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02 February 2015


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I figured out body counts my first week in Vietnam. The week before I left, the Air Force bombed an element of the 1st Infantry Division. Body count was 21. By the time I arrived at the admin company in support command, they had figured out that seven different guys had counted the same three bodies.


"Clearly there are two different writers at work writers with different intonations, phraseology, methods, styles, talents, and differing sets of facts and legends brought to coherent meaning by marvelous skill."

Early Biblical editing took a rather unusual approach to dealing with conflicting stories and traditions. If they had two stories that both dealt with the same subject matter with different details, they would often amalgamate the two in a kind of rough chronological sequence. The Noah story, for example, is a jumble, but you can, if you know which verses belong to which story, separate it out into two coherent stories, which differ in their style and details. I used to have my students do that back in the day.

As someone who's studied the book intensely in its original, I find it fascinating to listen to pastors of the type you describe. They often focus with myopic intensity on a single word or phrase whose meaning (in English) they fail to understand. Usually the phrase is taken up in isolation, so that you can draw pretty much any conclusion from it.


Richard: IMHO, Christian fundamentalism--particularly dispensationalism--is popular because it avoids (not resolves) the difficulty of being actually Christian. Drop the guilt. Just show faithfulness to "God's people" and you win.

It is the small religion of the relatively comfortable yet resentful.

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Sale,

The David and Elhanan discrepancy is actually resolved within the biblical archeology literature. The scholarship argues that Elhanan, meaning Gift of the Lord, is David's given name in biblical Hebrew. David is a textual corruption of an older Semitic word, Dawidum (the w sound rather than the v sound the result of it being the pre Canaanite vowel/consonant shift that super simplifies Hebrew and separates it from the linguistic trajectory of what we now call Arabic). Dawidum means "commander" or "leader" or "general" and it is believed that it was applied to Elhanan in the textual write up as a functional description and that it stuck as a name.

That said, I think more likely is you had two slightly differing narratives of the same story that got combined. This fits in with the arguments made by Professor DS Margoliouth, who was the premiere Semitics scholar in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Margoliouth argued in his Sweich Lectures that the origin of the Israelites was the result of two different Semitic groups, both of whom were worshippers of Ya - one of the six traditional Semitic names for the deity. One (the one that originated in the northeastern area now known as the Levant) was more advanced than the other at the time of the merger, so you often get duplicated narratives of the same events. The title of the transcribed and published series of lectures is entitled "The Relations Between Arabs and Israelites Prior to the Rise of Islam".

Charles I

Two quite different books that bear on the subject:

JefF Sharlett's The Family


And our old committee member Clifford Kirakofe's Dark Crusade: Christian Zionism and US Foreign Policy



Dispensationalism offers instant gratification in spiritual matters. Just find Jesus Christ as your personal saviour with honesty and there you go.

And what a prospect - no more messy suffering, no ailment and then the misery of death - instead, rapture - instant salvation! And we are that close, that close ... ! The signs are there, the prophecy is clear! Hallelujah!

What could be more American than that?

And that said, while I think that Hagee is a crook and fraud who's fleecing his faithful, he is also a mighty preacher. IMO one really ought to hear him preach at least once to get a feel, or rather ear, for his appeal to his faithful.



Richard, there was an event in which I lost a lot of "spiritual fiends" on the web. I fled to them in need of some kind of balance or perspective on unfolding events around me. Not well prepared for it as essentially unpolitical, apart maybe from the type of politics we all carry around on a purely human level. ... and the Zeitgeist felt to me like containing a strong trace of Antisemitism. I have an idea by now why.

The event had an aura, I am an "inconspicuous" epileptic. ... thus this term has a special meaning for me.

There was a debate on the list about the "Passion of Christ". I only realized much later that this curious female Christian sycophant that for me only surfaced in that context, apparently a co-editor I never noticed before, had indeed triggered the shutdown of the list, and with it a close to one year absence from the web. Before it was taken over by a very Israel centric perspective on matters. I even got an unmerited PhD label for doing a little research for the lady that took over the list, in her ?assigned? duty of a paper for Yad Vashem. ...

I have to admit, I hated to loose my "spiritual friends" and the lively debate, and academic help on matters. Almost no one returned. I cannot deny that it looked to me like a really vicious attempt to out the highly competent American editor. He committed one tiny little mistake, by "at all" answering to a really highly prejudiced "private'" mail (disgusting) of the same "Christian" lady. He simply politely satisfied her with some type of "yes, yes" intended as private response. But his mail surfaced on list on the list instead.

Maybe I was somewhat angry I had lost a lot of friends and only very, very few surfaced again after the lists revival after almost one year, but all expect for the hardcore disappeared after a while. Thus: I came to call the "Israeli takeover", since it never was what it had been before.

But as it is with lists, the lady's post is gone by now. Worse, I wasn't even aware that the "Christian lady" made a rather not-so-Christian-comment in private about the founder of the list at the time that in turn triggered the shut-down of the list: The founder had posted a short mail about his resignation as editor. Apparently the lady I had so far only registered as a Christian sycophant was had offered help as co-editor. I never really noticed it.

The founder had simply offered accompanying his resignation to take private students. ... He is dead by now, but wrote a couple of books before.

I felt terribly guilty. After all hadn't I surfaced asking all these questions? In hindsight I was mainly busy with another women "with German roots" spreading convenient tales about Germany. She advertised herself as author: http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Child-Enemy-Ursula-Duba/dp/014058787X She also had hardly hidden personal interests. Another transparent sycophant.

I wish I had noticed the misled mail. In the end after some years, I usually need time. I wrote the former editor, who I still deeply respect, ending with the rather silly question. Why did you get in that's silly women's trap?

But really the problem was bigger. And I noticed too late. And I deeply regret my mail a couple of years later.

What do you think. Was I heartless to the man. Had some type of psychopathic moment? Showing no empathy? Or is there some type of inner Catholic that doesn't honestly allow me to deal with Jewish problems facing a movie like the Passion of Christ as simply another Christian sycophant?

If there is anything like the "Judeo-Christian" tradition, it cannot be a confrontation with Islam. Never mind the fact that a literal reading of the word of God may well be a "political problem" over the diverse divides.


Charles: Do you know Mr. Kirakofe stopped posting?


Typepad HTML Email

Cliff stopped posting and did not say why. PL

Ex-PFC Chuck

Almost all of them are fleecing their flocks.


" Just show faithfulness to "God's people" and you win."

Not quite. The key is their reading of Genesis 12:3 "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee"

It is rather more atavistic than "show faithfulness to "God's people" and you win":

Do not show faithfulness to "God's people" else God will be very mad. Think of an irate deity throwing thunder and lightning, sending earthquakes, floods or another 9/11. Think Thor or Zeus. Superstition essentially.

We have grown accustomed to a more user friendly god; theirs is the stern and wrathful Old Testament God who turns Lot's wife into a pillar of salt for disobeying his commanded not to look back.

Their love for Israel comes from the Jews needing to be in Israel for the prophecy to be fulfilled, so they can be killed (except for iirc a hundred thousand righteous, who show their rightsousness by converting to Christianity and who thus will be saved on the day of the second coming of Christ). In essence, Hagee's lovers of all thingss Israel Israel are antisemitic. What counts is that the Jews are a necessary ingredience to their recipe.

Here's a popular Armageddon recipe (not Hagees, but close enough):

* Wars and rumors of wars (or war in the Middle East is a good sign!)
* Famines, Pestilence, Earthquakes (AIDS, SARS, Ebola!)
* Deceivers who claim to follow Jesus (think John Hagee?)
* Jews return to Israel (Doh!)
* Increased wickedness & loss of love (this world sux!)
* Reemergence of Demigods (Superball anyone?)
* Strong delusion (PR & spin!)
* One world government (the UN, the UN!)
* One world ruler and an assistant emerge (the Antichrist!)
* Technology to control the world (think drones)
* 4 Eggs
* 12 pounds of flour
* three spoonful of baking soda

Stir gently, bake slowly and serve hot.

They say there will be scoffers too, which is only further evidence.

The Beaver

Mr Sale:

"Mossad used to fund pilgrimages trips to Israel and other events, these officials said.

Has that funding stopped?"

I believe that this is done through the following organisation now:
via AIPAC : http://www.aipac.org/act/planned-giving/getting-started/charitable-or-noncharitable

OR unless you are Chris Christie :



The resentment stands out in Hagee's preaching.

He is quite frequently pandering to such sentiments in his audience by pressing the according buttons - and derisively refers to the scoffers (who'll burn in hell), the 'ivy league' people, the liberals, the seculars etc pp - all of whon't won't be saved.

Some sermons he'll elaborate just what the unsaved will go through during the Tribulation in some gory detail (their eyeballs will m,elt in nuclear fire ... locusts ... rivers of blood etc pp). The glee is unmistakable.

Babak Makkinejad

My impression has been that the only people who use the phrase "Judeo-Christian Tradition" are a variety of Protestant Christians.

I have never seen serious Catholics or the Orthodox or conservative Jews use that phrase.

In fact, one told me rather bitterly how Protestant Christians that glibly use the phrase "Judeo-Christian Tradition" neither know anything about Judaic Tradition nor wish to know anything about it.


Fein, today I regret my own highly associative response to this wonderful article of Richard.

But I love your very special response.

But may I ask? Was this generally something I learned is may be called "friendly fire"?


shepard, two things come to mind in this context.

The first is an encounter with guy with Hungarian roots, if I recall correctly. He was a brilliant story teller. At one point I told him that he had misinterpreted one single German word used by a German author. Maybe it was a mistake in the translation? But then his German seemed perfect. I tried to be helpful. But then I realized after my helpfulness he didn't like the story anymore. It needed only my pointing out a possible mistake in translation.

The other thing is. I once met someone on a blog I read, he may indeed be something like a "self-hating Jew", although I am pretty skeptical about it's recent overuse.

