blake-d Digest				Volume 1996 : Issue 87

Today's Topics:

	  Re:  Scaffolds of the mind -Reply -Reply  re FORGIVENESS

	  Re: Blake and the Country versus City -Reply

	 RE: Scaffolds of the mind

	 RE: Scaffolds of the mind

	 Handwriting, Industrialism, & Cities

	 Blake and Zen

	 Complimentary Copies

	 An Emerson/Blake Connection

	 Re:  Scaffolds of the mind -Reply

	 Re: Blake Quarterly: Summer Issue

	 Re:  Complimentary Copies

	 Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism


	 Re: unsubscribing

	 Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

	 Old and New Testaments


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 13:22:45 +0200

From: P Van Schaik 


Subject:  Re:  Scaffolds of the mind -Reply -Reply  re FORGIVENESS


Thanks Ralph for your very full reply  on the subject of Forgiveness in

Blake.  Nevertheless, I think the concept is central in Blake.  In Eternity,

divine Justice and Mercy are in perfect balance, but when Urizen rears

himself up in pride, in Albion's `Sleep' , believing that he knows better

than the Great Humanity Divine who presides over Innocence, then `all

hell breaks loose' (to take a stylistic shortcut).  Since every Eternal can

contract into Experience, as Albion does, Forgiveness is absolutely

essential to the reinstatement of fallen Eternals into the bosom of God in


Blake consistently defines the Accuser (represented by Nobodaddy,

Urizen, Satan and all their cohorts)  as opposed to the Forgiver

(represented by Jesus).  For example, in MIlton 38, Book the Second,

Keynes p 530, Blake parodies Satan's  Pride  when he declares that he

is "God  the judge of all, the living & the dead" and defines Satan as

incessantly pitting his `Holiness/ Oppos'd to Mercy' (Plate 39, ll 1-2)

against the Forgiveness represented by Jesus who comes to Earth to

'put off/ In self-annihilation all that is not of God alone," and to expose the

self-righteous holiness of Satan and all his Priests and other hangers-on.

The Accuser is seen as a Negation - as the `Not Human'  (Line 1,Plate

41) which has to be excoriated since it is `a false Body, an Incrustation'

created by the Selfhood which `must be put off & annihilated alway(i.e.

continuously) (see closing lines of Plate 40, Keynes 533)  

Urizen is consistently equated with the Accuser, Satan, the negation of

the Forgiver, Christ and, in the closing Plate of Vala is portrayed as

sentencing the `lamb of God' to death `upon the Tree of Mystery'.  Thus,

the Tree on which Christ was crucified in history is given  a new

meaning - those who do so condemn him  to die are parodied  as `rocky

unshap'd forms' -so stonified that they have lost all resemblance to the

divine human form of Jesus and of the other sprits who remain  in

Innocence in Eternity.Not to forgive the  sins of others, is, for Blake,  to

perpetuate the state of Experience  in which the Accuser prevails over

the Forgiver, represented by Jesus.

To return to a point recently raised in other postings re Blake's use of the

term `Science' -- when Albion rises again into Eternity because his faults

are forgiven by the true God whose compassion is infinite, Los resumes

his former status as Urthona and dons the `golden armour of science' so

that he can again participate in the `intellectual War(s) ' of Eternity as

opposed to the `war of swords' provoked by all the delusions of the

`dark Religions ' of earth.  (See the concluding lines of Vala in Night 9)

Pam van  Schaik. 


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 11:36:53 +0200

From: P Van Schaik 


Subject:  Re: Blake and the Country versus City -Reply


I think one has to remember that Blake saw Jerusalem as the Emanation

of all things when they were fully expanded into God's light in

Innocence.Thus, the lines describing Jerusalem's pillars in London refer

not to this world but to their appearance within Albion's spiritual body

before he fell from Innocence, in Eternity.  He once (in common with all

the other Eternals)  freely  embraced Jerusalem - until Urizen saw this 

`consanguinity'  as sinful and falsely interpreted Jerusalem as  a whore,

so bringing about the fall of Albion  and all his Children. Pam van Schaik


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 05:54:36 -0700 (PDT)

