Thursday, August 31, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- the copula

Genesis 1:7
ז וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָרָקִיעַ וַיַּבְדֵּל בֵּין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מִתַּחַת לָרָקִיעַ וּבֵין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מֵעַל לָרָקִיעַ וַיְהִי־כֵן:
Translation:     Gd must have made the raqia for it separated the water that is under the raqia from the water that is above the raqia; it must have been so.
This verse has the other occurrence of va-yavdel that I was talking about.
Look at the phrase after ha-maim beginning with asher. There is no verb from here to the end of the verse, until you get to the certainty epistemic at the end.  Nevertheless, I have “is” in the translation.
Hebrew is one of those languages that does not need to express “be” when it is not in imperfect or perfect aspect. The progressive aspect of hayah is extremely rare in Torah; I can think of one occurrence off the top of my head. It might occur some more times in the rest of Tannakh.
Since this is an aspectual language, not a tense language, you can see that you don’t need to say “be” except in imperfect aspect, to emphasize that  meaning, or perfect aspect, to emphasize that meaning. Russian, another aspectual language, also almost never uses “be” in this type of equational sentence. And it should be no surprise at all that Arabic leaves a verb out of equational sentences.
Notice that I used only two posts to go through this verse.  I told you this would happen.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Garden - 2018

I can't recommend enough that you check out Mike McGrath's YBYG archives and articles on Garden Plot at WTOP for info on how to have a beautiful yard without poisons -- and also saving you money by not wasting it on harmful practices. As  well as obeying the law.

My HOA is telling people to do things that are harmful to their plants but conform to somebody's idea of how things  should look and also safety issues.

So here is your schedule for next year; you can start now.

1) You can buy open-pollinated seeds for plants that attract beneficial insects, pollinators, and birds NOW. Also buy fully-composted leaf mulch and lay it down no more than 1 inch deep, as bedding for the seeds. The soil and sun will be warm enough for the next couple of weeks; after that you will have to wait until the risk of frost is near zero, about May in the DC region.

2) STOP using any mulch but what is fully composted, and get rid of the old crap in your household trash -- don't send it to city yard waste recycling. Look for the OMRI label on the bag; if it ain't there or it ain't bagged, JUST SAY NO.  I go to my garden store, buy composted leaf mulch, and get somebody to cart it. I know exactly what I'm getting because I have a receipt I can check against the delivery. Don't let your lawn service make this decision for you.

3) Permanently set your lawn mower to 3 inches .  If your lawn service insists on scalping your grass, FIRE THEM. Scalping the lawn encourages Japanese beetles. It also encourages violets but they are pretty and edible and feed the caterpillars of fritillary butterflies, a pollinator. Move some of the violets to a shady moist place and you can get all the benefits without encouraging Japanese beetles.

4) DO NOT PRUNE ANYTHING. Not until mid-January.  From then until the end of March, prune only things like privet. Spring-flowering shrubs like rhododendron (azalea) or forsythia should be pruned soon after the flowers fall. Fruit shrubs should be pruned after the fruit is gone. My exceptions are pruning the twigs that may grow over a sidewalk used by city services, and cutting the stalks that had hydrangea flowers this year.

5) STOP MOWING during summer drought, and after mid-October. The grass will go dormant and not grow. It will take a couple of toad-strangling rains to wake it up again and then you can mow as long as it's not mid-October yet. I have seen  jackasses mowing in December just because it was warm. That was for their satisfaction; it  didn't do the grass any good.

6) SHARPEN YOUR MOWER BLADE. That is, if you are going to keep it once you find you can't set it higher than 2.5 inches. The three-inch setting means from now on you will be cutting grass blades and not grass stems, and the blade won't go dull so fast. Also, the mower blade won't bite into dirt, another reason it goes dull. A low blade setting means you may be digging your own lawn's grave.

7) IN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER plant new shrubs or trees. If you know your USDA Zone, you will know which ones are winter-hardy; they will get all the benefit of the snow as well as the spring rains. Planting them in a summer drought means you will have to spend lots of time every day watering them heavily to preserve your investment. Make sure you know how much distance to leave from other trees, houses and utilities, because if your new sapling has to be cut down, that's another waste of your investment.

