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Scholars seek to correct 'mistakes' in Bible (seems above-board & sincere)
msnbc ^ | 12 Aug | Friedman

Posted on 08/12/2011 9:04:39 AM PDT by flowerplough

A dull-looking chart projected on the wall of a university office in Jerusalem displayed a revelation that would startle many readers of the Old Testament: The sacred text that people revered in the past was not the same one we study today.

An ancient version of one book has an extra phrase. Another appears to have been revised to retroactively insert a prophecy after the events happened.

Scholars in this out-of-the-way corner of the Hebrew University campus have been quietly at work for 53 years on one of the most ambitious projects attempted in biblical studies — publishing the authoritative edition of the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, and tracking every single evolution of the text over centuries and millennia.

And it has evolved, despite deeply held beliefs to the contrary.

For many Jews and Christians, religion dictates that the words of the Bible in the original Hebrew are divine, unaltered and unalterable.

For Orthodox Jews, the accuracy is considered so inviolable that if a synagogue's Torah scroll is found to have a minute error in a single letter, the entire scroll is unusable.

But the ongoing work of the academic detectives of the Bible Project, as their undertaking is known, shows that this text at the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was somewhat fluid for long periods of its history, and that its transmission through the ages was messier and more human than most of us imagine.

(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...


TOPICS: History; Judaism
KEYWORDS: bible; catastrophism; godsgravesglyphs; hebrew; oldtestament; scriptures; tanakh; torah
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1 posted on 08/12/2011 9:04:42 AM PDT by flowerplough
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To: flowerplough

Um, THE BIBLE IS NOT THE ROOT OF ISLAM.


2 posted on 08/12/2011 9:07:01 AM PDT by struggle
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To: flowerplough

Cool


3 posted on 08/12/2011 9:13:41 AM PDT by TheThirdRuffian (Nothing to see here. Move along.)
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To: flowerplough

Correct the Holy Spirit?

Sounds like more persecution to me!


4 posted on 08/12/2011 9:16:11 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: flowerplough

Also should get into that little Thou shal not kill vs murder thingy.


5 posted on 08/12/2011 9:17:14 AM PDT by PeteB570 ( Islam is the sea in which the Terrorist Shark swims. The deeper the sea the larger the shark.)
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To: flowerplough

The Masoretic (official) text of the Hebrew Old Testament was assembled centuries after the documents were first written. Textual criticism is not only allowable, it’s an imperative.


6 posted on 08/12/2011 9:19:00 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: struggle

Islamic belief follows through Abraham then leads through Ishmael rather than Isaac.


7 posted on 08/12/2011 9:20:21 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: flowerplough

old testament not new.

New testament Greek is still being used to this day so what are they “correcting”?


8 posted on 08/12/2011 9:20:49 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: struggle

“Um, THE BIBLE IS NOT THE ROOT OF ISLAM.”

Some believe that both the new and old testaments were plagiarized by Mohahahamed along with some texts written in Sanskrit when HE wrote the koran.


9 posted on 08/12/2011 9:25:15 AM PDT by ThomasThomas ( Congressmen should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers, so we can identify their corporate sponsors.)
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To: struggle; flowerplough
Um, THE BIBLE IS NOT THE ROOT OF ISLAM.

Mohammed copied much of the early Koran from the Torah.

Later twisted it to something else.

haSatan always uses partial truth.

10 posted on 08/12/2011 9:29:55 AM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: ThomasThomas; thackney

Yes, Abraham is both the Father of Christianity and Islam.Christianity evolved into a peace and love religion where Islam still does the eye for an eye and other ancient rules of law.


11 posted on 08/12/2011 9:30:37 AM PDT by eastforker
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To: eastforker

According to the History Channel , everything in the Bible can be explained by Aliens who came here and did all those miracles.


12 posted on 08/12/2011 9:32:49 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: eastforker

Don’t blame God’s Law for Islam. They made up their own.


