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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- nifal conjugation

Genesis 1:9
ט וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יִקָּווּ הַמַּיִם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶל־מָקוֹם אֶחָד וְתֵרָאֶה הַיַּבָּשָׁה וַיְהִי־כֵן:
Transliteration: Va-yomer elohim yiqavu ha-maim mi-tachat ha-shamaim el-maqom echad v’teraeh ha-yabashah va-y’hi-khen.
Translation:     Gd said be the water gathered under heaven to one place and be the dry land revealed; it must have been so.
So here is the nifal imperfect of both qavah, a lamed heh verb with a strong letter at the start of the root, and raah, a lamed heh verb with resh at the start of the root.
Notice a weird thing in the middle of this second verb. It’s not only lamed heh, it’s ayin vav. The middle letter is identical to the one at the end in plural 2nd and 3rd masculine BUT it has to be pronounced “v” while the end letter has to be pronounced “oo”.
I won’t say memorize these. I will say that when you look up a verb and it turns out to be ayin vav, expect weirdness in the middle. It’s quite regular as you will see at some point, but it’s not what you see in other verb root classes.
Now, is v’teraeh narrative past? I don’t think so. I think imperfect aspect is needed here – and not imperative – for a reason which I will go into in the next lesson.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, September 24, 2017

DIY -- cheese

No, seriously. I wrote this post after my first try at making paneer turned out perfectly and I was able to make Jalfreezi paneer right away for 25% of the price some websites charge for the same amount of paneer. But read and heed the warnings at the end of this post. I will not take responsibility for your ignoring them and winding up in the hospital.

This is not exactly the paneer recipe I used but the ingredients and proportions are the same, and with a name like that he ought to know how it's done.  Took me about an hour and for 30 minutes of that, the paneer was under compression and I was prepping veggies for the Jalfreezi.

If you can make paneer, you can make cottage cheese and ricotta.

There are cottage cheese recipes that use rennet but I wanted you to get started without having to buy it. I get mine from

but here are two more.

Here's my next target, now that I have my vegetable rennet tablets. (I keep kosher and animal rennet is not kosher in cheese.) Are you a Caprese salad freak? Then you have to try this at least once.

And now the cream of cheeses. Most hard cheeses, like cheddar, need some kind of culture. Here are three recipes. Some people consider them "faux" and I'll show you why in  a moment.
Queso Blanco:
Farmhouse cheddar:
One-hour faux cheddar:

The next recipe is from Amish country; it uses yogurt with live cultures, which means this is basically a thermophilic hard cheese. Your mold should be ceramic or glass and you can use the fake press below unless you decide to go the whole hog (sorry).

Notice the promise that you will see moldy spots. If you can't stomach Stilton or Dana-Blue, this might turn you off and then you should probably stick with the quicker softer cheeses.  OTOH, the outside of your Muenster or Brie or Camembert is also mold so either be consistent and ditch those too or just accept that you've been brought up to be too antiseptic. (Which you have if you believe those 99% antiseptic cleaners are good things.)

This is the real deal, cheese press and all.  Unless you decide you want to really go for it, you might shy away from spending up to $300 on a press which, however, you can probably find on most websites that sell cheese-making products.

Now. You probably have heavy things in your house like coffee table books or large pots. For example, to compress the paneer, I put it on a dinner plate, put another dinner plate on top (painted side up), and stacked other dishes on top of that.

So here are some figures.  A two-gallon jug of vinegar weighs about 18 pounds (I keep a two-gallon jug around because I use it to kill grass and poison ivy) and a two-gallon jug of cooking oil weighs about 16.  An unopened bag of flour weighs five, of course, while nowadays bags of sugar weigh 4. Put a cookie sheet or one-pound book on the cheese and put your weight on top of that.

With cheeses other than paneer, I can save about 50%. Yeah, kosher cheese is expensive. The only cheese-maker that has both kosher and non-kosher product lines, is Tillamook, after Cabot bowed out. So there's a specialty clientele and less of a saving on scale of operation. There can also be issues with supervision but I won't go into that because this post is about cheese not Jewish law.

Now. You may remember my post on breeding my own sourdough yeast using just flour and water, so that I wasn't tied to buying packets of yeast. Wanna do the same with cheese cultures? Here it is.

Notice that this is a very exacting process and see the warning about disease-causing bacteria. But if you're willing to obey the instructions, it will be cheaper than constantly going back to buy more packets, paying for shipping every time.

