Sunday, June 10, 2018

Victor Hamilton and Exodus 34:29

Three times (vv. 29, 30, 35) this unit uses the verb qāran for Moses’s face “radiating light” or “glowing.” All three of these occurrences are in the Qal stem. The only other occurrence of this verb is once in the Hiphil, Ps. 69:31 [32]: NIV, “This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns [maqrin, Hiphil participle, and so better “developing its horns”] and hoofs.” The uncommon verb qāran provides the common related noun qeren which means “a horn.” It occurs about a hundred times in the Bible, and refers to: (1) a projection on an altar, the altar's horns; (2) the horn of an animal; (3) as a metaphor for pride and vanity or for strength. It is this cognate connection between the verb qāran and the noun qeren that has led to the idea that Moses's face developed horns, or hornlike phenomena that emanated from his face. Thus, among the ancient versions, LXX translates the verb nonliterally, Moses's face “shone” (dedoxastai), while Vulgate translates more literally, Moses's face “was horned,” that is, v. 29, “he knew not that his face was horned [ignorabat quad cornuta esset facies sua].” I shall have more to say on this in the commentary section. See Kasher (1997), who documents instances in postbiblical literature of a “horned” Moses, and Propp (1987), who debates whether the biblical text suggests Moses’s face was “transfigured” or “disfigured,” and who opts for the latter.

Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary. Published by Baker Academic.

51 comments:

Edgar Foster said...

See what Rashi writes here: https://www.sefaria.org/Rashi_on_Exodus.34.29.2?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

Edgar Foster said...

Hamilton also thinks the language in Exodus 34 is linked with the golden calf episode although he continually refers to the shining face of Moses. But he believes the ambiguous language of Exod 34 is not accidental.

Edgar Foster said...

From Richard Elliot Friedman, Commentary on the Torah:

Coming out of the fiery top of the mountain, and back from his once-in-human-history encounter with God, Moses is transformed in some way that is unfortunately obscured in a difficult Hebrew passage (34:30,35). It has often been understood to mean that Moses’ face beams light, and it has been erroneously visualized in numerous artistic depictions as a horned Moses, the most famous of which is Michelangelo’s Moses. William Propp has argued persuasively that it more probably means that Moses’ face is in some way disfigured (from the fire? from the experience of encountering the deity?). Whatever it is about Moses’ skin, though, it is a marker, from this point on in the narrative, of Moses’ exceptional position. After having beheld God, he has himself become fearful for other humans to behold. For the rest of the narrative in Exodus (and in the next three books of the Hebrew Bible), he is to be pictured wearing a veil.

Duncan said...

https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=tablet-android-lenovo&biw=1280&bih=800&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=yrweW-rpH6iEgAbytIGgBw&q=kush+headdresss+meroe&oq=kush+headdresss+meroe&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-img.3..30i10.27289.34702..36916...1....325.3549.2-10j3......0....1.........35i39.%2BWRVd8uhFZs%3D#imgrc=1HQGqxxzBETL6M:

Horns in then cattle culture.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b5b4vy

If you get chance see episode one of this series. It falls in line with much of my reaserch regarding cattle culture, civilisation and the origins of anthropomorphic climate change.

Bear in mind that at the time Egypt had golden horned headdress for pharaoh which may have shone in the light but it was horns none the less.

Did Rashi have access to the lxx?

Duncan said...

http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199686476.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199686476-e-28

Duncan said...

https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/ajet/18-2_143.pdf

Duncan said...

Https://www.britishmuseum.org/PDF/KingdomOfKush_Presentation.pdf

See:-

Source 3: Sun disc headdress
of Isis (found in Kush)
British Museum

Horns and sun disc.

Edgar Foster said...

1) Concerning Rashi's sources, see https://books.google.com/books?id=yaAWEzVfL6AC&pg=PA31&dq=bible+text+used+by+rashi&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjD2pft7czbAhURvVMKHRMmCYQ4ChDoAQgoMAA#v=onepage&q=bible%20text%20used%20by%20rashi&f=false

2) I bookmarked the BBC site for later viewing.

3) With Moses, as Friedman and others have noted, his face "shone" or "was transformed" because of an encounter with YHWH. The phenomenon could not be explained by ordinary means.