13 posted on 08/12/2011 9:34:15 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: flowerplough

If God has not maintained His Word true and accurate throughout all the ages then man has no way of knowing what is true and what is false. Therefore man has no shot at salvation. Therefore there can be no omnipotent and omniscient God, and by extrapolation no basis for ethics, morality, or even definitions of good and evil. That means we should all live strictly for as much carnal pleasure as fast as we can since there is nothing after death.

I think I’ll stick to my antiquated believes, thank you.


14 posted on 08/12/2011 9:43:14 AM PDT by Pan_Yan
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To: eastforker

The Bible knows nothing about Islam. Islam came 500 years after Christ died; a full 200+ years after the Canon was closed. Islam picks and chooses from the Bible, forming a systematic theology that is inconsistent, not resembling Judaism or Christianity.

Christianity didn’t “evolve”. God shifted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was the plan all along (Ephesians) before the foundation of the world; bringing Jew and gentile into the Kingdom as adopted sons in one body: the church.


15 posted on 08/12/2011 9:43:47 AM PDT by Salvavida (The restoration of the U.S.A. starts with filling the pews at every Bible-believing church.)
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To: PeteB570

The Hebrew text has “murder”. It was a translation fault into English to the inaccurate “kill”. Not all English bibles have the mistranslation, many have “murder” or “kill without just cause”.


16 posted on 08/12/2011 9:44:08 AM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Genoa

As did the king james version of the bible.The God of Abraham is the same for christians, jews and muslims.Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, was an Arab slave.Ishmael was a half brother to Isaac. Ishmael and mother was sent packing after Sarah got jealous and told Abraham they had to go.This is where the split comes between muslims and christians.


17 posted on 08/12/2011 9:51:04 AM PDT by eastforker
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To: flowerplough

The Masoretic (Hebrew) text is post-Christian, and NOT the basis of the Christian faith. The Dead Sea Scrolls, created up to centuries before Christ, are far older than the Masoretic text, and are far closer to the Greek texts.

This is not idle controversy. The Masoretic text describes the Messiah as being born from an unmarried woman (”Alma,” as transliterated from Hebrew). The Greek text says he will be born of a virgin (”parthenos”). Thus, the Masoretic text suggests that the Messiah would be born of fornication, whereas the Greek text suggests he would be born of a distinct, miraculous act of divine creation.

According to legend, the Greek text was created by a miracle: 72 scholars all were inspired by the Holy Spirit to create identical translations from a Hebrew source document, despite being isolated in individual cells. This is “legend” not because it isn’t necessarily true, but because it’s irrelevant: whether due to a one-time miraculous inspiration, or a continual gift of the Holy Spirit, the Greek text is divine truth.

In contrast, the Masoretic text is the creation of people who despite their inspirationally passionate love for God were blinded temporarily from the truth of Christ that they may be, collectively, an example of Isaiah’s suffering servant. Their text, therefore, was written outside the protection of the Holy Spirit, and their motivation included disproving the notion of the divinity of Christ. Even though Protestants have followed the Hebrew in editing out certain books, they too have followed the early Christian church in rejecting key doctrinally problematic Hebrew translations.

(After the death of Christ, the Jews rejected the deuterocanonical books, which Protestants label “apocryphal” because they created the expectation of an imminent Messiah, which Christians saw fulfilled in Christ. Many had historically believed that they were also rejected because they were composed in Greek, not Hebrew, but the Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed the Hebrew, pre-Christian origins of six of the seven deuterocanonical books. Many others believe that the Hebrews considered them as less authoritative than “the Prophets” and “the Law,” but the Tanakh, in fact, includes other books from this class of books, the Khetuvim, which includes Proverbs, Job, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc.)


18 posted on 08/12/2011 9:52:20 AM PDT by dangus
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To: struggle

They do use all of the old testament stories though.....


19 posted on 08/12/2011 9:52:59 AM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: ThomasThomas
Some believe that both the new and old testaments were plagiarized by Mohahahamed along with some texts written in Sanskrit when HE wrote the koran.

