Monday, April 23, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A taste of praise

Jim Gordon at Living Wittily has posted on the praise of art particularly focusing on Chagall, the subject of a section in the Psalms conference at Oxford 2010. Here is a taste of my big book on the psalms on the praise of dragons and abysses in Psalm 148.

Even the dragon and the abyss are invited to praise.  These words draw in all the potential confusion and fear in the magnificence of creation. The abyss is a treasury (33:7) and a metaphor for the judgment (36:7). Psalm 42:8 identifies abyss as the depth of the call from the human in exile to God. Psalm 71:20 knows hope even in these depths. The water from the rock is like an abyss (78:15) . The earth is clothed with the abyss (104:6). The people are led through it (106:9) and the mariners are terrified of it on the sea (107:26). It is part of God’s delight (135:6). This is the creation that we find ourselves in: the unfathomable, time, gravity, and the inscrutable human heart, animal consciousness and the power of  the natural order. This is the abyss along with its fearsome creatures. The place of the dragon is where we were crushed (44:20), but its heads are broken (74:13), and over it we will trample (91:13). Leviathan fragmented (74:14) is God’s companion in laughter (104:26). Rahab, the defiant (40:5) is remembered in the city of God (87:4) and was pierced through (89:11). She becomes the metaphor for our boldness (90:10 and 138:3). Here we might invoke Christopher Smart again, for the devils themselves are at peace. The psalms weave creation, redemption, and deliverance into poetry reflecting these primal and critical themes from the Torah and the Prophets. See also Rendtorff (2005 p. 418 ff).
Christopher Smart, Rejoice in the Lamb
Rendtorff, Rolf. (2005). The Canonical Hebrew Bible, A Theology of the Old Testament.
Seeing the Psalter, Patterns of Recurrence in the Poetry of the Psalms, available 2Q 2013, currently under detailed review by about 10 people, advance order details forthcoming, contact me if you are interested in becoming an early reviewer.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Glossary reduced to 13 pages or so

I have summarized all the glosses I used in my translation. I am quite surprised by the result. I went somewhat wild with synonyms for several words and I reduced the Hebrew roots to a bare minimum not keeping derived nouns separate from verbs etc. This leads to some strange bedfellows. The other strange thing is that a gloss may only work in a particular context. Just how subjective have I been? Very.

The summarized glossary is here. It was constructed mostly by hand giving me a chance to make another 100 or so (minor) changes to the evolving manuscript. (It looks fantastic on an I-Pad!) [glossary still under refinement - not likely to be updated or published by domain any time soon - very big idea since domain is so subjective]

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lots of things I miss

I missed John's analysis of Psalm 100 where he comments briefly on Fokkelman's The Psalms in Form (reviewed here by Gerald Wilson, a review I also missed.)  I doubt that I will look at this book in detail. But it is nice to know of the effort. Fokkelman was among my first books that I read. They are as Wilson notes, not very easy to follow for a beginner.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The firmament shows his handwork

We thought we had missed the sunset - it was grey and the sun had disappeared - then there was this glow behind the mountain and it just grew...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Counting the Omer

It has been a long time since Iyov first counted the Omer by a blog post. I count Iyov among the most special of bloggers. Now Rabbi Rachel Barenblatt  is counting the Omer here. 50 measures of faith before Pentecost - a good thing. In the Spirit.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What's the best way to partition Psalm 78?

I have the Monet fully laid out end to end. I will be spending the next year throwing different colours at it or repartitioning various psalms to maximize the visibility of recurrence, and finding and changing bits and pieces. As I do this, I will be muttering through the psalms becoming more conversant with the language. The colour I am applying right now is light blue, the colour of theology. Fortunately I just found a new acquisition at the UVic library that I mentioned - Rendtorff. Rolf. It has some very nice sections.  This is a Monet - but not too much blue please.

Do let me know if you can assist with the painting.

Here's bits and pieces of Psalm 78 - just the tables. I had originally tested 9 parts - 8 verses each and compared the parts to see if there was a fully concentric structure. There are hints. The whole poem is framed by people--Jacob--Israel - an Olympic ring structure. There are some other long distant circles: Ephraim (9 and 67), Egypt, Zoan (12,43), still to sin (17, 32) on 8-verse boundaries. But the 8 verse groupings seem arbitrary. They do not need to anticipate the obvious 8-verse groups of Psalm 119.  Terrien has 1-2, Part 1, 3-8, Part 2, 9-17, Part 3, 18-28, Part 4, 29-40, Part 5, 41-51, Part 6, 52-63, Part 7, 64-72. He gives no justification. My justification for the following is that it seems to me to maximize the visibility of the recurrence.

