Friday, February 23, 2018

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Whybray

I keep saying that some people raised on DH have now rejected it, and I named Gordon for one. Cassuto is another. I also named Whybray. I think. Anyway.
Whybray’s book mentions more than one person who supported DH but now reject it. He cites to Rendtorff and van Seters as finding problems with DH. Here are a few of the objections Whybray documents.
Probably the most damaging is that some now believe E never existed. They believe it doesn’t pass the test of Occam’s Razor; Whybray doesn’t say why not, he simply says they consider it an unnecessary complication. Some, who believe it might have existed, have decided that it was fragmentary or incomplete, meaning that their definition of complete does not match the “option 3” I floated some time ago. Some also believe that the remnants of E do not completely agree with E’s purported viewpoint.
Whybray points out that since 66% of the verses in Torah don’t have either name of Gd, that proposal cannot be implemented in assigning those verses. He says that scholars have declared that their assignments are correct if one of the other criteria holds. Just remember, it better not be “style and language” and it probably should not be “composites” or “repetitions” without a total overhaul of the criteria.
Another issue that Whybray documents is that the splitting has run amok. There are people “practicing” DH who have declared that they can determine the source of a single word without considering any other word around it in Torah. Remember my SWLT Rule 3, context is king. You can’t tell what a word means without context, as I showed in examining what “hypothesis” means. Let alone determine that it comes from this or that document without a sample of the purported source. This is a conjunction fallacy on steroids and none of the participants have realized it.
Whybray says that despite the original claim that there was no legal material in J, Wellhausen went back and realized that his presumed contents of JE had legal material in them. He decided that the legal material WAS in J, and got there AFTER J and E had been combined. Whybray probably didn’t realize that this is a perfect description of the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. Fellow took a bet about his shooting, shoots at a barn, looks at the bullet-holes, then draws his target so that some of them fall in the center of it so as to claim the bet money. As a fallacy, it makes DH’s probability zero.
Finally, Whybray shows that modern critics know Graf was right, and the criteria of style, viewpoint, and unity are subjective. Nobody working in the DH field has to accept any other scholar’s claims because there is no objective way to determine that your rivals are wrong. A real science consists of objective standards that everybody accepts, absent evidence that change is required. Just another way DH needs to get its act together.
If you now ask whom to consult to find that agreement – you have just smacked into a modern problem with DH. Who are THE authorities in the field and how have they filled their bucket lists or earned their chops or whatever you want to call it? Where are they teaching and where can I get their textbooks? I mean, is there any red-blooded professor with tenure out there who hasn’t written a textbook? Get me a citation to something that incorporates 21st century material and doesn’t rely on translations. I haven’t seen one yet.
Ditching E doesn’t save DH.  The probability that DH is true is calculated by multiplication because it is a conjunction, and the conjunction includes D and P as well as E.  The probability of truth for every claim in DH, since none of them are supported by external evidence, multiplies out to an infinitesimal number.  Which has to be multiplied by zero due to the fallacies in DH. DH is not true.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2020 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 22, 2018

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- pronoun suffixes

Genesis 1:20-21

כ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים יִשְׁרְצ֣וּ הַמַּ֔יִם שֶׁ֖רֶץ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֑ה וְעוֹף֙ יְעוֹפֵ֣ף עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ עַל־פְּנֵ֖י רְקִ֥יעַ הַשָּׁמָֽיִם:

כא וַיִּבְרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִ֖ם הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים וְאֵ֣ת כָּל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ הַֽחַיָּ֣ה ׀ הָֽרֹמֶ֡שֶׂת אֲשֶׁר֩ שָֽׁרְצ֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם לְמִֽינֵהֶ֗ם וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־ע֤וֹף כָּנָף֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב:

Translation: Gd said the waters will swarm with swarming things, soul of life; and fliers will fly over the earth against the raqia of heaven.
Gd created the large taninim; and all souls of life that creep that swarm the waters for their kinds, and all the fliers of wing for its kind, Gd manifested its goodness.

The following words are examples of pronominal suffixes:  לְמִינֵהוּ; לְמִינֵהֶם; לְמִינָהּ.

You will also see לְמִינוֹ sometimes.

Two of these words mean the same thing: “according to his kind”. I don’t know what the difference is. There are only about 30 examples of these words in the whole Jewish Bible.

If you look back at the direct object pronoun, you will see that the endings are the same. What is different is the body. You’ll see more of the same when I get to other pronouns.

