Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Time out

There is a considerable intensity in pushing myself at a busy time to read in a language where I still do not recognize words at sight. It can be tiring. Also tiring is the disappointment in my algorithm for recognizing roots - while many are more or less correct, the reconstruction of a root is complex and ambiguous at times - yet I know there are tricks we use to resolve ambiguity and that they could be used even on one word at a time. For instance, some prefixes would not occur in some word forms - but finding these rules and when to apply them is very tricky.

Worse though is the sense that since I am reading and reporting to you, patient reader, I am putting out half-formed thoughts on the way to discovering I do not yet know what. It is important - because I learn through what I express as well as through what I read even when it is inexpressible. I despair over the long lists of stems and links - and that I could spend days on every psalm but have to rush through at this time. But dreams last night make me think that perhaps there is a visual way to present the whole. Years ago I drew an abstract Psalm 107. The Psalter may be like a series of linked circles on the floor - and if we could find the key circles to lift, the whole like a double helix would rise from the ground and hang like a beautiful mobile.

Now back to reading Psalm 34.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summary of the first 30 psalms

Part of my challenge is to create the summary of each psalm from the new information provided with the frames - loosely defined as 'the recurring roots within the psalm - especially the new ones'. It is an experiment - we are 1/6 through.

1 - the righteous one and the many wicked - the way of the teaching of יְהוָה is recommended for happiness
2 - the nations are to be subject to the king identified singularly by the first person pronoun
3 - the many are trouble to the individual - salvation needed
4 - a plea to be heard, an implied rebuke, still there is confidence for sleep and quiet communion
5 - a voice in the morning, an emphasis on the action of יְהוָה addressed as 'you'
6 - vexation, shame, penitence, a continuing plea to hear
7 - if you have made it past 6, you are safer - 7 has hell destroyed, foes, persecutors, evil, toil work
8 - whew - the reign of the children of dust under the excellent name of the governor
9 - acrostic part 1 - a declaration of the fragility of the human
10 - acrostic part 2 (incomplete) - the singular wicked, the poor, judgment
11 - life, the wicked, the upright and testing, hell again
12 - divided heart, lips, tongues in these children of dust, safety required
13 - poetry on how long - intense desire of the poet
14 - there is none doing good - Does this remind you of Romans? We might have been deceived that there was a parochial interest in the elect - but what we have so far is far from a hymn book - it is much more personal encounter, confession, and recognition that trouble is all too present.
15 - The repeated question, who, gives a new frame.
16 - Pleasure and the insistent you. You complete my 'stay' גורל - note that sound. In these roots that sound alike, I have been hearing גבר (warrior) and גור (stay, live, sojourn).
17 - Prayer for the completion of steps in the path of יְהוָה
18 - The new frame is servant - and the recurrence of many words from the inscription to close the psalm.
19 - a fulcrum linking Psalm 1 to Psalm 119 - the frame is a silent word and the picture is Torah.
20 - prayer #2 a plea for answer - a good move in the story, I think
21 - immediate answer to 20 - the placement of the crown - the finding of joy
22 - In abandonment, we get the first appeal to the trust of the ancestors and the hope of deliverance that does not leave them ashamed - that is just one of the new frames - another pair is praise in the congregation- praise will be more and more evident.
23 - almost without frames - respite from the intensity of the prior psalm
24 - the lifting up and entry of the king of glory
25 - Acrostic 2, almost a summary in itself, many frames, less than 20% new. Those new include covenant - a concept not yet referenced in the psalter. So some frames are unprepared.
26 - the new frame walk combined with completeness (integrity) is also framed with a sounds-alike pair of words in verses 2 and 11 that indicate to me a confidence that is not as overly bold as one might read into the poem. I wondered about an English play to simulate the Hebrew - vindicate in verse 1 and syndicate in verse 7.
27 - Wait with confidence - the plea that in seeking the game will not be too difficult
28 - in the grace (new frame) of God the supplication (new) is heard
29 - The voice of יְהוָה is the theme of this psalm responding to the frame of voice in psalm 28 and perhaps recalling the voice of the highest in Psalm 18. Glory recalls the frame of Psalm 24.
30 - Joy and thanksgiving in the acceptance of יְהוָה (these are new frames in this psalm)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A stringless guitar

