Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Would you have Father Abraham for your father?

To most Christians and Jews, or at least those who regularly go to church/temple, or suffered through Sunday School, there are two images of Abraham the patriarch. The first, is the often painted scene (including by many celebrated artists like Caraveggio and Rembrandt) of Abraham

about to sacrifice his son, Isaac, at the direction of God. This is straight out of the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis.

The other story which is frequently heard is that of Abraham smashing his father’s idols, making him, reportedly, the first monotheist. This is not in the Bible at all. Although taught to children all over the world, it is actually part of what is known as the Midrash. These are Biblical interpretations, written many centuries after the Bible was first memorialized, although there may have been an oral tradition. That's not a knock, as traditions plays a large roll in all religions.

It’s hard to blame rabbis or modern religious school teachers for adding something to the story which reflect well on Abraham as there are more than a few parts that do not, even by contemporary biblical morality. If you have not read Genesis (or in a while) this may surprise you.

Abraham was born, Abram. His father, Terah, was at least 70 at the time, and would live until he was 205 (whcih is not long by biblical standards). He actually had two brothers, Nahor and Haran, although it is not clear if they were triplets. Haran had a son, Lot, therefore Abraham's nephew, who plays a sizeable role in the story.

Abram married Sarai, who was ten years Abram’s junior. She was, unfortunately, barren. Later rabbinical literature identified Sarai with Haran’s daughter, Iscah. This does not make that much sense as Sarai and Iscah were mentioned in the same verse, and not identified with one another.

When Abram was 75 he took Sarai, Lot and his followers or servants to Canaan, destined to be the promised land of his people. At some point, Abraham moved along to Egypt and that is when things get weird.

Abram was concerned that the Egyptians would take one look at Sarai, who was at least in her 60s, if not older, and kill him so that they could have her. He convinced her to act as if she were his sister (which, he later claims she actually was). Pharaoh’s talent scouts spotted her and she moved into his home to become his wife, and, as her brother, Abram made out just fine. If this sounds shocking, all I can do is promise you, it’s in the Bible.

There is no word in the Bible of either Abram or Sarai being particularly stressed about the situation. God, on the other hand, wasn’t pleased at all, and, in some unknown way, began punishing the Egyptians. Don't confuse this with Moses and the ten plagues which is much better known and happens later. Word must have gotten out why they were being punished, as the Pharaoh brought her back to already richly rewarded Abram. Instead of killing Abram, he just said, “Hey, why didn’t you tell me?” and told them to go and to take all the good stuff Abram had acquired. Maybe it was worth it, as it seemed to change their lives for the better.

It would be easy to just say, well, this was a different era, and perhaps allowing your wife to marry someone so they didn’t kill you, was par for the course, but we can see by God’s and the Pharaoh’s reaction, that is not so. It is hard to understand why Abram wasn’t punished by God for his bad behavior as Moses and David would later be, but apparently he was the favorite.

So, Abram, Sarai and Lot went back to Canaan. There was a falling out between Lot’s and Abram’s herdsmen, which created enough bad blood that they split off from one another. Lot got a good look at Jordan, and went there. We are given a early warning that the men of Sodom, where he was headed, were evil.

Abram is again told that all Canaan will belong to his people and that there will be a lot of them (not the best biblical prediction).

At this point there is a big war and a Lot is captured. Old as he was, Abram morphs into Indiana Jones, and goes to the rescue. He split his 318 men into two groups and was able to rescue Lot. From this, some people have concluded that Abram was a great war leader, starting the Israeli military tradition. It takes an awful lot of conjecture to reach that conclusion. We have no idea how many people the 318 were pitted against, or who had the advantage in weaponry, etc.

Soon afterwards, God tells Abram that he will have a son, and while he's talking, throws in the whole Exodus story. Abram had been intending to leave everything to one of his servants, which was actually one of the nicer things he did, but now has a son to think about.

