why we might need a book of ruth

Daniel A. Foss (U17043@UICVM.BITNET)
Thu, 11 Apr 1996 17:44:44 CDT

Let's sit down and have ourselves a little Revelation as to why someone,
possibly a Committee, call it The Special Tying-up Of Loose Ends Subcommittee,
reporting to the Plausibility, In Context, Under the Circumstances, That Is,
Review Board. It is to be doubted that anything so systematic was ever consi-
dered, much less institutionalized; nor could outside consultants, who hadn't
re-engineered themselves into existence yet, be brought in to reduce the slov-
enliness 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 Patriarch which would
be downright despicable or at best incomprehensible until the advent of anthro-
pologists cognizant of Trickster Figures ("Yes, that's my sister, but she's
also my wife, so under the provisions of International Law applicable to
Property Damage endured by weary commercial travelers such as myself, in
halfbaked citystates with halfbaked tablets, outside Mesopotamia, Ur, in
fact, you owe me, in minas of silver,..." "Ur? Where's that?" "Think in
terms of Chaldea, which is where, in a thousand years, perhaps merely nine
hundred, the Chaldeans will settle, having found Homelessness boring"), the
Law as devised for suitability to three different Stages of Social Complexity
Theory, and last and least, historicity.

[Note: The new reader should be apprised that in 1992ish, the writer used
to take pride in sentences like that, which the untutored would attibute to
five minutes of heroic typing induced by Drug Abuse, but actually requiring
over an hour.]

And Lo! The Teacher did nag unto Daniel A. Foss, Recite!
1. Behold! It is written that there was, at the very close of the Bronze Age,
December 31, 1190 BC[E], a great leader of the Jews, called Moshe Rabbeynu.
2. And this Moshe was very Marginal, having been raised in the Goyish palace,
at the very close of the XIX Dynasty, leading to his Jewish Identity getting
teribly screwed up. Cf Maurice R. Stein, role model in the practice of incohe-
rence and graduate advisor to Daniel A. Foss, and Arthur Vidich (Eds.),
Identity and Anxiety, which Maurice R. Stein in a masterpiece of classroom
lecturing of over three hours failed to explain what it was about, Free Press,
1960. 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
3. And it is written that Moses was floated down the river in a story plagi-
arized from the miraculous birth of Sargon of Akkad, circa 2400ish BC, to a
female supernatural being who, in what was considered good or at least strate-
gic parenting for those times, set him adrift on the Euphrates, where his
sociological mother, an "inkeeper," as prostitutes were euphemized throughout
the Nearer East, hit F10, Retrieve. Gimlet-eyed scrutiny reveals, however, the
inversion of the relative stratificational positions of the birth-mothers and
sociological mothers in question, where Moses' "real" mama was a pureblooded
Jewish slave; the adoptive mother being an illegitimate granddaughter of
Ramesses II. Moses, namewise, having meant "born of," this is strongly suggest-
ive of the dropping of a theophorous prefix, such as the Ra- in Ra-messe.
4. And it came to pass on fourth and long that Merneptah, grown old and full
of years to take power, made war in Canaan, where he claimed greatly implau-
sible victories over people called Israel, as it was his kingly duty to boast
of; said Israel being then, as it was five hundred years later, located in
North Canaan, which would have bothered nobody not told of the Exodus from
Egypt. Great scholars of the vastest learning, however, were so informed; and
behold! The most textually-critical Rabbi Sharma of Holy Brandeis hath
pinpointed with precision pleasing unto God, should he exit, the exact windows
of opportunity of the Exodus.
5. The opinions of the many nations as to the identity of Moses is, excepting
some Canadians (see Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, 1992, author
at U Toronto, memory is going) is divided between the Hardheads, to whom he
is and was fictitious; and the speculative flakes, identifying him with a son
of Merneptah, Amen-messe, reigned 1203-1202, who like -Messe himself was
reviled for politcal murder, rebellion, and treason, possibly departing Egypt,
conjecturedly, in great haste. Where he may or almost certainly was not in
cahoots with Israel; in performance of Divination by Occam's Razor, forget it.
1. It is written that there was an invasion of Canaan led by Yehoshua the son
of Nun, wherein the cities of Jericho and Ai were destroyed, wherefor the
credit should be given to Thothmesse III, 260ish years earlier; nobody but
Homeless living in such places at this time.
2. And God said, let there be archeological digging, that ye may verify
Scripture, as is only right. Yet of the invasion of Canaan there was naught
to be found.
3. Lo, was it not undeniable, however, that there were apiru, Hebrews, all
over the place, the word having the combined meanings of "bandits" and
"vagrants." Thus the wise men shook their heads, saying, it is altogether
too damned easy to become a tribe of Israel whenever it suits you; then
you become The Enemy whenever it likewise suits you, so it shall be written,
"Moab did oppress the Children of Israel for such and so many years, so we
had a War of National Liberation, when Moab changed sides."
4. In these times, after Late Bronze before Early Iron really got going, there
fell a Dark Age upon the land of Canaan/Israel, when who knew who was what. A
prophet of God, being driven out with sticks and stones which broke her bones,
did prophesy, and it came to pass, that God hath ordained, long ago, which was
why she was on solid historical ground, The Law Of Spurious Precision In Retro-
spect: For doth this not give you Historical Inevitability, the Rise of Natio-
nalism, The Rise Of Capitalism, The Rise Of The West, The Decline of Spain,
The Irrepressible Conflict, and the Inevitablity Of You Cannot Stop Progress,
where the latter is as certain as National Selection. And she bade the tribes
put down their sticks and stones, "Mark ye my words, when ye grow up and have
subcultures of your own, you'll know what it's like to be a mother." And she
saith, "Fake ye the law."
5. The old wise men did seek out still older, literate wise men, who had
learned their learning when knowledge meant something other than "sexual
intercourse," and Behold! It was written, "Ye shall not lie with the daughters
of the Canaanites."
6. But it was in any case regrettably true, if you were racist, which in the
contemporary sense was difficult in those days, that the Children of Israel
did in fact lie with the daughters of Canaanites. Even worse, as endogamy
purists would have seen it had they existed when, historically speaking, they
should have been on the spot, *the Children of Israel did Tell The Truth to
the Daughters of Canaanites*, saying, "I love ya, baby, I wanna marry ya."
7. The daughters of Canaanites said, hey, man, is that not illegal, contrary
to the Miscegenation Law, the Nurnberg Law, and the regulations of the Racial
Classification Board?"
8. To which the children of Israel said, [barnyard epithet]. We know only of
the Communications Decency Act, wherefor the Word of God commands Bullshit!
Specifically, the Children of Israel *are* Canaanites, speaking Canaanite under
the new name of apiru/Hebrew, for Homeless we were in the Stinking Desert. By
the waters of Jordan we sat down and got Wet, wow, and what do you know, there
was rain, which grew sheep. Yea, verily, we beheld a vision, that we always
lived here, and relatively speaking, it is a land flowing with milk and honey,
when you consider the alternative. So let us take a vote or fight it out or
something rational.
9. There were twelve or thirteen or fourteen Yeas, depending on Ephraim and
Levi and Borderline Cases who spoke Mycenean Greek or something; Midianites
were Nay, and Moab was Undecided. There were Moabites who said, Look, we speak
Hebrew, like them. There were other Moabites who said, Nah, we speak *better*
Hebrew than them.
10. Then did the Judges issue a Call For Papers on Problems of Ethnogenesis.
11. It was found that Early Studies suggested.
12. Then, subsequent studies gave a more thoroughly mixed picture.
13. Later studies seemed at last to be leading somewhere substantial.
14. Still later studies cast considerable doubt.
15. The Journal of Moabite Studies had almost attained theoretical closure,
when the Moabites themselves became either endogamous or snotty. At the
Jerusalem Confernce On The Causes And Resolution Of Wars, it was suggested
that several possible reasons existed for the conquest of Moab, recently
a. Imperialist aggression for expansionistic purposes, which wase either
economically determined or ego-tripping.
b. The whole thing was over a woman, look at your Trojan War stories which
the Tribe of Dan, Danuna or Danaoi when they were Greeks, tell over and over
again, stupider every time: King David coveted Bathsheba, which would make a
great DeMille movie in days hence. Bathsheba was married to Uriah The Hittite.
David ordered Joab, Commander of the Army, to assign Uriah to the front trench,
not forgetting the medal after he got killed. Bathsheba became great with child
who came to power, Retarded though Solomon was, and there was misgovernment and
corruption till Revolution and Secession broke out.
c. David himself was born and raised in close proximity to the Moabite
border, which accounted for some of his strange habits, sexual and political,
which political enemies used against him.
16. This problem would only get worse when some people became Jewish, at the
earliest, by the year 620-ish. Before which, even the ruling class was either
henotheist or polytheist, which is Normal when you are a poor, backward city
state dependent on peasants. At such a time as people were made to become
Jewish, volunteers being scarce, it was necessary to account for the vioaltion
of the endogamy rule, "Thou shalt not lie with the daughters of Canaanites,"
which Ruth, who was presumably fictitious, certainly was, given sufficient
rretrospect; which didn't matter, as David was of pretty mixedup ancestry which
nobody cared much about at the time. Who knew from nothing except sheep, here,
meet grass, there; Customs & Immigration is rudimentary; and if they had Jose
back then, he'd have a ball with the system. Meanwhile, you have got this
love story, here is Ruth, here is Boaz, "In him is might," here is the box
office and the Nielsen ratings. And here is the legitimacy of the Dynasty
sewed up, for it is written, "I shall not wink out David's candle in

Condider this a Case Study. You have, if you read any of the above, wondered
"Of What?" A good question. This is only a sample of historical Truth, as
larded with deliberate anachronism for readability, which is highly unpopular,
inconvenient, and downright unpleasant to religious believers arguing for the
Truth of True Religion, especially where, as in this case, the historical
events (not to speak of social processes) whose historicity is most irksome
when indisputable, span the transition from the pre-True-Religion state of
affairs to the subsequently-emerged Exclusivist condition.

I am, that is, being arrogant enough to tell you, you cannot have the
arguments you have been having, or would like to have; at least some of
them. Howbeit the dictum of Michael Mann, "History is a mess!" is disgracefully
atheoretical for a sociological macrotheorist, it should suffice for at least
the introductory and intermediate undergraduate levels.

Daniel A. Foss