From 2010-07-18
Eyes may despise what causes rejection, but this broken neck hides a story of why eyes cannot despise one who is rejected (Psalm 15:4). We must leave this double passive ambiguous in translation. What do you think - will the repair job last?
From 2010-07-18
Or should I add a reinforcing bolt? More importantly, if I have lengthened or shortened the neck - will the guitar be tunable - or just suitable as a wall ornament? (Two days later, it tunes, but the tension from just two strings broke the neck again so it now has five bolts in it.)
From 2010-07-18
And what about us?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The flowers are still there


We began the day with tennis - I was trounced. Then in the garden - dividing the oregano. Then a bike ride to pick up paint for the door and other things. I picked a random bouquet of stuff - it was really lovely - delicate blues in a blue vase - sage, oregano, chives, foxglove, some trumpet things. Then I noticed our third generation orchids blooming again, their leggy roots trying to walk out of the constraint of their place.Some day they will be trimmed or transplanted - when the next generation of blooms is complete.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The seven link challenge

I got my warning and paid no attention to it. So I frequently stumbled on my way to the finish line. But - if I had paid attention I might never have got out of the gate or finished anything.

Via Dr Platypus - a great blog name, almost as good as the Velveteen Rabbi, From Problogger - does Darren Rowse ever get attention!
Today I thought it might be fun to do a bit of a fun challenge together that draws on a number of things that I’ve previously taught here on ProBlogger (see below for what these teachings are).
The idea is to publish a post that is a list of 7 links to posts that you and others have written that respond to the following 7 categories. Your links should be to:
  • Your first post
  • A post you enjoyed writing the most
  • A post which had a great discussion
  • A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written
  • Your most helpful post
  • A post with a title that you are proud of
  • A post that you wish more people had read

So here's my note:
First post. I began blogging on my space when it was young and I had been writing on my own web page since sometime in the late 90s. My first blog post when blogs were blogs is in 2006 a short announcement here on Bob's log. This blog has far more action on it now that I have stopped posting, recently getting up to 100 page views a day. It contains links to 150+ diagrams on the psalms and first and second pass translations of the psalms. I don't write there any more since its archive is larger than 5M.
Most enjoyed. A hard question. I loved the five months I spent on Job. The final translation hardly counts as a post. Most of these posts are on yet another blog.
Discussion. I don't generate a lot of discussion - it usually takes place on other blogs. In the days when Iyov was blogging - he was among the best, we had a discussion of mystical interpretations here. It went over several posts. The more polemic is here where I began some posts on translation.
Wish I'd written. There aren't any from other writers I wish I'd written. There are some writers - particularly Rachel Barenblatt with her poetry - that I love because the poetry is like the psalms - both compact and full. J.K. Gayle has a great post on spin.
Helpful. From me? Perhaps the most helpful to me was the division of the Hebrew alphabet into two parts: those that form grammatical components and those that don't - 11 each. This division is helpful because it forms a constraint on reading and determining the possible root words. I used it in many posts on Hebrew parsing particularly the letter-by-letter series.
Title. This one - Holy Spittle, Batman. This Sunday School record is also my blog though there are other team members. Blogging hasn't quite caught on at church.
More read. This perhaps. Like Leviathan and the eyelids of dawn in Job, the foxes in the Song are an inclusio with the Shulamite for the whole poem.

Fellow bloggers - this is an interesting challenge though it is a bit self-oriented.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life, the world, and everything

I write this in response to a gracious conversation here in a post that I really enjoyed - and had been looking for.

