The questions of how and why we discuss the past in the way that we do, or what the uses of the past are, are huge ones. Unfortunately, Gee brushes all of these concerns aside by assuring us that the ancient Hebrews had a consciousness about the past that was deeply historical in that the books of the Old Testament cite early books, writers, prophecies, and so forth. In doing so, Gee would have us believe that this simplistic observation is some kind of rebuttal of Bokovoy's position, when it is, in fact, a powerful testament to Gee's illiteracy or highly selective representation of the state of the scholarship on the issue of Israelite uses of the past in their sacred literature. It is also painfully apparent that when the Bible says something, Gee tends to take it at face value; one might even say that he is uncritical in his reading. At least, that is the impression he gives when he cites statement after statement of Biblical authors referring to earlier works as authorities for their positions.
Furthermore, he doesn't miss an opportunity to take a personal swipe at Dr. Bokovoy:
John Gee wrote:At this point, it is worth citing a much more experienced and distinguished scholar of the ancient Near East on the subject:
Sadly, what this shows, above all, is that Gee, being a novice on the topic of Hebrew literature (he is, after all, an Egyptologist), must rely on the logical fallacy of argument from authority and he encourages others to do likewise. "Don't trust that younger scholar Bokovoy; trust someone whom I, an alleged authority (albeit in a different field), tell you is more experienced and more distinguished!"
This after he has essentially shown us that he uncritically trusts all of the citations of Old Testament authors.
Then, Gee implies that Bokovoy has the wrong ideological perspective, when he cites another scholar:
John Gee wrote:Now, lets consider the opinion of another scholar of the ancient Near East from a very different ideological perspective:
But take a close look at the material he is quoting:
The [Egyptian] Middle Kingdom confronts us with a genuine and well-attested resuscitation of the past, albeit one which was consciously designed to serve the ends of the 12th Dynasty regime in power.
Interest in the past and its memorials increased. Sometimes it was genuine, if not academic, interest in the past for its own sake; mostly it involved piety attendant upon refurbishing ancestral monuments.
This is taken from a work of Egyptology written thirty years ago: Donald B. Redford, Pharaonic King-Lists, Annals and Day-Books: A Contribution to the Study of the Egyptian Sense of History [Missasauga, Ontario: Benben Publications, 1986], 334-35.
What is it telling us about the texts of the Old Testament exactly? Gee assures us that:
If there is academic interest in the past for its own sake in Egypt in the last half of the second millennium B.C. there is no specific reason to suppose that there could not be academic interest in the past next door in Israel in the first half of the first millennium B.C. And, as we have seen, the Bible provides evidence for that sort of academic interest.
This is stunningly poor reasoning. Gee's quotations concern the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC) and the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC) of Egypt. The oldest texts of the Old Testament come from the eleventh or tenth centuries BC, at the very earliest, in a different language and from quite a different culture. But, Gee tells us that there is "no specific reason to suppose that there could not be academic interest in the past next door in Israel in the first half of the first millennium B.C."
What does all of this mean? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Gee has established exactly nothing apropos of anything in this post. Of course, he is unable to do so. These are serious and complicated issues. They cannot be untangled and explicated in the space of a blog rant. It is incomprehensible to me how anyone could presume to make an attempt with a straight face. Quoting a few passages from a scholarly book on earlier periods of Egyptian history to do so is ludicrous. His attempt to insult Bokovoy at the same time completely blows up in his face. The only person who comes out looking bad here is Gee.