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Re: [XTalk] Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat samar* Interpretation

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... [much snipped] ... Ted, My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed to be normative. They often have to offer secondary
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 8, 2006
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      At 06:35 AM 9/8/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:
      >Dear Listers,
      >
      >I need your help.

      [much snipped]

      >The problem that I am now addressing is problem that I have discovered with
      >Bailey's definition and interpretation of the Arabic phrase *haflat samar*,
      >so foundational and indispensable to his theory. . . .
      >
      >In those interviews, I was given a different definition and culturally
      >contextual interpretation of *haflat samar*.. According to these native
      >Middle East persons *haflat samar* means a Agathering for amusement or
      >entertainment." Their translation of *haflat* wass consistent with
      >Bailey's. But they offered a significantly different translation of
      >*samar*. ... the Arabic term *samar* means literally "nightly" or
      >"darkly" . . .and that *samar* also conveys the meaning of nightly
      >conversations, talks or
      >chats at night or at darkness.
      >
      >Furthermore, she told me that a *haflat samar* is an occasion when people
      >gather together at night to hear stories about historical events or
      >personages, with the emphasis being placed upon telling such stories for
      >entertainment or amusement. Thus, the primary purpose of telling these
      >stories is not to pass on historically authentic and authoritative, factual
      >information about events and personages, but rather to entertain those
      >gathered, . . .
      >
      >. . . based upon Stewart's information, as well as the interviews I had
      >previously conducted, I framed the following statement and shared it with
      >Stewart and asked for his critique of it. The statement is, as follows:
      >
      >"Contrary to Bailey, the Arabic phrase *haflat samar* in Middle East Arabic
      >societies, according to the Arabic authorities I have consulted, refers to a
      >communal "evening gathering for conversation or discourse," and not to a
      >communal "party for *preservation*:" so Bailey. The purpose of such evening
      >discourse, again contrary to Bailey, is solely for the purpose of
      >entertainment and/or edification, and is not intended to be understood as an
      >occasion for the faithful passing on of the historically authentic oral
      >traditions, indigenous to a respective Middle East society, in order to
      >preserve with authoritative accuracy the memory of those traditions from one
      >generation to the next. That anecdotal stories from a respective society's
      >oral tradition may be passed on in *hafalat [plural of *haflatt*] samar* is
      >quite probable, but not with the purpose of insuring the preservation of the
      >original, historically authentic character and content of such stories."
      >
      >In response, Stewart stated that he concurred with that statement. All of
      >this leaves me mystified. I do not know what to make of the discrepancy
      >between Bailey's claims for the definition and purpose of a *haflat samar*
      >and what the Arabists, such as Stewart contend. Could it be that the
      >Hogg-founded communities of southern Egypt had given their own specific
      >interpretation to their almost nightly *haflat samar* and turned their
      >*haflat samar* into sessions to preserve faithfully the authenticity of
      >their oral tradition, as Bailey tells us? But then, why did Bailey claim
      >that the *samar* means "to preserve" and is a cognate of the Hebrew
      >*shamar*? Has Bailey misled us, and particularly those scholars such as
      >James Dunn and N. T. Wright, who subscribe to Bailey's theory? I
      >want to be fair to Bailey and give him the benefit of the doubt. But I
      >am mystified.

      Ted,
      My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed to
      be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions where more
      than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most useful when the
      speech community is homogenous, in both space and time. You have a
      scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary of Arabic.
      What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an anthropologist,
      is which literary and speech communities are their primary sources? By this
      I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian Arabic" or "Iraqi Arabic")
      as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic, urban street Arabic, rural
      desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs.
      Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local usages
      may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities now, let
      alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic oranges, and its
      best not to equate them.

      Of course, it is also possible that Bailey's definition is filtered through
      rose colored glasses. And, the Haflat Samar that he experienced may not
      have been typical.

      Bob
      University of Hawaii


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John C. Poirier
      Ted, I look forward to reading your finished article. Your reference to the *samar* roots of the 1001 Nights reminded me of a book that I read years ago:
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 8, 2006
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        Ted,

        I look forward to reading your finished article.

        Your reference to the *samar* roots of the 1001 Nights reminded me of a book
        that I read years ago: Sandra Naddaff's *Arabesque: Narrative Structure and
        the Aesthetics of Repetition in 1001 Nights* (Evanston, IL: Northwestern
        Univ. Press, 1991). On p. 65 of that book, Naddaff writes:

        One should begin at the beginning, in this case, outsdide the text, and
        remember that the earliest version of the *1001 Nights* was an aurally
        intended work perrformed before a live audience. André Miquel notes
        that it was possibly told as part of the *samar*, "cette pratique quasi
        institutionnêlle de la culture arabo-musulmane classique: la
        conversation
        nocturne. . . . Le *samar* est d'ordinaire ce qui clôt la journée
        active,
        avant le repos nocturne, et l'on a toutes raisons de penser que c'est
        de
        ce type-là que relève le *samar* du conteur, qu'on l'imagine au milieu
        d'un groupe restreint ou sur la place publique." The storyteller
        nightly
        tells his story about a woman who nightly tells her stories and who,
        like
        him, depends upon the approval of her audience in order to continue
        the narrative act and, ultimately, in order to stay alive. The pattern
        persists.

        The French quotation is from André Miquel, *Ajib et Gharib: Un conte des
        "Mille et une nuits"* (Paris, 1978) 225-26.

        As for how or why Bailey fudges the description of what a *samar* is, I
        think that you're seeing an almost subconscious mechanism by which the
        proponents of a particular theory smuggle their views into their offered
        readings of a body of knowledge that they calculate their audience to hold
        no expertise in. This happens all the time when preachers, with no seminary
        education and no facility in Hebrew or Greek beyond their ability to use
        Strong's concordance, smuggle their pet readings into the biblical lexicson,
        creating ridiculously long and theologically technical definitions of Hebrew
        and Greek words There is no doubt that they are smuggling their views into
        those words, yet I would venture that very few of them that do that sort of
        thing are at all aware of what they are doing. It's as if one side of their
        brain is fooling the other side. (Unfortunately, his sort of thing also
        happens at the highest levels of academia--e.g., it is the most generous
        explanation for the postliberals' revisionist history of hermeneutics. All
        one needs to do to deflate Hans Frei's claims about pre-Enlightenment
        hermeneutics is to read the hermeneutical programs of pre-Enlightenment
        figures.)