When I worked on Qohelet 3:11, I made this comment in the margin
Three mysteries remain: time, gravity, and consciousness - link them by all means but don't pretend you understand until you are also prepared to raise the dead (it did after all come through a man).
Here is the verse.
The whole he has made beautiful in its time
Even the age he has set in their heart
so that from outside the earthling does not
find out the work that this God worked
from beginning to end
How did I jump from beautiful in its time to our human love of explanation and creative theory? And then from there to resurrection? I would like to spin out the why I am no longer an atheist question - not exactly answering Bertrand Russell and answering personally the question why I am Christian. I need the negative question because the positive adjective 'Christian' has much baggage that I find blocks so much consideration of graceful - might I say 'anointed' action. In a word, I would rather meet a grace-filled decided atheist than certain folks who are ungraceful in their expression of their decided faith - whatever it is. And if it is indeed the faith of Jesus then let us take care that the spirit is not mock Spirit - for such will not be known (though let it mature). Faith that seeks power over word or person is not a faith that I want to participate in. As Qohelet 4:17 also says
Keep your footing when you go into the house of God
and more ready to hear than to give in the foolish offering
for they haven't a clue
that what they do
--- is evil
Tone that one down if you think it is politically incorrect.

So why not make the decision to be atheist? I did. I blow cold and hot, an aspect of my being that leads both to discovery and to error, to joy and to fear. What I found was that I could not handle the dislocation of my world. I did not even know what I was wanting - but when I received it I knew that I wanted this and that it was through the death of Jesus, imaged as mercy-seat, and through his resurrection. It was both like the healing stories in the Gospel and like the anointing in the Psalms. The same. Secondly, I appreciate the trial of certainty - I was not a thinking agnostic but atheist. Such a postulate 'there is no God' is provably unprovable. No system of thought is complete - certainly not mine. Even today I am in the midst of complex maintenance programming - still can't get it right 'for ever'. But beautiful in its time.

So besides the personal aspect of inexpressible life 'in God', there is the practical aspect of my limited apprehension - and by my inference, the limits on all of us, scientific or religious. Qohelet 8:17 reminds us that we are not the first to observe certain epistemological realities.
And I saw all the work of this God
for the earthling cannot find out the deed that is done
--- under the sun
in that which the earthling toils to seek,
but it will not find out
and even if the shrewd one says it knows,
it will not be able to find out
The limit stops me from one extreme. The personal invites me to another yet only partially and incompletely known. About the unity of God - it is not that there is one God that we believe or don't believe in - but that 'God is one'. That is the important thing. There is no sin - no dislocation in God. This is evident in the refrain 'and God saw that it was good'. This is also what the man Jesus illustrates. We then are not looking for 'the truth' that we might stand over it, but we are looking to be known 'in truth' and to find words to express such love and to be happy that words were found in the past that accomplished such expression. The Torah, the Psalms, the Gospels are examples of the finding of such words.

I look on the canon as being not so much fully coherent but the means whereby these examples were preserved. The canon is of course errant by its own admission, "the wind blows where it wills." If one is going to let the Bible speak, one needs to get it to say what one wants. People may and do wrench the words to their own ends. Yet there can also be both beauty and pleasure taken from them. It is more than game - it is real sport, incarnate in the one who plays and whether the value is lasting - who am I to say? I know that when one is known, it is as if forever. What is lasting, what comes after, are all aspects of time - which we know has a beginning. Who can say its end? As for theology - everything we write is in words - it almost seems to me that we cannot help but write theology. The latest theory of gravity - grave heavy with glory, weighted against us, has apparently something to do with 'information' - just the easiest way to organize entropy. This eliminates the need for an unknown elementary particle. (See pointers at Entangled states.) And consciousness - what do we do with our selves if we are as blind as the mechanics we postulate for genes? What if our dislocations and distortions actually are like living life cross-eyed with pillows over our ears,  mouth in a perpetual grimace, constantly off balance, touch petrified, and aromatic with smell?  Is there no solution? It's curious to me that I am not agnostic - many times in my prayers I hear myself say to a silent question "I don't know."  I wish sometimes I could hear the questions. Maybe I will keep listening.

