[b-hebrew] verb forms - Isaiah 56:6-7 was dying you shall die

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Apr 14 04:35:37 EDT 2007


I keep making a promise never to answer one of your postings directly,
then you come up with a posting that is well done, but with which I

I have heard that it is the definition of a fool as one who does the
same thing over and over again, and expects a different result. I must
be the first of fools, because I keep responding to very well written
messages that you write, hoping that you stay on that high level, and
you don't. Will you this time? Or will you disappoint me again?

On 4/12/07, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 4/11/07, K Randolph wrote:
> > > The whole point of the passage in Isaiah 56 is to look forward to the time
> > > when God's house would be called the house of prayer of all peoples. At the
> > > time when the text was written the temple had been destroyed by Babylon and
> > > newly rebuilt.  The writer of Isaiah 56 is hoping for a more benign world
> > > than the world which existed then, and exists today.
> > >
> > > Best regards,
> > > Liz
> >
> > Here you have used your theological beliefs to inform how your should
> > read the Hebrew.
> >
> > According to the historical references embedded in Tanakh, these words
> > were written roughly a century before the destruction of Solomon's
> > temple
> Not necessarily.  Have you read what I posted a few days ago in the other
> thread?  Ibn Ezra, widely credited by being the first to recognize the exilic
> nature of the ending chapters of Isaiah (but he himself seems to credit Moses
> ben Samuel Gikatilla) did not have the theological beliefs which you seem to
> think are held by Lisbeth Fried.  Most likely this involves the idea that a
> prophecy cannot be true.  Ibn Ezra believed that prophecy is true.  (Peter and
> especially Rolf should have known that -- I posted on Ibn Ezra's commentary
> regarding the prophetic perfect recently, in a correction to another of Rolf's
> claims).  In fact, Ibn Ezra's analysis of the Talmudic passage on authorship
> shows that Ibn Ezra felt a duty to show that his interpretation is consistent
> with Talmudic statements.  For Ibn Ezra, not just prophecies, but also the
> Oral Law is true!  Ibn Ezra used grammar alone in concluding that the later
> chapters of Isaiah were composed centuries later.  Here is the introduction
> to Ibn Ezra's views on the matter, again:
> http://www.hashkafah.com/index.php?showtopic=6473&mode=threaded
> and: http://darklordsblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/ibn-ezra-on-two-isaiahs.html
Yes, I read your posting, and I thought it very interesting. However,
I disagree with Ibn Ezra, even on the grammatical understanding.

One of my professors, one who believed in the Documentary Hypothesis,
commented that whoever the editor was who combined First, Second and
Third Isaiahs into one book really did a masterly job in recognizing
that the grammar, even the ways of speaking, are so similar between
the three authors. In reading the text through several times, I have
noticed that other than a shift in subject matter, the voice between
the different sections remains the same.

> Ibn Ezra's commentary is available in English: http://worldcat.org/oclc/569728
> Incidentally, the Talmud is rather ambiguous as to the authorship of the book,
> ascribing it to "Hezekiah and his court."  This is probably why Ibn Ezra is not
> content with showing the book of Samuel had two authors but also deals with
> a case where the Talmud ascribes multiple authorship to a single book,
> showing that even this is not the final word.
> Yitzhak Sapir
There are several books in Tanakh that do not ascribe authorship to
any named author, the most famous are Judges, Samuel, Kings,
Chronicles. Most books have an ascribed author, among them Isaiah.
Most of the books that have a listed author, list his name only once,
at the beginning of the book. Those without a named author could have
been written by one or by a committee, we don't know. But to say that
those books with a named author were not written by that author, we
need historical data: Ibn Ezra lacked it and we still lack it. For
Isaiah, all we have are different sections with different emphases:
mostly woes to the nations, historical interlude, then a section that
focuses mostly on Israel and its spiritual life. There is no
historical data that says that Isaiah the son of Amoz did not write
all three sections. But there is the written statement that he did
write the book, the whole book.

You mention that the Talmud, too, ascribes different authors to named
books? That I didn't know. That would mean that higher criticism has a
lot longer history than I had heard before. That would explain some
claims I read in history books about Spinoza in that he could have
been following tradition rather than being an innovator when he denied
authorship claims recorded in Tanakh.

Karl W. Randolph.

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