        John C. Poirier
        Middletown, Ohio


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Theodore Weeden" <Tweeden@...>
        To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Friday, September 08, 2006 12:35 PM
        Subject: [XTalk] Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat samar*
        Interpretation


        > Dear Listers,
        >
        > I need your help. . . .
      • Jim West
        ... Speaking of Arabic- Joshua Sabih has just completed a doctoral dissertation at Copenhagen on the development of the Arabic language. Ted, if you want his
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 8, 2006
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          At 04:53 PM 9/8/2006, you wrote:
          >Ted,
          >My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed to
          >be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions where more
          >than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most useful when the
          >speech community is homogenous, in both space and time. You have a
          >scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary of Arabic.
          >What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an anthropologist,
          >is which literary and speech communities are their primary sources? By this
          >I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian Arabic" or "Iraqi Arabic")
          >as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic, urban street Arabic, rural
          >desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs.
          >Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local usages
          >may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities now, let
          >alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic oranges, and its
          >best not to equate them.


          Speaking of Arabic- Joshua Sabih has just completed a doctoral
          dissertation at Copenhagen on the development of the Arabic
          language. Ted, if you want his email address drop me an offlist note
          and I will send it.

          Best

          Jim



          Jim West, ThD

          http://web.infoave.net/~jwest -- Biblical Studies Resources
          http://petrosbaptistchurch.blogspot.com -- Weblog

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
          ... desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi ite vs. Sunni vs. Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local usages may vary.
          Message 4 of 16 , Sep 8, 2006
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            Bob Schacht wrote:

            >>My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed to be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions where more than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most useful when the speech community is homogenous, in both space and time. You have a scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary of Arabic. What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an anthropologist, is which literary and speech communities are their primary sources? By this I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian Arabic" or "Iraqi Arabic") as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic, urban street Arabic, rural
            desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs. Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local usages may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities now, let alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic oranges, and its best not to equate them.<<

            This alone would radically call into question Bailey's use of Haflat Samar even if he happened to be correct about its meaning in one place at one time.

            If the term -- and the practice -- can vary so much even among Arabs, then what use is it for extrapolating back to an oral phase in the transmission of the Jesus tradition?

            Jeffery Hodges


            University Degrees:

            Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
            (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
            M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
            B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

            Email Address:

            jefferyhodges@...

            Blog:

            http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

            Office Address:

            Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
            Department of English Language and Literature
            Korea University
            136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
            Seoul
            South Korea

            Home Address:

            Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
            Sehan Apt. 102-2302
            Sinnae-dong 795
            Jungrang-gu
            Seoul 131-770
            South Korea

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Bob Schacht
            ... Now wait, Jeffery, let s not jump to conclusions. What Ted s Arabists told him was all the same thing, and all disagreed with Bailey. The thrust of my
            Message 5 of 16 , Sep 9, 2006
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              At 02:31 PM 9/8/2006, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

              >Bob Schacht wrote:
              >
              > >>My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are
              > supposed to be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions
              > where more than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most
              > useful when the speech community is homogenous, in both space and time.
              > You have a scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary
              > of Arabic. What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an
              > anthropologist, is which literary and speech communities are their
              > primary sources? By this I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian
              > Arabic" or "Iraqi Arabic") as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic,
              > urban street Arabic, rural
              >desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs.
              >Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local
              >usages may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities
              >now, let alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic
              >oranges, and its best not to equate them.<<
              >
              >This alone would radically call into question Bailey's use of Haflat Samar
              >even if he happened to be correct about its meaning in one place at one time.
              >
              >If the term -- and the practice -- can vary so much even among Arabs, then
              >what use is it for extrapolating back to an oral phase in the transmission
              >of the Jesus tradition?


              Now wait, Jeffery, let's not jump to conclusions. What Ted's Arabists told
              him was all the same thing, and all disagreed with Bailey. The thrust of my
              point was this: Can this disagreement be traced to regional or sectarian
              differences, or is Bailey the only odd ball out?

              For example, Bailey's speech community of reference was Egyptian, ca. 1900,
              rural(?), and perhaps Christian.

              So the question for Weeden's sources is this: does their expertise about
              the meaning of haflat samar include *Egyptian* usage with contexts similar
              to those to which Bailey was appearing? The point here is whether or not a
              case could be made that Bailey's Egyptian Arabs attached a different
              meaning than that current elsewhere.

              If Ted's expert consultants can be shown somehow to NOT encompass rural
              Egyptian villages, in view of their relative unanimity, one is also
              entitled to ask WHY the Egyptian usage differed so much from the rest.

              Furthermore, Bailey was trying to make a case that it wasn't just his
              village that did this. It was *Bailey* who was trying to make the case that
              the haflat samar was standard operating procedure that could be
              extrapolated back 2000 years and could be applied to early Christian
              communities throughout the MIddle East. I think Ted's research on this
              point shows rather conclusively that, once again, Bailey's dog won't hunt.

              It may be that Bailey's "informal controlled oral tradition" exists, but he
              has failed to fully identify and accurately describe it.

              Bob

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
              ... Bob, and others, I had to go out of town yesterday afternoon and have tried to reply to the posts I have received via crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, but my
              Message 6 of 16 , Sep 9, 2006
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                --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...> wrote:
                >
                > At 06:35 AM 9/8/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                > >Dear Listers,
                > >
                > >I need your help.
                >
                > [much snipped]

                Bob, and others, I had to go out of town yesterday afternoon and have
                tried to reply to the posts I have received via
                crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, but my attempts at replying, beginning
                with your post, Bob, somehow, keep getting screwed up. In
                frustration, I have decided to wait until I get back, hopefully by
                late today,to reply to you and others.

