Quotable: Thomas Thompson

I’m reading through a Tom Thompson paper and thought the following was just ridiculous:

Our tradition, as a tradition identified with the remnant of Israel, does not and could not have its historical context or referent in the Assyrian period. There was never in that period, and there could not have been, any unifying structure: intellectual, political, social or economical, that could be identified with ‘biblical Israel’, a concept that did not exist in Palestine before the mid-fifth century at the earliest. That it existed already then is yet another question. The earliest possible date is not necessarily the most likely one—even for a tradition’s beginnings.

While “Biblical Israel” is primarily a fragmentarily represented memory viewed through a Second Temple Period Jewish lens, the evidence is overwhelming that representative aspects of Israelite culture and government (from David on) existed, in large part, as presented by the narratives. What’s this guy’s angle?


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