Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Status - contra me

There's nothing automatic about finishing this project. When the complete first draft is done, there are a myriad of ways that the data can be presented. Such presentations will allow questioning of my decisions, and correction if I cannot justify them.

The fundamentalist that I met yesterday said, Do not reject correction in the assembly. But he did his best to ignore anything contrary to his spiel that I suggested. I found I had no time for him. I was doing Nehemiah 13 (scheduled for Sept 8), so this encounter, with one of those whose existence I had momentarily forgotten, raised an obvious question: What is the Law and what does it require?

He told me there had been fraud in his assembly and he had been excluded these past several years for blowing the whistle. No one believed him then, but he said they do today. Then he began to tell me the Word of God and how the man must be in charge, citing Genesis and the Pastoral epistles and 1 Corinthians. I regret that his intent appeared to be one of seeking power. This is congruent with the intent of other such believers. I was a Moabite or an Ammonite to him. I did not believe the word the way he did. Too bad that those who cannot (and do not) read, seek such power over others. Too bad that Scripture has been used to justify such power-seeking over the years.

Part of my rationale for reading is that in my recoil from atheism, I also was going down this path of fundamentalism in my 20s. I horrified my friends and family. These fellow Moabites did not know the tradition much, but they were Anglicans, and so had some sympathy with the oscillation of one of their kin caught between two strong forces within the churches, What can we know? and How do we escape?

What do I think now? We have limited but lovely knowledge. If we are unlovely, (politically or personally) we are not on the right track. We cannot escape our death, but we can learn to be gracious and this is a very hard task. Like the Magi, we are no longer at ease. My work is thus against myself as much as it is against the poor soul I met yesterday. Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco: et peccatum meum contra me est semper.

For my transgression I, I know,
and my sin is continually in front of me. Psalm 51:5 (from the Hebrew).

Another contra me (against me) that I recall is from Purcell's setting of Psalm 3. Non timebo a myriadibus populi, Quas circum disposuerint metatores contra me.

I will not fear the multiplicity of people,
that surround set over me.

The fundamentalist is on the 'how to escape' pole. I think we need to guard against the tendency to self-interest and fear at this pole. I hope to keep up the lovely, even in my limitations, as long as I am able. And while I am at it, to undermine certainty, to challenge the will to power, and to remember the crushing defeats of Christendom in the mid twentieth century on so many fronts. We need to govern better than this result indicates. Christendom is the sea whose waves have broken on the shores of the Shoa, the abuse scandals, and the failure of its governance model. In the time to come, there will be no more sea.

So on the last stages of this journey, this close reading of the massive text we call the Old Testament, whether Magus or not, here we are: 54 chapters remaining out of 929. Scheduled up to September 10. There are 2 remaining from Exodus, 1 from Leviticus, and 3 each for all the rest of Torah, Former Prophets, Latter prophets and Other. The 12, the poetry books, the scrolls are all fully drafted. Every book has undergone changes in the last 9 months.

Target is 6 chapters a week and one Psalm for Sundays. So there are an estimated 9 weeks remaining in the project.

We have 21,473 words to do. That is 477 words per day (augh!). But of these words, 4.9% are already guessed based on prior work. So 2.1% remains of 305368, or 6,413 words to go, which works out to 143 words per day. That's not so bad (but I still have to read and consider them). Since the first of June the average is over 600 words per day. It is partly in the nature of the software I have written that allows this pace. I still have about 3,000 unknowns and 11,000 single guesses. The remaining are guesses based on a sequence of word forms.

Perhaps verses is a better measure: 1,948 to complete. We have been completing an average of 830 per month since January. So we ought to be in the ballpark for scheduled completion mid to late October. The graph shows the chapters completed by quarter since the beginning in 4Q-2014.
Reading the Hebrew Bible: Chapters per quarter from the beginning of the project


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