Ugaritic Studies and Biblical Criticism



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Ugaritic Studies and Biblical Criticism





A Paper Submitted to

the Faculty of the Seminary & Graduate School of Religion

Bob Jones University

in Candidacy for the Degree of

Master of Arts [or Doctor of Philosophy]





by

Robert Daniel Bell




Greenville, South Carolina

May 1969

Table of Contents


Table of Contents 2

Ugaritic Studies and Biblical Criticism 3

Another C-head 7

Yet Another C-head 8

An unusual meaning for certain prepositions 10

The asseverative ל 11

Another C-head 12

A Case of a D-head 13

Yet Another D-head 14

Selected Bibliography 16




Ugaritic Studies and Biblical Criticism


In one sense we moderns are at a disadvantage in our study of the Old Testament: it is an ancient collection of literature, far removed from the world of modern man. But the science of archaeology has made it possible, especially in the last generation, for modern man to get a much clearer picture of that world of long ago. Among those archaeological finds that have made possible a better understanding of the literature of the Old Testament, one of the most significant has been the discovery of what is known as the Ras Shamra materials, literature from ancient Ugarit, north of Palestine. One of the several areas of Biblical studies affected by these materials has been Biblical criticism, both literary and textual.

Literary Criticism and All That Jazz and So Forth


Ugaritic studies have probably played as important a part in the area of literary criticism as they have in textual criticism. The discoveries at Ras Shamra were among those important archaeological finds of the period between the two great world wars. The finds from that period have been so significant that the whole face of literary criticism has changed.1

The Wellhausen Ideas of History


The main influence that Julius Wellhausen had upon literary criticism during the nineteenth century was his seemingly convincing reconstruction of Israelite history. Wellhausen accompanied his historical theories with a rearrangement of the literature of the Old Testament. The literary criticism that has followed Wellhausen’s lead has presupposed that the carefully defined ritual characteristic of Leviticus must have originated at a late stage in Israel’s history. But Ugaritic literature has demonstrated that there existed a well-developed cultic system a thousand years before the critics’ date for the so-called P document. From a naturalistic standpoint, therefore, there is no reason why Israel could not have had a complicated cult early in her history. The Ugaritic texts have added evidence also against the Wellhausen date for Deuteronomy.

More Wellhausen Ideas of History


The main influence that Julius Wellhausen had upon literary criticism during the nineteenth century was his seemingly convincing reconstruction of Israelite history. Wellhausen accompanied his historical theories with a rearrangement of the literature of the Old Testament. The literary criticism that has followed Wellhausen’s lead has presupposed that the carefully defined ritual characteristic of Leviticus must have originated at a late stage in Israel’s history. But Ugaritic literature has demonstrated that there existed a well-developed cultic system a thousand years before the critics’ date for the so-called P document. For example, a technical term like שְׁלָמִים (Leviticus 3:1, “peace offering”) has appeared in Text 1:4 and elsewhere (šlmm).2 From a naturalistic standpoint, therefore, there is no reason why Israel could not have had a complicated cult early in her history. The Ugaritic texts have added evidence also against the Wellhausen date for Deuteronomy.

Another C-head


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Yet Another C-head


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We need some single spaced quoted material here. The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful! The Word of God is quick and powerful!


The Criterion of Divine Names


Another aspect of nineteenth-century literary criticism affected by the Ugaritic has been the presupposition that different divine names in a Biblical passage were an indication of sources edited together into one text. Repeted paragraph—Another aspect of nineteenth-century literary criticism affected by the Ugaritic has been the presupposition that different divine names in a Biblical passage were an indication of sources edited together into one text.

An unusual meaning for certain prepositions


One linguistic phenomenon observable from the Ugaritic language is that the בְּ and לְ prepositions can have the meaning “from” in certain contexts. William L. Moran has observed, “it is now clear that where our idiom demands ‘from,’ Hebrew (Canaanite) and Ugaritic idiom employed ‘in,’ ‘in regard to,’ and ‘upon.’ ”3 When Paul quoted this verse in Romans 11:26, he translated the first phrase as h[xei evk Siw.n o` r`uo,menoj. But on the basis of Ugaritic grammar, it is possible to achieve agreement with the text as it stands by translating as follows: “a Redeemer shall come from Zion.”4 What more can we say? But on the basis of Ugaritic grammar, it is possible to achieve agreement with the text as it stands by translating as follows: “a Redeemer shall come from Zion.”5 But on the basis of Ugaritic grammar, it is possible to achieve agreement with the text as it stands by translating as follows: “a Redeemer shall come from Zion.”6

The asseverative ל


This paragraph is longer to demonstrate some forematting issues. This paragraph is even longer to demonstrate some forematting issues. Another particle in the Ugaritic texts used for emphasis is l. David A. Robertson has characterized well Dahood’s general method:

On individual points of morphology, syntax, and lexicography he can be brilliant. But when an entire psalm is viewed as a whole, you have an accumulation of improbable readings, each balanced on the others, so that the end result is all the more improbable. In short, I doubt if this commentary will decisively affect our over-all understanding of the Psalter ….7 Some more text to illustrate something. Some more text to illustrate something evem more.