At one point it felt he could have misused one Jewish American scholar on the early collation of the traditional Jewish texts to make his political point. But the study it felt he could have misused in itself sounded interesting. I deeply regret that I did not note the author and the title immediately. The history of religion is interesting in itself. But then, we have limits, and after all I would be just as interested in the genesis of Reform Judaism and its historical and political context and development not only here but also in the US.


Richard, I regretted this mail a while after I sent it. In fact I wondered should I sent an email to Pat to delete it.

but maybe I shouldn't. Although it's not about Iran, but some associative mental thread.

I hope you correct "expect" except in your mind. I keep wondering about this type of mistakes for a while now. ...

"But as it is with lists, the lady's post is gone by now."

Obviously, this mail never surfaced on the list. But the response has gone too by now.


Babak, the top "spiritual friend" I lost after the shutdown of the list, was Canadian.

And thus go my further reminiscences.

He had got me interested in Canadian Indians. Since he--I seriously hope he is still alive, the email he used on the list doesn't work anymore*--since he worked for "Native Canadians" for a while, also wrote a study on the topic. His comments made me curious about the person he is, in that case his published work. Maybe I should try to call him, strictly that may work.

All, my seriously "spiritual friends" (meaning Jewish people I met on the web) don't dwell much on Jewish religion, but it is also a deeper layer that is always present, and can surface occasionally, meaning they have their religious roots in pre-national-interest or Rabbinic Judaism, they are all perfectly able to argue based on Jewish scriptures. And yes considering my Catholic upbringing here I am indeed a bit jealous.

Oh, I see he maybe well, although his then project: "The Metaphysics of Hate", ordinary men versus the ones remembered apparently he has not been finished yet:


Anyway, long introduction. Michael warned me, that the "Judeo-Christian" roots of America or the West for that matter was a new cover for old-right-wing ideas, he didn't have to point it out to me. It in fact rang a bell. I had closely watched a couple of networks at that time, among others SANE. At one point it went undercover, webwise, in other words it was only open for people supporting it. I doubt you still will find a trace on the web easily. In any case it advertised America's white settler's Judeo-Christian roots.

But here is a reminiscence, webwise of its frontman:

* unfortunately I needed a time to reflect, after I had alerted Michael to a publication, he was pleased I told him about. Unfortunately he also thought it was necessary to point out to me that Jew versus Jews meant I was using the "zero plural". I had in fact not paid enough attention while copying the title to fit the link in my private email. And yes, I had missed to copy the final "s", but hadn't even noticed. What do you think? As a German I was very, very much aware of the "zero plural", but could it have been a secret underlying collective antisemitism instead of simply a mistake committed in the heat of the moment that something may help a "spiritual friend"?

Babak Makkinejad

"Spiritual Friend"?

Just because some one is a Jew?


Reminds me of the Western people who seriously think that Hindu Indians are so much more spiritual; nothing can be farther from the truth.

The fact of the matter is the Western people are now the most spiritual people on Earth - collectively - barring individuals elsewhere on this planet.

What surprise me is that you seem not to have met spiritual Catholics - like Merton, Eckhart and many others.


Now I close down my laptop. The correct term of course would have been Canadian "First Nations".

But strictly I realized I have met a new spiritual friend: Richard Sale.


to explain what I mean with "spiritual friend" would take me longer to explain, Babak.

Let me give you one example more or less randomly:
I once met a prof here in Cologne, among other things at that point in time the only Shakespearean in the English department or "Anglistik". He offered a list of topics in a length I had never witnessed before. Quite liberal, not feeding topics only you want people to look into for you.

I had a lot of private talks with him. And he in fact could tell me a series of interesting things about my former alma mater. But there was also one thing, he helped me to understand.

Occasionally I had the habit of throwing a book at the wall. There were even authors that made suspicious in the first few lines of their studies. When I told him, he laughed, and told me this in fact was quite familiar to him.

There is something underlying this behavior on my side, its a personal ethical code, even for this very, very secular Catholic. Is it purely Catholic or also post WWII? ... I have no idea.

Now concerning India/Indians. At the time I lived in England, I occasionally went into shops close by, because they offered something I missed in England ... For whatever reason, I felt very, very uncomfortable to visit the shop when only the male Indian shopkeeper was present. After that I only went there after checking if his wife was present.
I had absolutely no idea about India at that point in time.

Could he have been Muslim too? Or do you think he obviously was a Hindu?

The Hindu mythology, not it's present expressions, no doubt is interesting.


But apart from that, I never ever understood the flood of Westerners going to India in search of ethical or whatever "spiritual" guidance or leadership in life. India and it's history and mythical traditions is far, far too complex for any of us who simply tries to escape to grasp. There wasn't only Sanskript, as far as language and scripture is concerned.


"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms.

It is a conception quite unworthy of free men.

When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings.

We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face.

We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages.

A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past, or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men."

What We Must Do, Bertrand Russell


Russell blathering

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