Beloved, the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Let this be substantial bread -then the dead are raised and the poor have the gospel.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Preparation for psalm 119 - rare and frequent key words

I have not yet verified all these data points - but I think they are pretty close. These are the psalms that themselves use in a repeated fashion the key words of psalm 119 (variations on the gifts of each of the teaching synonyms) .

There is a significant division: 4 of the words are used frequently, 4 of them are rare. The grey columns are frequent, the pink ones rare. All are used at least once in a recurrence pattern before the great recurrence meditation of psalm 119. (But this would not be the case if I confined my search to nouns - e.g. צוה is used as a verb in psalm 78, the repetition of פקד in Psalm 109 is a homonym - so פִּקּוּדִים is rare and has no preparation in a prior psalm, חק showed up in psalm 89 but was a false positive. In 105 it is accurately equivalent to the use of the word in Psalm 119).

Considering the importance of mitzvot and Torah in modern Hebrew, I am surprised at this result.
תורה אמר שׁפט עד דבר צוה חק פקד PSALM
2






1

2





4


3




7


62



9

32




10

4

3


12



4



13




2


17

2
23


18

3





19



2



21



2



22




2


28




2


29

2





31




2


33

62
2


35


4




37



2



38








39

4





40

2

3


41

2





42



22


45



2



48



2



49

2

4


50




2


52

2





54




2


55




4


56



3



57


2
2


58








59



2



60




2


63




2


64




2


65

2





68

2





70

2
4



71


33



72

2

2


73



3



74


2
2


75

2





77
32

62

78



3



80


4




82

2





83




2


85

224



89



3



90




2


91

224



94


2




96


2




97


2




98


2




99




2


101




2


103








104

42
5
2
105

3
35


106

3

4


107



2



108


2
3

2109



3



111



3



112



2



113

3





118
2521232326222121119








121








127

2





129








130



3



132

2





138








141




2


144

2
33


145








146


2
3


147

Monday, July 12, 2010

Around and about

Here’s one on the daily bread thingy – rather interesting I think
http://irrco.org/2010/06/give-us-this-day-our-bread/

Anyone remember another post on this that Mark Goodacre recommended several years ago?

My take on this is that we need a bit of the harvest each day – the bread that we have that we know not of, a piece of the produce of the earth – which is Christ Jesus himself – see Psalm 67. (Its centre is congruent with the centre of Psalm 9 – curious – I was doing images of Psalm 9-10 today)
http://drmacdonald.blogspot.com/2008/12/psalm-67.html
http://meafar.blogspot.com/2010/07/psalm-9-10-frames-in-first-acrostic.html

and here’s one on the creed and laments – not as strong a case for laments as I would make but definitely allowing lament not to be confused with lack of faith.
http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2010/07/psychology-of-christianity-part-5.html

By the way - I like laments, especially when my love seems to hide and leave me on stage by myself (Psalm 10:1) - to be without super-substance bread is not to be alive - but still to be sufficiently aware to know that something is lacking - weird.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Science so-called, faith so-called, and the dread of reading

Leap of faith - no.
Science in conflict with religion - no.
Literal readings of myth and poetry possible - no.
The denial of sin - the denial of the good - compatible - yes
The uniqueness of the Revelation of Jesus, Anointed supportable - yes.

What is possible evidence in the individual life and in the corporate life of the world?

It seems daunting to try and address such questions and still maintain the imagery of the Anointed Jesus as power, word, and example for us. Word of invitation, example of a faithful self, and the power given to all to hear and follow in that same path. This post is entirely in English. There will no salting with unreadable words.

I have already raised too many issues for one post. Science so-called is an allusion to one of the pastoral epistles where the writer addresses the reader with the problem of dispute. What is it we are disputing when science, a method of testing, confirming, and predicting behaviour of things conflicts with our thought processes that arise with some readings of the canon of ancient writings called the Bible?

