On Rabbits and Rumination: A Response to Christian Interpretations of Leviticus 11:5-6

On Rabbits and Rumination: A Response to Christian Interpretations of Leviticus 11:5-6

Originally Posted on the “Quran and Bible Blog

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم

“The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you.”

– Leviticus 11:5-6

            Over at Paul Williams’ blog BloggingTheology, I asked the Christian commenters to provide an explanation for the seemingly erroneous statement made in Leviticus 11 about rabbits “chewing the cud”.[1]  I have discussed this issue in previous articles, and not surprisingly, I received the usual answers.  Here, I will respond to the comments made by two Christians: the infamous Sam Shamoun of “Answering Islam” and BloggingTheology contributor Denis Giron. 

Background

            Before we delve into the Christian answers, let us summarize the controversy regarding Leviticus 11:5-6, and why non-Christians see it as a scientific error.  As quoted above, verses 5-6 state that the Israelites were forbidden to eat hyraxes and rabbits.  Everyone knows what rabbits look like, but some people may have never even heard of a hyrax.  Here is what it looks like:[2]

hyrax

The problem is that the verses claim that both hyraxes and rabbits “chew the cud”.  In other words, they regurgitate partially digested food to chew it again and then swallow it.  This is done in order to gain the most nutrients from the food.  This complex process is called “rumination”.[3]  Animals such as cows, sheep and goats are categorized as “ruminants”.[4]  But animals like hyraxes and rabbits are not ruminants because they do not regurgitate their food in order to chew it again.  Rather, they are categorized as “non-ruminant herbivores”.[5]   Thus, skeptics of the Bible claim that Leviticus 11:5-6 is a scientific error and clear evidence to disprove the Bible’s alleged “inerrancy”.  Now let us examine the proposed solutions to this problem, as presented by Sam Shamoun and Denis Giron.

Christian Proposals

  • Sam Shamoun

            When I asked Shamoun to provide his view on this issue, he responded by pasting a section from one of his articles.  His proposal was to examine the Hebrew words.  Thus, he stated:

“[t]he term for cud is gerah, a word that is never used elsewhere in Scripture besides here and in Deuteronomy. Gerah can mean, “grain, berry,” even “a 20th of a shekel”. Hence, gerah can imply something of little value. Rabbits go through a process called refection wherein they take their dung and chew on it in order to get at the remaining partially digested food. In this way, rabbits are able to get the most nutrients possible from the food they digest.”

While it is true that the word “gerah” does mean “grain” or “berry” etc., in the context of Leviticus 11 the Hebrew lexicons define it as:

“…the food which ruminating animals bring up to chew…”[6]

Here is a screenshot from “Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon”:

gesenius lexicon - gerah

As for the second definition, while it could be argued that the partially digested food is of “value” to the ruminant, this is not the meaning within the context of Leviticus 11.  Rather, as with Deuteronomy 14, it is specifically referring to the process of rumination.  Also, it can be argued that the food that ruminants chew is also of “value”, and that is the context for the word “gerah”.  But there is no indication that any type of “dung” or “feces” which could be of “value” to an animal is included.  Also note that there are related Arabic words in both cases (for cud and grain/berry), and they are different words.  The “Hans-Weir Dictionary” defines the Arabic word “jirra” as “cud (of a ruminant)”.  Here is a screenshot:

hans-weir cud

In contrast, the Arabic word for “grain” or “berry” is “habba”:

hans-weir grain

            But the bigger and more embarrassing blunder that Shamoun makes, and which is a testament to his shabby research, is the following little nugget (or pellet, if you want):

“[r]abbits go through a process called refection wherein they take their dung and chew on it in order to get at the remaining partially digested food.”

Perhaps Shamoun should pick up a science book once in a while, because this is an inaccurate claim.  While rabbits do perform the process called “refection”, also known as “caecotrophy”, in which they swallow soft feces, they do not “chew” it.  Rather, the pellet of feces is swallowed whole.  As stated in the book “Nutrition of the Rabbit”:

“[h]ard pellets are voided, but soft pellets are recovered by the rabbit directly upon being expelled from the anus. To do this the rabbit twists itself around, sucks in the soft faeces as they emerge from the anus and then swallows without chewing them.”[7]

The reason for this is that the pellets need to be covered by a protective layer of mucus, which would be impossible if the pellets were chewed before being swallowed.[8]  I asked Shamoun for his view on this issue because it was expected that he would respond by pasting one of his long rants, and he did not disappoint.  Unfortunately for him, I had already read this article and had commented on it recently on my blog.[9]  No hard feelings Sam!  It was just business!

            So this is a testament to Shamoun’s lack of scholarly attention to detail.  It appears that he simply copied another Christian article on the subject and assumed it was true.  In the article, he linked to Tektonics.org, which committed the same blunder:

“…refection is a process whereby these animals pass pellets of partially digested food, which they chew on (along with the waste material) in order to give their stomachs another go at getting the nutrients out.”[10]

So it appears that these Christian apologists just blindly copy each other, instead of actually researching these topics. 

            Moving on, Shamoun also stated that:

“…the Hebrew word for “dung” is used in Scripture to imply something defiled, unclean or useless and would not be suitable in describing what rabbits eat.”

If that is the case, then the Bible commits a different error, in verse 7, where it claims that pigs do not “chew the cud”:

“[a]nd the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.”

The problem here is that pigs actually do eat dung occasionally, and since Shamoun has argued that the process of “refection” is included in the Bible’s category of “chewing the cud”, then pigs should also have been described as cud chewers.  Note that the process of “coprophagy”, eating feces, is not technically the same as “caecotrophy”, but is nevertheless similar.  Moreover, coprophagy does have nutritional “value” to pigs, specifically with regards to vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin),[11] as well as vitamin K.[12]

            Worse still, and probably most importantly, Leviticus 11:29 states that rats and mice are forbidden to eat, but it does not group them with hyraxes and rabbits, even though all of these animals practice caecotrophy!  According to Gordon Dryden:

“[s]everal small hindgut fermenting herbivores (e.g. rabbits and hares, rats and mice, voles and the ring-tailed possum) harvest the nutrients produced by hindgut microbial metabolism through ‘caecotrophy’ or ‘coprophagy’…”[13]

And yet, the Bible does not specify that rats and mice also “chew the cud”.  If Shamoun and other Christian apologists want to be consistent, they need to explain why the Bible overlooked the fact that rats and mice “chew the cud” and only mentioned it with regards to hyraxes and rabbits.

            To continue, Shamoun next discussed the Hebrew word “alah” which is most commonly translated as “chew”.  He argues that:

“…the term used for “chew” is alah and literally means to “bring up.”

And after providing examples from the Bible, he concludes that:

“…the term does not necessarily imply regurgitation, but can refer generally to any type of movement such as lifting or bringing up an object. Hence, Leviticus 11:6 is completely acceptable and poses no serious problem with what we know of rabbits.”

But as we have already seen, Shamoun does not know much about rabbits.  Nevertheless, he does not object to the fact that chewing is implied in the text, which is why he made the embarrassing blunder about rabbits “chewing” their dung (when in reality, they swallow the fecal pellets whole).  Thus, the Bible is still wrong and the error remains.  Indeed, virtually all English translations of the Bible, with the exception of “Young’s Literal Translation”, translate the relevant phrase as “chew the cud”.   

            Finally, to finish off his apologetic train-wreck, and apparently trying to cover his bases, Shamoun claimed the following:

“[t]here are some that actually do not believe Leviticus is actually speaking about rabbits. They rather feel that the verse is speaking of an animal that is no longer in existence…”

This argument is simply an act of desperation in order to avoid any possible hang-ups with the proposed solutions discussed above.  If the Christians want to claim that some unknown animal was mentioned in Leviticus 11, the question is which animal?  We know of extinct animals that lived millions of years ago, so it should not be too hard to identify an animal that lived in the time of Moses (peace be upon him).  It should be noted that the Hebrew word אַרְנֶבֶת  (‘arnebeth) is similar to the Arabic أرنب (‘arnab).[14]  Here is a screenshot of “Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon”:

gesenius lexicon - rabbit

According to the “Hans-Wehr Arabic Dictionary”, “’arnab” is defined as a “hare”, “rabbit” or “guinea pig”.  Here is a screenshot:

hans-weir rabbit

On a side note, guinea pigs also perform caecotrophy.

            So there we have it.  We have analyzed Shamoun’s attempted rescue operation of the Bible, and he failed miserably.  Now let us analyze Denis Giron’s proposed solution.

