Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Late, as Usual

Apparently, today was Blog Day, described as follows by its creator, Nil Ophir:

In one long moment In August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post a recommendation of 5 new Blogs, Preferably, Blogs different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

I like the idea, so I will post five recommendations, even though it is technically past midnight:

1. Raising Yousuf: a diary of a mother under occupation. Like everyone else in the J-blogosphere, I discovered this blog via Chayyei Sarah. Different culture: check. Different point of view: check. Different attitude: check. A difficult read, for someone like me, but ultimately worthwhile.

2. Life at TJ's Place, also via Chayyei Sarah. By Kevin, the assistant manager of a gentleman's club in the Midwest. Different culture? Definitely. It's an entertaining read, and all the strippers and bartenders come off seeming very human and sympathetic.

3. House of Joy, also via Chayyei Sarah. (Anyone noticing a pattern here?) The author is originally from Long Island and is now a resident of the West Bank. Different point of view? You betcha. But generally quite sympathetic, and always worth reading.

4. Frummer, a frequently conflicted Chassid from Stamford Hill. Always thoughtful.

5. The Wooden O, "being the abstract and brief Chronicle of Wm. Shakespeare, gent." Different culture? We're not even from the same century!

Off to bed now. Happy reading!


Etan said...

Hi Elf! Hey, a couple rabbis have told me that there's some author named Kasuto who debunks the theory of the 4 authors of the Bible. Have you heard about him? If so, what do you think of his criticisms?

All the best,

elf said...

His name is Umberto Cassuto, and the book you're referring to is called The Docuentary Hypothesis. It is worth reading (and not too difficult to understand), but bear in mind that his arguments are somewhat dated. For example, one chapter of the book is devoted to grammatical arguments for the Documentary Hypothesis, which are not often advanced anymore (for good reason).

Cassuto was a great scholar, and some of his arguments against the scholarship of his day are on-target, but on the whole, I think he missed the boat. The fundamental argument in favor of the Documentary Hypothesis is that many biblical texts are more coherent when broken into strands than in their present form. Certain stylistic features, such as the use of divine names, support this breakdown, but they do not constitute a valid argument for the division into sources in and of themselves. Cassuto devotes the majority of his book to "debunking" this stylistic evidence and spends altogether too little time dealing with the fundamental argument. (This can perhaps be forgiven, given that many of the source critics of his day also had a tendency to "miss the boat" in this respect.)

elf said...

Incidentally, I don't mind your comments, Etan, but as a precaution, I feel that I should mention that off-topic comments are generally discouraged. If you or any other reader has something to say that isn't at least tangentially related to a current post, please e-mail me (navelofwine at comcast dot net).

doer said...
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