Faith so-called is a counterpoint - how can we have the faith of this or that historical confession and somehow identify it with the faith referred to in the Scriptures? Is Calvinism a faith? Or Methodism? Or Evangelical fundamentalism? If these are sets of definitions encompassing a practice of 'the faith', then perhaps they are stepping stones to the real thing, but if they in any form define and limit the individual in that person's work of faith, then they are a stumbling block and to be put aside. Faith in the Scriptural sense is an invitation to trust an invisible person and is not a set of rules to which intellectual assent must be given. In fact, real trust involves exactly the same things that scientists do when they test, confirm and predict behaviour of things. We too are to taste and see that the Lord is good. We are to take other people's word for it, and also discover the same for ourselves. There is no leap just an assent to 'try me - and see'. (Not me of course)

The dread of reading. One who tastes of the heavenly gift will be called to learn and the learning will be very matter of fact and tangible. It will be word made flesh in that very one who trusts - i.e. in you, whoever you are. It is a marvel, is it not, that humans have language and can teach beyond their death in what is written. Why you may even be reading this after I have died. Certainly we read Calvin and Luther, Shakespeare, the Countess Mary Herbert Pembroke, Milton, Blake, the Wesleys, Eliot, Lewis, Milne, Christie, James, and so on after they have died. And some are dated and some are not.  Do I dread reading? I find it hard to define such a dread, but I think it expresses itself in my ignorance. I cannot help the fact that I know so little. But this helps me not to insist that I know so much that I should impose my ignorance on others.

That is the secret of hearing spin. Stop and listen for your own insistence that everyone think like you. Then spin the other way. That is listening to the other. The problem with fundamentalists is that they are too shallow. They are not fundamental enough, seeking the true root. The true root is not subject to our definitions. Science recognizes this by stating assumptions and when things don't work out, revising theory to meet the changed perception of reality. (This changes their reality also - and ours!) So the proton is now a bit smaller than thought - scientists gasp!

So how do I read Genesis? With love. With Love. Is it subject to my idea of what really happened? How could it be! Am I concerned with a special creation? Of course - I read this book as Adam and as Eve in my male and femaleness. I read it as one who has sinned and is in trouble (of course I know more about this from the Psalms - but it is right there in Genesis, not to mention that it is right there in my life.) I read it as a real person in conversation with the author and with the Author - and I keep asking questions. And every day I get more answers - not so I can stuff them in my briefcase and tell my friends to obey my reading - no no no - but I get them from the Living One who teaches me in real time even though I forget also in real time. But some things I do not forget.

I am sieve incarnate. I retain some and I shed some - but the Water keeps flowing. And this tells me I know little about time, about consciousness, about memory, and about something else [gravity, glory] I can't remember at this point, but it also tells me that I am somehow in this Anointing Anointed One and known in this Mystery - and somehow fearless in my dread.  That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. The rest is not so vital - and often not life-giving. In fact the objections from our scientists to the foolishness of faith should be taken seriously. For some they are true objections.

Where do I come to a border of my faith? It's easy to say. I lived through the most brutal of centuries so far in the great circle of time. We killed more people, more animals, more trees than all other centuries combined. We have the worst record for persecution and abuse of all prior centuries. We grow in our ignorance and greed. Even the self-styled righteous non-profits can suck the teat of donations and grants and blame the corporations while not understanding a whit about the responsibilities of running a business. Saint and sinner alike can pretend to deny sin and can say 'it is good' out of one side of their mouths and 'give me more' out of the other - even when they have enough. This has not changed since Ecclesiastes. There is just more of it.

But - you will say - no Adam, no Christ? What! Did you define Christ for the world? And have you known the full mystery of the Anointing in the Scripture?  The uniqueness of the Revelation of Jesus, the one who is called 'the' Christ, the one to whom the Spirit is given without measure, this uniqueness is supportable without reading the Bible wrong. It is as simple as 'taste and see'. And impossible without letting go of our trust in our own reading. We are not complete in ourselves. But in the gift of God, there is no end to our completeness.