  • Denis Giron

            In response to my question, Giron offered the following answers:

“[t]he gist is that, English translations aside, the Hebrew phrase ma³aleh gerah (which I proposed might be rendered “take up the morsel”) could be expansive enough to encompass rumination, pseudo-rumination and caecotrophy (with Torah usage not necessarily intending all forms of coprophagy).”[15]

“[t]here is nothing limiting the verb to chewing or regurgitation (e.g. I could carry something up a ladder and use the verb to refer to that process). The verb most literally means to raise, lift, bring up, or cause to elevate (though in modern Israeli Hebrew it has also come to be associated with immigration to Palestine, as per the related word ³aliyah).”[16]

Let us deal with the first claim.  It is obvious that Giron is a much wiser person than Shamoun.  We can note his claim that the Hebrew phrase is somehow “expansive enough to encompass rumination, pseudo-rumination and caecotrophy” but also somehow “not necessarily intending all forms of coprophagy”.  Clearly, Giron has considered this issue from many angles and he kindly referred me to a Facebook conversation he had more than 7 years ago.  In that conversation, he had attempted to refute the argument that while pigs engage in coprophagy (similar to rabbits), the Bible does not classify them as cud chewers.  In this vain, Giron stated on Facebook:

“…because the text states that ruminants as well as certain non-ruminants, like rabbits, engage in this process, but pigs do not, I would think that the relevant phrase must be interpreted in that light. In other words, the process can include caecotrophy, which is a specific form of coprophagy, but does not include all forms of coprophagy. This is why, in my previous post, I said that I would interpret the phrase as including both rumination and /pseudo-rumination/. Whatever activitis [sic] pigs engage in, I do not believe they qualify as taking part in “pseudo-rumination” (in the lexicalized sense, as in overlapping with, or being identical to, caecotrophy).”[17]

Essentially, he argues that since the Bible does not classify pigs as cud chewers, it must not include coprophagy (at least the specific type that pigs engage in) in its list of cud chewing.  But this is based on the assumption that the author had this in mind, which has not been proven.  This is simply Giron’s own personal interpretation, and one that he has made in light of the scientific facts.[18]  I would argue that Giron is simply picking and choosing.  

            The other problem with this line of reasoning is that, as mentioned above, rats and mice also engage in caecotrophy, just like rabbits, yet the Bible does not classify them as cud chewers either!  I have studied the Facebook page and did not find any instance where the phenomenon in rats and mice was ever discussed.  If I am mistaken, I humbly ask that Giron to kindly correct me. 

            Furthermore, as an astute observer pointed out to Denis in the Facebook page, the Bible says that hyraxes also “chew the cud”.  The fact is that hyraxes do not ruminate NOR do they engage in caecotrophy![19]  Giron graciously accepted that this was problematic for his initial interpretation, but he then tried to “wiggle” around the problem by proposing that older translations of the Hebrew word now translated as “hyrax” was actually “rabbit”.  For obvious reasons, even if this is true, it is a weak argument at best.  

            As for Giron’s claim that the Hebrew phrase is not limited to chewing or regurgitation, we have already seen above that chewing is definitely implied in the text, since the context is rumination.  And since rabbits do not chew the fecal pellets, the problem still remains.    

Conclusion

            In this analysis, we have seen that the Christian attempts to explain the scientific error in Leviticus 11:5-6 cannot stand up to scrutiny.  It is my hope, naively or not, that Shamoun and Giron reconsider their initial assessments and admit that they may be mistaken.  

            And Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows best!     


[1] https://bloggingtheology2.com/2018/12/04/paul-and-the-depths-of-jewish-hermeneutics/#comment-255

[2] https://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/hyrax

[3] Michael Allaby, A Dictionary of Zoology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 470.

[4] https://www.britannica.com/animal/ruminant

[5] Peter R. Cheeke and Ellen Sue Dierenfeld, Comparative Animal Nutrition and Metabolism, 1st Edition (Oxfordshire: CABI, 2010), p. 38.

In actual face, hyraxes are not ruminants or caecotrophs.  See note #19.

[6] https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1625&t=KJV

[7] T. Gidenne, F. Lebas and L. Fortun-Lamothe, “Feeding Behaviour of Rabbits”, in Nutrition of the Rabbit, 2nd Edition, Edited by Carlos Blas and Julia Wiseman (Oxfordshire: CABI, 2010),  p. 233.

[8] Joerg Mayer and Thomas M. Donnelly, Clinical Veterinary Advisor: Birds and Exotic Pets (St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2013), p. 389.

[9] https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/on-rabbits-and-rumination-answering-islams-incompetence/

[10] http://www.tektonics.org/af/cudchewers.php

[11] https://www.dsm.com/markets/anh/en_US/Compendium/swine/vitamin_B12.html

According to the above source:

“[c]oprophagous animals on deep litter receive excellent sources of vitamin B12 from microbial fermentation. The pig’s inclination toward coprophagy will supply part of the vitamin B12 requirement.”

[12] https://www.dsm.com/markets/anh/en_US/Compendium/swine/vitamin_K.html

It states:

“[a]nimals that practice some degree of coprophagy, such as the pig, can utilize much of the vitamin K that is eliminated in the feces.”

Surprisingly, when pigs are prevented from coprophagy, they may actually become deficient in vitamin K:

“[a]nimal feces contain substantial amounts of vitamin K even when none is present in feed. Despite the intestinal synthesis, animals can be rendered deficient when fed vitamin K-free diets and coprophagy is prevented (e.g., germ-free animals) or if a vitamin K antagonist is given.”

[13] Gordon McL. Dryden, Animal Nutrition Science (Oxfordshire: CABI, 2008), p. 88.

[14] https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H768&t=NIV

[15] https://bloggingtheology2.com/2018/12/04/paul-and-the-depths-of-jewish-hermeneutics/#comment-256

[16] https://bloggingtheology2.com/2018/12/04/paul-and-the-depths-of-jewish-hermeneutics/#comment-263

[17] https://www.facebook.com/denis.giron.77/posts/10150229369608566

[18] He even honestly admits this in one of his Facebook posts:

“I will unabashedly confess that my methodology is to (a) presuppose that the Scripture is correct, (b) accept that interpretations and translations are very fallible, and then (c) look in nature for a precedent to fit the Scripture – i.e. I attempt to look to natural revelation for exegetical insight. So, indeed, I have been deliberately siding with that which seems to best fit the text.”

[19] The observer “Malik Preena” stated:

“[f]inally in this discussion most decisive evidence that Leviticus is referring to “rumination” and not “refection” comes from the Hyrax mentioned in Leviticus 11:6 before the verse mentioning the Rabbit as chewing the cud. Hyrax although looks a bit similar to Rabbit belongs to a different order under zoological classification- Hyracoidea. Hyrax does not chew the cud nor does it refect. The evidence comes from a research paper by the University of Zurich where they listed Hyrax under the category of Non-coprophageous Hind gut fermentors, which is revealing indeed.”

He linked to the following scholarly article: https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/20645/5/Schwarm_Faecal_N_re-revised.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0JcUKZPYD1p6vI6e45XzRQetacl9Am2vRm4RIRy21e6uc2ayHA6m_hh9E

This article clearly labels the hyrax as a “non-coprophageous hindgut fermenter” (see p. 18) and includes it in a different category from “ruminant foregut fermenter” and “coprophageous hindgut fermenter”.  So this only compounds the problem.  Leviticus 11:5 claims that the hyrax “chews the cud”.  Neither rumination nor caecotrophy/coprophagy can fall into the category of “non-coprophageous hindgut fermenter”. 

 



Categories: Islam

41 replies

  1. Ken, it seems I am going to have at the expense of this wannabe apologist. Like I said before, this is the problem with debating Muslims of this kind in comments section and/or blogs. They can simply post 50,000 word replies which are nothing more than pure fluff and smoke and mirrors, just like we find in this case.

    However, I am going to waste my time with his nonsense in order to show you why this gentleman shouldn’t be debating religion at all, and should look into selling cares for a living. Let me address the following canard:

    BEGIN
    While it is true that the word “gerah” does mean “grain” or “berry” etc., in the context of Leviticus 11 the Hebrew lexicons define it as:

    “…the food which ruminating animals bring up to chew…”[6]
    END

    Not only does this reply miss my entire point, but it is also a classic case of question begging. In the first place, let us see what us see the list of definitions given by his own source as found in his own screen shot:

    “… hence used of the SMALLEST Hebrew WEIGHT AND COIN, A GERAH, THE TWENTIETH PART OF A SHEKEL…”

    Therefore the very lexicon he cites confirms my very argument. His only objection is that the lexicon doesn’t give this as the definition in Leviticus 11:6, which is nothing more than circular reasoning, since lexicons are not inspired or infallible. Rather, they are the works of individuals who may or may not be right. So this gent is going to have to do A LOT BETTER than simply beg the question that gerah cannot mean what I claimed it means simply because a specific source assumes that it must carry a different sense, an assumption that is based on the same erroneous notion that this wannabe apologist operates under, namely, that the author actually thinks that rabbits chew the cud. Lord willing I will have more responses to this fluff shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am going to have at… = I am going to have fun at…

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Therefore the very lexicon he cites confirms my very argument. His only objection is that the lexicon doesn’t give this as the definition in Leviticus 11:6, which is nothing more than circular reasoning, since lexicons are not inspired or infallible.”

      HAHAHA, that’s Shamounian logic for you! The lexicon clearly says that the word refers to rumination in the CONTEXT of Leviticus 11. When discussing the second meaning, it refers to other verses. Just like a dictionary gives all possible meanings of a word, it also provides the appropriate context. It’s like the word “crane”. A crane can be an animal in one context, but a machine in another context. If I said: “they used a crane during construction”, no one would think I was saying that they used a bird for construction. Sammy is so desperate, he has to appeal to a semantic fallacy.

      Like

    • HAHAHAHA right back at ya! It’s sad that Williams allows you to even post here since it brings the value of his site way down.

      With that said, since you introduced a red herring which I am and will continue to obliterate it, I am going to follow suit and raise up an issue for you to address honestly, which I know is impossible for you to do.