From: Carolyn Austin 



Subject: RE: Scaffolds of the mind


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On Mon, 15 Jul 1996, CHRISTOPHER HOTTEL wrote:

> It seems to me that Scott Leonard had better read the Book of Joshua again, and

> this time closely. If ever Ezra Pound was right, it was that "these books" are

> a prime example of a "gangster's handbook." Just imagine: "I gave you land you

> never worked, you live in towns you never built, and now you eat from vineyards

> and olive-yards you never planted." If there was ever a definition of a virus,

> this is it! And in their own handbook!! Can you believe it??

> Christopher Hottel

> Tintagel

> Gilmanton NH

Perhaps you would prefer to define Jews as louses -- rather than 

gangsters or viruses -- as the Nazis did, so that you can drop a little 

Zyklon B (previously used as a pesticide, before it was discovered that 

it worked so well for genocide) on us and be done with it.  

This is not always a particularly polite list, but I did think that I'd 

be able to read it without encountering such egregious examples of 

anti-semitic language.

Carolyn Austin


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 10:16:53 -0400

From: Scott A Leonard 


Subject: RE: Scaffolds of the mind

Message-Id: <>

Christopher Hottel: thanks ever so much for your kindness.  Imagine

that it never occurred to me to read the Book of Joel with your kind of

rigor!  All this time, I'd been reading the document as metaphoric language

which established the relationship (from the divine perspective) between

Israel and the Almighty.  You know, "I God made the heavens and

the earth--including your meagre little foot of earth--and though you've

done nothing to deserve or earn your place, I've given it to you

anyway."  Nobadaddy notions about the relationship between the

Divine and humans to be sure, but then the prophetic books' represen-

tation of God seem pretty much the blueprint from which Blake drew up

first Nobadaddy and then Urizen.

Hope things in your colonized section of the world--talk about viruses!--

are merry and bright.


scott a. leonard

youngstown state u


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 10:42:48 -0400

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: Handwriting, Industrialism, & Cities


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Tim Kitchen wrote:

>Did Blake indeed forsake typesetting in favour of handwriting or was

>it technologically impossible to achieve the look and feel that Blake

>wanted through typesetting?

It was artistically impossible, because of what he was doing with text and

imagery. However, if he had wanted the text to be typeset, as he had done

earlier for Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Church Graveyard", he COULD

have either used registration marks to double-print the intertwining of

text and imagery or created it in a more "Graveyard"-ish way. The question

is, why does he do things like you point ou below:

>Look at the way that art is intertwined with text in Blake's plates,

>where there is a gap between verses - vines grow; where there is space

>between a stanza and the edge of the page - a flock of birds take flight.


>These are visual manifestations of the energy and exuberance

>that Blake writes about.If his work was typeset all those spaces would

>have had to be filled with strips of lead...all the organic forms

>replaced with mechanical ones.

Exactly, Tim. Organic forms versus mechanical forms. He is making a

statement about not only the inter-relationship of text and image, but how

handwriting can get you closer to the author's intent than typesetting.

This is in contrast to William Morris, Dante Rosetti, and company, who

found that Medieval typesetting was "enough" to show their displeasure with

the modern mind (and type) set.

This also reinforces what, believe me, is a continuing disagreement between

Paul Yoder, Jennifer Michael and me on Blake, the city, and the country.

The main point... which I again believe came in response to someone

thinking Blake was a gung-ho person who would love what is happening in

Bangkok and other newly industrializing cities... is that Blake is

interested in the organic interrelationship between his verbal and visual

forms, and the statement that he's trying to make on how we little sheep--

to use a pun-- have lost our way with Newton's/Locke's/Bacon's crushing,

mechanistic wheels. The ONLY poem Blake has about a city is "London". What

do you make of it? And what do you make of the adaptation of the same

illustration in plate 84 of "Jerusalem"? Regardless of whether Jerusalem is

a person or a city, or these are fallen spectres of... whatever... here is

more of Blake on cities:

"I see London blind & age-bent begging thro the Streets

Of Babylon, led by a child... his tears run down his beard

The voice of a Wandering Reubens ecchoes from street to street

In all the Cities of the Nations: Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam

The Corner of Broad Street weeps: Poland Street languishes

To Great Queen Street & Lincoln's Inn all is distress & woe."