8) START ERADICATING TERMITES. McGrath has a list of steps for this and they are all free. One is, do NOT put compost within 6 inches of your house and the further away the better. Another is TURN OFF ALL OUTDOOR LIGHTING AT NIGHT. If you are not a farmer you don't need a dusk-to-dawn light anyway and it attracts termites. It also discourages bug-eating bats and mole-eating owls. (Terminex admitted to McGrath that they know all about this. One of his best posts.)

9) Control mosquitoes. Dumping water only helps with our old-fashioned skeeters. The Zika ones hang on to the surface once the water is dumped. Skeeters also lay eggs in the cups of small flowers. BUY GRANULAR BTI, a bacterium that kills the larvae and so far is known to affect only mosquitoes. Place jar lids upside down around your flowers.  Mix up the BTI with water per directions, and fill the jar lids. The skeeters will lay in what seem to be safe places, but nothing will hatch. You can also plant lots of things that will repel skeeters, from lemon verbena in the south to Mexican marigolds to bee balm and rosemary, mints and lavender.

10) MAINTAIN YOUR YARD. You have to know what to do to keep your plantings from becoming invasive.  Most of the "weeds" in our yards were originally planted for specific reasons and got out of control. Examples are dandelions (you can get your revenge by eating the leaves before they flower) and ground ivy AKA creeping Charlie. In my town, we constantly have to cut Rose of Sharon seedlings to keep it from taking over, although most of us leave some for bees and hummingbirds.

11) DISPOSE OF YARD DEBRIS PROPERLY. All  of your grass clippings should be left on the lawn as mulch, so that everything pulled out of the soil goes right back in. Same thing with weeds when they are fully composted. All of your tree leaves should have your mower run over them to crunch them up, for the same reason. You don't need to pay for composted leaf mulch if you or your neighbors have trees. Ground ivy can be composted. English ivy can't, it doesn't decay.  English and  poison ivy should be bagged with the household trash, not sent to your town yard waste recycling center.

12) No drugs. No herbicides, pesticides, or chemical "food".  Those labels saying "harmful if ingested" go triple for our beneficial insects and birds. Monsanto bribed EPA officials to suppress carcinogenic data about Roundup and Bayer's "shrub control" drug kills pollinators, ruining our food supply. The first time your new lawn service shows up for a full treatment, make them show you every package they take out and write down the name of the active ingredient(s). Then make them wait while you google the products. You might end up firing the lawn service immediately.

13) NO HARDSCAPING.  Fireflies, which are beneficial in both adults and larvae, are on the decline due to hardscaping. Once you hardscape, you can't mow. Weeds survive by growing where nothing else can; hardscaping won't prevent weeds and you have to get down and pull them since you can't mow. Also see #12 above.

14) KNOW WHEN AND HOW TO WATER. Look, grass doesn't produce food so don't water it. Let it go dormant in the summer drought. For other things, water THE ROOTS deeply before 10 a.m. every other day if it's not going to rain. Spraying it on the leaves -- of grass as well as other plants -- creates a billion little magnifying glasses that concentrate the sunlight, which burns the leaves, and it's wasteful. Night-time watering brings the slugs which you wouldn't have if you hadn't hardscaped over the firefly larvae.

15) Never let anybody touch your landscape if they can't show certification of expertise or they won't give you all the time you want to read the contract. Maryland has a tree expert licensing program. University of Maryland's state extension service runs a Master Gardener program. Most lawn services either use poisons or  they do the same dumb things that already caused problems with your yard, only they make you pay for it. Make sure to read cancellation clauses in your contract carefully. One "green" company is also known for making cancellation nearly impossible. Never contract with door to door sales for anything. No, I mean it, ANYTHING.

Now when I tell you not to hire a yard service, the first thing you think is "she must be nuts, I don't have time for all that work." But look again. I told you DON'T mow when there's a drought; DON'T prune except once a year at the right time for your shrubs; DON'T get out that damned fertilizer spreader but use the compost nature provides; DON'T run around spraying poison on things; DON'T hardscape or you'll have to weed by hand; DON'T rake up your grass clippings or leaves and bag them; DON'T spread all that hardwood mulch that you'll only have to throw out when the problems start; DON'T plant fancy hybrids that you have to fuss over and replant every year because they won't breed more like them; DON'T dump your birdbath every day but dope it with skeeter killer.