                Ted
              • Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP
                I m sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that can be retrojected two thousand
                Message 7 of 16 , Sep 9, 2006
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                  I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted) gospels.

                  We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light as we would like upon the 1st.

                  ------------------------------------------------------------
                  Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                  edmiston@...
                  ------------------------------------------------------------
                  Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου μετὰ πάντων.



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Theodore Weeden
                  ... [snip] ... Bob, I agree that dictionary definitions are considered normative for a given language, and often supply secondary defintions to account for
                  Message 8 of 16 , Sep 10, 2006
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                    Bob Schacht wrote on September 08, 2006:

                    > At 06:35 AM 9/8/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                    >>Dear Listers,
                    >>
                    >>I need your help.
                    >
                    > [much snipped]
                    >
                    >>The problem that I am now addressing is problem that I have discovered
                    >>with
                    >>Bailey's definition and interpretation of the Arabic phrase *haflat
                    >>samar*,
                    >>so foundational and indispensable to his theory. . . .
                    >>
                    >>In those interviews, I was given a different definition and culturally
                    >>contextual interpretation of *haflat samar*.. According to these native
                    >>Middle East persons *haflat samar* means a "gathering for amusement or
                    >>entertainment." Their translation of *haflat* was consistent with
                    >>Bailey's. But they offered a significantly different translation of
                    >>*samar*. ... the Arabic term *samar* means literally "nightly" or
                    >>"darkly" . . .and that *samar* also conveys the meaning of nightly
                    >>conversations, talks or
                    >>chats at night or at darkness.
                    >>
                    >>Furthermore, she told me that a *haflat samar* is an occasion when people
                    >>gather together at night to hear stories about historical events or
                    >>personages, with the emphasis being placed upon telling such stories for
                    >>entertainment or amusement. Thus, the primary purpose of telling these
                    >>stories is not to pass on historically authentic and authoritative,
                    >>factual
                    >>information about events and personages, but rather to entertain those
                    >>gathered, . . .

                    [snip]

                    > Ted,
                    > My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed
                    > to
                    > be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions where more
                    > than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most useful when the
                    > speech community is homogenous, in both space and time.

                    Bob, I agree that dictionary definitions are considered normative for a
                    given language, and often supply secondary defintions to account for where a
                    particular culture using that language as a native language imputes its own
                    idiosyncratic vernacular meanings to a term that exceeds the bounds of
                    normative definition and may even be rhetorically in tension with the
                    normative. A good example comes from my childhood. I grew up in the South
                    where in refined and polite culture it was customary to use the word "shoot"
                    as an exclamation in frustration. disgust, etc. "Shoot" was obviously an
                    only slightly veiled substitute for the four-letter expletive referring to
                    feces (fearing violation of list protocal, I shall not explicitly cite
                    word). The power of the word "shoot" in such refined and polite settings
                    was that it was phonetically close enough to the four-letter expletive to
                    make it unmistakably clear that it was the word one really meant, but in a
                    bow to the honor of polite southern culture one abstained from using in
                    public.

                    It is interesting that my _Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary_
                    provides some 59 normative and secondary definitions of "shoot," but it
                    fails to cite the usage of the word as an exclamation, and, of course, does
                    not include the four-letter expletive, the phonetic cousin of "shoot," among
                    words it has chosen to define. The Oxford English Dictionary does,
                    interestingly enough, in its multi-page list of definitions for "shoot" does
                    cite a definitive use of shoot (#18) as: "to eject from the body, . . . to
                    discharge (excreta)." But the _OED_ does not as far as I can tell cite the
                    usage of "shoot" as an expletive. It does, however, list the aforementioned
                    four-letter expletive among the words it defines, but, as far as I can tell,
                    makes no connection between "shoot" and its phonetic cousin."

                    My point is to support your point. Dictionary definitions of a word may not
                    take into consideration community-specific idiosyncratic connotations given
                    to the word. Consequently, without interviewing the people of the southern
                    Egyptian Hogg-founded, Christian communities to determine what nuanced
                    meaning they give/gave to the Arabic *samar*, we cannot rule out the
                    possibility that they used the word *samar* not only to mean a nightly
                    conversation, but, also, a conversation on certain matters presented to
                    insure their "preservation" from generation to generation.

                    However, that said, Bailey states that the definition he gives to *samar*
                    (i.e. "to preserve") is supported by the fact that the Arabic *samar* is a
                    cognate of the Hebrew word *shamar* (i.e., "to preserve"). Thus, that
                    linguistic phenomenon is analogous, if you permit me, to "shoot" and its
                    phonetic expletive-cousin: i.e, since *shamar* and *samar* are so closely
                    related phonetically, *samar* in the Hogg-founded communities took on the
                    meaning of its antecedent phonetic cousin. But, in my judgment, such a
                    connection is problematic for several reasons. First, linguistically,
                    where is the evidence that the Arabic *samar* is etymologically derived from
                    the Hebrew *shamar*? Second, what or who would have led the Hogg-founded
                    communities, oral societies, to make such a connection between the Hebrew
                    *shamar* and the Aramaic *samar*? Bailey does not refer to or allude to
                    the communities making such a connection. Third, in any case, Rena Hogg in
                    her biography of her father, John Hogg (*A Master Builder on the Nile__),
                    and I must re-read her biography to confirm this, never speaks, in any case,
                    of the Hogg-founded communities which she visited in 1910 holding nightly
                    meetings *to preserve* her father's tradition. To the contrary, she
                    suggests in her prologue (p. 14) that rather than faithfully and accurately
                    preserving the tradition of her father, legendary stories about her father
                    had proliferated to such an extent in the communities that she feared "there
                    is danger that the message of his life may be lost under a tangled mass of
                    fact and fiction."

