I Dare You Not to Have Typos in Your Book

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, May 18 2014 7:44 AM

The below is from Heiser's book--note the second paragraph:

Help me out here before I report this...does the highlighted part seem to create a double negative that negates the point Heiser is trying to make? I want to make sure I'm reading this right.

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 7:57 AM

I'm surprised you went after the culturally contexted reverse negative (yes ... I think by the time he got down to 'refuse', he had left 'cannot' in the dust).  Actually I suspect, if like me, it's an edited sentence.

But lucky for the world at large, there's so many barely anthropoids that have successfully figured out God after only 4,000 years.  We are a lucky generation.

OT: My software analytics actually use the theory of writing that attempts to track the writing mind as it plans forward, while trying to stay consistent with the past (sequence of words).

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 8:26 AM

David Paul:
Help me out here before I report this...does the highlighted part seem to create a double negative that negates the point Heiser is trying to make?

Yes it does.

Either "ignore" should be changed to "acknowledge," or else either "cannot," or "refuse to" should be dropped.  Dropping "cannot" makes the sentence more positive, telling us what we should do, rather than not do. Dropping "refuse to" makes the sentence more emphatic. Changing "ignore" to "acknowledge" works, but IMHO is the weakest option (least positive, less emphatic) that makes the same point.

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 8:39 AM

If this is what he intended to write, it is not a typo. A typo would be the misspelling of a word, or changing the order of the words from what the author originaly wrote.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 9:08 AM

Wow, English is indeed my second language! But honestly, I don't see anything wrong with the sentence (whether it's grammatically correct to some or not).  It's like saying: "We cannot be saved if we refuse to obey the gospel." The same applies to his sentence: "We cannot honor God__________if we refuse to ignore_________." Maybe the author was thinking in his native language when he wrote the sentence (assuming he speaks some other language besides English).

Hmm, as much as I hate grammar, I guess I should go back and refresh some rules.  Man, just thinking about it gives me a headache Tongue Tied

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 9:18 AM

DAL:
Maybe the author was thinking in his native language when he wrote the sentence (assuming he speaks some other language besides English).

I may be mistaken but I believe the author knows 12 languages (many ANE).

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 9:42 AM

Denise:

Actually I suspect, if like me, it's an edited sentence.

You are probably right; it's likely an edited sentence that didn't finish the conversion. I had one in a post of mine a day or two ago where I left an extraneous word in--but it's locked now. Sad

I am just starting the book, but I'm a little disappointed so far. Heiser seems to have a sense for identifying the sections of Scripture that many people avoid because they are difficult, uncomfortable, or inscrutable--that's the premise of his book, after all. That's great...it's why I was excited about getting it. But I'm kinda bummed he says stuff like the first paragraph above. YHWH didn't change Israel's culture??? Sabbath? Circumcision? Monotheism? Kashrut? The very concept of Israel being a "holy nation" insists and requires that they must be uncommon and unique. It isn't that I don't know what he's trying to say--it's just that he's saying way too much and/or not enough. And he says things that, given his ability to pinpoint difficult issues (which requires a certain level of perception), are just surprisingly disappointing. For instance, he actually perpetuates the whole "ancient Israelites and everyone around them were stone idiots" idea by regurgitating the "raaqiy`a means SOLID firmament" baloney.

If the sky was solid, how could birds fly in it? NO ONE ever thought the sky--the atmosphere--was solid. They thought it was material, yes, and having substance that was spread out and powerful ("strong", like blowing wind is powerful). But not solid.

TWOT gets this right:

I'm just starting the book, so I'm going to keep reading and expect him to fulfill the promise of the premise. But fuzzy thinking and shotgun statements aren't what you expect to find when trying to apply the laser and microscope to the admittedly difficult issues he promises to explore.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 9:47 AM

Richard DeRuiter:

Either "ignore" should be changed to "acknowledge," or else either "cannot," or "refuse to" should be dropped.  Dropping "cannot" makes the sentence more positive, telling us what we should do, rather than not do. Dropping "refuse to" makes the sentence more emphatic. Changing "ignore" to "acknowledge" works, but IMHO is the weakest option (least positive, less emphatic) that makes the same point.

Your analysis is exactly as mine--including your final point.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 10:10 AM

DAL:

Wow, English is indeed my second language! But honestly, I don't see anything wrong with the sentence (whether it's grammatically correct to some or not).  It's like saying: "We cannot be saved if we refuse to obey the gospel." The same applies to his sentence: "We cannot honor God__________if we refuse to ignore_________." Maybe the author was thinking in his native language when he wrote the sentence (assuming he speaks some other language besides English).

Hmm, as much as I hate grammar, I guess I should go back and refresh some rules.  Man, just thinking about it gives me a headache Tongue Tied

There is a difference in the two sentences you are comparing above which you are not noticing because it is a very subtle issue. The difference is the introduction of the word "ignore" in the second sentence. "Ignore" has a built in negation. The idea without the negation is "know" from "gnosis". By saying "ignore" the idea introduced is "not know". This turns the meaning 180 degrees.

