Saturday, February 19, 2005

Wonderful Copenhagen

Let us clink and drink one down
To wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

Salty old queen of the sea

Once I sailed away

But I'm home today

Singing Copenhagen, wonderful, wonderful

Copenhagen for me.

I have been contacted privately by some scholars of the "Copenhagen school" who have taken me to task for over-generalization in the matter of the Tel Dan stele. They wish me to know that not everyone who might be identified as a member of the "Copenhagen school" necessarily believes that the Tel Dan stele is a forgery or that, if authentic, the inscription on the stele is inconsistent with an interpretation that might be characterized as "minimalist" (a word I have not used in discussing the stele). Conversely, not everyone who believes that Tel Dan is a forgery is a member of the Copenhagen school.

These protests have been made with the utmost courtesy. In view of them, I am now happy to grant that the Copenhagen school is not of one mind on the question of Tel Dan; at least one of them (Keith Whitelam) believes it is authentic, and another (Greg Doudna) is preserving an open mind on the subject. The only scholar I have criticized by name, Giovanni Garbini, is not of the Copenhagen school.

Of course, I will continue my posts on Garbini's arguments against Tel Dan's authenticity; his arguments are weak, in my view, and do not sustain the weight that is often placed on them. I also do not apologize for the use of the phrase "Tel Dan conspiracy theorists." It seems to me to be an accurate characterization, but my readers should not infer that the conspiracy theorists and the Copenhagen school are synonyms.

(As long as I'm mentioning the Copenhagen school, let me take this opportunity to say how very good Greg Doudna's commentary on 4Q Pesher Nahum is. It is a real advance in our understanding of the scroll, both exegetically and methodologically.)

(I could have sworn that song was called "Beautiful Copenhagen," but a quick look at the Danny Kaye songbook reveals that it is "Wonderful Copenhagen." Obviously this is a day for revision of the Copenhagen file in my brain cells.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I gather you aren't fond of Garbini? Not being an expert, I can't technically evaluate his assertions as you are doing with the Tell Dan inscription, but do you think he's off-track in his overall take on the OT as mostly a product of priestly writers of the 3rd to 1st century?