Or to save on the shipping of your FIRST batch of culture, use yogurt. These instructions are for a thermophilic culture that you would use in Parmesan or Swiss cheese (but you also need another ingredient to get the holes). This works because yogurt incubates at about 110 degrees, like a thermophilic cheese culture.

I haven't found anything like this for a mesophilic culture (for cheddar, for example).

If you tried some of my ideas like making your own lox or corned beef or smoked turkey, cheese isn't much of a leap. TWO WARNINGS.

All of these recipes use PASTEURIZED MILK not raw milk. That's because raw milk is illegal in my state due to the serious illnesses it can cause. YMMV in your state. However, all the recipes say "don't use ultra-pasteurized milk". Pay attention to that. The flavor won't be as good as you expect.

Second warning. Your utensils must be more than squeaky clean. "That's as good as it gets" is NOT good enough. If your pot is old and there is cooked-on stuff even SOS pads won't get out, buy a new pot, and every time you use it, scrub it until your fingers almost bleed. If you're not willing to do that, forget about making cheese.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The World is Coming to a Beginning!

It's been a tough year no matter who you are, no matter where you are.

Tonight we start a new year. We get a do-over, a mulligan, a  re-boot.

Don't leave everything behind in the old year.

Whatever you learned -- compassion, skills, information -- bring that with you.

You can build on it this year. 

Put differently, never rest on your laurels.  The future is not predictable. Your future may depend on things you didn't know or couldn't do last year. Learn and do them.

For example, an emergency can happen anywhere, any time. Prepare by stocking necessary goods, and also by training to be your own first responder.

Cook more, spend less on food, and get better variety and nutrition. Don't go out to eat with your friends, meet at each other's places for meals turn and turn about.
Exercise more, even if it's just staying on your feet while you cook. Take somebody with you, like your kids.
Exercise your brain: learn a language you don't know now, mess around with a musical instrument, do some painting. Get a buddy and inspire each other.
Get your sleep.
Quit sodas and other unhealthy convenience food.
Quit smoking or drugging.
Quit texting when you drive.

All of these are life savers in one way or another, and they are also quality-of-life savers.

Make a new beginning!

I'll be doing that for the next two days. 21st Century Bible Hebrew and Fact-Checking the Torah will be back next week.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Knitting -- lace summary

I promise I'm done with this unless and until I actually make the Queen Susan Shawl or something like it.

But here are hints for newbies.

1.      Unless you have seriously good muscle control, start with a coarse yarn and large needles. Knit a worsted weight lace square that you can tack onto a square silk pillow cover for a sofa pillow. Re-do it as many times as you have to, so that you get it perfect. 

Then make yourself a scarf in sport weight, a summer blouse in Feather and Fan using DK weight, and a shawl in Fingering weight. You might stop there but at least you will be ready to make a Shetland wedding ring shawl in lace weight yarn and tiny needles without having to constantly fix breaks.

2.      I think it's a good idea to learn to use diagrams. They give you a look at how the design comes out, as well as what stitches to put where. If you transcribe them, some row transcriptions will end up so long that it's easy to lose your place and have to back up to fix a mistake. The page with the symbols is here.

3,      Always set markers between the horizontal pattern repeats, such as running a piece of waste yarn  between each repeat and looping it back and forth every Xth new row until you're done.

4.      Before you start a new repeat, count and make sure you didn't drop a YO somewhere. You may have to re-knit the previous row, or you might wait until you get to a specific repeat in that row before re-knitting it, or you may be able to adjust with a PSSO or a Make-1. You won't know until you count.

You can also thread a piece of wool called a safety line through the stitches of any given row to anchor them. Then if you make a mistake, you pull out your needle, pick up this row along the safety line, and unravel only that far. Crucial to large shawls especially when the pattern has double YOs.

5.      If you're going to design your own, or pick one from column A and two from column B in a pattern book like Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting, do the following.
A.   Based on the stitch count in the motifs, estimate how many stitches you need.
B.   Estimate how many yards of yarn you need. Here's a website to do the math for you.

I also have a table in my collection of patterns with each weight of yarn, the size needle I generally use with it, and how many rows I can make with one skein in my pullover pattern body. Since that has 200 stitches per row, I just do the multiplication.

C.   MAKE A SWATCH. Knit one copy of the motif in the yarn weight and size needles you plan to use.  Make sure the pattern comes out. Never be afraid to admit that your favorite designer messed up, and make a copy of the pattern with corrections, or you'll wind up with a messed up project.

D.  I recommend that when you make your swatch, you test how your border and edging go around corners. This will tell you how much filler you REALLY need to make things come out right. Add that to your stitch count. If you're going to do short rows around corners, count the stitches there.