The body is a noun.  Any noun -- actually any substantive -- can be turned into a substantive phrase with a preposition prefix and an optional pronoun suffix.  I'll show what I mean by "substantive" when we come across one.

It's important because there’s another word that looks like it.  Here, min means “kind, sort, class, group”.  The other min means “from”. It’s related to mi, which will come up in chapter 2, but as far as I remember, min only means “from”. 

So  just like in English, there are words that look alike but mean different things, even when you have the vowels. And of course just like with English, if you leave the vowels out, it’s harder to guess what the word is unless you have other information.

Like context. There’s a scene in War and Peace where Levin uses an old parlor game to propose to Kitty. He writes words with chalk (in Russian of course) on a card table with a baize cover. Because of the context of their conversation, Kitty guesses every word.

There’s no such thing as a street language where every word can mean what you want it to mean. Languages form as ways of communicating between people, and if every individual person has their own meaning for every word, communication breaks down.

I have known people who thought that Hebrew, and Biblical Hebrew in particular, was different, and I’ve read books by other such people. Don’t believe the hype. It’s the opposite argument from saying each and every word means only one thing in every context, and both are false.

And that’s why languages can be so hard to use and so hard to learn. 

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2020 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Knitting -- Adventures in Argyle part 3 close the gap

This is turning out to be a real warts-on project, I mean, I'm showing you every problem I run into. One is at the end of this post.

This might be the most complicated part of knitting an argyle top so let's review the bidding.

1. You cabled on enough stitches for the dimensions of your pullover.
2. You did your bottom rib plus one knitted round.
3. You knitted one round, adding the base stitches of all the diamonds using bobbins of yarn in that color.
4. You knitted one more round adding the second stage of the diamonds, which had 3 stitches each. Between the diamonds you added in bobbins of yarn in the rib color to knit to the next diamond.
5. The first diamond only had 2 stitches so you added the third one.

Now you have to purl the next round to prevent floaties.
To do that, you have to turn the garment.
But turning to purl would leave a gap running up the underarm to the sleeve and you would have to sew that shut, matching the sides of the diamond. Yuck.

Instead, I'll help you with the technique in this video. Go to about minute 9:30 where she gets to the absolute end of the round. 

If you are used to knitting tightly, you must train yourself out of it.  Before you try this on a real sweater, knit a sample and do one wrap on a knit round. Put a marker through the stitch that you use in this wrap and when you come back you'll see why you have to knit loosely at the wrap.

So what you do is, bring the yarn under the right-hand needle and to the front. So let me explain this photo. I did this with the bottom stitch of the diamond so it would be crystal clear.  You have the dark brown rib. You have the single stitch at the base of the diamond. You have the dark brown yarn brought forward and laid over scrap yarn of a contrasting color so you can see it's there. You have the right-hand needle inserted purlwise into the bottom stitch of the diamond, ready to slip.

Now slip the stitch onto the right-hand needle.
Third, move the yarn under the right-hand needle again and to the back. That's what's in this picture.

Finally, put the left-hand needle knitwise through the BACK of the stitch that you just slipped, and slip it from the right-hand needle back onto the left-hand needle. So here's the photo of what it means to go knitwise through the BACK of a stitch.

Slip that stitch to the left-hand needle. Now you are ready to turn the knitting around and purl.

Now go to minute 17:10 of the video. Watch as she picks up the wrap stitch and the stitch it is wrapped around, TOGETHER. Then she purls them to produce one stitch. Then she wraps the next stitch as follows: she moves the yarn back; she puts the needle purlwise into this stitch and slips it; she moves the yarn forward; she puts the needle through the back loop knitwise and slips it.

If you don't train yourself to do the wrap loosely, purling it up on the purl side will be nearly impossible.

Be careful to count your stitches before you do the wrap. You only want to wrap the center stitch of the diamond on the knit round. Then you want to purl that with the wrap stitch on the purl round and wrap the next stitch over

If you wrap all the center stitches on both sides, you wind up with an unforgiving line up through the center of the diamond. The knitting on both sides will pooch up. No amount of blocking will let the diamond lie flat. On the knit round, you wrap the center stitch. On the purl round you purl this stitch with its wrap, and you wrap the next stitch.