I also read that Mohammed's sources were full of Gnostic heresies.

20 posted on 08/12/2011 9:56:30 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: Salvation

I don’t think you read the article correctly.


21 posted on 08/12/2011 10:01:28 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: longtermmemmory

“so what are they “correcting”?”

Scrivner’s errors, omissions, and other alterations from the original documents.


22 posted on 08/12/2011 10:02:37 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: flowerplough

Where is River when she is really needed?


23 posted on 08/12/2011 10:16:35 AM PDT by GingisK
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To: dangus

“The Masoretic text describes the Messiah as being born from an unmarried woman.”

Actually, it just says “young woman,” and says nothing about marriage. It could, theoretically, mean virgin, too, so that is not the conflict.

The real objection is the verse (in context) is interpreted by Jewish scholars to refer to a child who will be (was) born in the time of King Ahaz (as a sign that he would be victorious in a war); this incident has nothing at all to do with the Moshiach, and occurred more than 500 years before Jesus was born.


24 posted on 08/12/2011 10:18:43 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: flowerplough

::Sigh:: And they wonder why the world doesn’t believe the Land and the Temple Mount belong to the Jews!


25 posted on 08/12/2011 10:24:09 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu.)
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To: Genoa
The Masoretic (official) text of the Hebrew Old Testament was assembled centuries after the documents were first written. Textual criticism is not only allowable, it’s an imperative.

The "Massoretic text" refers to the fully pointed text with vowels, cantation, punctuation, etc. The actual original text of the Torah has never been changed since the day it was written down by Moses. It consists of consonants only and may be found in the ark of every Orthodox synagogue in the world, each copy having been made from a copy that existed before it.

This need to declare the Hebrew Bible a fraud is something atheists, moslems, and many chr*stians seem to share in common. Unsurprising, since their worldviews depend on it being a fake.

26 posted on 08/12/2011 10:27:41 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu.)
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To: GingisK
It's a lot of effort when they could just get a weapons-grade teen genius to do it at a kitchen table.


27 posted on 08/12/2011 10:32:06 AM PDT by Oztrich Boy (New gets old. Steampunk is always cool)
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To: dangus
And you wonder where Protestants get their ideas when they attack the Catholic canonization of the Bible!

The "Massoretic text" is a pointed text. Do you even know what that means? The only things the Tiberian Massoretes did was create symbols for vowels, punctuation, and cantation (and previous systems of these had existed, else how would one know how to read an unpointed text?). The actual Divinely-dictated text consists of consonants only (no vowels, no punctuation, no trope) and is the same in every kosher Torah Scroll in the world with the exception of the Yemenite tradition, which has a few extra vocalic letters.

I find it quite offensive that Catholic FReepers so often like to invoke their "suffering" in Protestant America as making them allies of the Jews when your post is a perfect example of the Catholic origin of Protestantism. Centuries before Protestantism existed Catholic/Orthodox chr*stians were attacking the "chr*stless works religion" of Judaism (because they kept the original "works" instead of replacing them with new ones) and of re-writing the Bible to justify themselves. Helloooo? Sound familiar? Every heard of Catholics re-writing the Bible to change "his heel" to "her heel," among other things?

Please have the decency not to proclaim how much closer Catholicism is to Judaism. The whole point is that the closeness means that Catholicism was never necessary to begin with.

28 posted on 08/12/2011 10:36:16 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu.)
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To: Jewbacca
Scrivner’s errors, omissions, and other alterations from the original documents.

So they aren't critiquing the actual kosher unpointed text of the Torah?

You know that no kosher Torah Scroll can be altered in the slightest, no matter what academics may think they have discovered.

29 posted on 08/12/2011 10:40:33 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu.)
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To: Jewbacca

Actually, “Alma” at least connotes “marriageable.” It’s use to describe someone who was specifically already married would be highly unusual.