I've also saved you all the money you used to spend on poisons and yard drugs and the emergency room fees when your kids or pets got sick from them, and the labor you used to pay your lawn service for (labor is always more expensive than consumables), and the price of replacing landscaping that died because you didn't treat it right, and the gasoline in your mower, and the money the garden shop talked you into spending on things that are bad for your plants.

I have posted most of this info before but every day there are people moving into houses with yards and wasting their money on goods and services because they don't know what they're doing, or because they copy people in their neighborhoods who are also clueless. And I'm just a pale shadow of the help Mike McGrath deals out all the time. Every time you have a yard problem, go to his archives for the fix. The 15 steps above are the ones that cause the most trouble, but YMMV.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, August 25, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- grammar

DH proposes that Biblical Hebrew is a mischsprache, that Hebrew developed in layers through collision with other cultures. The second pillar of DH says that this development left traces in the language and style of each of the documents. DH says that while the four documents were ripped apart and then enfiladed back together so that nobody realized for centuries what their origin was, nevertheless the language layering features and style of writing were preserved and that clever men figured it out centuries later.
This runs smack into contradictory evidence about the history of Hebrew and other languages.
The true description for how new languages develop under the mutual influence of multiple languages is sometimes called creolization. Not just the word usage but also the grammar changes. (Notice how the two base rules of SWLT are addressed in this description.) There is always an interim point where the creole language looks like it has a deviant grammar compared to its contributors; if it survives it develops a different characteristic grammar.
English is a creole language with its origin in the Celtic languages used in Britain preceding the Roman and Germanic invasions. It gathered material from the Latin, Anglo-Saxon and Norse languages. The Norman invasion brought French influence, including “hard” and “soft” versions of the letters c and g, and then we watch it go through its grammatical changes through Wace and Malory to Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mrs. Humphrey Ward, Georgette Heyer, etc.
Yiddish is also a creole with its roots in the Old High German of Europe. Brought to Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great, it acquired Russian particles and suffixes, among other things. Emigres to America further produced the creole Yeshivish, which adds technical terms from Talmud study and also re-imagines their meaning. After its bearers passed through Ellis Island, it acquired English words spoken in a New York accent, but grammatically Yeshivish tends to resemble Yiddish. You can hear Yeshivish spoken in R. Dovid Grossman’s recordings of his lectures on Babylonian Talmud at the Harvard website.
The main issue of creolization is that grammar thing. While a creole develops, its grammar changes. If Biblical Hebrew creolized between 800 and 400 BCE, its grammar would have changed and this would show up in JEDP. The grammar is, however, consistent throughout the Hebrew material in Tannakh, with modal morphologies and use of the narrative past as defined in Dr. Cook’s dissertation.
The only way DH can explain the consistent grammar throughout Torah is that their incompetent editor was a competent grammarian and rewrote deviant forms to agree with the language that he spoke. However, redactors would not have known how to produce good grammar in Biblical Hebrew unless they learned it as a first language.  The people who transmitted Torah down to post-Captivity times probably did not have grammar books.
The same is true of every writer responsible for some Hebrew post-Torah book in Tannakh. They all had to speak and think in Biblical Hebrew to write using the same grammar that Torah uses, which they do.
Using external evidence, we can understand this in the light of the succession of cuneiform texts that have survived. In Jacobson’s discussion of how we found out that the Kings List was a compilation with fudging of the numbers, he points out grammatical differences in the city king  list sources, and the compilation made by Ur III scribes. The vernacular of the post-Gutian period didn’t use the same grammar as the pre-Gutian period. The same thing happened in the 1700s BCE when the prequel was added.
We have word lists in cuneiform for multiple versions of ancient Semitic languages. But if there were any grammars, they did not survive that I have heard of to date; tell me if you know of one that was compiled back then, as opposed to Cyrus Gordon’s grammar of Ugaritic from the 1960s. Such a sharp contrast in preservation suggests there were no grammars. The bad grammarians of the kings list could not produce the right text because they hadn’t learned it on the street, neither had their teachers, and so on for decades into their history. This same argument works with the grammar of Amos and Hoshea.
The DH pillar of style and language has to drop the concept of language layering because it is based on a fallacy and also makes extraordinary claims that don’t jibe with studies in linguistics.
Now let’s look at the consequence of the mischsprache concept, which has implications for some of the oldest work done on DH.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, August 24, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:7 -- narrator credibility

