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Giants in Anceint Israel

Poster: hfeld@ids2.idsonline.com (Harold Feld)

Greetings from Yaakov:

Alasdair writes, in response to me:

>>2) Although Goliath is exceptional as a giant, myths regarding goants are
>>found elsewhere.  The spies, when reporting on the land, refer to "the
>>giants, children of giants" (n'philim b'nei anak) who were so large "we
>>were as grasshoppers in our sight compared to them." (Numbers 13:33)
>>Similarly, Og, king of Bashan, is described as "the last of the remnant of
>>the giants (r'phaim). (Deut. 3:11).  I do not know if these sections are
>>considered older or newer than the Greek legends.

>Too much of my library is packed away in the attic, where I can't reach
>it...  The Deuteronomy quote (3:11) is undoubtedly from the D text, but does
>the Numbers quote above come from J or E (or possibly R)?

First, an explanatory note:  The letters Alasdair refers to are reference
to the modern "documents" theory of the Bible, i.e., that the Bible (here,
the five books of Moses) are a series of documents and oral sources merged
togoether over time and given a final form by either a redactor or series
of redactors during the Babylonian exile in approximately 586 B.C.E.  the
identity of the sources are tied into the names of God and several other
factors.  For example, it is generally assumed that Deut. is one of the
oldest books and, for the most part, represents a single source (Deut. is
mostly a law code).  Others, such as the "J" and "E" sources are considered
later, because they tehoretically incorporate more complex, sophisticated
ideas and language (this reflects the biases of the scholars who originally
developed the theory, who believed that "primitive" societies were capable
only of unsophisticated language and theology. Modern scholarship, while
remaining true to the basic tenets of the theory, has considerably revamped
it in light of more recent studies on anceint language and religion).

Second: the word "n'phlim" from the numbers quote is used earlier in Genisi
in a clearly "E" text.  Genesis 6:4 "There were giants (n'phlim) in those
days, and after that the sons of God (elohim) came unto the daughters of
men, who bore them children; these are the mighty ones, who shall forever
be famous."

FWIW, Goliath is not called a gaint, but his height is given (six cubits
and a span -- a cubit is aprox. 3 ft, a span is aprox. 10 in.)

(who knows the documents theory is nonesense, since God gave the Torah to
Moses at Sinai)

Harold Feld
Yaakov HaMizrachi

"Do not ask 'Why are these days not as good as the days of old?' This
question is not prompted by wisdom." -Eccl.

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