feuilletons

lightly edited impressions on books and the arts

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MALORY: “It’s public television, they don’t pay anything. All they do is suck money in. They take our taxes…”

LANA: “Or donations. Whatever.”

MALORY: “Of pre-tax dollars from pot-taking Bolshevik lesbian couples! And then PBS mixes it all in with their huge NEA grants, launders it in inner-city methadone clinics and then pumps it right back out to pro-abortion super PACs.”

From Archer, Season 5, “Southbound and Down.”

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Of Camels and Midrash: Why the Bible May Be Wrong About Where Some of the Old Testament Took Place

This tidbit was recently in Forbes Magazine: Dr Lidar Sapir-Hen and Dr Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University used radiocarbon dating and other techniques to place the arrival of domestic camels at around 900BC. Their article was published in Tel Aviv, Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University.

900 BC, of course, is AFTER the events described in the Pentateuch which mention camels over twenty (20) times.  Drs. Sipar-Hen and Ben-Yosef explain this by saying, ” in addition to challenging the Bible’s historicity, this anachronism is direct proof that the text was compiled well after the events it describes.”

I ask what if it’s NOT proof that the Bible was compiled after the events it describes? What if the text was compiled contemporaneously, as many Biblical scholars believe?  If so, then the events took place somewhere where there were camels.  I — like many — believe that the evidence suggests the events of the Old Testament, including the Kingdoms of Solomon and David and the First Temple, lie not in Palestine but in a (then) fertile coastal strip in West Arabia.

There are sound reasons to adhere to this revisionist interpretation.  First, there is, of course, no actual ancient translation of the ancient Hebrew books of the Bible, only translations of translations of this complex language which contained no vowels. 

Second, I refer to Kamal Salibi’s The Bible Came from Arabia (out of print) as the most authoritative study in support of this proposition.  Not only does it explain the camel anachronism, it explains the absence of Biblical place names from the Levant. Salibi uses a sophisticated linguistic analysis to prove that when transposed to West Arabia rather than contemporary Israel, the place names make perfect sense and are easily located.

Further, Salibi explains how “Jordan” (h-yrdn) actually means “escarpment” or “ridge” rather than the proper name of a river in the Near East.  Bearing this in mind, Joshua 3:16, the chronicle of the crossing of the Jordan by the Israelites, may be retranslated to refer to actual place names in the area of Asir in Western Arabia in a way that fully traces the journey in a way which has never been traced in the area of greater Israel.

Finally, this would explain the ancient Yemenite Jewish community and the references to the coming of the Queen of Sheba (present-day Yemen) to Solomon in the Book of Kings.

I recognize that this interpretation has political implications, none of which interest me,  

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Mogwai - Remurdered

M M M M M M Mogwai!

If loving these crazy Scottish bastards is wrong I don’t wanna be right.