Apparently God was in no hurry. Sarai, hoping to build a family in a thoroughly modern way, gives her maidservant, Hagar, to Abram, and he gets her pregnant. Not surprisingly, Hagar decides she hates Sarai, probably wanting to get the whole kit and kaboodle. Unlike the episode where Abram pimps his wife, there is no indication that providing your husband with your maidservant is frowned upon. Maybe she was just returning the favor of letting her spend some time with the pharaoh.

Sarai, not pleased with Hagar either, gives Abram an earful, and again not surprisingly, he says to leave him alone and do what she wanted with her servant. Big of him, right?

Sarai gives Hagar a real hard time (some description would have been nice) and Hagar takes off. God’s angel finds her and tells her to go back home and submit to Sarai, and then God would make her descendants multiply.

Leaving aside the class warfare, and the obvious side God takes, this is the first appearance of an angel in the Bible. Our earliest knowledge of the Bible comes from the Greek language, and “angel” in Greek, means means messenger, just as evangelist means “messenger of good news”.

Apparently, a multitude of descendants was worth the beatings or whatever else Sarai would do to her, so Hagar went back. Abram was 86 at the time of her son Ishmael’s birth.

Jump ahead 13 years to when Abram is 99. Given his father’s longevity, this is not real old, but apparently he thinks so. God tells him that Abram shall now be known Abraham and Sarai will now be Sarah. She, now 89, would have a child the next year (apparently he wasn’t just going to say “presto chango” but there would have to be a real pregnancy). God also promises that Ishmael, his first son, will be the father of many nations.

There is some debate about what the change from Abram to Abraham means. Some believe it means “father of many nations” but there are others who disagree. When the “H” was added, the middle part of his name could now be translated as “he who covenants,” and that is consistent with what follows. The precise meanings of ancient words and name can usually only be speculated upon, and you shouldn't put much faith in the above.

God now tells Abraham something else which must have been hard to swallow. He offers a deal that he will favor Abraham’s descendents if all of the males all cut the foreskin off their penises. If we believe that the Bible is an explanation for certain traditions, it still hard to figure whose idea this was at first, or who was the first volunteer, regardless of what health benefits there may be. For obvious reasons, I’m guessing a woman thought of it.

The next year God comes back with a couple of angels at his side. This is the first time in the Bible that God appears with angels in tow. He is certainly not yet omniscient as he has to ask where Sarah is, even though she is within hearing distance.

God again foretells that Sarah would have a child. Sarah overhears and has a good laugh. God hears her laughing and they have a weird conversation where God asks her what she thinks she is laughing about, being that he’s God and nothing is too tough for him. Sarah says, pitifully, “I wasn’t laughing” and he just calls her on it with an “Oh, yes you were” type of statement instead of turning her into a pillar of salt or something else equally horrible.

Their little squabble doesn’t ruin the party and Abraham actually walks God outside when he is leaving (just as we might do at a modern party). He decides not to keep from Abraham that he is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sinfulness. He may have been talking to the angels when he says that – there is so much that is not clear.

Abraham, again showing he’s not a bad guy if you can forgive him pimping his wife, negotiates with God into saving the Sodom and Gomorrah if there are 50 righteous men there. God says okay and Abraham slowly negotiates him right down to 10 righteous men. At first it seems that God is not much of a negotiator until you realize there aren’t going to be any ten righteous men. In fact, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, is pretty much the only righteous man you can find in those towns at all.

When the two angels show up at Sodom, Lot intercepts them and tries to offer them hospitality. They decline at first, but finally accept. From what follows, you can’t blame them for being cautious. The next thing you know, all of the men in town, of every age, show up at Lot’s place and demand that he turn the visitors over to them for sex (hence, the term “sodomy”). Lot tries to talk them out of it, but they basically call him a foreigner and threaten him with worse than rape. You have to wonder what they had in mind that is worse than gang rape, but not as bad as death, which they probably would have said directly. I’m guessing making him a eunuch, but since there is no way to tell, fill in with your own punishment.