Of course I'm waiting to find out what Broad and Poland and Great Queen

Streets REALLY mean......

to YOU. But in the meantime, as I look over the Blake repertoire, my

hypothesis remains. He prefers the crooked roads of LIFE than the straight

roads of rigidity and DEATH.

And of course, maybe he was quite exuberant about certain aspects of

becoming modern, which he omits from his official canon. The seen and the


You'll not see anything like Wordsworth's poem, "Composed upon Westminster

Bridge, September 3, 1802" in Blake. Or will you?

-Randall Albright


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 10:42:27 -0400

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: Blake and Zen


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Thank you, Izak and Gloudina Bouwer, for drawing attention to Hubert

Benoit's analysis of the techniques of Zen masters.

What Benoit calls "non-convergent sentences to break the strangle-hold of

the convergent habit of thinking" used in Zen is often what I think of as

the brilliant, if disorienting, use of what I call jump-shifts in Blake.

For sentences, such as the Proverbs of Hell in "The Marriage of Heaven and

Hell", I accept that they don't "add up", but instead act like a fireworks

display, and the pause between each firework (albeit brief) gives me time

to ponder what he's doing. The overall effect is something... abstract,

conclusionless... giving the reader/viewer something to consider. Enigmatic

is a word that comes to mind. Blake refuses to be pinned down by any one

view or construct. No net or snare can keep him tied up for long!

Paul Yoder describes this phenomenon well, too:

        "My sense is that these 'problems' are related to Blake's

deliberate efforts to erase the immediate context of almost any given

moment in the prophetic works.  The challenge of reading Blake's longer

works is like the challenge of life which also often seems like a string of

disconnected elements -- the challenge is to find the connections."

And yet, to me, the problem isn't limited to the prophetic works. These are

more expansive, the stories are longer, dream-like, ordinary-reason-free

flows, but the problem-- or attraction-- is also there in the _Songs_ and

shorter works, too.

I pulled out a few Zen books to ponder this relationship (what was only

imagined can now be proved) between Blake and Zen further. I use just this

one to show some connections

"To cast off the delusive way or ordinary consciousness while sitting on a

cushion in a quiet room is only the beginning...."

        --A.V. Grimstone, Introduction to _Zen Training, Methods and

Philosophy_ by Katsuki Sekida

"To cast off Rational Demonstration by Faith in the Saviour,

To cast off the rotten rags of Memory by Inspiration,

To cast off Bacon, Locke & Newton from Albion's covering,

To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination;"

        --William Blake, from Plate 41, "Milton"

Zen doesn't exalt imagination like Blake, in my opinion. (Other views?) I

believe Zen thinks of it, nonjudgmentally, as yet another wave of the mind

that is trying to be calmed.

"We're nothing, and nothing will help us."

        - "Heroes" by David Bowie, who is not a Zen master, but has been

influenced by Zen.

However, Zen definitely is trying to get you beyond a great deal of what

Blake calls "rotten rags"...

* the false good/bad dichotomy which cultures create, and can get internalized

* the mechanical reasoning which Blake affiliates with Bacon, Locke and Newton

So there are some convergences as well as  divergences to the strategies

going on. And, when you look at some Zen art, the seeming "whim" that

creates both sense and nonsense has something both in common and not in

common with Blake.

Katsuki Sekida writes:

"In the _Mumonkan, Case 32, Mumon writes, 'He treads the sharp edge of a

sword. He runs over the steep ridge of an iceberg.' Every moment is the

sharp edge of a sword. A slight misstep rpoves fatal. Every moment you are

creating yourself; your thought is of youw own making and it affects all

your succeeding thoughts; it decides the tread of you mind toward integrity

or weakness. Every moment and every thought yive a new start to the next

moment and thought. Every moment we are changing the aspect of our


        --from "Three Nen-Actions",  _Zen Training, Methods and Philosophy_

This is a beautiful way to think as I read through Plate 1 of "The Marriage

of Heaven and Hell".  It also is interesting as I view the beautiful poetic

lower part of Plate i (or 1) of "Milton".

