[b-hebrew] Genesis 31:47

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Nov 24 11:20:29 EST 2007

On Nov 22, 2007 7:17 PM, kenneth greifer wrote:
> Yitzhak,
> You said that Jim should publish his ideas in a scholarly journal instead of
> putting his ideas on B-Hebrew. You know very well that that is impossible for
> amateur Bible "researchers" or whatever they are called. Only highly educated
> experts would even know how to write an article for a scholarly journal.

This is all wrong.  First, I don't say Jim shouldn't put his ideas out
for discussion.
I just think that after two weeks or so of discussion, then Jim has already made
whatever use he could of a mailing list discussion of his ideas, and
it is time to
take the next step.  I don't think Jim's ideas would get published,
though, simply
because I don't think they are convincing.  The fact that Jim is here trying to
convince others and not doing any much progress, suggests that he doesn't have
a convincing idea to begin with.  I personally see no point in drawing out the
discussion here.  What does he gain by arguing it out here on the
mailing list and
(apparently) not convincing anybody?  An article that is published --
even if it doesn't
convince anyone -- becomes part of the growing body of knowledge available to
scholars.  Scholars don't make use of mailing list discussions in any
direct way.
They make use of (mostly) published ideas.

"Amateur researchers" who want to be able to propose ideas capable of competing
with scholarship, simply need to educate themselves appropriately, as
well as make
proper use of the library.  Jim does seem to make sufficient use of
the library.  They
also need to know how to sift their own ideas, because scholars do
this all the time.
The good product doesn't just come by magic -- it comes after many bad
ideas have
been considered and rejected.  Today, there are several online
journals available
for publishing.  For example - JHS http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/JHS/
Journals keep guidelines of how to submit -- in JHS there is a
submission link at the
bottom, and even journals that don't publish online generally have a
website with
submission instructions.

I have some of my own ideas and I tested them here and on other lists to see how
they get received.  But after a bit of discussion, I don't continue to
argue it out on the
list.  Rather, then it is time to do the work of writing it out on
paper.  There are many
loose ends that don't get appropriate exposure on a list discussion
and they need to
be carefully worked out.  And I'm no different than you or Jim.  I am
an "amateur
researcher" just as much as you.  I read a lot, but I have no formal
education in the
subject.  Because of this, one of my intentions after I work out a
paper that works out
the idea clearly, and has clear complete footnotes, is to then submit
it online to
experts to exercise some personal peer-review.  Currently I have
something in the
works related to the classification of NWS languages.  I have only
very little discussed
it on list, and refrained from raising my ideas even when the
discussion centered
around points that have to do with my study.  But I did test out the
basic concept
on ANE-2. (In fact, it was more of a general question that I asked,
and the ensuing
discussion led me to do the appropriate research).

So nothing is impossible.  You don't have to fear or expect that you cannot ever
write for a journal.  All you have to do is to study some subject,
have a good idea,
let the facts drive your research (rather than a preconceived belief),
and be ready
to sift out bad ideas as your research shows them to be untenable.  Who know?
Maybe you'll hit some point of view that no one tried before, and yet
all of a sudden
it makes the evidence seems clearer.  But, that point of view still
has to convince
others -- not just yourself. :)

And to stress again one important point -- there is nothing wrong with
arguing out
or discussing ideas on list, and I'm certainly not one to determine
what goes or does
not.  It is all much the better if ideas do get discussed on list!
The problem I have
with Jim's approach is that he discusses his idea for months at a time
and I think
this just shows that it is time to move on to either print it out,
publish it on a web-
site, in a journal (the most preferable way, if he can convince the
journal that it is a
good idea..), and if he doesn't publish it in any of these ways,
still, move on.  There
are many more ideas to discuss.  But again, it's just my opinion.

Yitzhak Sapir

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