Evan is so predictable. Like the sunrise, you always know that Evan is going to say something obtuse. This is his attempt to respond to my latest post on the Legend of Sargon:
To fully appreciate the lengths the tribe will go to, it's necessary to revisit the sentence I wrote that started the whole fracas in the first place. I made a simple, declarative sentence:
“I think the story of Sargon being floated in a basket of reeds down the river as an infant is a myth (that predates the Moses myth).”
This created multiple posts over on Triablogue that were apoplectic about how awful I was for suggesting such a thing. So now we have their "post-mortem" on the issue and I would like to see if they have succeeded at disproving my original claim. There are eight authors who they have selected as experts and we'll evaluate their statements in turn to see if anyone disagrees with my basic, initial assertion.
i) Notice the set up. Evan acts as though my post was a response to him. And, in particular, to his initial assertion.
Is that what this post is about? No. It’s a response to Hector Avalos, as well as general issues regarding the relation, if any, between Exod 2 and the Legend of Sargon.
ii) In addition, the voluminous exchanged spilled over to issues well beyond the boundaries of Evan’s initial claim. Hence, this post was never limited to Evan’s initial claim.
All this is obvious from the post itself, not to mention the fact that my post is simply the latest installment in an ongoing debate. Only someone as dense and egotistical as Evan would fancy himself to be the specific target of this post—much less that his initial claim is the specific target of this post.
Their first author is a no-show that's really just a tease for some future "dismantling" that we can all just hold our breaths and wait for.
That’s right—it’s worth the wait. It wouldn’t hurt know-nothings like Evan to invest in good commentaries, including good forthcoming commentaries.
He [Hoffmeier] admits exactly what I stated in my first statement on the issue and the tribe is kind enough to quote him on it. Post-mortem indeed. Their argument is buried by their own expert!
Evan is too dense to even follow his own stupid little argument. Even if we artificially confine ourselves to Evan’s initial claim, that was actually three claims bundled into one:
i) Both the Legend of Sargon and Exod 2 are “myth.”
ii) The Legend of Sargon antedates Exod 2.
iii) Implied claim: Exod 2 is literarily dependent on the Legend of Sargon.
If Evan never intended to move from (ii) to (iii), then (ii) is irrelevant to the historicity of Exod 2.
At most, Hoffmeier would only be “admitting” that the Legend of Sargon might antedate Exod 2.
Keep in mind, once again, that this is only relevant if you’re going to take the further step of contending that Exod 2 is literarily dependent on the Legend of Sargon.
But Hoffmeier denies that. He gives reasons for his denial. And, of course, Hoffmeier denies the mythical status of Exod 2.
So it’s gross stupidity on Evan’s part to act as if Hoffmeier is conceding Evan’s claim. And, of course, Hoffmeier wasn’t writing in response to Evan; he was writing in response to Avalos.
Yes, that's right. Once again there is not a speck of support for the idea that the Sargon legend didn't pre-date the Moses legend. Their expert supports Avalos by agreeing with him. He brings up no evidence to suggest the story of Moses has any greater historical validity than the legend of Sargon.
i) If you read the full text of Hess, you’ll see that he doesn’t agree with Avalos. He disagrees with Avalos on the specificity of the parallels, the relevance of certain generic parallels to the historicity of Exod 2, Hector’s argument from silence, as well as his selective appeal to archeological evidence.
ii) The historical validity of the Sargon Legend is irrelevant to the historical validity of Exod 2.
Looking closely, I see only the suggestion that both the legend of Sargon and the legend of Horus pre-date the legend of Moses. With experts like this, the tribe doesn't even need Dr. Avalos to debunk them.
i) To the contrary, Currid takes issue with Avalos. Avalos argued for a Mesopotamian background for Exod 2 while Currid argues for the Egyptian background for Exod 2. And since Exod 2 is set in Egypt, we would expect Exod 2 to reflect an Egyptian background if it’s historical.
ii) The question of chronological priority was never the only issue. That was merely a necessary (but wholly insufficient) condition to even allow for the bare possibility of literary dependence.