Next session will tell you how to lock colors on the purl round, so don't purl the round until you see the video there.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2020 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fact-Checking the Torah -- DH and fatherhood

Cassuto made another argument besides v’hineh…v’atah that I can use in a much more satisfying way to show an SWLT problem with DH that Cassuto did not bring up.
Cassuto discusses DH use of yalad and holid to claim that the genealogies in Genesis 11 and Genesis 5 have different sources from the ones in Genesis 4. Genesis 4 is supposedly from J and uses yalad; Genesis 5 and 11 are from P and use holid. This is discussed by Edwin Cone Bissell in an 1895 paper; he says that the argument rests on a claim that hifil was not used for “sire” until “late” in Jewish history. He doesn’t believe it and there’s no evidence for such a thing. The claim is part of that “language layering” mishegas.

What’s worse is that it’s sampling bias in two ways. One is that Genesis 4 uses yivaled which is nifal, a different verb form (binyan) from the other two verbs. Can anybody tell me what DH says about that?

Cassuto’s argument is that there’s no reason why different sections of text should not each use a different verb, but neither does he address the one verse in chapter 4 that uses yivaled.
What Cassuto and DH both miss is the other sampling bias issue: a third word, based on the same root. It’s pronounced yoled. The “e” is segol, the short “e”, not the tseire long “e” of the progressive aspect. (Qal progressive aspect yoled shows up exactly once in Tannakh, in Proverbs 23:24 in a gerundive use.)

Since both Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 use yoled, both genealogies come from the same source.
What’s more, it’s same source as Judges 11:1 and Chronicles I 1:34 ! In Judges, it admits that Yiftach’s mother was a prostitute, but it says that Gilad yoled Yiftach. In Chronicles I it says that Avraham yoled Yitschaq.

No matter when these parts of Torah came into being, they use the same word the same way, and that is a new slap in the face of the mischsprache mishegas.
In fact what we’re looking at is SWLT Rule 2, grammar expresses the nuances of a language. Yoled is one of a number of examples of verbs conjugated with a segol as the vowel of the second root letter, instead of an expected patach or tseire. It shows up in qal imperfect (or, rather, given the vav prefix, a narrative past); there is also an example of what looks like a piel perfect in the story of Rivqah’s courting. The single most frequent of these forms is the va-yomer throughout Tannakh. I discuss them in Narrating the Torah.

In the genealogies, yoled signs and seals that the given man is the biological son of the man from the preceding generation, creating a solid chain from Shet through Noach to Avraham and Yitschaq and Yaaqov. The chain in chapter 4 has no such guarantees.
DH has never dealt accurately with all the data in Torah, and that fails the test of Occam’s Razor. Again.

Which comes up in Whybray's book.....

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2020 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 15, 2018

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- noun-verb relationships

Genesis 1:20-21

כ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים יִשְׁרְצ֣וּ הַמַּ֔יִם שֶׁ֖רֶץ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֑ה וְעוֹף֙ יְעוֹפֵ֣ף עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ עַל־פְּנֵ֖י רְקִ֥יעַ הַשָּׁמָֽיִם:
כא וַיִּבְרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִ֖ם הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים וְאֵ֣ת כָּל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ הַֽחַיָּ֣ה ׀ הָֽרֹמֶ֡שֶׂת אֲשֶׁר֩ שָֽׁרְצ֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם לְמִֽינֵהֶ֗ם וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־ע֤וֹף כָּנָף֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב:

Translation: Gd said the waters will swarm with swarming things, soul of life; and fliers will fly over the earth against the raqia of heaven.
Gd created the large taninim; and all souls of life that creep that swarm the waters for their kinds, and all the fliers of wing for its kind, Gd manifested its goodness.

We’re going to focus on the first three words.

swarm, imperfect aspect, 3rd plural
swarming thing, noun, singular
swarm, perfect aspect, 3rd plural

The root is sharats, swarm, things that reproduce in large numbers. The noun, as you can see, has two segols for vowels. The plural is שְׁרָצִים .

Now you can understand the relationship between two other words in the verse, except for one thing.

flying thing
flies, imperfect aspect, hollow verb

Of is a verb with a central vav.  A similar verb root class in Arabic is called “hollow” because in some parts of the conjugation, the central vav disappears. In Arabic one of three things might replace it but in Hebrew, it’s either replaced by a qamats for “a”, or the verb sprouts a second copy of the last letter.  That’s what we have for the related verb.

This feature marks that this is the piel binyan for punctuated repetition. Flying things do not fly 24/7. They have to land to mate and lay eggs, for example, and birds and bats have homes in trees and caves as well as bees having their hollow trunks and hives.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2020 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Knitting -- Adventures in Argyle 2 changing colors -- or not

No, you haven't missed anything. I posted about starlings last week.

So how many of you have already finished your Argyle top?

