Sunday, October 22, 2017

Outdoors -- the Gathering 2018

They're heeere.

For the last two days I've been hearing the quiet "seet" of the dark-eyed juncos, but not seeing them.

This morning I heard my local white-throated sparrow call a few times.

The chickadees have been chuckling at each other for a week, apparently establishing turf.

What I'm hearing is, it's going to be a tough winter.

Now, some of these are probably old birds who remember that last year, I put out food starting in early October. We had a drought and I was pretty sure they were out of food.

This year they seem to be endorsing what the crickets already told me: winter is going to be cold and a bit early.

The crickets started trying to get into my house at the end of August. Since I have no cat, I have to kill them myself and I got all six of them.

It's been worse but I'm not looking forward to winter even with all my sweaters and shawls.

Anyway, being a weak disciplinarian, I filled the feeder and hung it out today as well as sprinkling some feed on the ground.

The juncos have little stubby necks and don't do as well as other sparrows on the feeder.

The mockingbird is still eating holly berries and pokeberries so I have a little time to stock up on raisins. And sunflower seeds for the cardinals.

The jays can go fish. They're on their own.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Astruc and Gd's Names

The next problem with Astruc is his failure to absorb the actual contents of the text he worked with.
Astruc originated the claim that there are two names of Gd in Torah.
There are three names that Gd claims for himself, four if you count “**** elohim” separately.
There are two more which are used for him by humans but in reference to which He never says “I am …”. One of them is not found in Torah.
Umberto Cassuto picked up on the fact that there are more than two names of Gd in Torah.
What he missed is the fact that ignoring two of them is a case of sampling bias. If names of Gd are important as divisions, DH has to explain why only two of them are important, or admit that there are as many source documents as there are names. (There’s a third possibility but it’s the fallacy of circular argument, which I’ll get to soon.)
When you hear people talk about “the two names of Gd” in the Bible, you know right away that they have bought into an urban legend and cannot actually see the text that invalidates it. That's called a schotoma. People who buy into lex talionis have the same problem. If you believe in lex talionis, you need to read the start of this blog.
I can give you chapter and verse on the other names and you can use the citations to force people to face up to the facts. But I think you should prove to yourself that you can actually read the text instead of filtering it through polarized brain cells, by finding them for yourself.
Astruc used his claimed names of Gd to identify two of his four divisions of Torah. His A was the precursor to E. His B was the precursor to J but actually included what his successors claimed was the conflation of J and E that retained “both” names of Gd.
Astruc originated the claim that verses in Torah can be assigned to A or B when they don’t actually have the names of Gd in them. I’ll come back to this issue later.
Astruc did not assign text to documents on a verse by verse basis. That remained for his successors.
What he actually did was divide Torah up into fragments, and assign it out. He originated the procedure of excerpting out some verses and assigning them to a different source from that of the text in which they are contained. So his work suffers from the problem that the probability that  he was right is the product of a large number of terms, all of which are less than 1, making  the product and probability both infinitesimal.
He claimed he identified a third source, C, which contained all the repetitions that came up the third time, and did not have names of Gd in them.
The bits he labeled as C, do not meet the completeness criterion in DH. They are little snippets of things, such as the third time the rains are mentioned in the flood story. How he imagines somebody could pass along a shred of paper that small for centuries before the Exodus is beyond me. Or rather, papyrus. Or what did he think it was?
Astruc lived about a century before discovery of Mesopotamian tablets, he lived about 70 years before the Turin Kings List papyrus was discovered, and he lived about 40 years before the Rosetta Stone was discovered or translated. What physical object did he think the descendants of Abraham carried around that survived for transmission to Mosheh?
At any rate, if the doctrine of “completeness” can be inarguably defined, which it currently isn’t, then Astruc is wrong about C and anything related to C in his current assignments has an infinitesimal probability of being true.
Astruc’s D are stories that he thinks don’t fit Jewish history. Given his ignorance of Talmudic history, we can hardly credit him with accurately knowing the history of times before, say, 80 BCE, the time of Shimon ben Shetach.
I’m not done with Astruc yet.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 19, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- comparing imperative and imperfect

