The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Not an autobiography

A priest recently conducted an exorcism around a Satanic idol, and got famous for it. Later, this same (emotional and - I think - lonely) priest prepared to conduct a sacrament of joy, on behalf of a Christian couple. Yin... yang...

And then this priest's episcopal supervisor from Chicago showed up, and threatened to call in The Secular Arm - to enforce this nation's real laws against heresy and blasphemy. The priest, then, faced a decision: to carry on with his duty, and to marry this couple, even if the police showed up in midceremony to make a scene and to cut it short; or to flee, and to let the marriage carry forward, under a coward (at least) acting as auxiliary bishop.

The priest knew that to let his supervisor conduct that wedding could be construed by the couple as an honour. He also knew that the couple had already invited many guests, who were likely mostly Catholic - so, half "social liberal", and the nonCatholics likely even more Left. [9/30: Maybe he also knew that apostolic Christianity has taught that the bishop is the true hieros, with the presbyter as his stand-in.]

He'd likely gotten many emails and calls, from others in the media and from his "fellow Catholics"... and from his "bishop". They asked him questions. They asked him questions he couldn't answer very well, at that moment. He knew his parish; but he also knew - from voting patterns - the people from his county overall... and (more to the point) he knew the State of Illinois. He could take a guess at how his local secular authorities would react. The local beat cops were sympathetic, but - because Illinois - they also had to think about pensions.

We're told here that it was even worse (thank G-d this has not happened to me; I pray it has not to you either, dear reader):

One of the parishioners, a Chicago policeman, told me of some of the bizarre events of the last week, including numerous threats of death and rape against Fr. Kalchik, at least two probable attempted break-ins or acts of vandalism, one of which included breaking keys into all the locks in the doors of the church office. And then there was the visit by two Archdiocese representatives, yesterday, ordering Fr. Kalchik to vacate his parish and commit himself into psychiatric confinement.

At the moment of the wedding the priest was supposed to celebrate, the good pastor looked into his soul and asked if doing his duty was worth dragging OTHERS into his own crisis of doubt. He asked, he might have prayed, about the good of the Church - and about G-d's will, after the hierarchs had denied him. He prayed about his fellow priests now associated, fairly or not, with him; how well they could do their job, with him as a distraxion. And he asked himself how sincere he was, how strong he was. He'd lost sleep. He'd lost weight (okay, as a priest, he likely saw this bit as a silver-lining). His brain was already not the brain of a "neurotypical" (and he'd been molested as a boy himself, another curse I don't have to live with).

And now his brain wasn't working terribly well at all.

And so the priest blinked.

posted by Zimri on 19:31 | link | 0 comments

Those west Eurasian hunter-gatherers

Earlier we discussed Epipalaeolithic Anatolia (and the Balkans) as a sink for two equal populations, Levantine huntergatherers (who later, back home, became farmers) and West Eurasian huntergathers (who never did get around to farming, before being BTFO by our R1b bronze battle-axes). Iosif the Lazaride, grand strategos of early population genetics, has led his band upcountry to the southern Caucasus - and back in time to 24000 BC, the beginning of the last great ice-cap. A cave in Dzudzuana in modern Georgia, specifically.

Lazaridis et al. find the people here ancestral to early agriculturalists from western Anatolia ~6000 BC. Presumably to one or the other half (or both...? this early, one can't assume much) which subsequently contributed to "AHG", 13500ish BC at the other end of that "White-Walker" span... At any rate they have nothing in common with the hunter-gatherers who would inhabit the Kura valley in the 11000s BC. So that later band, perhaps ancestral to Georgians both Kartveli and Abkhaz today, gave the boot to the Dzudzuana people who'd lived there before.

Dzudzuana went west, far west, and became ancestral to... I-don't-know what. This is long before even the Anatolian / IndoEuropean split. Maybe these were the Hattians, or the Hurrians. Maybe the Lemnians and Etruscans (if we believe Herodotus and Claudius). Maybe even the AfroAsiatics: Lazaridis sees the Dzudzuana genes all over Tamazight North Africa, Nuragic Sardinia, and the preSemitic Levant.

Dzudzuana's own ancestry is itself a mix (they always are). Some of it is Western Hunter-Gatherer, which I guess we can expect in the (already damn frigid) leadup to that last great chill. But some of it is "Basal Eurasian" - the first spinoff from Out Of Africa, before even the Asian / European split. They'd been proposed before, but never actually seen in full (like, much later, Mal'ta Boy (R1 male, associated with X female) proved the existence of Ancestral North Euroasioamerican). So Basal Eurasian still hasn't been found but its trace is constrained to the deeper Pleistocene.

By luck Dzudzuana has yielded two mitochondria from two very different maternal lines. One is U6, Near Easternish ("Ursula", right?); the other is N. These guys despite having such divergent deep-maternities were of similar genetics elsewhere in their genomes.

Lazaridis signed his and his coauthors names to a suspicion that Ancient Basal Eurasian is Near-Eastern. And the U part of U6 is prominent in the old Near East. But U was in the Near East for a long time - AHG's (and my granddad's) K is a U(8) branch, for instance. That N, although also western-ish by contrast with M, is an ancient offshoot of L3; mostly Siberian as of the early Holocene, as noted.

I think N is the Basal Eurasian, or at least that they'd tagged along; and that it was already central Asian. I am not seeing it as Near Eastern yet, not like all those U and K kids.

posted by Zimri on 15:16 | link | 0 comments

Black democracy is tested

At the beginning of this month I got busted for commenting that Niger-Congo populations (particularly) aren't good at self-government and should give it up. This turns out to be a testable hypothesis and it has, recently, been tested. It is found that much depends on how not to be self-governed.

In Sierra Leone, which is a West African country, the rural populations left to themselves run on a chiefdom model. All agree (and I agree) this system of governance is primitive, and nondemocratic, and horrid for those not in the chief's retinue. Outsiders living in the major cities have attempted two methods to better the lives of rural populations: coded as Voice versus Skill. One outside model maps to the Affirmative Action, where the well-meaning city slickers order the villages to be more "inclusive". The other maps to Talented Tenth: the cityfolk find the locals who do best at management and they appoint them as managers.

You'll not believe what ha- nah, who'm I kidding. The Talented Tenth, selected and defended by outsiders, made their villages great again, and for pennies on the dollar. The Affirmative Action villages, at great expense, rotted in patronage and mutual ill-feeling. But it was democratic!!.

Over here when the election goes against what most blacks vote for, black unemployment drops to its lowest level ever. Such is democracy's great tragedy. Such is what politicians can never point out.

(URGENCY 9/22: since China has its economic act together, and India is getting its act together, some way of getting Africa together is now - literally - a question of global poverty. So yes, we should care. And no, we shouldn't care if the best answer gives nice middle-aged and Millennial Colorado white folk the warm fuzzies or not.)

posted by Zimri on 14:26 | link | 0 comments

The woodwoses of the old North

Susan Oosthuizen (Dutch herself I think, but they all speak English there) has had a peek at the English placenames and at the Normans' snapshot in the Domesday. Their references to forests match up nicely.

Where they DON'T match - or even take note? Cumbria, that's where: that whole stretch north of a line from the Mersey northeast to Middlesbrough, our own little Heihe-Tengchong. At it happens I have been up there myself just over two years ago and there are, indeed, many woodlands to be found there. Just not (by English standards) very many people.

I would hazard that there were woodlands back then, too... just no English (or Scandinavians) to mention them. It was Debateable Land even under the Romans. Especially after the Danes got onto the eastern coasts, no civilised person dared the place. I expect it reverted to Welshmen, "Wallaces" as they were called in Scots.

posted by Zimri on 13:44 | link | 0 comments

The Finno-Ugric peoples

More genetics from the Finno-Ugric peoples are in! The primary author Kai Tätte is, I think, an Estonian but s/he brought along others for this ride. (Again, this is all brought to you by HBDChick's twitter.)

The results are... variant, per specific community of Finno-Ugric speaker. The communities do seem to share a common male ancestor, N3 (30% of Estonia), who came from "Siberia" = north Eurasia east of the Urals. (Its cousin N2 is here as well.) They also agree (mostly) that the womenfolk are local (contrast, oh, the Avars): the females of Estonia are Balts where the females of Siberia are Siberian. Even Saami/Lapp women are almost nine-tenths European. But then things get weird.

Greater Finland - including Karelia and the Saami - has a distinct Asian signature, as do many central Eurasian populations. Also many of these linguistic populations have chosen to stick with their own kind: the Ugric Khanty and (core) Mansi together form a "cluster". But not all of them do. The Hungarians although speaking Ugric look (genetically) like the surrounding western Slavs; to such a degree that even N3 is rare there. And the Estonians, despite sounding like Finns and bearing all that N3, look like Lithuanians. (To be fair, so do Finns, mostly; except where they don't.) Some Mansi appear to have taken in Russian immigrants. Samoyeds are part Manchu now. And so on.

The spread of Finno-Ugric (and Samoyed) was, then, not much like the spread of Indo-European. Indo-European came with sword and chariot. Uralic excepting maybe the Hungarians came more quietly - and with fewer women. This may seem paradoxical. I propose a more-peaceful route of linguistic diffusion, like male-mediated trade prior to the great Mongol and Russian empires. The "Fur Road" as it's been called.

The Magyars don't fit well, as Tätte et al. noted. But they muse that the first Magyars may have been more Avarlike:

Furthermore, analyses of early medieval aDNA samples from Karos-Eperjesszög cemeteries in Hungary have revealed the presence of mtDNA haplogroups with East Asian provenance testifying for vestiges of a real migration of people from the east. Neparáczki E, Juhász Z, Pamjav H, Fehér T, Csányi B, et al. "Genetic structure of the early Hungarian conquerors inferred from mtDNA haplotypes and Y-chromosome haplogroups in a small cemetery", Mol Gen Genomics 292 (2017), 201–14

Mind you, we now have to ask if those were Magyars or those aforementioned Avars...

posted by Zimri on 12:51 | link | 0 comments

Stone Age Anatolia

I define "the Holocene" as an interglacial within our true period, the Pleistocene. It is like the Eemian. Our interglacial began with the "Late Glacial Interstadial" around, what, 12700 BC? Anthropologists term the general period, the Epipalaeolithic - "upon the old stone [age]", if my Greek isn't failing me. ("Stone Age" is a lonnnng time; I get the impression they'd rather restrict this age later in the Holocene, between the Younger Dryas and the first copper smelters.)

Michal Feldman and his crew have now published some genetic results from Anatolia. The first is from Pınarbaşı - even before any reasonable definition of the Holocene: 13642-13073 BC. (Got this one from HBDChick. She was on fine form last night; if I hadn't already been posting content I'd have mentioned this then.)

The stiff in question had been a hunter-gatherer all his life, which I guess they can tell based on the stone gear around him. Feldman accordingly calls this population, AHG. Being a dude, our boy had a Y-chromosome: C1a2. And his mum was a K like my mother's father's mother, but a K2b which is rare these days. (We "Katrines" are K1. And I think we'd migrate to southern Europe from the Near East, later on.)

AHG is not a direct hybrid himself (like, you know, my mom; or like poor dead Denny here) but a previously unknown population descended from hybrids. Feldman &co. say: AHG derives around half of his ancestry from a Neolithic Levantine-related (sic) gene pool (48.0 ± 4.5 %; estimate ± 1 SE) and the rest from the [Mesolithic western European hunter-gatherers]-related one. Of course the Neolithic and even the Mesolithic wouldn't start for several more millennia yet, so those populations themselves must have roots long before 13642 BC.

The researchers sampled some later Anatolians: starting from "Aceramic Neolithic", the "no-pottery new stone age". Here at Boncuklu they found remains one of which they could date, directly dated to 8269-8210 cal BCE. These derive most of their ancestry (89.7 ± 3.9 %) from a population related to AHG. Accounting for that other 10%, in the five millennia in between, they had taken on some genetics from Iran. One of these samples is a Katrine: K1a. Also found here for the first time is the rs12193832 gene, for grey eyes, up to that point found only in Europe. Even that Epipalaeolithic Pınarbaşı halfEuropean had dark eyes.

These are some impressive constraints. And they allow for knock-on findings in the surrounding area, like the Balkans.

I think that before Feldman's paper, scholars had some notion of Anatolia being the collision-point between the Near East, Iran, and Europe. And to be sure, all that is still there. But Anatolia wasn't a collision point between European hunter gatherers and Near Eastern farmers. The Near Easterners who'd met the Europeans in Anatolia were all hunter gatherers at that time, the 13000s BC (or before!). Farming was introduced, much later, to a population already well-settled-in and, by then, amalgamated. I doubt the Anatolians even remembered their origins.

When Near Easterners came to Europe later on, by contrast, these came with the farming toolkit and simply booted the hunter-gatherers into the great German forest.

posted by Zimri on 11:24 | link | 0 comments

Friday, September 21, 2018

That letter ascribed to Hasan al-Basri...

Back in the 1970s, long before I was paying attention, some Orientalists put about an Islamic letter about human free-will, which they thought was by the venerable saint Hasan of Basra in the early second / eighth century. Michael Cook rebutted this letter in 1981 and then in the 2000s (when I started paying attention) Suleiman Mourad did so more thoroughly.

Among the skeptics' assumptions: Hasan al-Basri was assumed to believe in free-will himself, and this letter was assumed to be a free-will tract. Mourad found that Hasan at the time did believe in free-will; but Mourad also thought that the letter owed more to the Mu'tazila - that it represented a development of Hasan's thought, so wasn't to be ascribed to Hasan himself.

Feryal Salem begs to differ - sort of. Salem points out that Hasan was a protoSunnite. (Which I can verify: Hasan had earlier served with 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Ash'ath, that great protoSunnite mutineer. The "Murji'a", they were called then.) Salem also points out that the letter isn't particularly Mu'tazilite; it works as a moderately Sunnite tract, as well.

Be all this as it may, I am unsure that all this explodes Mourad.

In Hasan's day the protoSunnites were, still, very much proto-. The free-will debate was still abstract and not nearly as salient, to these Muslims, as was the debate over temporal authority in the here and now. Which is how they got Ibn al-Ash'ath in the first place.

The letter may well express what Hasan would have wanted to say, given space to express a coherent theology, but Hasan did not live in an era when theology was the Muslims' priority. He lived in a different country. They did - and thought - things differently there.

posted by Zimri on 19:05 | link | 0 comments

The devil will not be mocked

Margaret Atwood the feminist is allowed to make a parody of Sunnite / paraShi'ite Islam, and of the Dominionist heresy of Christianity. (The Handmaid's Tale show, and modern feminists, are allowed to run with that.)

What we are not allowed to do, in Current Year, is to parody the parody [h/t Stephen Green]. No sexy Handmaid costumes for YOU!

We did get a nose-in-the-air justification for this censorship - and it is censorship, since it's not as if Atwood asserted her rights as copyright owner, nor could she, since this is obvious fair-use satire. Take it away, freelance censor Agent Z:

My ire was with a company that looks at a t.v series that criticizes (among other things) female sexual exploitation and then creates a line of costumes that are sexually exploitative

The series - meaning, the story, which properly belongs to Atwood - proposed that "female sexual exploitation" wasn't even the point. The ruling-caste women were fully on board with the Gilead system. It was clear from the book that the men in this system were beta. It was their childless and barren sisters who demanded their bloodlines get propagated. They married out, to other men in that caste, and ensured those men got children in return for their brothers getting children. The system they came up with was horrendous but they thought it was better than the alternatives, which involved extinction and/or chaos.

The story mainly criticises totalitarianism done For Our Own Good. Agent Z is fine with that much.

posted by Zimri on 17:39 | link | 0 comments

The many Mexicos of southeast Asia

Old Siam, we all know, got colonised by exiled Thai from southern China and became Thailand (also lowland Laos). Asia southeast of that, from Cambodia/Kampuchea/Kambuja down to Java, instead "embraced" - as the cliché goes - various faith-traditions from the Subcontinent: Buddhism, Islam, even Hinduism. It is conventionally thought that the diverse peoples here did so of their own free will.

The genetics are in, and Razib is reporting on them. He finds a lot of India over there. Well sure, most people will say; the Brits were bringing over all sorts, for their colonial project, and there weren't enough Brits for the job. But colonial Indonesia was Dutch and Cambodia was French - they weren't importing Indics, at least not at that scale. Also, Razib notices, the structure is deeper than the 1800s AD.

Some of the Cambodian (male) samples are R1a... again, the Aryans. They are clearly a superstructure: directly from Hindus (Brahmins and Xatrya) or in the elite of recently-coopted Muslims (Persian?). (Or both.) Also both Hinduism and Islam have historically put a premium on sacred bloodlines: Hinduism has Brahmins and Islam has Qurâshite Arabs (some claim otherwise today but, meh). At the local level nobody in their right mind converts to someone else's ideological racism - except at swordpoint, or facing a whelm of elite immigrants.

Razib proposes a mass Ostsiedlung (if you'll pardon me) of Indian elites perhaps culminating in the 1200s. Once there, as of the 1100s in Cambodia and the end of the 1200s in Java, some "went native" - but didn't blend into the old Javanese or Cambodian cultures, the way so many conquerors of China became Chinese. Northern Sumatra went Muslim, Java went Hindu, Cambodia went Buddhist eventually - but I vaguely recall from a junior-high project I did on Cambodia that Angkor Wat was Hindu too, at first.

This to me looks a LOT like the experience of European colonisation (and, yes, colonialism) centuries later... but not in southeast Asia. That these new empires had adopted different religions tells me that different parts of India had sent their men to different places.

These 12th-13th century religious-convert empires look to me more like Mexico. In Mexico, a bunch of Spaniards showed up in the 1500s, took over the place, and overhauled Mexican culture. But they didn't replace the old bloodlines; they married into these, especially the Aztecs. Then mestizo-Mexico threw off Spanish rule and formed its own empire. But this had to be a Catholic empire; the Mesoamerican religions were, now, "folk tradition" expressed through Catholic language.

posted by Zimri on 16:05 | link | 0 comments

Thursday, September 20, 2018

How Bert and Ernie got molested

I got a little upset earlier this week and mused that PBS had queered up Sesame Street before 1984. The reason I got upset was because I felt like a part of my childhood had been molested. The next question, which I didn't answer in that post, was how early.

Sesame Street was always somewhat anarchic. It was a creature of the 1970s. Before that, Jim Henson's "muppet" creations were used in television commercials with occasional appearances in talk shows. I couldn't rule out that Henson and his main collaborator, the voice actor Frank Oz, had intended a queer angle all along. But I didn't want to say it. I didn't want to believe it.

We now have something of a roundtable discussion, at Beale's place. We don't have Jim Henson anymore (sadly) but we do still have Frank Oz. Oz claims authorship of Bert and Ernie; and he denies eros. Theirs was agape, between friends. Until Oz lost control of writing duties.

There ARE questions about authorial intent, whether the author retains control of a fictional character after publication. Certainly after some other author takes control, the characters can change. But that's a violation of the original author's vision.

Jon Scalzi, true to form, likens Bert and Ernie to the child of doting parents "coming out [homosexual]". Scalzi feels nothing for the parents; deep down, Scalzi hates normal parents. Greg Cochran and I believe that such children don't "come out"; they are turned out, by molesters... like the authors who turned out Bert and Ernie. (This is yet more grist for Vox Day calling Scalzi, "McRapey".)

That leaves open a question: if Oz and Henson didn't think Bert and Ernie were gay, then why did the former two write the latter two as a bachelor couple inhabiting the same house. We may now have an answer to that, in the Vox Populi comments:

33. SemiSpook37 September 20, 2018 9:01 AM

You know how I know Bert isn't gay? His obsession with pigeons.

That's some high-level Omega trait right there.

The only reason (I believe) Ernie is living with him is because Ernie, deep down, feels sorry for Bert and doesn't want him to be alone. That's got nothing to do with carnal desires and everything to do with being a decent human being.

And I say this as having grand-uncles that lived together for years before they eventually passed on. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to ensure that others have the potential to survive.

This makes Ernie an even bigger hero than he already was to my young self.

posted by Zimri on 16:29 | link | 0 comments

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Steve Sailer, the card

There was a time when there were firm lines of generational demarcation in our language. We got assigned The Pigman when I was in the eighth grade... oh wait a minute, I wasn't in America then - it was THIRD FORM.

But lots of American kids that age got hit with this one too, I later found out. It was Teachable.

One point this book raised was that it was, officially, Out Of Date to say that someone was a "card". The term cropped up in older (American) movies but nobody would ever bring it up in normal conversation. Which left... abnormal conversation. So on occasion, during trips to/back-to America, I'd hear a dialog like this:

TRY-HARD: [unfunny joke]

WAG: You're such a card!

This went on for some time from 1988 to the mid 1990s, after which it was considered annoyingly hipster even to call someone a 'card' in irony.

These days, we are so steeped in irony, it is barely even possible to say that a term is out of date at all. Steve Sailer is older than I am, but he's plugged-in to Twitter enough that he feels free to use the term "lit". And Sailer sounds (well, reads) cooler doing it than most people younger than me.

But then, he's Steve Sailer. And we're not.

posted by Zimri on 19:04 | link | 0 comments

Yes, they're recruiting kids

There is a sect of people who propose two memes - and they are the same sect - on "The Gay Agenda". One meme is that any counter-notion, that homosexuals even have an agenda, is laughable paranoia. The other is that homosexuality deserves to be promoted, to early ages. VERY early.

So now we know. From 1984 at latest, the Public Broadcasting Service was hiring known homosexuals to write scripts for Bert and Ernie sketches in Sesame Street. The Sun has the context. Qweerty has a full interview. And, yes, many people noticed, including "preschoolers".

I'll point out that PBS was worming that propaganda into our homes long before that. And as some commenters are pointing out, PBS's claim that Oh No They Are Just Puppets is utter crap, like saying that the comics Kurt Eichenwald likes to read are just two dimensional images.

This country's culture is broken. The people running the joint don't want your children to grow up healthy, and to give you grandkids. They want your children to grow up confused, so easier to seduce, for themselves.

UPDATE 9/20 - at least we can exonerate Oz and Henson.

posted by Zimri on 18:17 | link | 0 comments

I guess I've made it

My books have their first negative review. Woot! The splat got dumped on House of War and the review is as follows:

Xenophobic rant-fest penned by a noted alt-right extremist
By Larry Dickman on September 10, 2018
This “book” is nothing more than a collection of rants from a noted racist/homophobe/xenophobe

(Yeah, I know, I got to this one late. Amazon don't send me messages when I get a review. And I don't look at my reviews on my own, often, because - all these books are a few years old, so the readers have moved on. But today I'd got the feeling that Current Events would be impinging upon them.)

This review does not come from a "verified purchase" and as best I can tell, Dickman is a near-verified non-READ as well. It offers no fair-use quotes from the text. It implies the book is a "collection" of essays, which it is not (although there is a collection in the appendix); the main thrust is a narrative, modeled on Forest of Kings, running a full 135 pages. Lastly, if Dickman had read the book - or even this blog - he would know that I was aware of mine own politics and of which politics I allowed into the text.

'Cause I done tol' y'all, right here. House of War is ... dadadada .... MARXIST. Some alt-right hymnal!

Race is, yes, an issue in House of War - because the Arabs had made it an issue. They were declaring themselves the new Chosen. That's right: against the Jews. If you have a problem with that assessment, then you have a problem with history - and incidentally with sura 3. Maybe with Jews too but hey, who'm I to judge.

Also the book doesn't mention homosexuality in the least bit. So as far as "homophobia", I have no idea whence Dickman got that. Maybe he read some book I didn't write about sura 11 - from the future perhaps, or from a parallel universe.

... or he was reviewing the author, and not the book. That was the conclusion I had to come to. So I have marked Dickman's ad hominem non-review as Abuse of Amazon's review functionality.

posted by Zimri on 17:07 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Conservative Jews are considered Christian

I went to a Barnes and Noble this afternoon. I went straight to the Religion section because of course I did. (Mostly I was looking for History of Jihad which isn't to be had for any price in Colorado. But that's another post for another time and, honestly, another blogger.)

I noticed that Dennis Prager, who is Jewish, and Torah-observant at that, has been publishing his Exodus "rational bible" commentary by way of the Regnery imprint. Which bears a cross on it.

I also noticed - and by that I mean I went to the Information desk to ask - that Prager's hardcore Orthodox Jewish book although listed as general "Religion" was barcoded as Christian.

I mean, there does remain that question of whether I have a dog in this fight. I span both identities as you know. And obviously I don't mind if a Jew writes a book of interest to Christians - I am not a Muslim and I write books that I hope will be of interest to Muslims. (Beyond and beside giving them more reasons to wish me to the Fire.)

