Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Maybe you didn't do it, but…

At this hour a major lesson implied in the teaching of the ancient prophets of Israel assumes renewed validity: Few are guilty, but all are responsible.

It is important that we distinguish between guilt and responsibility. It is dangerous to confuse these two distinct terms. Guilt which originally denoted a crime or sin implies a connection with or involvement in a misdeed of a grave or serious character; the fact of having committed a breach of conduct, especially such as violates law and involves penalty.

Responsibility is the capability of being called upon to answer, or to make amends, to someone for something, without necessarily being directly connected with or involved in a criminal act.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 220 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
This is especially important to remember now. Maybe you aren't guilty of trying to overthrow the government, but you are responsible to see that things get made right. Sure, you didn't kill a Black person when trying to arrest them, but you are responsible to see that things get made right. Sure, you didn't push the Native American off their land, but you are responsible to see that things get made right. The list could go on. And on. And on. Because as humans we've committed many crimes and sins over the years.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Computer upgrades, continued: DisplayLink on MacOS 11.4 (Big Sur)

Yesterday I related my experience upgrading the harddrive/SSD and replacing the battery. I also mentioned that I lost the ability to turn my screens 90 degrees. I like doing that so that the middle screen of my three-screen setup is more like a sheet of paper. Like this:

Late last week, I read that DisplayLink now supports it under Big Sur (MacOS 11.x), so I figured I would update my system over the weekend. So, Saturday evening I started by downloading both Big Sur and the DisplayLink update and then tried to install Big Sur. Well, something in 10.4 was causing my admin password entry to hang. Not sure what it was, but it probably was a kernel extension (kext) based on my research. Anyway, I decided to wait and try again on Sunday rather than stay up all night trying to get it to work : )

I started from a fresh restart and the admin password took with no problem. The computer did it's thing, rebooting a couple of times. Ever since I had a bad logic board on my older MacBook, I'm always nervous when a computer reboots. But it did fine; the fans raced a few times when the processor was doing its thing, but otherwise uneventful. I logged in and a few things asked for permission—Big Sur is very restrictive about what can access what. That's good, but even now, three days later, I'm still answering permissions. Some are turned down and I don't recall ever giving them permission to access that stuff in the first place! So, good move on Apple's part. I tend to be pretty restrictive about what I let touch what files and software developers always seem to think they need more permissions than I'm willing to give them.

When I first logged in, DisplayLink was showing me all three screens, just not allowing me to rotate them. I installed the update, gave it permission to record my displays—it needs that the rewrite to the three screens—and then rebooted. And waited. I only had the one screen via the HDMI, not the other two via the GUD 300. Great. Now what?

Frantic googling showed that others had the same problem. The DisplayLink site said to check the hardware in your About this Mac and showed a screenshot. Don't go down that road! Mine didn't show the DisplayLink, so I lost a bit of hair over that. Everything else looked fine, though. I moved my backup drive from the GUD 300 to direct just in case, but nothing changed.

More frantic googling turned up someone saying that you need to manually start DisplayLink from the Applications directory and implied you had to do that everytime you log in. So, I started it manually via Cmd-Space and typing and viola! I had three screens again. One thing more thing that no one had mentioned was that a DisplayLink logo shows up on your menu bar at the top of your screen.

This is important!

Clicking on that gave the option to download an app that allows you to start DisplayLink on startup. Do it! It works like a charm; across multiple reboots and logouts I haven't had an issue with it. As for rotating the screens, it works great. See the two screen shots below. Be sure to click the menu bar option so you can easily change stuff.

Now I just need to get Dropbox to stop grabbing my screenshots and dumping them in a subdirectory! I'm disliking how possessive Dropbox seems to be getting with the passing of time, but in my line of work its the default, so I need to use it. I just need to reign it in a bit more...

I hope that this helps someone with a DisplayLink problem. It would have been helpful to me to have all this in one place instead of chasing it down all across the internet!

One complaint about Big Sur: They took away the dashboard! They have been gradually taking away its functionality over releases, but now it's totally gone! It was handy for me because I would put sticky notes there and I had a calendar and iStatPro for monitoring the system. Not sure what I'm going to do, but I did find this for monitoring fan speed and cpu temps, which referred me to this and this. I've installed them both; not sure which I'll keep. I moved stickies to the desktop, but I don't like it. Not sure what to do about a quick calendar view yet. I like seeing the whole month, without any added stuff. There's got to be a small app for that somewhere...