Thanks for bringing up the Zen Connection, Bouwers!

-Randall Albright


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 12:23:35 -0400 (EDT)

From: Patricia Neill 


Subject: Complimentary Copies

Message-Id: <>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

I hope you all won't mind, but rather than answer each of you who requested

a comp copy of Blake, I will tell you all this way that they are in the

mail. If any of you wishes to subscribe, the price per volume year is $25

for individuals. 

Many thanks to all of you,

Patricia Neill

Managing Editor



Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 13:10:47 -0400

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: An Emerson/Blake Connection


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At the beginning of Chapter, 89. "English Traits", in the  _Mind on Fire_

Ralph Waldo Emerson biography,  Robert D. Richard Jr. writes:

"He (Emerson) put increased emphasis on imagination (1872), quoting William

Blake enthusiastically and at length:

(Emerson quoting Blake):

"'He who deos not imagine in stronger and better lineaments and in stronger

and better light than his perishing mortal eye can see, does not imagine at

all.... I question not my corporeal eye any more than I would question a

window concerning a sight. I look through it, and not with it.'"

"He emphasizes the role of poetry in making us undertand the identity

philosophy, and his interest in myth has become an interest in mythogenetic


(Emerson himself):

"Tis easy to repaint the mythology of the Greeks... but to point out where

the same creative force is now working in our own houses and public

assemblies; to connect the vivid energies acting at this hour in New York

and Chicago and San Francisco with universal symbols requires a subtle and

commanding thought."

        - from "Poetry and Imagination" , _CW, vol. 8, _Letters and Social

Aims_, 1872

Ralph Waldo Emerson

talking about William Blake

124 years ago.


-Randall Albright


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 11:00:24 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ralph Dumain 


Subject: Re:  Scaffolds of the mind -Reply

Message-Id: <>

To Pam Van Schaik:

Your account of forgiveness is far more comprehensive than mine.

I don't deny that this is a key concept in Blake's cosmology.  I

am rather skeptical about its applicability in practical life and

Blake's own ability to practice it.  I think Blake was conscious

of his own worst weaknesses including the implications of his own

bad temper.  A person who has to live an entire life of

frustration and repression has the option of nursing fantasies of

revenge, or of trying to find some other pyschological escape from

the bind that he is in.  I think Blake's interest in forgiveness

of sins also involves his own search for peace of mind, to

compensate for his own fiery temper and all the grudges he held

against others.  Ask me why I would understand this.  In a sense,

one cannot live without "forgiveness": in the sense of passing

beyond the finite limitations particular experiences have put you

in.  One has to reconcile oneself with circumstances somehow.

Otherwise one gets terminally constipated by one's past negative

experiences.  I am not convinced forgiving the perpetrators is a

realistic option, but leaving them behind on the path to the

future is a more psychologically plausible option.

To Gloudina Bower:

I'm not sure I have much to add to my account of Jesus the

Revolutionary, let alone take on Golgonooza.  Well, there are a

few points I could add on now.

The Urizenic universe is one of exact moral accounting, an eye for

an eye, etc.  It's the same dull round as described in "There is

No Natural Religion"; it's another aspect of the mechanistic

universe Blake hates.  How can one surpass the limitations of

finitude but by making a qualitative change; by breaking up the

equations of action and reaction and making a qualitative leap to

the future?  This is Jesus' forgiveness of sins.

