Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

It seems Stark is the latest victim of the familiar disorder one of my readers designated JPHOCD. In spite of his pledge to no more interact with me, lo and behold: He has done so almost immediately.

As the wolf returns to his vomit, Peter might say.

So what does he have to say? His explorations of incompetence this time involve an attempt – if it can be called that – to defend the ludicrous dictum that adam and enash are exact synonyms – which is what they must be, for his thesis to work. Keep in mind that I agree they both refer to humans of some sort; however, I maintain that enash has a much richer meaning involving royal heritage, following Herzfeld.

Stark’s latest response does little to prove otherwise, though he does very well proving that he knows how to use a concordance. He merely lists places where he thinks enash means “human being” with absolutely no effort to analyze or exegete them, much less show that they are incompatible with the meaning Herzfeld assigned. This sort of fundamentalist proof-texting works well from the pulpit of, say, Westboro Baptist Church, but won’t get Stark very far in terms of scholarly credibility.

Since it is Stark’s burden to show this, I am not obliged to do his homework for him. I will comment merely on one or two where he makes a semblance of a point:

Job 10:4-5 (where enosh is explicitly contrasted with divinity)

Yes, and so what? I have never said that enash means “divinity” in terms of its specific semantic content. It would only mean that if the heir’s predecessor were divine. If it referred to a human heir, it would not. Is this so hard for Stark to understand? Or is he a member of the Bauerlein generation?

In Isa 8:1 it is used as an adjective meaning human or mortal modifying the word letters. In other words, write this in the letters of humans.

Not hardly. It says, “The LORD said to me: Take a large cylinder-seal, and inscribe on it in ordinary letters: ‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’ “ It is the word “ordinary” in this verse, but what Stark (and this translation) misses is that the instruction is to write, rather in the lettering of royalty, imitating the decree of a king. Stark is profoundly ignorant of the fact that in this period, the tools of the scribe were in the main the tools of the kingship and of those in power. “Ordinary letters” makes little sense in this context, and the understanding in these terms lacks the requisite socio-literary context. Besides, how could this be “human” letters? What else would it be written with? Dog scratch?

I will otherwise only comment on Stark’s attempt to rebut my own exegesis of Job 25:6, which he terms “sloppy”. I said:

Indeed, Job 25:6 is perfectly intelligible where enash means something like a royal heir, for 25:5 alludes to the moon and stars, the “rulers” of the night and symbols of governing powers (along with the sun). Thus the message would be that a human of no rank can match God. Stark failed to ask whether the meaning of enash supported by Herzfeld also was suitable to the context, if not more so, and so once again proved that his scholarship is of no depth to speak of, much less his analytical skills!

Stark writes:

Holding ignores v. 4 where enosh is used to refer to a mortal, and is paralleled in the bicolon with one born of woman. Enosh and one born of woman are synonymous, as are enosh and ben adam in v. 6.

No, sorry. This is Stark simply committing the same foolish error I called him down for before: Assuming that parallelism in structure automatically indicates parallelism in semantic content. It is like taking this sort of thing:

Thom Stark eats red meat,
and a slug eats grass.

And taking it to mean that Stark is literally a spineless, slimy invertebrate who crawls around leaving a trail – because “slug” is used in parallel phraseology with “Thom Stark”.

He says further:

Now, as for Holding’s interpretation of v. 5, you’ll note that he tries to go all apocalyptic on us, despite the fact that this is not an apocalyptic text. The moon and stars are not symbols here of political rulers.

That’s yet another crass error in logic. A text does not have to be thoroughly “apocalyptic” in its genre to use images that are otherwise used in apocalyptic texts. Here Stark is noticeably reading the text in a “fundamentalist” way, in which it is either all or nothing: Only an apocalyptic text, he is saying, can ever use any sort of imagery found in apocalyptic literature. That’s simply idiotic reasoning. (Moreover, there is no reason to think of stellar imagery like this as the exclusive province of apocalyptic texts.)

Thus Stark has done worse than missed the boat – he has crashed it into a wall. He should have just allowed this issue to have lived and let die.

One more note: Stark now backpedals on his claim that he promised never to respond to me again; rather, he says:

What I meant (as I explained to those who asked) is that I would no longer respond to his insults and personal attacks.

How convenient that the explanation has been handily left until this time to “those who asked”. In any event, it is an evident backpedal, and Stark is still lying: For he also said more recently that he was going to let me have the “last word”. Now, no doubt, he will say that he meant that he’ll let me have the “last word” at some point in the near future, he just didn’t specify when that “last word” would occur. No doubt Stark will next be consulting Bill Clinton for a definition of “is”. (He blames a “friend” of his who “teaches Hebrew” for promoting this last response, which is merely a transparent excuse for going back on his word: Though no doubt we can expect many more such “friends” to crawl out of the woodwork in the next several days.)

It seems that Stark has learned well from his mentor Loftus how to carefully equivocate with the truth.

Perhaps by next week he will be bragging about being inebriated and posting nude pictures of Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. For those who read the Tekton Forge, an interesting sidelight at