Talk:Moses

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Former featured article candidate Moses is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
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Date Process Result
January 4, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed
July 30, 2007 Featured article candidate Not promoted
August 2, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Former featured article candidate
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Semi-protected edit request on 3 May 2017[edit]

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Cannolis (talk) 20:03, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 31 May 2017[edit]

Please amend: "Scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person,[8]"

as follows: "Scholarly consensus in 1993 saw Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person,[8]"

The reference is 25 years old, most of those scholars invoked in reference 8 have probably retired or are dead, so it is misleading to use the present tense. Ideally of course we should scrap reference 8 and find a more up-to-date reference. So changing the tense is a necessary but temporary fix.86.170.121.156 (talk) 18:22, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

There's been no pro-Moses move in the scholarly consensus since 1993. Adding "1993" to the sentence would produce the misleading impression that there has been such a move. In the absence of any references since 1993 that say the consensus has changed, there should be no problem using a 1993 reference. Alephb (talk) 18:42, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Seconded. — PaleoNeonate — 18:54, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
If you have a reference proving your claim (that the new generation of scholars share the view of the dead and retired scholars from the previous generation), please provide a reference. It is not good enough to cite dead/retired scholars and to speculate they represent the current consensus. If you do not have such a reference (and I suspect you do not), then change to past tense please. 86.170.121.156 (talk) 20:40, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Do you have a reliable source that claims otherwise? Not necessarily only scholars, but the article points to some writings from archaeologists that are more recent than 1993. It would be surprising for most scholars to suddenly begin to ignore previously discovered evidence... — PaleoNeonate · 20:48, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
No, I do not have any modern reference stating what the modern consensus is. And neither do you by the sound of it. But back to the point: what you find surprising or not is your personal opinion and has no place on Wikipedia. Therefore please change the 1993 statement to past tense until some expert Wikipedian identifies a reliable modern source. 86.170.121.156 (talk) 21:03, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Please see WP:NPA and Book_of_Genesis#Composition (some sources there are also as recent as 2000). Thanks, —PaleoNeonate· 21:16, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Excellent. So all you need to do now is to remove the 1993 reference and exchange for your more recent reference from 2000. 86.170.121.156 (talk) 21:20, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
This is all silliness. You could just as easily protest that a reference from 2000 is too old as well. Heck, we had a guy claiming not long ago that a reference on Deuteronomy was too old because it was written six years ago. In the absence of any source claiming the consensus has changed, a 1993 reference should be fine. There's nothing wrong with using a source that was written in the past. You've already said you don't have any source suggesting a shift since then, so this is just nit-picking. Alephb (talk) 03:57, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
PaleoNeonate is not being "silly". He has kindly researched and offered a more up-to-date reference from 2000. So be constructive and just implement it. Or if you have a problem with Paleonate's reference, then explain. 86.170.123.33 (talk) 07:33, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
It's not PaleoNeonate I'm referring to. I have no problem with PaleoNeonate's reference. I object to the strange request you're making on the theory that somehow a 1993 reference, which you've given us no reason to doubt, is not useable, while a reference from 2000 somehow is good enough. Unless you have some good reason to call the 1993 reference into question -- and you certainly haven't offered one yet, just a series of commands -- there's no point in us playing along. If someone else wants to make these edits for you, they can have at it. But I have no intention of doing it. And of course, you're always free to get yourself a login and do it yourself. Alephb (talk) 08:18, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Excellent - you "have no problem" with Palaeoneonate's 2000 reference. Moreover you are indeed neither willing nor required to participate further, so let us give PalaeoNeonate a chance to implement his suggested reference in the course of today, before deciding to call upon mediation. 86.170.123.33 (talk) 09:55, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Third...ed? BedrockPerson (talk) 11:02, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't think the reference needs a replacement. We could add another one perhaps, but it's still unnecessary (I'm still not the requested third editor :). —PaleoNeonate· 18:50, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

 Done 2005 source added, 1993 source preserved. —PaleoNeonate - 02:50, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 1 June 2017[edit]

There are actually two errors in the introductory sentence. I should have read it to the end before commenting.

Please amend: "Scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person,[8] but some scholars..."

as follows: "Scholarly majority opinion in 1993 saw Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person,[8] but some scholars..."

or alternatively: "Scholars have tended to see Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person,[8] but some scholars..."

The first error is to use the present tense for a 1993 work and grammatically to imply that the conclusions are valid for 2017. That is illicit original research. The second, more blatant error, is to claim that there is/was a "consensus" whereas in fact the end of the sentence explicitly quotes two dissenters (refs 9 and 10, not copied here). The author of this unfortunate sentence has evidently confused the word consensus (Webster: "general agreement, unanimity") with the appropriate term majority opinion. 86.170.123.33 (talk) 11:33, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

All of this is an attempt to nit-pick away the fact that modern scholarship treats the whole Exodus myth, including the Moses figure, as a myth. This horse has already been flogged to death on various talk pages on Exodus-related topics. This is not a substantially different suggested than the previous request, which no editor has seen fit to carry out. Alephb (talk) 02:13, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Only using a very recent source may indeed be to suggest that this consensus might be a very recent event. Since most scholars since the 19th century considered this to be a myth, it is adequate for Wikipedia to simply state this without needing to justify every year this has been the case. In this case it even has a source with a very handy quote to support it. I have added a 2005 source for now, but would like the 1993 one to remain. —PaleoNeonate - 02:48, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

 Done Duplicate of previous request. —PaleoNeonate - 02:50, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Thanks PalaeoNeonate, you are being really professional and I appreciate it (Alephb, take note). I still strongly suspect however that "consensus" is the wrong word here. First of all, in English, "consensus" means there are no dissenters, which is clearly not the case given the second half of the sentence which expicitly cites dissenters. You need a different word here. See my suggestions above.

