:07 PM
RE: The Chiastic Theory
But what's to say that the redactor didn't just pull from the multiple texts available to him/them in order to create the chiasms and stay true to that literary style?

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03-07-2013, 07:27 PM
RE: The Chiastic Theory
Instead of a V shape, I see it more like an A shape.
A beginning, a middle, a climax and the end.

That's called "story telling"

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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03-07-2013, 10:06 PM (This post was last modified: 04-07-2013 09:29 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Chiastic Theory
An obvious fallacy. Just because there are two of something, (actually there are 4 sources at least), does not prove chiasm. All the reasons for thinking it was more than one source remain unanswered in this. Anytime there are two of something does not prove chiasm. The gospels are obviously chiasms, as Carrier has shown.
The order proves nothing, if they were redacted and PUT in order. They did not just "happen" to be found in order. If it was all a constructed chiasm form one source there would not be so many obvious and consistent differences between the two and three sets. Nope.

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04-07-2013, 08:12 AM
RE: The Chiastic Theory
Uh, how about the fact that the story of Noah is crazy and can only be understood as myth with only symbolic meaning. The form of it makes no difference to its reality or its validity.
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05-07-2013, 09:10 PM
RE: The Chiastic Theory
@ Rahn127
Quote:Instead of a V shape, I see it more like an A shape.
A beginning, a middle, a climax and the end.

That's called "story telling"

Yes in much the same way a sonnet can be called a rhyming couplet. you have described a base characteristic which can applied to most literature. However a Chiasm can only be applied to certain literature. Again I apologize for the fact that the format did not work out but I will attempt to elaborate verbally. A Chiasm is different then most other forms of literature in that the Chi or the Climax is always placed in the thematic middle, in this case God remembering Noah. Most other forms of literature place it near the end and have a short falling action or conclusion. Also a significant difference is that the Chiasms conclusion or falling action is resolved palindromic to the rising action. This is rarely an intended feature of other forms of literature.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

Up to the heretic, smack, smack, smack!
Down to the jail went Good St. Nick!

When people say WWJD just remember that flipping tables and whipping people is still a valid option.
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05-07-2013, 09:21 PM
RE: The Chiastic Theory
@ JAH
Quote:Uh, how about the fact that the story of Noah is crazy and can only be understood as myth with only symbolic meaning. The form of it makes no difference to its reality or its validity.

That is quite possible, In fact the chiastic theory supports the fact that the story is more symbolic then factual, but that is not the argument being discussed here.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

Up to the heretic, smack, smack, smack!
Down to the jail went Good St. Nick!

When people say WWJD just remember that flipping tables and whipping people is still a valid option.
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05-07-2013, 09:37 PM
RE: The Chiastic Theory
We know what a chiasm is.
No scholar says the integration of the multiple sources in the OT reflects intentional chiasm, and CERTAINLY "one author". As was posted in the original thread, and which you never responded to, other than reasserting your original fallacy, chiasm does not account for :

at least six lines of evidence that support the Documentary Hypothesis.
1. The linguistic dialect in each source is known, and can be documented, by scholars, as separate by decades, or longer. They are DIFFERENT. Why would ONE author change his Hebrew dialiect ?
2. The terminology for the same idea, person, object, or place is different in each source.
Why would ONE author consistently, intentionally CHANGE nbames and places for the SAME person and place, and keep them purposely DIFFERENT ?
3. The content of each of the sources is different.
4. The "flow" of the story works if the source materials are combined.
5. The same known sources are similar or connect to the same known sources in other books.
6. The inferred political motivations for each source matches the material and it's apparent goals.

It appears you know very very little of the ancient Near East, and it's literature, politics, and history.

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Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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05-07-2013, 10:27 PM
RE: The Chiastic Theory
@ BuckyBall

Quote:An obvious fallacy. Just because there are two of something, (actually there are 4 sources at least), does not prove chiasm.

I am unsure as to what you are trying to say here. There is virtually no argument whether or not there are Chiasms in the Pentateuch. This was a style that was widely practiced by the Jews and is clearly seen in the narrative I presented (although I admit it is difficult to see because of the format). The sources also have no factor in identifying a chiasm.

Quote:All the reasons for thinking it was more than one source remain unanswered in this. Anytime there are two of something does not prove chiasm. The gospels are obviously chiasms, as Carrier has shown.

Yes the Gospels are written chiastically and they were written by a single hand. I am also not trying to deny that the author of the book wrote without there being previous documents. Some documents had to have existed prior to the writing of the Pentateuch. A good example would be Deuteronomy in which God gives the Jews rules to follow which the Jews then don't follow. The rules had to exist before the writing of the narrative. I am merely trying to rework the thinking that the redactors of the Pentateuch were merely editors but instead authors in their own right.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

Up to the heretic, smack, smack, smack!
Down to the jail went Good St. Nick!

When people say WWJD just remember that flipping tables and whipping people is still a valid option.
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