The psalm is for continuity between the generations (v1-10 are bound by instruction - not to be thought of as 'law' in a legal sense.) Equipped and kiss are homonyms. Ephraim is equipped through love. But he is not ready. How will we learn? How will we be equipped? Is it sufficient to learn second-hand by rote?

Like the book of Job, this psalm is a parable (v2). This leaves us open to apply the history of Israel as parable to ourselves. Such an application includes slavery, escape, complaint, provocation, exile and restoration, even the unresolved tension of diaspora, a condition that is common to all peoples. The focus on Judah points to a restoration of only the southern kingdom.

Any thoughts? The following looks promising to me. I am going to write it up as a centrepiece. I would happily share my thoughts with any who care to take on this puzzle. It has to make sense as an aid both for composition and memorization.

Selected recurring words in relative order (1 to 10)

Word and gloss * first usage123456789101234VsRoot
האזינה listen to
1אזן
תורתי my instruction
1תורה
אזנכם your ears
1אזן
פי my mouth
1פה
פי my mouth
2פה
אשׁר which
3אשׁר
ונדעם and known
3ידע
ואבותינו and our ancestors
3אב
ספרו recounted
3ספר
לא not
4לא
מבניהם from their children
4בן
לדור to the generation
4דור
אחרון to follow
4אחר
מספרים recounting
4ספר
אשׁר which
4אשׁר
ויקם he raised
5קום
ותורה and instruction
5תורה
שׂם he set
5שׂום
אשׁר which
5אשׁר
* צוה he commanded
5צוה
אבותינו our ancestors
5אב
להודיעם to make known
5ידע
לבניהם to their children
5בן
ידעו will know
6ידע
דור the generation
6דור
אחרון to follow
6אחר
בנים the children
6בן
יקמו will arise
6קום
ויספרו and recount to
6ספר
לבניהם their children
6בן
וישׂימו so they might set
7שׂום
ולא and not
7לא
* ומצותיו and his commandments
7צוה
ולא and not
8לא
כאבותם like their ancestors
8אב
דור a generation
8דור
דור a generation
8דור
לא not
8לא
ולא and not
8לא
בני the children of
9בן
לא not
10לא
ובתורתו and in his instruction
10תורה

Selected recurring words in relative order (11 to 20)

Word and gloss * first usage123456VsRoot
ונפלאותיו and his wonders
11פלא
פלא a wonder
12פלא
* בקע he split
13בקע
מים waters
13מים
* יבקע he split
15בקע
צרים rocks
15צור
במדבר in the wilderness
15מדבר
מים waters
16מים
* היוכל is able
19יכל
במדבר in the wilderness
19מדבר
צור a rock
20צור
מים water
20מים
* יוכל is he able
20יכל

Selected recurring words in relative order (21 to 32)

Word and gloss * first usage1234567891012VsRoot
אף anger
21אף
עלה ascended
21עלה
בישׂראל against Israel
21ישׂראל
לא not
22לא
האמינו they did believe
22אמן
ולא and not
22לא
ממעל from above
23עלה
שׁמים heaven
23שׁמים
* וימטר and he rained
24מטר
לאכל to eat
24אכל
שׁמים heaven
24שׁמים
אכל ate
25אכל
להם among them
25להם
לשׂבע to satiation
25שׂבע
בשׁמים in the heavens
26שׁמים
* וימטר and he rained
27מטר
ויאכלו and they ate
29אכל
וישׂבעו and were sated
29שׂבע
ותאותם and their desires
29אוה
להם to them
29להם
לא not
30לא
מתאותם to their desires
30אוה
עוד while
30עוד
אכלם their food
30אכל
ואף and the anger of
31אף
עלה ascended
31עלה
ישׂראל Israel
31ישׂראל
עוד still
32עוד
ולא and not
32לא
האמינו did believe
32אמן

Selected recurring words in relative order (33 to 48)

Word and gloss * first usage123456789VsRoot
ימיהם their days
33יום
* הרגם he slew them
34הרג
ושׁבו and they turned
34שׁוב
ויזכרו and they remembered
35זכר
כי for
35כי
לא not
37לא
ולא and not
37לא
ולא and not
38לא
* ישׁחית he did destroy
38שׁחת
להשׁיב turned
38שׁוב
ולא and not
38לא
ויזכר for he remembered
39זכר
כי that
39כי
ולא and not
39לא
ישׁוב it does return
39שׁוב
וישׁובו and they turned back
41שׁוב
לא not
42לא
זכרו they did remember
42זכר
יום the day
42יום
אשׁר --
42אשׁר
אשׁר that
43אשׁר
* ותשׁחיתם and he destroyed them
45שׁחת
* יהרג he slew
47הרג
בברד with hail
47ברד
לברד to the hail
48ברד