It has now become natural, therefore, for textual critics to recognize the asseverative ל in the Old Testament. It has now become natural to do some other things as well.

Another C-head


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A Case of a D-head


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Yet Another D-head


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This is an example of a E-head. This paper needs some additional text under headings. This will present more material for the Table of Contents. This paper needs some additional text under headings. This will present more material for the Table of Contents. This paper needs some additional text under headings. This will present more material for that great Table of Contents

Another example of a E-head. This paper needs some additional text under headings. This will present more material for the Table of Contents. This paper needs some additional text under headings. This will present more material for the Table of Contents. This paper needs some additional text under headings. This will present more material for that great Table of Contents.

Summary


It is easier to find written material on the subject of the Old Testament’s borrowing from Canaanite literature than it is to find material on the matter of Ugaritic evidence against nineteenth-century theories of literary criticism. In the field of textual criticism, no doubt the number of constructive textual observations resulting from a study of Ugaritic are far out-weighed by those emendations which Ugaritic has inspired and which are no more than unnecessary suggestions raised to support a new interpretation whose only justification is novelty.

Selected Bibliography


Barr, James. Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.

Dahood, Mitchell. Psalms I. Anchor Bible. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1966.

———. Psalms II. Anchor Bible. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1968.

Driver, G. R. Review of M. Dahood, Proverbs and Northwest Semitic Philology (Rome). Journal of Semitic Studies 10 (1965), 112–17.

Ginsberg. H. L. “The Ugaritic Texts and Textual Criticism,” Journal of Biblical Literature 62 (1943): 109–115.

Gordon, Cyrus H. Ugaritic Textbook. Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1965.

Gray, John. The Legacy of Canaan: The Ras Shamra Texts and Their Relevance to the Old Testament. 2nd ed. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965.

Harrison, R. K. Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969.

Huesman, John. “Finite Uses of the Infinitive Absolute,” Biblica 37 (1956): 271–95.

———. “The Infinitive Absolute and the Weak Waw Perfect Problem,” Biblica 37 (1956): 410–34.

Hummel, Horace D. “Enclitic Mem in Early Northwest Semitic, Especially Hebrew,” Journal of Biblical Literature 76 (1957): 85–107.

Moran, William L. “The Hebrew Language in Its Northwest Semitic Background,” in The Bible and the Ancient Near East, edited by G. Ernest Wright. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1965.

Noetscher, F. “Zum Emphatischen Lamed,” Vetus Testamentum 3 (1953): 372–380.

Pope, Marvin H. Job. Anchor Bible. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1965.



Richardson, H. Neil. “Some Literary Parallels Between Ugaritic and the Old Testament,” The Journal of Bible and Religion 20 (July 1952): 175.

1“The amazing access of knowledge … has served to throw the critical theories of yesterday into question and to show that a revision of them is required so drastic as to amount to virtual abandonment.” John Bright, “Modern Study of Old Testament Literature,” in The Bible and the Ancient Near East, ed. G. Ernest Wright (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1965), 5.

2Conservative writers often list other examples of corresponding terms. For example, Gleason L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody Press, 1964), 149, listed אִשָּׁה, כָּלִיל, and “probably” אָשָׁם. But a careful check of the glossary of Cyrus H. Gordon, Ugaritic Textbook (Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1965), will make it clear that these examples are doubtful, at the very least. R. Dussaud and T. H. Gaster have been responsible for trying to link Levitical technical terms with correspondents in the Ugaritic texts. Of course, these two do not intend to defend the conservative position. An examination of their evidence appears in John Gray, The Legacy of Canaan, 2nd ed. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965), 195–98. Gray concluded that “from such sporadic evidence it is very precarious to assume a sacrificial system such as is found in the ‘Mosaic’ law. Even if Gaster’s and Dussaud’s assumption of technical terms were admitted, it would be impossible from the short and fragmentary texts to determine their precise significance” (pp. 198f.). Gray, however, does not deny that a well-developed cult existed in Ugarit: “The fact is that the Ras Shamra texts attest a developed cult, with many points in common with the Hebrew cult, several centuries before the time of Moses” (p. 195, n. 1).

3“The Hebrew Language in Its Northwest Semitic Background,” in The Bible and the Ancient Near East, 69.

4In the second half of the verse Biblia Hebraica suggested emending בְּ to מִן, the normal word for “from” (p. 691), but Ugaritic makes also this suggestion unnecessary. What more can we say? What more can we say?

5In the second half of the verse Biblia Hebraica suggested emending בְּ to מִן, the normal word for “from” (p. 691), but Ugaritic makes also this suggestion unnecessary. What more can we say? What more can we say?

6In the second half of the verse Biblia Hebraica suggested emending בְּ to מִן, the normal word for “from” (p. 691), but Ugaritic makes also this suggestion unnecessary. What more can we say? What more can we say?

7Review of Psalms I, Journal of Biblical Literature 85 (1966): 486.



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