[b-hebrew] Genesis 31: 47: What Foreign Language Is That? (FROM MODERATORS)

Kirk Lowery klowery at whi.wts.edu
Fri Nov 30 09:24:43 EST 2007

David Kummerow wrote, On 11/29/07 04:18:

> Hi George,
> To turn to your 'survivor' example, there is always the option for 
> people to 'remove themselves from the island' due to the 'conduct' of
> others on the 'island'.
> I'm with Yitzhak: a list that seeks to promote scholarly sincerity in
> relation to the analysis and discussion of BH should not have to suffer
> a continual barrage of entirely obvious erroneous and fanciful 
> mumbo-jumbo trotted out and paraded as matter-of-fact linguistic truth. 
> The list is, and should be, above this. Somewhere a line needs to be 
> drawn to protect long-suffering list members from 'voting themselves 
> off' in the interests of their in-box. The value of the list is 
> diminished if people move on because they have become 'sick of the island'.


People -- good people -- have left b-hebrew before this. It will 
unfortunately happen again.

You are in error if you think b-hebrew exists to promote scholarly 
discussion. That is secondary. It's primary purpose from the beginning 
has always been to offer a public forum for people who otherwise would 
not interact with one another directly. If it is public, and all may 
join, then there is no way to legitimately limit content that is within 
bounds of our charter. (There are exclusively scholarly forums, such as 
miqra, I believe.)

The moment we begin to monitor and control intellectual content, we 
immediately create a power structure and then the fight for control 
begins. Since I'm one of the moderators, do I get to be the censor? :-)

What I find valuable is the ability to interact with real 
representatives of points of view different from my own. And yes, to 
interact with those who knowledge is better than my own in all kinds of 
disciplines relating to the understanding of the Hebrew Bible.

The uniqueness of this kind of forum is that all levels of discussion 
are possible. No one controls or dominates the discussion. And it's 
*easy*  to filter out the nonsense. If I think someone is a bozo, I can 
simply ignore their postings. Or create a filter in my email program to 
delete them. I can identify those with whom I can have profitable 
discussions and only respond to them. And everyone else benefits, too.

I don't think "Survivor" is an accurate metaphor for our community. 
Everything we do here in our little corner of cyberspace is completely 
voluntary. Apart from the minimalist rules we have to make sure we can 
have civil and polite discussion on our charter topic(s), no one is in 

Imagine the exodus from b-hebrew if *I* took charge and controlled what 
everyone could say?!


B-Hebrew co-chair
Kirk E. Lowery, PhD, Director
The J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research
   (formerly, the Westminster Hebrew Institute)
Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
Blog: http://whi.wts.edu/blogs/kirk/
"Good boy, Dex!"
   -- Joseph "Sky Captain" Sullivan

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