Is this a rock or not? I Would like to know

Charles David Isbell cisbell at
Thu Feb 15 09:55:31 EST 2001

Ah, my dear Dave,
You totally miss the point.  Imagine, if you will, a discussion list titled
B-NTGREEK.  Imagine that into the heart of a discussion of the meaning of a
difficult passage in the Greek text, a practicing Muslim should seek to
establish his personal belief that THE meaning of the NT has been "proven"
by the teaching of the Holy Qur'an.  Let us further suppose that your Muslim
list brother appeals to the Qur'anic view of the NT claims about the
divinity of Jesus, for example.  And let us finally suppose that, when you
have pointed out that his sacred book is not authoritative for you and that
the later literature of the Qur'an has nothing at all to do with what the NT
does or does not mean anyway, he pretends to be a wounded soul who is
insulted that people who are Muslim are not being given equal time in a
discussion of the NT.
My answer to your question is simple.  No, I don't care if you choose to
feel insulted by the plain truth that the NT [or the Qur'an or the Baghavad
Ghita or the Book of Mormon] cannot be used to PROVE the meaning of the
Hebrew Bible.  You may consign one of the world's great literary
masterpieces to merely the role of "foreshadowing" what you BELIEVE, and you
may do so by appealing to another literary body that is authoritative for
you but not for us all.  But in so doing, you have not considered the
literature and the language of the HB itself.  When I begin to tell you that
my Bible trumps your Bible, THEN you may feel insulted.  No, I don't think a
"B-Hebrew" list is an appropriate place for a discussion of what the NT does
to the plain sense of the Hebrew text any more than it is appropriate for me
to discuss the Talmudic reconstruction of the Miqra' into rabbinic Judaism
or a Muslim to insist upon the Qur'anic version of the divinity of Jesus.
In short, NO "confessional" approach is appropriate to the list as I read
its guidelines.  Not yours, not mine.
If you consider my answer an overreaction, well and good.  I consider your
appeal to the NT an admission that you cannot read the HB on its own terms.
When there is a list for discussing how the NT interprets the HB, I'll be
glad to join and discuss with you the methods that are used, etc.
Charles David Isbell

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