Till by turning, turning, we come round right

Kurk Gayle has a delightful post on spin here. His memory reaches back to other bloggers and other years in the blog-world. Power is mentioned.

You might recognize, best Beloved, (as Kipling was wont to address his reader), the title of my post from the Shaker song so beautifully set by Aaron Copland in his Appalachian Spring. Here it is played by Yo-yo Mah and sung by Allison Kraus.

Kurk's post is personal and touching. Though it plays with language, it suggests that we can and do reach deeper in our use thereof. Perhaps we are not aware of our spin or our power. Can we hear what we spin? And as important, can we hear what another spins?

There are many questions that come up in the life of a single human. Some are worth discussion and some are discussions that are distracting.The story of the Adam is one where some discussions are distracting - like the creation-evolution argument. The argument must be made, but do not let it distract you from the power of the myth of that garden and the unified word of יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים that is evident. Don't be upset that you don't understand Hebrew. Even if I translated those words - Adonai Elohim, or Hashem Elohim, or the Lord God, you would not understand them. They are not there to be understood but rather that you should be known.

Ken has a post on special creation here, another distraction. You, we, they, are, best Beloved, in this power, special, because the light is good. And for no other reason. I.e. for no reason, for what I have cited as reason is not reason. Nevertheless, even the atheist knows what is good. Special creation of the human is a distraction. What if יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים, surprise, knows also the beasts, and the creepy crawlies, and the birds, yea, even the Hippo (so Job, perhaps). Does יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים know you, best Beloved? Or do you still hide behind the paper wall of your theological fig-leaves?

This post could go in many directions - like where Doug has taken it, but I prefer not to respond directly to the stupidity power seeking of understanding and control. Piper and all in the tradition that he thinks he stands in can take such misreading meandering self-justifications elsewhere than into my spirit. I need not leave Hamelin pie-eyed, for his own specially created cliff. I prefer to take the direction of the turn from Moses. Psalm 90, the psalm of turning, plays on our turning and the turning of אֱלֹהִים. This psalm even plays on the turning of a single word, a word turned on itself that works as dwelling place and beauty. Even the atheist knows a good thing when it is seen. Find me an English turn of phrase that will capture this letter play. Go to the link to see the turning of נֹעַם from מָעוֹן.

How long, how long, אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ must we put up with this distracted generation?

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Song in RBL

A review here of a too expensive book on the Song. It might be good - I like the direction of the review, though I think it is not exclusive or comprehensive in its direction (in spite of the $130 price tag). Some things of course you can't pay for with silver and gold.

Ellen F. Davis, review of Edmée Kingsmill, The Song of Songs and the Eros of God: A Study in Biblical Intertextuality, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2010).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Easy questions - frequency of use of keywords

It's not so much how often a word is used - but how often it is used as a frame? My data is easily sorted so here are the most popular and the calculated frequency of usage.

Also interesting to note that 260 frames are used only once. (This is after adjusting the algorithm to count repeats in verses also.)

Google translate has a few surprises! Is this modern Hebrew?

Possible
keyword
Psalm
count

Here's what Google
translate does with them
ארץ44Country.
עם39With.
נפשׁ 36Soul.
עשׂה 35Did.
פן34Lest.
שׁם33Name.
דבר 32Thing.
את 31You.
יום31Day.
עלם31Youth.
אמר 29Said.
ירא 27Fear.
עד 27To.
חסד 26Grace.
אם25If.
אתה 25You.
צדק 21Justice.
רב 20Great.
אני 19I.
טוב 19Good.
יה 19Ye.
שׁפט 19Punishment.
רשׁע 18Evil.
שׁמם18Name.
הוה 17Present .
הלל 17Praise.
לב 17Heart.
ידע 16Knowledge.
מלך16King.
שׁמע 16Audio.
אדם15Man.
גוי 15Gentile.
זכר 15Male.
יען15Ostrich.
אין14No.
בן14Son.
ברך14Knee.
דר 14Der.
זמר 14Singer.
ישׂר 14Straight.
עבד 14Slave.
כבד 13Heavy.
ספר 13Book.
קול 13Voice.
לך12To you.
שׁוע 12Joshua.
שׁמר 12Mr.
בטח 11Sure.
בל 11Bell.
ימן11Hydrogen.
ישׂח 11Ishah.
מים11Water.
קום11Establishment.
קרא 11Read.
שׁלם11Complete.

