Sunday, January 21, 2007

Deus is Dead

For more thrilling adventures in blogdom as well as photography, essays, movies, poetry, stories, et al, visit Echo of Eden ( WARNING: Do not use Internet Exploder. Use a standards-compliant browser like Firefox, Opera, Netscape, Safari, Konqueror... (And, no, I'm not trying to sneak a Nietzsche)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Documentary Hypothesis Fails - 2

Summarized arguments against the Documentary Hypothesis of the Pentateuch as detailed in The Documentary Hypothesis and the Composition of the Pentateuch by Umberto Cassuto. (See also argument 1)

2 - Language and Style

1. Language


There are characteristic linguistic differences in the Pentateuch. Because an author rarely changes linguistic usage from chapter to chapter in the same composition, different uses of vocabulary and grammatical construction point to different authors. Example: “To bring up from Egypt” and “to bring forth from Egypt” both convey the same idea, but use different words to do so. The change in word usage evidences change in author.


A. Mechanical instead of Literary Investigation

Many of the linguistic differences arise because one is dealing with the text superficially, divorcing words from their context. Looking deeper, one sees meaning and purpose in the change of usage. “To bring up from Egypt” expresses something different than “to bring forth from Egypt.” The first speaks of a future goal—entry into the Promised Land, while the second speaks of liberation from past and present bondage.

B. Ignoring linguistic rules

Grammatical changes associated with a specific author are the result of rules of the Hebrew language which apply to all authors at all times. In some cases, it is impossible to construct vocabulary differently than how they exist. Thus, the differences are due to the exigencies of a language and not restricted to a particular person's expression.

C. Circular reasoning

Because it is supposed a certain author only said a certain word, it is assumed that when a certain word is used, it is indicative of that author. It is not always shown why a certain author used the word supposedly characteristic of him. Sometimes this is explained because a particular divine name occurs nearby. But when we wonder why the one who said a certain word should also be the one who used a certain divine name, we are usually only left with the premise which has yet to be established—that said author who uses that specific divine name usually says that word.

2. Style


Differences in style which point to different authors. P is cold and dry, extremely detailed, and constantly repeating the same things, whereas others like J and E are passionate, poetic, and full of life.


Things that are characteristically applied to P are limited in narrative and composed of that which is hard to infuse life and warmth into (like genealogical lists). In the few places where a genealogical list is assigned to J, we find the same frigid and passionless manner of writing. And in those few narrative portions ascribed to P, there is more vitality and freedom of expression. Stylistic differences occur, therefore, not because of the existence of specific documents by different authors, but because of the form of language being employed.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Documentary Hypothesis Fails - 1

Summarized arguments against the Documentary Hypothesis of the Pentateuch as detailed in The Documentary Hypothesis and the Composition of the Pentateuch by Umberto Cassuto.

1 - Divine names


Variations in the use of divine names shows that Torah was composed of(by) different texts(authors) which can be identified by the use of their particular names (Elohim for source E; Yahweh for source J, etc). Each new author/text represents stages in the development of the religious community, from a primitive stage which thought of god in more human terms to a classical stage that thought of god in more abstract terms, eventually culminating in a corrupt stage which lost god in ritual and law keeping. The different sources were later pieced together by a Redactor, who picked and chose from one source here and one source there to form a disparate mosaic. This accounts, therefore, for the haphazard divine name usage throughout.


A. Misunderstanding of ancient narrative and grammar

Different divine names (a generic appellative and a proper name) were chosen for specific purposes. Elohim for philosophical, wisdom, pagan, and transcendent relation; Yahweh for personal interaction, moral association, poetic, nationalistic/ethnic identification. One can go through all five books of Moses and beyond and encounter this purpose for every use of a divine name. This rule is also definitive of ancient near eastern literature whether Egyptian, Babylonian, or something else.

B. Refuted by other texts

This rule is followed in all Hebrew literature in all times. It is seen in every occurrence in scripture. Therefore such use of a particular divine name cannot be called characteristic or identifiable of a particular author or source text.

C. Inconsistent

Selection of different divine names for purpose and content of text occurs in other ancient works that are universally attributed to only one author (example: Temple Scroll). In certain sections of text which are believed to belong to E or J, the wrong name appears and is thus either erased or assumed to be an error introduced by the Redactor. The wrong name is then changed and replaced with the one desired by the presupposition.