Duncan said...

https://www.jstor.org/stable/43717470?read-now=1&loggedin=true&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Duncan said...

http://etzion.org.il/en/lecture-7a-rashi-part-iv-rashi-and-christianity

Duncan said...

Presumably the Jstor article comes from, or is expanded here:-

https://www.amazon.com/Exodus-1-18-Anchor-Bible-Commentaries/dp/0300139381

Duncan said...

More specifically, here:-

https://www.amazon.com/Exodus-19-40-Anchor-Bible-Commentaries/dp/030013939X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1528799114&sr=1-3

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks for the Propp link. I have not read his commentary directly yet, but have used the Anchor Bible series. I'm not teaching this summer. However, our university library does have the AB series, which keeps me from having to purchase it. I may take a ride one day to check it out. Thanks.

Duncan said...

Discovered that the TV series I mentioned is not originally BBC but rather PBS. It has already been shown in the US.

https://www.pbs.org/weta/africas-great-civilizations/home/

Edgar Foster said...

One other source:

the skin of his face shone. Hebrew Baran, "shone;' is a denominative verb from qeren, "horn" The noun has prompted translations of the verb as "to sprout horns" This translation is evident in the Vulgate, cornuta essetfacies sua. The Vulgate influenced enced the history of Western art, as is evident in da Vinci's sculpture of Moses in the Church of St. Peter in Chains (Rome). More recent interpretations include an illusion to the horned crown associated with kings, facial scarring from exposure to the divine fire, or a horned mask perhaps representing the bull.40 A related meaning is evident in Ps 69:31 (MT 32): "This will please Yahweh more than an ox, or a bull with horns (maqrin) and with hoofs" The translation "to shine" finds support port in Hab 3:4: "The brightness was like the sun; rays (qarnayim) came forth from his 4' The LXX translates, dedoxastai, "was glorified" (see the commentary).

Thomas B. Dozeman. Exodus (Eerdmans Critical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 11028-11031). Kindle Edition.

Thomas B. Dozeman. Exodus (Eerdmans Critical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 11026-11028). Kindle Edition.

Edgar Foster said...

R. W. L. Moberly even suggests a possible allusion to the golden calf 46 Propp prefers the meaning "disfigurement;' perhaps alluding to leathery skin.47 Childs argues for the translation "ray of light;' which is reflected in the LXX, Philo, and Paul.48 It is also the preferred reading in rabbinic literature.49 The occurrence of the verb garan in Hab 3:4 as "rays of light;' along with comparison to the melammu, the halo surrounding gods in ancient Near Eastern iconography, favors the imagery of light, rather than horns, as the description of Moses.50 Thus the imagery indicates that the divine glory, represented as light, has invaded the face of Moses on the summit of the mountain, and that it continues to dwell in him when he descends the mountain.

Thomas B. Dozeman. Exodus (Eerdmans Critical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 11056-11058). Kindle Edition.

Thomas B. Dozeman. Exodus (Eerdmans Critical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 11054-11056). Kindle Edition.

Duncan said...

It was interesting about Hab 3:4 & what propp comments about the translation difficulties.

Duncan said...

"the halo surrounding gods in ancient Near Eastern iconography", I do not think this is ancient enough, unless one is working from the documentary hypothesis.

This imagery type has also been associated with Isaiah 60:1-7.

Duncan said...

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=prZMAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA133&dq=mendenhall+melammu+evidence&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiWoJrPmtPbAhUpDsAKHdCgDeMQ6AEIMTAB#v=onepage&q=mendenhall%20melammu%20evidence&f=false

Edgar Foster said...

Dozeman is relying on Mendenhall according to the footnote in his Exodus commentary. The only thing I have to say for now is that I found more thoughts in J.J.M. Roberts' Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah commentary, pages 134-5.

Roberts appeals to ANE iconography of the storm god with lightning bolts issuing from his hands. But he is more specific in terms of the places where such imagery appears. See ANEP 490, 500-501, 531-532, 538.

Edgar Foster said...

One last reference I found on my computer is Carol Meyers Exodus commentary. She writes (page 266):

"As the mediator par excellence between the divine and the human, Moses takes on a unique aura, with his face so radiant that the Israelites were afraid to approach him. Such radiance, in ancient Near Eastern imagery, is the characteristic luminosity of deities. Visible on human rulers, royal effulgence is part of the poetic expression of the king's divine authority. Transferred to Moses when God speaks to him directly, it reflects God's glory and signifies Moses' authority."

