I have credited him in each and every training I have conducted since 2009, and referred men and women to sign up for his training. In spite of receiving excellent interview training from the University of Maine's Muskie Institute of Child Welfare in 2003, where lawyers pressed and pressed me to be legally sound, and the various statement analysis trainings I have had, and the extreme volume of interviewing I have conducted in the past decade plus, and the interaction of such powerfully talented analysts like Kaaryn Gough and others, nowhere have I learned more than what I have learned from Mr. Sapir.
The training by prosecuting attorneys in interviewing met with Statement Analysis, which then was built by an unsustainable pace of interviewing in the child protective services world. I interviewed more than 6.000 adults and children in just over 10 years. When all this met with "SCAN", everything came together for me. This then "took off" for me due to the immovable structure of SCAN.
Readers who might question the quality of such an extreme quantity of interviews in case overload do well: it was impossible to sustain quality while under such a burden of numbers. This, too, however, had its purpose, as SCAN was practiced by me, regularly averaging 20 hours per week (nights and weekends) that I eventually found myself 'circling pronouns in my head' while people spoke. My job was to interview and dictate, interview and dictate. This produced:
Statements proved, verified by interviews, that Mr. Sapir's system was genius; rare genius. Each admission or confession was carefully noted in correlation to the written or recorded statement (or, in many cases, my handwritten notes where I wrote exact quotes).
Several years ago, I asked Mr. Sapir why he did not write a book on Statement Analysis, (perhaps I begged a bit) and when he decline he said that there was no book worth writing, unless it was about the Bible. As an orthodox Jew, this was his opinion, even though I read any book he recommended, or even just mentioned, I wanted something from him in writing, that I could 'curl up with' and learn from. I had exhausted everything I could from him, and wanted more. I had listened to recordings of his lectures, over and over again, and had read, and re-read, every article he wrote. I wanted more.
This week, "Linguistic Archeology: Unearthing the Secrets of Genesis Using SCAN" arrived in the mail.
I have been unable to put it down. I struggle in reviewing it, yet, with having only read a portion of it, I am comfortable reviewing it for readers here what I have gleaned thus far.
It is something special.
It is written for fans of Statement Analysis and Genesis.
SCAN is the term for "Scientific Content Analysis." Mr. Sapir did not invent Statement Analysis (perhaps Solomon did), no more than someone "invented" mathematics. In this manner, no one "owns" statement analysis in the way no one "owns" math.
Statement Analysis studies from history are fascinating and research from various parts of the world is helpful. It is, however, the "SCAN technique" that is the "grandfather" of all Statement Analysis I find taught, today. It is a "scientific" system, that is, a system that removes guess work, and once repeated, yields repeating results.
I have enjoyed Dr. Ekman's works, long before "Lie To Me" brought him fame. The TV show produced a bonanza of "experts" who were to pattern themselves after the TV show and "know" if someone is lying by something as innocuous as a twitch of the eye, without saying 'hello' to psychotropics and botox.
Fair enough, there are a few people that are intuitively good at this, but micro expression training is not something that is producing results for investigators; from police, to journalists to therapists to human resources. It is entertaining to see on television and the gnostic thought of "knowing what no one else does" is enticing, especially to certain personality types, but Statement Analysis takes not only hard work, but a commitment to practice, practice, and more practice.
In the Fall of 2014, Dr. Ekman sent out an email stating that he would not conclude that one is deceptive in an interview unless he, himself, conducts the interview. How often is that going to happen?
With Mr. Sapir's "Scientific" procedure followed, any analyst at any time, viewing only transcripts, can make the same conclusion of "deception indicated" or "veracity indicated" no matter who has conducted the interview, and no matter what the face expression, or even the voice inflection indicated. It is then taught, line upon line, precept upon precept, by those who are not only able in analysis, but apt to teach.
What does the restriction to personally conducted interviews say to us about Dr. Edman's confidence in micro-expression training, where one sees a picture of a face expression going by quickly, and must decide which emotion is indicated? What of police departments who have spent limited funding on such trainings? If the top scientist in micro-expression analysis won't watch a video and decide, how much less is expected from students?
If he does not have such confidence, as the foremost scientist in micro-expression training to not be able to draw a conclusion from the full video of an interview, what purpose is there for a police department to have micro-expression training?
Recently, I taught before a classroom of season detectives where I looked at transcripts of a 911 call, cold, and went through them aloud, mistakes and all. I concluded that the caller, who had passed a polygraph and cleared, was actually guilty. How sure was I? I stated that I "bet my training career on it."
Please imagine the public humiliation I would have endured had I been proven wrong. The embarrassment, that is, the shame, would have been appropriate. It would have undermined confidence in me, the seminar and in the system taught.
I also did not conclude "there may be possible sensitivity here or there...", or anything ambitious to leave myself an "out"; instead I said, "he did it." This was plain and without guess work.
The analysis I conducted was strictly by the principles I learned from Mr. Sapir, mostly, and from other trainings and from experience. Basically, I began with the "expected versus the unexpected" and employed the principles that I have long memorized, used, and tested ("proofed") repeatedly over the years. There was nothing earth-shattering, and, as Mr. Sapir taught, it wasn't necessary to "use a microscope" in the analysis. He says that if you need a microscope to conclude deception, you do not have deception.