My interest in bringing up the verse at all has nothing to do with whether the Jews object to it. Since I’m not Jewish, their beliefs don’t affect me. But a child born of a young woman, while always miraculous, is hardly a divine sign that confirms a prophecy. And Matthew’s Greek word choice (’parthenon’) specifically rules out its fulfillment in King Ahaz’ time. Such dispute, however, certainly helps explain why Christianity flourished among the Hellenic Jews better than among the Levantine Jews.


30 posted on 08/12/2011 10:53:35 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Zionist Conspirator

Frankly, ZC, I don’t give a crap what you find offensive. And I don’t care to engage your attempt to hijack the thread by bringing up a whole boatload of pseudo-historical whining.

I’ll only note for lurkers how ahistorical the notion of a “divinely dictated text” is when the pre-Christian texts bear no resemblance at all to the “kosher” texts, none of which (whether pointed or not) predate the middle ages, let alone Christ. The fact that a conformity was established a millennium after the bible was published is no more interesting theologically than the fact that all members of a particular Protestant sect use the King James bible.


31 posted on 08/12/2011 11:00:49 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Genoa; Zionist Conspirator

The fact that ZC will not even write the name of Christ should tell you much.


32 posted on 08/12/2011 11:08:41 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Zionist Conspirator

“You know that no kosher Torah Scroll can be altered in the slightest, no matter what academics may think they have discovered.”

I know that no Torah Scroll should have been altered in the slightest in order to actually be kosher.

But then, like when I eat kosher meat, I rely on a human system that sometimes fails, so careful inspection should be ecouraged.


33 posted on 08/12/2011 11:32:09 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: dangus

Actually, “Alma” at least connotes “marriageable.” It’s use to describe someone who was specifically already married would be highly unusual.

No it doesn’t.

And again, that is not the primary objection, in the least.

It’s the cut-and-paste, search-and-find, not-applicable-to-mosiach, nature of the passage.


34 posted on 08/12/2011 11:35:56 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: dangus; Zionist Conspirator

Since you are a Christian, I hunted a Christian source for you:

“Alma”

A Hebrew signifying a “young woman”, unmarried as well as married, and thus distinct from “bethulah,” “a virgin” (see Hebrew Lexicons). The interest that attaches to this word is due to the famous passage of Isaiah 7:14: “the Alma shall conceive”, etc.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01326c.htm

In the future, I would avoid having disputes about the meanings of words with native speakers of said language.


35 posted on 08/12/2011 12:25:28 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: dangus
One more:



Can you read that? I'll give you a hint, it's from the Dead Sea.


36 posted on 08/12/2011 12:37:43 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: dangus
Frankly, ZC, I don’t give a crap what you find offensive. And I don’t care to engage your attempt to hijack the thread by bringing up a whole boatload of pseudo-historical whining.

Wow. You're a nice guy. What do your friends call you . . . "Chuckles?"

I’ll only note for lurkers how ahistorical the notion of a “divinely dictated text” is

It's hilarious when a member of a religion that has to retroject its founding three hundred years into the past starts talking about what is "pseudohistorical." At any rate, HaShem wrote the Torah--not Moses, not "inspired writers," and not "J, E, P, and D." I can see why you're in love with the theory, though.

when the pre-Christian texts bear no resemblance at all to the “kosher” texts, none of which (whether pointed or not) predate the middle ages, let alone Christ.

Duh. How could they? They're written on organic material (skins of kosher animals stitched together with tendons from kosher animals). Decay sets in very quickly. This is why new copies are being written continuously according to the regulations given orally at Sinai--one of which is that each text be copied from a previously existing one. That's how the text has been preserved since Sinai even without a single copy of a scroll actually taken down by Moses.

The fact that a conformity was established a millennium after the bible was published is no more interesting theologically than the fact that all members of a particular Protestant sect use the King James bible.

What do you mean by "a millenium after the Bible was published?" Do you mean a thousand years after Sinai? Or do you mean a thousand years after the settling of the canon by the 'Anshei HaKeneset HaGedolah?

What has the King James bible to do with anything, other than the fact that you Catholics react to it like Protestants do to Mary? It's just a translation. And English-speaking Protestants are hardly the only or the first people to have "magic translations"--your Vulgate is one example.

37 posted on 08/12/2011 1:02:12 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu.)
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To: Jewbacca
“You know that no kosher Torah Scroll can be altered in the slightest, no matter what academics may think they have discovered.”

I know that no Torah Scroll should have been altered in the slightest in order to actually be kosher.

But then, like when I eat kosher meat, I rely on a human system that sometimes fails, so careful inspection should be ecouraged.

Yes, a human system for inspecting and humans doing the actual writing. Mistakes are quite common, from what I understand, which is why we have genizot to deposit them in.

Also, as I understand it, there is a world-wide system for inspecting the Scrolls, which is why the texts of the Scrolls for both 'Ashkenazim and Sefaradim are identical. Only the Temanim, who were outside this system for a long time, has deviations (none of which actually change the meaning of any passage).

38 posted on 08/12/2011 1:07:27 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu.)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
Note to self:

Stay out of pissing match with Freeper known as Zionist Conspirator.

39 posted on 08/12/2011 1:10:46 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Zionist Conspirator

Sure. But the system as we know it got going several hundred years AFTER copies started to be made.

One character makes the difference after all.

Hence, the interest at looking back at older copies.

All that to say, a comparison of the DSS and current copies of the Torah indicate very very little alteration, which means the system worked pretty darn well.


40 posted on 08/12/2011 1:57:06 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: flowerplough
Far left MSNBC reports that scholars are claiming to find mistakes in the Bible?

Shocker!!

41 posted on 08/12/2011 2:53:48 PM PDT by Siena Dreaming
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To: flowerplough

Another effort, another argument focusing on man’s fallibility, and completely ignoring one very important Person in the process . . . God.


42 posted on 08/12/2011 2:57:38 PM PDT by John Leland 1789
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To: Jewbacca; dangus
Actually, it just says “young woman,” and says nothing about marriage. It could, theoretically, mean virgin, too, so that is not the conflict. The real objection is the verse (in context) is interpreted by Jewish scholars to refer to a child who will be (was) born in the time of King Ahaz (as a sign that he would be victorious in a war); this incident has nothing at all to do with the Moshiach, and occurred more than 500 years before Jesus was born.

Granted, some Scripture verses that are believed to be Messianic prophecies may also have other meanings, but I don't see how this verse Isaiah 7:14 could possibly be speaking of a human king. Let's look at it:

Isaiah 7:14 New International Version (NIV)

Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.[d]

Footnotes:
a.Isaiah 7:14 The Hebrew is plural.
b.Isaiah 7:14 Or young woman
c.Isaiah 7:14 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls son, and he or son, and they
d.Isaiah 7:14 Immanuel means God with us.

So, I hope you see that King Ahaz was NEVER thought to be "God with us".

43 posted on 08/12/2011 3:52:29 PM PDT by boatbums ( God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
The "Massoretic text" refers to the fully pointed text with vowels, cantation, punctuation, etc. The actual original text of the Torah has never been changed since the day it was written down by Moses. It consists of consonants only and may be found in the ark of every Orthodox synagogue in the world, each copy having been made from a copy that existed before it.

This need to declare the Hebrew Bible a fraud is something atheists, moslems, and many chr*stians seem to share in common. Unsurprising, since their worldviews depend on it being a fake.

I know that the Torah is the first five books of the Bible. They were written by Moses, but the entire Hebrew Bible is called the Tanakh which includes the book of Isaiah - one of the Major Prophets. Are you saying that only the Torah (first 5 books) is contained in the ark of the synagogues? What about the other books in the Tanakh? I think that the same care was given to them as was the Torah in ensuring its faithfulness to the original.

