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

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  • 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 1 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
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      [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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 of 16 , Sep 11, 2006
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                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 7 of 16 , Sep 11, 2006
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                  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 8 of 16 , Sep 11, 2006
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                    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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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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