E.   Now re-figure how much yarn you need so you can get enough of the same dye lot to finish the project. While my brown horseshoe stole worked out OK and the beige Saltire and green Leaf aren't too scary, the Old Shale in purples and blue is hard on the eyes and the blues of the Ocean Wave simply do not work, I did it just to use up leftovers and practice the pattern.

6.      The more complicated your lace pattern, the less distractions you want. For Old Shale or Feather and Fan, you might be able to hold a conversation with somebody once you have the pattern fixed in your mind. For the Queen Susan shawl and things like that, work in a nice quiet room and don't even play music.

On the other hand, one of the things I found online talked about Shetland women taking their "makkin's" with them. The women of Fair Isle supposedly also do this with their knitting. Personally I have so much trouble making sure to keep my hands clean, what with all my kitchen and yard work, that I would be afraid to do anything but work where I can wash my hands and then sit still to work. YMMV.

I hope this demystifies lace knitting a little for those of you who, like me, can't just look at things and immediately know how to do them. Maybe I've unleashed the designer in somebody, and we'll have an explosion of beautiful new work. I hope so.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- completeness

So we know that DH is not necessarily a hypothesis intended to be turned into real science. It might have just been a talking point to start with, which is the number 1 definition of hypothesis. Now we’ll look at its base claim of “completeness” in each of the four putative documents.
What does “complete” mean?
           All four documents covered Jewish history from beginning to end, and therefore covered all the same historical issues. The final redactor(s) chose among them: eliminated the entire discussion from a given document; kept more than one version (pillar four); combined parts of the versions from multiple documents (pillar five).  
           The four documents didn’t necessarily address all the same historical situations, but when they did, they did so completely. So if D didn’t have a creation story, the redactor had to choose between the ones in E, J, or P, each of which had complete information on the situations it addressed. Unfortunately the genealogies, which supposedly come from P, are not complete. Genesis 11 supposedly addresses the death and age at death of each of Avraham’s progenitors, BUT the “editor” had to add that information for Avraham’s father Terach because P didn’t have it.
           Each document addressed its material according to the document’s individual characteristics, and they had some topics in common, and repetitions represent those common topics, but "completeness" only means that the redactor received an unfragmented document.
The word “complete” obviously has ambiguities. If they have been resolved and DH has a technical definition of “complete” that all its researchers accept, give me a link to the online article so that all my readers can examine it. 
But there’s a problem with the “completeness” doctrine besides the ambiguity of the term. Issues 1 and 3 above beg the question: if the redactor received complete copies, why would he pick them apart and enfilade them?
We have a historical example of enfiladement. It’s what Rev. Brian Walton did when he reproduced Samaritan Pentateuch in his London Polyglot Bible. You can’t tell from his edition; for that you have to look at August Freiherr von Gall’s study.  Von Gall showed that everything in Walton’s version could be tagged to one or more of dozens of manuscripts of Samaritan Pentateuch that survive from medieval times and the Renaissance. He also documents that these manuscripts are all in fragments. Not one of them is complete. Nevertheless they are all copies of the same material, not separate documents invented independently.  So Samaritan Pentateuch is a weak analogy for DH.

What I said about option 2 shows that P did not have all the information that should have been in it. That argues against option 1 as well as option 2, and I’ll have another argument against completeness later.
We are left with option 3. Notice that my statement of option 3 is a conjunction, any term in which may be false. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that option 3 might be a strawman argument, a claim that DH says something it doesn’t. We’ll know it IS a strawman argument, when somebody comes up with a standard definition for “completeness” that everybody in DH agrees on, and it’s different from option 3. Go for it.

On the other side of New Year I'll start discussing three authors who get favorable mention from Wellhausen.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, September 14, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- nifal binyan

