the book of ruth

Richard G. Calo (rgcalo@EDEN.RUTGERS.EDU)
Fri, 12 Apr 1996 08:34:08 EDT

I'm sorry I don't have the time at the moment to consider in greater detail
Daniel A. Foss' post. The post was most extraordinary-- I loved the
texture of its language, and it had a not inconsiderable entertainment
value (but then maybe I'm perverse) even beyond the point it was meant
to convey.
But what is the point?
If in the first post (wednesday), it was that concepts such as
"conversion" and "portability" (a characteristic of this "new faith") were
historically constituted, and can therefore almost certainly not be applied
beyond the domain of their constitution, especially in this present; in the
second post something in addition seems to be happening. As I read it
(the post), the problem seems to be (and put very abstrusely to say the
least) that we make it all up in advance of the initial occurence, and then
we make up the initial occurence too (only, take the 'we' away for good
measure). In retrospect, yes, it all looks terribly systematic, consistent,
internally coherent, and overall peachy. In actuality-- well, there may be
no actuality, actually-- not from where 'we' stand. But is that troublesome?
Doubtful, since there's good reason to suspect 'we' make that up too....
Hence we could never get to the point where we will show that "the Book
of Ruth will show...." And it does seem to follow that we "cannot have the
arguments [we] have been having, or would like to have."

On thursday, Daniel A. Foss wrote:

"It is to be doubted that anything so systematic was ever considered,
much less institutionalized; nor could outside consultants, who hadn't
re-engineered themselves into existence yet, be brought in to reduce
the slovenliness of the Word of God to manageable proportions, given
the steadily-mounting pile of obsolete material, forgotten places whose
toponyms are used in the plot, the characterological profile of a certain


"This is mentioned because Jewish Identity was very important at the
time I attended any lecturee given by Maurice R. Stein; though it is rather
archaic at this time. Yet, when Jewish Identity was moderately new, it
generated vistas of having existed for historical epochs, or months, at
least, prior to the then present."

So what is it about this present, "the then present," and any present
anyway, which churns out a past for itself every moment, day, epoch
and age of the way?