Date: Mon Dec 02 2002 - 22:01:32 EST
In a message dated 12/2/02 8:10:34 PM Eastern Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Jacob is not simply regarded as a good con artist. Jacob stole his
> > from his older brother through cunning and his brother's failure to value
> > Jacob is not condemned by the Lord. In fact the Lord has already predicted
> > that the older will serve the younger. Isaac himself is agitated over
> > trickery but does not reassign the birthright to Esau. That suggests to me
> > that cunning is favored in God's eyes.
> The general point first: God doesn't choose people because they're
> good. God elects people because God chooses to. Many of the people
> regarded as heroes
> of faith in the Bible have significant moral defects but they are God's
> people in spite
> of that. God is, after all the one who "justifies the ungodly" (Rom.4:5).
> description of the Christian as _simul justus et peccator"_, at the same
> time justified
> and sinner, sums this up.
> To begin with, Jacob is at worst a swindler and at best a
> wheeler-dealer. (Note
> how, after his dream at Bethel in which God promises him everything,
> Jacob's response is
> "Let's make a deal.") Jacob does "get religion" later on after his
> encounter with God
> at the Jabbok.
Nowhere above do I say God chooses people because they're morally good.
In genesis god specifically predicts that the older will serve the younger
and the device that the story employs to effect the switch of the birthright
which god himself predicts is cunning. In this instance, god 'knows' that
cunning switches birthrights.
> > Later, when Laban tricks Jacob into marrying his dull eyed older daughter,
> > Jacob is incensed. That means for a period of years Jacob must father
> sons of
> > a dull-eyed wife, producing dull-eyed sons. since the birthright goes to
> > oldest, jacob's later sons of the vivacious rachel will lose the greater
> > of their father's inheritance to their dull eyed older brothers who are
> > able to 'cunningly' hold onto it.
> 1st, your argument is based on a debatable translation. NRSV says
> "Leah's eyes
> were lovely" with a note "Meaning of Heb uncertain." Speiser (in the
> Anchor Bible) has
> "tender" and says: "Not necessarily "weak," for the basic sense of Heb.
> _rak_ is
> "dainty, delicate"; cf.xxxiii 8. The traditional translation has been
> influenced by the
> popular etymology of the name Leah as "weak." What the narrative appears
> to be saying
> is that Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was an outstanding beauty."
> & there's no necessary connection between appearance of eyes & lack of
> In fact, the lethal trick that Simeon & Levi play on the Schechemites in
> Ch.34 suggests
> that they had inherited some of their father's cunning.
If it's based on a debatable translation, then it's debatable. It was the
'dull eyed' remark that intrigued me after learning that orthodox religious
communities have the highest mean IQ in the world and after reading a hasidic
publication that described their eugenic marriage practices. to me, it's much
more logical to believe that this ancient people is still practicing their
ancient customs as described in genesis than to look for a less parsimonious
solution that lacks the circumstantial evidence.
> > It is best if the oldest son is the
> > smartest son to protect the inheritance. In retaliation, Jacob weakens the
> > breed of Laban's flocks while strengthening his own - it is a perfect
> > for what has Laban has cunningly perpetrated on Jacob.
> Yes, Jacob outswindles Laban. But his weakening of Laban's flock is
> not the main
> point. He is pictured as making use of both common-sense breeding
> knowledge (i.e., that
> stronger parents will produce stronger offspring) and "magic" (the idea
> that the parents
> who breed while seeing the striped rods will produce spotted & speckled
> This results in the spotted & speckled animals - which Laban had agreed
> should be
> Jacob's - being strong & the others weak.
why is it not the main point? It's the allegorical counterpoint to the dull
eyed daughter (debatable translation). If it's important enough to
counterpoint a fact in the marriage of jacob who is obsesseed with
birthright, why is it not important enough for you?
Incidentally, Darwin did not know how indivudal traits were passed down. He
had never heard of Mendel's peas in 1860 and neither had anybody else. The
Lamarckian explanation circa 1860 was the same type of 'magic" as the one in
genesis. This does not belittle Jacob's knowledge. It was magic up until 150
> > This is proof that as animal breeders, Jacob knew that intelligence could
> > selected for in animal populations and human populations. It is the
> > why Ashkenazi Jews have the highest mean IQ in the world. They still marry
> > their smartest sons to the daughters of their smartest rebbes.
> Nothing at all is said here about the intelligence of either humans or
> > Is that a quote from westermann? what is the specific purpose Jacob is
> > breeding for? Thanks for that reference.
> Yes, it's a quote from W. The purpose is noted above.
> > I had an aunt whose son had a strawberry birthmark on his face. The
> > explanation: my aunt was struck on the face when she was pregnant. This
> is a
> > common folk belief even today but has no bearing on the story of the
> On the contrary, it's critical to Jacob's plan as described in Genesis.
> > I think you've proven my point. human beings can be bred for intelligence.
> Certainly heredity is a factor in intelligence but, as with many
> complex traits,
> intelligence is hardly inherited in the simple way that, e.g., blood types
I didn't mention physiology. I said heritable and you're in agreement.
> > It's in genesis. You can yawn.
> I'm not yawning, but you're just reading a lot more into Genesis than
> is there.
I don't think so. I think there's a lot more there than you've seen.
> > Me? I think that changes everything and I was
> > excited to tell you about it.
> > Breeding has everything to do with God's Law, as far as Ashkenazi Jewry is
> > concerned and I do believe their religion also rests on the Torah. The
> > efficacy of God's Law is manifest in their having the highest mean IQ in
> > world.
> > rich
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