Selected recurring words in relative order (49 to 59)

Word and gloss * first usage123456VsRoot
ישׁלח he sent
49שׁלח
אפו his anger
49אף
עברה fury
49עבר
משׁלחת by sending
49שׁלח
לאפו for his anger
50אף
לא not
50לא
באהלי in the tents of
51אהל
ולא and not
53לא
באהליהם in their tents
55אהל
ישׂראל Israel
55ישׂראל
לא not
56לא
ויתעבר and was furious
59עבר
בישׂראל in Israel
59ישׂראל

Selected recurring words in relative order (60 to end)

Word and gloss * first usage1234567891012VsRoot
משׁכן the tabernacle in
60שׁכן
אהל the tent
60אהל
שׁכן where he dwelt
60שׁכן
ויתן and he gave
61נתן
צר trouble
61צר
לחרב with the sword
62חרב
עמו his people
62עם
* ובנחלתו and with his inheritance
62נחלה
* בחוריו his young men
63בחר
לא not
63לא
בחרב by the sword
64חרב
לא not
64לא
צריו his foes
66צר
עולם ever
66עלם
נתן he gave
66נתן
באהל the tent of
67אהל
ובשׁבט and the sceptre of
67שׁבט
לא not
67לא
* בחר he did choose
67בחר
* ויבחר but he chose
68בחר
שׁבט the sceptre of
68שׁבט
לעולם forever
69עלם
* ויבחר and he chose
70בחר
לרעות to shepherd
71רעה
עמו his people
71עם
* נחלתו his inheritance
71נחלה
וירעם and he shepherded them
72רעה
Or this division
Selected recurring words in relative order (33 to 42)

Word and gloss * first usage12345VsRoot
ימיהם their days
33יום
ושׁבו and they turned
34שׁוב
ויזכרו and they remembered
35זכר
כי for
35כי
לא not
37לא
ולא and not
37לא
ולא and not
38לא
להשׁיב turned
38שׁוב
ולא and not
38לא
ויזכר for he remembered
39זכר
כי that
39כי
ולא and not
39לא
ישׁוב it does return
39שׁוב
וישׁובו and they turned back
41שׁוב
לא not
42לא
זכרו they did remember
42זכר
יום the day
42יום
Selected recurring words in relative order (43 to 56)

Word and gloss * first usage12345678VsRoot
* במצרים in Egypt
43מצרים
ישׁלח he sent
45שׁלח
בברד with hail
47ברד
* ויסגר and he imprisoned
48סגר
לברד to the hail
48ברד
* ומקניהם and their herds
48קנה
ישׁלח he sent
49שׁלח
אפו his anger
49אף
משׁלחת by sending
49שׁלח
לאפו for his anger
50אף
לא not
50לא
* הסגיר he imprisoned
50סגר
* במצרים in Egypt
51מצרים
באהלי in the tents of
51אהל
ולא and not
53לא
* קנתה purchased
54קנה
באהליהם in their tents
55אהל
לא not
56לא
Selected recurring words in relative order (57 to end)

Word and gloss * first usage1234567891012345VsRoot
ויתעבר and was furious
59עבר
* וימאס and he refused
59מאס
בישׂראל in Israel
59ישׂראל
משׁכן the tabernacle in
60שׁכן
אהל the tent
60אהל
שׁכן where he dwelt
60שׁכן
ויתן and he gave
61נתן
צר trouble
61צר
לחרב with the sword
62חרב
עמו his people
62עם
* ובנחלתו and with his inheritance
62נחלה
התעבר he was furious
62עבר
* בחוריו his young men
63בחר
לא not
63לא
בחרב by the sword
64חרב
לא not
64לא
צריו his foes
66צר
עולם ever
66עלם
נתן he gave
66נתן
* וימאס and he refused
67מאס
באהל the tent of
67אהל
ובשׁבט and the sceptre of
67שׁבט
לא not
67לא
* בחר he did choose
67בחר
* ויבחר but he chose
68בחר
שׁבט the sceptre of
68שׁבט
לעולם forever
69עלם
* ויבחר and he chose
70בחר
לרעות to shepherd
71רעה
עמו his people
71עם
ובישׂראל and in Israel
71ישׂראל
* נחלתו his inheritance
71נחלה
וירעם and he shepherded them
72רעה

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Selwyn Choir on utube

Remembering where I read something

Indexes are really useful. Rendtorff (The Canonical Bebrew Bible, A Theology of the Old Testament), has a good index, with a warning that it is selective. But I wonder if the internal links have been completely updated from the German. And there is no section at the beginning on abbreviations so you have to read from the beginning to see the technique of the apparatus described in the text itself. Now who reads a book from the beginning?