Footnote 90 on page 266 says that "horn" is an incorrect translation which led to erroneous depictions like Michelangelo's "famous statue"

Edgar Foster said...

Testimony from Targum Jonathan: https://www.sefaria.org/Targum_Jonathan_on_Exodus.34?lang=bi

Edgar Foster said...

I checked our university library. We don't have Propp's Anchor Bible Commentary, but I was able to check out some other works and I read Robert Alter's remarks about Exodus 34:29ff: he favors the glowing/emitting rays understanding and provides argumentation against the "horns" view. His entire "Five Books" volume is worth reading IMO. Of note is also Umberto Cassuto's Exodus commentary. See the NET note for Exodus 34:29.

Duncan said...

https://www.academia.edu/27480041/The_Shining_Face_of_Moses_The_Interpretation_of_Exodus_34_29-35_and_its_Use_in_the_Old_and_New_Testaments

Useful survey information contained.

Edgar Foster said...

See also pages 3-4 of this journal article by the same author: https://www.ibr-bbr.org/files/bbr/bbr23a01.pdf

He again critiques the horns suggestion.

Duncan said...

Point 1:

"According to Ps 69:31 (MT 69:32), that which “sprouts horns” (ןִ רְקַמ (is a
bull’s head, not the skin of the face.7"

Does Ps 69:31 state that it is the head in MT or LXX?

Is the language of the psalms period directly equivalent to torah?

Point 2:

"Second, an idolatrous emblem like the horns of an ox is out of place given the indictment of the golden calf in Exod 32–33"

See:-

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Q1xbAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=oldest+example+of+the+horned+sun+disc&source=bl&ots=cjztup9mIZ&sig=sfKYEb2S7H7ggP2C_MQhc-D1CYA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZt6u48dzbAhVHBMAKHZ7lD4MQ6AEImgEwGA#v=onepage&q=oldest%20example%20of%20the%20horned%20sun%20disc&f=false

The horn and disk imagery described here can be of of a non divine queen. This type of imagery is probably the origins of what we call today, a crown which etymologically comes from the same term.

Point 3:

"Hab 3:4" - I will only refer back to the comments made by Propp, which need to be addressed. Also note text in blue here http://dssenglishbible.com/habakkuk%203.htm

Point 4:

"The LXX has δεδόξασται ἡ τοῦ χρώματος τοῦ προσώπου ἀυτοῦ (“the
appearance of the color of his face was glorified”)" - again see Propp.

Not sure how useful later witnesses can be.

Appeals to Ezekiel in the era of Zoroastrian cultural imagery of flame and light can hardly be conclusive.

So, I cannot say that it was not light but I can see why there is room for so much scholarship and controversy as to 3 or more possible conclusions.

I do not think this author has just solved all the difficulties, except for in his own mind.

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan, I've quoted numerous authors/sources in this thread, which cast serious doubt on the horns idea. Not even Propp favors the idea that Moses had horns, but he wants to propose a disfigurement thesis instead. For Ps. 69:31 and the idea of horns, see https://books.google.com/books?id=QBwdDQAAQBAJ&pg=PA400&dq=psalm+69:31+having+horns+on+head&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjhpMOyj-DbAhVL0lMKHU6aAMUQ6AEINTAC#v=onepage&q=psalm%2069%3A31%20having%20horns%20on%20head&f=false

In the long run, Ps. 69:31 may have nothing to do with Exodus 34:29ff. We don't know if the operative words in each verse have anything to do with each other. Either way, I don't see why Psalms has to emanate from the Torah period to have any bearing on Exodus. But again, neither text necessarily relates to the other one.

on Hab. 3:4, it's another issue, but I think Propp has been addressed from many corners including some of the works I've posted above. Carol Meyers and Robert Alter have spoken to his remarks and so has Friedman.

It's standard fare to invoke the DSS and LXX in these kinds of discussions. Whether the LXX helps us answer these questions, we cannot ignore its witness.