I agree with you that those who try to cast doubt upon God's word do not have good intentions. I have full trust in the Bible we have because I know that it has been God all along that has ensured its reliability.

44 posted on 08/12/2011 4:11:09 PM PDT by boatbums ( God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums

This is my final communication with you:

#1 It means “G-d is with us” Completely different meaning.

#2

When Isaiah 7:14 is read in context, we see that the sign is specifically for King Ahaz, the King of Judah. During his reign, King Ahaz was under attack from both Assyria and Israel, the Northern Jewish kingdom (The land of Israel split into two separate countries soon after the death of King Solomon). The sign for King Ahaz is that prior to the boy of verse 14 learning the difference between good and evil, the Kingdom of Judah will no longer be attacked by Assyria and Israel. In fact, we read that the kings of these two hostile kingdoms were killed, in 2 Kings 15:29-30 and 2 Kings 16:9, bringing peace to the Kingdom of Judah. So, the prophecy was fulfilled just as predicted. Overall, this verse has nothing to do with the Messiah. It was a prophecy that was fulfilled for King Ahaz.


45 posted on 08/12/2011 4:20:13 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
In another example, this one from the Book of Deuteronomy, a passage referring to commandments given by God "to you" once read "to us," a significant change in meaning.

Fascinating article and well worth reading in its entirety.

46 posted on 08/15/2011 9:22:38 AM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: Oztrich Boy; GingisK

LOL! I’d forgotten about that episode! Now I’ll just have to go back and watch the entire series, dang it! ;o)


47 posted on 08/15/2011 10:06:31 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: NYer

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks NYer.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


48 posted on 08/15/2011 10:09:28 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Yes, as a matter of fact, it is that time again -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...

Thanks NYer.

Hey, it's one of *those* topics. Shepherd-Kings ping.


49 posted on 08/15/2011 10:12:44 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Yes, as a matter of fact, it is that time again -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: dangus
This is not idle controversy. The Masoretic text describes the Messiah as being born from an unmarried woman (”Alma,” as transliterated from Hebrew). The Greek text says he will be born of a virgin (”parthenos”). Thus, the Masoretic text suggests that the Messiah would be born of fornication, whereas the Greek text suggests he would be born of a distinct, miraculous act of divine creation.

First of all, no. Almah means simply "young woman." An unmarried, virginal state is implied (of the seven times almah appears in the Tanakh (OT) it is never used of a non-virgin), but not required. In fact, there is no single word in Hebrew that means "virgin" in the modern sense. (No, "betulah" didn't originally mean "virgin" either; the word changed in meaning later.)

By the way, the Greek "parthenos" may not have originally meant "virgo intacta" either; that's why Luke records Mary saying, "I am a parthenos, who has never known a man." The last clause would be utterly superfluous if parthenos always and only meant "virgin" in the modern sense--and the Spirit never wastes words.

Secondly, the DSS don't rescue you there, since they also have "almah" in this passage.

Thirdly, there is not a single Jewish source that I have ever heard of that uses this passage to "prove" that the Messiah would be born out of wedlock. There are passages in the Talmud that accuse Yeshua of being born such, but they don't use Isaiah 7 in reference to Him.

Matthew did not find Isa. 7:14 and say, "Oh look, it says the Messiah would be born of a virgin!" Rather, he said, "Hey, we know that the Messiah was born of a virgin; are there any passages in the Tanakh that refer to this?" From there, he found a string of prophecy that runs from chapter 7 through chapter 12 of Isaiah about the Messiah which says that He would a) be born of an almah, and b) this would be a miraculous sign, and c) this child would be called "God With Us."

There are certainly variants in the Masoretic Text (heck, the text records quite a number of spelling variants in what are known as qere-ketiv notations). There are also a handful of places where these variants impact messianic passages--but not in Isaiah 7.

Shalom

50 posted on 08/15/2011 11:09:23 AM PDT by Buggman (returnofbenjamin.wordpress.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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