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

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 30 18:32:43 EST 2007

Dear Kirk,

I'm afraid I did not exactly say what you attribute to me, viz. that 
"b-hebrew exists to promote scholarly discussion." Rather, I said that 
b-hebrew is a list which "seeks to promote scholarly sincerity in 
relation to the analysis and discussion of BH". This is quite different 
and what I take it George meant when he said: "let's create an 
environment where we can exchange ideas cordially and in a scholarly 

"Scholarly discussion" and "scholarly sincerity/scholarly manner" are 
not the same things to my mind. Like I said, the value of the list 
diminishes if people move on. But so too the value of the list 
diminishes if scholarly disciplines are not maintained nor expected. So 
sure: we should be allowed free speech as it pertains to the list bounds 
-- but not everything falling under "free speech" should be allowed if 
it is essentially "statements of fact" without any corroborative 
evidenced adduced. Indeed, the list guidelines state: "support your 
counterpoints with evidence". But what if the *main points* are not even 

David Kummerow.

> 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'.
> />/
> /
> David,
> 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 
> charge.
> Imagine the exodus from b-hebrew if *I* took charge and controlled what 
> everyone could say?!
> Blessings,
> Kirk
> 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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