Genesis 1:7
ז וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָרָקִיעַ וַיַּבְדֵּל בֵּין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מִתַּחַת לָרָקִיעַ וּבֵין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מֵעַל לָרָקִיעַ וַיְהִי־כֵן:
Transliteration: Va-yaas elohim et-haraqia vayavdel ben ha-maim asher mitachat laraqia uven ha-maim asher me-al laraqia va-y’hi khen.
Translation:     Gd must made the raqia for it separated the water that is under the raqia from the water that is above the raqia; it must have been so.
Letters in this lesson:
Vocabulary in this lesson:
make, do
מִ, מֵ
from, away from, toward
that, which
thus, true
I’m going to give you the qal imperfect of asah, a lamed heh verb which opens this verse in a certainty epistemic. Memorize this to cut down on needing the dictionary.
Notice that this is one of those certainty epistemics followed by a narrative past that shows why such a thing had to have happened.
Also notice the certainty epistemic at the end; this validates the credibility of what went before it.
In oral narratives, narrators always have a credibility problem because their audiences were not witnesses to the events. All the narrator can do is point verbally at something which the audience has witnessed. We already saw one example of this: the existence of light and dark.
Later in Torah you will find that narrators not only point at the phenomena of creation, they also name geographical features. The geography thing is part of Axel Olrik’s principles that describe the fine-level structure of oral narratives. The grammatical thing is another take on the same issue. This dovetailing of the two men’s work made me believe Dr. Cook had things right.
Why does the narrator have to endorse his own credibility? Because the raqia is not like dark and light, it is not perceptible to mortals.
There’s an implication here that above the first raqia there is water. Babylonian Talmud Tractate Chagigah 14 tells the story of four sages, one of whom was the martyr Rabbi Akiva. He warned his fellows, while they prepared for a mortal ascension to heaven, not to say “water, water”. Two other commentaries go on to say from a mystical point of view that the raqia separates two kinds of water, but that the separation itself is unified and in it they are unified. Thus there may be many facets to Gd, but they are not Gd in and of themselves: Gd is One.
R. Akiva had three colleagues in this trip. They didn’t heed his warning but focussed on the different aspects of Gd. One was the man who blew his mind over the waters in an earlier verse; his orientation had too much of the material in it. My take: while the raqia separates a physical phenomenon into parts, Gd is not that physical phenomenon and is not separated by the raqia but penetrates it and thus His spirit could waft over the waters without becoming finite. This rabbi didn’t think that far into it, and that’s why he blew his mind.
A second colleague named ben Azzai “looked and died”; his orientation focused too much on knowledge which, when not tempered by Divine Mercy, results in strictness in judgments. The strictest punishment in Torah is the death penalty and he suffered by that wherewith he sinned.
The third colleague was Elisha ben Abuya, a teacher of the Rabbi Meir who transmitted to posterity a mass of halakhah (Gittin 4) from his other teacher – R. Akiva. R. Elisha “gazed and cut the plants”; he became an apostate. He later told his pupil that he had heard from behind the Heavenly Veil a prophecy that he would never repent of his sins, and he lost all desire to obey the commandments. R. Meir met up with him one Shabbat riding a horse, which is prohibited, and R. Elisha told him that he was sinning so as to lead others into sin. Talmud says such a thing makes true repentance impossible so, in a way, R. Elisha was doing exactly what would fulfill the prophecy. R. Meir never left off trying to bring R. Elisha back into obedience to the commandments.
Only R. Akiva had the spiritual purity and strength to survive this ascension in his right mind and without apostasy. Which is a complete refutation to R. Elisha, because R. Akiva rebelled against rabbinical ordinances until he was 40. He fell in love and the lady’s father refused to agree to the match unless R. Akiva changed his ways. The holy maiden convinced him to do that and they were married.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Monday, August 21, 2017

Maximum coverage -- 80% totality

p.s. in case you were wondering, an eclipse is one thing JEWS DON'T HAVE A SPECIFIC BLESSING FOR!  Thank you  but that's amazing!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Words

