The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Upload #100 - Centistone

Only ten more of these hundred-upload marks and then we can call it a milestone...

First off: as you know, I've redone several essays in one book and pushed some edits into another, and to support all that I renamed and reposted that "Muhkam" essay. So my old essays need to point to these new page-numbers and references - specifically, I've counted 16 essays, not counting "Muhkam" itself. And even "Muhkam" still had some small issues when I reposted it, so, I had to fix those too. Nicolas Sinai's article led me to Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam, which I'd already added to The Arabs 5.1, so I threw that into "Joseph".

Redirecting reference links is NOT among my favourite things to do. In case you wondered.

But, better news! I've pulled a longstanding (before February 2009) footnote out of my "geniza" slushpile. This has to deal with al-Mughira (allegedly) quoting a Jewish legend (complete with Moses), and splicing in it a translation from the Gospel - to be specific, from tritoIsaiah (Is. 56-66), from Paul and maybe from Thomas. Back in 2009 I was hung up on what do with sura 32 generally. This essay wasn't much help (in its 2009 state), and that's why it hadn't found its way out of its hole. But recently I've organised my thought, and scaled back this essay's ambitions such that it now mainly buttresses "Torah To Hadith"; and it turns out it is slightly helpful to sura 32 as well. It's not a legal hadith so I'm not going to shoehorn this into "Torah To Hadith" although, it probably would have been suitable for The Arabs as a standalone if I were still adding essays to it. I think it works well-enough for what it tries to do. This being mine only criterion for posting PDFs, here's the PDF: "An Umayyad-era Qudsi".


posted by Zimri on 13:32 | link | 0 comments

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I suppose we're supposed to be paying attention

Ol' Power Glutes claims he has milked his last load. Probably not though.

posted by Zimri on 20:42 | link | 0 comments

The Super Bowl is for suckers

Vox Day says the Patriots have cheated their way into another Super Bowl. 538 thinks they haven't. (An aside: "Ball-Ghazi"? Really?)

I'll go the middle way: I won't watch the squirrelbowl and I'll avoid those venues playing it on their screens. But I'll not bother seeking out the advertisers to avoid their products.

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

More Byzantine sources in Theophanes?

I'm going back over the primary sources for Byzantine history. I didn't ever get to read Dmitri Afinogenov, “Conflated Accounts in Theophanes’ Exposition of the History of Byzantium in the Seventh Century”, ed. Denis Searby, Ewa Balicka Witakiwska, and Johan Heldt, Δῶρον ῥοδοποίκιλον (Uppsala University, 2012), 31-40. I wish I had, because it is of interest to what I've been doing (2012-5) for that Amorium anecdote. So I shall approach this essay here obliquely.

The first "review" (we'll get to why the quotes) I found was an excerpt from Florin Leonte's coverage of Δῶρον overall, writing from Central European University, Budapest at the Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2013.05.49:

D. Afinogenov discusses the sources of two passages in Theophanes' History: the naval battle of Phoenix (655) and the beginning of the Arab conquest of Syria and Palestine (approximately 675). Afinogenov makes a comparison with George the Monk to solve some of the riddles posed by Theophanes' compilation techniques. The author concludes that the sections of Theophanes' history dedicated to the Arab conquest and the reign of Constans used four major sources: a pamphlet, oriental chronicles, a homily by Anastasios of Sinai, and a treatise on the origins of Islam.

Leonte has delivered here an abstract; a book-report, at least pertinent to this essay. Leonte was called here to the BMCR to deliver a critique. It is not the job of a reviewer to give yet another abstract of the subject's work. Personally I blame Bryn Mawr's editors for not calling Leonte on this laziness. But since I couldn't find the author's or editor's real abstract, I cannot complain all THAT much.