Genesis 1:9
ט וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יִקָּווּ הַמַּיִם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶל־מָקוֹם אֶחָד וְתֵרָאֶה הַיַּבָּשָׁה וַיְהִי־כֵן:
Translation:     Gd said be the water gathered under heaven to one place and be the dry land revealed; it must have been so.
I want to clear up one thing. One of my research sources says yiqavu is qal not nifal. However, another source shows that shavah has this identical vowelling in nifal but not in qal.  The one that disagrees with me, I have found mistakes in before – but since it’s a beta, that’s no surprise.
This is a parallel for use of nifal here in a later verse.
All right, why imperfect and not imperative?
Imperative seems to be reserved for one time actions that are supposed to take place immediately.
Another feature of imperatives is that you have to wait for another verse to confirm that the imperative was carried out. If not, the person issuing the imperative was not worthy to do so, or it was issued to somebody who could not be relied on to carry it out.
This is Gd speaking. If He doesn’t have the authority to issue imperatives, who does?
The final feature of imperatives is that even if they are carried out, they may reverse themselves. It is impossible to suppose that when Gd issues an imperative, it should reverse itself.
Well, there are three possible uses of the imperfect.
In third person, it usually appears when a ritual is under discussion and it’s a generalized envelope telling us what the ritual is. You find this a lot in Exodus and Leviticus.
In second person, it’s a commandment, a habitual part of Jewish life.
The third possibility is a process, and a rabbinic  midrash picks up on this in connection with a verse much later in Torah. However, that verse talks about humans engaging in a process. From Gd’s point of view, however, this will be instantaneous.
These are all in qal in every case that I can remember; I’m starting the third rewrite of Narrating and will watch for exceptions.
And of course, it could be a future tense type usage, but as I said, from Gd’s point of view in time there is no such thing and He certainly doesn’t mean that time should stand still or something until this decree comes to pass.
But – the people hearing this narrative, at a certain point in time, knew perfectly well of a contradictory narrative. There was a time, wasn’t there, when the waters came back over the land, making it disappear?
I already said that hitpael is used for motion in multiple directions and we will  see that again in Genesis 5 in a famous verse. But here, I have to wonder if a uniquely reversible situation isn’t meant.
I’m going to stop with that suggestion, but at the point when I’m editing this post, I can’t think of another place Torah has imperfect as a reversible action. If I come across it during my rewrite of Narrating the Torah this year, of course I’ll note the connection there. For now, I have bigger fish to fry. Almost literally.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Garden -- quiiet

Here's Mike McGrath's bucket list for this week's garden.

Mike posted something last week that must come from his deep hatred for "tree rats". He suggested not putting out bird seed, just suet, thinking the rats wouldn't eat it.

I emailed him saying my observation is otherwise. No matter how much cayenne I put on the suet, the squirrels still get it and then they play with the plastic container.

Plus I have birds who have depended on me for winter food for years. They are already lining up and claiming turf so they can use my feeder, and eat dry grain  under my porch roof and raisins off the little brick tongue that leads to the yard and walk. They've raised kids in my backyard. I'm responsible for them.

So I will continue to keep my water rifle charged so I can train young squirrels out of attacking my stuff.

By the way, one thing not on Mike's list this week that I know he has said in past years is,

It doesn't get enough sun to grow and it needs the green to insulate the roots from the cold and snow. Even if we do get a thaw, you cannot count on it lasting until we get to about  April. And even then we've had some very cold and snowy Aprils in the DC region.

So do right by your grass. You'll do less work now and less swearing later.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Knitting -- now the editorial

So I found Garnstudio's patterns for Norwegian pullovers with yokes, some of which are worked top down, and I hoped that I would find videos that would help me see what to do.

The only one I found from Garnstudio was ummmm useless. All you saw were fingers twiddling wool and needles.  There was no voice-over at all.  This is true of ALL the Garnstudio videos and yet it's obvious from at least one of them that they were filmed WITH audio. I've let Garnstudio know how useless this is.

Top-down raglans are another one of those things that the people writing the websites and filming the videos don't give enough help on, for us first-timers. It's a case of they know so much that they forget how much help we need. Or they get lost in explaining design and ignore the basic how-many-stitches.

Most of the videos and some of the patterns also want you to do a "mid-back elevation" to "shape the collar". It requires short rows. There's never a photo of the difference to encourage you to do all that work. If you know of an exception, please post the link and help a sister out.

I finally found a free pattern for a baby raglan jumper and then tested it and realized you have to set the sleeve markers wide apart from the git go or you'll never even come near getting enough sleeve stitches. I think one of the websites did say that your sleeve stitches are about 1/3 of your total and that turned out to be just about right.