                    > You have a
                    > scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary of Arabic.
                    > What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an anthropologist,
                    > is which literary and speech communities are their primary sources? By
                    > this
                    > I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian Arabic" or "Iraqi
                    > Arabic")
                    > as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic, urban street Arabic, rural
                    > desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs.
                    > Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local
                    > usages
                    > may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities now,
                    > let
                    > alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic oranges, and
                    > its
                    > best not to equate them.

                    In my sharing of information provided me by Devin Stewart, I did note that
                    Martin Hinds and El-Said Badawi's _A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic_
                    (Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1986), a dictionary of modern Egyptian dialect,
                    has this entry on p. 429: "*h.aflit [the Egyptian dialectal pronunciation of
                    *h.aflat* or *haflat*, per Stewart] *samar*, an evening party or gathering
                    in the open air (usually around a camp-fire); verb *saamir*, *yisaamir*,
                    to spend the evening with (s.o.) in pleasant conversation, etc.;
                    *musamra*/*misamara*, evening spent in conversation with friends."

                    Thus, as far as Egyptian Arabic is concerned, the meaning of *samar* is the
                    same as was reported to me by all my interviewees. In fact, Nihal
                    Shahbandar, a native Lebanese woman who lives now in Appleton, Wisconsin,
                    and my first telephone interviewee, wrote me after that interview and
                    reported that she had made a number of telephone calls to Middle East people
                    living in Wisconsin to ask them what their recollections were of a *haflat
                    samar* in their native lands. She stated in her e-mail of 5/19/04 that the
                    Egyptians she spoke with recalled *hafalat samar* as "very amusing, funny,
                    and popular. They use [in *hafalat samar*] simple poems,and old songs,to
                    tell stories to preseve the traditions, but they are fictional with very
                    little truth, and they are used to inspire people. The performers are
                    extremely funny and talented in attracting the audience and they are masters
                    in coloring any background to please any nationality. I have been told that
                    those shows are not very popular with religious groups (Muslims or Coptics).
                    That is the information I collected today from Egyptians living in USA, and
                    they say it is still going on, but becoming less popular."

                    Following my initial telephone interview with Nihal Shahbandar, I sent her
                    three pages from the manuscript of my critique of Bailey in which I
                    presented Bailey's theory of informal controlled oral tradition, his
                    discovery of the methodology used for preserving the authenticity of oral
                    tradition in the 1950's and 60's in the Hogg-founded communities, and the
                    "rules" he claimed obtained in a *haflat samar* governing the recitation of
                    oral tradition. I asked her for her response to what Bailey presents.
                    She e-mailed back on 5/24/04:

                    "Mr Bailey discribtions [sic] of what he wittnesed in (Haflat Samar) brought
                    back so many good memories in my mind, I attended so may gathering like this
                    where old time was brought to life, with its proverbs, poems, old stories,
                    and music filling the air, every person attanded [sic] was so pleased, and
                    tried never to miss any coming occasions. the intention of attending
                    gatheing [sic] like this was to spend good time, it is very authentic way of
                    entertainment."

                    Then she went on to respond to one of the footnotes in the material I sent
                    her, which in part read as follows:, beginning with a quote from Bailey:

                    "I have often told well-known village stories to classes of Middle Eastern
                    theological college students. People from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and
                    Palestine have usually heard the same stories. I have watched the
                    students instinctively form the controlling community and together explain
                    to me the acceptable boundaries for a given story" (ET, 366).

                    Bailey reports one such experiment in full in his AJT article (44f.). In
                    that experiment, he told the class a story which he recited from memory, a
                    story he had heard ten years before (see 42-44) and a story which the
                    students themselves knew only via oral tradition. When the students
                    affirmed that he had correctly recited the story, Bailey proceeded to ask
                    them to tell him "what must be present in the recitation for them to sense
                    that [he] was telling the story correctly." The students produced, as
                    Bailey articulates, the following list of what had to be included in the
                    telling of the story for it to be told correctly, and I quote him fully:

                    "The proverb that appeared in the story had to be repeated verbatim. The
                    three basic scenes [of the story] could not be changed, but the order could
                    be reversed without triggering the community rejection mechanism. The basic
                    flow of the story and its conclusion had to remain the same. The names
                    could not be changed. The summary punch line was inviolable. However, the
                    teller could vary the pitch of the traveler's emotional reaction to Shann
                    [two characters in the story], and the dialogue within the flow of the story
                    could at any point reflect the individual teller's style and interests.
                    That is, the story teller had a certain freedom to tell the story in his own
                    way as long as the central thrust of the story was not changed. So here
                    was continuity and flexibility. Not continuity and change. The distinction
                    is important. Continuity and change could mean that the story teller could
                    change say 15% of the story - any 15%. Thus after seven transmissions of
                    the story theoretically *all* of the story could be changed. But
                    *continuity* and *flexibility* mean that the main lines of the story
                    *cannot* be changed at *all*. The story can endure one different
                    transmission through a chain of a hundred and one different people and the
                    inner core of the story remains intact. Within the structure, the
                    storyteller has flexibility within limits to 'tell his own way'" (all
                    emphases: Bailey).

                    Nihal Shahbandar continued her e-mail to me with this response to my
                    footnote:

                    "The question of how true it [what is recited in a *halfat samar*] is,was
                    best answered from Mr. Bailey " Continuity and and change could mean that
                    the storyteller could change say 15% of the story...." 15% yeary [sic]
                    leaves only fiction in 100 years. So when we go to those gathering , we
                    go to have good time, away from the painful present to a heavinly [sic]
                    past not searching its true reality or authenticity,or how heavnly [sic]
                    this past was when it was present."

                    Contrary to Bailey, she apparently understood that continuity leading to
                    *change* to the point of total fictionalization of stories was not
                    unexpected over generations in a *haflat samar*, rather than *continuity and
                    flexibility*, which Bailey argues obtains in a *halfat samar* in order to
                    preserve the authentic historical core elements of the recitation of
                    stories. From her point of view, the ultimate purpose of a *haflat samar*
                    was for entertainment and escape from "the painful present.*

                    She closed her e-mail of 5/24.04 with the following:.

                    "If you ask any *Arabic speaking person* [emphasis: Nihal Shahbandar] to
                    tell you what is the meaning of SAMAR the answers will be: ( having good
                    time), (meeting with people talking, drinking, dancing),
                    (entertainment),(time spend with a lot of fun and amusement). *From the
                    Arabic Dictionary* [emphasis: Nihal Shahbandar]: samar: (Talking with other
                    at night), (Talking at night about stories, Poems, ext), (Talking under moon
                    light)."

                    I return to your post to me, Bob, where you state the following:

                    > Of course, it is also possible that Bailey's definition is filtered
                    > through
                    > rose colored glasses. And, the Haflat Samar that he experienced may not
                    > have been typical.

                    That is true, Bob. It must have been extraordinarily atypical. What I do
                    not understand is why Bailey never reports in either of his articles that he
                    consulted with native authorities in the respective *hafalat samar* he
                    attended to check to see if what he observed and theorized from them was in
                    fact the case, i.e., the indispensable commitment to preserve the
                    historical authenticity of oral tradition. Furthermore, it strikes me as
                    strange that he develops his list of flexible and unalterable elements in
                    story telling from a classroom experiment with students and not from
                    interviews with native authorities in the Hogg-founded communities. It is
                    even more striking that his students from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and
                    Palestine in his classes would "instinctively form the controlling community
                    and together explain to me the acceptable boundaries for a given story,"
                    when the people from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt which were interviewed in my
                    inquiry about *haflat samar* did not report any controlling dynamic
                    exercised in their experience of *haflat samar*. Nihal Shahbandar implicity
                    suggests there was none.

                    Kelber and Vansina do report that an element of control is exercised in oral
                    societies to insure that the oral tradition is preserved to support social
                    identity, and that preventive censorship is exercised on the oral tradition
                    (whether historically authentic to its originating roots or not) if issues
                    of social identity in any moment of a community's existence necessitate it.
                    As I remember, Vansina reports that what may be considered to be authentic
                    tradition by one community authority may be replaced in a future generation
                    by an authority who has his own view of what is to be considered authentic,
                    regardless of whether it has any roots in historicity.

                    As an anthropologist, Bob, what do you make of all of this.?

                    Thanks for your response on this matter.instinctively form a controlling
                    group

                    Ted
                    Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
                    Fairport, NY
                    Retired
                    Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
                  • Bob Schacht
                    ... [snip] ... [snip] ... [snip] ... Well, this might not be good math. The 15% implies that 85% is preserved. So the progression would go: 85% of 85% of
                    Message 9 of 16 , Sep 11, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      At 12:28 PM 9/10/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:


                      >Bob Schacht wrote on September 08, 2006:
                      > > At 06:35 AM 9/8/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:

                      [snip]


                      > > Ted,
                      >. . . Dictionary definitions of a word may not
                      >take into consideration community-specific idiosyncratic connotations given
                      >to the word. Consequently, without interviewing the people of the southern
                      >Egyptian Hogg-founded, Christian communities to determine what nuanced
                      >meaning they give/gave to the Arabic *samar*, we cannot rule out the
                      >possibility that they used the word *samar* not only to mean a nightly
                      >conversation, but, also, a conversation on certain matters presented to
                      >insure their "preservation" from generation to generation.
                      >
                      >However, that said, Bailey states that the definition he gives to *samar*
                      >(i.e. "to preserve") is supported by the fact that the Arabic *samar* is a
                      >cognate of the Hebrew word *shamar* (i.e., "to preserve"). Thus, . . .
                      >since *shamar* and *samar* are so closely
                      >related phonetically, *samar* in the Hogg-founded communities took on the
                      >meaning of its antecedent phonetic cousin. But, in my judgment, such a
                      >connection is problematic for several reasons. First, linguistically,
                      >where is the evidence that the Arabic *samar* is etymologically derived from
                      >the Hebrew *shamar*? Second, what or who would have led the Hogg-founded
                      >communities, oral societies, to make such a connection between the Hebrew
                      >*shamar* and the Aramaic *samar*? Bailey does not refer to or allude to
                      >the communities making such a connection. Third, in any case, Rena Hogg in
                      >her biography of her father, John Hogg (*A Master Builder on the Nile__),
                      >and I must re-read her biography to confirm this, never speaks, in any case,
                      >of the Hogg-founded communities which she visited in 1910 holding nightly
                      >meetings *to preserve* her father's tradition. To the contrary, she
                      >suggests in her prologue (p. 14) that rather than faithfully and accurately
                      >preserving the tradition of her father, legendary stories about her father
                      >had proliferated to such an extent in the communities that she feared "there
                      >is danger that the message of his life may be lost under a tangled mass of
                      >fact and fiction."

                      [snip]

                      >In my sharing of information provided me by Devin Stewart, I did note that
                      >Martin Hinds and El-Said Badawi's _A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic_
                      >(Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1986), a dictionary of modern Egyptian dialect,
                      >has this entry on p. 429: "*h.aflit [the Egyptian dialectal pronunciation of
                      >*h.aflat* or *haflat*, per Stewart] *samar*, an evening party or gathering
                      >in the open air (usually around a camp-fire); verb *saamir*, *yisaamir*,
                      >to spend the evening with (s.o.) in pleasant conversation, etc.;
                      >*musamra*/*misamara*, evening spent in conversation with friends."
                      >
                      >Thus, as far as Egyptian Arabic is concerned, the meaning of *samar* is the
                      >same as was reported to me by all my interviewees.

                      [snip]

                      >Nihal Shahbandar continued her e-mail to me with this response to my
                      >footnote:
                      >
                      >"The question of how true it [what is recited in a *halfat samar*] is,was
                      >best answered from Mr. Bailey " Continuity and and change could mean that
                      >the storyteller could change say 15% of the story...." 15% yeary [sic]
                      >leaves only fiction in 100 years. . . .