There will always be exegetical possibilities set forth on texts, but some possibilities are more probable than others. I could turn out to be wrong, but having surveyed the evidence so far, I find the horns notion to be highly unlikely and the "glowing/shining/emitting rays" to be more probable. Admittedly, more information could alter our perspective, but that is how I see the evidence for now.



Edgar Foster said...

I should adjust my statement about Propp and say that he appears to believe the horn thesis is "half-correct." In other words, he posits that Moses was burnt, disfigured or callouses, hence "hornified." But not quite the same as horns growing from Moses' head.

Duncan said...

Numbers 23:22

Duncan said...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naram-Sin_of_Akkad

Duncan said...

http://jewishstudies.rutgers.edu/docman/rendsburg/118-moses-as-equal-to-pharaoh/file

Duncan said...

http://thegemara.com/when-moses-was-born-the-house-was-filled-with-light/

Edgar Foster said...

Numbers 23:22, as you know, contains a different word. qaran (the word from Exodus 34:29-30, 35 only occurs four times between Exodus and Psalms.

On the Akkadian horned helmet, we have to make solid connections between potential cross examples. Two phenomena existing at the same time or within the same culture aren't necessarily related.

I enjoyed the Rendsburg piece and generally like his work: he is well-respected in Hebrew Bible studies. However, I disagree with his take on Exodus 34:29-30, 35 and Habakkuk 3:4. I will let the pieces I previously cited stand.

I will have to consider the last link at a later time.

Edgar Foster said...

Food for thought:

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/381118/summary

http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/18712207-12341259

Duncan said...

"First, we will demonstrate that James envisioned an anointing of the >>head or face.<< " - which is it?

Duncan said...

If it was racism then it appears that some Jews embraced it (re posting my original email link.)

https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/why-even-some-jews-once-believed-moses-had-horns-1.5949749

Duncan said...

Different cattle have different type of horn:-

https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/not-your-average-cow-10-most-exceptional-cattle-breeds

Ankole-Watusi cow are a recognisable form from north east Africa historically. Also the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurochs of north Africa.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SovEH9BJeFw/WDKuQl_6XsI/AAAAAAAAC6k/PrYvDQ1iKqEMuPonsUJZI6KoH-cCDRlJACLcB/s600/English%2BLonghorn%2BCattle.jpg

WE have the English long horn (not sure of early origins) & as my earlier post points out we do have ancient Egyptian murals that depict a horn facing downwards by the face of a person. So why would we expect a single term for horns? We need to know how or if they depicted a different status.

The main driving point of all my post is that we are looking at a cattle culture covering a large area that includes our target & also spans pre and post cultures.

I any case would we expect anyone else to be depicted with the same horns as Jehovah.

Posted before but see - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mpz8h_MFkWg @ 17 minutes to 21. Cattle culture gravitate around the imagery of horns.

Duncan said...

"Two phenomena existing at the same time or within the same culture aren't necessarily related."

Just to point out that I am making my case from the period not from later texts and traditions.

Edgar Foster said...

1) On the James article and the issue of anointing, I believe the author is saying it could be the head or face. I haven't read his piece, but that seems to be his contention. Maybe we don't know the full answer to the question. But I don't know what he discovered from researching the question.

2) I'm not saying that the "horns" interpretation of Exodus 34 is/was motivated by antisemitism. However, more plausibly, Michelangelo's painting might have been. Again, it's not my claim, but what someone else is arguing. I'm only providing sources for research.

3) Remember that I don't believe Moses had horns at all, but that his face shone. So all the talk of horns is interesting and informative, but I don't see these examples as pertinent to Exodus 34. Some obviously disagree. So I take Meyers and Alter to be saying that Moses was given a similar glory as Jehovah's in order to be his representative, but not similar horns.

4) What I meant to say earlier about similar cultures and times is that even if two things/phenomena exist at the same time and in the same place, we cannot infer that one necessarily relates to the other.

Duncan said...

https://books.openedition.org/cdf/3048?lang=en

Edgar Foster said...

I spotted some missteps in the lecture. Romer says about qaran:

"Yet this root, which appears in the Bible in the verbal form only in this account from the Book of Exodus, is apparently linked to a noun that is used more broadly, qèrèn, which in biblical Hebrew does indeed mean 'horn.'"

