Lack of Critical Sources in Timelines

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Mitchell | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, May 7 2016 4:26 PM

I was looking today for some quick timeline information on OT authorship, so I pulled up the Old Testament Books Timeline tool for the first time. I must say, I was quite disappointed with what I found. The three sources used in the Timeline tool all placed Job as the first book written in the Bible—two of them placed it as early as 2100 BC!

Now, this isn't an utterly unheard of viewpoint. But it's certainly not the consensus of modern critical scholars. David Clines in the Word Biblical Commentary (certainly not a bastion of liberalism) says this of Job's dating:

"Most scholars today would date the composition of the Book of Job to some point between the seventh and the second centuries b.c.e., with the probability that a prose folktale of a pious sufferer existed long before the largely poetic book itself was written."

Once I saw that I pretty much gave up on getting much out of the tool. I'm not arguing that these sources with older dating should be excluded, but at least one source that reflects the more modern critical consensus should be included. To leave that out creates the misleading impression that the dates given are widely agreed upon.

I have to say that the NT Books Timeline is considerably better. The majority of sources are older, and demonstrated by the fact that most of them put Matthew as the first Gospel written, but there are at least a few sources that lay out a timeline with Markan priority (Robinson and Peterson).

One feature that might alleviate some of the tendency of these tools to present a misleading level of certainty would be a link to the source. Each of these dates has to be pulled from a particular page in the source material—to be able to read the author's reasoning and cautions would be quite helpful.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 7 2016 6:49 PM

Accordance has a switch to go from conservative dating to critical dating. Perhaps Faithlife should consider having that to make this more useful.

-Dan

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 7 2016 8:00 PM

Okay, let's step back a bit. Logos draws the dates from resources in your library ... not as many resources have been coded as I would wish. My results:

I have only the two resources used for Job dates. Faithlife's approach is simple - to report what your resources say without comment. They assume that you know your evaluation of your resources.

I don't know it if will work but you might try hiding your resource with the trash dates and see what the timeline looks like.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 7 2016 9:29 PM

Mitchell's idea would certainly raise eyebrows:

Job evidence as written in the 3rd millennium or about 2100 BCE:

- Job acts as a priest for his family (definite 3rd mill ... Milky-zedek too)

- Long life of Job (140 yrs ... certainly 3rd mill)

- Semi-nomadic herding of domestic animals (yep, ended around 1999 BCE)

- Roving bands of Sabean/Chaldean raiders (ended also around 1999 BCE)

- Job lived in town part of year and with herds remainder (another pre-1999 BCE practice)

I guess I'm surprised at the critical evidence.

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Mitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 7 2016 9:58 PM

Denise, I don't want this to turn into an argument over the evidence for dating Job. But to your points, the critical consensus is about when the book of Job in the form we have was written, not when it's set. Precise dating of Job is extraordinarily difficult, but a date as early as 2000 BC is difficult to defend because the Hebrew language didn't exist then (it wasn't yet differentiated from Canaanite). As the WBC quote points out though, most do agree with you that the narrative probably predates the text by quite a bit. 

But that's all beside the point, really. 

MJ, your screenshot is of the parallel passages tool. Did you mean to upload a different file?

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 8 2016 12:07 AM

Ancient written sources are totally possible.

I would like have a user-defined timeline.

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James McAdams | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 8 2016 12:59 AM

Mitchell:

MJ, your screenshot is of the parallel passages tool. Did you mean to upload a different file?

MJ has the later date showing on her timeline based on the resources she owns that mention that later date, and her post explains why. The parallel resources show that later date.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 8 2016 1:17 AM

MJ. Smith:
Okay, let's step back a bit. Logos draws the dates from resources in your library .

We're talking about two different things.

Mitchell is referring to the Old Testament Books Timeline which shipped with Logos 4.

That Timeline is also sourced from other books, but can't be 'edited' by hiding or adding resources.

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 8 2016 1:20 AM

MJ. Smith:

Okay, let's step back a bit. Logos draws the dates from resources in your library ... not as many resources have been coded as I would wish. My results:

I have only the two resources used for Job dates. Faithlife's approach is simple - to report what your resources say without comment. They assume that you know your evaluation of your resources.

I don't know it if will work but you might try hiding your resource with the trash dates and see what the timeline looks like.

Mitchell:

MJ, your screenshot is of the parallel passages tool. Did you mean to upload a different file?

MJ and Mitchell are comparing Apples and Oranges here.

