Both of my readers may recall that last year I posted to my YouTube channel an apology to self-styled “scholar” Robert Clifton Robinson. Bobby, as I called him in my video, had issued a call to debate and I was blissfully unaware of its existence. You can watch that video here.
Because I didn’t want to leave him hanging, once I found out about the invitation, I issued the apology and declined. Why did I decline? As I explain in the video, I do not consider Robinson to be a serious person. I offered three examples from Robinson’s voluminous writings that make it clear to me why he isn’t, the first of which was related to a blog post he had written responding to Assyriologist Joshua Bowen on the subject of the purported genocide of the Canaanites. In one section of that post, Robinson offered the following:
As I note in the video, his support for these claims, indicated by endnotes 21 and 22, came from the website baal.com, specifically an article entitled “Divine Overview of Baal.” Here’s a screenshot of those two footnotes from the article.
In my video, I respond to these claims, citing the work of Beth Alpert Nakhai.
So, that was six months or so ago. In the intervening time, there was no indication Robinson had seen my video. (UPDATE: I made him directly aware of the video a few days ago and he claims to have watched it [for the first time]. I wrote this post before that.) I didn’t expect a response and I really didn’t want one. If he had issued one, it would have just been filled poor research and even poorer writing.
Fast forward to January 14th. That day I published a short blog post addressing a piece written by Robinson on Genesis 30. After doing so, I thought I would look through some other recent posts and stumbled across one entitled “Impeaching the Atheist Assertion of Genocide in the Bible.” In skimming the piece, I noticed a rather familiar sight.
This is verbatim from his piece he had written in response to Joshua Bowen. Here is an image comparison. (Just move the arrows to compare.)
Robinson has made a number of changes to turn a piece specific to Joshua Bowen into one about atheists generally. For example, notice how Robinson in the first paragraph took out “Joshua Bowen” but left “Josh.” That’s a little sloppy, but it’s a genius move by Robinson. Who needs to write new material when you can just copy and paste your old stuff and offer it up as new?
In any event, because I’m in the habit of checking people’s notes, I thought I would check Robinson’s again. And boy am I glad I did. Here is what I found.
As I read it, a name stuck out to me: Beth Alpert Nakhai. And then I read the quote and that stuck out to me too. It was the exact same quote I had included in my video apology! It wasn’t properly cited, but it was the same quote. Robinson must have seen my video and lifted the quotation from it.
And so, I became curious. Given that this section of the post was pretty much the same as the section from his post responding to Bowen, I wonder if he bothered to change the endnotes there as well. And what did I find? He had changed them!
This was just more evidence that Robinson had seen my video and included a quotation that I had offered in it. Of course, Nakhai’s words don’t support at all what Robinson wrote. For example, Robinson claims that newborns had been dismembered, placed in jars, and then installed in the walls of homes so that the gods would bless the owners. Nakhai makes no such connection.
So, Robinson had seen my video and lifted my quotation of Nakhai for his own piece, sans proper citation. But what about that second citation, the one that mentions Robert Macalister? I did a Google search for the whole thing to try and find a source, but what I did find was far more interesting. In a post entitled “Understanding the Wrath of God,” we find what seems to be the first iteration of Robinson’s words about child sacrifice among the Canaanites.
Here, as in the post responding to Bowen and the more recent copy-and-paste job, Robinson has two citations – 12 and 13. And when we look at them, what do we find? Pretty much exactly what we found in the other two posts!
But there’s a pretty big problem here. Robinson’s piece “Understanding the Wrath of God” was published on June 16th, 2014. But it cites the work of Nakhai that appeared in a volume published four years later in 2018. To my knowledge, Robinson doesn’t have a time machine. Instead, it appears that he’s going back and making some serious revisions to his blog posts without bothering to indicate he’s done so.
Oh well. At least it’s evidence he got my apology!
 Robert Clifton Robinson, “Impeaching Dr. Josh Bowen and “The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament” (6.17.22), robertcliftonrobinson.com.
 Web Scribe of Baal, “Divine Overview of Baal” (12.15.13), baal.com.
 Robert Clifton Robinson, “Impeaching the Atheist Assertion of Genocide in the Bible” (1.7.23), robertcliftonrobinson.com.
 Robert Clifton Robinson, “Understanding the Wrath of God” (6.16.14), robertcliftonrobinson.com.
4 thoughts on “Robert Clifton Robinson Saw My Apology Video!”