The role of science

Now, for the first time in history, science has become the handmaiden of the state. Now science must satisfy the demand of the state, and that demand is power. Therein lies the danger of its secular subservience and the cause of its conflict with humanity. For power, even if prompted by moral objectives, tends to become self-justifying and creates moral imperatives of its own.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 217

<idle musing>
I hate to contradict him, but while it is true that science is truly the handmaiden of the state in our culture, it's not the first time. The city of Syracuse in the Hellenistic age comes to mind, with Archimedes and his many inventions. But, his point is well taken: Power corrupts. Always and in every age. Period. And I emphasize always.
</idle musing>

Monday, June 28, 2021

Computer upgrades

A few years ago now I upgraded from my Macbook Pro 2011 to a refurbished Macbook Pro mid-2015. The stuff I was doing was overtaxing the 2011 machine, but I still wanted to stay with a Macbook with a magsafe connector. The last one to have it was 2015. It wasn't ideal in that it only had a 256 GB harddrive, so I knew I would be upgrading it at some point.

Well, that point was about 2 weeks ago. I needed to install Adobe's stuff for the work I'm doing for Lockwood Press. Needless to say, I was already bursting the limits of the harddrive before; Adobe's Suite isn't exactly small! And, at about the same time, my battery started doing the dreaded swelling thing. So, I bit the bullet and ordered a new SSD harddrive and battery.

The web site warned that replacing the battery wasn't going to be child's play; they recommended a professional do it. Well, I've been building computers since 1983, and I've had my Macbook 2011 apart more than once, replacing its battery, upgrading the RAM, and putting in an SSD to replace the 5400 RPM drive, so I figured I could handle it. Replacing the harddrive would be a cake walk, I figured.

Of course, because I needed to upgrade to Mac OS 10.14 to make the new harddrive work (that's the way they designed the Macbook 2015—bad design), I also had to upgrade some other software, such as MS Office 2011 for Mac, since they were 32-bit software and 10.14 didn't reliably run 32-bit software—believe me, I tried it! Word would crash all the time at the most inopportune times. You couldn't minimize a window or change screens without a crash! I decided to wait to upgrade the software until I had the new harddrive in to avoid having to authenticate it twice (a real pain! I've done it before).

Once the hardware arrived, the next evening I proceeded to replace the battery. Because the battery in the newer Macbooks is glued in (actually extremely strong double-stick tape), you theoretically need to use acetone to soften the glue. Not something to tackle in the house—Debbie and I both get headaches from the smell of it, even in small amounts. So, I decided I would disassemble the Macbook in my study to the point where you needed to use the acetone and then move to the garage, open the doors and do it on a table out there.

The disassembly video was extremely good, giving each step in detail. Because I had been inside many laptops over the years, it went relatively well. My eyes aren't as sharp as they used to be, so I had to go slower to make sure I didn't break any of the tiny connectors, but it came apart fine. Because the battery had swollen, I was able to get the double-stick tape off without using the acetone, so that was a huge plus.

Now to reassemble it. I didn't replace the harddrive at this point because you need a functional computer to condition the battery. Reassembly was much slower. If you ever do it, be very careful to keep all the ribbon cables out from underneath the logic board. I missed two of them and had to partially disassemble it again to access them. But, finally, after about two hours total, I got it together and plugged it in. It needed to charge fully before turning it on, so I let it charge overnight. The next day, I turned it on and it fired right up! You need to let it discharge completely and then recharge to condition it, but you can work on it while it discharges, in fact they recommend that.

Next up was the new harddrive. Replacing it physcially is a snap, no more than 10 minutes. The next step was a bit more complicated. Because the SSD in the Macbook was a proprietary style, you can't use a standard drive enclosure to just clone the drive—unless you buy a custom enclosure for $99.00. The upgrade was already running me almost $500 for everything, so I didn't want to drop another $100.00, so I figured I would use my Time Machine backup instead.

So, I booted into Internet Recover mode. It found the correct wireless network, so I figured everything was cool and clicked on it. The spinning disk went nuts for 10 minutes before deciding it wasn't working. Great. Try again. Same thing. Frantic Google search. No joy. Try again, this time, instead of just clicking on it, I hit return. It brought up the password box. Why didn't they mention that??!!