Genesis 1:9
ט וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יִקָּווּ הַמַּיִם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶל־מָקוֹם אֶחָד וְתֵרָאֶה הַיַּבָּשָׁה וַיְהִי־כֵן:
Transliteration: Va-yomer elohim yiqavu ha-maim mi-tachat ha-shamaim el-maqom echad v’teraeh ha-yabashah va-y’hi-khen.
Translation:     Gd said be the water gathered under heaven to one place and be the dry land revealed; it must have been so.
Letters in this lesson:
Vocabulary in this lesson:
gather (3rd s.)
appear (3rd f.s.)
dry land
Now we are going to have some real fun because in this verse we have two examples of the nifal binyan. If you have studied Hebrew before, you were probably taught that nifal is the “passive” of the qal. That’s not true, “passive” was just a convenient label used by western clergy in the Renaissance who were trying to pretend they knew all about Hebrew when really, they only knew Latin.
Semitic languages don’t have passive morphology. They have two situations, a structure I will call “agentless”, and another that is reciprocal. Westerners are used to translating agentless structures as passives and that’s how nifal got its designator.
What nifal really does, according to my observations, is refer to a binding legal decree. 
Arabic has a comparable Form VII conjugation and, according to one of my sources, in Quranic Arabic this form has the connotation of submitting to a decree. It is not identical to nifal but it sure looks like it’s related.
Akkadian and Ugaritic had an N-stem, and Assyrian had a IV-stem, that took an “n” prefix the same as nifal and the Arabic Form VII. I have a reader of Assyrian with some examples of the IV-stem and sometimes it doesn’t even seem to have a passive meaning, but there are also verbs in Hebrew where the nifal is the only way of expressing action. Nishba, “take an oath”, is  one of them.
Aramaic dropped the nifal completely at some point in its history, probably well before the Aramaeans conquered Mesopotamia.  It did not re-acquire the binyan after the Aramaeans conquered Babylonia, when Aramaic and Babylonian merged.  Jewish forms of Aramaic did not re-acquire it, although they adopted words like Shabbat and numerous verbs from Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew.
One take-away from this comparison is that related languages don’t function identically.  If you studied more than one Germanic or Romance language, you already knew that.  While studying Biblical Hebrew may be a gateway to Aramaic or Arabic, don’t expect everything to work the same or mean the same.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Knitting -- lace top -- purl technique

For this I had to learn a new skill and it helped me with my argyle project.  Here's my swatch in Comfy Sport so I could see the true size of each repeat. 

The start of the top was easy. I was using the bottom motif from the swatch, which comes from the Williamson stole, and I worked that in the round in Comfy Sport Peony. Then I did a round of alternate peony and white stitches  to work the body thread in.

After knitting for several inches above the start of the armholes, I wanted to attach a Peerie Flea motif from the same stole, which is the other motif  on the swatch. So when I got to the right purl row, I knitted the armhole binding in white and then added in the Comfy Sport Flamingo. I purled that one row, then attached a new ball of yarn at the other side and worked the armhole binding  there. Turn, work the binding, Now I have to switch back to Flamingo.

I used the technique from Fair Isle to weave the white and flamingo together on the knit side, so I wouldn't wind up with the binding separating from the lace. But I didn't know how to make that happen on the purl side.

This video is by somebody who has used similar techniques for knitting Fair Isle on the flat instead of in the round and that's what I used to keep the armhole binding and lace together. It points out that you purl color A stitch with color B held toward you out of the way.

Then place the needle as if to purl, lay color B down alongside that needle, and pass color A on your side of color B, then purl color A normally.

This video says basically the same thing but points out a step the other doesn't.  If you were knitting this row, you would keep the red yarn in your right hand. Since you are purling, however, you have to put the blue yarn in your right hand.

So what I had to do was work the purl side of the binding, then purl a stitch of flamingo, then insert the needle in the next flamingo stitch as if to purl it. Then I had to stop, lay the white yarn next to the needle, and then put the flamingo over top of the white yarn and then around the needle for the purl stitch. It still came out flamingo on the outside of the top, and then I could purl across since I was working the top in stockinette instead of garter.

And oh yeah, this was a summer top with no sleeves and that's why I bound off the armholes instead
of doing steeking.

I know I could have avoided all this trouble by doing the same thing on the top as the bottom and worked that whole band in flamingo. Nobody ever learned anything by taking the easy way out.

Where this helps with argyle is that this is how you would make a vest. You would bind the armholes with probably the darker or darkest of your colors, and then you would work stockinette in argyle above the armholes. You probably want to use a thin yarn like a two-ply Palette or at most a DK yarn, instead of a worsted. If you do use worsted, make sure it has a good hand and drape and you'll end up with a supple, warm top in a classic pattern.

I'm sure most people think of Shetland lace as using one color. I have my own limitations; I would never do this piece in a multi-color or hand-painted yarn because I have enough trouble just making the lace come out right without trying to ignore all the colors in the yarn. Try it out and send me a link to where you posted the photo. You might open up a whole new world to knitters or attract some new people to knitting or lace who were never interested before because they thought single-color work was boring.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- why "hypothesis"?

