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Next Year in Samaria

I went to my first Passover seder last night. A vegetarian one, with a fairly liberal haggadah and not a single yarmulke, but still. Heck, my first Jewish holy day of any sort, apart from rather lame Chanukah observance as a kid at my mother's urgings. That I grew up only really knowing of Chanukah, and not Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah or Passover or Purim, says something. (I probably heard of them, certainly passover, but didn't know anything.)

Anyway, it was fun.

Coincidentally, today I found http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,827144,00.html on the real world Samaritans (they live!) and how early Jews probably altered their Torah in dispute. Pretty interesting.

Totally unrelatedly, will sub-Saharan Africa undergo the demographic transition? Or rather, will it do so in time? http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/world/africa/in-nigeria-a-preview-of-an-overcrowded-planet.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

I missed all the March filking, but went to MASSFILC today, despite my slow cold recovery. Biked over even, in the nicer weather. Glad I did, it was fun, singing and arguing over Facebook and asking about obscure songs (no one knew) and then finally finding them and most of the Snow Magic album on Youtube, which I spent the evening downloading. FilkOntario is next weekend, and I'm contemplating dashing for it. I've been to SF cons, gaming cons, and anime cons, but never a dedicate filk con. Give that I spend half my time at SF cons in the filk room, I'd probably enjoy one. Next one is in June/July and there's not that many; I doubt the German one would do much good... then again, its website *defaults* to English.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 15th, 2012 08:04 am (UTC)
About the Samaritans
The Spiegel article imprudently relies on the views of a single scholar, and pays for it. The notion that there is no evidence for the temple of Solomon or for David relies on disputed archaeological readings and on a wholly mistaken idea of the capacity of ancient people for writing fiction. It is in fact typical of the bad German tradition of second-guessing texts, which gave us Homeric poems written by sixteen different people and New Testament texts dated as late as the third century. That is not to say that there hasn't been some considerable amount of rewriting and mutually hostile editing of ancient texts; most scholars agree that the Hebrew Bible text shows notable hostility towards what they call "Ephraim and Manasseh" even before the Deuteronomic reform of Josiah (of which our scholar seems blissfully unaware, although it was probably the most important single event in the history of the Jewish Biblical text). What I fail to understand is why he should take all the Samaritan alterations as the originals, and all the Judaic differences as hostile fakes. If anything, the fact that the Samaritan Israelites tended to prevail until the Assyrian invasion should suggest that they were in a better condition to alter the literature; successful and enduring fakes are often expressions of political power.

Edited at 2012-04-15 08:05 am (UTC)
Apr. 15th, 2012 09:30 am (UTC)
Purim's a big cosplay event these days.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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