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Old 10-28-2021, 06:01 AM   #10336
business_kid
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@ntubski: Isaiah is often split as you describe by later unthinking critics. Isaiah initially prophesied against the 10 tribe kingdom of Israel and some rather despicable kings of the two tribe kingdom of Judah. The later section of his book had many prophecies of later times. These include Isaiah 44/45.

There is no basis for the claim that there were two authors, because the Jews would never have merged books from two authors claiming they were one; too many copies existed at that time to pull something like that off successfully anyhow. If Isaiah had only written 39 chapters, the copies from all over would have only 39 chapters.

I see you have done some homework to find discrepancies. If you put the same effort into understanding what the Bible says, you would be better served. Yes, there are discrepancies between individual scrolls. Here is where the whole field of textual criticism comes into it's own. By comparing scrolls, textual critics can approximately date them from the style of writing, and locate them by the variations they contain. There are a lot of manuscripts, and many more fragments.

Your points about the Masoretic stuff are irrelevant, as the Masoretes were very late (7th-8th century CE), and modern translations use earlier manuscripts.
 
Old 10-28-2021, 04:49 PM   #10337
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But, the book of Isaiah has raised questions, partly because it is so long and because yes, it does appear to have a very definite "split point" in it. It covers a very long period of time – far longer than in nearly every other canonical book. It discusses a far greater period of time than any one author's human lifespan, so far as we know.

We might have manuscripts from "very long ago," but is that long-ago enough? Unfortunately, it really is impossible to "know." We are left with educated guesses.

Slight differences are of course inevitable in manuscripts that had to be hand-copied.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 10-28-2021 at 04:52 PM.
 
Old 10-28-2021, 05:07 PM   #10338
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
There is no basis for the claim that there were two authors, because the Jews would never have merged books from two authors claiming they were one; too many copies existed at that time to pull something like that off successfully anyhow. If Isaiah had only written 39 chapters, the copies from all over would have only 39 chapters.
I guess that's the crux of the issue then. I think "modern scholarship considers" is more credible than "some guy on the internet says" though. Okay, that's obviously appeal-to-authority instead of a real argument, but I don't see that I have much more to go on anyway.

Hmm, one more thing from http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah:

Quote:
Dating from ca. 125 BCE, it is also one of the oldest of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some one thousand years older than the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible known to us before the scrolls' discovery.
Which is to say that the oldest copies we have date from long after the claimed date of the merge. So it seems entirely plausible that all the copies we have now could have come from the merged version even if unmerged copies previously existed at one time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid
Your points about the Masoretic stuff are irrelevant, as the Masoretes were very late (7th-8th century CE), and modern translations use earlier manuscripts.
The particular points about Masoretic stuff are irrelevant (I left it in mostly because I wasn't sure how to elide it gracefully), the only point that is relevant is that there are different versions of the text floating around. So I don't think your claim that there is a single version copied perfectly by scribes without alteration (lest they fall victim of some curse) holds up.
 
Old 10-29-2021, 08:17 AM   #10339
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@sundialsvcs: It's amusing to find you so quickly espousing the minority views on Isaiah's authenticity. You seem very choosy on the subjects you are skeptical of.

@ntubski:The contents of Isaiah must rock your boat if you're trying so hard to discredit it. Let's briefly localize it.

In 618, certain Jews were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, Daniel among them. They had various scrolls of the Scriptures that they could carry. Jews in Egypt had scrolls. Daniel worked in the King's court in Babylon, away from the majority of Jews living by the river Chebar. Yet he acquired a fairly complete set of scrolls for personal study, which would cost at least a year's scribal work. He may have written them himself, but would have needed access to a copy. We know Daniel in Babylon,(today's Iraq) had a copy of Jeremiah's scroll, completed in Egypt around 580 BCE. So scrolls got around. You couldn't change them all. If you changed only one copy of Isaiah, it would stand out like a sore thumb.

Another powerful argument for Isaiah as one book is the fact that many authors quote from "Isaiah the prophet", including Jesus, and used parts from both supposed parts of the book. It's not "Isaiah the prophets." Each prophet wrote his prophecies in his lifetime, and made it available to the priests. Isaiah prophecied over about 60 years - a long career, but not too long.

