Is this a rock or not? I Would like to know

Jonathan D. Safren yon_saf at
Fri Feb 16 10:14:39 EST 2001

Clayton Stirling Bartholemew wrote, in response to my posting , in which I
wrote, inter alia,:
[JDSafren]> > However, at times Biblical Hebrew does sink into disputation.
For this
> > reason, some of my coleagues refuse to subscribe to this list,
> > the ANE List instead, where the moderator makes short shrift of anyone
> > dares preach his faith to the academic community.
> > It might be a good idea to adopt such a policy on this list as well.
[CSBartholemew]> Secularism is a faith position like any other. You will not
get away from it
> on the ANE list or any other list. The old myth the secular biblical
> is objective has been thoroughly debunked but a lot of university
> have not yet heard the news and continue to promote this fiction. The idea
> that "secularism" is a safe haven from ideology is being systematically
> dismantled in hard sciences but the biblical studies folks don't seem to
> paying attention. They are still living in the good old days when the
> "secularism" was given a free ride and was declared off limits from
> criticism. These days are over with. "Secularism" has been unmasked as the
> state religion of most of the western world. Like all state religions it
> excessively repressive and leads to thought control and speech police.
[JDSafren] I have never taken any faith-oriented position on this list,
whether Jewish, secularist or heterodox. What I have insisted on is that we
stick to the simple meaning of the text in context in the context the world
in which it was created and the audience for whom it was intended. Latest
example: the discussion ojn Isaiah &:14.
Faith-oriented positions will destroy the common ground on which this list
is founded.

[CSBartholemew]> What we are seeing on this list is an attempt to silence
challenges to the
> state religion.  You might as well get used to these challenges. They are
> not going to stop.
[JDSafren] If, by "state religion", you mean a philologically-oriented
approqach to the Hebrew Bible, I am very saddened by what you are saying,
because it endangers the existence of academic discussion. Do you mean to
return to the state religions that actually did exist in the Middle Ages,
and that still do exist, to my own personal sorrow, in some of the less
enlightened portions of the world?
Ian Hutchesson, with whom I often and sharply disagree on matters of
biblical research, has my full support when he writes, in response to your
above words,

"The logic here is incorrect. We are not getting challenges to the "state
religion", we are getting off-topic mainly theologically, mainly Christian,
mainly inerrantist, loaded posts which can have no other effect than being
divisive. If such posts do not stop, I predict that they will destroy the
list (as it is) in their inconsiderateness and their irrelevance to the
purpose of the list, ie getting at the untinged communications of the
writers of the OT/HB"


Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College
44905 Israel

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