[b-hebrew] Deconstructionism

davidfentonism at aim.com davidfentonism at aim.com
Tue Apr 10 23:15:02 EDT 2007


  Dear Yitzhak,   “A slave can choose not to be a slave. And that leaves us in a classic deconstructive situation. Classically, a deconstruction takes hold of a pair of binary oppositions that have been passing as valid currency, exposes the faults in the distinctions that are drawn between them, the definitions that claim to separate them, and shows how, to some extent, each is implied in the other. For practical purposes it may well serve to continue employing the concept of an oppositional pair, but the deconstructive enterprise has pointed out the fragility, and perhaps the ultimate futility, of the distinction.”   This definition, to my mind, comports both with the context and definition wherein I spoke of deconstructionism which read: A philosophical theory of criticism (usually of literature or film) that seeks to expose deep-seated contradictions in a work by delving below its surface meaning. If I recall correctly, my point was that skeptical scholars pretend their critique is ‘objective’ rather than subjectively biased against the very text/belief system as evidenced by their need to expose “the faults in the distinctions that are drawn between” what the text claims and what it actually says in their critical eyes, of course.   Aside from this point, the argument above notions of slave vs. free in the article is barely intelligible. It might have been more worthy if the author constructed the same argument on the slave/free idea around a Hebrew vs. non-Hebrew conception and practice of slavery. To use the Hebrew idea against itself merely because it included facets which derive from their peculiar relation to Hashem in Whom is life, freedom, mercy, etc. Contrasted to the ba’alim of the nations (in which there is death, slavery, hatred, etc.), I would expect the Hebrew conception slavery to be different and with provisions to mitigate the harshness of the reality of the ancient world. The author finds the Hebrew law which allowed escaped slaves to remain free to be non-commonsensical but that’s because of the non-Hebrew thought being applied to what derives from a peculiar, Hebrew, thought system. I’ve touched on this before.   Respecting the “Proverbs 9 Deconstructed” essay, I find the “indeterminacy” in the author’s viewpoint of the prohibition to murder in Genesis 9.5-6 does not exist in the Hebrew mind. The author must ignore all sorts of observable sociocultural and historical informants to find “indeterminacy.” It was at that point I bet with myself that the rest of the essay would be more of the same and it was. For me, Sneed’s premise is necessarily false and apparently applies a modern secular sensibility of ‘making language sexy’ to hold readers’ interest. In Hebrew thought, it is a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. Nowhere do we find any accommodation of Elohistic/Yahvist principles of holiness (i.e., setting oneself apart by carrying out Hashem’s tsedakah or doing for others as He does) for the sake of arousing the interests of the unholy (i.e., those not set apart by their tsedakah or for whom the authority of Torah is not enough). In that case, Sneed imposes his own “boredom” on the writer (Sholomo or Solomon) of the Proverbs which is not only without evidence but contradicts the character and integrity of the very content of the Proverbs themselves. Another big problem with Sneed’s take is that it ignores the real authorship of the Proverbs is attributed to the Holy Spirit. Sneed’s aim, as I said of deconstructionists or skeptics or secular scholars, is to “show how the eroticization of wisdom has a darker and more sinister side” (p. 3). Thus, the deconstructionist aims of the authors of the articles was to attack, defame and mischaracterize in the name of revealing the “truth” rather than scriptural truth (which is inaccessible to them in the first place) just as I said originally. I would add, this is not to blame skeptics for doing their best to apprehend the text through their own human agency as there is no alternative which might facilitate the understanding/wisdom except to begin with the fear of Y- -H. The flesh is opposed to the spirit and the things of the spirit are spirit and must be understood by the spirit. This is all foolishness to the skeptical mind as it was for me as an undergraduate I the mid 1980s. I do not fault you nor accuse you, Yitzhak. I am only describing it from the perspective of the believer in terms which do not require the Ruach nor emunah.   Having said this, I appreciate the articles on other sociolinguistic grounds for use in essays where I eviscerate the façade of the postmodernist double-standard known as political correctness. In that sense, these are prime examples in support of my initial charge against the malevolent character of the commentary by skeptics on things scriptural. The ironic part is, as I’ve been saying, all they have to rely on is a knowledge of Hebrew (in some or even many cases) which is itself a stumbling stone to their understanding of scriptural truth (that is, tsedakah). They too often tend to approach the text with the presupposition that the only tools necessary for apprehension of its meaning are Hebrew literacy and intelligence. Heck, even the Sadducees, Herodians, and Shammaites had that and did not even understand that their own Oral Torah permitted healing on the Sabbath (as Yehoshua did) amongst many other things (e.g., oaths and vows).   I was prepared to present a more developed response to the two articles you provided links for but that has and would take me too far away from the essential error I find in your response (below). Here goes: (1) I do not construct nor define deconstructionists “in opposition to those who hold by biblical inerrancy” as you have but according to the definition I supplied after you challenged my use which you described (below) as “a very succinct summary of the entire method.…” (2) Having asked myself as I hope you do now “how really are the deconstructionists opposed to inerrancy,” my response is in the very same ways I stated in my original post to I defer, and which also drew your ire. I would add now that deconstructionists argue a “reality” that is their own (based upon the limitation of their own experience) because the scriptural alternative is not only out of the question for them but its truth is entirely un-apprehensible by them despite their towering intellects. They see no intrinsic correlation between the Signified and the signifiers and believers know there is because the signifiers derive directly from the Signified and not any extrinsic sociocultural-historical inputs. I haven’t emptied deconstructionism of what it really means but it seems that you have approached that from my reading of your response. 
 
  Best regards, David Fenton
     ----------------------------
 Gal. 27-29: For as many as have had a tevilah into Moshiach have clothed yourselves with Moshiach. There is not Yehudi nor Yevani (Greek), there is not eved (servant) nor ben chorin (freedman), there is not zachar (male) nor nekevah (female), for you are all echad in Moshiach Yehoshua/Yeshua. And, if you belong to Moshiach (YESHAYAH 53:10), then you are of the ZERAH of Avraham Avinu, you are yoreshim (heirs) according to the havtachah (promise).   
 -----Original Message-----
 From: yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
 To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
 Sent: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 10:20 AM
 Subject: [b-hebrew] Deconstructionism
 
  Dear David,

In your original use of the word "desconstructionists," it was used in
the following sentence: "I am not making an argument for the inerrancy
of the TN'K here but the unbridgeable difference between the interpretive
lenses of those who accept the inerrancy of the TN'K as originally
scripted and those deconstructionists who work from their own
preconceived notions."  As such, it places deconstructionists in
opposition to those who hold by biblical inerrancy.  This is not
deconstructionism.  While you have quoted a dictionary definition,
this definition is a very succinct summary of the entire method and in
fact does not do much to explain what it really is.  So, here are
examples of deconstruction of some biblical texts:

http://www.shef.ac.uk/bibs/DJACcurrres/Postmodern1/Ethics.html
http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/JHS/Articles/article_66.pdf

I suggest you read them, and then ask yourself how really are
the deconstructionists opposed to inerrancy?  In reality, it seems that
you have used deconstructionism as a label, emptying it of what it
really means.

Yitzhak Sapir
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