Author’s Note

1980 (@ 19 years old)

1980 (@ 19 years old)

2014-12-07 @ 16:00 CST

King Solomon, were he alive today, might write something like this:

(Ecclesiastes 12:12 RSV-Updated) My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many blogs there is no end, and much posting is a weariness of the flesh.

But having a cognitive preference like that of Solomon – if not his God-given wisdom and largeness of mind – I’m interested in many subjects, not all of which are suitable for the general audience of my personal blog, The Chronicles of Johanan Rakkav. Once upon a time, besides other specialized blogs which I’ve retained or revived, I had a blog for essays about the Bible and its background and another blog for essays about the Bible and personality type.

I am a consultant for – though not technically an employee of – the Living Church of God. The beauty of this opportunity is that I get to contribute to the Work of a church which really does believe in “striving for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” even while “growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ”. Toward that end, I can contribute in a number of specialized ways. Here you will reap some of the fruits of my contributions.

About the title: Johanan Rakkav – in King James Version-style English, it sounds like “Joe-HAY-nun Rak-KAV” – is my “pen name” on the Web, and my chief “pen name” as a creative writer. It comes from the Hebrew Yohanan/Yochanan Rakkav (יוחנן רכב). When I took Modern Hebrew at the University of Arizona (1984-1985), my teacher called me “Yochanan Wheeler”. It didn’t sound euphonic to my ear or look good to me on paper. So I looked for a Biblical Hebrew word which at least evoked the idea of “wheels”, sounded good with Yochanan and looked good with it too. In Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary I found the uncommon noun rakkav, “horseman, charioteer”. Perfect. Not until much later did I learn that rakkav is all but unknown to Modern Hebrew speakers and that “Johanan Rakkav”, in Hebrew, would sound archaic even to an Israeli! On top of that, even later I learned there is a much more common Hebrew word which in Biblical Hebrew sounded distinct but in Israeli Hebrew does not: raqav, “decay, rottenness”. Oh well, at the Talmudists put it on another subject, I’ll write what I like and he who wishes to err, let him err.

(יוחנן רכב)

3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Author’s Note

  1. Enjoyed it
    Affectionately yours
    Yisraela

  2. Great post! I don’t know if you ever heard about Yehoshafat Harkabi (he was the chief of Israeli military intelligence back in the 50’s). His original last name was a Russian or Polish term similar to the Hebrew ‘Rakav’ (if I remember correctly).

    • Harkabi itself likely derives from the same root, as if “ha-Rekabi”. But that would be like “Rechabite” in Hebrew/KJV-style English, and more especially like “Rechab”. Same root. For some reason the Strong’s Dictionary mislabels “Rechabites” as being related to a village “Rakah” rather than to their father. Jonadab the son of Rechab, as is clear in the context.

      Perhaps like me, Yehoshafat adopted his Indo-European family name to the closest Hebrew analog he could find. At least “Rakkav” has some relation to wheels (and interestingly, the original Anglo-Saxon “weal her” means “lucky hero”). 🙂

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