Maybe it's the autist in me. But I think that if a Jew writes a Jewish commentary for Jews (Alif) the book shouldn't have a cross on it even if the publisher thinks the logo is cool and (Beth) the book belongeth to Judaica, not to Christian Inspiration.

posted by Zimri on 23:01 | link | 0 comments

Upload #167: outtake

I looked at sura 67 today. This is the sura of the Heavenly Kingdom. I read it as amir 'Abd al-Malik's (65/685) bid for walking the Dome of the Rock circuit, and not prostrating to - well, mainly, to Mecca. It's in my new project - "Building the Seven Heavens".

This short essay belongs in House of War. But I've no plans for updating that book in its CreateSpace self-published form - other scholars (well, that one scholar, who will admit to having read any of it...) has noted that the books have been a moving-target over the years. I can understand how annoying this is; trust me, it annoys me as well. In my defence House of War has moved the least - and this new thingey only bolsters it further. So I am keeping this book the way 'tis until a major academic publishing... deal... comes... throBAHAHAHAHAHA.

Anyway. The chart changed...

In the process I discovered that Arthur Jeffery had made a mistake in his classic Materials, my index for variant Qur'anic codices. He'd noted a slew of missing suras in Ibn Ashta's tradition from Ubay bin Ka'b. He didn't like that so many had dropped out. I rechecked the Garnet Suyuti translation for Ibn Ashta and found that Jeffery's eye (usually excellent) had failed him. We must restore between suras 47 and 46: 58, 67, 41-or-32 (I don't know which, Jeffery flipped a coin on 41, I'd now say 41's best contextually), and 71 in that order. I had to strike out a paragraph in "Yemen" (on 71) as a result.

I also found a 25>43 link so "Defending Jesus" (on 43) bears that now.


posted by Zimri on 21:19 | link | 0 comments

Nomination for IQSA leadership

In response to the casting-call at IQSA, I have written this. There was a promise of anonymity but in this case, I've decided to break the "confessional seal".

Dear Dr Zellentin,

I am glad you are doing well. You recently put out a call for a new leadership position, and you mentioned some criteria: you wanted someone perhaps genetically closer to the sectarian milieu of the first/seventh century. You also mentioned the current politics affecting the field (although it doesn't seem to be IQSA's habit to name names these days).

It seems to me that the choice is clear. I nominate Robert Spencer.

Mr Spencer is of Pontic Greek descent, and his politics would offer an ideological diversity clearly lacking from IQSA management at present. In addition he has penned multiple books on Islam's core texts - mainly Sunni admittedly - including a "History of Jihad" that is accumulating some fine reviews from other experts.

The main problem with censorship, these days, isn't coming from Donald Trump. It is coming from the tech monopoly and from activists in the universities. The "no-platform" movement has gone mainstream. Speakers at campuses are being shouted down; professors like Dr Bret Weinstein are losing their positions just for opposing the mob - in his case, for opposing a segregated day on campus.

For my part, I am an independent scholar, and I'm a shy one, so I don't venture onto a podium much. But here Robert Spencer has had his channels taken down under pressure from no less than MasterCard itself. One might wave off an exile from this or that platform with "find a new one" or even "create a new one". But nobody is going to find an alternative to MasterCard.

Posting Mr Spencer as a leader in IQSA would temper the one-sided commentary currently emanating from the mailbox (however (flimsily) concealed in sly references to "political climate" and the like), it would focus IQSA on what matters, it would show independent scholars that we have a place in this field, and - perhaps most importantly - it would send a message that the corporations are on notice, as well, that they cannot act like governments and like totalitarian governments at that.

Please take this petition seriously.
David Reid Ross

I have sent it to Dr Holger Zellentin's submitted email address (which I am not posting on this blog), in the hope that the scholar who gave us The Qur'an's Legal Culture still resides there, past the public face of (mostly gender-feminist) piety. If you are interested in the future of Islamic Studies in the Current Year, AND you have IQSA membership, I request you do the same. Or to get ready to vote on it at the IQSA meeting here in Denver this November.

Or find someone else! If an independent scholar is what you want, rather than an ideological counterweight, Dan Gibson has put up some fascinating work on the Meccan qibla, which is starting to garner some respect. Although Gibson might be like me and not want the job. Although-although that would be an excellent reason to submit him anyway.

But either way please keep it respectful and fact-based.

posted by Zimri on 08:43 | link | 0 comments

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