The second pillar of DH is that JEDP all have different styles and language. This, says DH, is because having been created at different times, they used different words. It’s called language layering; because the words purportedly reflect foreign influences, it is also called mischsprache. When you find a word that did not exist before the Babylonian Captivity, the text you find it in must belong to P.
But how do you prove that it didn’t exist before the Babylonian captivity?
This goes back a long time to my discussion about archaeological evidence. Not only don’t we have archaeological evidence of all the texts produced in Hebrew, once it had its own writing system, we only have two up until the time of Qumran. One is from the 800s BCE; the other is from right before the Babylonian Captivity. Only the latter reproduces text known from Torah.
That’s not enough to prove that some words didn’t exist before the Babylonian Captivity. It’s barely enough to prove that some words did exist before the Babylonian Captivity. It’s the same concept I talked about in the last section about dictionaries of classical Greek not having words for certain things.
What does the mischsprache concept say and how does it compare to the 21st century understanding of Semitic languages, which I referred to in the previous section of the blog?
One important work on the mischsprache concept for Hebrew, is Bauer and Leander’s book from 1922. Bauer and Leander give a graphic which shows shows Hebrew and Akkadian on one side as siblings, and Phoenician on another side with Aramaic and Arabic as its siblings, depicted as younger cousins of Akkadian and Hebrew.
B&L claimed that the earliest evidence of a separate language for Jews is Mishnah when it is in pre-Captivity Tannakh. Kings II 18:26 clearly indicates that there was a Jewish language separate from Aramaic, but it is called yehudit, “Jewish”; Bauer and Leander were looking for the word ivrit, “Hebrew.” They were under the mistaken impression that the Hapiru were the ancestors of the Jews, an issue settled late in the 20th century.
B&L considered Arabia the home of the Semitic languages and then asked how the Semitic languages could have gotten there from the north. Get there from what place exactly? They rejected Mesopotamia as the source.
B&L didn’t realize that after the Gutians took over in Mesopotamia, the west was left to its own devices for centuries, during which both Canaanite and Hebrew developed.
Modern genetics tells the story. The Semitic languages originated in northeastern Anatolia between the Caucasus and Lake Van. This happened between 5000 and 3500 BCE. Archaeology shows that Akkadian used the Sumerian writing system, which developed by 3500 BCE. The oldest surviving Akkadian texts appeared by 2600 BCE and so (cultura non facit saltus) the Akkadian language existed for centuries before that. After 2350 BCE, when Naram-Sin’s homeland was conquered by the Indo-European Gutians, Semitic speakers in the west went their own way and developed Ugaritic, Canaanitic, Hebrew, and Aramaic.
Since the language pillar of DH is based on outdated information, it can’t serve as evidence that DH is true, more evidence that DH is a Linda problem.
The DH argument about words not existing at a given point in time, is only a version of the argument from silence which, as you know, is false unless you can show you have a complete dataset. So here is our first fallacy, and since it is used to claim that the four documents exist at all, the probability that DH is true, is zero.
There is one chance to rehabilitate this pillar and I’ll discuss it next week.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, August 17, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- raqia