It did its thing for a while, then rebooted into recovery mode again. It wanted to download and install Big Sur (MacOS 11.4), which is what the instructions recommend so you have a recovery partition. But, it said it would take 5 hours! Yikes and then I would still need to take the 3 hours or so to restore from Time Machine. Sorry. Not going to happen! I restored from Time Machine.

Everything worked fine. Except I lost the ability to rotate my monitors 90 degrees. Seems DisplayLink doesn't have the ability to do that above 10.12. Bummer. Meanwhile, I needed to upgrade my Time Machine backup. It was a 500 GB drive and now I have a 1 TB drive in the Macbook. Not using it all, but it seems stupid to have a backup that is smaller than the drive its backing up. So, on our monthly trip to the local big box store, I picked up a 2 TB USB 3.0 5400 RPM Seagate drive. Its working fine; I plugged it into my GUD 300 hub.

Summary: I should have dropped the extra $100 for the custom case, because now I have a 256 GB SSD that I can't use anywhere, even as a portable. And, if you aren't really comfortable inside a computer, get someone else to replace the battery. Given how my eyes are now, next time I don't think I'll do it; I'll hire somebody with younger eyes than I have to do it. I really don't like the fact that Apple has done their best to make the machines nonupgradeable. By the way, because I replaced the harddrive, no Apple store will even look at my machine anymore if I wanted them to replace the battery. That's just stupid.

One final word: I found out last Thursday that DisplayLink now supports rotating displays under Big Sur, so over the weekend I made the move, but that's for another post because it wasn't obvious and Google wasn't terribly helpful. Stay tuned! And hopefully this post will help someone somewhere when they get the dreaded Internet Recovery errors.

Thought for the day

3 Don’t trust leaders;
    don’t trust any human beings—
    there’s no saving help with them!
4 Their breath leaves them,
    then they go back to the ground.
    On that very same day, their plans die too.

5 The person whose help is the God of Jacob—
    the person whose hope rests on the Lord their God—
    is truly happy!
6 God: the maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them,
God: who is faithful forever,
7   who gives justice to people who are oppressed,
    who gives bread to people who are starving!
The Lord: who frees prisoners.
8   The Lord: who makes the blind see.
    The Lord: who straightens up those who are bent low.
    The Lord: who loves the righteous.
9  The Lord: who protects immigrants,
    who helps orphans and widows,
    but who makes the way of the wicked twist and turn!

10 The Lord will rule forever!
    Zion, your God will rule from one generation to the next!

Praise the Lord! Ps 146:3–10 (CEB)

We cry out

God will return to us when we are willing to let Him in—into our banks and factories, into our Congress and clubs, into our homes and theaters. For God is everywhere or nowhere, the father of all men or no man, concerned about everything or nothing. Only in His presence shall we learn that the glory of man is not in his will to power but in his power of compassion. Man reflects either the image of His presence or that of a beast.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 211

Friday, June 25, 2021

War never solves anything

Tanks and planes cannot redeem humanity. A man with a gun is like a beast without a gun. The killing of snakes will save us for the moment but not forever. The war will outlast the victory of arms if we fail to conquer the infamy of the soul: the indifference to crime, when committed against others. For evil is indivisible. It is the same in thought and in speech, in private and in social life. The greatest task of our time is to take the souls of men out of the pit. The world has experienced that God is involved. Let us forever remember that the sense for the sacred is as vital to us as the light of the sun. There can be no nature without spirit, no world without the Torah, no brotherhood without a father, no humanity without God.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 211

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Thought for the day (Copyediting/writing related)

From today's Times Higher Ed op-ed section abstract (the whole thing is behind a paywall):
Many academics “exhibit an appalling degree of exceptionalism and entitlement" and are often unable to “complete even basic tasks”, discovered Kate Eichhorn, chair of culture and media studies at The New School in New York City, while working as an encyclopaedia editor as a side job. On the other side of the publishing process, she found that many of the negative stereotypes of academics were in fact true–replies were often late, rude, or both. Always assume that editors are at least as well educated as you are, she advises, and take style guides seriously–they have been compiled for a reason.
<idle musing>
Yep. I have to admit I rarely run into the first part, but following the style guide is always an issue. I get it, though. I edit for a handful of presses, and each has a different style guide. In fact, at Lockwood, each series and each journal has a different guide. Even I, as an editor, sometimes have a hard time remembering which style guide I'm following. So, please make my job a bit easier by checking the style guide!
</idle musing>

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

What kind of a trade was that?

The conscience of the world was destroyed by those who were wont to blame others rather than themselves. Let us remember, we revered the instincts but distrusted ideals. We labored to perfect engines and let our inner life go to wreck. We ridiculed superstition until we lost our ability to believe. We have helped to extinguish the light our fathers had kindled. We have bartered holiness for convenience, loyalty for success, love for power, wisdom for diplomas, prayer for sermon, wisdom for information, tradition for fashion.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 211

<idle musing>
Indeed. And we got the bad end of the deal. This was written in 1943, in the midst of World War 2, but it still rings true nearly 80 years later. If anything, we've traded away even more now than then—and all we got is this little trinket we call a "smart phone." I wonder how smart it is? A college education no longer is considered anything more than a job ticket. Students are rarely taught to think. Our churches have become personality cults, where the delivery is far more important than the content. Holiness? What's that? The only love we have left is the love of power.

Yep. We made a bad trade. Just an
</idle musing>

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Closed system? Not so much!

The Bible, speaking in the name of a Being that combines justice with omnipotence, is the never-ceasing outcry of No to humanity. In the midst of our applauding the feats of civilization, the Bible flings itself like a knife slashing our complacency, reminding us that God, too, has a voice in history.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 189

Monday, June 21, 2021

He came—and was ignored

We have trifled with the name of God. We have taken the ideals in vain. We have called for the Lord. He came. And was ignored. We have preached but eluded Him. We have praised but defied Him. Now we reap the fruits of our failure. Through centuries His voice cried in the wilderness. How skillfully it was trapped and imprisoned in the temples! How often it was drowned or distorted! Now we behold how it gradually withdraws, abandoning one people after another, departing from their souls, despising their wisdom. The taste for the good has all but gone from the earth. Men heap spite upon cruelty, malice upon atrocity.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 209

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Time to move indoors

Last summer, while the pandemic was causing people to drive less and stay home, a terrible thing started happening. Drivers were getting more careless. I noticed it on my bike rides. I was being given less clearance. Frankly, it made me nervous riding my bike for the first time since I was in high school. And nation-wide the number of bike-car collisions was also going up—as was the number of collisions per mile driven. Basically, people were getting even more careless in driving.

Because of where we live, for me to ride any distance requires riding on busy state or federal highways. Consequently, I made the decision after almost 50 years of road-riding, to move strictly to the indoor trainer. Nothing that I've seen since has made me regret that decision. In fact, rather than simply careless, I suspect some drivers have become downright hostile to bicyclists. There has always been a bit of that. I've experienced it, but was only forced off the road once in all my years of riding.

But, this today, on NPR is truly horrific. Basically, the guy was aiming to hit and at the least injure cyclists. I don't know any more than the article says, but it is truly a sad state of affairs. I know most of you won't click through, so here's the relevant section:

A driver in a pickup truck plowed into bicyclists during a community road race in Arizona on Saturday, critically injuring several riders before police chased the driver and shot him outside a nearby hardware store, authorities said.

Six people were taken to a hospital in critical condition after the crash in the mountain town of Show Low, about a three-hour drive northeast of Phoenix, police said. Helmets, shoes and crumpled and broken bicycles were strewn across the street after the crash, and a tire was wedged into the grill of the truck, which had damage to its top and sides and a bullet hole in a window.

Here's a picture. Not pretty. I know what it's like to get hit by an F-150. It isn't fun. No helmet is going to help you when a truck hits you.

Friday, June 18, 2021

An end in itself?

Again and again we are taught that the Torah is not an end in itself. It is the gate through which one enters the court in which one finds awe of heaven. “Said Rabbi Yanni: Woe to him who has no court; woe to him who thinks the gate is the court . . . And Rabbi Jonathan said: Woe to those scholars who occupy themselves with Torah and have not awe of the Lord.“—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays 200

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Why not?

What stands in the way of accepting revelation is our refusal to accept its authority. Liberty is our security, and to accept the word of the prophets is to accept the sovereignty of God. Yet our understanding of man and his liberty has undergone a serious change in our time. The problem of man is more grave than we were able to realize a generation ago. What we used to sense in our worst fears turned out to have been a utopia compared with what has happened in our own days. We have discovered that reason may be perverse, that liberty is no security. Now we must learn that there is no liberty except the freedom bestowed upon us by God; that there is no liberty without sanctity.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 189

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Job opening

If I were about 15 years younger, this would be a fun job:

Assistant Managing Editor—Academic or Trade (PDF)

Papyrus information

This is another in the ongoing series on copyediting. Over the years, I've edited a lot of books that contain papyrus references. I find them almost as confusing as the Dead Sea Scrolls designations. If you don't deal with papyrus on a regular basis, the somewhat arcane and confusing abbreviations can be a problem. Consequently, I've bookmarked a couple of sites that can help: I'm sure there are other sites out there, but especially the first one has been a great help to me. I mentioned it in my Supplements to the SBLHS abbreviations, but figured it would catch more visibility in a post of its own.

If you have a favorite site, please mention it in the comments and I'll add it to the body of the post.

Here's the table of contents for all the copyediting stuff.

Besotted by our own opinions

Modern Man used to think that the acceptance of revelation was an effrontery to the mind, Man must live by his intelligence alone; he is capable of both finding and attaining the aim of his existence. That man is not in need of superhuman authority or guidance was a major argument of the Deists against accepting the idea of prophecy. Social reforms, it was thought, would cure the ills and eliminate the evils from our world, Yet we have finally discovered what prophets and saints have always known: bread and beauty will not save humanity. There is a passion and drive for cruel deeds which only the fear of God can soothe; there is a suffocating sensuality in man which only holiness can ventilate. It is, indeed, hard for the mind to believe that any member of a species which can organize or even witness the murder of millions and feel no regret should ever be endowed with the ability to receive a word of God. If man can remain callous to a horror as infinite as God, if man can be bloodstained and self-righteous, distort what the conscience tells, make soap of human flesh, then how did it happen that nations did not exterminate each other centuries ago?—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 188

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Here's the question, the only really important question

Is it meaningful to ask: Did God address Himself to man? Indeed unless God is real and beyond definitions that confine Him; unless He is unfettered by such distinctions as transcendence and immanence; unless we feel that we are driven and pursued by His question, there is little meaning in starting our inquiry. But those who know that this life of ours takes place in a world that is not all to be explained in human terms; that every moment is a carefully concealed act of His creation, cannot but ask: Is there any event wherein His voice is not suppressed? Is there any moment wherein His presence is not concealed?

True, the claim of the prophets is staggering and almost incredible. But to us, living in this horribly beautiful world, God's thick silence is incomparably more staggering and totally incredible.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 186–87

Monday, June 14, 2021

A little excitement

We had a storm come up suddenly on Friday. I mean very suddenly and I mean a STORM. Winds up to 75 MPH were recorded. The power in our house went out for about 1/2 hour or so, but two places in town had gas lines damaged and were without power for a day or so. We saw some seriously large trees down when we went for our walk later. One tree had landed on a car, flattening it significantly. I heard that there were other cars damaged, too.

A similar storm last year took down a huge limb in our front yard that blocked the street. It also took down a limb on the neighbor's tree that landed on our garage roof. The damage was minimal and the limb slid off onto the ground.

This year's storm knocked another large tree limb off that same tree in the back. This limb was larger than the one last year. It could have done some serious damage to the garage roof, but it barely missed it, landing on my compost bins instead. So, Saturday, the first day in June that didn't get into the 90s F, I cut it up. See the pictures below:

Where did it come from?

Have you ever wondered where the idea that Judaism was only about law came from? Abraham Joshua Heschel has an interesting thesis, which is todays' extract from his book Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays
Spinoza was the man who attempted to destroy Jewish theology. He found many admirers and they followed him (I discuss this in the early part of God in Search Man). He claimed that the Bible, as such, has nothing relevant to say regarding philosophy and ideas. To him the Bible was not theology but only law. This concept was, paradoxically, taken over by Moses Mendelssohn. He must have grasped the situation existing in the Western world, that throughout the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries there was only one book written about Judaism, and that was the Tractatus, by Spinoza. Since it was the only book available on Judaism in the Western language, it had the most profound impact on Christians and Jews alike. It is evident when studying Kant or Hegel that whatever they have to say concerning Judaism was derived from the Tractatus. Paradoxically, Moses Mendelssolm was profoundly influenced by this book and by its approach. Moses Mendelssohn’s influence upon Jews, in turn, was enormous. Thus, a system was developed whereby Judaism was halacha, Law—nothing else.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 155
<idle musing>
Not sure if he is correct, but it makes sense to a degree. But there were currents of it running around as far back as Augustine, as an essay by Paula Fredriksen in an SBL Press book coming out soon makes clear. And Luther definitely thought that Judaism was nothing but law. Perhaps Spinoza's book simply hardened that view and made it more firmly entrenched—with devastating effects.
</idle musing>

Friday, June 11, 2021

Thought for the day

1 Doom to those who pronounce wicked decrees,
    and keep writing harmful laws
2 to deprive the needy of their rights
     and to rob the poor among my people of justice;
     to make widows their loot;
     to steal from orphans!
3 What will you do on the day of punishment
     when disaster comes from far away?
To whom will you flee for help;
     where will you stash your wealth?
4 How will you avoid crouching among the prisoners
     and falling among the slain?
Even so, God’s anger hasn’t turned away;
     God’s hand is still extended. (Isa 10:1–4 CEB)

<idle musing>
Pretty much describes the current crop of politicians, doesn't it? And the billionaires who paid to put them in office. James 5 comes to mind, also:

5:1 Pay attention, you wealthy people! Weep and moan over the miseries coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted. Moths have destroyed your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you. It will eat your flesh like fire. Consider the treasure you have hoarded in the last days. 4 Listen! Hear the cries of the wages of your field hands. These are the wages you stole from those who harvested your fields. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of heavenly forces. 5 You have lived a self-satisfying life on this earth, a life of luxury. You have stuffed your hearts in preparation for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who doesn’t oppose you. (CEB)
</idle musing>

We've lost the question

The most serious obstacle which we encounter in entering a discussion about revelation, however, does not arise from our doubts whether the accounts of the prophets about their experiences are authentic; the most critical vindication of these accounts, even if it were possible, would be of little relevance. The most serious obstacle is the absence of the problem. An answer, to be meaningful, presupposes the awareness of a question, but the climate in which we live today is not genial to the growth of questions which have taken centuries to bloom. The Bible is an answer to the supreme question: What does God demand of us? Yet the question has gone out of the world. God is portrayed as a mass of vagueness behind a veil of enigmas, and His voice has become alien to our minds, to our hearts, to our souls. We have learned to listen to every ego except the “I” of God. The man of our time may proudly declare: Nothing animal is alien to me, but everything divine is. This is the status of the Bible in modern life: it is a great answer, but we do not know the question anymore, Unless we recover the question, there is no hope of understanding the Bible.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 186

<idle musing>
Indeed! That's one reason apologetics is basically worthless in our society. You can prove all you want that God exists and scripture is correct, etc. But it won't matter, because "this people's hearts have become hardened" to the point where they are unable to see beyond themselves. The results are all around us in the individualism that no longer says, "As long as it doesn't hurt someone it's ok." It now says "I can do whatever I want, when I want, in the way that I want—and screw you if you try to stop me."

Sorry to be the one to tell you, but life doesn't work that way…
</idle musing>

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Pathos and prophecy

After a hiatus of several weeks, let's get back to Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays:

The knowledge about the inner state of the divine in its relationship to Israel determined the inner life of the prophets, engendering a passion for God, a sympathy for the divine pathos in their hearts. They loved Israel because God loved Israel, and they frowned upon Israel when they knew that such was the attitude of God. Thus the marriage of Hosea was an act of sympathy; the prophet had to go through the experience of being betrayed as Israel had betrayed God. He had to experience in his own life what it meant to be betrayed by a person whom he loved in order to gain an understanding of the inner life of God. In a similar way the sympathy for God was in the heart of Jeremiah like a “burning fire, shut up in my bones and I weary myself to hold it in, but cannot” (20:9).

The main doctrine of the prophets can be called pathetic theology. Their attitude toward what they knew about God can be described as religion of sympathy. The divine pathos, or as it was later called, the Middot, stood in the center of their consciousness. The life of the prophet revolved around the life of God. The prophets were not indifferent to whether God was in a state of anger or a state of mercy. They were most sensitive to what was going on in God.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 183–84 (emphasis original)

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Real fathers

Bob on Books has a very good post today on what a real man looks like. Here's a short paragraph from it to whet you appetite:
I have to admit to being deeply disturbed as a man and as a father with what I see. It cuts across the grain of my deepest convictions and aspirations as both man and father. I find myself deeply angry with the men who perpetrate these wrongs, and perhaps even more angry with those who have tried to cover them and blame the victims instead of protect them. This was not how I was taught to be a man.
He goes on to list some very good ways he was taught to be a man. One that is especially important (at least in my experience) is this one, on dying to self: "Sometimes the hardest dying is to listen to another and give up what you want because what they want or think is needful is more important."