Now Lot, trying to arbitrate between the two groups, kindly offers the townsmen his own two virgin daughters to gang rape (see how righteous he is). But, apparently, despite the fact that we know there are children who were born in the town, the men aren’t bisexual, they are as purely homosexual as one can be, and turn down the virgins. It is not recorded whether the girls were relieved or insulted, if they knew about it at all.

No worries. The angels smote the townsmen blind, rescue Lot and tell him to get out of town and take his kids (if you were an angel, would you leave Lot’s children with him) and sons-in-laws with him. His son-in-laws laugh at him, so he takes his wife and daughters while God is raining sulfur down on Sodom and Gomorrah. There is modern speculation that God used atomic weapons, but a natural tragedy is probably a better guess as to the source or inspiration for the story. You already know happens to Lot’s wife – she looks back against the angels’ instructions and is turned into a pillar of salt.

Lot hides in a cave with his daughters. Keep in mind, he has already offered his daughters virginity to a mob outside his home. If they knew, they weren’t offended. In fact, dad was looking good to them. With no eligible bachelors around, they get Lot drunk on successive nights, and take turns sleeping with him. Serves him right. Again, we are not led to believe this was thought to be okay, as the Bible tells us that Lot was unaware of what they did. Of course, if he is not an idiot, he figures it out when they start showing.

There is a bit of the national creation myth in it, as two nations known from the Bible spring from these unusual couplings -- the Ammorites and the Moabites.

Back to Abraham. He moves again, and what do you think he does? Same game telling the local king that Sarah is his sister. This time God approaches the king and accuses him of sleeping with a married woman. The king denies sleeping with Sarah and God says something like “Ummm, I knew that. In fact, I kept you from sleeping with her. Now return her before I get really mad”.

The king goes to Abraham and says, basically, are you nuts? Are you trying to get me killed? This is when Abraham reveals that Sarah, aside from being his wife, is also his sister. This makes the argument that she was his niece even more confusing. Abraham explains that he asked Sarah to do this to show her love for him, by saving his life. Some might just call it a little kinky. God, feeling better, unseals the wombs of the king’s women, which, of course, a punishment hard to square with God claining that he knew the king hadn’t slept with Sarai.

Abraham’s letting his wife go off with kings so that he doesn’t get hurt also flies in the face of the argument that he was a great military leader, which was fostered by his rescue of Lot earlier on. The History Channel recently ran a documentary with experts arguing for this interpretation, but it doesn’t look sensible in consideration of all reported events.

Eventually, now back with Abraham, the elderly but apparently still desirable (even while pregnant) Sarah gives birth to Isaac. She says that everyone will laugh with her. Indeed, Isaac’s name means “he laughs”. Sarah’s good mood lasts long enough to tell Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael, after she sees Ishmael making fun of Isaac.

God, who really plays favorites, says “Go ahead. Do what she says. Don’t worry (wink, wink). I will make Ishmael the father of a nation too”. So, off goes Hagar again. This time, running out of water, she lays her son under a bush and walks away so she doesn’t see him die.

Another angel, or maybe the same one, pops by and points out to her a well that was obviously in walking distance if she had bothered to look. He also gives her the same Ishmael will be the father of a nation speech.

Ishmael does grow up in the desert and becomes a great archer. His mom finds him a nice Egyptian girl for a wife. It has been argued that he becomes the father of the Arab nation, but, like most things in the Bible, it is debated. Certainly, it is the view taken in Islam, although not in the Koran, but the Hadith (which are traditions much like the Midrash serves in Judaism).

Abraham gets his big moment to sacrifice Isaac at God’s instigation, until God, mercifully steps in. You have heard the biblical version, but not likely this one. Woody Allen satirized it perfectly (which I found at www.hjnc.org/about_us/dvar-eckhaus.html. This book was written decades ago. Is everything on the internet?):

“And Abraham awoke in the middle of the night and said to his only son, Isaac, "I have had a dream where the voice of the Lord sayeth that I must sacrifice my only son, so put your pants on." And Isaac trembled and said, "So what did you say? I mean when He brought this whole thing up?"