Genesis 1:6
ו וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי רָקִיעַ בְּתוֹךְ הַמָּיִם וִיהִי מַבְדִּיל בֵּין מַיִם לָמָיִם:
Translation:     Gd said Let there be a raqia in the midst of the water so as to let it be setting a division between water and water.
Notice that I didn’t translate raqia. The usual translation is “firmament” which is wrong. Raqia has the root resh qof ayin and the verb with the same root is in Exodus 39:3 which describes hammering pure gold very thin and then cutting thin strips from it, which are woven with colored thread to make the efod. In Numbers 17:4; Elazar hammers flat the copper censers that were not consumed with their owners, and uses the plates as a covering for the ark.
“Firmament” comes from the Septuagint which uses the Greek stereoma for raqia. Stereoma means a hard body. It suits the Aristotelian concept that above earth is a tightly fitted hollow ball which is the sphere of the moon, the sphere of the sun being outside of that, and then five more spheres for the ancient visible planets.
The raqia is discussed in Babylonian Talmud, Passover 94a, as being 1000 parasangs thick (1277 kilometers), and below that Passover 94b says earth is 182,500 parasangs or 233 thousand kilometers below it. What’s more, Chagigah 13a (also in Babylonian Talmud) says that there are seven raqias, all the same thickness (1000 parasangs) and there is a distance of 1000 parasangs between each raqia. The raqia is a relatively thin covering over whatever is beneath it.  What is in that 1000 parasangs of distance between each raqia, nobody discusses.
That is probably related to Mishnah Chagigah 2:1 (Babylonian Talmud Chagigah 11b) which says “There are four things that if a man thinks about them, it would be better if he had never been born: what is above; what is below; what is before; and what is after.” Look: Judaism has 613 commandments. It’s hard to obey them all. If you haven’t done that, it doesn’t matter what you think about esoteric things like the seven raqiot, or what holds the world up (pre-Newton), how the universe began (pre-Einstein), or how it will end.
And if you do spend time on those things, you always get to a point where you run out of answers. Then you either stop talking, or you start making things up. You’re not Gd. Only Gd knows the truth about those things. People will either ignore you because they know you don’t know, or they’ll believe you. If they believe you, you become “somebody putting a stumbling block before the blind”. And that right there violates one of the 613 commandments.
That’s not anti-science. Science admits it doesn’t know everything. That’s why scientists still have work to do. Judaism is not anti-science. It says that to be a Jew you have to fulfill the 613 commandments. You can do that and still be a scientist. But if you’re not a scientist and you don’t study science so that you know where science ends and the unknown begins, you should be going and fulfilling commandments.
Why didn’t Septuagint use a better word? I don’t know. I’ve done some research among experts who wrote about the Greek of the Septuagint (see the Fact-Checking bibliography for Deissman, for example) and the conclusion I’m reaching is that the Septuagint was done, not by religious Jews for their own purposes, but by political hacks so that the first two Ptolemies would have the Jews on their side if they were attacked by Seleucus, who got control of Syria after Alexander died. And when that attack did come, the Jews did support Egypt while the Samaritans, whom the Ptolemies ignored, helped Seleucus.
Commentators down through the ages have said what a bad translation Septuagint was. They include ben Sirach, a century later; Jerome, six centuries later; the Geneva translators and King James I of England, twelve centuries after Jerome; and most recently, the American council of classical Bishops whose newly authorized translation changes Isaiah 7:14 so that it no longer reflects what Septuagint says.

There are other words in Torah that I think should not be translated so as to emphasize that they mean what they mean and have been mis-translated, and I discuss them in Narrating the Torah which is still in preparation.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Knitting -- more lace lessons learned

Number one is the reason why traditional Shetland knitters do their lace shawls in sections -- edging, border, center -- and then graft them together.


The Williamson stole pattern says this several times, including at the very start where they tell you to use the most delicate lace yarn possible.  The same is true for the famous wedding ring shawls, which are very large but knitted in a very delicate yarn which makes them able to go through a wedding ring.

By the time I finished adding the edging to the ocean wave lace, I had put on a couple of pounds of muscle in my arms from turning it to attach the edging instead of knitting it separately and grafting it on.

OK not seriously but you get my drift.

Second, if you are going to design a shawl, you must do math. The piece looks higgledy piggledy because it is. If I intended it for a gift or for show, it would disappoint whoever I gave it to or probably not get accepted by the show jury.

The math will also help you buy the right amount of yarn.  It's better to have leftovers that you can use up in something else, than to fall short, have to buy something with a different dye lot, and forget where you are in the pattern while you wait for delivery. Here's a website that can help you figure out how much yarn to buy in different weights for a given number of stitches needed. It's in both metric and "English"  measurements -- which England doesn't use any more but the U.S. still does more than two centuries after our revolution. Go figure. No, wait, with this you WON'T have to go figure for  yourself. Agh, I've got a headache. Numbers always do that to me.

The third lesson learned is, when you have never knitted lace before, it's a GOOD thing to start with worsted, even though it's heavy.  That's because unless you have really really good control of your tension, you will constantly be breaking your fingering weight or lace weight yarn. One knitter said this straight out on her website.

So although I started with worsted weight leftover yarn, I was able to graduate to sport weight leftover yarn, and then to DK, and only then did I work with fingering yarn. I learned how to knit loosely enough so that k3tog wasn't a hassle, but not so loosely that the work looked like a fishing net instead of a piece of fabric.

