Monday, December 31, 2007

A look ahead

After five months in uncertain exile, I am now reestablished in my apartment. Following the drastic renovation the place underwent, I had to deal with many little bits of unfinished business, as well as to acquire basic appliances. This mundane stuff is still going on, but I am beginning to see the way forward to resuming intellectual work.

While absent (mostly) from this blog during the last few months, I was able to put the finishing touches on my most important electronic publication, a contribution to the linguistics and semantics of homosexuality. This may now be accessed at

On this blog I intend to resume my critical pieces on religion. The last, I think, was my response to Christopher Hitchens' hysterical atheist screed. Hitchens is of course, one of several warriors who have sought to preach (the correct term) a "correct' atheism. As a rule, these individuals (Sam Harris is probably the best of them) address only the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), as if that trio constituted the whole of humanity's engagement in religion. This skewed, Occidental approach leaves such interesting candidates as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Daoism essentially untouched.

Also left out is the ongoing task of discovering the true history of the founding documents of these Abrahamic "peoples of the book." In many ways it is not a pretty story, but there is no shirking the task. For a hundred and fifty years, at least, the Higher Criticism has, in effect, cut Christianity down to size. Now we are witnessing increasing and well deserved attention to the neglected "noncanonical" documents including the fifteen or so Gospels not included in most editions of the New Testament. Many Christians, even learned ones, try to wriggle out of these challenges. They should not be let off so lightly. Bart Ehrmann is perhaps the most determined scholar in this field today. I recommend his books heartily.

As Ibn Warraq and others have shown, the application of the principles of the Higher Criticism to Islam is just beginning. The results are potentially devastating--once Muslims can be persuaded to listen, as in due course they must.

The first definitive demonstration of the flensing action of the Higher Criticism was performed with the detection of the four sources of the Pentateuch. In this light, it is curious that modern Judaism with its reverence for Torah (in the strict sense, that same Pentateuch) has, by and large, evaded this challenge. I hope to address the reasons for this evasion presently.