Fortunately I have additionally found such a critique, of at least its take on the Phoenix anecdote. Its author is... you guessed it... Maria Conterno, from La “descrizione dei tempi” all’alba dell’espansione islamica (2014), 51 n. 31. I have taken the liberty of Google-translating this footnote from the Italian. I have also broken it out into paragraphs and simplified some of its clauses. For the base account in Theophanes, the Turtledove translation has it at page 45. I'll be going back over my translation as time allows.

Dmitry Afinogenov ... observes that the detail of the exchange of clothes, absent from the Syriac chronicles, is inserted by Theophanes inconclusively in the dynamics of the action. George the Monk presents a story exactly the same (George, Chronicon, 716-7) but which does not end with the emperor's salvation by the son of Boukinator: in his chronicle he says that, after the battle, the emperor is made aware of a conspiracy, sets his clothes onto a friend to wear, and returns to Constantinople on a boat at night; the friend remains defiantly on the ship and is found by the conspirators, who mistake him for the Emperor and kill him.

Afinogenov argues that Theophanes has joined the account of the eastern source to the source of George the Monk, inconsistently inserting into the former the detail of the clothing-exchange taken from the latter. The scholar [Afinogenov] has missed, however, that the inconsistency of his source is also present in the Syriac chronicles, where it is said that the enemies exchanged the son of Boukinator for the emperor, with no explanation of the motive.

It is obvious that there must have been some difficulties in the original story. This is confirmed also by Agapios, who omits entirely the final intervention of the son of Boukinator, thus presenting a finale closer to that of George the Monk. [Agapios] says just that the emperor himself nearly drowned and was saved only after many Romans were killed, a passage that sounds equally inconclusive.

To hypothesize the fusion of two sources in Theophanes does not resolve the problem. It is more likely that there existed some inconsistency at or difficulty of reading of the finale for a single account at base, which finale was placed as best various users could place it. If so it is George the Monk who has merged the story of the conspiracy with Theophanes' account, inventing [the conspiracy] or taking it from another source.

Translating stuff from various languages I don't speak, or need to speak, into English isn't my day-job. In what you've read above, I have done as much as I figured I needed to do to get the sense of things. Based on what little I've understood of this, I'll take for granted Conterno's corrective against Afinogenov's logic. And because I haven't understood much of this book natively, I've read little of it; and I have read a good deal less of Afinogenov's article - which is to say, nothing first-hand. All that said... I believe I can still offer a critique, of the pericope I have at hand - of Conterno's footnote.

Dr. Afinogenov has been trying to get scholars to re-examine the text(s) of George the Monk for over a decade now. This, precisely because George might have some altra fonte (or fonti) not, perhaps, wholly transmitted to us in Theophanes and in the Syrian chronicles (and we'll throw in Nikephoros). I cannot see where Dr. Conterno has delivered a debunking of George here.

And circling back to Teofane: if George had his extra sources (Trajan?) then so, much more, must Theophanes have had his own sources, before George (Trajan?). If Afinogenov takes away anything from this footnote of this book, it's not "don't bother"; it's "hone your argument".

posted by Zimri on 17:48 | link | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A tale of two countries

Japan is probably not going to ransom its hostage. Jordan has.

This is because there is exists in Japan no constituency with sympathies to the Caliph's sabil. In Jordan, though . . .

posted by Zimri on 19:54 | link | 0 comments

Charter schools will save us all, IV

Hijab Day!

posted by Zimri on 19:51 | link | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I no longer recognise this pope

It is not my place to say what Catholics choose as Pope. I never did join that communion - I came close, 2008-2009, but in the end I ducked out. Still. There's this, and there's this and now there's this. Especially the picture where he's holding that anti-fracking t-shirt, which is absolutely UNWORTHY of the Vicar of G-d.

From now on I shall refer to this man as "Jorge Mario Bergoglio". Catholics are stuck with him. But I'm not. And it's getting to the point where calling this political hack "pope" is an insult to Catholics.

posted by Zimri on 18:26 | link | 0 comments

Monday, January 26, 2015

Maybe there really are prophets in a wormhole

Vox Day sees demons. I think he may have a point.