Work up to it and ignore anybody who points out your mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes when they're still learning. The smart people aren't afraid of mistakes because they aren't afraid of learning something from them.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- is it an axiom or not?

The problem with DH is the pillar of Gd’s Name. DH says that elohim is Gd’s name in the E document. That means that when you find text that uses elohim you can assign it to E. It came from E. It got into its current position because the editor took that text from E and put it at its current position.
But in the 1970s CE, one scholar decided that use of elohim in the first aliyah of Genesis does not mark it as E. It is P. Why?
Because he said that its discussion of Shabbat could not have occurred until the Babylonian captivity with invention of the P text.
That conflicts with material in Amos and Hoshea. Both refer to Shabbat, and both of them died more than a century before the Babylonian captivity. Wellhausen states that it doesn’t matter what Amos and Hoshea said.
It matters a lot, unless there is evidence that Amos and Hoshea lived during or after the Babylonian Captivity, not centuries before it, or that the material attributed to them was invented during or after the Babylonian Captivity, not before it. In fact Sayce’s claim that Shabbat was a late invention was a misinterpretation of the evidence, as you’ll remember if you’ve been following this blog from the start.
In the last section I said that Biblical Hebrew had to be learned on the street because there were no grammar books.  It means that Amos and Hoshea do matter, because Amos the cowherd uses the same Biblical Hebrew grammar as the Torah.
Wellhausen didn’t have didn’t have 21st century evidence about Semitic languages in general or Biblical Hebrew in particular. He was teaching at the time that Hermann Strack was publishing the Porta Linguarum Orientalium series with Delitzsch’s work on Assyrian. But that doesn’t mean Wellhausen read anything in either of Strack’s series (the other was Clavis Linguarum Semiticarum). He also didn’t have Sayce’s claims to mislead him; he had stopped publishing by that time.
If the writer from the 1970s did rely on Sayce, he doesn’t cite to him. He simply argued: P dates to the Captivity, it’s a work of ritual, so it must be the sole source of Shabbat, so the creation story must date to the Captivity.
You can see that this is another conjunction, and that the probability of each term is less than one. The conflict with the timing of Amos and Hoshea, and with the axiom of “elohim is from E”, suggests that its combined probability is low.
I’ll give more evidence later about problems with the “names of Gd” pillar. For now, there's more to say about the language issue in DH.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, August 10, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- hifil progressive

Genesis 1:6
ו וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי רָקִיעַ בְּתוֹךְ הַמָּיִם וִיהִי מַבְדִּיל בֵּין מַיִם לָמָיִם:
Transliteration: Va-yomer elohim y’hi raqia b’tokh ha-maim v’yhi mavdil ben maim la-maim.
Translation:     Gd said Let there be a raqia in the midst of the water so as to let it be setting a division between water and water.
Letters in this lesson:
Vocabulary in this lesson:
in the midst of, among
You should recognize the root of the last word in the vocabulary; you’ve seen it before. This is the progressive aspect of the verb you saw as yavdel before, but in a real hifil. Now you can see how the piel progressive I showed you before differs from the hifil. They use all the same suffixes for gender and number. So try writing out the progressive of “divide” for yourself.
Now notice that we have bein again, but not bein…u-vein.  This time it’s bein X l’X. Previously we divided two different nouns. Now we’re dividing between the same noun twice. We’ll find out why when we get to the next verse.
We have y’hi again, “let X exist” but then we have a new form.
Viyhi is neither a certainty epistemic nor a jussive with a predicate noun. It has a predicate gerundive in the progressive aspect.
The progressive aspect here is taking on the job of a substantive via this gerundive usage; there are six other uses of vihi in Torah and all of them are followed by a noun.
I also want you to notice the dagesh in the dalet of mavdil. Here’s the syllabification: mav-dil. Because the first syllable is closed by a consonant, the dalet opening the next syllable has to take dagesh.
But this is not the same thing as verbal gemination. It’s a requirement of syllabification.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- DH pillars

Before your brain fills up and spills over, I’d better give you the basic scheme for DH.  The basis is what Umberto Cassuto called the “five pillars”.  These are the classes of criteria that DH set up to assign material to the four documents.
The pillars are: Name of Gd used in the material; language and style; unified viewpoint including theology and ethics; repetitions; contradictions; and composites or conflations of material.
DH has produced descriptions of each putative source document.
J or Jahwist is a document invented in writing in the monotheistic southern kingdom between 800 and 700 BCE.  It uses the Tetragrammaton for Gd’s name.  Two hundred years after the First Temple was built, this culture still had a primitive and practical but not a legal viewpoint (Wellhausen’s phrase “Jehovistic law” refers to D, AFAICT: to him, J is “Jehovistic history”), and it expressed this viewpoint unemotionally.
E or Elohist is a document invented in the pagan northern kingdom in writing between 800 and 700 BCE.  It uses elohim for Gd’s name.  It was written and brought south in a period of about 70 years that ended with the Assyrian invasion of the north.  It had a more refined theological viewpoint than J and used more emotional expressions.
D or Deuteronomist is a document invented in the southern kingdom between 650 and 625 BCE, after the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom.  It is related to the reforms centering around the scroll found in the temple and interpreted by the prophetess Huldah.  It contributed to Numbers and Deuteronomy.
P or Priestly is a document invented by Jews between 525 and 425 BCE, that is, during or after the Babylonian Captivity.  It covers all of Leviticus and part of Numbers and Genesis and served priestly didactic needs.
Furthermore, DH claims that each of these documents had a complete and completely different account of Jewish history that was completely consistent with its viewpoint. 
The first combination was JE.  JED came later and P was added on last.  Or rather, not added on but edited in. 
The editing preserved the original viewpoints, the styles of writing such as emotional or unemotional, but erased all traces of the fact that chapters, verses, and parts of verses came from different documents.  So for centuries people went along studying Torah thinking it was a whole, seamless or not, until starting in the 1700s and mostly in the 1800s CE, some clever scholars winkled out the original scheme.
Notice that the descriptions above are irrelevant to which steps happened in what order to get to JEDP. They only specify the timing prior to which nothing existed. E could have laid around in somebody’s back room until the Captivity and then been scooped up in a rush to, say, take it to Egypt with Barukh and Yirmiyahu. That’s like saying “Linda is 31”; DH is a true Linda problem.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, August 3, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- confusing labels

Genesis 1:5
ה וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָאוֹר יוֹם וְלַחֹשֶׁךְ קָרָא לָיְלָה וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד:
Translation:     Gd named the light day and the darkness He named night; there must have been evening, there must have been morning, one day.
Last point, I promise.
Notice the l’, la-or, v’la-choshekh.
This is a preposition, which is usually translated “to” and therefore might be labeled “dative”. BUT in some contexts it means “for” which in most languages takes the genitive.
This is one of those reasons why BH should be treated stand-alone, not in terms of labels that work with other languages.  You can’t think of l’ as a dative preposition without forgetting that it also has genitive meaning. 
What’s more, l’ doesn’t just mean “to” as an indirect object. It also means “in order to, for the sake of, for the purpose of, with the result of.” In Arabic – and, coincidentally, in Classical Greek – such a structure uses a gerundive. Nevertheless, western grammarians have slapped on the Arabic structure the name “subjunctive”, which probably calls up all kinds of horrors in your memory if you have ever studied Latin or French. I know it sends a cold chill down my back.
If you are thinking about this, you are saying to yourself, but “to” plus a verb is an infinitive. It might be an infinitive in Latin or French, but it’s not in BH, or in Arabic, and the verb form in Classical Greek is not the same as the “infinitive” in that language.
So stop thinking about BH grammar in terms of what you were taught when you studied other languages, especially non-Semitic languages. In Semitic languages, it’s different, and in BH, it’s even more different.
BUT make sure to notice the qamats under the lamed. That means it’s “the light”, not just “light”. In the following word, it’s a patach. Hebrew prepositions that can combine with (“agglutinate to”) the substantive can take a qamats or patach to indicate that the word they are attached to a definite noun, “the” whatever. Also notice that the qamats is with alef and the patach is with chet.
While the alef and chet are both gutturals, the chet has a sound of its own, so it can take the short vowel patach. The alef doesn’t. The “a” has to cover both the lamed and the alef. So it’s a qamats, a long “a”.  I said some time back that the definite article can take either one of these vowels; now I’ve told you why I think that is.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved