[b-hebrew] Calm Down! (FROM MODERATORS)

George Athas george.athas at moore.edu.au
Tue Oct 16 18:12:31 EDT 2007

Let me clear up a few issues for the benefit of our members:

Firstly, B-Hebrew is not a forum that is 'Torah-based'. While the
Torah is an object of study, along with other ancient Hebrew
literature, it is academic study we are pursuing here. No commitment
to any particular set of beliefs is required to participate in
discussion. In other words, you do not have to believe in the Torah as
an authoritative word from God to be a member of B-Hebrew. In fact,
stating personal religious beliefs (for or against Torah) as absolutes
is not allowed on B-Hebrew. In that regard, people who hold strong
views about the biblical literature are advised to be circumspect in
their comments. The only prerequisite for participating in discussion
is the ability to reason and provide evidence based on the rules of
logic (not religion).

Secondly, and related to the first, statements of religious,
political, or ethnic supremacy will not be tolerated.

Thirdly, academics have been referring to the southern Levant as
'Palestine' for many, many years. Yes, it is a convention that
probably goes back to Roman times, but it is one that is accepted
within academic circles, and it should not be taken as making any
political, ethnic, or religious statement (unless, of course, such a
statement is insinuated in the context). We have no problem calling
the civilisation of the Nile 'Egypt', even though they themselves
never called it that before the arrival of the Greeks (they knew their
land as 'Kemet'). The same might be said for Phoenicia and Syria. The
term is innocuous. If you prefer to call the southern Levant by
another name (e.g., Eretz Yisrael, Canaan, Retenu, Levant, Cisjordan,
Eastern Mediterranean Littorral, Judah/Samaria/Galilee), then by all
means do. The main thing is to ensure that others will know what you
are talking about.

Fourthly, discussion of Arabic is relevant to our forum insofar as it
sheds light on Hebrew. Since the two are cognate languages, there will
probably be much reason to engage in such discussion. The same goes
for other cognate languages like Aramaic, Phoenician, Moabite,
Ugaritic, Akkadian, etc. Just remember to keep the focus on informing
our study of Hebrew.

Fifthly, can everyone please consider the effects of their posts on
others (especially on your humble, trusty moderators who just want to
make sure everyone enjoys their swim in Hebrew waters).


Best Regards, 
Fellow Chairman, B-Hebrew 
Moore Theological College (Sydney) 
1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia 
Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774 


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