[b-hebrew] BO and BO): about Isaac Fried's book

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Aug 15 05:33:03 EDT 2007

On 8/15/07, kenneth greifer wrote:
> I tanakh listed Isaac Fried's book as a resource for academic study without
> knowing anything about it? I doubt Christopher Heard would just put up any
> wacky internet site on his list of sites for further study, or would he?
> Also, scholars are unlikely to ever read any book written by a person who is
> not a PhD in their field. The only way to get them to read his book would be
> for lots of average people to read it, and then the scholars would get upset
> and read his book to say that he is wrong like they did for the DaVinci
> code, etc.

You seem to have some very fixed and wrong opinions about scholars.  I suggest
you start talking to them instead of about them.  Read what they
write.  Scholars
didn't read the Da Vinci Code after lots of average people read it.
They read it
amongst the average people.  It was a best selling fiction, and you
know, scholars
are average people too.  Of course, they don't just read "books
written by a person
who is a PhD in their field."  Taking the Da Vinci Code and treating
it as a source
text for biblical studies is like a physicist using Star Trek as a
source for physics.
It may be interesting and have creative ideas, but it is not
scholarship.  Now, there
are all kinds of books written by non-scholars.  Some are no doubt written by
cranks.  Others are non-PhDs who have nonetheless spent time in studying
some issue and writing up a rigorous work of scholarship.  All of these do get
read by scholars and PhDs but a scholar is much more likely to find worthwhile
only the second group.  Rather than assuming scholars are not open to new
ideas, consider that they just might find the ideas or methodology to be wrong.
Isaac Fried often describes his idea as just a different approach than standard
linguistics.   However, he basically views modern linguistics as worthless for
Hebrew.  If you think some current scholarship is wrong, you can publish
articles or books that prove it by taking examples of the current
scholarship and
pointing out why they are wrong.  If you have a new idea, you can show how it
fits in the current understanding of linguistics.  But you can't just
ignore a whole
body of study and consider yourself as having reinvented the wheel.  Of course,
you can publish what you want, but don't expect scholars to take particular
notice of what you write if you find no reason to take notice of what
they write.
(Even so, your work will probably be read by scholars anyway).  Now, I contacted
Christopher Heard and told him what I think and he wrote back pointing out the
earlier quoted paragraph from his website.  He never said he didn't
know anything
about it.  He said his use of the term "academic resources" is very loose, and I
guess he prefers to err on the side of inclusion than on the side of
exclusion.  He
does not say he agrees with it, and if it is important for you to know what he
thinks, you could always write to him.  He wrote to me that he is no longer a
subscriber on this list.

Yitzhak Sapir

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