Why top down with raglan sleeves?

Well, there's interest in doing something other than set-in sleeves, and for people used to knitting each piece and sewing them together, this design saves lots of time. OTOH, so does using the Fair Isle techniques of knitting in the round and doing steeking across the armholes when you are going to add sleeves.

Top-down with raglan sleeves is perfect for multi-color yokes like in Norwegian patterns.  Remember when I used Fair Isle motifs to design my own pullover? Well, similar motifs might work in a yoke BUT the increases mean you have to leave space in your design. So that pine tree motif  would end up with the bases of the trees spaced way apart once I worked the increases down the yoke.

Top down raglan pullovers are perfect for your body-building boyfriend. If you work over two circular needles with long tethers, you can put the pullover over his head at any time while you are doing the increases to see if you've done enough, according to some knitters. Frankly, I would get all those measurements, not just chest but also shoulder width and circumference of his arms, and then calculate how much I had to increase to accommodate that. He might be in the gym when you need to be trying it on him.

As you saw from my last post, a top-down raglan is perfect for using up leftover yarn and making it look as if you planned it that way. If you decide not to be fussy about having the same color in every round, you might use up a lot of odds and ends and get some really interesting color zig-zags.

You now know how to do raglan sleeves for a sweater that buttons down the front but I'm not going there. I've tried them and I'm never happy with how the buttonholes turn out. I did see plenty of patterns for these so go for it if that's what you want. Personally keeping my chest warm is important so I like pullovers.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Knitting -- top down and the "make 1"

So I found Garnstudio's patterns for Norwegian pullovers with yokes, some of which are worked top down, and I hoped that I would find videos that would help me see what to do. It didn't work but I'll save the editorial for the next post or you might wind up feeling like I did.

Top-down is perfect for raglan sleeves. Once you knit the neck, you mark where the back and front of the sleeves will be. Then you increase on each side of the markers to add the sleeve tops at the same time as you expand out for the body. 

It took me about four tries to get this started correctly because I'm terrible at math & I had to learn a new stitch.

First, the cast-on has to be big enough to go over my head. In worsted yarn, I need the body to be 200 stitches around for a 40 inch chest. When I work bottom up, I knit off 23 stitches at each shoulder (46) times two because I knit the front and back together at the shoulders. So the number of stitches left for the collar are 108.

Cable on 108 stitches to a size 5 circular needle with a 16 inch tether. Join them and mark that for the back of the jumper so you know when you've started a new round..
Do k2/p2 rib for 6 rounds, then change to a size 7 circular with a 16-inch tether and knit a stabilizing round.

Knit 19 stitches, set a marker, k16, set a marker, k 38 stitches, set a marker, k16, set a marker, then knit to the center back. Now you have your sleeve stitches marked off from your body stitches. Also run a piece of yarn down the center back so you know when you've started a new round.

Now start increasing as follows.
Knit to, but not including, the stitch before the marker.
Now spread your work a little and you'll see a piece of yarn that connects the stitch you just knitted into, and the stitch next to the marker.
Make 1 (m1) into that bit of yarn by slipping your needle under it and knitting it. One body stitch added.
Knit the next stitch, transfer the marker, and knit 1.
Now do another m1 to add one stitch in the sleeve.
Finish the round, increasing on both sides of every marker.
When you have finished the increase round, you have added 8 stitches.

Now knit 1 round and repeat these two rounds. The photo shows the finished neck and the top of the sleeve with the increases. Also notice the toothing where I joined the first two colors and the alternating colors where I started the third.
At some point you'll want to change to a size 7 with a longer tether, I guarantee it.
Keep this up until you have 100 stitches for the front and back of the jumper.
For my pattern, I wanted 80 stitches in the arms.
But I got to 100 before I got to 80.

So I stopped increasing outside the markers and kept increasing between the markers until I got there.
Then I knitted 50 stitches from the center back, put the arm stitches on a holder, and cast on 8.
Knit 100 stitches, put the arm on a holder, cast on 8, and knit 50 stitches to the middle of the back.

Here's the bottom of one sleeve showing the holder.

You now have 8 stitches extra in the body. We're going to take out the four just under the arm; we'll take out the other four before the bottom rib.
So knit to the cast-ons, k1 sl 1 k1 psso k2 k2tog k1 k100 to the other underarm.
Repeat the decreases that are underlined.
Knit 95 rounds for the body, make another set of decreases, k2/p2 rib to finish and bind off in rib.

Switch to size 7 circular needle with a 16 inch tether.
Pick up the 8 underarm stitches setting a marker in the middle, and the stitches on the holder.
Count the stitches. You want 56 at the cuff so subtract that out. Now you know how many stitches you have to decrease.
Divide by 2 and you know how many ROUNDS need decreases.
Count 23 rows from the neck to the point of the shoulder, and then count how many arm rows you knitted after that.
You need 165 rows for a 21 inch arm so subtract out the arm rows you already knitted.
Divide that number by how many ROUNDS need decreases and you know how many rows to leave between decrease  rounds.
Knit one stabilizing round.
When you get to the underarm marker, k1 k2tog and knit around.  Three stitches before the underarm marker slip 1 k1 psso k1.
That's a decrease round.

Work down the sleeve doing your decreases; at some point you'll split the stitches up between three size 7 DP needles because the tether will be holding the sleeve too stiff to work easily.
When you get to the cuff switch to size 5 DP needles and work 8 rounds of k2/p2 rib. Bind off in rib.

Here is the result in leftover yarns. Notice how the bands in the sleeves line up with the bands on the body. Here is how much yarn it took.
Cloud: 1 skein did the neck and shoulders, total of 27 rounds.
Peapod: 1 skein did 20 rows including the top of the sleeves.
Grass: 1.5 skeins did 10 rows including sleeves.
Jalapeno: 1 skein did 7 rows including the bottom of the sleeves, plus the first 2 body rows under the arms.
Forest Heather: 3 skeins did 28 rows each body and sleeves
Chocolate: 3 skeins; 1 skein did 21 rounds and most of the 22nd in the body. 1 skein did 28 rounds in the sleeves with leftovers to finish out 28 rounds in the body.
Coal: 3 skeins did 30 rounds in body and sleeves and the rib on the bottom.
YMMV due to differing measurements.
I normally need 13 skeins for a bottom-up pullover with steeking.

This sweater was still in progress when I took the shot. It's a shorty and you can see the sharp contrast between using up the earth tones and using up the other two colors. It's not a combination I would have planned to make, so I will probably wear this into pills on autumn walks or around the house and yard.

Next time, the editorial.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- fact-checking Astruc

There will be another break for the next two weeks but today I’m going to start on one of three writers who tend to come up in reference to DH. They share one thing with the “four horsemen”: ignorance. Wellhausen names Jean Astruc early in his Prolegomena.  He thought he was giving credit where credit is due.  What he really did was lead the detectives straight to the smoking gun. 
Astruc’s work is available free online.
The first thing you need to know about Astruc is that he only dealt with Genesis.  His successors are the ones that used his ideas against the rest of Torah.
Astruc only said that Mosheh must have received written versions of the stories in Genesis.  He did not claim that all the material originated after Mosheh died, let alone after the Jewish monarchy came into existence.  That more extreme claim is down to his successors.
Astruc admitted that Mosheh wrote the laws as it says in Exodus: he had to write them on the tablets he had to cut from stone after the Golden Calf incident. (That’s all he says about books other than Genesis.)
The reason Astruc says that Mosheh received Genesis as a set of fragmentary written material, is because Astruc says it is impossible to transmit so much material orally without changing it.
We know that Talmud is called Torah she-b’al Peh precisely because, over the course of at least a millennium, it developed as orally transmitted material.  If you listen to the audio lectures on Talmud on the Resources page, you realize that both lecturers are repeating some of the information from memory, not from what is actually written on the page in front of them.
The Babylonian Talmud finally amounted to 2700 numbered folio pages when the numbering system was established in the Vilno edition; the Jerusalem Talmud had 1700 numbered pages with different Gemara.  What the lecturers say that is not on the printed page developed in the years of transmission since the Vilno edition was printed.
Yes, it changed. It expanded. There are also differences in the material that go beyond having different commentators and different styles. R. Yosef Gabriel Bechhofer discusses them in his audio lectures on  Jerusalem Talmud.  The fact remains that the material was transmitted orally, from the time that Mishnah began developing, right into the 21st century.
Astruc may have been woefully ignorant about all this, but at least he did not invent the claim of “invention in writing.” We just don’t know where he thinks those bits came from that were passed to Mosheh. 
That’s not Astruc’s only problem with facts or even his only problem period. See ya on the other side of High Holy Days!
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved