Why does the Watchtower leadership slap its own defenders in the face?

by slimboyfat 63 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Finkelstein

    Its typical and common to see the GB heads be selective to what information they use to support themselves as god's channel, so to see ungrateful arrogance and even a lack of respect toward people they themselves exploited to serve their own means is not surprising.

    Let it be known though that there have been and are better bible scholars in the world in comparison to what the WTS had, including some of its most prominent leaders such as Russell, Rutherford these men were more business people who collected information by themselves to sell into their own published works.

    In other words self promoting freelance amateurs.

    The proclamation that god has chosen those men was utilized impart in support of what they were selling and promoting.

  • Wonderment


    It's hard to ascertain whether the NWT dropped the previous Hebrew Verbal approach due to the impossibility of reconciling variant positions on the matter, or whether it was solely for readability reasons.

    Vidqun presented an interesting post where he seems to indicate that the Furuli-Franz approach was wrong. I am not so sure. Is there someone else recently besides "Kummerow 2007 and Cook 2010" (I am aware of earlier works where scholars expressed the matter was still ‘uncertain’) having a different view. The point is, has this matter been settled recently without question? I wonder if time can clear this enigma.

  • joe134cd
  • slimboyfat

    wonderment if you read Furuli's arguments in context, and the NWT's own explanation for its handing of the waw-consecutive side by side, it's hard not to reach the conclusion that Furuli is over-egging Franz's appreciation of the complexity of the problem. The way Furuli tells it, Franz presciently anticipated subsequent scholarship by decades and is some sort of unacknowledged genius of biblical Hebew linguistics. The NWT is a serious and competent piece of work but I think that's stretching it a bit far.

    But again, whether Franz/Furuli are right or wrong about the waw-consecutive was not really my point. They could be right about that issue and my point still stands. The original NWT and Furuli argued that the woodennes of the NWT was justified on the grounds of accuracy and faithfulness to the Hebrew. The revised NWT takes the opposite view that readability is paramount. Perhaps tellingly it doesn't even discuss explicitly the Hebrew verbal issue that Furuli deems so important. It just carelessly brushes it aside on aesthetic grounds reminiscent of many of the original complaints against the NWT.

  • Oubliette

    It's not about any alleged doctrinal purity or correct interpretation and/or translation of the Bible.

    The Bible is actually just a prop for the WT leadership.

    Cult leaders are insecure narcissists that get insanely jealous whenever anyone else gets the spotlight, even when those others agree with them.

  • Wonderment

    slimboyfat: "But again, whether Franz/Furuli are right or wrong about the waw-consecutive was not really my point. They could be right about that issue and my point still stands. The original NWT and Furuli argued that the woodennes of the NWT was justified on the grounds of accuracy and faithfulness to the Hebrew. The revised NWT takes the opposite view that readability is paramount."

    I think I understood correctly from the beginning. It was likely me who gave another impression. I did not mean to contradict you or give the impression that I did. My English writing skills are definitely not as good as some of the posters here. My intention was perhaps to add a thought to that previously stated.

  • Wonderment

    Yes, I agree the WT did a complete turnaround in its revision of the NWT, not only with the Hebrew Verbal System, but in many other areas as well, including their slavish approach to using one English word for each Greek one for the earlier editions. Many of us were quite surprised that the NWT Committee broke many of their previously stated positions.

    We can only wish they do the same with the way they deal with dissenters.

  • TD

    Please if you can show me examples of Furuli talking down to Muramoto


    Let's keep in mind that Dr. Muramoto was a member of the Regional Ethics Council of Kaiser Permanente, so medical ethics is/was a speciality of his. Furuli entered the discussion on 23 February 2001 by accusing Muramoto of encouraging a blatant violation of medical ethics: --Attempting to subvert the autonomy of JW's through "cunning questions."

    The reality is that Muramoto's proposed approach was neither novel nor new vis-à-vis JW's. A similar article appeared at about the same time in The Oncologist entitled Faith, Identity and Leukemia: When Blood Products Are Not An Option. The purpose of the article was to help medical professionals deal with the feelings of guilt, frustration and anger over the (needless) loss of JW patients. For the most part, Jehovah's Witnesses are under the mistaken belief that there are always quality alternatives to blood, which is simply not true. For medical personnel, making sure that the JW understands this is part of the process of having a clean conscience after their death.

    Furuli honked his horn fairly loudly by stating his (irrelevant) academic credentials in linguistics and Semetic languages and the (equally irrelevant) superiority of European advanced degrees and then misspelled Muramoto's name.

    Furuli chides Muramoto later on in the discussion for not being able to cite a double blind test. (With human patients! --Keep in mind that medical ethics is the backdrop here....) In his final response (26 March 2001) he addresses Muramoto as a student and states that he, "would not have gotten his exam." (Presumably, gotten a passing grade.) which is beyond the pale, considering that this is Muramoto's field, not Furuli's.

    Throughout the discussion, Furuli did not seem to understand the purpose of a blood transfusion. He stated that it was "tantamount to eating blood" and actually referred to it as "parentereal feeding" which is utterly absurd.

    Furuli promoted the draconian notion that "all other uses of blood...are forbidden" which would preclude JW's from working in medical laboratories, where blood is used for testing purposes. (I can assure you that this is not the case.)