"What am I going to say?" Abraham said. "I'm standing there at two A.M. I'm in my underwear with the Creator of the Universe. Should I argue?"

"Well, did he say why he wants me sacrificed?" Isaac asked his father.

But Abraham said, "The faithful do not question. Now let's go because I have a heavy day tomorrow."

And Sarah who heard Abraham's plan grew vexed and said, "How doth thou know it was the Lord and not, say, thy friend who loveth practical jokes, for the Lord hateth practical jokes and whosoever shall pull one shall be delivered into the hands of his enemies whether they pay the delivery charge or not."

And Abraham answered, "Because I know it was the Lord. It was a deep, resonant voice, well modulated, and nobody in the desert can get a rumble in it like that."

And Sarah said, "And thou art willing to carry out this senseless act?" But Abraham told her, "Frankly yes, for to question the Lord's word is one of the worst things a person can do, particularly with the economy in the state it's in."

And so he took Isaac to a certain place and prepared to sacrifice him but at the last minute the Lord stayed Abraham's hand and said, "How could thou doest such a thing?"

And Abraham said, "But thou said ---"

"Never mind what I said," the Lord spake. "Doth thou listen to every crazy idea that comes thy way?" And Abraham grew ashamed. "Er - not really … no."

"I jokingly suggest thou sacrifice Isaac and thou immediately runs out to do it."

And Abraham fell to his knees, "See, I never know when you're kidding."

And the Lord thundered, "No sense of humor. I can't believe it."

"But doth this not prove I love thee, that I was willing to donate mine only son on thy whim?"

And the Lord said, "It proves that some men will follow any order no matter how asinine as long as it comes from a resonant, well-modulated voice."

And with that, the Lord bid Abraham get some rest and check with him tomorrow.”

(Woody Allen. Without Feathers)

I’ll speed it up here as the good stuff is done with. Sarah dies at 127 years but Abraham lives to 175 and is buried next to his wife in a cave he bought from some Canaanites. Before he goes, Abraham sends a servant to his brother’s people to get a wife for Isaac, now 40, and he returns with Rebekah, Isaac’s cousin, a marital relationship certainly not frowned upon until recent days.

Pretty good stuff. Lots of sex and violence. Yet despite the whole wife sharing thing, which to a modern eye, would seem a disqualifying event to even run for president, Abraham becomes the father figure of the Jews. He also appears in the Koran, where he plays a role as the patriarch, but mostly to foretell Islam. The New Testament does not have any stories about Abraham, although, through his role in Judiasm, he is also deemed the forefather of that religion as well.

You have to give the original Jews credit for not whitewashing the original wicked story, Unless, of course, the stories were even worse than recorded, and we just don't know it.
Obviously, according to the text, Abraham did have a personal relationship with God, although he was preceded in that by Adam and Noah, and for religious people, it is that which counts most.

The Bible makes great reading, but despite being one of the most popular books in the world, is rarely read sequentially by believers. It is actually a pretty good story, if you just blip over the "begats" and poetry. For my money, you get the most bang from your buck from Genesis, and “righteous” forefathers like Abraham and Lot.


  1. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Rabbi David?
    Reverend David?
    Father David?
    Who would have thought.

  2. This is one of those times that I'm going to hope I'm not standing close to you in the line at the pearly gates....

  3. Anonymous12:17 PM


    READ THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES FROM THE BIBLE AS IT HAS IMPLICATIONS ON THE WAR AGAINST TERROR/ISLAM and the claim of Israel that god gave them the land. If the child is an infant than the Judeo-Christian version becomes null and void and we are wasting our time and resources i.e. we could save trillions of dollars and create a more peaceful world rather than fighting against Islam the religion of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).

    The COVENANT with Abraham and his DESCENDANTS is central to JUDAISM/CHRISTIANITY/ISLAM.

    Please note this is not a competition between faiths but an attempt to decipher fact from fiction.

    Genesis 21:14 Contemporary English version se below link


    Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar an animal skin full of water and some bread. Then he put the boy on her shoulder and sent them away.