Ask me about indexes in Word 10. I have a technique - not an easy one. My index is in 7 sections: 1 Torah, 2 Prophets, 3 Writings, 4 New Testament, 5 Names, 6 Themes, 7 Other. The Scripture index is partially automated - but it is not a repeatable automation. Get it mostly right, then update it and keep it up to date. The sequencing and boldface or italics must be added by hand. The automation is complete of course once the index markers are in. Anything else would be useless.

But don't ask me to do one for you for free. I have spent probably 200 hours in the last 2 months completing the index for my presentation of the Psalms, now 495 pages (shrinking).

Vick's book on authority and inspiration needs a better index. Making the index is a really good test of the coherence of your writing. It is like the experienced mechanic changing the oil who sees when the gaskets need replacing. I wanted to find where I read about 'reason' in Vick's book. I loved the little bit about reason, but in the 1.5 hours left before my daughter was to arrive from England with her husband, I couldn't find where I had read it. I even had little sticky arrows all over the text, but they didn't point me where I wanted to be.

I found it this morning. And it's a good line: He gives 10 false ways in which people claim that the authority of the Bible is established. Then he says:
You cannot establish the authority of the Bible by providing reasons. You can, however, reasonably give an account of the authority of the Bible.
I reconstructed this before I found it again - for it had stuck with me through 2 weeks of not reading. Here it is in essence - we cannot reason our way into God / theology / etc, nor can we reason our way out of a confession, but we can learn to give reasons as to why we are in - once we are in.  Well, I thought it put reason in her place. I like it. I am not married to reason, but to something creative that happened to me through an outside 'word' (logos if you like) which then made it reasonable - more than reasonable - for me to worship, for me to present my body a living sacrifice, for me to research the psalms, for me to find even more reason to give thanks for the unsurpassed gift of God that is in God's teaching, that is God's Torah.

I cannot reason my way into such a position. Nor can I be convinced of it. But in it, I can give reason. The convincing is not mine to do.

I think this has been valuable for me to think about. More little gems like this I hope to find. But I note that I am not qualified to review a book that is philosophical, yet I can find in it good excuses for reading the Bible slowly and carefully rather than reading books about the Bible. The book I am referring to is also noted here.

I made some further notes
  • about doing the right thing - some titles are brilliant, like No More Secondhand God (Buckminster Fuller), or Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee). 
  • about power and making the word in our own image.
  • about the authority of Abraham, Moses, Jesus in contrast to the authority of vested interests.
  • about the universal - even in Leviticus, vs the parochial.
  • about the desire to be right and put someone else wrong.
At base, I expect to find these issues developed in where I think Vick is going. But I have not been able to read much more these past two weeks. And I am sort of on holiday for the next 10 days. (Hoping too that my son in law, who reads Hebrew, will give some feedback on my now out of date paper copy of my book.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rabbi Harry of Congregation Emmanu-El has a blog

Here is a post on the near and the far. Connecting to Divine Source When God is Hidden from Us

I might have some details to be picky about, but I like the overall post - I can hear the Rabbi talking to me. Anyone out there in Victoria who knows Hebrew - I am looking for a companion reader to mutter through the Psalms with me.  E-muttering is possible I suppose.

My old blogging friends are too busy - or maybe they don't like my attitude.  Of course I am looking for critical feedback on my book also - but if you want to do this, I won't just let the address hang out there...

Don't look at the posts at PoC or Dust at the Psalter kata Bob. I haven't kept them up to date. They were blog posts. And its hard to read a diglot online.

Oh and by the way, the performance three weeks ago of my setting of Psalm 19 for organ, flute, and choir got rave reviews.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Facebook, Twitter and integrated blogging

Hmmm... I have joined the networked blogs on facebook. I am not a frequent use of facebook but I wonder if this will move me towards reading on facebook rather than Google reader.

Any thoughts out there?