Let's consider also the society in which we live, and our own

penal system and conceptions of justice.  Nothing in our system is

geared to reward good deeds or even to encourage them, or to

develop people or nurture them so that "crime" can be prevented in

the future, yet we are very scrupulous in meting out every atom of

"justice" to "criminals" so long as they are poor or working

class.  It's a static system.  It makes a person absolutely

responsible for actions for which he is only partly responsible,

not having been in full control of the circumstances which molded

him.  Rather than conceiving criminal justice as a relative moment

in the ongoing evolutionary motion of social development, it is

frozen into a static system of self-identity that is incapable of

making the dialectical leap into the future.  Bill "Cracker"

Clinton's three-strikes-'n-yer-out is a load of bullshit that

can't solve anything but make capitalists richer -- the privatized

prison industry. The criminal justice system is more criminal than

the criminals themselves.

Blake also writes somewhere that prevention of crime is more

important than forgiveness of the criminal, just as mercy would be

no more if we did not make somebody poor, and pity no more could

be if all were as happy as we.  Blake wants to burst the bonds of

the mechanistic universe and hence Jesus overturns the tables of

the martial moral virtues great and small of the druidic Urizenic


Also to be considered is the role of Jesus as the Universal.

Unlike Hegel's Geist, Blake's Jesus is not a bloated general form

that accumulates and imperialistically absorbs all finite

particulars.  (Of course, Hegel believes he is a particularizer

and not a generalizer, but he is a liar.)  I have no time for

petty and seeming arts of compliment; I have innocence to defend

and ignorance to instruct.  Who's going to defend my precious

minute particulars?  Instead of the brain (philosopher-king)

imperially dominating the body (workers), who's going to allow

each member to exult in its high breathing joy?  Without coercion,

all members with love and sympathy snuggle up to the Universal

Human Form Divine, whose archetype is Jesus.

This is a radical negation of the whole of ruling class philosophy

from Plato and Confucius on down.  This is revolution.

>how will your revolutionary Jesus play in Marxist Peoria?

I'm not sure I have unravelled all of the subtleties of this

multiply ambiguous locution.  Is there either a Peoria in Marxism

or Marxism in Peoria?  Very dialectical.

Now what do I mean by saying Blake's cosmology is class conscious?

First, it is undeniable that this is so, from Blake's early

revolutionary period to his latest works (even after his

disillusion with the French Revolution).  Every word Blake writes

is to break down Urizen's cosmic order.  But of course Blake

doesn't say that the workers and peasants are morally virtuous,

whilst the evil capitalists and landed gentry are

doubleplusungood.  Of course the latter is a given, but the former

is not.  In delivering the individuals from the terrible states

that they're in, one must beware the same old moralistic

Self-Righteousness popping up again, say in the form of Maoism.

Ever see those dumb-ass revolutionary operas like "Red Detachment

of Women", which ends with all these fierce unisex females

machine-gunning all the counter-revolutionaries in sight?  Talk

about yer land of Ulro, oy, does that stuff give me a headache.

Of course Marx was never into such nonsense.


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 14:36:00 -0400 (EDT)

From: "C. S. Beauvais" 


Subject: Re: Blake Quarterly: Summer Issue



(Preface: I hope this is going to the right place)

I realize that this is late, but I would appreciate a complimentary copy 

of the summer issue of the Blake Quarterly. 

Thank you,

Charles Beauvais

Box 3082 

Connecticut College

New London, CT 06320













Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 12:15:50 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ralph Dumain 


Subject: Re:  Complimentary Copies

Message-Id: <>

I sent you a private message over the weekend, but it bounced

back.  Ddi you finally get it?  Please also give all of us an

address and entioty to whom to make out a check .  If you didn;t

get my message, I'll send it to you personally asgain.


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 12:20:28 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ralph Dumain 


Subject: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism

Message-Id: <>

Christopher Hottel has me in stitches.  One cannot show enough

contempt for Jehovah and his Old Testicle, known to you as the Old


Can Carolyn Austin and Scott Leonard be seriously accusing me and

Christopher of anti-Semitism?  Did I make any scurrilous remarks

about my oppressed Eastern European ancestors?  No, I referred to

the _ancient_ Hebrews, (my distant forbears who have no more in

common with me and the cultural experience that created me than

the man in the moon) not as victims, but as victimizers who

committed unspeakable acts of genocide to establish and maintain

their patriarchal empire in the so-called Holy Land.  Does one

think that the legal and ethical code of a bunch of ignorant

savages can compare to the least of the Greeks' achievements?  Not

that I am any fan of the silly Greek and Latin slaves of the

sword, but really, how can anyone take the Old Testicle seriously?

