Monday, August 20, 2018

Sanders on sources

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: What is a source? (Seth L. Sanders).
It’s important to emphasize how arbitrary and intellectually weak our approach to these issues looks when compared to the rest of our philological method. While we have laser-precise ways of thinking about the relationship between two written texts within the same tradition, outside of it our approach seems to resemble the old story about the drunk looking for his keys under the streetlight because it’s the only place he can see. The vast majority of ancient materials come from outside this one-channel world of direct textual transmission. Indeed, the fresh, unexampled instance is one of the most essential qualities of an interesting discovery! But the very phenomena of creativity and change remain in the mist, obscure areas we have trouble theorizing.
With examples taken from the Gilgamesh tradition. And more is promised on "Hebrew 'Sources' from Josephus to Nachmanides."

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