Qaran and qèrèn possibly are connected: one cannot say that's actually the case. But even assuming there's a connection, we can't then do what Romer proceeds to do. He then concludes that Jerome's handling of Exodus 34 must be right and that the Greek, Syriac versions of the Bible are wrong. Furthermore, traditional Jewish and Christian interpretations must all be wrong based on this slender line of argumentation. Romer fails to mention the Targumic evidence, which also casts doubt on the horns interpretation. In any event, his conclusion does not follow from the evidence he presents.

Finally, Romer writes:

"The Ugaritic texts from the end of the second millennium describe Baal with functions and titles that are applied to Yahweh in the Bible. This confirms the idea that, from the point of view of the history of religions, the god of Israel was a god of storm and thunder like Baal-Hadad, the god that caused lightning and thunder."

I believe the Bible writers avidly took steps to ensure that Yahweh (Jehovah) would not be viewed through the lens of Baal. The Jewish God not only causes lightning and thunder, but he creates and controls the phenomena. See Jer. 10:12-13.

Duncan said...

If the two terms are not connected then the arguments to justify its meaning as rays of light also fall apart.

Duncan said...

Some bible writers may have erased baal from there text but the evidence of this has two sides diachronically.

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan,

I don't see how the argument falls apart if one understands qaran to mean shine/emitting rays/glow and qeren to signify horns. The philosophical fact anyway is that we're not sure the words are connected.

My claim about Baal is that the Bible writers did not think Jehovah was simply a storm deity like Baal. Under inspiration, they made a notional chasm between Jehovah and Baal. See 1 Kings 17 and 2 Kings 10.

Edgar Foster said...

In other words, Baal is portrayed as an impotent fiction unable to bring fire from heaven in contrast to the living God. I see no good evidence that Baal and YHWH are etymologically related.

Duncan said...

Names including the element Baal presumably in reference to Yahweh include the judge Gideon (also known as Jerubaal, lit. "The Lord Strives"), Saul's son Eshbaal ("The Lord is Great"), and David's son Beeliada ("The Lord Knows"). The name Bealiah ("The Lord is Jah"; "Yahweh is Baʿal") combined the two.

Duncan said...

Isn't the emit light based on the theory of horn shaped emission? As opped to normal terms for light.

Duncan said...

What is the earliest textual evidence of the portion of Targumim?

http://cojs.org/the_targumim-_emanuel_tov-_textual_criticism_of_the_hebrew_bible-_fortress_press-_minneapolis_1992/

Targums, and the Peshitta use terms relating to light but you are going to have to deal with my earlier post regarding moses birth before I give them much weight.

The LXX seems more of an interpretation than a translation.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=C0xoBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA88&lpg=PA88&dq=exodus+34:29+lxx+glorified&source=bl&ots=bWkecUuyzq&sig=s0k_uk5C0JlsGgOVzD_luTYU7Bg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjc4sGe5eXbAhWIJcAKHc9mA3sQ6AEwCHoECAUQAQ#v=onepage&q=exodus%2034%3A29%20lxx%20glorified&f=false

Incidentally the part of the verse that is interpreted as "not knowing" could also mean "not concerned".

Edgar Foster said...

Almost bedtime, so my answers will be very brief tonight.

1) I don't think the emit light interpretation hangs on (depends on) horn shaped emission. I will pursue the subject later, but check out Andrei Orlov's article "God's Face in the Enochic Tradition" at the marquette.edu site.

2) On the Baal issue, some have argued that Baal is a general term for "lord," not a definite term. I want to address your examples later like Gideon, but I don't believe they necessarily relate to Jehovah at all. Besides, Jehovah/Yahweh does not mean "Lord."

3) In this case, I don't see LXX as a translation. The Targum date could be as late as the third century CE: we don't know for sure. But Jerome's Vulgate is even later (circa 405 CE).

My case isn't primarily dependent on the Greek or Syriac texts; I believe they simply reflect the Hebrew wording.

Like I say, this subject will be resumed later. I will also have to review what you said about Moses' birth.

Edgar Foster said...

The examples you cited for Baal don't subvert my view that Jehovah was not reduced to a storm God in the Tanakh by the prophets nor did faithful spokespersons of Jehovah try to parallel his attributes with Baal. Just the opposite transpired in the canon.

Duncan said...

Targumim date could be as late as fifth century.