An e-mail from hell?

I was surprised to receive this evening an e-mail whose sender is listed as “Satan”. I was even more surprised to discover it appeared to have been written by ElShaddai Edwards, who is certainly not an alter ego of the devil.

In fact the message was a pingback for my post on Satan in Job, generated by ElShaddai’s post Satan, Job and Goethe which quotes and links to my post. The confusion arose because my WordPress installation generated an e-mail for the pingback with the From: address “Satan, Job and Goethe « He is Sufficient <>”; my mail program Thunderbird parsed this as two senders’ addresses separated by a comma, and only displayed the first sender’s name.

This seems to be a small bug in my WordPress installation, still version 2.3.3 at the moment, in that it is generating sender’s address display names with commas in them. These are not permitted in display names except in quote marks; that is, they are permitted in quoted-strings, but not in atoms, as specified here. There is a further bug, or undesirable feature, in these display names in that they include visible HTML entities like “&raquo;” and “&#8217;”.

Perhaps they have fixed these bugs in the new WordPress 2.5, but in the light of some other bloggers’ comments I am not going to rush into an upgrade.

7 thoughts on “An e-mail from hell?

  1. Peter,
    I am interested to know as to whether you think that Job (or Jonah) is intended to be read as a sort of extended “Jewish parable” i.e. the writers did not mean it as liiteral events — but rather to be read like lthe parables of Jesus are.

    I believe CS Lewis held this view.

  2. Reminds me of an incident in the Diocese of the Arctic when I was there, when the executive archdeacon, referring to our suffragen bishop, Chris Williams, wrote the following in a letter to our diocesan bishop:

    ‘I have already faxed Christ about this…’

  3. Iconoclast, I am not sure on this one. I wonder if there is anything in the wording to suggest a fictional story. In English we expect this when a story begins “Once upon a time”. In Hebrew, does what is translated “In the land of Uz there lived a man …” suggest fiction? Do we have any evidence one way or the other? We might compare with books like Ruth and Daniel which start with time indications, of which there is none in Job, and real locations, when the location of Job is unknown if not fictional. There may also be subtle marking in the verb tenses used and other grammatical details, as there are for traditional fiction in some other languages. A matter for detailed research, I suspect, although this research is hard because people tend to have strongly held opinions on such issues.

  4. Mike, I was just editing this post and others to tidy up some broken links. WordPress has a strange way of sending out random new pingbacks when posts are edited. I received a lot myself during this tidying up.

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