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OT Historical Books discuss Scribal Replacement of Place Name in Genesis 14:14? in the The Scriptures forums; When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went ...

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    Dearly Bought's Avatar
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    Scribal Replacement of Place Name in Genesis 14:14?

    When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
    (Genesis 14:14, ESV)
    Thus far I've read several opinions from commentators on the identity of Dan in this verse.

    Some hold that a later editor after Moses must have renamed the location "Dan" in order to make the account understandable to readers. From this perspective, the renamed town of Dan in Judges 18:29 was the same location mentioned here in Genesis.

    Others maintain that the place name was original to the Genesis text and it was the same location mentioned in Judges 18:29. The alleged anachronism is explained by the assertion that "Dan" was the original name which was replaced by "Laish" and then restored to its original name as part of the conquest of Canaan.

    Still others suggest that the place name was original to the Genesis text and it was not the location mentioned in Judges 18:29. It may have been a different city mentioned in 2 Samuel 24:6 or another unknown location.

    What do you think? I'm particularly interested to know the opinion's of this board's wise denizens regarding the idea of a later scribe redacting the text. Does the idea of "Moses' editor" imperil inerrancy?
    Bryan Peters
    Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church
    Student of Theology Under Care of the Presbyterian Reformed Church
    Johnston, Iowa

    The true visible church, where God's ordinances are set up as he hath appointed,
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    ~David Dickson~

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    Bryan Peters
    Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church
    Student of Theology Under Care of the Presbyterian Reformed Church
    Johnston, Iowa

    The true visible church, where God's ordinances are set up as he hath appointed,
    where his word is purely preached, is the most beautiful thing under heaven,
    and there is God's glory set forth and manifested more clearly than in all the Lord's handiwork beside in heaven or earth.
    ~David Dickson~

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    It took millennia for an (obvious) anachronism like this one to worry the church. Or certain parts of it.

    Any one of a dozen or more inspired men could have been authorized by the Holy Ghost to post this and other such addendums. God's saints received such clarification as equal in authority with the original text. It still sounds like the Shepherd's Voice; must be the Shepherd (Ps.80:1)!

    Would anyone dare to tamper with the very words of God? So, unless we consent with the critics that a strong stand on inerrancy is just a product of feeble, rationalist aprioris popularized in the period between AD1600-1850, then we have to think that messing with the text by unauthorized persons would have been just as unthinkable to any believer in ages past as it is today.
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    Dearly Bought,

    What do you think? I'm particularly interested to know the opinion's of this board's wise denizens regarding the idea of a later scribe redacting the text. Does the idea of "Moses' editor" imperil inerrancy?
    Why would you think it would "imperil inerrancy?" Is it not the same meaning, whether we have "Dan," or whether we have "Laish?"

    There are other examples of this kind of thing. For example, at the time of Abraham, the king of Egypt would not have been called "Pharoah." The term "Pharaoh" [coming from the Egyptian phrase per 'a'a meaning "large house"] was not used of the king of Egypt until long after Abraham.

    The important thing to remember is that there is no difference in meaning, and thus, it is not relevant. We know what the place name is, whether we call it "Dan" or "Laish," and we know that "Pharaoh" is referring to the king of Egypt, whether he was actually called Pharaoh by Abraham or not.

    God Bless,
    Adam
    Adam
    Faith Presbyterian Church
    Akron, Ohio
    Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Student

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hebrew Student View Post
    Dearly Bought,

    What do you think? I'm particularly interested to know the opinion's of this board's wise denizens regarding the idea of a later scribe redacting the text. Does the idea of "Moses' editor" imperil inerrancy?
    Why would you think it would "imperil inerrancy?" Is it not the same meaning, whether we have "Dan," or whether we have "Laish?"

    There are other examples of this kind of thing. For example, at the time of Abraham, the king of Egypt would not have been called "Pharoah." The term "Pharaoh" [coming from the Egyptian phrase per 'a'a meaning "large house"] was not used of the king of Egypt until long after Abraham.

    The important thing to remember is that there is no difference in meaning, and thus, it is not relevant. We know what the place name is, whether we call it "Dan" or "Laish," and we know that "Pharaoh" is referring to the king of Egypt, whether he was actually called Pharaoh by Abraham or not.

    God Bless,
    Adam
    As I mentioned above, different commentators have varying views about the actual location referenced. There are different meanings proposed.

    My question about this matter "imperiling inerrancy" was based upon some of the materials I read. Some interpreters such as Norman Geisler (if I'm remembering correctly) suggest that it is crucial to the doctrine of inerrancy to maintain that this place name was not the product of a later scribal interpolation. I think Gleason Archer also was concerned to maintain the Mosaic authorship of this place name.

    Personally, I'm inclined to agree with Pastor Buchanan. If it is a later clarification, then it obviously was a later inspired clarification by an authorized person.
    Bryan Peters
    Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church
    Student of Theology Under Care of the Presbyterian Reformed Church
    Johnston, Iowa

    The true visible church, where God's ordinances are set up as he hath appointed,
    where his word is purely preached, is the most beautiful thing under heaven,
    and there is God's glory set forth and manifested more clearly than in all the Lord's handiwork beside in heaven or earth.
    ~David Dickson~

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    Dearly Bought,

    As I mentioned above, different commentators have varying views about the actual location referenced. There are different meanings proposed.
    However, I don't think that different meanings means somehow a problem for inerrancy. We all take different interpretations of many different passages. That is why we all have different theological positions. Most of the other interpretations are just simply trying to solve a problem that, in my mind anyway, is not even a problem.

    My question about this matter "imperiling inerrancy" was based upon some of the materials I read. Some interpreters such as Norman Geisler (if I'm remembering correctly) suggest that it is crucial to the doctrine of inerrancy to maintain that this place name was not the product of a later scribal interpolation.
    I don't think it is necessary at all. Inerrancy has to do with meaning, and, hence, no matter which reading of the text you take, there is no way to say that the text is in error.

    I think Gleason Archer also was concerned to maintain the Mosaic authorship of this place name.
    Not sure why that would be. There are plenty of things that are later scribal updates within the Pentatuch itself. Even the Hebrew of the text, while being very archaic, has some later forms that have creeped into the text.

    It seems to me to be a simple issue of wanting the Bible to be understandable. If thousands of years have passed, and you don't even know where that place name is at anymore, using a modern name in its place will help readers to understand the text better. However, the meaning will still be the same the whole way through, and thus, there will be no problems with inerrancy.

    God Bless,
    Adam
    Adam
    Faith Presbyterian Church
    Akron, Ohio
    Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Student

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