Please read Mark Twain's LETTERS TO THE EARTH.  One cannot show

sufficient contempt for Judaism as a religion, which in addition

to its own crimes spawned the horrible monstrosities of

Christianity and Islam.  To mistake anti-Judaism for anti-Semitism

is itself a shameless slander.

Blake's greatest error was in calling himself a Christian.  He was

no such thing.  It is evident, however, that the Christian

mythology is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of

interpretations: thou reads black where I reads white .... and the

figure of Jesus also accommodates a variety of mutually exclusive

and irreconcilable roles  -- the unique savior or Son of God vs.

an archetype of universal humanity.  Only in the latter sense is

Blake a participant in "Christianity" and critical and

revolutionary at the same time.

Nathan Miserocchi has captured all of the problems involved in the

Christ-like forgiveness of sins.  I have only partially answered

his questions, but if one reads between the lines of his and my

statements, one will indeed see that the conventional roles of

forgiveness and Last Judgement are not simply to be taken at face



Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 15:56:23 -0400 (EDT)

From: Thomas Dupree 


Subject: unsubscribing


Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

Can anyone tell me how to get off this list?  Thanks.


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 16:54:32 -0400 (EDT)

From: "C. S. Beauvais" 



Subject: Re: unsubscribing


Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

On Tue, 16 Jul 1996, Thomas Dupree wrote:

> Can anyone tell me how to get off this list?  Thanks.



To quit the list, send a message with the word "unsubscribe" in the

subject field to this address:

This is also the address for administrative requests.

I, for one, would be interested in why you want to unsubscribe. (I could 

assume, but there is always the chance that I am wrong). 













Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 14:00:40 -0700 (PDT)

From: Carolyn Austin 



Subject: Re: Blake, Jesus, Forgivemess, anti-Semitism


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On Tue, 16 Jul 1996, Ralph Dumain wrote:

> Can Carolyn Austin and Scott Leonard be seriously accusing me and

> Christopher of anti-Semitism?  

I can't speak for Scott Leonard, nor in fact did I respond to Ralph

Dumain's posting.  But yes, I seriously believe that Christopher's posting

repeated a good deal of classic anti-semitic rhetoric, particularly in its

use of the language of infection to describe Jew.  Nor do I believe that

Ralph Dumain's attempt to distinguish between anti-Judaism and

anti-semitism is convincing, given both the history of convergence 

between the two (see Elain Pagels new work) and Mr. Dumain's ad hominem 

attack not of Judaism as a system of belief, but of Jews.

I'm not interested in deflecting this list any further from the business 

of reading Blake, and I won't post any further on the subject, either 

publicly or privately.  But I did want to register my offense at 

Christopher's language.  I hope the list will now continue as it always 

has, with its usual decorous and insightful exchange.

Carolyn Austin


Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 18:19:31 -0400

From: (R.H. Albright)


Subject: Old and New Testaments


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Mr. Dumain:

Considering there are people of many races, denominations, and other creeds

on this list... why do you think it's funny to call the Old Testament the

Old Testicle? I happen to like some of the Old Testament, as well as the

New Testament, as well as Plato, and so did Blake. But I don't insult one,

and then in an attempt to say that I haven't insulted, further insult. The

Bible and Greco-Roman thought are doing different things. And they're both

as complexly in this Web of submission or liberation or whatever your

sunglasses are that you're wearing-- Marxism?-- mere arrogance?-- mere

insult not only to Blake but to those who LIKE what Blake sees as the

sunnyside up to The Bible?-- mere insult to the Jews and Christians and

post-Christians on this list so you can make a lewd point and make one

forget parts of what were a good argument on your part?

Talk about the arrogance of angels......... OR devils............

-Randall Albright


End of blake-d Digest V1996 Issue #87