Mitchell you are looking at the carry over of a legacy resource from the Libronix days. This is the timeline tool from way back that created as a resource in your library when Logos 4 was first released i.e. Old Testament Books Timeline . It is unlikely to be updated at any point in the future and is not based on the resources in your library. This resource only provides dating from Archer's Old Testament Introduction and The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Walvoord and Zuck).

MJ is refering to the timeline tool available from the Tools menu.  I get the sames results as MJ in the timeline tool from ISBE (2002) and the New Bible Dictionary.  Even though I have the two resources used by the old timeline tool , these resources must not be tagged appropriately to draw this information into the timeline tool.

When I read what the Bible Knowledge Commentary has to say, it is talking about when Job lived, rather than the dating of the composition of the book.  Archer discusses separately the date of the events of Job and the date of composition of Job and from a quick gleaning what is shown on the Old Testament Books timeline is what Archer discusses in relation to the date of events of Job, rather than composition.

When you read what the New Bible Dictionary it actually says: "Moderns have varied in their dating from the time of Solomon to about 250 BC, dates between 600 and 400 BC being most popular, though there is a growing tendency to favour later dates." The timeline tool falls down in that it only has the 4th Century date option tagged (the resource says this is the most popular option at the time of writing) and it ignores the other possibilities.

So what we are seeing is don'' stop at the timeline tool (or the Old Libronix Timelines), dig into the resources it is extracting data from to get the full context of the date displayed and go to other tools like factbook and basic search to look for additional information that may be in your Logos Library but not tagged to appear on the timeline.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 8 2016 6:15 AM

Mitchell, maybe I was too serious (an infrequent problem for me). The points I listed were from Utley, who largely summarizes others. With the exception of Job's age and the Chaldeans, the 'evidence' would equally apply to the American west in the early 1900s. 

But it also points to my other belief, that 'scholars' are operating off of extremely small samples across multiple centuries. Their house of cards only succeeds if their friends don't laugh.

For the record, my neural net syntactical pattern matcher puts Job fairly late. And Jonah quite early.  Guessing up a storm, and all my friends laughing.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 8 2016 7:02 AM

So far we have established there are legacy timelines, as well as the new timeline tool, which give different results. But how does the new timeline tool really work? For some reason it is pulling dates from the ISBE for me when I don't own it. To me this is either saying that this timeline tool does this for everyone, or when I had a trial month of something that included ISBE, it added the tagging to my indexes...

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Ken McGuire:

So far we have established there are legacy timelines, as well as the new timeline tool, which give different results. But how does the new timeline tool really work? For some reason it is pulling dates from the ISBE for me when I don't own it. To me this is either saying that this timeline tool does this for everyone, or when I had a trial month of something that included ISBE, it added the tagging to my indexes...

The Timeline tool shows all dates regardless of whether or not you own any of the cited resources for that date.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 8 2016 11:34 AM

I was a bit shocked that the timeline did not pull from more... indeed my timeline look at Job pointed out a possible date at 3rd century BCE based on ISBE.  But why is Anchor Bible Dictionary not included a resource that is drawn from.

-Dan

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Mitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 8 2016 2:42 PM

Mark Barnes:

MJ. Smith:
Okay, let's step back a bit. Logos draws the dates from resources in your library .

We're talking about two different things.

Mitchell is referring to the Old Testament Books Timeline which shipped with Logos 4.

That Timeline is also sourced from other books, but can't be 'edited' by hiding or adding resources.

Yep, that clears it up! I don't know what was going on with MJ's screenshot, when I looked at it last night is was different. Maybe the forum software was being wonky.

So it turns out I was just using an outdated resource. I just opened up the Timeline tool and not only does it have a different date, it has links to sources. I'm happy. Yes

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 10 2016 4:04 AM

[duplicate deleted]

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 10 2016 4:04 AM

[duplicate deleted]

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 10 2016 4:13 AM

Dan Francis:

But why is Anchor Bible Dictionary not included a resource that is drawn from.

-Dan

Why indeed has it or a lot of other resources not been tagged. It gives the impression that Logos has dropped the ball on this aspect of the software when only 2 results come up in the time line for the dating of a book of the bible when compared to the number of bible introductions / handbooks, study bibles, monographs, encyclopedias, and commentaries they could draw upon to really make the timeline a valuable research entry point Not everythibng is going to be tagged but there are some key goto resources such as ABD, IVP dictionaries that need to be tagged appropriately in order to draw the information contained within into the timeline tool otherwise Logos might as well retire this feature.  It seems as if they only go so far with any data driven project and then drop focus after a while so they can focus on the next big data driven feature.  I hope my impressions are wrong and they are still actually working on tagging more existing resources to bring them into the timeline tool.

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