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Robert M. Warren | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 10:55 AM

OT: Just remember:  If you're ever left in charge of a nuclear power plant, you can't put too much water in the cooling tank.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 11:23 AM

Robert M. Warren:

OT: Just remember:  If you're ever left in charge of a nuclear power plant, you can't put too much water in the cooling tank.

Is that the lesson of Fukushima?? Huh?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 11:25 AM

Deep/logical sentence structure:

If we refuse to ignore the deep worldview connections shared by both Israelites and pagans then we cannot honor God's choice of communication strategies.

Two negative polarity clauses in the proposition but not a double negative. But I suspect Heiser meant "If we refuse to acknowledge ..."

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 18 2014 12:07 PM

I think a good exegetical analysis of Robert's advice would refer to a Homer-ian viewpoint.  In the Fukushima sequence, it was the generators that had an excess of water, which then led to Homer's solution of keeping the hydrogen concentrated for as long as possible.

Also it should be observed the fossil record (created by God) does not demonstrate dinosaurs with helmets. Or at least none associated with a hardened globe above their collective heads.   I'd think the intent of the created evidence should be clear.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 19 2014 3:42 AM

David Paul:
But I'm kinda bummed he says stuff like the first paragraph above. YHWH didn't change Israel's culture??? Sabbath? Circumcision? Monotheism? Kashrut? The very concept of Israel being a "holy nation" insists and requires that they must be uncommon and unique. It isn't that I don't know what he's trying to say--it's just that he's saying way too much and/or not enough. And he says things that, given his ability to pinpoint difficult issues (which requires a certain level of perception), are just surprisingly disappointing.

That's also my reaction—and disappointment with the book. Call me naive and/or ill-informed, but I still hold to that old-fashioned idea that Israel's religion was revealed by God and not evolved from the surrounding culture.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 19 2014 4:07 AM

DAL:

I don't see anything wrong with the sentence (whether it's grammatically correct to some or not).  It's like saying: "We cannot be saved if we refuse to obey the gospel." The same applies to his sentence: "We cannot honor God__________if we refuse to ignore_________." Maybe the author was thinking in his native language when he wrote the sentence (assuming he speaks some other language besides English).

DAL,

the point is not that it were grammatically incorrect - it is correct, but in the meaning it gets over the multiple negatives it goes against the argument heiser is making. Your shortened version, highlighting the core sentence structure, could be rephrased as "if we want to honor God, we need to ignore XXX" - but Heiser's argument is that we should NOT ignore, but ackknowledge XXX (which is the cultural interconnectedness of Israel and its Near-Eastern neighbors). So the sentence is grammatically okay, but makes no sense in its context.

Well, at least for this ESL-reader/writer.

Mick

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 19 2014 4:09 AM

Thanks, David Paul for the wink towards TWOT regarding firmament!

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 19 2014 4:30 AM

David Paul:
If the sky was solid, how could birds fly in it? NO ONE ever thought the sky--the atmosphere--was solid. They thought it was material, yes, and having substance that was spread out and powerful ("strong", like blowing wind is powerful). But not solid.

Here is an explanation from John Walton:

Sky

The boundary between the heavens and the earth I will call the sky. Its main function is to hold back the waters above. Some mountains are identified as intersecting the sky and perhaps holding it up. In other contexts (e.g., Enuma Elish) there is no mention of what holds up the sky. Besides the sky being portrayed as a pavement of blue (Mesopotamian saggilmud-stone = blue/lapis/sapphire), Mesopotamian literature at times suggests that it is some sort of skin.13 It is represented by Nut in Egyptian iconography. In Pyramid Text 1040c the mountains hold up the sky, which can only happen if it is considered solid. The Hebrew term used for “sky” (raqi‘a) is of unspecified material, but in at least one text the reference is to something solid (Ezek. 1:25–26). We have no reason to suppose that the Israelites thought about the composition of the sky any differently than those around them. We know from Exodus 24:10 that they shared the idea of a pavement in God’s abode—and it is even of sapphire, as in the Mesopotamian texts.
P. Seely has traced the developments of beliefs about the sky. He demonstrates that intertestamental and rabbinic speculation sometimes focused on the material that the raqi‘a was made of and how thick it was. The church fathers likewise were united in their belief that the raqi‘a was solid. Seely concludes: “Astonishing as it may seem to the modern mind, with very rare exceptions the idea that the sky is not solid is a distinctly modern one. Historical evidence shows that virtually everyone in the ancient world believed in a solid firmament.”


John H. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 168–169.

Job 37:18 also clearly assumes that the skies are solid:  

Job 37:18 (ESV)

18  Can you, like him, spread out the skies,

hard as a cast metal mirror?  

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Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 19 2014 9:27 AM

Is this ANE mythology, or prescient wisdom? Most objects would find the sky impenetrable due to extreme temperatures and radiation... Anyway, it's metaphorical, e.g. skies as brass = no rain.

