[b-hebrew] collecting myrrh and honey

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Oct 24 09:31:36 EDT 2007


On 10/23/07, Yaakov Stein <yaakov_s at rad.com> wrote:
> Karl
> > I get the impression that you have an agenda that you are attempting
> > to prove, and that you are closed to evidences that contradict that
> > agenda. Is that true? If so, is there any reason to continue this
> > discussion?
> I have no agenda other than looking at a hypothetical construct
> and playing around with it in an attempt to see if anything comes of it.
And I am playing the devil's advocate saying that unless you come up
with something far more substantive, there is nothing there.

> I think that the Samson story is riddled with word play,
> and thus that it is probable that the riddle should play out that way as
> well.
While there is some, e.g. "heifer" = "wife", are you not trying to
read more into it than is there?

> But that is only a "feeling". Perhaps a feeling enforced by many years
> of carefully reading the bible over and over, with sensitivity to the
> hebrew words,
> but still only a feeling.
In Hebrew, or in English?

> I am the first to admit that without supporting evidence
> my particular trial is dubious. I was hoping that someone else would
> have
> proposed something better.
And why isn't the plain reading of the text "something better"?

> Your opinion that no word play is involved is certainly self-consistent,
> and indeed remains the default assumption until someone
> comes up with evidence to the contrary.
> That doesn't mean that I should stop trying to find an interpretation
> that justifies my feeling.
You have a feeling, but so far you have shown me no reason why I
should share your feeling.

I have read the story many times and thought that there was more than
meets the eye, but the answer I found was not in butting my head
against the story itself, but when reading other parts of Bible. The
answer that was key for me that I found was in realizing that "riddle"
meant "didactic question", then the subsequent actions of the
Philistines made sense.

I also realized that Samson never intended that his guests guess the
answer to his question because it made reference to data that he had
told only to his wife, and that only because she was nagging him.

> In another thread you were talking about scientific method.
> As an active scientist (theoretical physicist to be exact) of many years
> I can tell you that I have never met a mainstream scientist or
> mathematician
> who bases his research programs on "scientific method".
> Research is always driven by a "feeling" that something interesting
> will arise if one looks carefully enough in a certain direction.
> Of course, before one publishes the feelings are covered up,
> and everything proven as if it was pure mechanical deduction.
> But at informal meetings, and on email lists (I participate in a few
> dozen),
> people throw about wild ideas and try to convince others of them.
> Someone else will play devil's advocate and try to disprove the idea.
> That is the way progress is made.
Yet, in the 1970s, when I realized that Dr.s Simpson and Beck had
defined science and evolution in such a way that evolution could never
be scientific, recognizing that I could have misunderstood the
textbook, I then went to the local university library and checked many
other textbooks, not only in biology, but also physics and chemistry,
and of those that gave a definition for science, they all gave the
same definition. I also checked other biology textbooks for the
definition of evolution, and got the same definition. But today, under
the influence of philosophers such as Karl Popper and others, as well
as the actual practice of many "scientists" today, it appears that the
definition of science is changing and that the role of the scientist
is also changing from a searcher after truth to the guardian of
esoteric knowledge accessible only to those initiates who follow them,
much like the priesthood of ancient mystery religions. The role of
peer review in publishing appears to reinforce that change.

This story reminds me of a famous electrical researcher of a century
ago, who in the 1930s while in semi-retirement complained that most
physicists had abandoned sound science and were doing philosophy
instead. That researcher continued to do some experiments but didn't
reveal to the public how he did them, a couple of which have baffled
people ever since because they were inexplicable by the rules of
quantum mechanics and relativity theory. That researcher's name?
Nikola Tesla. He never followed Einstein nor ever agreed with
relativity theory.

> I consider this list a place to try out ideas on biblical hebrew,
> including completely unsubstantiated ones.
I agree with you on the trying out of ideas, but when you throw out an
idea and nobody backs you up, shouldn't you do the same as what you
would do on a physics list, namely go back and do some more spade work
to get more evidence to back up your idea?

> Yaakov (J) Stein
Karl W. Randolph.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list