In any case, I take none of your references at all seriously. They are without merit. Authorative textual critics have no doubt that Isaiah is genuinely one book. I am guided by them. No footnotes expressing doubts exist in any translations, so no relevant authority has doubts either. While your points may exist online, you are being the credulous one in this instance. If there is simply sniping going on, and not reasoned discussion, there's no point in continuing this.

As for textual differences, localize it. The best way to see the need for changes is to compare an old English Bible. That's John Wycliffe's translation of 1382 into English. As you will see, it needs translation into (modern) English! That happens over time, because languages change.
 
Old 10-29-2021, 12:57 PM   #10340
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@business_kid, I don't think that you have successfully defeated the argument that all of the scrolls and fragments that we now have are simply "not old enough." But, that's the reality when we start talking about truly ancient texts, inscribed clay tablets and so forth: we are not in the position to "know." All that we can do is to speculate, and to present our arguments to our ecumenical peers so that they can promptly tear them down.

I'm not saying here that you are right or that you are wrong – but I have observed that you are very often "certain."
 
Old 10-29-2021, 02:42 PM   #10341
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs
I'm not saying here that you are right or that you are wrong but I have observed that you are very often "certain."
All of us have our areas of expertise. I'm sure you looked after your own family well by selling your skills to some employer. I would obviously defer to you if you were expert in some area where I am not. JWs have a regular supply of educational and informative articles on aspects of the Scriptures, including translation. All I have to do is read the stuff, or look it up, and have done so for decades. So, yes, I'm pretty certain. You can be as skeptical as you like, which I see as your loss.

To explain why, let me mention 1 appendix reference which gave us an insight into a rule of Hebrew grammar called the 'waw conservative.' We got an detailed educational article on what it was, why it was needed. The 'waw conservative' made sense of otherwise extraordinary grammar features of Hebrew, other possible options or renderings, etc. All was written in a fashion the uninitiated could understand. You google 'waw conservative' and see what that says. DDG only has rubbish.

Now, to be sure, many of our views jar with folks. So as 1 Peter 3:15 says, we have to be able to make a defense.
 
Old 10-29-2021, 11:14 PM   #10342
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
@sundialsvcs: It's amusing to find you so quickly espousing the minority views on Isaiah's authenticity.
You think the idea that the Isaiah is an anthology is a minority view? Even though the museum of Israel describes it as the view of most modern scholars? It may or may not be a correct view, but giving the majority scholarly view of a field to the public is basically the whole point of museums.

Quote:
@ntubski:The contents of Isaiah must rock your boat if you're trying so hard to discredit it. Let's briefly localize it.
Hmm, I don't think I'm trying hard. That's why I stopped at appeal-to-authority instead of trying to research the details myself (which I have no intention of doing since I'm not a biblical scholar).

Quote:
So scrolls got around. You couldn't change them all. If you changed only one copy of Isaiah, it would stand out like a sore thumb.
Why do you think they can't all be changed? Just announce that you found a sequel to the original (44 chapter) Isaiah, and everybody goes "oh, we'd better update our copies". Then later, if someone compares a shorter non-extended copy with the longer extended one, the longer one will look more complete and therefore better and more likely to be copied. Eventually only the longer copies are left. It's basically evolution in action

Quote:
Another powerful argument for Isaiah as one book is the fact that many authors quote from "Isaiah the prophet", including Jesus, and used parts from both supposed parts of the book. It's not "Isaiah the prophets." Each prophet wrote his prophecies in his lifetime, and made it available to the priests. Isaiah prophecied over about 60 years - a long career, but not too long.
The Great Isaiah Scroll which includes all the chapters (and therefore comes after the merge) dates to 125 BC, so obviously Jesus also came after the merge.