The Psalm Frames again

Beloved, this is a very interesting exercise even with the 5 to 10 % questionable results in my pile of deframed psalms.  Look again at the image in yesterday's post which I have updated.

Now there are vertical red lines for every 10 psalms, and blue for the 50 boundary, and green for the book boundaries. I am intrigued that there are new words used as frames in almost every psalm. Does this speak to a deliberate sorting of the poems? If the poems were grouped by similar frames, then there would be chunks which hung together. If the poets used fewer frames, then at some point say around psalm 100, new frames would stop. I note though that one can count the vertical gaps - there are 33 psalms that do not introduce a new frame beginning at psalm 43 (which doesn't really count since it it a continuation of psalm 42). So every poem up to psalm 47 introduces at least one new pairing of words that may be a frame. Psalm 47 doesn't introduce a new frame. Psalm 131 has a frame (גמל) I missed but curiously it is not new - but anticipated in Psalm 116:7 and 12  - though it is not obvious.

Mind you - some of the repeated words also may not be significant from a structural point of view. Only a further detailed analysis - and this to be manual over the next two months - will show this. I have seen a number of books on these sorts of structure, e.g. Girard, Marc, Les psaumes redécouverts, and Magonet, A Rabbi reads the Psalms. Girard and Magonet concentrate on individual psalms. Are there others who might have taken this kind of approach to reading the whole psalter as a book? (I see that a search for "psalter as a book" gets a lot of relevant hits.)

I note also from this morning when I was reading Psalm 7, that several of the frame words in the first 6 psalms are used once in psalm 7, linking the 'picture' in this psalm with what has gone before. I can't yet see whether this is just the normal use of language or a significant statement (as for instance the citation in Psalm 149 that joins this Psalm to Psalm 2 - see Journal for the Study of the Old Testament - An Integrated Reading of Psalms 1 and 2 - by Robert Cole).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Another interim word on keywords and the stacking of frames

This image is beyond silly - it's a grid of all the data points representing words used as frames in the Psalter. Handling that large a grid is awkward. Hard to see. And may take some time to load. It is comprised of 370 images and one 10M htm file.

It shows the patterns of new words introduced as a recurrence and possible frame in each psalm right up to to Psalm 150 and of the reuse of frames used in earlier psalms.

The overall question is - what story do the keywords tell and is the order of the psalms deliberate - an act of redaction, this decided if it can be, purely on the basis of content? Apart from historical speculation, content is all the information I have. Of course we know that the Psalter is well represented at Qumran and that it was the favorite book of the New Testament authors - judging by the number of allusions there.

Are there a few superficial lessons in content?

What we have so far is this:
  • Psalm 1 is about: happiness, wickedness, the way, sin, righteousness, and there is a conditional
  • Psalm 2: Earth, the stand-alone first person pronoun, the nations, and king
  • Psalm 3: many, arising, salvation, and people
  • Psalm 4: many, hear, righteous, speak, call, trust, bed, offer
  • Psalm 5: many, voice, you (both the stand alone pronoun and in the tone of address - even preposition + second person singular pronoun makes a significant sound at the end of the psalm.)
  • Psalm 6: hear, life/soul, time, vexed (O excuses!)
  • Psalm 7: righteousness, righteous, conditional, life/soul, evil, toil, salvation, work, persecution, trouble, turning, judgment

That's enough for now - it only gets more complex as the length of the psalms increase. Also I can see where things might be equal that are slightly different - due to the difficulty of automatically parsing the Hebrew. I expect you can see the pattern of frames reaching both forward and back.

