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I’m an engineer, graduated with a B.E. in Electrical Engineering from the Cooper Union, and working in that field in the Greater NYC area.

My interests are varied and include computers & computer programming, science fiction & real-life space exploration, politics, and religion; see my active accounts on Stack Overflow.

Read my (very sporadically-updated) blog, or follow me on Google+.


Aug
14
comment What biblical figure was present during the dinosaurs?
Every Biblical figure coexisted with dinosaurs: birds are dinosaurs.
Aug
14
comment Who were the Pharisees?
Regarding the use of the term perushim, Pharisees, my personal conjecture: Josephus implies that was the term in use at the time. The Talmud was written some centuries later at which point the libelous definition might have taken root, so that word was avoided. Alternatively, the term might have been used as a political identifier both for the Rabbis and for the unlearned folk who followed them, so a more narrowly-defined word (chaver, a “fellow” of the study-hall) was used instead.
Aug
14
comment Who were the Pharisees?
@BruceJames, this discussion touches strongly on my answer; note that I’ve added links to the Soncino translation of Sotah 22b there. I’ll disagree with you on the value of that translation: while being far more difficult to read, it preserves the “feel” of the Aramaic original quite well.
Apr
1
comment Who was Neri, father of Shealtiel?
Unless you’re looking to unify the lineage lists (in which case neri = “my light” & malki = “my king” might be useful) there seems to be exactly no information on Neri.
Mar
24
comment How should 2 Cor 5:10 be interpreted, in light of Isa 43:25?
An answer to this question would require (1) a discussion of the various kinds of sin, (2) discussion of the results of sin: which are punishments, which are consequences, then (3) a discussion of the kinds of forgiveness. All without resorting to doctrine. This question belongs on ✝.SE.
Jan
21
comment Why is Isaiah 14:12-15 interpreted by some to refer to Satan?
Yes, David; Revision 5 cleared up what you meant. +1
Jan
21
comment Why is Isaiah 14:12-15 interpreted by some to refer to Satan?
The difference, @JackDouglas, is whether the satan, the adversarial angel, is obedient to God or rebellious. The whole idea of rebellious angels questionable in Judaism; Maimonides & Nachmanides most famously held it was impossible (though for different reasons). (The matter of the nefillim is off topic for this site, but has been discussed on ✡.SE.)
Jan
19
comment Why is Isaiah 14:12-15 interpreted by some to refer to Satan?
Please clarify: “this is one of the things that makes the Septuagint so important, and you can see from the bit quoted above that this is absent from the Greek Isaiah.” — just what is “absent from the Greek Isaiah”?
Jan
19
comment Why is Isaiah 14:12-15 interpreted by some to refer to Satan?
@H3br3wHamm3r81, Jews believe the satan is an agent provocateur but is thereby doing what God commanded him to, not “fallen” or “rebellious”
Jan
16
comment Could the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” mean “tree of intelligence”?
Sermon aside, what is your take on the OP’s proposed explanation? Is it plausible? Are there flaws in the logic? (Other than “I prefer this other interpretation”.)
Jan
16
comment Could the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” mean “tree of intelligence”?
So you don’t interpret the Tree in the way the original poster is considering. But that doesn’t answer the OP’s question: Is this a plausible explanation?
Jan
16
comment Could the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” mean “tree of intelligence”?
Note that in Biblical Hebrew, the usual form is “from ‹one small thing› to ‹another small thing›”. Example: Genesis 14:23, “from a thread to a shoelace”.
Jan
8
comment Was or wasn’t Shem’s son Arphaxad born on the ark?
Note that Shem was not necessarily the oldest of Noah’s sons.
Jan
1
comment Where does the extra information about Melchizedek come from in Hebrews 7?
There is reference in Scripture to people blessing God, which would seem to negate your logic.
Dec
31
comment What's the importance of Melchizedek from a Hebrew Bible-only point of view?
Not really, @NiclasNilsson; see my edited answer.
Dec
30
comment Did Avraham marry Hagar? Did Ya'akov marry Zilpah?
Marrying a barren wife’s maidservant for children was well-established ANE practice; your question is dependent on what the status of this relationship was. The Biblical text is ambiguous, so I don’t think it’s possible to answer you question from there, but ANE scholars might know this from other sources.
Oct
8
comment Should 1 Kings 19:3 read that Elijah “saw” or “was afraid”?
Deliberate ambiguity is actually fairly common in Scripture; and you know it’s deliberate because there are alternate words available for either meaning.
Oct
6
comment Why does the Septuagint contain non-Tanakh books?
The Septuagint proper comprises only the first five books of the Torah; the rest is an accretion of translations from various sources. So any religious book popular enough to exist in Greek translation—or any that were written in Greek—would have ended up in the general “Septuagint”.
Aug
14
comment Why does Psalm 103:8 use the dual form of אַפַּ֣יִם (anger)?
Cf. also Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch ad loc., who translates אף as a panting desire or yearning; אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם then means “He long desires [repentance]”, similar in meaning but not identical to “long-suffering”=“long of patience”.
Aug
14
comment Should 1 Kings 19:3 read that Elijah “saw” or “was afraid”?
Are you suggesting that the author intended ambiguity, or that the question cannot be answered?