      According to your profit, Jesus was sent to confirm the Torah in his possession:

      And He will teach him the Book and the wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel… “attesting to WHAT IS BETWEEN MY HANDS (Wamusaddiqan lima bayna yadayya) OF THE TORAH, and to make lawful to you a part of that which is forbidden to you.” S. 3:48, 50

      And in their footsteps (of Moses and the Jews) We sent Jesus the son of Mary, attesting to the Torah WHICH WAS BETWEEN HIS HANDS (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi); and We gave him the Gospel – therein is guidance and light and attesting to the Torah WHICH WAS BETWEEN HIS HANDS (wamusaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi): a guidance and an admonition to the righteous. S. 5:46

      Then will God say, “O Jesus son of Mary! Recount my favor to you and to your mother when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit, so that you spoke to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught you the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel…” S. 5:110

      And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: ‘Oh Children of Israel! I am the apostle of God to you, CONFIRMING THAT WHICH IS BETWEEN MY HANDS from the Torah (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati)…” S. 61:6

      The Sunni Muslim commentator Ibn Kathir comments on Sura 3:50:

      . The Tawrah is the Book THAT ALLAH SENT DOWN TO MUSA, son of Imran, while the Injil is what Allah sent down to Isa, son of Maryam, peace be upon them, AND ISA MEMORIZED BOTH BOOKS…

      affirming the Tawrah AND UPHOLDING IT,” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 2, parts 3,4 & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147 [March 2000], pp. 163, 165; capital emphasis ours)

      Jesus, according to Ibn Kathir, memorized and upheld the Torah that God taught him even though in reality this was a corrupted Torah (according to Zawadi anyway)! And:

      meaning, he believed in it AND RULED BY IT…

      meaning, HE ADHERED TO THE TAWRAH, except for the few instances that clarified the truth where the Children of Israel differed. Allah states in another Ayah that ‘Isa said to the Children of Israel,…

      So the scholars say that the Injil abrogated some of the rulings of the Tawrah… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 3, Parts 6, 7 & 8, Surat An-Nisa, Verse 148 to the end of Surat Al-An’am, Abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; January 2000, first edition], pp. 193-194; capital emphasis ours)

      Finally:

      ‘Isa said, “The Tawrah conveyed the glad tidings of my coming, and my coming CONFIRMS THE TRUTH OF THE TAWRAH…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 9, Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun [September 2000, first edition], p. 617; capital emphasis ours)

      Make sure you don’t do your Islamic tap dance and bark wildly, by evading what these texts

      All of the passages and citations affirm that Jesus testified and confirmed THE TORAH which the Jews possessed in his day, which Ibn Kathir says was the same that Moses received. Not a word is said about the Torah being corrupted. With that in mind, I have more for you in the follow up post.

      Like

      • And here is what Islamic sources say regarding your profit’s attitude in respect to the Torah in his possession:

        36 Tribulations

        (26) Chapter: The disappearance of the Quran and Knowledge

        It was narrated that Ziyad bin Labid said:

        “The Prophet mentioned something and said: ‘That will be at the time when knowledge (of Qur’an) disappears.’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, how will knowledge disappear when we read the Qur’an and teach it to our children, until the Day of Resurrection?’ He said: ‘May your mother be bereft of you, Ziyad! I thought that you were the wisest man in Al- Madinah. Is it not the case that these Jews and Christians READ THE TAWRAH AND THE INJIL, but they do not act upon anything of what is in them?’”

        Grade: Da’if (Darussalam)

        Reference: Sunan Ibn Majah 4048

        In-book reference: Book 36, Hadith 123

        English translation: Vol. 5, Book 36, Hadith 4048 (sunnah.com; capital emphasis ours)

        41 Chapters on Knowledge

        (5) Chapter: What Has Been Related About Knowledge Leaving

        Narrated Jubair bin Nufair:

        from Abu Ad-Darda who said: “We were with the Prophet when he raised his sight to the sky, then he said: ‘This is the time when knowledge is to be taken from the people, until what remains of it shall not amount to anything.” So Ziyad bin Labid Al-Ansari said: ‘How will it be taken from us while we recite the Qur’an. By Allah we recite it, and our women and children recite it?’ He said: ‘May you be bereaved of your mother O Ziyad! I used to consider you among the Fuqaha of the people of Al-Madinah. The Tawrah and Injil ARE WITH THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS, but what do they avail of them?‘” Jubair said: “So I met ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit and said to him: ‘Have you not heard what your brother Abu Ad-Darda said?’ Then I informed him of what Abu Ad-Darda said. He said: ‘Abu Ad-Darda spoke the truth. If you wish, we shall narrated to you about the first knowledge to be removed from the people: It is Khushu’, soon you will enter the congregational Masjid, but not see any man in it with Khushu’.’”

        Grade: SAHIH (Darussalam)

        Reference: Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2653

        In Book Reference: Book 41, Hadith 9

        English translation: Vol. 5, Book 39, Hadith 2653 (sunnah.com; capital emphasis ours)

        Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar:A group of Jews came and invited the Apostle of Allah to Quff. So he visited them in their school.

        They said: AbulQasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgment upon them. They placed a cushion for the Apostle of Allah who sat on it and said: Bring the Torah. It was then brought. He then withdrew the cushion from beneath him AND PLACED THE TORAH ON IT saying: I BELIEVED IN THEE and in Him WHO REVEALED THEE.

        He then said: Bring me one who is learned among you. Then a young man was brought. The transmitter then mentioned the rest of the tradition of stoning similar to the one transmitted by Malik from Nafi’ (No. 4431).”

        Grade: Hasan (Al-Albani) (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38. Kitab al Hudud (“The Book of Prescribed Punishments”), Number 4434; capital emphasis ours)

        Not does your profit claim that the Jews and Christians of his day possessed the uncorrupt Torah and Gospel, not a corrupted version of these revelations, he even shows love and respect to the very copy of the Torah in the possession of the Jews, which he places on a cushion and bears witness to his absolute faith in it!

        In fact, Ibn Tayimiyya’s premiere student stated that Muslim scholars used this very hadith and Quran 6:115 to prove that the Torah is incorruptibility:

        a group of Muslim scholars even used Q. 6:115 to prove that books such as the Torah could never be corrupted since they are the revealed words of Allah:

        On the other side, another party of hadith and fiqh scholars said: these changes took place during its interpretation and not during the process of its revelation. This is the view OF ABI ABDULLAH MUHAMMAD BIN ISHMAEL AL-BUKHARI who said in his hadith collection:

        “NO ONE CAN CORRUPT THE TEXT BY REMOVING ANY OF ALLAH’S WORDS FROM HIS BOOKS, but they corrupted it by misinterpreting it.”

        Al-Razi ALSO AGREES WITH THIS OPINION. In his commentary he said:

        There is a difference of opinions regarding this matter among some of the respectable scholars. Some of these scholars said: the manuscript copies of the Torah were distributed everywhere and no one knows the exact number of these copies except Allah. It is impossible to have a conspiracy to change or alter the word of God in all of these copies without missing any copy. Such a conspiracy will not be logical or possible. And when Allah told his messenger (Muhammad) to ask the Jews to bring their Torah and read it concerning the stoning command they were not able to change this command from their copies, that is why they covered up the stoning verse while they were reading it to the prophet. It was then when Abdullah Ibn Salam requested that they remove their hand so that the verse became clear. If they have changed or altered the Torah then this verse would have been one of the important verses to be altered by the Jews.

        Also, whenever the prophet would ask them (the Jews) concerning the prophecies about him in the Torah they were not able to remove them either, and they would respond by stating that they are not about him and they are still waiting for the prophet in their Torah.

        Abu Dawood narrated in his collection that Ibn Umar said:

        A group of Jewish people invited the messenger of Allah to a house. When he came, they asked him: O Abu Qassim, one of our men committed adultery with a woman, what is your judgment against him? So they placed a pillow and asked the messenger of Allah to set on it. Then the messenger of Allah proceeded to say: BRING ME THE TORAH. When they brought it, he removed the pillow from underneath him AND PLACED THE TORAH ON IT and said: I BELIEVE IN YOU AND IN THE ONE WHO REVEALED YOU, then said: bring me one of you who have the most knowledge. So they brought him a young man who told him the story of the stoning.

        The scholars said: if the Torah was corrupted HE WOULD NOT HAVE PLACED IT ON THE PILLOW AND HE WOULD NOT HAVE SAID: I believe in you and in the one who revealed you.

        This group of scholars also said: Allah said:

        “And the word of your Lord has been accomplished truly and justly; there is none who can change His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.” (Q. 6:115)

        And the Torah is Allah’s word. (Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Ighathat Al Lahfan, Volume 2, p. 351; capital emphasis ours)

        Notice that Muhammad affirmed the very copt of the Torah which the Jews handed him as the uncorrupt revelation of his god, testifying that he believed in its absolute authority without a single word about it being corrupted.

        And the reasoning which these Muslims employed is sound since both their premises and the conclusion they drew from them are logically valid:

        1. None can change or corrupt the words of Allah.
        2. Books such as the Torah and the Gospel are the words of Allah.
        3. Therefore, none can change or corrupt the text of any of Allah’s Books such as the Torah and the Gospel.

        With the foregoing in view, here’s my first question to show why you have no business in apologetics and should actually be selling cars for a living. Did the Torah that Jesus and Muhammad have access to contain the verse of Leviticus 11:6?

        I hope your stupid enough to quote verses from the Quran such as Q. 2:79 to try to tap dance around this since I am going to have a field day exposing you, your profit and his deity.

        Like I said, I am going to have lots of fun at the expense of you, your profit and his lord.