    He came up with an interesting, and as far as I know novel way of defending the Watchtower stance

    I agree that it was novel, but this only made Muramoto's point. --That not all JW's think alike on this issue. If one JW (i.e. Furuli) may hold a more conservative viewpoint, then it stands to reason that others may hold a more liberal viewpoint.

    I'd also point out that Furuli's ideas were internally inconsistent and he was repeatedly called out on this.

  • Vidqun

    Slimboyfat, I agree, Franz was a brilliant linguist with some original ideas. But unfortunately for him, the field of linguistics would keep on growing and expanding. Cook alluded to this in his criticism of Furuli. Comparative linguistics, especially where Semitic languages are concerned, has opened up the field like never before. The Watchtower did not/could not keep up with the new information, because specialized scholars are needed, and we know there’s none amongst the Witnesses. The few that were there, were kicked out. A while back I read a piece by Barbara of Silent Lambs fame, reporting that she had asked a Jewish colleague (involved with the Society’s translation work in Israel) whether Franz’s Hebrew was up to standard. The woman confirmed that his Hebrew was accurate, and that she had high praise for the man.

    Here’s the second part of Cook’s criticism, even more damning than the first:

    “Aside from the unsubstantiated claim that (viewpoint) aspect in Hebrew differs from the modern linguistic universal and that elements of metaphor for understanding viewpoint aspect in Hebrew are open to criticism (see Cook 2010), Furuli’s approach to aspect is fundamentally flawed and contradictory. First, although he claims that modern views should not be foisted on a dead language such as ancient Hebrew, he admits that his own analysis is based on English translations (Furuli 2006:417). Although by this statement he intends simply to underscore the lack of native-speaker knowledge for a dead language, it seems all too apparent that his English translations (some quite wrong) determine his analysis of the Hebrew verbal forms.

    Second, his discussion of discourse linguistics is quite illuminating when immediately followed by his alternative semantic analysis. Having examined several passages in which the context (adverbial phrases, etc.) affects the aspectual interpretation of the verb form, Furuli (2006: 186) concludes “that it is impossible to know the semantic meaning of most verbs in the Tanakh by analyzing the clauses and contexts in which they occur.” On the following page (2006: 187), he continues his argument, stating that “[O]ur only hope is to find situations where no other factors than the verb conjugation can cause a particular characteristic.” As an example he offers his analysis of wayyîbên (a wayyiqtol form) in 1 Kgs 6:1, which he translates ‘he began to build’: “The verb is durative and dynamic, the verb phrase is telic, and the adverbial fixes the time. But it seems that the small part of the progressive action that is made visible is caused by the verb form alone, because the only other information apart from the verb form that is needed is a knowledge of the world (that it took more than one year to build the temple)” (Furuli 2006: 187). In other words, Furuli’s analysis of aspect has little to do with the linguistic portrayal of events; instead, it relates to his preconceived ideas of the character of the events themselves in the Bible.”

    I certainly do not agree with Furuli’s portrayal of the Masoretes. They would never have changed or corrected the verbal forms. This one can see from a comparison of the Masoretic Text with the DSS. A growing number of scholars are starting to view the MT as an authentic tradition with a long history behind it. Morag insists that ‘as a source of historical information, the vocalisation should be accorded serious consideration.’[i] Barr concludes that the Masoretes were ‘in essence phonetic conservators rather than interpretative innovators.’[ii]

    What sealed it for me, in that there are serious shortcomings with Furuli’s theory, is the work of Penner (Penner and Furuli do not see eye to eye). Cook goes on to explain:

    “Besides the fact that Penner’s theory partakes of the weaknesses of Joosten’s and other relative-tense-and-modality theories, as described above, his empirical method is suspect when compared with Furuli’s contemporary study (based on a broader database that includes Qumran Hebrew), which arrives at very different conclusions: both Furuli and Penner attempt an empirical, statistical analysis of the verb forms in “context” (Furuli 2006: 186-87; Penner 2006: 101-2) and arrive at contradictory results, Furuli positing some unique form of aspect for Hebrew (with just two main conjugations-prefix and suffix), and Penner proposing tense-prominence in Qumran Hebrew (Furuli 2006: 462-64; Penner 2006: 212-13). It appears prima facie that both Furuli and Penner have found what they were looking for; that is, their interpretation of the data was guided by what they expected a priori to find, which accounts for their divergent results based on overlapping data sets.”

    Penner, Ken

    2006 Verb Form Semantics in Qumran Hebrew Texts: Tense, Aspect, and Modality between the Bible and the Mishnah. Ph.D dissertation, McMaster University.

    [i] S. Morag, ‘On the Historical Validity of the Vocalisation of the Hebrew Bible’, p. 315, cf. S. Groom, Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew, p. 17.

    [ii] J. Barr, ‘The Nature of Linguistic Evidence in the Text of the Bible’, p. 40; cf. Comparative Philology, pp. 195, 196.

  • jwfacts

    Excellent thread. I wonder how Furuli feels about the lack of recognition, the subsequent changes to the NWT, and the affect this has on his faith.

    At When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed? Carl Olof Jonsson shows that Furuli has been referenced in Watchtower letters and his works were the basis for the 2011 information on 607. If 607 were to be change, it would be interesting to know if Furuli would continue to remain a Watchtower follower?

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