I’m not going to bother with the other three pillars at this point because they fit better in later posts. What I will do now is show that people who support DH may not understand what it means by describing itself as a hypothesis or by the completeness of the putative four documents.
I don’t know who developed the name “documentary hypothesis” but I do know what the word hypothesis means. And that begs the question why Graf-Wellhausen is called a hypothesis.
According to the dictionary, “hypothesis” doesn’t always mean “unproven scientific concept.”
The top definition of “hypothesis” in the dictionary means an idea proposed for discussion. The third and last meaning is “the ‘if’ clause in an if-then.”
Most of the academic papers ever written were hypotheses in the first sense of the word, and most of them include a list of sources. As a result, the peers reviewing the work could verify that the author quoted the sources correctly or didn’t take things out of context and use them with a meaning opposite to that indicated by the rest of the material in the source. That’s necessary to turn a hypothesis into a theory; it’s part of the on-paper test. When it passes that, you can go on to examining the mathematical or experimental or observational testing.
Wellhausen’s work doesn’t have a source list. He doesn’t even cite to book chapter and verse when he is supposedly referring to Biblical material. He simply declares by fiat that Amos is trustworthy when Wellhausen uses him for support, and untrustworthy when what Amos says conflicts with the point Wellhausen wants to make. To get Amos to agree with him, Wellhausen has to quote out of context and claim that the text means the opposite of what it means while in context. You know that quoting out of context is a fallacy and a classic tactic for getting something out of, not only nothing, but something that disagrees with you. Movie reviews and book reviews do it all the time.
Bad for a real theory.
But fine if you’re just running it up the flagpole to see who salutes.
It’s entirely possible that Wellhausen expected people to come back and make him show the support for his claims. But his Composition des Hexateuchs, which went through 3 editions, and his Israelitische und Judische Geschichte, which went through 4 editions, do the same thing as Prolegomena.
So Wellhausen’s work might have been a proposal to spur discussion, and it worked. But at some point the discussion has to produce results or we’re right back into that environnment that led Descartes to write his Discours.
In which Descartes said you can’t rely on your own or anybody else’s claims unless everybody understands how they were made.
At this point I’ve shown that outdated information underpins some DH claims and at least one other involves a fallacy. When you run that up a flagpole, it’s not worth saluting.
There’s another source of ambiguity in DH that is even more important and that’s next week’s post.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, September 7, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:8, textual evidence

Genesis 1:8
ח וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָרָקִיעַ שָׁמָיִם וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם שֵׁנִי:
Transliteration: Va-yiqra elohim la-raqia shamaim va-y’hi erev va-y’hi voqer yom sheni.
Translation:     Gd named the raqia heaven and there was evening and there was morning a second day.
Letters in this lesson:
Vocabulary in this lesson:
שֵׁנִי    second     
Now, here’s another question. Verse 1 says “creation of heaven and earth,” but here it says that Gd gave the name “heaven” to the raqia. Does that mean that heaven didn’t actually exist before this? Judaism would say no.
There were dialogues for a long time about about whether heaven or earth was created first, and one answer was that it doesn’t matter because they are equal partners in the world.
R. Shimon bar Yochai said they were created at the same time, like a pot and its lid. Apparently makers of clay pots used to make sure the lid fitted tightly by building a large ball, then cutting the top off, scooping out the insides, and making a lip for the lid to sit on. R. Shimon was known as one of the greatest explainers of Torah in his time, which was around the Hadrianic persecution, and he is credited as author of the Zohar, the best-known work of Jewish mysticism.
In any case, Rashi gives credit to a Rabbi Yitschaq (somebody other than his own father who played a large role in his education) as saying that the creation story is not intended to teach the exact order in which things happened. You can see that for yourself. We still haven’t come across anything describing the creation of heaven or earth, they simply were there. You also know that one stream of Jewish thought says that light already existed at the start, it simply wasn’t perceptible to mortals until Gd took action.
What’s missing from this second day of creation? Anybody? Anybody?  Bueller?
That’s right, there’s no ki-tov here. Think back and tell me why that would be? I have given you the clue.
The raqia is not and cannot be perceptible to mortals, not in and of itself. Gd never made it manifest. It therefore cannot be used as evidence for the truth of what the narrator says about it; he has to add va-y’hi khen for credibility. So in and of itself, the raqia is not good.
Which is an interesting perspective on the heavenly journey of the rabbis. What separates the waters is not good in and of itself; the separation of the waters happened simply because Gd ordered it, not because He knew it was good. He had a purpose, but some of the things Gd uses for His purposes are not in and of themselves good. They are only good in relationship to His purposes, and mortals cannot perceive His purposes any more than they can perceive the raqia.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved