b-hebrew digest: November 22, 1999

Bill Rea cctr114 at its.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Nov 23 16:18:25 EST 1999

Peter Kirk wrote:-

>I think we do need to decide and agree whether this list is for 
>discussion of the biblical Hebrew language only or for wider 
>discussion of the Hebrew Bible. In recent months it has become almost 
>solely the latter, as the great majority of threads have had little to 
>do directly with the Hebrew language. I am happy with this situation, 
>but if others are not, maybe we need to reconsider the scope of this 

Then Jim West replied:-

>For my part I would like to see the list focus strictly on the Hebrew
>language- not only of the Bible but the DSS and other such literature.
>There are numerous lists which are set up for discussion of
>literary-critical and historical critical matters; i.e., Miqra, and for
>German, Mikra.  TC issues can be addressed at the tc-list.  In short- there
>are a plethora of lists available.  Focus, then, is desirable else we merely
>have a lot of duplication of purpose.

I am a founding member of this list and one of the people who's
opinions were canvased as to whether a list such as this one (and 
it's companion Greek list) was needed. It's purpose has changed a 
lot over the years. 

Originally the list was found by Christians, but we chartered the list
in such a way as to encourage Jewish people to join. Our original idea
of "scholarly" was rather un-scholarly. At one point there were several
Jewish/Christian clashes and to our very great loss a number of Jewish
people left. So some of the functions of the list as a place to discuss
interpretive matters were dropped. I don't think we ever expected to
see atheists here, but they're here too. The final nail in the coffin 
of the distinctively Christian nature of the list was driven in 
when the institution hosting the list and the list owner changed.

The problem of making the list subject too wide is one of volume
of email. I read all posts exhaustively, and sometimes to exhuastion :-)
Each of us only has a limited amount of time to read/digest/respond to 
email. So with growing numbers of participants it is necessary,
for purely pragmatic reasons, to limit the scope of the list.

While I personally would like to see historical, literary, theological
and interpretation discussions here, the volume is too great at times.

There is also the question of whether genuine learning is taking
place.  With the historical discussions in recent months there appear,
to my eyes, to be a lot of arguing out of entrenched positions, snide
remarks, insults, and out right attacks on individuals. Trying to find
the gold among the dross has been quite hard at times.  With the purely
Hebrew language disucssions there has been a lot more gold and fewer 

So I'm in favour of limiting the scope to the language.

Bill Rea, Information Technology Services, University of Canterbury  \_ 
E-Mail b dot rea at its dot canterbury dot ac dot nz                 </   New 
Phone   64-3-364-2331, Fax     64-3-364-2332                        /)  Zealand 
Unix Systems Administrator                                         (/' 

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