D. Based on philosophy/methodology of the time

Wellhausen was friends with others who thought in Romanticism's idea of stages of cultural development and different texts being assembled into one mosaic. Mimicked the exact same ideas occurring in other areas like Homeric studies. While those theories were eventually rejected, the Documentary Hypothesis was not. His theory originating in a Protestant antinomian bias of the time which saw the “spirit” as good but the “law” debased/bad.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The End Is Nigh

This is the unofficial announcement. Although Deus Creator Omnium will be put to rest by the end of the month, from the ashes will spring slaveofone's Digest. As mentioned in my first post, this blog is only temporary. It has awaited the establishment of my personal web space at the Echo of Eden, which features much more than a blog... The time is at hand.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr. Speaks

How will the struggle for justice be waged? And I think that is one of the most important questions confronting our generation. As we move to make justice a reality on the international scale, as we move to make justice a reality in this nation, how will the struggle be waged? It seems to me that there are two possible answers to this question. One is to use the all to prevalent method of physical violence. And it is true that man throughout history has sought to achieve justice through violence. And we all know the danger of this method. It seems to create many more social problems than it solves. And it seems to me that in the struggle for justice that this method is ultimately futile. If the Negro succumbs to the temptation of using violence in his struggle for justice, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate life of bitterness, and his chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. And there is still a voice crying [Yeshua] into the vista of time saying to every potential Peter, "put up your sword". And history is replete with the bleached bones of nations and communities that failed to follow this command.
--Martin Luther King, Jr., Justice Without Violence- 3 April 1957

On this day when our nation observes a day to Martin Luther, will it observe his words? Will it realize that violence does not stop violence--only love? Love has conquered the old world religions. Love has conquered racism. Love has conquered sexism. And I have a dream that love will conquer terrorism...because there is no greater legislation than this...because God is love and nothing can conquer God. Israel, Palestine, Iraq, U.S. - follow Yeshua...put up your sword.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Anti-war Protesting

I've never actually stood out on the sidewalk waving homemade signs admist a crowd of protestors. My Libertarianism was enough to anger me, but it was faith--my desire to follow Yeshua--which actually put me on the street corner with my signs. The whole thing was spurred on by Bush's proposal to send more troops to Iraq. I guess I had imagined not escaping without having something hurled at me. It was quite pleasing to only be attacked by the cold of the night and a few derogatory remarks. (First time anyone ever called me a Communist...strange that) I didn't exactly agree with some of the things being said at the protest... I also wasn't there for a lot of the reasons others were... But it was good to act for change and give voice to part of the message of Yeshua--that the kingdom of Yahweh is not one of military force, violence, or power, but of self-sacrifice, love, and submission to one's enemeies and those who would destroy you.

There were four signs at my disposal which I interchanged every ten or fifteen minutes:

"Iraqi bloodshed should not be on U.S."

"Violence is the problem, not the solution"

[picture of Yeshua's head] "Warmonger's will inherit the earth?"

"Our troops are not Islam's martyrs"

Thursday, January 04, 2007

BAR and BR Back Door

I may be shooting myself in the foot by doing this...  But since I stumbled onto a way to get into Biblical Archaeology Review's and Bible Review's Online Archives through a simple, innocent word search on Google, there are probably several others already making use of the secret back door... If you like what you see and are able to purchase the BAR and/or BR archive CDs, do so here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion

The next issue of Automata Magazine with compilation CD featuring industrial-electronic, ambient, gothic, and experimental music by Christian artists is now available. Beginning and ending the CD are two short, dark ambient pieces by yours truly! Never heard of these genres before? Want to sample the eclectic underground and read CD reviews? Now's your chance! Order Automata and CD for only 6 bucks at

CD Tracklisting:

1. Reign of Malevolence - Primary Cause
2. Voxis - Misconstrue
3. Ever - Decay
4. Parca Pace - Grenzland
5. Anguidara - Reconcile (Electric Death Mix)
6. Travelogue - Reflections (Videomix)
7. I-Dragon-I - Saviour
8. Delta-S - Tempest
9. Audio Paradox - Breakdown
10. Spirit Child - Unpossessed
11. anaphylaxis - Maid’s Zenith
12. Relesser - Sift
13. Sorrow of Seven - Happy Again
14. Coriolis - Demigod
15. Pristina - Far Away
16. Splyntyr - Acid Flowers
17. Traumatone - Celebrity Plague
18. Regenerator - Offering
19. Reign of Malevolence - Cords of Sheol Broken

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Samuel or The Psalm?

While reading 2 Samuel, it came to me that what I was reading sounded strangely familiar. As I went digging, lo and behold, a psalm came to light virtually identical to the section I was reading. Here is a brief excerpt from the duplicate passages:
And David spoke unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul; and he said: The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God who is my rock, in Him I take refuge; my shield, and my horn of salvation, my high tower, and my refuge; my saviour, Thou savest me from violence.
--2 Samuel 22:1-3, JPS

For the Leader. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul; And he said: I love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock, in Him I take refuge; my shield, and my horn of salvation, my high tower.
--Psalm 18:1-3, JPS
While the two seem virtually identical, there are discrepancies that become more apparent in the Hebrew. Unlike Yeshua, who was an itinerant prophet and said the same thing many different times in slightly different ways, if David actually spoke this, he would not have spoken both versions. One has obviously borrowed from the other. So I leave you for 2006 with my own quandary: which came first, 2 Samuel 22 or Psalm 18?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Getty Icon Experience

Although an exhibition tour was available (Tuesdays through Sunday's at 3 p.m.), I chose to avoid the mass of sheep and go solo. This usually provided me an unspoilt view of each and every artifact.

