History and traditions of dating bbs
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Van Seters noted that many of Albright's parallels were vague, and fit other regions than Mesopotamia and other times than 2nd millennium.
Specially severe was his analysis of Genesis 14, where he pointed out that the political situation described in Genesis 14 - a Near East dominated by a coalition led by Elam and including Hatti, Assyria and Babylonia - is not confirmed by any monuments, king lists, or other historical and archaeological sources.
The announcement on his BBS regarding Pagan's Night Out, made a few weeks before the suggested date, said everyone should "leave the Bolines and starched robes at home", meaning there was to be no discussion of inter-tradition politics.
The first PNO was held on August 25, 1992 in Houston, Texas, with barely more than a dozen in attendance.
At the time Van Seters published "Abraham in History and Tradition" the dominant scholarly theory regarding the composition of the Pentateuch was the Documentary Hypothesis.
This held that the books of the Torah, including the Genesis accounts of Abraham and the Patriarchs, were based on four independent sources."There is virtually no way of deciding when oral narrative forms or motifs became associated with a particular person such as Abraham, and it could well have happened in every case when the story was first put in written form.The results of the literary examination of the Abraham tradition, in Part Two, would suggest that oral forms and motifs are confined to a rather small part of the tradition." The book was a landmark in Near Eastern Studies and Biblical archaeology, since it challenged the dominant view, popularised by William Foxwell Albright, that the patriarchal narratives of Genesis can be identified on archaeological grounds with the Mesopotamian world of 2nd millennium BC.In its place he adopted a supplemental model, "a successive supplementation of one source or author by another," in which a Yahwist (not identical with Wellhausen's Yahwist) working in the period of the Babylonian exile was the major but not the final author of Genesis.Van Seter's schema is as follows: A celebrated scholarly argument ensued between Van Seters and Rolf Rendtorff over the role and existence of the redactors, Van Seters arguing that they did not exist, Rendtorff and his followers arguing that they were essential.Each of these was originally a complete document in itself, dating from between the 10th and 7th centuries BC and combined into the final work by a Redactor (editor) in the Persian period, c.450 BC.