[b-hebrew] Was the MT for public consumption?

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Sat Dec 25 04:07:04 EST 2010

Dear Fred,

Read my post again. It answers most of your questions.

Now, regarding your second point. Modern scholarship is divided over whether there were one, two or three Isaiahs. Conservative scholarship treats Isaiah being produced by one person, the prophet Isaiah. Most modern scholarship treats Isaiah as being written by two, maybe three persons. It is based on the discredited JEDP theory of Graf-Welhausen. SEE archives for previous discussions. I gave you a very brief discussion. I will not comment further since it is going into areas limited by List guidelines. Remember, ALL we have is the text. To go beyond that is to give a pre-text which is no text at all. Basically, it is eisegesis not exegesis.

It appears that you are making the classic dichotomy between faith and fact. Faith and knowledge go hand in hand. Both are intuitive, intellectual and experiential. Both are used in determing fact from fiction. Unfortunately, too many people think that if something is stated by reason of faith that it is automatically fiction. As I said, "Faith and knowledge go hand in hand." Faith, belief, or trust is used in when determining the value placed in a document that is being used as a source whether it speaks of fact or fiction. Knowledge will lead a person so far. Faith takes up where knowledge leads off. It looks at what is presented before with knowledge and proceeds from there. This is not rocket science.

You seem to be questioning a lot of the presuppositions that are inherent in what has gone before. This is always good to a certain extant. But, sometimes, it could be construed as being pedantic or just arguing for argument sakes. An example would be when I teach the High Schoolers or College Age or, even, the Adults in Sunday School, or in the preaching services, I make several statements. First, I am a Christian. Second, I am a Baptist. I then ask the group that I am teaching or preaching to, "If you claim to be a Christian, 'Why are you a Christian?'" "If you are a Baptist, Why are you a Baptist?'" Give the reasons for your claims. This appears to me is what you are doing on the list. If I am wrong, then please correct me and accept my apologies. In fact, I may have inadvertantly exceeded List Guidelines. To the moderators, If I have please accept my apologies.

Now, Luke 4 and the use of Isaiah 61 in the Synagogue of Nazareth. It is clear that Jesus read from the Hebrew text (See Commentary on the NT Use of the OT). He sat down and proclaimed that the Scripture passage was fulfilled. It is also apparent that the congregation was being read to and that they understood the Hebrew (at least according to all the evidence from antiquity and archaeology). It is also possible, maybe probable, that it was read in Hebrew, translated into Aramaic for the congregation. That is why I told George that it is more than likely both/and not either/or.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: fred burlingame 
  To: Bryant J. Williams III 
  Cc: George Athas ; B-Hebrew 
  Sent: Friday, December 24, 2010 8:45 AM
  Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Was the MT for public consumption?

  Hello Bryant:
  Thanks for your nice comments.
  The issue can be clarified further, by the following?inquiry; what exactly was happening at the nazareth synagogue, saturday morning,?december 25, 20 a.d.? (cf., luke 4:16-30 as a general example of the possible?type of synagogue services);
  1. Did the synagogue members bring along their individual?copies of the book? Did anyone?in nazareth?possess a copy other than the synagogue?
  2. Did the book consist of more than simply the words of one isaiah?
  3. Did the person reading from the book to the congregation, then proceed to explain what the book passage "really" meant? in another language? in the same language?
  4. Was the book recorded and read to the synangogue?members in aramaic? in hebrew? in greek? the promise of hebrew?deliverance from the arameans and greeks via a greek and aramaic book?
  merry christmas
  fred burlingame

  On Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 10:36 PM, Bryant J. Williams III <bjwvmw at com-pair.net> wrote:

    George, Fred, et al,

    I think that one of the problems we have is the "definition" of "public" as you
    say below. Fred is correct in one sense, the Torah, for that matter the Tanakh,
    was written/copied by priests/scribes/rabbis for primary use by the
    priests/scribes/rabbis even when read in the synagogue. You, George, are correct
    that use of the text was in the synagogue which is a wider audience. (This was
    paralleled in the Church with Latin in the West and Greek in the East being
    limited to scholars, ecclesiastics, etc., from circa 150 AD - 1500 AD). In fact,
    the Torah was to be written, copied, read and taught to ALL Israelites by the
    Levites including the priests. It was only after the destruction of the Second
    Temple that things changed more dramatically. With no priests nor Levites it was
    left to the rabbis. Subsequently, it appears, that when the Talmud, Mishnah,
    Toseftah, etc., were completed (codification of the Oral Law), then they took
    the place of the Tanakh even when the Tanakh was read in the synagogue.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls show that the Tanakh was copied (except for Esther)
    numerous times. The sectarian manuscripts also show the importance of the
    written text even within their group. They were not produced for a large group.

    As to the NT use of the OT quotes/allusions, I always remind myself that it is
    the LXX, ca. 250 BC, that was primarily used; although the Tanakh was also used
    when necessary. This was because most of the NT was written to
    churches/Godfearers/Gentiles/Jews who attended the weekly meetings in the
    Diaspora. As far as I can tell, the use of the OT in quotes and allusions are in
    the gospels and epistles that had a large number of Jewish believers in their
    assemblies and in which the Gentile believers were to know and learn about also.
    Revelation is a different kettle of fish altogether.

    So it is really more of a "both/and" whether than "either/or."

    Rev. Bryant J. Williams III

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "George Athas" <George.Athas at moore.edu.au>
    To: "B-Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
    Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2010 6:38 PM
    Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Was the MT for public consumption?

    > We're obviously using different definitions. By 'public consumption' you are
    referring to literate use of a language as a means of communication between a
    large number of people. I'm using it to refer to people who are involved in
    hearing or reading it, regardless of whether they are using it in day-to-day
    > Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
    > www.moore.edu.au
    > _______________________________________________
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