They can just read their own sources to prove that the story of Moses is a legend.
Of course, none of the scholars I cite proves that Exod 2 is legendary. Evan hasn’t begun to show that. This is his sleight-of-hand. Chronological priority—even if that were the case—wouldn’t begin to prove literary dependence.
I'm perfectly happy to admit that the culture of the Hebrews could easily have borrowed from both and of course there's nothing in the text of the Pentateuch to suggest this is not the case.
i) Both Currid and Hoffmeier do marshal evidence against a Mesopotamian source, which Evan typically ignores.
ii) ”Borrowing” is a deceptive descriptor. Currid doesn’t say the narrator plagiarized Exod 2 from the story of Horus. Currid affirms the historicity of Exod 2. He is speaking of literary allusions to the story of Horus.
This concludes all the expert testimony that the tribe was able to get from actual experts who had reviewed whatever they sent in. It's nice to see that not a single one of them support the position that the legend of Moses pre-dates the legend of Sargon.
i) Of course, not one of them classifies Exod 2 as “legendary” or “mythical” in the first place.
ii) They are addressing different aspects of Hector’s broadside.
The general rule when debating apologists is just to read the source of the apologist thoroughly and you usually have more than enough debunking ammunition within their own source, but rarely has the case been shown more conclusively than here.
i) Let’s apply that general rule to Evan’s own statements. He is backing away from his original assertion by oversimplifying his original assertion. He makes it sound as if his initial claim was limited to relative chronology. So he’s recasting the issue, then backdating his revisionism.
And speaking of ammo which the apologist supplies from his own lips, consider Evan’s own admission:
As the source of all this trouble I would personally like to thank Dr. Avalos for his excellent work (far superior to anything a layperson such as myself could create)
ii) He is also framing the issue as if my post was a response to him. Only someone who inhabits an Evanocentric world would imagine that he was the specific target of this post.
The rest of the reports are all from sources that were dug up from the library or the internet or wire services and yes, not a single one suggests that the legend of Moses pre-dates the legend of Sargon.
i) As if that were ever the only pertinent issue.
ii) Ross critiques the alleged parallels.
iii) And Millard, for one, does address the issue of relative chronology.
iv) What’s wrong with “digging up” material from a library? There’s a name for that: scholarship. Citing standard secondary literature is a perfectly respectable practice. Avalos does that himself.
One of Evan’s problems is that he doesn’t spend time “digging up” material from a library. He doesn't do real research. He’s a self-reinforcing ignoramus.
iv) I cite Internet sources, where possible, because more people have access to the Internet than they do to books. This gives them a chance to check the source material for themselves.
To pad the list, they even post something about medieval foundlings, a topic that is not particularly germane to the question of whether one foundling legend predates another.
Yet another example of Evan’s incorrigible stupidity. Let’s take him by the hand, like the child he is, and walk him through the process:
Liberals claim that Exod 2 is indebted to the Legend of Sargon (or some equivalent Mesopotamian exemplar) on the basis of alleged parallels.
One of the key parallels which they adduce is the common motif of riverine exposure. They cite this as evidence that Exod 2 is unhistorical.
I introduce the Roman origin of foundling wheels to establish the fact that, in a real world situation, rivers were used as a mode of child abandonment—for mothers living near a river. This is not a “legendary” motif. This really happens. This is how many real life mothers disposed of their unwanted babies.
If that can happen in Rome, it can happen in another riverine culture like Egypt or Mesopotamia. That could really happen to Sargon or Moses. (Not that Moses was actually abandoned to die. Just the opposite.)
Even if this becomes a folkloric motif, that’s because folklore has its basis in fact. The story can be history.
The medieval parallel doesn’t have to be germane to the question of relative chronology to be germane to the question of historicity. And since the liberal treatment of Exod 2 is based on alleged literary parallels, a historical parallel undercuts the facile assumption that comparable incidents imply the fictional character of the (allegedly) secondary source.
Only a simpleton like Evan thinks you can reduce the whole issue to relative chronology alone.