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Mike Heiser | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 19 2014 4:59 PM

You're right; missed in editing. Nice catch! - Mike Heiser

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 19 2014 8:09 PM

Joseph Turner:

David Paul:
If the sky was solid, how could birds fly in it? NO ONE ever thought the sky--the atmosphere--was solid. They thought it was material, yes, and having substance that was spread out and powerful ("strong", like blowing wind is powerful). But not solid.

Here is an explanation from John Walton:

Sky

The boundary between the heavens and the earth I will call the sky. Its main function is to hold back the waters above. Some mountains are identified as intersecting the sky and perhaps holding it up. In other contexts (e.g., Enuma Elish) there is no mention of what holds up the sky. Besides the sky being portrayed as a pavement of blue (Mesopotamian saggilmud-stone = blue/lapis/sapphire), Mesopotamian literature at times suggests that it is some sort of skin.13 It is represented by Nut in Egyptian iconography. In Pyramid Text 1040c the mountains hold up the sky, which can only happen if it is considered solid. The Hebrew term used for “sky” (raqi‘a) is of unspecified material, but in at least one text the reference is to something solid (Ezek. 1:25–26). We have no reason to suppose that the Israelites thought about the composition of the sky any differently than those around them. We know from Exodus 24:10 that they shared the idea of a pavement in God’s abode—and it is even of sapphire, as in the Mesopotamian texts.
P. Seely has traced the developments of beliefs about the sky. He demonstrates that intertestamental and rabbinic speculation sometimes focused on the material that the raqi‘a was made of and how thick it was. The church fathers likewise were united in their belief that the raqi‘a was solid. Seely concludes: “Astonishing as it may seem to the modern mind, with very rare exceptions the idea that the sky is not solid is a distinctly modern one. Historical evidence shows that virtually everyone in the ancient world believed in a solid firmament.”


John H. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 168–169.

Job 37:18 also clearly assumes that the skies are solid:  

Job 37:18 (ESV)

18  Can you, like him, spread out the skies,

hard as a cast metal mirror?  

Lee:

Is this ANE mythology, or prescient wisdom? Most objects would find the sky impenetrable due to extreme temperatures and radiation... Anyway, it's metaphorical, e.g. skies as brass = no rain.

Metaphorical? Actually, that's exactly NOT what people are saying. The commentators are not suggesting that the ancient Israelites (and others) spoke of the sky as "being like" or as "compared" to solid substance. Folks shake their head (see Walton's quote of Seely) and say flat out that the ancients thought the sky was solid--even though "solid" as we mean it isn't at all the concept in view in most of the verses in question.

So I wonder, did the ancients then consider the seas to be solid as well? I think we need to give a little bit of credit here, a little bit of consideration to the likelihood that they weren't flat out stupid. If we don't, chances are that we will be the ones having that adjective pinned to our lapels. Let's review...

Is air nothing? No, we all know that air is there, it's stuff, it's tangible...though in a highly intangible way. You can move it--you just can't take hold of it. And then there is the wind. Though we can't hold air, wind "holds" kites and airplanes up...though it is invisible. Ask Job about the wind (Job 1:18, 19) or Yeishuu`a (Jn. 3:8) or the apostles (Acts 2:2) or Paul (Acts 27:14, 15). They all knew perfectly well that air was SUBSTANCE...not nothing. Because it had force and power is precisely why the word-concept (the logos) is pneuma, (or ruuahh) encompassing spirit and air and wind and breath--invisible yet having active (and activating) agency.

So, let's turn the tables. I'm going to ask you now...is water solid? (Think "3 states" here...) No, it's a liquid, which means you can dive into it from that board in your back yard--or from the Acapulco cliffs. Now jump off the Golden Gate...is water solid? Well, now let's just say "it's solid enough". In certain circumstances it may as well be solid--it's "as good as" solid--because it "gets the job done". In other words, it "acts" like it is solid. When you hit the water at high speed, it "feels" solid. Hey...Yeishuu`a even walked on water! But...

....is water solid? No. It isn't. That kinda is and was the whole point...that's precisely why Him walking on water is intended to be perceived as a remarkable thing, because we know it isn't solid. But we may well talk about it like it has properties of seeming solidity. If we talk about it in that way, and then someone comes along later and says we believe that water is solid, is that accurate--or disingenuous? In fact, what I've just pointed out is probably the exact reason the Bible speaks about air in the way it does. It has some of the same remarkable properties that water has, only more so. It CAN be talked about as having solid properties, so they described it that way. Why? Because this brings glory to the Creator, who is able to make invisibility powerful.

I repeat...these people, based on sheer experience, knew pretty much what we know about air. In has substance, yes. Power, yes. Strength, yes. But is it SOLID? We don't think so and neither did they. 

This is where I now borrow your descriptor, Lee. The places where the Bible talks about the air in these ways are almost always employing figurative language. In most of these cases, yes, the language is metaphorical. The problem is that the commentators are not saying that. They are saying that the ancients thought the sky was literally solid. Not substancy--but SOLID. That's bunk.

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