I'm serious. If all you were waiting for was a pattern, you got it last time and if you went old-style and have your seams all sewn up, that's terrific. Comment on this post with a link to a photo of your work. Encourage some others to try it.

Me, I ran into some issues that I'll tell you about in a couple of weeks and I got backed up, so for those of you who want to knit your argyle pullover in the round, let's keep going.

So here are instructions from my basic pullover to start us off.

1.  Cable on your hem and join leaving a long tail.  You'll see why you need that in the next part. 
2.  Do your rib and knit one round above that.
3.  Get a bobbin of the diamond color and knit one stitch of that right above the tail, then knit your rib color around to where the next diamond goes. For every diamond in your pattern, you need to add in one bobbin in that color and make a single stitch for the base of the diamond. Make sure these are evenly spaced.

Now you are back at your tail where the first diamond is. In the second round, the diamonds need 3 stitches.
Knit into the base stitch of the diamond in the same color. Knit one more stitch in that color.

Now use a Fair Isle technique to lock the colors together so there aren't any gaps around the diamonds.
Pick up the next stitch knitwise.
Wrap the diamond color around the needle THEN
Get a bobbin of the rib color, put a loop around the needle THEN
Unwrap the diamond color so it locks in the rib color but disappears to the back of the work AND
Pull the rib color through.

Knit to the next diamond.
At the last stitch before the bottom of the diamond, use the same technique to lock in the diamond color, drop the rib color yarn, and do the other two stitches for this round of the diamond.
Add a rib color bobbin to get you to the next diamond.

Keep this up for the whole round.  When you get back to your first diamond, make the third stitch in the round.
When I finished, I had ten diamonds, and 9 bobbins of each color, plus a ball of yarn in each color that I was using instead of buying any more bobbins.

At this point you will need two more techniques.

You are going to turn and purl the next round, and I will show you how to not leave a gap.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2020 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, February 9, 2018

Fact-Checking the Torah -- DH and grammar

When DH splits up Noach’s flood between J and P, and Numbers 16:37 between four different sources, it goes with a claim that some stories in Torah are composites; that is the “fifth pillar”. I’m going to discuss a claim previously examined by Cassuto in the 1940s, but from an SWLT point of view that Cassuto could not have because SWLT developed after Cassuto published his “eight lectures”.
Genesis 27 is the story of Yaaqov obtaining Esav’s blessing by following his mother’s orders to take goat stew to Yitschaq as consideration for the blessing. One of the pivots of the DH claim was that Rivqah used the same phrase to give orders to Yaaqov, that Yitschaq used to tell Esav to go hunting and bring deer stew to him as consideration for the blessing.
The phrase is hineh…v’atah…, “behold…and now…”. DH used to divide each of these phrases before v’atah and then it claimed that the first part of what Yitschaq said came from E and the second part from J, while the reverse is true for what Rivqah said.
There is a really good SWLT reason not to split that clause; it is a standard structure in Hebrew. It appears in Exodus 32:9-10, and in Samuel I 18:22. It’s an idiom.
An idiom may look like separate words to somebody from outside the language, but it’s not, and that’s why using a dictionary to look up the individual words in an idiom always produces a bad translation. Every competent translator knows that, and it’s why the phrase “literal translation” should tell you not to buy a bad translation.
Here, too, splitting up the idiom as if it were just separate words can’t be a successful strategy unless there’s evidence that the same thing works in other languages and other texts. Without that evidence, it becomes another extraordinary claim, etc. etc. etc.
Somebody needs to go back through all of DH, compare all the splits to Biblical Hebrew idioms, and eliminate every split that comes in the middle of an idiom.
BUT they have to examine splits compared to the 21st century understanding of the grammar of Biblical Hebrew. The following splits have to be eliminated:
·         Between an evidentiary epistemic and the narrative past verb that is its evidence, which sometimes spreads over two verses. Genesis 13:1-3 is an example of this spread.
·         Between the va-y’hi that introduces a time expression and the narrative past which names what happened at that time, which sometimes spreads over multiple verses. The start of Genesis 14 is probably the best example of this type of spread.
Most of all, however, all splits need to be re-examined if they coordinate with the chapters. The chapters are an invention of the 1200s CE. I showed how they disrupt the information flow. There's more coming on that issue ahead, but for now, understand that the understanding of Hebrew available in the 1200s CE is woefully outdated.

Pretending to use Biblical Hebrew for the analysis, but using outdated grammar, is the linguistic version of clinging to archaeological dates that radio-carbon dating does not support.

And then there's more sampling bias...
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2020 All Rights Reserved