Yep. I haven't always done that one real well... But, do read the whole thing. And while you are at it, take a gander at today's Anxious Bench. Worth your time—and then some.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Wow! What a sale!

As you know, I don't work for Eisenbrauns anymore, but I'm still on their email list. I just received a sale announcement that is full of great stuff at amazing prices! Check it out:

A prescription for what ails the US

Dan 4:27 Therefore, Your Majesty, please accept my advice: remove your sins by doing what is right; remove your wrongdoing by showing mercy to the poor. Then your safety will be long lasting. (CEB)


Amos 5:18 Doom to those who desire the day of the Lord!
      Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
19 as if someone fled from a lion,
      and was met by a bear;
      or sought refuge in a house, rested a hand against the wall,
      and was bitten by a snake.
20 Isn’t the day of the Lord darkness, not light;
      all dark with no brightness in it?

21 I hate, I reject your festivals;
      I don’t enjoy your joyous assemblies.
22 If you bring me your entirely burned offerings and gifts of food—
      I won’t be pleased;
      I won’t even look at your offerings of well-fed animals.
23 Take away the noise of your songs;
      I won’t listen to the melody of your harps.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
      and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (CEB)

Lest you think those are "Old Testament" thoughts that is irrelevant to you as a "New Testament" Christian:

James 5:1 Pay attention, you wealthy people! Weep and moan over the miseries coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted. Moths have destroyed your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you. It will eat your flesh like fire. Consider the treasure you have hoarded in the last days. 4 Listen! Hear the cries of the wages of your field hands. These are the wages you stole from those who harvested your fields. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of heavenly forces. 5 You have lived a self-satisfying life on this earth, a life of luxury. You have stuffed your hearts in preparation for the day of slaughter. (CEB)

<idle musing>
Let those who have ears to hear, hear!
</idle musing>

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Bibliographies, part 1

I always start with the bibliography when I edit. After all, the footnotes or inline references all refer to them. If you haven't edited the bibliography, you'll be doing way too much work later, fixing things.

Today I won't have time to get into the nitty-gritty of it, but a few tips if, like me, you are not behind a university proxy:

  • Worldcat is your friend for books: I always have it open in a tab.
  • Google is my go-to search engine. It is always open in a tab.
  • Keep an abbreviations list—or update and check the one supplied. Use SBLHS2, IATG3, CDLI's Assyriology list, and my list as references. The book you are working on might mention where else they draw from, such as CAD or OCD.
  • Watch the capitalization of words! All forms of "to be," i.e., is, am, was, etc., are capitalized. And check with your press about prepositions: most presses lower case all prepostions (unless after a colon, semicolon, or starting a title), but some, like PSU Press/Eisenbrauns, capitalize prepositions five letters or longer. Other common mistakes: Held, Occasion, His/Her all are capitalized.
A further tip, which I might have already mentioned: I keep Worldcat open in a separate browser from my Google search, that way I can just do a Cmd-tab to switch browsers. It only saves a couple of seconds, but when you have a 150 page bibliography, it adds up. Yes, my longest bibliography was 156 pages long! I was paid by the hour, or I would only have made about $2.00/hour otherwise. The second-longest was 136 pages, and that one was by the page, so those extra seconds saved were literally money in the bank.

Cause for weeping

I read the leaked Russell Moore letter yesterday evening. It's heartbreaking. Then, this morning, I was reading in 2 Corinthians and this is the passage that started the section I was reading:
2 Instead, we reject secrecy and shameful actions. We don’t use deception, and we don’t tamper with God’s word. Instead, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God by the public announcement of the truth. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are on the road to destruction. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of those who don’t have faith so they couldn’t see the light of the gospel that reveals Christ’s glory. Christ is the image of God.

5 We don’t preach about ourselves. Instead, we preach about Jesus Christ as Lord, and we describe ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6 God said that light should shine out of the darkness. He is the same one who shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

<idle musing>
Seems to me that the hierarchy at the SBC is more aligned with the "super apostles" that Paul was fighting against than they are with the gospel. And for that I weep.
</idle musing>