The Philosophy of Science and Hebrew studies

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R.J. Furuli
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

The Philosophy of Science and Hebrew studies

Postby R.J. Furuli » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:47 am

Dear list-members,

I did not see the comments of Jason Hare on my previous post before the thread was closed. But I would like to address the issue he raised from the point of view of the Philosophy of Science.

Any scientific endeavor includes an amount of subjectivity, often a great amount, because all persons believe in something and have their own preferences and prejudices. A good researcher realizes this, and he or she strives hard not to let his or her subjectivity influence the interpretation of the data. This means that I, who believe that the Tanakh and the New Testamet is one unit that is inspired by God, must strive hard not to let this color my interpretations. And it means that Jason, who believes that the books of the Tanakh comes from many different human sources must be equally careful with his preferences and prejudices.

The Philosophy of science points to the fact that there are only two ways two acquire scientific knowledge, either by induction or by deduction. If we use deduction, we form a theory, and we ask what this theory predicts. Then we look at the world in order to see if the predictions are true. If the predictions are not correct, the theory is falsified. If they are correct, we have not proven the theory, only made it a little more likely. This is so, because there are many other theories that can explain why the predictions were correct.

When we use induction, we look at many different data in order to see if there is a certain pattern. When we find a pattern, we draw a conclusion and make a rule. However, the Problem of Induction tells us that induction cannot prove anything, because we have not considered all existing data. So our conclusion and our rule can be wrong. (Hebrew grammar is based on induction, and therefore is not certain). G. Harding made the following correct observation in the book: “’Scientific Creationism—Marketing Deception as Truth, p. 162:

"There is a widespread belief among the public that the statements of science are provable. Scientists and philosophers now agree this is wrong. No scientific statement is ever fully proved. Science is made up of statements that may be proved false but that have not, in fact, been proved false by the most rigorous tests."

Then I ask: Is the question, “Can we trust the Bible?” a legitimate scientific question? Absolutely! This is so, because this question can be treated in a scientific way—by the help of induction. How can this be done? By taking parts of the Bible and compare them with our knowledge of the world.

A starting point can be Genesis chapter 1: making a careful translation of the text and comparing it with what we see in the sedimentary rocks. “But this is not science but religion,” someone may say, "because the creation account is not history.” Such a saying is a good example of how prejudices can disturb data, because the judgement of the meaning of Genesis 1 is decided without any research.

The next point in a scientific research will be to make a careful translation of Genesis 6-9 about the worldwide flood and compare this account with what we find on the surface of the earth. Again, this is a legitimate scientific approach, and in my book I present 728 photos of phenomena from all continents that corroborate a worldwide flood.

Please note the word “corroborate,” which indicates that no result obtained by induction is the truth and nothing but the truth. However, my book is a scientific work, based on linguistics and geology. And the questions that are asked are legitimate scientific questions.

As a conclusion I would like to say that my book does not represent creationism. Most of the data that are presented are based on my own research and cannot be found in any other publication.

Best regards,

Rolf

Kenneth Greifer
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:05 pm

Re: The Philosophy of Science and Hebrew studies

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:22 am

Rolf,

Maybe you should have divided your work into two books because you also mention that your book is about the fulfillment of prophecies which does not sound "scientific" to me. I think it would have also been more appealing to non-religious people who want to read about geology and the Bible and the flood, etc.

In order to discuss the fulfillment of prophecies, you have to assume you understand what each quote says and means for certain. There are different ways to read and understand Hebrew Bible quotes that may or may not even be prophecies. I can believe that analyzing these quotes can be "scientific" if you do it linguistically, but not when you talk about fulfillment of prophecies.

Anyway, I believe that the world is better off hearing many different opinions and ideas about the Hebrew Bible. I don't know if your scientific discussions about geology are right or wrong, but I hope you can get geologists to look at your book and review it so we can hear more scientific opinions about your work.
Kenneth Greifer

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: The Philosophy of Science and Hebrew studies

Postby R.J. Furuli » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:51 am

Dear Kenneth,

Kenneth Greifer wrote:


In order to discuss the fulfillment of prophecies, you have to assume you understand what each quote says and means for certain. There are different ways to read and understand Hebrew Bible quotes that may or may not even be prophecies. I can believe that analyzing these quotes can be "scientific" if you do it linguistically, but not when you talk about fulfillment of prophecies
.


Your post has several good points, and I will make some comments about prophecies. Linguistics and philology are scientific disciplines, and I will also say that a discussion of the fulfillment of prophecies can be a scientific endeavor.

Let me illustrate: In the book of Daniel there are sayings about several Persian kings and about Alexander the Great and his kingdom that turned into four kingdoms after his death. I have never seen any scholar who has denied the references to these kings. But most Hebrew/Biblical scholars believe that the future cannot be foretold, and therefore these exact sayings about the mentioned kings are history in prophetic disguise.

Here the scientific use of linguistics and philology comes into play:

PHILOLOGY: There are eight manuscripts of the book of Daniel among the DSS. In these manuscripts I counted 6,755 letters representing 1,395 words. This is 58% of the MT text of Daniel. The text of these manuscripts are very close to the MT. But I counted 141 minute differences that are copying errors and suggest a long copying history before the oldest Daniel manuscript from the last part of the second century BCE. This excludes a writing around 167 BCE, shortly before or after the death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, which is the view of many who speaks about history in prophetic disguise.

LINGUISTICS: Because the Hebrew language of all the books of the Tanakh is uniform, a dating of Daniel on the basis of the Hebrew language in the book is not possible. But the Aramaic part is more promising. The Aramaic of Daniel is Imperial Aramaic, which existed between 300 and 700 BCE. This excludes a writing in the second century BCE. There are also some Aramaic words that corroborate a writing at the end of the sixth century BCE, a date given by the book itself. These are the Persian translations of officials at the court of Nebuchadnezzar II. The person who did this translation must have had an intimate knowledge both of the Babylonian court and the Persian court. This fits a person living during both kingdoms.

These are some of the philological and linguistic data given in my book. They are based on induction. But they strongly point to the conclusion that the book of Daniel was written before the mentioned prophecies about the Persian kings and about Alexander the Great. On this background, the fulfillment of prophecies can be seen as a part of a scientific work.

I will go one step further. I have never seen any scholar who has denied that Isaiah’s words about the exile in Babylon and the return and building of Jerusalem describe real events. But again, the future cannot be foretold. So, the book of Isaiah has three different authors, and the words about Babylon were written by the one who lived later than the return from Babylon.

LINGUISTICS: Infinitive absolutes rare rather rare forms, and they have different functions. I have analyzed the 79 examples in Isaiah and their functions. These are spread over the whole book, and the same special functions occur both in chapters 1-39 and 40-66. This suggests one author and not three different authors with different styles. Perfect with future reference is also relatively rare. My book has a translation of 223 Hebrew perfects with English future, and these are spread through the whole book. One author is strongly suggested.

On this background, the sayings about the exile and the return to Jerusalem can be viewed in a scientific light. No one denies that the sayings have happened. And when we by help of induction have good reasons to believe that the book was written before the Babylonian exile, these sayings become prophecies that have been fulfilled.


Best regards,


Rolf


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