Just think what will happen now that this author will have access to ChatGPT. Or, perhaps, don’t.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Oof. Made the mistake of reading RCR’s post “impeaching” Josh Bowen, and of course it’s rife with ahistorical applesauce, in addition to the item you identified here.
An exemplar that’s close to my amateur philological heart:
* * *
Critics often date the flood of Gilgamesh, earlier than the Biblical account of Noah, found in Genesis 6-8.
The Masoretic Text of the Torah places the Great Flood 1,656 years after Creation, or about 3,500 B.C., long before the flood of Gilgamesh. In the 17th century B.C., Joseph Scaliger cited the Creation at 3950 B.C., Petavius stated it took place in 3982 B.C., and according to James Ussher’s conclusions, creation happened in 4004 B.C., placing the Great Flood at 2348 BCE.
The Gilgamesh flood narrative is alleged to have been written before 2,000 B.C., but it was assembled from material dated as early as 3.300 B.C.[5,6]
The problem with assuming that the Gilgamesh flood happened and was written before Noah, is due to the assumption that Noah had no ability to write about this event, asserting that the early Hebrews did not have an active writing system. This assumption is not only incorrect, and impeached by archeological evidence that proves the first alphabet did not come from the Phoenicians, but from the early Hebrew people.
* * *
Where to begin with that last paragraph? For the sake of argument, let’s assume a Noah figure existed ca. 3000 BCE. That’s approximately 1500-2000 years before Hebrew evolved from the Canaanite language–the common Northwest Semitic ancestor also of Phoenician, Moabite, and a few other tongues that were spoken in the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age Levant, and that were mutually intelligible dialects for some time. Whatever language this Noah spoke, it certainly wasn’t Hebrew, and may not even have been in the larger Semitic family of languages. Akkadian is the earliest attested Semitic language, and didn’t really take off until the mid-3rd millennium BCE. Sumerian would be a more likely candidate for our hypothetical Noah figure, by my reckoning, for a number of reasons I won’t get into.
(Also, calling Noah a “Hebrew” is anachronistic even in the OT’s own terms. Noah predated the Israelites (the nation of Jacob/Israel) by many generations and centuries.)
It gets worse if we follow RCR further down the rabbit hole. That last paragraph links to another of his posts (https://robertcliftonrobinson.com/proving-the-exodus-happened-and-moses-wrote-the-pentateuch/), where we read this:
* * *
One of the challenges to this theory of an early Semitic alphabet, has been the idea that the Phoenicians invented the alphabet around 1100 B.C., long after the time of Moses.
The discovery of this early Semitic script, now dated at 1450 BC, impeaches the Phoenician text theory. This evidence proves that what has existed in modern textbooks as the earliest alphabet and written language—the language of the Phoenicians—is now known to be an error.
It was the early Semites, that invented the first alphabet. Moses had a form of this early Hebrew text, and it was this alphabet that he used to write the first five books of the Bible, the Torah.
* * *
Wrong on multiple counts (even putting aside more recent discoveries of early alphabetic inscriptions, such as the Lachish lice comb). The idea that the Phoenicians “invented” the alphabet is reductive, stale, CliffsNotes history. And literally no-one familiar with antiquity claims that Phoenician was the “earliest . . . written language.” We know that the Hieroglyphic/hieratic and cuneiform writing systems of the Egyptians and Sumerians predate the Phoenicians by a couple of millennia. Moreover, Ugaritic used a modified alphabetic cuneiform in the mid-2nd millennium BCE.
This Semitic script RCR mentions is called the Proto-Sinaitic or Proto-Canaanite alphabet, which the Phoenicians adapted for their alphabet (ca. 1200-900 BCE), which in turn was appropriated and adapted by the Arameans, Hebrews, Greeks, and others. RCR seems to assume “Semitic” must mean “early Hebrew,” when the reality is more complicated.
So, in sum, RCR believes Hebrew existed long before it did, doesn’t seem to understand the relationship between Canaanite, Hebrew, Phoenician, and other West Semitic tongues, and apparently doesn’t even know that Phoenician was a Semitic language.
Yet RCR thinks himself qualified to “impeach” Josh Bowen, who I’m sure knows all of this, and can actually read Aramaic, Hebrew, Sumerian, and possibly other languages of the ANE. It’s almost adorable.
LikeLiked by 1 person
“It’s almost adorable.” Cracked me up.
His lack of self-awareness is astonishing, and his his lack of education consistent with his work in apologetics.
On another note, I think I may start a drinking game where every time he uses the word “impeach” I take a shot. I need to get my affairs in order first though.