        So go ahead and make my day! 😉

        Like

      • Awww, what’s the matter Sammy? Are you already so desperate that you are going on your irrelevant rants about what the Quran and Sunnah teach? What does this have to do with rabbits? Christian apologists do this often. When they get embarrassed about their Bible, they deflect.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You still barking? Didn’t I say bring a bite this time around? What’s the matter lil boy? Afraid to answer my question since you know what i am going to you and your book if you do?

        I’ll wait for your “reply,” lil boy. Like I said, not only will we have a great laugh at your expense and your profit’s, but you also be finding a job as a car salesman in Mecca somewhere. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love watching you squirm little Samantha. It must be painful to see your Bible obliterated. 😂

        Like

      • Aww, you must be really desperate Sammy. How much foam do you have on your mouth? I’m sorry if you’re embarrassed to find out your Bible’s laughable ignorance of animal biology, but that’s no excuse to resort to one of your equally laughable rants. Maybe I will write a formal response to your rant, but for now, I want to keep sticking it to you about rabbits and watch you squirm. 😆

        Like

      • Speaking of foaming, let’s see what would happen to your profit:

        (then he Istawa (rose).) this refers to the angel Jibril, according to Al-Hasan, Mujahid, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas…

        (While he was in the highest part of the horizon.) meaning, Jibril rose to the highest part of the horizon, according to `Ikrimah and several others; `Ikrimah said, “The highest horizon where the morning comes from.” Mujahid said, “It is (the place of) sunrise.” Qatadah said, “That from which the day comes.” Ibn Zayd and several others said similarly. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “The Messenger of Allah saw Jibril in his original shape having six hundred wings, each wing filling the side of the horizon, with a colorful array, and pearls and rubies falling from each wing as much as only Allah knows.” Only Imam Ahmad collected this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Abbas said, “The Prophet asked Jibril to appear himself to him in his original shape and Jibril said to him, `Invoke your Lord.’ The Prophet invoked his Lord the Exalted and Most Honored, and a great huge figure appeared to him from the east and kept rising and spreading. When the Prophet saw Jibril in his original shape, HE WAS KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS. Jibril came down and revived the Prophet AND WIPED THE SALIVA OFF OF HIS CHEEKS.” Only Ahmad collected this Hadith. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 53:6-7; capital emphasis ours)

        Another thing to learn

        Ibn Sa’d related that A’ishah said: “Whenever the Prophet received Inspiration (al-wahy), HIS HEAD WOULD TWITCH, HE WOULD FOAM AT THE SIDES OF HIS MOUTH, he would feel cold in his incisors, and he would break into a sweat until it flowed down like pearls.” (Imam Jalal-al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Suyuti, The Perfect Guide to the Sciences of the Qur’an: Al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum Al-Qur’an (Great Books of Islamic Civilization), translated by Professor Hamid Algar, Dr. Michael Schub and Mr. Ayman Abdel Haleem, reviewed by Professor Osman S. A. Isma’il al-Bili [Garnet Publishing Limited, UK 2011], Volume 1, p. 104; capital emphasis ours)

        Muhammad’s salivating and foaming at the sides of his mouth, and falling to the ground are quite interesting reactions, since these are the same symptoms we find in demon possessed lunatics:

        “When He came to His other disciples, He saw a great crowd around them, and the scribes disputing with them. Immediately when all the people saw Him, they were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. He asked the scribes, ‘What are you debating with them?’ One in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. Wherever it takes hold on him, it dashes him to the ground. AND HE FOAMS AT THE MOUTH and gnashes with his teeth and becomes rigid. And I told Your disciples so that they would cast it out, but they could not.’ He answered, ‘O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me. So they brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit DASHED HIM, AND HE FELL ON THE GROUND AND WALLOWED, FOAMING AT THE MOUTH. He asked his father, ‘How long has it been since it came to him?’ He said, ‘From childhood. Often it has thrown him into the fire and into the water to kill him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, ‘Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!’ When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the foul spirit, saying to it, ‘You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and enter him no more.’ The spirit cried out and convulsed him greatly. But it came out of him, and he was as dead, so that many said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.” Mark 9:14-27

        The possessed boy’s symptoms are eerily similar to what Muhammad experienced when receiving messages from his spirit.

        Like I said, stop bringing your bark. It isn’t impressing anyone. I wait for your bite, Fatima.

        Like

      • More defkextions? Little Samantha, your Bible is being skewered. Won’t you try to save it? I know you failed already but your Canaanite god needs you!

        Like

      • Actually I am skewing your profit and his black stone god, which is why you can’t answer the question.

        Anyway I am tired of your barking and Islamic tap dance. Let me know when you actually answer my questions concerning the Torah. In the meantime don’t foam too much since you know what your profit said should be done to dogs, especially black ones. 😉

        Like

      • So running away Samantha? Ok, I understand. I mean I can’t blame you after you got roasted like a rabbit. 😉

        Like

  2. Before I proceed to decimate your fluff, I want you to cite the entire section from the following source you selectively cited so we can see how honest and accurate you are:

    T. Gidenne, F. Lebas and L. Fortun-Lamothe, “Feeding Behaviour of Rabbits”, in Nutrition of the Rabbit, 2nd Edition, Edited by Carlos Blas and Julia Wiseman (Oxfordshire: CABI, 2010), p. 233.

    Quote what they say before and after and screen shot it for us since I don’t want to waste time hunting down the source in order to expose you. So make my job easier and cite the entire page for all of us to see what they actually said in context.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now let me deal with this other canard:

    BEGIN
    Perhaps Shamoun should pick up a science book once in a while, because this is an inaccurate claim. While rabbits do perform the process called “refection”, also known as “caecotrophy”, in which they swallow soft feces, they do not “chew” it. Rather, the pellet of feces is swallowed whole. As stated in the book “Nutrition of the Rabbit”:

    “[h]ard pellets are voided, but soft pellets are recovered by the rabbit directly upon being expelled from the anus. To do this the rabbit twists itself around, sucks in the soft faeces as they emerge from the anus and then swallows without chewing them.”[7]

    The reason for this is that the pellets need to be covered by a protective layer of mucus, which would be impossible if the pellets were chewed before being swallowed.[8] I asked Shamoun for his view on this issue because it was expected that he would respond by pasting one of his long rants, and he did not disappoint. Unfortunately for him, I had already read this article and had commented on it recently on my blog.[9] No hard feelings Sam! It was just business!
    END

    I will hold off any comments on whether rabbits do chew or simply swallow until I do some further digging into this topic. With that said, let’s assume I was wrong about rabbits chewing as opposed to merely swallowing. Does this mean the Bible is wrong or the interpretation of ala that I gave was in error? Absolutely not. Since he likes to cite authorities, I’ll cite one also:

    Addendum
    After my article (above) was published in Creation magazine, I came across an article on the Internet with more detail than was possible in a family magazine. This article vindicates what I claimed, and backs it up with detailed lexical analysis. The relevant section is below:

    13. Rabbits do not chew their cud
    LEV 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
    [An obscure bibliosceptic called Meritt claims:]

    Gerāh [גֵרָה֙], the term which appears in the MT means (chewed) cud, and also perhaps grain, or berry (also a 20th of a sheckel, but I think that we can agree that that is irrelevant here). It does not mean dung, and there is a perfectly adequate Hebrew word for that, which could have been used. Furthermore, the phrase translated ‘chew the cud’ in the KJV is more exactly ‘bring up the cud’. Rabbits do not bring up anything; they let it go all the way through, then eat it again. The description given in Leviticus is inaccurate, and that’s that. Rabbits do eat their own dung; they do not bring anything up and chew on it.
    [Response by J.P. Holding:]

    ‘MT’ is the Masoretic text, which is a late Hebrew transmission of the OT.

    Meritt is apparently quite proud of himself here, having gone—for the one and only time—to the original Hebrew for answers. (Guess translation issues are important after all.) Too bad he didn’t dig a little further.

    Two issues are at hand: the definition of ‘cud’ and that of ‘chewing’. Let’s take a close look at the Hebrew version of both. Cuds first, chewies afterwards.

    First, gerah is indeed the word used here, and—this is important—it is used nowhere in the Old Testament besides these verses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. We have only this context to help us decide what it means in terms of the Mosaic law.

    Two issues are at hand: the definition of ‘cud’ and that of ‘chewing’.
    Second, the process rabbits go through is called refection, and it is not just ‘dung’ that the rabbits are eating, which is probably why the Hebrew word for ‘dung’ was not used here. Indeed, contrary to Meritt’s assertion, that the word gerah also means 1/20th of a shekel actually gives us a hint here! 1/20th of a shekel is of little worth, but it does have worth. Where the word for ‘dung’ is used in the Bible, it implies something defiled, unclean, or useless. But in lapine terms, ‘dung’ is not useless: It contains pellets of partially digested food, which rabbits chew on (along with the waste material—UGH!) in order to give their stomachs another go at getting the nutrients out. (It’s an efficient way of getting more vitamins and nutrients, we’re told, but I think I’ll stick with my Flintstones chewables, thank you very much.) The pellets have some minute value, much as 1/20th of a shekel has some value.

    Contrast this with what cows and some other animals do, rumination, which is what we moderns call ‘chewing the cud’. They regurgitate partially digested food in little clumps called cuds, and chew it a little more after while mixing it with saliva. (This also, presumably, helps them get the most out of their food, but I’m not trying it.)

