[ExI] Brief correction re Western Democracies

David Lubkin lubkin at unreasonable.com
Thu Feb 24 19:01:16 UTC 2011

Spike wrote:

>What, you mean as in that passage in Exodus 20?  God wrote ten rules in
>stone, including one which forbids adultery.  Yet it includes no actual
>definition of the term adultery, nor any definition of marriage before that.
>The term written on stone is the first time it shows up in the bible.
>Apparently the children of Israel were left to take their best guess at what
>this new term meant, and whatever they decided it was, they weren't to do
>And so on.  These lines of reasoning are likely exactly why the rabbis
>demanded NO BIBLE READING ON YOUR OWN dammit.  If one reads the bible
>oneself and knows how to reason, there is no end to these kinds of

Your analysis is a good example of the problem. You don't speak 
Hebrew, let alone Biblical Hebrew. You're relying on someone else's 
translation, centuries or millennia later.

Consider how essential a preposition is to interpreting a verb -- 
knock up, knock down, knock on. (And how different what's meant when 
a Brit says he knocked up your sister.) Or how the meaning might 
change if the article is definite or indefinite, the noun is singular 
or plural, or there's a choice of what a pronoun is referring to.

Or, as Bill Clinton noted, what the meaning of "is" is.

This all folds back to the Watson discussion. ISTM we talked once 
about disambiguated postings, by tagging each word with the index of 
the intended meaning from a reference dictionary: "John-3 likes-2 
peanuts-4." (Some semantic nets use a similar approach.)

-- David.

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