Assaulting an Impasse

Bryan Rocine 596547 at
Fri Jan 15 17:35:05 EST 1999

Dear Fritz and other B-Haverim,

Thanks for your concern re Dr. Barre's posts and the issue of censorship.

I have no doubt you realize better than I the diversity of faiths and/or
world views that may be accounted for on a list like this.  Our charter
expresses a mission that will accept them all, and part of accepting them
all is to treat them with sensitivity.  Some of Dr. Barre's statements
treat some faith perspectives and/or world views as...I don't know...little
better than non-entities or insignificant(?).  For instance, what about the
"very few"?  Do we know who they are?  Are some on our list?  Are they
second class citizens?  If they want to be on the list and handle
themselves in a scholarly and professional manner, shall everyone be
willing to treat them with respect and sensitivity?  Shall the 'scholars'
just roll over them because the 'scholars' have some majority position? 
There have, in the past, been orthodox Jews on the list.  I am not sure if
there are now.  There are fundamentalist and/or evangelical Christians. 
Are all of these not welcome?  Skepticism towards the historicity of the
Tanak often does not "prevail" with these 'fundamentalist' world views as
it does with the apparently superior(according to Dr. Barre's post)
documentary hypothesis(d.h. is my term, not his).  That doesn't mean we
can't talk about the d. h. or different world views.  It means we should be
very sensitive when talking about issues related to the views to which many
members of the list have actually devoted their entire lives at great

As to censorship:  
1.  I let a lot go.  Particularly in the middle of a thread, when people
start responding to good points with good points but they also are likely
to mix in some less-than-kind statements.  I say "you're all big boys and
girls."  ;-)     Besides, I do not relish the role of referee!  But heh,
folks, let's try to be good even mid-thread!  On the other hand, I do not
think it's at all wise to get a thread *started* on the wrong foot.  I am
afraid Dr. Barre made several attempts to start provocative threads in the
recent past.

2.  This is not an anything-goes list.  It is therefore monitored.  Please
note, however, that the list is not monitored according to the staff's
world view.  It's monitored according to the b-hebrew charter.  For
instance, though I disagree with Hutchesson's world view personally, when
he wrote me off-list, asking whether he should continue in a recent thread
with a very archaeological bend, I told him to go ahead because I felt he
was staying within the boundaries of the list charter a reasonable amount
of the time.  Then he got quite a bit of heat for his position, and I
thought he handled himself gracefully most of the time.  Sometimes
monitoring means that posts must come to the staff for approval before they
go on to the list.  

3.  Among the scores of posts I have reviewed prior to sending them on to
this list, I have yet to disapprove one.  Yet I would have disapproved
several of Dr. Barre's recent posts.  I would have sent them back to him
with a recommendation to re-word them so they were more friendly and
sensitive to religious people on our list.  Do you have a problem with


> From: Fritz Knobloch <fknobloc at>
> To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
> Subject: Re: Assaulting an Impasse
> Date: Friday, January 15, 1999 1:50 PM
> Bryan,
> So far as I can see, the lines that you quote from Barre are neither
> controversial nor condescending.  They simply allude to the prevailing
> scholarly reticence to construct history from the pre-monarchical
> traditions.  What's more, Barre goes on to conclude that it is "highly
> that the HB does contain traditions that had a pre-monarchic origin." 
> assessment of the Albright school is widely shared.  Barre doesn't make
> hominem arguments, but discusses ideas.  That (not censorship) is what
> to happen on a list that values learned contributions.   
> Bryan Rocine wrote:
> > 
> > There are learned people of faith on this mailing list, both Jewish and
> > Christian.  They are to be respectful of the faiths of each other and
> > yours.  A thread of this nature will be innappropriate on this list as
> > will be impossible to carry on such a discussion without creating
> > I have no doubt you realize the sensitive nature of such a topic, and
> > this reason I am disappointed that you would use this forum to provoke
> > members of faith with such condescending words as your first two
> > shown below.
> > 
> > Are you intent on creating controversy and crisis?  If so please take
> > effort to another list.  As for now, I am asking Jonathan Robie to put
> > on probation.
> > > Many or perhaps most members on this list know there a deep, learned
> > > skepticism prevails with regard to our historical knowledge of
> > > pre-monarchic "Israel."  These days very few are willing to commit to
> > > historical reconstructions regarding the eras of the patriarchs, the
> > > exodus, the wanderings, the "conquest," or even for the so-called ear
> > > the Judges.
> :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
> 				Dr. Frederick W. Knobloch
> 				Department of Religion
> 				La Salle University
> 				1900 West Olney Ave.
> 				Phila., PA 19141-1199

B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13208


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