Well, it will be next week before I post again about the Samuel Adams book on N. T. Wright and Paul. We have had an internet outage here. So I am behind.
But I have been thinking about a future reading project.
You may note that I have some posts about the work of Israel Finkelstein. I often think he is on to something. It seems to me that he tends toward an unwarranted minimalism, though. He says he is not in the minimalist school, and he isn’t. Yet, by dating texts later than I would, he concludes that more of the biblical story is unhistorical than I would.
A major reason for this is that he says scribal activity came late in Israel. He puts the earliest scribal activity in Northern Israel about the time of Jeroboam II. Everything before that was oral. Most of the Bible was created in Jerusalem later, he says. This undercuts the documentary hypothesis, since the documents would not have existed.
We know that outside of Israel literary works existed long before the late Iron Age. The Gilgamesh Epic, for instance, goes back to about 1700 BCE. There were Egyptian writings older than that.
So I want another take on scribal activity. Therefore, I am looking to read through David M. Carr’s Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature. According to reviews, this book gives us a new theory about the reason written works might have existed in a basically oral society.