Secondly, I am unable to access the entire Myers book, but from the excerpts available to me via Google, a quick scan so far does not tell me that Myers has really conducted an opinion poll of scholars or a quantitative assessment of publications to arrive at the conclusion of a "consensus". Thus, please provide the page number where Carol Myers makes the statement regarding "consensus". And please the page number for the "consensus" statement also for the 1993 book, if you have it at hand.

And let me motivate you: if true, then I am strongly in favour of mentioning that some/many scholars stick their necks out to judge whether or not a person existed 3000 years ago. Because it is counterintuitive and fascinating to me as a layperson that any scholar should wish to make such extraordinary claims. How on earth can they be certain either way? If this intellectual arrogance exists, as the Wikipedia article seems to imply (but personally I doubt it), then it must be more carefully worded, referenced and explained than at present. That is where I am heading. 86.170.123.30 (talk) 08:05, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

You keep using that word "consensus", but it doesn't mean what you think it means. WP:CONSENSUS does a good job of explaining how Wikipedia defines consensus. It doesn't mean there's nobody disagreeing out there. And here's a definition of consensus from Merriam-Webster: "the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned." Alephb (talk) 08:16, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
And the page numbers you're asking for are already in the references provided in the article. You can read the article; no need for us to copy the page numbers for you here on the talk page. Alephb (talk) 08:20, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Good morning Alephb. It is good to see that you are beginning to engage. "Consensus" is not the appropriate word here. The Mirriam-Webster says the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned. E.g. the consensus was to go ahead. The implication is that there is a general agreement in the form of a judgement, even though individuals may have raised concerns. In the case of Moses however, there is no judgement or general agreement how to proceed. Instead you have two factions who flatly contradict each other: one faction is smaller, one faction is larger, but there is no agreement with the minority saying, "OK, you win, we protest, but let us issue this consensus statement on Moses". There is no such consensus statement on Moses. Is the problem clear now? (And yes, I suspect you have been misled by the untidy Wikipedia usage - that also needs fixing. The correct Wiki definition is here: Consensus decision-making.
Page numbers: you are right, they are provided, sorry. Looking at the passage, William Dever has used an unfortunate wording when speaking of an "overwhelming consensus". You can have an "overwhelming majority", but a consensus either exists or it does not exist. Try googling for "overwhelming consensus" - you will hardly get any relevant hits, except for editing comments by sloppy Wikipedia enthusiasts. 86.170.123.30 (talk) 10:03, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Scholarly consensus is not about public opinion polls, it's about what recknowned experts report. WP:CONSENSUS is about another type of consensus, those of editors (through the use of reliable sources and guided by policies); the current one appears to be that the existing references are satisfying. The realization that an iron age national mythic epic figure may not have existed (and most importantly, the surrounding supernatural events) is hardly a personal judgment, especially considering the knowledge we have today about literary styles and traditions, their role, their development, selection and compilations, borrowings from older traditions, the contraditing archaeological data we have discovered, modern scientific developments vs the vision of the world at the epoch (also see related Biblical cosmology), etc. But since this talk page is not a forum, I digress; if you really have an interest in the topic I suggest reading on it. Alephb may have been right about the nit-picking as this is still ongoing... —PaleoNeonate - 16:57, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, you do digress. This is about a simple language error. You cannot say in the first half of the sentence there is a consensus, only to write in the second half there are dissenters. I have suggested two fixes. If you have a better idea how to fix the language problem, let us hear it.
And as concerns your digression on the iron age etc: if you wish people to take a theory seriously, you need to get the language right. You would not deposit your money in a bank where the roof is leaking and the employees are wearing dirty jeans. If the bank cannot even get that right, then why trust your money to the bank? In the same manner, if you wish to convince someone with your agenda, you need to get the language right - if you cannot write in correct English even in the introduction, why would we trust your biblical scholarship? And that would be a pity, because you seem to be a constructive chap with a lot to contribute. Think about it. I have made my point and I am signing off now. 86.170.123.30 (talk) 17:28, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Please do not contact me on my talk page again, 86.170.123.30. If you want to discuss your proposed edit to Moses, or your personal definition of consensus, the place for that is here. It would be unproductive to start having the same discussion in more than one location. Alephb (talk) 17:44, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Maybe worth noting that Moses isn't mentioned until the post-exilic period? Means he seems to have been invented then.PiCo (talk) 10:54, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

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