                      Well, this might not be good math. The 15% implies that 85% is preserved.
                      So the progression would go:
                      85% of 85% of 85%..... which is an asymptotic curve, not a straight line,
                      and it ends not in 0 but in an infinitesimally small amount (one word or
                      less). Nevertheless, the point is made.

                      >Contrary to Bailey, she apparently understood that continuity leading to
                      >*change* to the point of total fictionalization of stories was not
                      >unexpected over generations in a *haflat samar*, rather than *continuity and
                      >flexibility*, which Bailey argues obtains in a *halfat samar* in order to
                      >preserve the authentic historical core elements of the recitation of
                      >stories. From her point of view, the ultimate purpose of a *haflat samar*
                      >was for entertainment and escape from "the painful present.* . . .
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >I return to your post to me, Bob, where you state the following:
                      >
                      > > Of course, it is also possible that Bailey's definition is filtered through
                      > > rose colored glasses. And, the Haflat Samar that he experienced may not
                      > > have been typical.
                      >
                      >That is true, Bob. It must have been extraordinarily atypical. What I do
                      >not understand is why Bailey never reports in either of his articles that he
                      >consulted with native authorities in the respective *hafalat samar* he
                      >attended to check to see if what he observed and theorized from them was in
                      >fact the case, i.e., the indispensable commitment to preserve the
                      >historical authenticity of oral tradition.

                      I would not advise you to belabor the case, as you have a tendency to do. I
                      think you have plenty of information already, and all you need to do is to
                      present it, without vigorously pounding every single nail into place, but
                      rather allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions.

                      >Furthermore, it strikes me as
                      >strange that he develops his list of flexible and unalterable elements in
                      >story telling from a classroom experiment with students and not from
                      >interviews with native authorities in the Hogg-founded communities. It is
                      >even more striking that his students from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and
                      >Palestine in his classes would "instinctively form the controlling community
                      >and together explain to me the acceptable boundaries for a given story,"
                      >when the people from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt which were interviewed in my
                      >inquiry about *haflat samar* did not report any controlling dynamic
                      >exercised in their experience of *haflat samar*. Nihal Shahbandar implicity
                      >suggests there was none.

                      I agree that his case here is week, but I don't think you need to riddle it
                      with bullet holes. The evidence that you have on the plain meaning of
                      haflat samar, from Egyptian Arabic sources, and confirmed by general
                      Arabists, is sufficient to return the ball to his (or his supporter's)
                      court, if they wish to defend the Bailey thesis. I doubt that they will
                      choose to do so, because your case is much stronger than theirs.


                      >Kelber and Vansina do report that an element of control is exercised in oral
                      >societies to insure that the oral tradition is preserved to support social
                      >identity, and that preventive censorship is exercised on the oral tradition
                      >(whether historically authentic to its originating roots or not) if issues
                      >of social identity in any moment of a community's existence necessitate it.
                      >As I remember, Vansina reports that what may be considered to be authentic
                      >tradition by one community authority may be replaced in a future generation
                      >by an authority who has his own view of what is to be considered authentic,
                      >regardless of whether it has any roots in historicity.
                      >
                      >As an anthropologist, Bob, what do you make of all of this.?

                      I think this last paragraph is much more the important point (emphasis
                      added), and may indeed be salient regarding early Christian communities.

                      I think the focus should shift to identifying what were the salient issues
                      of social identity in early Christian communities. My prediction is that we
                      will find a small but diverse number of potent primary identity issues--
                      somewhere around 3-4-- that identify pre-Constantinian Christian
                      communities, e.g.,
                      * The nature of the person of Jesus (Messiah? Divinity? Humanity?
                      Relationship with God?)
                      * The nature of authority among the disciples and apostles, which
                      eventually includes the nature of authority among the sources of
                      information about Jesus (canon and creed)
                      * Soteriological issues of all kinds, including whether or not Gentiles
                      needed to become Jews in order to be saved-- i.e., what does it mean to be
                      a "Christian", or a follower of The Way? Note that here the focus is on the
                      ordinary person, not the leaders, or the sources, or Jesus himself.
                      Does this help?
                      Bob



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Ken Olson
                      ... haflat samar, from Egyptian Arabic sources, and confirmed by general Arabists, is sufficient to return the ball to his (or his supporter s) court, if they
                      Message 10 of 16 , Sep 11, 2006
                      • 0 Attachment
                        On September 11, 2006 Bob Schacht wrote:

                        >>The evidence that you have on the plain meaning of
                        haflat samar, from Egyptian Arabic sources, and confirmed by general
                        Arabists, is sufficient to return the ball to his (or his supporter's)
                        court, if they wish to defend the Bailey thesis. I doubt that they will
                        choose to do so, because your case is much stronger than theirs.<<

                        Bob,

                        Your faith in human nature is an inspiration to all young people---(Lucy Van
                        Pelt).

                        Best,

                        Ken

                        Kenneth A. Olson
                        MA, History, University of Maryland
                        PhD Student, Religion, Duke University
                      • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                        Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with retrojecting? Jeffery Hodges Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP wrote: I m
                        Message 11 of 16 , Sep 11, 2006
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with retrojecting?

                          Jeffery Hodges

                          "Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP" <edmiston@...> wrote:
                          I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted) gospels.

                          We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light as we would like upon the 1st.

                          ------------------------------------------------------------
                          Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                          edmiston@...
                          ------------------------------------------------------------



                          University Degrees:

                          Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                          (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
                          M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                          B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

                          Email Address:

                          jefferyhodges@...

                          Blog:

                          http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

                          Office Address:

                          Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                          Department of English Language and Literature
                          Korea University
                          136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                          Seoul
                          South Korea

                          Home Address:

                          Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                          Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                          Sinnae-dong 795
                          Jungrang-gu
                          Seoul 131-770
                          South Korea

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Ken Olson
                          Jeffery, If what Joseph says is true, I believe this would mean that Ted need not show that the modern haflat samar is not as Bailey describes it, because
                          Message 12 of 16 , Sep 11, 2006
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                            Jeffery,

                            If what Joseph says is true, I believe this would mean that Ted need not show that the modern "haflat samar" is not as Bailey describes it, because modern models may not be projected back to the first century in the way Bailey attempts anyway. Whether that was Joseph's intended meaning or not is another thing entirely. I think Joseph may have missed Ted's actual argument that the "haflat samar" does not function as Bailey says it does in modern times, much less in the first century.

                            Best,

                            Ken

                            Kenneth A. Olson
                            MA, History, University of Maryland
                            PhD Student, Religion, Duke University

                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: Horace Jeffery Hodges
                            To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 11:18 PM
                            Subject: [XTalk] Re: Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat samar* Interpretation


                            Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with retrojecting?

                            Jeffery Hodges

                            "Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP" <edmiston@...> wrote:
                            I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted) gospels.

                            We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light as we would like upon the 1st.

                            ----------------------------------------------------------
                            Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                            edmiston@...
                            ----------------------------------------------------------

                            University Degrees:

                            Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                            (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
                            M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                            B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

                            Email Address:

                            jefferyhodges@...

                            Blog:

                            http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

                            Office Address:

                            Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                            Department of English Language and Literature
                            Korea University
                            136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                            Seoul
                            South Korea

                            Home Address:

                            Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                            Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                            Sinnae-dong 795
                            Jungrang-gu
                            Seoul 131-770
                            South Korea

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • afsegal
                            Do you think someone could review the bidding on this controversy. I have been in the hospital and was unable to see the original exchange. Since no one has
                            Message 13 of 16 , Sep 12, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Do you think someone could review the bidding on this controversy. I
                              have been in the hospital and was unable to see the original
                              exchange. Since no one has actually repeated what the positions are,
                              everything since then has been pretty much incomprehensible. What
                              are the different positions on Haflat samar?

                              Best,

                              AFSeg./

                              Alan Segal
                              Barnard College

                              --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Ken Olson" <kenolson101@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > Jeffery,
                              >
                              > If what Joseph says is true, I believe this would mean that Ted
                              need not show that the modern "haflat samar" is not as Bailey
                              describes it, because modern models may not be projected back to the
                              first century in the way Bailey attempts anyway. Whether that was
                              Joseph's intended meaning or not is another thing entirely. I think
                              Joseph may have missed Ted's actual argument that the "haflat samar"
                              does not function as Bailey says it does in modern times, much less
                              in the first century.
                              >
                              > Best,
                              >
                              > Ken
                              >
                              > Kenneth A. Olson
                              > MA, History, University of Maryland
                              > PhD Student, Religion, Duke University
                              >
                              > ----- Original Message -----
                              > From: Horace Jeffery Hodges
                              > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                              > Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 11:18 PM
                              > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat
                              samar* Interpretation
                              >
                              >
                              > Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with
                              retrojecting?
                              >
                              > Jeffery Hodges
                              >
                              > "Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP" <edmiston@...> wrote:
                              > I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with
                              stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that
                              can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as
                              representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted)
                              gospels.
                              >
                              > We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light
                              as we would like upon the 1st.
                              >
                              > ----------------------------------------------------------
                              > Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                              > edmiston@...
                              > ----------------------------------------------------------
                              >
                              > University Degrees:
                              >
                              > Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                              > (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and
                              Gnostic Texts")
                              > M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                              > B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
                              >
                              > Email Address:
                              >
                              > jefferyhodges@...
                              >
                              > Blog:
                              >
                              > http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/
                              >
                              > Office Address:
                              >
                              > Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                              > Department of English Language and Literature
                              > Korea University
                              > 136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                              > Seoul
                              > South Korea
                              >
                              > Home Address:
                              >
                              > Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                              > Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                              > Sinnae-dong 795
                              > Jungrang-gu
                              > Seoul 131-770
                              > South Korea
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                            • Asegal@aol.com
                              Actually, I take this back. Sorry for bothering the group. As soon as I accessed the website I was able to reread the whole controversy. I made the
                              Message 14 of 16 , Sep 12, 2006
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Actually, I take this back. Sorry for bothering the group. As soon as I
                                accessed the website I was able to reread the whole controversy. I made the
                                mistake of thinking I was still signed in and that there was no history. Sorry
                                for that.

                                Best,

                                AFSeg./

                                In a message dated 9/12/2006 9:31:33 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                                Asegal@... writes:




                                Do you think someone could review the bidding on this controversy. I
                                have been in the hospital and was unable to see the original
                                exchange. Since no one has actually repeated what the positions are,
                                everything since then has been pretty much incomprehensible. What
                                are the different positions on Haflat samar?

                                Best,

                                AFSeg./

                                Alan Segal
                                Barnard College

                                --- In _crosstalk2@yahoogrocrossta_ (mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com) ,
                                "Ken Olson" <kenolson101@ken>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > Jeffery,
                                >
                                > If what Joseph says is true, I believe this would mean that Ted
                                need not show that the modern "haflat samar" is not as Bailey
                                describes it, because modern models may not be projected back to the
                                first century in the way Bailey attempts anyway. Whether that was
                                Joseph's intended meaning or not is another thing entirely. I think
                                Joseph may have missed Ted's actual argument that the "haflat samar"
                                does not function as Bailey says it does in modern times, much less
                                in the first century.
                                >
                                > Best,
                                >
                                > Ken
                                >
                                > Kenneth A. Olson
                                > MA, History, University of Maryland
                                > PhD Student, Religion, Duke University
                                >
                                > ----- Original Message -----
                                > From: Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                > To: _crosstalk2@yahoogrocrossta_ (mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com)
                                > Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 11:18 PM
                                > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat
                                samar* Interpretation
                                >
                                >
                                > Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with
                                retrojecting?
                                >
                                > Jeffery Hodges
                                >
                                > "Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP" <edmiston@..e> wrote:
                                > I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with
                                stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that
                                can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as
                                representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted)
                                gospels.
                                >
                                > We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light
                                as we would like upon the 1st.
                                >
                                > ------------ ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
                                > Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                                > edmiston@...
                                > ------------ ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
                                >
                                > University Degrees:
                                >
                                > Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                                > (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and
                                Gnostic Texts")
                                > M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                                > B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
                                >
                                > Email Address:
                                >
                                > jefferyhodges@ je
                                >
                                > Blog:
                                >
                                > _http://gypsyscholarhttp://gypsyschttp_
                                (http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/)
                                >
                                > Office Address:
                                >
                                > Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                > Department of English Language and Literature
                                > Korea University
                                > 136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                                > Seoul
                                > South Korea
                                >
                                > Home Address:
                                >
                                > Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                > Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                                > Sinnae-dong 795
                                > Jungrang-gu
                                > Seoul 131-770
                                > South Korea
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >







                                Alan F. Segal
                                Professor of Religion
                                Ingeborg Rennert Professor of Jewish Studies
                                Barnard College, Columbia University
                                3009 Broadway
                                219 Milbank Hall
                                New York City NY 10027-6598

                                asegal@...
                                asegal@...


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Theodore Weeden
                                ... Thank you, John. I hope to be able to get it finished and in publication. ... Thank you for drawing my attention to Naddaff s work and the Miquel quote
                                Message 15 of 16 , Sep 12, 2006
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                                  John Poirier wrote on September 08, 2006:

                                  > Ted,
                                  >
                                  > I look forward to reading your finished article.

                                  Thank you, John. I hope to be able to get it finished and in publication.

                                  > Your reference to the *samar* roots of the 1001 Nights reminded me of a
                                  > book
                                  > that I read years ago: Sandra Naddaff's *Arabesque: Narrative Structure
                                  > and
                                  > the Aesthetics of Repetition in 1001 Nights* (Evanston, IL: Northwestern
                                  > Univ. Press, 1991). On p. 65 of that book, Naddaff writes:
                                  >
                                  > One should begin at the beginning, in this case, outsdide the text,
                                  > and
                                  > remember that the earliest version of the *1001 Nights* was an aurally
                                  > intended work perrformed before a live audience. André Miquel notes
                                  > that it was possibly told as part of the *samar*, "cette pratique
                                  > quasi
                                  > institutionnêlle de la culture arabo-musulmane classique: la
                                  > conversation
                                  > nocturne. . . . Le *samar* est d'ordinaire ce qui clôt la journée
                                  > active,
                                  > avant le repos nocturne, et l'on a toutes raisons de penser que c'est
                                  > de
                                  > ce type-là que relève le *samar* du conteur, qu'on l'imagine au milieu
                                  > d'un groupe restreint ou sur la place publique." The storyteller
                                  > nightly
                                  > tells his story about a woman who nightly tells her stories and who,
                                  > like
                                  > him, depends upon the approval of her audience in order to continue
                                  > the narrative act and, ultimately, in order to stay alive. The
                                  > pattern
                                  > persists.
                                  >
                                  > The French quotation is from André Miquel, *Ajib et Gharib: Un conte des
                                  > "Mille et une nuits"* (Paris, 1978) 225-26.

                                  Thank you for drawing my attention to Naddaff's work and the Miquel quote
                                  with reference to *samar*. This all is consistent with what Arabic
                                  authorities and Middle East people I have interviewed have shared with me
                                  with respect to the historical character and purpose of *haflat samar*.

                                  > As for how or why Bailey fudges the description of what a *samar* is, I
                                  > think that you're seeing an almost subconscious mechanism by which the
                                  > proponents of a particular theory smuggle their views into their offered
                                  > readings of a body of knowledge that they calculate their audience to hold
                                  > no expertise in.

                                  [snip]

                                  I am not prepared to say why and how Bailey arrived at a different
                                  interpretation of the character and purpose of a *haflat samar* than appears
                                  to be widely held by others. Naddaff and Miquel are yet two more examples
                                  of this widely held view. For all the reasons I have cited in posts
                                  regarding this thread, it is difficult for me to understand how oral
                                  societies in Southern Egypt would, per Bailey, hold such a radically
                                  different and extraordinarily atypical view of their *hafalat samar*,
                                  namely, as almost nightly meetings with the indispensable agenda of
                                  preserving the historical authenticity of their oral tradition about John
                                  Hogg, their missionary founder. Largely illiterate, it is difficult for me
                                  to understand how such societies would draw a connection, as Bailey does,
                                  between the Hebrew *shamar* ("preserve") and the Arabic *samar*, and thus
                                  arrived at an idiosyncratic meaning of *haflat samar* as a "party for
                                  preservation," per Bailey.

                                  > This happens all the time when preachers, with no seminary
                                  > education and no facility in Hebrew or Greek beyond their ability to use
                                  > Strong's concordance, smuggle their pet readings into the biblical
                                  > lexicson,
                                  > creating ridiculously long and theologically technical definitions of
                                  > Hebrew
                                  > and Greek words There is no doubt that they are smuggling their views
                                  > into
                                  > those words, yet I would venture that very few of them that do that sort
                                  > of
                                  > thing are at all aware of what they are doing. It's as if one side of
                                  > their
                                  > brain is fooling the other side. (Unfortunately, his sort of thing also
                                  > happens at the highest levels of academia--e.g., it is the most generous
                                  > explanation for the postliberals' revisionist history of hermeneutics.
                                  > All
                                  > one needs to do to deflate Hans Frei's claims about pre-Enlightenment
                                  > hermeneutics is to read the hermeneutical programs of pre-Enlightenment
                                  > figures.)

                                  What you describe can and does happen, unfortunately. Not only should we
                                  be cognizant and wary of such with respect to others, but we need to remain
                                  vigilant and self-critically honest with respect to ourselves on this issue.

                                  Ted Weeden
                                  Theodore J. Weeden, Sr,
                                  Fairport, NY
                                  Retired
                                  Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
                                  Theodore
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