Trinity and Binary

Language is strange. Do you think there is a difference between 'God is one' and 'there is one God'? Is there a difference between unity and uniqueness?

Larry Hurtado has a video on early devotion to Jesus here. It is quiet scholarship. But like some others he uses a really strange word - binitarian. What happened to God as Spirit? Trinity is of course an equally strange word.

I do agree with the video that the evidence is very early that the risen Jesus was identified with God and as such is considered 'divine' and was attributed glory unique to the trust that belongs to God only. But is this really an exercise in counting? Or is there a good way to express such mystery?

Data points in the framing of the psalms

A walk at Government House in the rose gardens, From Collages
There are 150 columns and 535 (587 after corrections) rows in my list of data points - repeated roots in the psalter possibly used as structural frames sorted by psalm. The grid required 147 - (no 150 after counting repeats in the same verse) sorts (I was not sure Oracle would allow so many sort fields) . That there was something to sort still shows that there is something new in almost every frame right to the last psalm in the psalter. The last frame to appear is pleasure רָצָה in Psalm 147. (no - cymbals in psalm150) I wonder if this result will stand scrutiny. The roses are lovely though.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Trinity and psychology

My comments don't seem to stay posted at Richard Beck's site - so I repeat one here. His note on Trinity and Psychology is fascinating - see shared link on the right.

It could be also that the theoretical formulation of Trinity is important for your questions. E.g. your note "That is, while we recognized the preexistence and divinity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit" has two red herrings in it. Pre-existence and divinity are both unmeasurable. More suitable frames - like "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" or "if you by the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, you will live" seem to me to be Trinitarian but they have to do with present behaviour in present time based on the past event of the work of the Son that the Father gave him to do.  When you also extend the question to the ambiguous nature of the service of the Son - i.e. Christ as servant to the circumcision and "I called my s(S)on out of Egypt" then your questions could also discover what aspects of 'Trinitarian' belief could impact even those who do not know how to make 3 into 1.

Repeated words in the Psalms - a selected list.

Bogged down in data is where I am. There is too much for this idea to bear short-term fruit.

Here's a list by Psalm - roughly speaking, of the repeated roots that might be structurally significant and the number of times they repeat - followed by the count of Psalms in which the same root may also be structurally significant. There are over 2300 records. The psalms are a complex knit. The list reduces to 1700 or so if I remove all two-character roots - but some of these are interesting so I didn't remove them all - only a select few. I removed the negatives but they too might prove of interest - as when your teacher says - no, no, no.

Disclaimer - long list - incomplete - may be wrong calculation of the root from the lexeme - - may be useful as a reference? Note also that Psalm 119 may contribute excessively to the count since it is for me in 5 chunks.

This post turned out to be too long to syndicate - so I have deleted most of the data

Psalm rootOccurs in n Verses in Psalm xOccurs as possible frame in y Psalms No Comments
1 רשׁע 418..
דרך210..
חטא 28..
אם222..
כן211..
צדיק 29..
2 גוי 214..
מלך316..
ארץ344..
את 225..
אף210..
אני 220..
3 רב 219..
קום29..
שׁוע 213..
עם235..
deleted from psalms 4-148
149 הלל 317..
יה 219..
חסד 328..
עשׂה 335..
כבד 210..
150 הלל 617..
יה 219..

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Apophatic love

Joel Hoffman has asked what verbs you would use to describe the action of love when translating 1 Corinthians 13:4. The first thing I notice in the first verb μακροθυμέω is the number of suggestions in the glosses that remind me of the description of Exodus 34:6. Is Paul reflecting on what he has known of Israel's God and applying it to the way that is Love?

What part of this gloss would one choose for μακροθυμέω?
  1. to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart
  2. to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles
  3. to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others
  4. to be mild and slow in avenging
  5. to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish

Would one choose אָרֵךְ? - I suspect that is what is in Paul's mind.

What about the others in the list?