I simply used the principle "Expected Versus Unexpected", followed the pronouns, change of language, and unnecessary connections, and put full confidence in the words of the subject's phone call to let him guide me to the truth.
Confidence is not in me. I possess no secret or hidden talent and it is something that can be taught, and once taught, practiced until learned well. I have, instead, given myself to years and years of practice, night after night, weekends, during actual investigations, and in the cases that others had, to help them solve their own cases.
Yet, the system continues, after all these years, to amaze me. Even when I begin a new statement, knowing what this system can do, when I am finished, I shake my head in marvel over just how much information has been gleaned from the statement. It becomes driven home to me when the analysis is matched with the case file, or a confession.
But applying SCAN to Genesis?
I have spoken in gratitude of the debt owed to Mr. Sapir in his system's impact upon me, but what of in reading Genesis?
I've read Dr. Henry Morris' "The Genesis Record" as well as the commentary work by Keil and Delitszch, Calvin, and others.
This is not a commentary, however, but a word study.
It is all but impossible for one who is given to Statement Analysis practice to ever 'hear' the same way again. This, while true, is also true for reading. I read the Bible regularly, and have read through it, cover to cover, once a year, for more than a few years. Yet it is, even in the first chapters of "Linguistic Archeology" that I am stunned at the simplistic brilliance of the work.
Permit me a few examples.
The word "with" between people indicates distance. Mr. Sapir shows that in ancient Hebrew, there are two words for our word, "with"; one indicates distance, while the other indicates closeness. He then applies this to the story of Baalam.
Baalam, in modern vernacular, has been understood by me in this manner:
Your 16 year old son says, "I have a final exam tomorrow but I want to go out and play ball. Can I skip studying and go out and play with my friends?"
You answer; "No! Go study!"
He then says he would rather go with his friends, but you say, "Are you kidding? Go up and study! If you fail, your summer will be lost in summer school."
Finally, on the third annoyance, your son says he really wants to go with his friends, instead of studying and you say, "Go with your friends and bear your own consequences."
It makes sense except that is not what the Hebrew says.
The Hebrew uses the word "with" by two different words; one close, one distance. One is to accompany (distance only) while the other has a stronger feel of unity to it.
As a king sent some pretty big hotshot big- wigs to Baalam to get him to "go with them", and betray the Israeli army, the Almighty told Baalam not to go with them. This was repeated, as the ancient king sent more and more impressive emissaries to lure Balaam into going "with" them and Baalam's replies seem...sort of reluctant. Maybe he is impressed with the honor shown to him, not to mention the wealth that 15 minutes of fame brings.
The Almighty then says "go with them", using the distancing word for "with", but when Balaam went "with" them, that is, the word "with" that indicates closeness, agreement, unity, the Almighty then went to punish him...Balaam's animal, shockingly enough in itself, spoke to him.
(To make matters worse, Balaam...
spoke back and argued).
This simple view of the different word changes the dynamic altogether.
Or what of Noah?
Sapir goes carefully over the order of social introductions and the closeness (or distance) implied. From this, we learn that while on the Ark, Noah grew closer to his sons than to his wife. This may have been do to caring for the animals (not all of which may have been in hibernation) and the physical care of the ship that he would have been involved in with his sons. The animal husbandry, alone, would have been fascinating beyond our wildest dreams, though, perhaps it was not Mrs. Noah's cup of tea.
For centuries, debate has raged over who authored Genesis. Mr. Sapir reverently not only throws his hat in the ring of debate, but brings forth a profile of the author, by the author's own language, to draw his conclusion.
No spoiler here.
As an orthodox Jew, he shows reverence to the text that Jews and Christians will find refreshing.
The book is an 600 page lesson in Statement Analysis which, of itself, is fascinating, but for those who love to read Genesis, it is something that must be read very slowly and carefully, so that the mining of information can be thorough. In just my first week, I have highlighted much in my copy and will need another copy to 'keep' clean.
Simply studying how people's introductions and titles change, alone, is worth the price of the book.
This volume will take me a long time to "go through", as I plan on far more than simply "reading" it. "SCAN" runs through my brain in all reading, and whenever a change of language comes forth, I immediately put on the brakes and look for a change in reality. Each "unnecessary " word jumps out at me. This book is like one trying to speed with his right foot, while burning the brake with his left. You want to make progress, but you fear you may miss something, so you must slow down. This is how I find my own reading of "Linguistic Archeology: Unearthing the Secrets of Genesis Using SCAN."
Avinoam Sapir is the rare genius of linguistics. He is the grandfather of Statement Analysis, having put together the most coherent system of study available.
This book is a majestic work for students of SCAN who wish to apply it, not simply to the Bible, but to all reading. If anything, learning to "listen" while reading, will produce invaluable yield of information.
After all my gushing, I forgot to tell you where you can get a copy...
. If you wat to reserve a signed copy, please send a check payable to "Avinoam Sapir" to LSI, P.O.box 17286, Phoenix, AZ 85011.
It is $57 for non-students, and $49 for students.