    GENESIS 16:16
    And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ish’mael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ish’mael to Abram.

    GENESIS 21:5
    Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

    At Genesis 22 Abraham had only 2 sons others came later. The Quran mentions that it was Ishmael that was sacrificed hence the reference in genesis 22:2 your only son can only mean someone has substituted Ishmael names for Isaac!!

    NOT ROMAN NUMERALS (I, II, III,IV,V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X) NB no concept of zero in roman numerals.

    100 years old – 86 years old = 14 ADD 3 YEARS FOR ISSAC’S WEANING


    Carefully read several times the above passage and then tell me the mental picture you get between the mother child interactions what is the age of the child. If the mental picture is that of a 17 year old child being carried on the shoulder of his mother, being physically placed in the bush, crying like a baby, mother having to give him water to drink, than the Islamic viewpoint is null and void. Why is there no verbal communications between mother and (17 YEAR OLD) child?

    GENESIS: 21:14 - 21
    So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the (17 YEAR OLD) child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the (17 YEAR OLD) child under one of the bushes. Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not look upon the death of the (17 YEAR OLD) child.” And as she sat over against him, the (17 YEAR OLD) child lifted up his voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad where he is. Arise, lift up the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the (17 YEAR OLD) lad a drink. And God was with the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

    The age of Ishmael at this stage is crucial to the Abrahamic faiths. If he is 17 than the JUDEO/CHRISTIAN point of view about the Abrahamic covenant is correct. This has devastating theological consequences of unimaginable proportions.

    This makes the conflict between Ishmael and Isaac and there descendants a work of fiction. I would strongly suggest it is clear cut case of racial discrimination and nothing to do with god almighty. The scribes have deliberately tried to make Isaac the only son and legitimate heir to the throne of Abraham??

    Please can you rationally explain this anomaly?

    I have asked many persons including my nephews and nieces - unbiased minds with no religious backgrounds but with reasonable command of the English language about this passage and they all agree that the child in the passage is an infant.

    For background info on the future religion of mankind see the following websites:















    HOLY QURAN CHAPTER 37 verses 101 - 122

    101. So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.

    102. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!"

    103. So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah., and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),

    104. We called out to him "O Abraham!

    105. "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

    106. For this was obviously a trial-

    107. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:

    108. And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:

    109. "Peace and salutation to Abraham!"

    110. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

    111. For he was one of our believing Servants.

    112. And We gave him the good news of Isaac - a prophet,- one of the Righteous.

    113. We blessed him and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.

    114. Again (of old) We bestowed Our favour on Moses and Aaron,

    115. And We delivered them and their people from (their) Great Calamity;

    116. And We helped them, so they overcame (their troubles);

    117. And We gave them the Book which helps to make things clear;

    118. And We guided them to the Straight Way.

    119. And We left (this blessing) for them among generations (to come) in later times:

    120. "Peace and salutation to Moses and Aaron!"

    121. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

    122. For they were two of our believing Servants.

    Therefore the claim that god gave the land to Israel is destroyed without the need of any WMD’s.

    Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583:

    Narrated Ibn Abbas:

    The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah. Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka'ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ishmael's mother followed him saying, "O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?" She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her Then she asked him, "Has Allah ordered you to do so?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Then He will not neglect us," and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards, and on reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Ka'ba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers:
    'O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.' (14.37) Ishmael's mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had).
    When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ishmael) tossing in agony; She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times."
    The Prophet said, "This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached the Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, 'O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?" And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it."
    The Prophet added, "May Allah bestow Mercy on Ishmael's mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth." The Prophet further added, "Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, 'Don't be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.' The House (i.e. Kaba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada'. They landed in the lower part of Mecca where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, 'This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.' They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water)." The Prophet added, "Ishmael's mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, 'Do you allow us to stay with you?" She replied, 'Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.' They agreed to that." The Prophet further said, "Ishmael's mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ishmael) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.


Your comments are welcome.

About Me

My photo
I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .