Saturday, November 12, 2011

Largest Paleo-Hebrew Inscription in the History of the World

In case anyone ever wonders just how "into" LMLKology I am, the proof is on my roof:

Unlike most of my 400-pixel-wide blog photos, this one is linked to a 1663-pixel-wide version if you click on it.

For the sake of Guinness researchers (warning, repulsive images on their site), the actual size of the painted region spans:

  • 298" (24.8 feet; 757 cm) right-to-left in the image, east-to-west on the planet

  • 151" (12.6 feet; 384 cm) top-to-bottom = north-to-south

My measurement tolerance was about 1". At about 312 square feet, I'm not aware of any serious competition. Here's a quick survey of the closest contenders:

  • The famous Balaam plaster texts found at Deir 'Alla in highly fragmented condition spanned about 56 square feet (11.5 x 4.9 per P. Kyle McCarter's "Ancient Inscriptions", p. 96).

  • The largest/longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls (The Temple Scroll) spans about 28 square feet (generously granting its original size to have been about 1 foot tall), though it is not in Paleo-Hebrew as a few of the other fragments are.

  • The Mesha Stele (a.k.a. Moabite Stone) was a mere 10 square feet.

  • The largest Phoenician-alphabet letters I'm aware of are on the Nora Stone, which span just under 7 square feet in its present condition (it was probably a little larger originally). Its 4th line begins with "LM" (the middle of "peace"), & its 6th line begins with "LK" (the middle of a person's name). If rearranged to form "LMLK", it would only be about 8"x4", though still quite huge for an ancient inscription (a bulla recently auctioned by Robert Deutsch contained a "LMLK" only a few millimeters wide).

I've been wanting to do this ever since I bought the house 3 years ago, mostly because I thought it would look cool on Google's Maps or Earth program (or other satellite-image sites such as Bing, Mapquest, & Yahoo) the next time they update their images.

" for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."--Joshua 24:15

And we definitely belong to the King!

G.M. Grena

P.S. No song for this article; considered "Up On a Roof" & "From a Distance", but neither seemed quite right.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Lying Lips of Simmons and Sue

"Let the lying lips be put to silence..."--Psalm 31:18

"I hate & abhor lying..."--Psalm 119:163

"HaShem hate[s] ... a lying tongue & ... a false witness that speaketh lies..."--Proverbs 6:16-9

"Lying lips are an abomination to HaShem..."--Proverbs 12:22

Normally I put some apropos lyrical music at the end, but since this one's an instrumental, I'd recommend kicking it off now for background music.

After posting my AJJ essay more than a week ago, October 23 to be exact, I submitted a courteous comment for Rabbi Shraga Simmons on his perpetually popular page, "Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus". I've posted numerous other comments on Aish pages written by other authors, & know it usually takes a day or 2 for them to be screened before getting published. I was confident that Rabbi Simmons, or his authorized screener, would post my message since he concluded his article with the reminder that it was important "to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (as best we can), and to encourage others to do so as well." Doesn't the Torah's Author encourage us to speak the truth?

"Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth..."--Exodus 18:21

"Now therefore fear HaShem, & serve Him in sincerity & in truth..."--Joshua 24:14

"Only fear HaShem, & serve Him in truth..."--1Samuel 12:24

"And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, & wrought that which was good & right & truth before HaShem his God."--2Chronicles 31:20

"Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts..."--Psalm 51:6

"For my mouth shall speak truth..."--Proverbs 8:7

"He that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness..."--Proverbs 12:17

"These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor..."--Zechariah 8:16

"Thus saith HaShem-of-Hosts: ... love the truth..."--Zechariah 8:19

As you can see if you visit his page, 3 other AJJ comments have been approved since Oct. 23, but not mine. Since that's his cowardly way of admitting his position is wrong & mine is correct, I'll have to post my remark here for posterity.

But before doing that, since we have Truth playing in the background, I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose a conversation I had with a woman last week, ironically while waiting to see if Rabbi Simmons would defend his position. Socially, men are stereotyped as aggressive fighters, willing/able to defend whatever it is they care about; whereas women are cast as the gender in need of protection, especially from men who want to trick them.

Her real name is Sue (as you'll discover during the conversation), but I won't reveal her moniker or the social networking site where we encountered each other. I'll begin with what she wrote about herself in her profile, which obviously I found quite attractive, exceptionally well written. She listed her Religion as "Non-Religious", which piqued my curiosity since she seemed intelligent & sincere. If you'd like to associate an image with her, imagine a 42-year-old version of current pop-star Katy Perry, & you'll be extremely close.

SUE: "I've learned to appreciate good people, avoid drama, enjoy the moment you're in. Me ~ outgoing, grounded, logical, creative, passionate, fun, feisty, considerate. I appreciate people for their smarts, being goodhearted, thinking outside the box, a willingness to take chances in life, optimistic attitudes, and preferring an active and productive life rather than being a couch potato on a gorgeous day. I'm attracted to a confident personality, a man with opinions is important to me, has ideas, can make a plan, takes control of the situation when need be, and is communicative. These qualities can describe both of us, smart, good hearted, can be sweet and let his guard down, and knows how to have fun and enjoy life. I'd like to meet someone who knows what he wants and what he's ready for, as I do. None of us are perfect. The key is finding someone you like, someone you enjoy spending time with, and are both willing to put some effort into making a relationship work. I don't want to date forever, do you?! I'd like to meet just one good guy who I click with, have fun & good conversation with! We make a fun team, we can talk and are real friends, we enjoy hanging out together :) I’m loyal, passionate, and when I like a guy I’m affectionate and like to do little things to show I’m thinking about him. Don't wait for life to happen, make life happen! Everyone here is looking for the same thing (Long Term Dating) but how is it that time passes and we're still single? How can we change that? If we really want to meet someone for dating or long term - we need to make a little time to talk and get to know that person & meet. Conversation starters when you write a woman here.. let me know what we might have in common based on our profiles & why you think we might click! I think if people took the time to get to know each other (and to know themselves!) the divorce rate would be significantly lower and relationships would be healthier. I do prefer a healthy monogamous relationship rather than long term single :) Side note ~ my thoughts on chemistry. When people say 'chemistry', do they mean instant visual attraction?! That seems so rudimentary and shallow. For me attraction is more than looks, it's personality, what we like about each other, and most important - how easily we communicate. I don't think it's possible to learn all that within 2 hours of meeting someone, or even at the end of a first or 2nd date. You might be halfway attracted to someone's looks or personality, and mistakenly think halfway means 'no chemistry', but as you get to know them on a 2nd or 3rd date, their personality can hit a home-run, making them 10x more attractive! When you first met one of your lifelong friends, did you know right off the bat how awesome they were and how much you'd click?! Did you select them as a lifelong friend based on their looks? Hopefully not! Getting along well means you can talk easily, laugh, inspire each other, be excited in life together, look forward to things. Isn't that what good friends do? To everyone out there shy or hesitant to reach out to people here and in life's path... It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny. true true :)"

GMG: "Sue, I'm currently beginning a relationship with another lady I've been corresponding with for a few months & met earlier this week for the first time, & for her birthday present next month, I'm ... [NOTE: I DON'T WANT TO REVEAL THIS ON MY BLOG FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.] ... I clicked on your profile because it was the first in my Search Matches list, & couldn't help but notice your long, thoughtful writing. Things are going well with the other lady, but I couldn't pass you by without complimenting you on what you wrote, & pray that God will help you meet a wonderful man one day who will appreciate you like you deserve. Have a great night!"

SUE: "Hi, you're sweet, thank you, and congrats on your new lady, however, how do you know my name? It's not posted here."

GMG: "Good evening! I assumed Sue to be your real first name since your profile's username contains 'Sue'. If I'm wrong, I apologize. Oddly enough, the lady I'm courting used a completely fictitious username of "Juliet", which I assumed was her real name until she told me. (She still hasn't told me why she chose that name.) By the way, I noticed that you listed your Faith as "Non-Religious", & yet what you wrote about yourself is so thoughtful, & so outstanding among other profiles I've read over the years (as is the lady's I'm courting, as well as a handful of others, but so rare). If you'd like to share your thoughts on that subject, I'd be interested in hearing them. I'm not a pushy proselytizer, just curious. I'm guessing you believe God exists, but have been turned off in one way or another by most religions. Am I wrong again?"

SUE: "Oh, wow, I thought I had changed it, thanks for letting me know. No, of course I dont [sic] believe in god, I'm an adult and stopped believing in fairy tales long ago. ridiuculous [sic] that people still believe in 'god', ha ha, so laughable. Some people are just simpletons. No I'm not turned off by religion, I am an atheist because I'm not a moron. It's simple. I dont [sic] believe made up fairy tales written 2000 years ago. Anyone who does is stupid."

GMG: "Thank you, Sue, for explaining how you feel about God. Again, just out of curiosity, if you made a mistake about not having changed your name in your profile listing, is there any chance you could be making a mistake about God's existence? This is not a rhetorical question; I'd very much like to hear you explain the basis of your belief. Surely you must be aware that some very mature, bright, intelligent, thoughtful people believe God exists, so I'm confident you would agree that another person's IQ is not the most rational argument against what they believe or don't believe."

SUE: "Yes, there's something missing in your brain if you seriously believe that there is a god. It's insane really, to believe in what equates to santa claus at your age. good luck. There are PLENTY of similar brainwashed christian women out there, straight out of that movie 'Stepford Wives'. You should try Then you're guaranteed that everyone there will have your matching belief system. Take care."

GMG: "Hello again, Sue! I hope you had a delicious, candy-filled day! ... [NOTE: I SENT THIS ON HALLOWEEN EVENING.] ... I'm grateful that you took the time to express your thoughts on this subject yesterday. I'd very much like to continue the conversation to understand what you're basing your statements upon. If there are millions of Christian women, & millions of Atheistic women, how do you know that the Christians are 'insane' & 'brainwashed', rather than the atheists? Earlier you said that Christianity was a 'made up fairy tale'. Surely you must be aware that the early Christians claimed to be eyewitnesses to historical events. Like what you say about yourself in your ad, they were passionate, considerate, good-hearted, optimistic, etc. I'd like to hear if you believe in any historical events, & if so, what is your basis for determining their validity. All I've heard you do so far is use an Ad Hominem logical fallacy (ridiculing the people instead of falsifying their position). In that vain, here's a humorous anecdote for you to consider: School boy objects to teacher saying God doesn't exist. Teacher asks boy if he sees various objects around the classroom & outside such as chairs & trees, to which he replies, 'Yes, I see them.' Teacher says we can't see God because God doesn't exist, a fairy tale made up a long time ago. After class ends, a smart little girl (probably named Sue) in same school asks boy if he saw the teacher. 'Yes, I saw the teacher,' he replies. Girl asks him if he saw the teacher's brain. 'No, I didn't.' Girl explains that based on what they learned in class that day, the teacher must not have one. You see, Sue, it's one thing to belittle another person, but another thing to prove your point. I agree with you that there are many stupid theists, but there are also many stupid atheists. IQs are not our subject. I'd like to hear you explain why you are correct. Are you familiar with Aristotle's point about the 'First Principles' of science? If so, what I'm asking is what your first principle is for determining whether God exists or not. If someone were to accuse you of being an atheistic Stepford Wife, how would you defend yourself? By the way, do you still admire men who have 'a confident personality, opinions, ideas, & [are] communicative'?"

SUE: "I've had this discussion with believers since I was 15, I have no interest in discussing the possibility of the existence of unicorns. they [sic] dont [sic]exist. I'm not here on this site to delve into pointless discussions that lead no where [sic]. If you want to argue the belief in god, join an atheist discussion group and post your ponderings there."

GMG: "Sue, I did not consider it a pointless discussion to understand your thought process; anything else would be, as you said in your ad, 'shallow'. You are a very attractive lady, both in your physical appearance, & in the way you express yourself by your writing. I would hope that you want to meet a man who will not only enjoy your physical company, but who will enjoy exchanging thoughts with you in a deep, long-lasting, & meaningful way, not some superficial chit-chat about your favorite music or food. You advertised yourself as being 'logical' & 'feisty'. If you are genuinely secure in your atheistic statements, I'm disappointed that you are not living up to your ad. Do you really want to be in a loving relationship with someone who cares about you & 'think[s] outside the box' (Did the believers you met at 15 reference Aristotle?), or do you want somebody who goes along with everything you say, do, & believe, like a Stepford Husband? You asked for 'conversation starters', & I assumed that you would be interested in discussing the problems with religious people, since I am non-religious like you. Can we 'talk and be real friends'? Feel free to suggest an alternate conversation starter about something that interests you, & that is important."

SUE: "not reading ... blocking"

What that means is that she used an option these websites provide to block someone from sending additional messages to you. It's the 21st-century equivalent of the ancient practice of digging a hole in the sand & sticking your head in it, not realizing how ridiculous it makes you look, especially after you boast about being logical & smart, thinking outside the box ... & "keep[ing] the mitzvot of the Torah."

So here's what I wrote to Rabbi Simmons (with minor edits for this blog presentation; I'm always improving my arguments):

"Last week I posted a lengthy-but-thorough rebuttal to this article, which can now be found online under the title 'Wild, Wilder, Wildest Anti-Jesus Arguments'. I not only addressed your points, but also those of people who have posted comments here sadly supporting you (I read all 200), plus points made by other prominent Jews such as Aryeh Kaplan, Yisroel Blumenthal, Asher Norman, even Ramban. Quick examples:

1) It is not possible for a non-divine "messiah" to know whether hatred has ended since only God knows our hearts (1Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10); & your statement 'in the Bible no concept of a second coming exists' is a lie (Daniel 9:25-6); otherwise Daniel 7:13 & Zechariah 9:9 appear contradictory.

2a) Nothing in the Tanach states 'prophecy ended upon the death of ... Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi'; it won't end till sin ends (Daniel 9:24).

2b) Nothing in the Tanach states 'The Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David'; HaShem allowed women to inherit if they had no brothers (Numbers 27:8).

2c) Jesus never violated the Shabbat because it's never against God's laws to do good deeds.

3a) Jewish scholars translated 'alma' as 'parthenos' ('virgin') before Christ was born; your assertion that it was a 'Christian idea' is a lie.

3b) Your interpretation of Isaiah 53 relies on 3 logical fallacies: Special Pleading for switching grammatical number & narrator, Hasty Generalization as your actors don't represent their class' majority, & Wishful Thinking in ascribing uncharacteristic traits to your actors.

4) Your National Revelation argument ignores the Israelites' plea for God to speak through a messenger (Exodus 20:19; Deuteronomy 5:27), which ties in with your 2a. Was Elijah a charlatan?

Use logic, not lies! Refute me or repent!"

"But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by Him shall glory; but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped."--Psalm 63:11

G.M. Grena