    So, let’s see … partially digested food. Partially digested food. Seems to be a common element here. Could it be that the Hebrew word simply refers to any partially digested food? Could it be that the process is not the issue, just the object?

    Our other key word provides us with some hints. Meritt is partially correct when he says that the phrase translated ‘chew the cud’ in the KJV is more exactly ‘bring up the cud’. (The full phrase is ‘maketh the cud to come up’.) By leaving it at that, he apparently wishes for us to believe that ‘bring up’ means, in an exclusive sense, regurgitation. Whoooooa, horsey. Back up. Let’s check those hooves for Hebrew words! The word here is עָלָה ‘alah, and it is found in some grammatical form on literally (well, almost literally) every page of the OT! This is because it is a word that encompasses many concepts other than ‘bring up’. It also can mean ascend up, carry up, cast up, fetch up, get up, recover, restore, take up, and much more. It is a catch-all verb form describing the moving of something to another place. (‘maketh the gerah to ‘alah’)

    Now in the verses in question, ‘alah is used as a participle. Let’s look at the other verses where it is used this way (NIV only implies some of these phrases; where in parentheses, the phrase is in the original, sometimes in the KJV):

    Joshua 24:17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt. …
    Isaiah 8:7 … therefore the Lord is about to bring (up) the burnt offering …
    Nahum 3:3 Charging cavalry, flashing swords (lifted up), and glittering spears!
    Isaiah 8:7 … therefore the Lord is about to bring (up) against them the mighty floodwaters of the River …
    2 Chronicles 24:14 When they had finished, they brought (up) the rest of the money …
    Psalm 135:7 He makes clouds rise (up) from the ends of the earth …
    2 Samuel 6:15 … while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. (Similar quote, 1 Chronicles 15:28)
    OUCH! That last one would hurt if the word meant regurgitation. No wonder people were shouting …

    So what have we learned? The Hebrew word in question is NOT specific to the process of regurgitation; it is a phrase of general movement. And related to the specific issue at hand, the rabbit is an animal that does ‘maketh’ the previously digested material to ‘come up’ out of the body (though in a different way than a ruminant does—as Meritt says, with rabbits, it comes all the way through; but again, the word is not specific for regurgitation!) and thereafter does chew ‘predigested material’! The mistake is in our applying of the scientific terms of rumination to something that does not require it. (“Do rabbits chew their cud?
    The Bible beats the skeptics (again) …”, by Jonathan Sarfati)

    So far the wannabe apologist is 0 for 2. Lord willing there’ll be more responses to his fluff shortly.

    Like

    • “First, gerah is indeed the word used here, and—this is important—it is used nowhere in the Old Testament besides these verses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. We have only this context to help us decide what it means in terms of the Mosaic law.”

      LOL, yes and the context shows that it is referring to ruminating animals…which chew the cud after regurgitating it! Nice one there!

      Like

    • “But in lapine terms, ‘dung’ is not useless: It contains pellets of partially digested food, which rabbits chew on (along with the waste material—UGH!) in order to give their stomachs another go at getting the nutrients out. (It’s an efficient way of getting more vitamins and nutrients, we’re told, but I think I’ll stick with my Flintstones chewables, thank you very much.) The pellets have some minute value, much as 1/20th of a shekel has some value.”

      Oh boy, just repeating the same nonsense over and over again, are we Sammy? I already dealt with this. Pigs eat their own feces (it’s not like caecotrophy though) to get at the vitamins. What they eat is literally dung, but it is clearly of value. Therefore, by your logic, the word for dung should have been used. Moreover, by claiming that pigs don’t chew the cud, the Bible and its brainless apologists (i.e. you) dig themselves into an bigger hole.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “So, let’s see … partially digested food. Partially digested food. Seems to be a common element here. Could it be that the Hebrew word simply refers to any partially digested food? Could it be that the process is not the issue, just the object?”

      Hahahaha, the special pleading is quite obvious. You guys try so hard to manipulate the text to fit into the science. How pathetic!

      The partially digested food that ruminants eat is quite different from the fecal pellets that caecotrophs eat. One has not yet passed into the intestines. The other has. Sorry, but no “common element” here.

      Like

  4. I am now going to deal with the following part of this wannabe’s “refutation,” one that will now come to embarrass him:

    BEGIN
    Finally, to finish off his apologetic train-wreck, and apparently trying to cover his bases, Shamoun claimed the following:

    “[t]here are some that actually do not believe Leviticus is actually speaking about rabbits. They rather feel that the verse is speaking of an animal that is no longer in existence…”

    This argument is simply an act of desperation in order to avoid any possible hang-ups with the proposed solutions discussed above. If the Christians want to claim that some unknown animal was mentioned in Leviticus 11, the question is which animal? We know of extinct animals that lived millions of years ago, so it should not be too hard to identify an animal that lived in the time of Moses (peace be upon him). It should be noted that the Hebrew word אַרְנֶבֶת (‘arnebeth) is similar to the Arabic أرنب (‘arnab).[14] Here is a screenshot of “Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon”:
    END

    When we look at footnote 14 we see him linking to the blue letter bible. Well here is what that online source actually says:

    Part of Speech
    feminine noun

    Root Word (Etymology)
    Of uncertain derivation

    hare

    PROBABLY AN EXTINCT ANIMAL because no known hare chews its cud, EXACT MEANING IS UNKNOWN, and best left untranslated as “arnebeth”

    Now why wouldn’t this wannabe apologist quote this part from blue letter bible? We all know the answer.

    The fact that the word is only used twice and is of unknown derivation means we need to be extremely cautious in assuming that it does in fact refer to a hare.

    Man, I almost feel embarrassed for this wannabe apologist……NOT!

    Now what was that I about Shamoun getting upset? Like I said it will definitely not be Allah or his profit that will be laughing by the time I’m done with you.

    So thank you for this post, which will turn out to be your very undoing. Now make sure you get a good night’s rest since you will be needing lots of it when this is over with. 😉

    Like

    • “PROBABLY AN EXTINCT ANIMAL because no known hare chews its cud, EXACT MEANING IS UNKNOWN, and best left untranslated as “arnebeth””

      How embarrassing, Sammy! Notice that it says “PROBABLY…BECAUSE NO KNOWN HARE CHEWS ITS CUD”! Ding, ding, ding! These liars realize that they are stuck between a rock and a hard place, so they make up possible excuses. And apparently, you want everyone to be as gullible as you are. Sorry, it won’t happen!

      “Now why wouldn’t this wannabe apologist quote this part from blue letter bible? We all know the answer.”

      Um, because it is a ridiculous excuse with no evidence? We know that Christian apologists are prone to making things up to save their Bible from its embarrassing errors, so it’s not surprising.

      The fact remains that the lexicons identify the animal as a hare, and the Arabic and Hebrew words are linguistically similar and mean the same animal. Your desperation is showing Sammy.

      Like

    • “The fact that the word is only used twice and is of unknown derivation means we need to be extremely cautious in assuming that it does in fact refer to a hare.”

      How convenient! So then, which allegedly “extinct” animal are we talking about? It shouldn’t be too hard for your fanciful apologists to come up with something. Like I said, we know of animals that existed hundreds of millions of years ago, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you to pull something out of your rear end that supposedly lived 3000 years ago.

      Like

  5. Greetings Faiz, and thank you for the contribution to this interesting subject.

    I wanted to start with this line that appeared at the end of your entry:

    Faiz wrote:
    It is my hope, naively or not, that Shamoun and Giron reconsider their initial assessments and admit that they may be mistaken.

    Well, my answer is of course I could be mistaken. You could have asked me up front, and I would have told you as much. We are fallible men, attempting to match our limited understanding of the text with our limited understanding of the world, and thus I think there is always going to be room for a margin of error.

    That said, getting to the meatier parts of your entry’s section on me…

    Faiz wrote:
    Essentially, he argues that since the Bible does not classify pigs as cud chewers, it must not include coprophagy (at least the specific type that pigs engage in) in its list of cud chewing. But this is based on the assumption that the author had this in mind, which has not been proven.

    Permit, first, to make a general technical point: None of us can interview the Author and know with full certainty what the intention was, and so we are all going to be offering a certain level of interpretation, speculation, and exploration of possibilities. In short, I don’t think any of us can prove definitively what the Author’s intention was. However, I don’t think one needs to prove such, as a charge of scientific error in a text is ultimately a declaration about a contradiction between that text and (scientific) reality. Approaching this from a formal logical perspective, a charge of contradiction is ultimately a claim about logical space (about what is possible), as the formal logical definition of “contradiction” is that two (or more) propositions constradict if and only if it is impossible for both (or all) to be true simultaneously. To be able to present a scenario in which the propositions might both be true is sufficient, insofar that it shows it is far from obvious that a contradiction is present.

    Now, secondly, a point more directly relevant to the text: the phrase ma³aleh gerah is expansive enough to incorporate all sorts of things, yet it seems safe to presume there was some sort of limitation intended. So, for example, if a chimpanzee holds a blueberry in his hand while he climbs a ladder (or a tree, et cetera), we could, in theory, use the phrase ma³aleh gerah to describe what is happening at that moment. The phrase, in a vacuum, is that expansive. However, I would presume the text in Leviticus did not intend the phrase in such a way as to include that. So we are all trying to find the balance between how expansive the phrase is and in how limited a scope it might have been intended.