Consider the Deep Space Nine episode, "Strange Bedfellows". But first, background: we are on the alien planet Bajor, whose locals serve the Bajorian prophets under a hierarchy. These "prophets" are transdimensional aliens living in a wormhole, the "celestial temple"; their spiritual power is termed pa. Meanwhile the head of the Bajoran hierarchy is titled kai; and the current kai is one Winn Adami - already established as an opportunist who uses pious display and Bajoran resentment to get what she wants. (Winn is literally played by the same actress as played Nurse Ratched a generation prior.) Needless to say the prophets want nothing to do with Winn and they provide anyone else with visions... right up to the (human and, whilst we're at it, self-consciously black) captain of DS9.

But there exist rival aliens. These had long ago been cast out from this temple / wormhole and now must roam the world as incorporeal pa wraiths. In this episode Winn now receives visions - visions from these rebel malâ'ika. Winn is naturally horrified and goes to one of our protagonists, to confess tearfully that she wants to serve the true prophets. She is told, it was power that got her to this mess; to be loved by the true prophets, she must renounce power.

If the Church of Christ means anything, it requires a hierarchy and this hierarchy must be headed by men. No woman should seek this authority; they are saved by humility, working toward the betterment of others. Libby Lane loves status and subversion, and you can see it in her face. Lane has no interest in the Church of Christ. She is Winn Adami on her way to power.

posted by Zimri on 18:30 | link | 0 comments

Books up again

On the ongoing saga of Islamic research and "publication" (in the CreateSpace sense), I admit I've left you all hanging, so: Throne of Glass has been up, for about a week. I didn't say much because ... I'd increasingly come to the knowledge that I'd have to yank down The Arabs and Their Qur'an again.

Especially given last weekend. I'd rediscovered Boullata's 2000 book on Qur'anic style and structure. First time I'd read it was, I think, in 2006 and from it I'd photocopied (for personal use) Zahniser's work on suras 2 and 4 - and this really was one excellent essay, and it's cited all over the place here (hooray for xerox!). As of this last few days, I've found that Anthony F Johns had provided another large essay on sura 25. I'd first looked at sura 25 in late 2010, or maybe even '11. So of course nothing of Johns was mentioned in any essays I've ever done. One of which, "The Furqân", I'm trying to, er, sell; as well as to get scholars to take seriously. Which the scholars won't do if they think the essays are incomplete which this one, I now know, was.

Other bugfixes also went in, but that bugfix was the main bugfix. Anyway the essay-collection is now back up there, still with the same page-count, and - since no-one bought it over that span - still a "fifth" edition. Throne of Glass - covering a period when sura 25 was already canon - remains unscathed.

posted by Zimri on 18:03 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Demonstrating against parodies of Muhammad

As a rule, a "demonstration" is a demonstration of physical force. You demonstrate a pistol by firing it at a cantaloupe, was Moldbug's comment. As I've said here before.

Also as a rule, country A doesn't believe in belief B, and country B doesn't believe in belief A. So A should expect B to mock A's beliefs; and likewise B.

So when mobs in B demonstrate against (some people in) A's mockery of B - the mobs under B are pushing the B leaders to force A to repress those dissidents within A. They want aggressive-politics - they ultimately want war against A. Hey, lefties and Ronulans - just consider them as "neocons of Ishmael".

I wonder why we here in A don't feel like it's in our rights to go force some stuff on B. Like, to find out where these mobs are gathering and to BOMB them. They've done enough of that over here in A, 'alama Allahu. (I might be hazy on the subject / verb order.)

Sure we can talk root-causes and 'oo bombed 'oo. But right now I happen to live in A. And I don't trust B, and don't want any of it on me. I'll settle for not letting any more citizens of B to enter into A territory.

UPDATE 1/26: Jim does it better. And we're being reminded that Lawrence Auster (on whom peace) had similar instincts.

posted by Zimri on 23:06 | link | 0 comments

Oxford University Press gets burned (again)

Ahmad al-Jallad puts the smack down on another work of bad scholarship (h/t Zaotar):

It is hoped that non-specialists would read reviews of this book by Semiticists, as it is a work of comparative Semitics and not Arabic dialectology or sociolinguistics, and not take for granted its quality because it was published by Oxford University Press.

Do high-school students still apply to this university anymore?

posted by Zimri on 22:28 | link | 0 comments

Mut'a marriage today

Many years ago I pointed to Ibn Abbas and his unpleasant opinions on this and that. Mut'a temporary marriage came up. I'd thought his fatwa was abandoned among Sunnis but still holds strong among Shi'a.

The Ismailis reject it, and so historically has the Zaydiya - although the Houthi Zaydis, under Tehran's dominion now, might change their minds. On the other side of the divide, it's looking like the caliph, and the Egyptians and Saudis, are reviving it in Hanbalism.

posted by Zimri on 16:32 | link | 0 comments

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Show us the code


I am pro-#gamergate on general principle. Social-justice rage-junkies like Anita Sarkeesian are evil - literal servants of Morgoth. But one thing I'll grant to the unwilling hate-figure of the #gamergate movement herself, its Gavriel Princip, Zoe Quinn: she did, in fact, show us her code: Depression Quest.

It wasn't good code. Also up to then she'd made some major errors as a person. After the truth of the game came out - no thanks to her - she really should have slunk off in embarrassment and tried again. And then she didn't do even that. Because she's not (yet) a good person.

But - she did throw her code out there.

posted by Zimri on 21:57 | link | 0 comments

Was Muhammad white?

From "Muhammad: Believe it or else" and several other polemics, oft directed against the NOI etc:

The Prophet passed through the lane of Khaybar quickly and my knee was touching the thigh of the Prophet. He uncovered his thigh and I saw the whiteness of the thigh of the Prophet. (tr. Bukhari 1.8.367)

Paul Atreides, come on down! - or not.

Consider the source: Bukhari, like Muslim al-Nisaburi, wasn't a Greek, but he was of old Central Asia. Both scholars Bukhari and Muslim were probable racial Soghdians; northern Iranians. These two were white men themselves, with a little Asian in them. I have seen photos of late 1800s Bukhara. Many of those guys looked exactly like me. Especially the, er, Jews but we'll not get into that.

I haven't looked into the asanid of the ahadith which say that the Prophet was, beneath the sunburn, white. But I suspect they were part of the anti-Arab shu‘ubiya. This movement was strongest in newly-Islamicised Persia, as part of the ‘Abbâsid revolution.

posted by Zimri on 21:27 | link | 0 comments

Dishonesty and abortion

There are ways to be honest about the abortion debate. So far I've counted three.

One can oppose it; perhaps with that extremely narrow exception for the imminent death of the mother and child. One can assert, with Medea, that the mother is sovereign. Lastly one can (this is rare) support abortion: for instance, a eugenicist. Also there are those... others. The host of Unamusement Park once, perhaps joking and certainly trolling, said he was for it for everyone except for whites. I didn't count those who profess not to care but I'll throw that in as a defensible position (everyone's got hobbies). We can opine that any or all of these positions are odious. We cannot find them contemptible.

I've said before that the "pro choice" position is contemptible - because not all involved parties can have a choice. Another contemptible position is to support it in cases of the "health" of the mother, because this is an escape-clause for weasels.

It is looking like the rape exception is weaseltalk too. It's real easy for ostensible pro-lifers to say "except for rape [and incest]". But that means a crime is alleged; and not only that, but a crime where we can know by a simple blood test on mommy approximately half the entire genome of the rapist [and if incest, more than half]. All of this is testable in court. If we're not testing this in court, then we're defining "rape" as "second thoughts two months later"; like we've defined "health" as "I feel really bad right now".