The exhibit began with an introduction to St. Catherine's Monastery at Sinai. Then, suddenly, I was staring a 1500-year-old, hot wax icon of Saint Peter in the face. From there, I wandered back and forth, learning about the Greek word behind “icon” and the 8th Century persecution called the Iconoclasm.

Hopefully, you enjoy gold... The icons used a background of gold not only to illuminate and give the subjects or scenes an aura of holiness, but to create a kind of negative space that seemed to separate the images from their canvas and bring them into the worshiper's reality. Many employed an illusion of light in the gold backdrop so that golden halos and golden shafts of light (usually impregnating Mariam) stood out as you moved around in front of the icon. Some icons featured portraits of saints and angels. Others featured scenes in sequence to create a visual narrative of biblical events. There were even quite a few whose purpose was calendrical. They came in single panes, diptych, triptych, some were encapsulated in elaborate forms like a cathedral, others were painted on the doors leading from the “holy place” to the “most holy place” in the Orthodox sanctuary. There were several icons so stunning, I was suspended in front of them and could easily understand how they drew people into worship as a kind of mediator, linking the viewer with the divine.

There was a brief documentary on St. Catherine's Monastery and its icons, which I had already seen. Interested parties—until recently—had the opportunity to request a free DVD which presented the documentary and a video on the exhibition accompanied by Greek Orthodox chant.

When it ended, I couldn't leave without purchasing a few Orthodox chant CDs and two postcards with some of my favorite icons on them. Although it was difficult, I gave the books a pass. They were quite pricey.

Although I rushed myself through the last part, the entire exhibit took about an hour and a half. Speedier observers could get through in an hour or less. Don't forget to swing by the Illuminated Gospel Manuscripts.

Overall, it was a great experience and I highly recommend it to both iconoclasts and iconophiles.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A New Gospel Harmony

There is a new Gospel Harmony that might just make Tatian and Ammonius of Alexandria wake up and take notice. It's called ONE or The Unified Gospel of Jesus. See the web site here. This harmonization aims to eliminate or transcend the distinctives between various texts and present the entire story of Yeshua in a single, cohesive, user-friendly novella. It even comes in two varieties depending on your theological preference: a "Divine Version" and the "Universal Version". The major difference seems to be that the Universal Version eliminates for skeptics all those pesky miracles and possible connections to divinity that get in the way of Yeshua's real life story: removes certain divine miracles that necessarily require a Christian faith. Where it does so, the removal is well-documented for scholars. For example, the UNIVERSAL version does not reference Jesus being born of a virgin or rising from the dead.
--ONE, sample page 77
I'm almost as excited about ONE as I was about the laughable, tendentious, arrogant "Scholar's Version" by the Jesus Seminar. What...the butchered, watered down gospels in something like the Living Bible or the Message aren't accessible enough? Anyone who wants to compare gospel texts can easily find bibles, software, or web pages that lay it all out conveniently for cross-referencing. And if anyone wanted a Harmony, Tatian's Diatessaron is not out of reach. Such are so readily available that there is even a site which displays the Greek of similar or identical Gospel events and sayings from the Synoptics in parallel--the Four-Color Synopsis--so that every different or identical word can be seen against its counter-parts.

The major problems I have with the Harmony are three-fold:

1. By eliminating the distinctives of each gospel, it affectively destroys the ability that gospel had to communicate its message the way it intended.
2. The harmony must necessarily recommunicate the data in a new way--not from the perspectives of those gospels themselves, but from the perspective of its harmonizer.
3. It is apparent that the perspective of the harmonizer is not one of concern for textual or historical integrity, but for the satisfaction of variant individual belief, thus affectively recreating Jesus in one's (and ONE'S) own image.

If the gospels are different cakes, ONE treats them as if they were nothing but the sum of their ingredients, remixes them, and comes up with a new cake that it calls the Gospel of Jesus, adding or taking away from the recipe to please the tastes of its consumers.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Goody-bye Holly

For almost two years, that girl struggled against the grip of death. And every week, I'd get another reminder of the bleeding, the nausea, the fatigue, the sleepless nights and the never-ending pain... Oh, but then she would actually eat a bite of solid food! Or, look, she went outside and saw a friend! There were ups and downs. Days where the sun looked bright and where it looked like it might never shine again. I never prayed for her all that time until last weekend. I guess I was fed up with it all. I got into Yahweh's face and told him to stand up and be faithful--enact his kingdom either by restoring his creation or taking her if he was done. And the very same day, Yahweh took her.

See you at resurrection, Holly.