Doors Closing and Opening

It’s getting near the time when one of our dear friends, otaku_tetsuko and her daughter kuni_izumi (and soon, kuni’s financee corronerbob) will be moving back East. Today we helped them move stuff out of our storage area back to their garage. Monday the movers come and take their stuff away, while Otaku and Kumi get in the car with their two dogs and get on the road. We will miss them, and we treasure the years of friendship we had with them (and we look forward to seeing them whenever they return to SoCal). Please keep them in your thoughts for a safe drive, good luck in Philly, and good luck selling their house out here.

Of course, we are getting some stuff from them. Some is tangible, like some books. Some is even more valuable, such as some friends we will be adopting. We welcome to our circle neo_tanuki and his wife Minnette; and wbwilkin and his wife Grace. They are all gamers (both board gaming and RPG), so I’m sure we’ll get them over to a games day soon (we’ll do one at our house, ixixlix, so you can meet them, but they will fit in with our group).

However, right now I’m sore from moving boxes. Soon we’ll go out for dinner, and then collapse. Tomorrow, it is Thoroughly Modern Millie in Simi Valley (an early start to six weeks of theatre!) and cleaning the house.


It’s Not Who You Know, It’s What They Know

Many folks know that I answer questions on judaism as part of my work on the SCJ FAQ. If I get a question that I can’t answer, I forward it to someone I know that can help me (most often, Micha Berger of Aishdas, who does the blog aspaqlaria). Recently, I got a question on the Septuagint, which asked questions such as “Would [the Septuagint] have been allowed in the Synagogues of Jerusalem before its (Jerusalem) destruction by Rome?”

So, following my usual practice, I forwarded the question to someone who I know is an expert on the Septuagint. To give you an idea of the depth of his knowledge, his response to the above question was:

This may not be knowable. At least, I don’t know it. What we do know is that many Jews of that era did not in fact understand much Hebrew, but tended to be much more fluent in Aramaic or Greek. There were apparently also efforts to translate various Hebrew texts into Aramaic, though they didn’t achieve the collective identity of the Septuagint–at least, not till later centuries, if at all. This is not surprising–many more people in the Mediterranean world spoke Greek as a first or second language than Aramaic, and Greek had more of a literature-oriented culture.

In any event, the Septuagint was certainly in widespread use in Jerusalem at that time. I just can’t tell you what the Synagogues’ exact attitudes toward it were. Though apparently Gamaliel is on record as saying that “Greek is the only language into which the Torah can be accurately translated.” If the way people behave today is any indication, it is very likely that different sects had different policies.

Certainly one data point is that the majority of early Christians thought of the Septuagint as “the Scriptures” (literally “the Writings”) simply because they already thought of it that way before they became Christians. Most of the early Christian writers were Jewish, and the vast majority of their quotations are from the Septuagint. As Christianity spread from the Jewish world to the Greek world, the use of the Septuagint only increased. This eventually led the Jews to de-emphasize use of the Septuagint, but probably not till after the fall of Jerusalem.

So, who is this Septuagint expert? No less than the author of Perl (remember, I’m also Perl’s Paternal Godparent). Larry and I used to discuss all sorts of stuff when we carpooled together to SDC in the 1980s, and Larry is one of the few folks that can read all three languages of the Septuagint (he believes that if you are going to argue scripture, you must go to the source: be that Greek or Hebrew). This is understandable, as he is a preacher’s son.

Yet another lesson that there are more levels to people than we commonly see. After all: Did you know that Donald Knuth was a highway geek?


We’re gonna turn it on; We’re gonna bring you the power…

Tonight we had a delightful dinner at ixixlix‘s house: Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Honey Carrots, White Asparagus, Almond Cookies. Even better, after dinner, we played a game of Power Grid. ixixlix‘s husband, S, won the game after a ferocious bidding session that saw the Karate Kid bidding 120 for one plant, S&F buying one for 80, and one other going in the 60s. I came in second. We didn’t have time for Ticket to Ride, so I owe ixixlix a game of that.

Came home to a surprise: A Tupperware full of rice flour mix had fallen off the rack and (you guessed it) exploded over the floor. It’s all cleaned up now.


Newsblast from the Past: Twins Separated Before Birth Reconnect

(Although I said it before, I’ll say it again: It’s your birthday the day you were born, shutterbug93!)

Woke up this morning, checked my email, and got a blast from the past: An email from my twin separated before birth. What do I mean? When I started UCLA back in 1977, I ran into a fellow who was also into computers, had the same birthday, who grew up with the person who was my best friend… loads of other similarities. It appears we have just reconnected: he is also a roadgeek, still working with computers, and apparently living in the valley.

I’m looking forward to reconnecting with him. Good fellow! Keith: If you’re reading this, welcome to my journal!