Individual GOP politicians, and their class as a self-interested group (as opposed to the conservative ideologues who write that platform) don't want to test this in court. They did up to the 1980s but they don't anymore. The politicos know the demographics of the electorate. No Republican wants a lot of nonwhite bastards in her district, which would make it not her district anymore. I must agree with HalfSigma and, now, 5Yg+I (Hector) in these comments: deep down, Republicans are Unamusement Park Rangers. Maybe their party should run on that platform and save our ears the bother.

APPENDIX: Note that the GOP is fully on the bandwagon of "rape" being "second thoughts two months later". I'll let that all sink in, for you men out there (and for you female lovers of lesbian women).

posted by Zimri on 17:55 | link | 0 comments

Yemen: screwed

I'd posted a somewhat pro-Zaydi post almost a decade ago. Now it looks like they've taken over Yemen.

And the first words out of their mouths are "death to America", "death to Israel", "curse on the Jews", and "victory to Islam".

* I'll append here: yes, I am biased. Still. The measure of a healthy state isn't to blame everything that sucks upon a foreign entity. Yemen does not border Israel; and it has long ago thrown out its Jews.

posted by Zimri on 17:23 | link | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Early Gospel of Mark

Everyone serious agrees that the Gospel of Mark is the first one that survives. (I used to argue here for Egerton as perhaps earlier; but then that one doesn't exactly survive.) Other (less-) serious people have argued for Thomas.

It was a little embarrassing, in that sense, that the Gospel of Mark hasn't been found to survive, its own self, until the tail end of the 100s AD. Revisionists have made hay with the fact that, given Oxyrhynchus 1 etc, Greek copies of Thomas as of 200 AD were about as numerous and antique as were those of Mark - despite Mark being, also, so associated with Egypt. This hasn't annoyed just Evangelicals; it has also annoyed us Markan-priority "revisionists". I mean, it's easy enough to say that Mark survives in the reworked gospels of Matthew and Luke and then that Synoptic harmony which Justin Martyr used, but... "begging the question" sometimes comes up.

That gap may now be filled. Someone's found some Mark in mummy-carton(n)age circa 90 AD. But Roger Pearse warns it might be too good to be true. We'll see. We'll need more cartonnage to be sure.

SIDENOTE: In that light: can art-historians please quit whining that unravelling cheap, ugly papier-mache masks for their palimpsests is "destruction"? With cherries on top? Dude. Take pictures and publish 'em; then let others have their turn. Documentary evidence trumps prole art from a backwater province. Maybe that's the palimpsest of this debate, come to that; historians of prole Egyptian art are guarding turf.

UPDATE 1/24/2015: CNN are doing the Atlas Shrugged thing. Yeah. I'm going with this MS as authentic. The Left'd never go against, say, a Gospel of Thomas copy in cartonnage.

posted by Zimri on 17:19 | link | 0 comments

Halfway there

This morning I've approved the changes to The Arabs and Their Qur'an. Right now Amazon is still listing it as edition 4, but I think (I don't remember well) I can get this bumped to 5[th] if I just send them here to last night's page. While we're all at it, I hope they've got House of War listed as 3[rd] (which it is); I need to check that. * just did; it seems I hadn't ever stuck an "edition" note in there before, so, did that.

BUYER BEWARE: I DID NOT CHANGE HOUSE OF WAR THIS MONTH. So if you already got edition 3, do NOT buy it NOW! I mean, unless you're planning on gifting it to some Chechens with my home address. In that case it's cool. (On second thought maybe not.)

As for Throne of Glass... bayna my own poor editing skill wa-bayna Microsoft Word, Throne of Glass's layout is now shot. I have to un-shoot it before I can put it back up there.

posted by Zimri on 16:57 | link | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The 2015 edition(s)

It has been close to two years since Edition IV of The Arabs and Their Qur'an. Since then I have done a whole new book, and new essays, and a fairly thoroughgoing series of edits to House of War.

In that span, we have also seen Maria Conterno and Joseph Witztum throw some serious spanners into the works. Conterno has questioned the whole ethos of tracking down sources for Byzantine / Syrian history. As the same time Witztum has questioned Neuwirth's sequence of 20 > 7.