    As was already noted, both sides are attempting to check their understanding of the text against their understanding of reality (of the animal kingdom, et cetera), but we also may be tacitly (or even unwittingly) importing assumptions about what the Author could or could not know. Perhaps on my end, I am a bit less hostile, or a bit more charitable, towards the text, as I am open to the possibility that the Author understood the phenomena under discussion, but I don’t see why what I proposed should be considered impossible. [On the other hand, I fear that if we begin with the assumption that the Author could not possibily understand such phenomena, we risk moving in a circle.]

    Faiz wrote:
    The other problem with this line of reasoning is that, as mentioned above, rats and mice also engage in caecotrophy, just like rabbits, yet the Bible does not classify them as cud chewers either!

    But the text is not required to go through a full list of organisms which engage in caecotrophy. It would be my understanding that, in that particular portion, it is providing some examples. I certainly would not endorse a rule of thumb which posits that if a text does not describe an animal as bearing some predicate X, then that necessarily means the author was unaware (or did not believe) that said animal bears said predicate.

    Faiz wrote:
    [Denis Giron] tried to “wiggle” around the problem by proposing that older translations of the Hebrew word now translated as “hyrax” was actually “rabbit”.

    I’m certainly no expert on the subject, and I haven’t given it tremendous thought since the correspondence on FaceBook, from seven and a half years ago, which you linked to. Nonetheless, I remain under the impression that this connection of shaphan with hyrax might be open to question (or that at least an exclusive connection might be so). Recall that, in that 7+ year old FB correspondence, I appealed to a portion of the Talmud, Bavli Megilah 9B, which touched on the way the Septuagint translators carefully handled the texts under discussion. The relevant subject is also touched on in Russell Gmirkin, Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch, (New York: T&T Clark, 2006), p. 85, which I’ll reproduce below:

    Now, as I mentioned in the FB correspondence, the Talmudic account might garble the facts a bit (and, as Gmirkin alluded to, the Talmudic text might even be playing a bit a word game of its own), but the relevant part is that the translators of the Septuagint consciously avoided employing certain words for rabbit, going with “hairy leg/foot” instead, in certain cases. Sure enough, one does find the term δασυποδα (i.e. δασυπους in the accusative), however it is found in Leviticus 11:5, in place of shaphan. Ergo, it seems ancient authorities may have seen shaphan in specifically Leviticus 11 as referring to a rabbit.

    Also fascinating is the the ancient claim of etymological connection between shaphan and the Latin name for Spain, Hispania. As the story goes, ancient Phoenicians “mistook” rabbits in Spain for hyraxes, and thus named the place after the animal (I would wonder if it was a mistake, or, if, like the Septuagint translator, the understood shaphan as having a semantic range which also encompassed rabbits; on the other hand, however, it is also worth noting that modern etymologists have now come to cast doubts on that story, thinking the name might instead be connected to a Phoenician word for north, like Hebrew tsaphon).

    It is also interesting that later forms of Hebrew came to employ the phrase shaphan sela³ to refer to the hyrax specifically, as shaphan in a vacuum could encompass the rabbit (at least in those later forms of the language). There are modern linguists who will counter that association of Hebrew shaphan with the rabbit/hare arose as Jews moved into Europe (often discussions on this topic compare it with European Jewish commentators on the Talmud juggling and fumbling terms for deer ibex, gazelle), but I have to wonder in light of the above-mentioned ancient claim about even the Phoenicians applying the word to rabbits (as well as the above-mentioned Septuagint controversy).

    In short, I think the question remains open as to whether shaphan could encompass a different type of lagomorph from the arnebet (and I have seen some modern rabbis argue it might refer to the pika, for example). Also interesting is the fact that the Septuagint employs χοιρογρυλλιος for both shaphan and arnebet (but that of course opens a whole nother can of worms, as there is discussion on what χοιρογρυλλιος can refer to, with some very serious linguists even invoking the jerboa).

    Ultimately, I would say there remain a number of open questions and gray areas. That takes us back to the issue of all of us having limited understandings of the text and limited understandings of the world. I’m certainly open to the possibility that my interpretation is erroneous, and in fact, if there seems to be a conflict between the text and reality, I’m going to assume the problem (or error) lies with one’s interpretation rather than the text itself.

    Finally, I wanted to close with this minor point:

    Faiz wrote:
    As for Giron’s claim that the Hebrew phrase is not limited to chewing or regurgitation, we have already seen above that chewing is definitely implied in the text, since the context is rumination.

    Forgive me, but, reading through you entry, I do not see that demonstrated. It is true that (a) the relevant Hebrew phrase can encompass rumination, and (b) rumination can involve chewing, but I don’t see that as necessitating that the phrase therefore has to entail chewing.

    Like

    • Hello Denis.

      “Well, my answer is of course I could be mistaken. You could have asked me up front, and I would have told you as much. We are fallible men, attempting to match our limited understanding of the text with our limited understanding of the world, and thus I think there is always going to be room for a margin of error.”

      That is good to hear. My only concern is that you have admitted in the past (as per your Facebook page), that you will try to fit the text into any scientific understanding. This is disconcerting since, using this approach, you can simply keep changing your interpretation to whatever fits, even if there is very little evidence for such adjustments.

      “Now, secondly, a point more directly relevant to the text: the phrase ma³aleh gerah is expansive enough to incorporate all sorts of things, yet it seems safe to presume there was some sort of limitation intended.”

      See, this is what I mean. It seems to me that you are deciding on a whim where the limitation starts and ends. Not only that, but by following this methodology, it is almost impossible to be consistent. Thus, when it is pointed out that pigs practice coprophagy, you can say that it was not included in the Bible’s classification. The question is on what basis do you do this?

      “However, I would presume the text in Leviticus did not intend the phrase in such a way as to include that. So we are all trying to find the balance between how expansive the phrase is and in how limited a scope it might have been intended.”

      I agree, which is why I think that all the hoopla about “bring up” is just a lot of noise with very little substance. The context of Leviticus 11 shows that it is referring to a phenomenon among some animals that involves their nutrition. But then you would have to be consistent. Sure, “gerah” could include regurgitation or caecotrophy, but then also coprophagy in pigs as well. I see no reason to deny one type of feeding behavior while allowing another one, which is precisely what you are doing.

      “Perhaps on my end, I am a bit less hostile, or a bit more charitable, towards the text, as I am open to the possibility that the Author understood the phenomena under discussion, but I don’t see why what I proposed should be considered impossible.”

      I understand your point of view, but I feel that you are being “charitable” precisely because you have a vested interest in protecting the text from criticism, because if such criticism was admitted to be correct, then you would have to admit that the Bible is wrong and thus not “inerrant”. I wonder if you would give the same charity to the Quran, the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita and so on.

      “But the text is not required to go through a full list of organisms which engage in caecotrophy. It would be my understanding that, in that particular portion, it is providing some examples. I certainly would not endorse a rule of thumb which posits that if a text does not describe an animal as bearing some predicate X, then that necessarily means the author was unaware (or did not believe) that said animal bears said predicate.”

      And this is the inconsistency that I was talking about. You are deciding arbitrarily where the limitation begins and ends. The Bible is not simply providing “some examples”. It is giving reasons for why something is forbidden to eat. If caecotrophy was understood to be in the same group as rumination, then every animal that is mentioned in the chapter and that practices caecotrophy should be grouped with those that “chew the cud”. The Bible does not do that, which appears to me due simply to the author’s lack of knowledge. In other words, the author did not know that rats also do the same thing as rabbits. If he knew it, then I see no reason why he would not have included rats along with hyraxes and rabbits.

      “Now, as I mentioned in the FB correspondence, the Talmudic account might garble the facts a bit (and, as Gmirkin alluded to, the Talmudic text might even be playing a bit a word game of its own), but the relevant part is that the translators of the Septuagint consciously avoided employing certain words for rabbit, going with “hairy leg/foot” instead, in certain cases. Sure enough, one does find the term δασυποδα (i.e. δασυπους in the accusative), however it is found in Leviticus 11:5, in place of shaphan. Ergo, it seems ancient authorities may have seen shaphan in specifically Leviticus 11 as referring to a rabbit.”

      But this still does not solve the problem. What difference does it make if “rabbit” is used in verse 5 or 6? Both verses say that the animal in question “chews the cud” so I fail to see how this changes anything. Also, Gesenius claimed that the shaphan could refer to the jerboa, but I have found no evidence to suggest that jerboas also practice caecotrophy.

      And also, the Talmudic account does not say that the reason for using “shaggy foot” was because they were unsure about the animal but because of a political concern.

      “It is also interesting that later forms of Hebrew came to employ the phrase shaphan sela³ to refer to the hyrax specifically, as shaphan in a vacuum could encompass the rabbit (at least in those later forms of the language). There are modern linguists who will counter that association of Hebrew shaphan with the rabbit/hare arose as Jews moved into Europe (often discussions on this topic compare it with European Jewish commentators on the Talmud juggling and fumbling terms for deer ibex, gazelle), but I have to wonder in light of the above-mentioned ancient claim about even the Phoenicians applying the word to rabbits (as well as the above-mentioned Septuagint controversy).”

      Such semantics still does not explain anything. Rabbits or hyraxes, whether in verse 5 or 6, changes nothing. The inconsistency still remains.

      “In short, I think the question remains open as to whether shaphan could encompass a different type of lagomorph from the arnebet (and I have seen some modern rabbis argue it might refer to the pika, for example). Also interesting is the fact that the Septuagint employs χοιρογρυλλιος for both shaphan and arnebet (but that of course opens a whole nother can of worms, as there is discussion on what χοιρογρυλλιος can refer to, with some very serious linguists even invoking the jerboa).”

      Even if it was a different type of lagomorph, caecotrophy is common to the order Lagomorpha. In this regard, the Bible remains inconsistent.

      And yes, no matter which angle you look at this from, it does indeed open another can of worms. To use Shamoun’s terminology, it’s a “tap dance”.

      “Forgive me, but, reading through you entry, I do not see that demonstrated. It is true that (a) the relevant Hebrew phrase can encompass rumination, and (b) rumination can involve chewing, but I don’t see that as necessitating that the phrase therefore has to entail chewing.”

      I apologize for not being clear. I meant to say that the lexicographical evidence, as seen in the Gesenius citation, shows that rumination is the context. I even showed that the Arabic word jirrah also refers to cud that is chewed by ruminants. It has no other meaning.

      As always, it is a pleasure chatting with you, despite our differences.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Greetings again, Faiz

        Apologies for the delay in reply. December is a very busy month for me (where longer hours at the office and increased attendance at Church and related functions further limits my time, which itself is already normally limited by work, family duties and a long commute).

        Faiz wrote:
        My only concern is that you have admitted in the past (as per your Facebook page), that you will try to fit the text into any scientific understanding. This is disconcerting since, using this approach, you can simply keep changing your interpretation to whatever fits, even if there is very little evidence for such adjustments.

        I appreciate your concern, but I think this relates back to fallible men trying to match their limited understanding of the text against their limited understanding of the world. As the understanding of the world external to the text changes, it can be quite natural for the reader’s interpretation of the text describing aspects of that world to change accordingly.

        For an analogy, I’m sure we can agree that it is not the case that all Muslims have interpreted all verses in the Qur’an the same throughout all of Islamic history; rather, as scientific understandings changed, so too could interpretations of the text. [Now, as a disclaimer, what follows is not intended as an attack on the Qur’an, nor as some sort of “gotcha!” moment, but rather an analogy designed to attempt to achieve some semblance of common ground on methodology.]

        I think a particularly interesting example in this regard is the subject of human embryology in general, and surat al-Mu’minun 23:14 in particular. In the past, there were a number of thinkers who, based on a certain Hadith (found in the Kitab al-Qadr of Bukhari’s Sahih and also the Kitab al-Qadr of Muslim’s Sahih), understood the stages mentioned in the relevant Qur’anic verse as each spanning a forty day period. There remain modern thinkers who still break the stages into distinct forty day periods (e.g. this Sa`udi site), but with the rise in popularity of Keith Moore’s guided interpretations (or comments), towards the end of the 20th century, there have been a number of Muslims proposing that all three stages happen within a single forty day period (arguing that the phrase mithla dhalika, in the aforementioned Hadith, referred to the same single forty day period, not distinct forty day periods).

        That is one example of the interpretation changing with new information, and it becomes more interesting still when one explores the semantic range of certain constructions within the relevant Qur’anic verse. Consider a relevant portion of the verse, broken into four parts:

        خلقنا النطفة علقة
        فخلقنا العلقة مضغة
        فخلقنا المضغة عظاما
        فكسونا العظام لحما

        Mainly I’m interested in the first three parts (only including that fourth part to help with the interpretation of the third). For those first three portions, I think an interesting question is regarding the semantic range of a phrase with this structure:

        khalaqna X, Y

        It seems popular interpretation has the first two instances meaning X transitions into Y, perhaps one wholly becoming the other, and at the very least with this change encompassing the external surface of the object. However, in the third instance (the one pertaining to bones), it is interpreted as meaning Y (or even a precursor to Y) forms inside of X, without the external surface, much less the entirety, of X changing into Y.

        So the methodological question becomes, how does one know when “khalaqna X, Y” means the entirety of X becomes Y (or at least the external appearance of X resembles Y), and when the phrase me means “Y (or a precursor to Y) forms inside of X”? It seems obvious that which interpretation is chosen is based on what fits best between the text and the present understanding.

        That aside, to help an attempt to establish a sort of helpful rule of thumb, I’d like to appeal to one other verse in the Qur’an, that being surat al-AHzab 33:56. The part I want to briefly focus on is the following:

        اللَّه وملائكته يصلون على النبي

        Here I would note that the same single verb is employed to describe an action which God engages in and an action which the angels engage in. What, precisely, is that action? Presumbly, from an orthodox Muslim perspective, with respect to the angels it refers to them petitioning God to bless the prophet, while, with respect to God is means something different, such as God deciding to send blessing or honor upon the prophet.

        The rule of thumb that would provide us with is that a single verb can have a scope encompassing different types of actions. And I don’t mean different uses of the same verb in different places. Rather I mean a single particular use of the verb.

        So, with these analogies before us, I would say with any text (including Leviticus 11), we have a myriad of possible interpretations, some which fit better with what we think we know than others. Moreover, it is possible to see a verb as encompassing multiple sorts of actions. I’m naturally going to gravitate towards those possibilities which strike me as fitting best with my understanding of the reality under discussion. But that aside, as was mentioned in my previous post, the mere possibility seems to be sufficient to undermine charges of error (which are charges about contradictions between the text and some external proposition, which in turn is a statement about logical space, and thus a discussion about what is possible).

        ***

        Faiz wrote:
        I feel that you are being “charitable” precisely because you have a vested interest in protecting the text from criticism, because if such criticism was admitted to be correct, then you would have to admit that the Bible is wrong and thus not “inerrant”. I wonder if you would give the same charity to the Quran, the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita and so on.

        It is certainly true that my faith-based love for the Bible influences which direction I lean. That said, however, to be fair, I might be more charitable with the Qur’an (and the Gita) than you might expect (i.e. I fear you may have a stereotype of Christians who engage in Christian-Muslim dialogue, based on people you encounter in polemical settings [especially online], and I think I may differ from that stereotype [as do many Christians, even if one doesn’t encounter them in polemical settings]).

        Honestly, to find an attack on the Qur’an from me, you’d probably have to go back fourteen or fifteen years (i.e. to back before I became a Christian). Back when I was still an atheist, while studying formal logic as an undergrad, I reached the conclusion that trying to posit contradictions in religious texts (including the Bible and Qur’an) was a potential fool’s errand, for roughly reasons already touched on in this correspondence: discussions about contradictions are really discussions about logical space, and quite a lot is possible with the three dimensional language of religious texts.

        By late 2003 I had pretty much softened my previously hostile stance towards Christianity and Islam, and wanted to take a more cordial tone (as objective as possible), and I took that approach with me into a debate with Nadir Ahmed, late that year. Humorously, the following year (in 2004), Ali Sina (then a critic of Islam from a secular perspective), in his review of the debate, actually complained that I was too soft! Sina wrote the following:

        «Denis is very cautious and does not call the Quran to be a hodgepodge of gibberish. He tries to be politically correct. He is even afraid to call a spade a spade and say all these verses are rubbish. He goes only as far to say that the “knowledge” contained in these verses were already known to humans prior to Muhammad. […] The soft attitude of Denis has emboldened Ahmed»
        [Source]

        I share that only as an attempt to submit it as a testament to how chartiable I have tried to be with religious texts other than the Bible. So charitable, that other non-Muslims complain about alleged “political correctness” on my part.

        As I noted above, this was a stance I adopted during my atheist phase, and I carried it with me when I converted to Christianity. In my roughly eleven years as a Christian, I have rarely attacked the faiths of others, as I feel my faith does not require me to be an expert at dismantling every rival claim out there; rather, I can do my small part, in the apologetic spectrum, by offering polite objections to attacks on the Christian faith (at least those objections which touch on topics I feel somewhat familiar with).

        ***

        Faiz wrote:
        What difference does it make if “rabbit” is used in verse 5 or 6?

        Well, recall that the portion of your entry which pertained to me was two-pronged in its approach. First, it handled the question of whether ma³aleh gerah can encompass caecotrophy, and, second, it delved into the issue of the text apparently also mentioning hyraces. In this particular, I was explaining why I think there is still an open possibility that shafan in Leviticus 11:5 can refer to some sort of lagomorph.

        Faiz wrote:
        the Talmudic account does not say that the reason for using “shaggy foot” was because they were unsure about the animal but because of a political concern.

        Agreed 100%. I was not accusing the Septuagint translators of being confused. Rather I was appealing to that to show how far back the association of shafan with a rabbit or hare went back. They employed δασυποδα (i.e. δασυπους in the accusative) to avoid using λαγος, for precisely those political concerns. But at the root of this concern is the belief that, in Leviticus 11, shafan could normally be translated λαγος (i.e. hare, rabbit, from which we get the term “lagomorph”).

        ***

        Faiz wrote:
        the lexicographical evidence, as seen in the Gesenius citation, shows that rumination is the context. I even showed that the Arabic word jirrah also refers to cud that is chewed by ruminants. It has no other meaning.

        The verb is employed apparently employed to refer to rumination among certain animals, but it need not be limited to that (the fact that it also applies the phrase to animals that do not ruminate can be taken as a sign that the phrase was not limited to rumination [and of course here is where one might import assumptions about the Author’s intention]). As for gerah, I appreciate the recourse to Arabic (I think recourse to Arabic can be helpful for making sense of Biblical Hebrew in many cases), but here the relevant Hebrew term is more expansive than what is found in dictionaries discussing the corresponding Arabic term.

        Faiz wrote:
        I recommend you read this article which discusses the meaning of the word “shaphan”: http://www.zootorah.com/assets/media/HyraxLayout.pdf

        Thank you. I looked it over; it is a very good piece, and it covers some of the same ground I read seven+ years ago, and which I alluded to in my previous reply to you. For example, recall that in my previous reply, I wrote the following:

        «There are modern linguists who will counter that association of Hebrew shaphan with the rabbit/hare arose as Jews moved into Europe (often discussions on this topic compare it with European Jewish commentators on the Talmud juggling and fumbling terms for deer ibex, gazelle), but I have to wonder in light of the above-mentioned ancient claim about even the Phoenicians applying the word to rabbits (as well as the above-mentioned Septuagint controversy).»

        Now, compare that with page six of the article you linked to, which argues precisely that, and even employs as an analogy the transposing of a term for gazelle onto the deer. I am under the impression that the view expressed in that article is fairly standard in academic circles (as I noted above, it reflects what I came across when reading on this subject seven+ years ago). However, the article does not address what I appealed to as my reasons from diverging from that view, namely the Septuagint controversy with Leviticus 11:5, and the ancient story about Phoenicians applying the word shafan to rabbits in Spain. Those two points strike me as pointing to a diverse semantic range for the term stretching back to antiquity (and thus I take the later [modern] Hebrew practice of distinguishing between a shafan simpliciter and a shafan sela³ as, whether wittingly or unwittingly, reflecting an ancient understanding).

        This point provides a potential answer to the article’s appeal to the ibex in Psalm 104. Note that (a) we have signs of an ancient understanding of shafan encompassing a diverse semantic range, (b) the Septuagint translates the word in Psalm 104 differently from how it does in Leviticus 11, and (c) the verse in Psalm 104 explicitly employs the word sela³ thus tempting one to lean towards the admittedly later approach of distinguishing the shafan simpliciter from the shafan sela³.

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      • Thanks for your reply Denis. December is also a busy month for me as well, so I will try to respond in a few days, or maybe earlier.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Denis, I recommend you read this article which discusses the meaning of the word “shaphan”: http://www.zootorah.com/assets/media/HyraxLayout.pdf

      It proves conclusively that “shaphan” does refer to the hyrax.

      Like

  6. My apologies if my last reply comes off as a bit sloppy (e.g. if it takes a moment to figure out where quoted text ends and my reply begins, or instances where I write “source” or “this Sa`udi site” without any reference). I’m just learning now that, apparently, when one’s comment is a reply to a reply to a reply (three or so layers down), it might be automatically stripped of its HTML scripting, and thus its formatting and hyperlinks.

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  7. The sorry excuse of an apologist, whom I now refer to as Sam “The Coward” Shamoun, still has yet to respond to my challenges on the Bible’s clear error about rabbits chewing the cud. The loser is clearly very upset, but instead of responding to the issue at hand, he has spent his worthless time trying to establish that the Bible is endorsed by the Quran. This is a typical and common tactic used by like-minded Christian fanatics, when they are unable to refute Muslim arguments against the Bible. Suffice it to say, there is no reason to respond to “The Coward”, because others have already done so. So all I will say to this Coward is this: I know you’re upset because you have been confounded and humiliated. You have no idea how to refute me on the rabbits. Even so, little coward, I am waiting for your response to this issue. So come on Sammy. He a good boy and face your humiliation.

    Like

    • You still barking like a rabid dog? You know what your profit said about dogs. Tell you what, do you agree to debate me in a live exchange so we can see who the filthy, vile coward is? Or are you going to continue barking here behind posts where you can get away with your 50,000 word posts that make the Quran sound coherent by comparison? Time to man up little girl, and not run away and hide like your profit used to do by letting his murdering jihadis do his dirty work for him.

      Email me if you have the guts to debate your trash: sam.shmn@gmail.com

      Until then, keep barking.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol, again with the “live exchange” nonsense? Why can’t you just respond to my challenges, you loser? Why does that require a “live exchsnge”? No, I will not waste my time in a “live exchange” with a moron like you. If you have something to say, say it here. So come on, coward. Respond to the embarrassing error in your Bible. Come on Samantha. Stop barking like a gentile dog and provide your answers. Surely your holy spirit can conjure something? 🤣🤣🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sammy is confounded, guys. He really has no idea how to answer the rabbit conundrum. He’s cornered, and he’s lashing out. It’s okay to admit you are wrong Sammy. I’ll be nice.

        Like

  8. Denis – “I appreciate your concern, but I think this relates back to fallible men trying to match their limited understanding of the text against their limited understanding of the world. As the understanding of the world external to the text changes, it can be quite natural for the reader’s interpretation of the text describing aspects of that world to change accordingly.”

    Response – Granted, but my concern is that the reader may just keep moving the goalpost every time the “aspects of the world” changes as more knowledge is gained. That is a veritable black hole of subjectivity which will possibly mislead many people to keep searching for answers in a place where such answers can never be found.

    It sort of reminds me of atheists and how they keep interpreting every discovery in science from a neo-Darwinian point of view. Since they have determined that everything must have come from chance, no matter what evidence they see which discounts such an assumption, they will keep moving the goalpost. By doing this, they are just setting themselves up for a fall, and I think you are doing the same.

    Denis – “For an analogy, I’m sure we can agree that it is not the case that all Muslims have interpreted all verses in the Qur’an the same throughout all of Islamic history; rather, as scientific understandings changed, so too could interpretations of the text.”

    Response – Oh, I agree. I even discussed this in my science article. And just to clarify, I am not saying that you cannot reinterpret the Bible (or the Quran) in the light of modern scientific discoveries. I am simply saying that there must come a time where you just have to admit that there may be a contradiction between what the Bible or the Quran say and what the reality is. Based on my research, I have indeed found that to be the case with the Bible, but I have to see anything in the Quran that could be seen as clear-cut evidence of a contradiction with scientific facts.

    Denis – “So, with these analogies before us, I would say with any text (including Leviticus 11), we have a myriad of possible interpretations, some which fit better with what we think we know than others.”

    Response – I don’t think you showed anything in your analogies that comes close to the problem of Leviticus 11. The problem is that you are deciding on a whim how to interpret “chewing the cud” depending on the animal as and when it suits your purpose. There is no consistency, only an attempt to align the verse with science.

    Denis – “Moreover, it is possible to see a verb as encompassing multiple sorts of actions.”

    Response – But aside from your assumptions, you have not presented any evidence that “chewing the cud” means rumination in one context and caecotrophy in another, but definitely not coprophagy (as in the pig). And then you also allege that not all cud chewing animals mentioned in the chapter need to be defined as cud chewers, even though they are (based on your initial premise), as in the case of rats/mice.

    Denis – “By late 2003 I had pretty much softened my previously hostile stance towards Christianity and Islam, and wanted to take a more cordial tone (as objective as possible), and I took that approach with me into a debate with Nadir Ahmed, late that year.”

    Response – I remember that debate and I thought Nadir made a good point using his algorithm.

    Denis – “Well, recall that the portion of your entry which pertained to me was two-pronged in its approach. First, it handled the question of whether ma³aleh gerah can encompass caecotrophy, and, second, it delved into the issue of the text apparently also mentioning hyraces. In this particular, I was explaining why I think there is still an open possibility that shafan in Leviticus 11:5 can refer to some sort of lagomorph.”

    Response – Forgive me, but I still don’t see what difference that would make. Mentioning rabbits in verse 6 would encompass all lagomorphs, which would make it redundant if rabbits were already mentioned in verse 5.

    Denis – “The verb is employed apparently employed to refer to rumination among certain animals, but it need not be limited to that (the fact that it also applies the phrase to animals that do not ruminate can be taken as a sign that the phrase was not limited to rumination [and of course here is where one might import assumptions about the Author’s intention]).”

    Response – But you would need to be consistent with this methodology, and that is precisely what is missing.

    Also, the fact that the lexicons for both Arabic and Hebrew seem to agree on rumination as the context, I think the attempt to expand the meaning is misguided. Consider this:

    An ancient observer sees a rabbit swallowing some fecal pellets. This behavior is then seen in other rabbits by other observers. Over time, it becomes well known that rabbits eat their own feces, similar to pigs.

    Now I doubt that ancient observers would have had the knowledge to tell the difference between the fecal pellets that rabbits eat and what pigs eat. To them, it would have all seemed the same: eating feces. And if this behavior was lumped up with “chewing the cud”, then I cannot see why Leviticus 11 would not also refer to pigs as cud chewers.

    Denis – “but here the relevant Hebrew term is more expansive than what is found in dictionaries discussing the corresponding Arabic term. ”

    Response – Not according to the Hebrew lexicon though. It clearly links gerah to rumination only in the context of Leviticus 11. The other meanings are found elsewhere.

    As for the article I linked to, it provides reasonable evidence that only the hyrax fits the descriptions given. For example, Psalm 104 says that the shefanim makes their homes in rocks. As the article points out, this cannot be referring to rabbits because they live in burrows in the ground, not in rocks.

    I think the Septuagint translation can be simply chalked up to geographical ignorance. As the article notes, hyraxes would have been largely unknown to Europeans, as they are endemic to Asia and Africa. That is not to say that the Greeks had never seen one, but it is understandable that there was no translatable word for hyrax in Greek, and thus the translators of the Septuagint settled for “rabbit”.

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