Quote:
In any case, I take none of your references at all seriously. They are without merit. Authorative textual critics have no doubt that Isaiah is genuinely one book. I am guided by them. No footnotes expressing doubts exist in any translations, so no relevant authority has doubts either. While your points may exist online, you are being the credulous one in this instance. If there is simply sniping going on, and not reasoned discussion, there's no point in continuing this.
By "relevant" authorities do you mean Jehovah's Witness approved ones? It's true I'm taking the museum of Israel page at face value; I have no reason not to. Of course, I certainly won't tell you which authorities you should follow.

Quote:
As for textual differences, localize it. The best way to see the need for changes is to compare an old English Bible. That's John Wycliffe's translation of 1382 into English. As you will see, it needs translation into (modern) English! That happens over time, because languages change.
I don't understand what you're trying to say here. What does the phrase "localize it" mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
To explain why, let me mention 1 appendix reference which gave us an insight into a rule of Hebrew grammar called the 'waw conservative.' We got an detailed educational article on what it was, why it was needed. The 'waw conservative' made sense of otherwise extraordinary grammar features of Hebrew, other possible options or renderings, etc. All was written in a fashion the uninitiated could understand. You google 'waw conservative' and see what that says. DDG only has rubbish.
Is this what Wikipedia calls Vav-consecutive?
 
Old 10-30-2021, 10:45 AM   #10343
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It's clear this isn't a debate, but an attack. So this is my last post on this subject.

You're no Biblical scholar you say, but seem set on undermining the points of someone who has at least studied the subject somewhat and has the authorative references to hand. It's not the scroll of Isaiah you're unhappy with, it's his prophetic message of the fall of Babylon naming Cyrus written over 200 years before the events. It's the unwelcome implications of that fact that rankles you. For the record, I'll answer one or two points.
  • The authoritative test for the 'Isaiah = 2 sections' theory is diachronic analysis. You can't fake a section of an old book any more than you today could write in Middle English with perfect Middle English grammar. Manuscripts are distributed in an image format so writing style can also be examined. Scholars are expert at ferreting out forgeries, later additions and no translators accept the "2 books" theory or their work would show it.
  • I am guarded about Jewish sources. They removed God's name from Scripture based on a superstition, they reject the whole 'New Testament,' and are extremely uncomfortable with Isaiah chapter 53, to the extent that they would diminish it's importance if they could.
  • Your 'updating Isaiah' suggestion is laughable. The book of Isaiah is prophecy in need of protection, not software in need of updates. They didn't have the Internet! The system was that a prophet's work was authenticated during his lifetime and never added to.

Last edited by business_kid; 10-30-2021 at 10:49 AM.
 
Old 10-30-2021, 12:31 PM   #10344
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I think I am beginning to actually see a basic difference in belief systems. Some people are so personally invested in their conclusions they view debate on a subject as a personal attack. Others are invested in the process, the calculation, not the conclusion. Interesting.
 
Old 10-30-2021, 02:24 PM   #10345
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
It's not the scroll of Isaiah you're unhappy with, it's his prophetic message of the fall of Babylon naming Cyrus written over 200 years before the events. It's the unwelcome implications of that fact that rankles you.
Please don't tell me what's in my own mind, and I'll do you the same courtesy (if I failed to do so at any point previously, I promise to retract it as soon as you point it out).

Quote:
For the record, I'll answer one or two points.
  • The authoritative test for the 'Isaiah = 2 sections' theory is diachronic analysis. You can't fake a section of an old book any more than you today could write in Middle English with perfect Middle English grammar. Manuscripts are distributed in an image format so writing style can also be examined. Scholars are expert at ferreting out forgeries, later additions and no translators accept the "2 books" theory or their work would show it.
  • I am guarded about Jewish sources. They removed God's name from Scripture based on a superstition, they reject the whole 'New Testament,' and are extremely uncomfortable with Isaiah chapter 53, to the extent that they would diminish it's importance if they could.
So it sounds like everything comes down to "I trust my experts more than yours", which is fine, but nothing anyone else can use.

Your point about Jewish sources brings up the obvious converse for Christian ones: that they would overhype Isaiah's importance if they could. I wonder if any Bhuddists have studied this...