In the meantime I've also found the usual bugs in mine own work. This might, incidentally, explain why sales of Throne of Glass have been slow. See, I'd admitted here before that the other two books were put out too early. This really wasn't wise from a marketing standpoint.

So anyway. I now feel Arabs can justify a new edition - it's the fifth, and I truly am sorry about the 2012-13 flurry; but one lives and learns. For those who got the earlier editions: here is where I support Treadgold (and by extension Hoyland) against Conterno. Here is where I (partly) support Neuwirth against Witztum. Both arguments are now developed more fully in the relevant essays in this book. Mostly I get to stand my ground (yay!) but I do, now, see how sura 7 relied on Charlton Heston dubbed in Syriac (as well as on sura 20).

Throne is also getting a tweak. This one isn't really at the "second edition" stage; those readers about whom I know were happi(er) with it when it came out. But it's sold few enough copies that a small bugfix can't hurt. It should point to the new Arabs at least.

Will let you know when available.

posted by Zimri on 22:10 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Pro-whites tend to get angry about Diversity - this much, we know. One of their better arguments is that affirmative-action (particularly) will select unworthy candidates, who are transparently there on account of race, and who end up doing nothing useful but "manage" (i.e. meddle). Pro-whites believe that, just by dint of IQ, a pro-white society (and state) would naturally allow more competent candidates to take positions of responsibility. This opinion is incidentally shared with Conservatives and (more so) Libertarians, but it's not polite to tell them that.

Neo-neocon argues against the pro-white position (as such) that it is more likely that a pro-white state would decay - VERY quickly - into a racket that rewards political suck-ups. Which suck-ups wouldn't be competent either. But hey. White!

I suspect Neo-neocon is right. This is why, although I'll link to pro-white sites and articles, I insist on drawing those lines . . .

posted by Zimri on 21:22 | link | 0 comments

Upload #99 - Promises kept

During my first rush of posting stuff, toward the end in spring 2010, I was throwing everything I could find against that proverbial wall. Among these was a look into the parallels between the muhkam passages of suras 4, 6, and 17 - the "Islamic ten commandments" if you will. This was "The Muhkam of the Furqan".

Later on I fine-tuned a lot of what I'd been saying about the proto-Qur'an's transmission. Much of "Muhkam" ended up cannibalised for other, better essays. Then, in January 2012, most of these ended up in The Arabs and Their Qur'an. Not without some hiccups; in the first edition I'd forgotten that I'd pulled out Uthman's take on things, so that joined the collection later under the title "The Martyr For The Book". (There was some shuffling here too.)

By that point the source "Muhkam" essay had crumbled into the state of a devastated ruin. It didn't even have a proper title anymore: "The Muhkam of the Furqan" had referred to a Tamimite poem, relevant to Uthman's recitation of sura 17; it was no longer relevant to anything in this essay. (This topic shifted to a part of "The Martyr for the Book" in case you were wondering.) Also I'd found Devin Stewart's 2008 essay, "Notes on Medieval and Modern Emendations" which had argued much the point of The Paper With No Name - but only in an aside, and looking into the barest text only. Clearly I needed to rewrite this thing. So I took "Muhkam" down-for-maintenance, along with "Covenant Of Those Given The Book" and others. Unfortunately since the link was down, that meant the versions of The Arabs I've had are now pointing nowhere. Turns out I was wrong about no other essays relying on this one - gah!!

I have now restored the essay, with a real(ish) title: "The Muhkam of the Was[s]iya". (The inconsistent and wrong spelling is on my next to-do list.) With this title, those who're looking for "-to the Furqan" in the books they've bought should at least manage "-to the Wasiya" with a minimum of confusion. In sha'a 'llah.

Also corrected: "Dispute"; and "Interceding with God" and "Abraham's Promise" again.


posted by Zimri on 14:55 | link | 0 comments

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