Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Return of the Israeli(?)

You know you're a nerd when, in a seminar, you compare the redaction of Hebrew texts to Star Wars. The comparison in question? The following post I made on the webCT discussion group for my Hebrew Bible seminar:


In response to your comments about redaction of an existing text as opposed to creating a new text, "If they truly believed their version was correct they would have entirely changed the old versions or they may have written their very own book," I wonder if this isn't just a tad simplistic. I wonder if the reason that later redactors didn't completely remove sections they didn't agree with or create new books was because, in their time, the texts already had a certain authority which they would have wanted to continue or use. That is, in the time that they were editing the works, people were reading and using the existing texts and, rather than trying to set up a whole new system of thought, the redactors simple tweaked the existing system to better reflect their 'new' ideas.

Also, I think it would be easier to transmit the new ideas by strategically altering an existing set of texts than by trying to get people to read a wholly new work or set of works. As a more contemporary example, look at the first Star Wars trilogy. The original version became such a big part of the popular consciousness that, when George Lucas later wanted to alter the story to fit in with his vision for the three new movies, he made strategic additions and deletions in the original three movies' construction in order to alter the popular conception of the 'grander narrative.' That is, it was easier for the redactor (Lucas) to alter peoples' perception/understanding of the narrative through additions than trying to change the way people understood the Star Wars narrative by creating a new set of sequels (a nearly impossible task because of the integration of the originals into the popular consicious).


*Name changed to protect the innocent.