Quote:
  • Your 'updating Isaiah' suggestion is laughable. The book of Isaiah is prophecy in need of protection, not software in need of updates. They didn't have the Internet!
Mostly agree, it was just something I tossed out to see if you could defend your apparently unsupported assertion of the book never being modified.

Quote:
The system was that a prophet's work was authenticated during his lifetime and never added to.
And you just repeat the same assertion, kind of disappointing.
 
Old 11-01-2021, 12:16 PM   #10346
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Not being a Christian, I only keep a Bible for reference purposes: a copy of the King James Version "designed for general reading". In the introduction to the Prophets, it attributes chapters 40 to 55 of Isaiah to "an unknown person", chapters 56 to 66 to a later hand, and 24 to 27 to a still later interpolation. And that book was published jointly by the university presses of Oxford and Cambridge back in 1951, so it's a well-established academic position. I did read some JW material on the Bible many years ago — let's just say I was underwhelmed. I can see why the JW's strongly advise their members not to go to university — they might actually learn something.
 
Old 11-01-2021, 03:05 PM   #10347
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Let's just remind ourselves that it's okay to have a strongly-held opinion, or a less strong one, or no opinion at all. The water cooler's tank was very recently refilled ... well, over 10,300 posts ago. Nevertheless: it won't be running out anytime soon.

When we talk about "very old things," let's just stick to "I don't agree with you" (or: "with your sources"). None of us can properly say that anyone else "is wrong" because at this point in time we cannot know what "is right." We weren't there to watch.

So –*"we disagree, and that's the end of it."

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 11-01-2021 at 03:08 PM.
 
Old 11-02-2021, 02:24 PM   #10348
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs
So *"we disagree, and that's the end of it."
+1 on that. My feelings are probably stronger than most of you. I don't believe I'm guilty of using the word 'wrong' but I'm sorry to all if I'm coming across as OTT.

In fact, every book (Bible and otherwise) that is "examined" as we mentioned comes across as the work of multiple authors. Two particularly incredible instances of 'multiple author analysis' were the Gospel of John, and John's Revelation. We have dates of 98 CE & 96 CE respectively.

John was a pillar among Christians, he was the sole living Apostle, so additions to his work would not be tolerated. He lived for another 2 years or so, and we have contemportary writings in large amounts. His gospel and Revelation came in one chunk, and no mention of an update is made at any stage. Yet, between these two books there is 'supposed' to be 5 authors(!) and nobody mentions it.
 
Old 11-03-2021, 09:57 AM   #10349
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Kudos to posters. I did not expect that computer dudes can debate on scriptures well enough.
I was out for very long time.
Regards to all.
 
Old 11-03-2021, 12:24 PM   #10350
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@business_kid: And always, always, always, there is the unanswerable question of pseudepigraphic texts. Where the writer(s) are actually using a well-known author's name as a "pen name." I have several very interesting speculative books about the actual origins of the four canonical Gospels, for example. One of them makes a fairly compelling argument that one of the authors was actually a woman – but does not identify who the author thinks she was.

We think that many gospels were written many, many decades after the fact, when the "authors" were quite likely to have been dead. The writer of Luke/Acts says that (s)he is trying to get to the bottom of things – very long after the events had taken place – and to sort it all out. A very noble undertaking. Unfortunately, a bibliography was omitted or has been lost.

Was The Revelation of St. John actually written by this man? Or, as many suspect, was it several? The Gospel of Judas, or that of Stephen? We very simply can never know. And so, this is why I am both unwilling to say that I know, and healthily skeptical of the opinions of others who do. (Take no offense.) I don't believe that there is any objective line of reasoning which will take us there, nor that there ever will be. I respect, but decline to agree with, those who earnestly feel otherwise ... as I know that you do.

I don't know the true provenance of these books, and believe that I never could. But, I do see that God speaks to the very heart of Man through them, each and every day. So maybe that's the best sign of Deity at work. There's something more going on here than meets the eye.

- - -

@malekmustaq – Welcome to one of the most remarkable and long-running threads on the entire Internet world of forums.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 11-03-2021 at 12:29 PM.
 
  


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