Sat, 21 Oct 2017 08:08:18 -0400
|SHABBAT, 1 Heshvan 5778 — יוֹם שַׁבָּת א חֶשְׁוָן ה' תשעח|
Table Of Contents
Non–Jewish Authorship Of 'The New Testament'?
Many people, especially those who are not ethnically Jewish, may not appreciate nor recognize how that the Christian New Testament, is not only oriented to but centered in a non–Jewish way of thinking, as if it was originally written not only for them but also by them!
We find this particularly evident in the writings of 'Paul' (aka Saul of Tarsus) and Luke, which, ironically, comprise the majority of the writings of the 'New Testament'!
Around Two–Thirds Of Quotes Or References
It is important to understand that any translation from one language into a different language is necessarily an interpreted revision of the text, which may or may not adhere to the fundamental intent of the original authors, regardless of the veracity of the translator(s).
What may not be well known is the fact that the majority of quotes from what is commonly presumed to be the Hebrew Scriptures (aka Tanakh) within the Christian 'Scriptures' (aka New Testament) actually are NOT found directly within the actual Hebrew Scriptures!
Rather, of the passages referenced or quoted in 'The Christian Scriptures', it appears that around two thirds (2/3rds) of them were actually taken from a different source — the Greek Septuagint.
The Septuagint (from the Latin septuaginta, "seventy") was an early Greek translation supposedly of the Hebrew Scriptures. However, parts of it were derived from another translation of Hebrew Scriptures into Aramaic along with remaining parts of the Hebrew Scriptures, all of which were translated into the Greek language.
A very notable example is the often quoted, transliterated
passage, found in Matthew 27:46:
That is actually a quote from the Greek Septuagint version of the Scriptures, which was supposed to be a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek but in many cases used an Aramaic sourced interpretation, and not directly taken from the Hebrew Scriptures!
Please be aware that the Aramaic source could not have been an original Scriptural source. Rather, it would have been a translation (an interpretation) — of the Hebrew Scriptures! Notably, that Aramaic interpretation was translated into the Greek language of the Septuagint, which, in turn, is quoted by the author of the book attributed to Matthew.
The quote is from Psalms 22 in the Hebrew Scriptures:
אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי
Our transliteration of the Hebrew text:
Interestingly, both the Hebrew and
sources for the Psalms 22 passage quoted in
Matthew have essentially the same meaning,
However, we must ask, "Why would one of the handpicked disciples of Yeshua prefer to quote from a translation, rather than an original Hebrew source for Hebrew Scripture?"
Disturbing to us as well is that the Matthew passage is supposed to be quoting the dying Yeshua.
It just seems rather odd that Yeshua, the King Messiah, would quote an Aramaic translation in his last breaths rather than from the "Holy Tongue" (see Zephaniah 3:9).
כִּי־אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל־עַמִּים שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה
"For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may call
upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent."
It is our belief that had the New Testament writers themselves been in fact Israelite Hebrews, native born in Israel, they would have been much more likely to have been familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures and the Hebrew language, rather than the Greek language and the Greek translation of an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Scriptures written in the Greek language (Septuagint)!
To us, it is rather preposterous to assume that any native Israelite would have been more versed in Greek writings than those of Hebrew to primarily reference or quote from a Greek text containing an Aramaic translation rather than directly from the original source — the Hebrew Scriptures.
Perhaps even more disturbing
As we have mentioned above, about two–thirds of the quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures in the Christian 'New Testament' are actually sourced from the Greek version of the Scriptures, the translation known as the Septuagint, and not sourced in the original Hebrew Scriptures, as the many may have been led to believe.
You May Ask,
That is a good question! Perhaps the following image will illustrate a simple point regarding the reliability of any translation, and particularly the Septuagint. It is taken from Ernest Klein's Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language For Readers Of English, on page 681 at the bottom right and carrying to middle top:
In the above "screen grab" of the definition, it talks of a "confusion" of the translators in their understanding of this particular word. It is just one example among a great many but it illustrates that the translators themselves apparently did not have the level of expertise that is often given them. We think it is unfortunate that the New Testament quotes from the Septuagint are all too often considered reliable and unquestioned.
Additionally, the New Testament Greek
text predominantly quotes Aramaic
rather than original Hebrew sources!
We actually find it profound that the majority of the books in the New Testament were claimed to have been authored by Saul of Tarsus (aka Paul), or his chief biographer, Luke, neither of whom it appears to have been native born Israelites (e.g. Hebrew/Aramaic may not have been their first language)!
Moreover, it is remarkable how that neither Saul of Tarsus, nor Luke, ever met Yeshua in the flesh!
Ironically, the original faith community of followers of Yeshua were Israelite Jews, whose native tongues would have more likely been Hebrew than Greek!
We believe that that Israelite Jewish faith–community would most likely have practiced the true form of faith given by the personal teachings of the promised Messiah—Yeshua HaMashiach, himself a native born Israelite and well acquainted with the Hebrew language!
Moreover, we do not believe that the Hebrew Scriptures foretold that the Messiah was to come to bring about a new religion, loosely based upon teachings from a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures where the majority of quotations are from an Aramaic interpretation of the original Hebrew.
Rather, we believe that the purpose of the Messiah would have been primarily to bring the Israelite people back to the teachings of יְהֹוָה [YehoVaH].
Flawed as it may be, the New Testament record reveals that Yeshua eschewed the teachings of the prevailing Israelite authorities (particularly, the Pharisees, the predecessors of rabbinic Judaism).
We believe that he actually taught the people to turn to יְהֹוָה [YehoVaH] and that this was in direct fulfilment of the Hebrew Scriptures.
כִּי בֵיתִי בֵּית־תְּפִלָּה יִקָּרֵא לְכָל־הָעַמִּים
"Is it not written,
This phrase, "My House shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples" is often quoted by "Christian apologists" and given various interepretations, most typically supporting a belief in [their] inclusion among the ranks of the children of Israel.
Ironically, when they read this passage from Mark or the similar ones in Matthew and Luke, it is apparent that a great many of them think that they are quoting a passage directly from the Hebrew Scriptures simply because this phrase appears in its various forms in the three "Synoptic" Gospels, in Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17 and Luke 19:46!
As we have stated elsewhere (as on our page, Paul, the false apostle), it is our opinion that many followers of 'Paul' (i.e. "Christians") hold to the idea that their "New Testament Scriptures" provide the absolute, unchallengeably correct interpretation of all "quoted" passages in the original Hebrew Scriptures. Moreover, as it is to them the DEFINITIVE WORD–OF–God — It Cannot Even Be Questioned!
However, it certainly appears that few of them actually bother to check the original source to verify a given context or even to ascertain whether or not the quotations are correctly transcribed!.
In reality, the three "House of Prayer" passages (which we intend to illustrate are mis-quoted and taken out of original context) in the Synoptic Gospels, actually are taken from two distincly separate and disparate passages in the Hebrew Scriptures, Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11 respectively.
We will first show the three passages in the Synoptic Gospels followed by the passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah:
And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all
who sold and bought in the temple, and he
overturned the tables of the money-changers and
the seats of those who sold pigeons.
He said to them, "It is written,
'My house shall be called a house of prayer,'
but you make it a den of robbers."
[Matthew 21:12-13 ESV]
And they came to Jerusalem.
And he entered the temple and began to drive out
those who sold and those who bought in the
temple, and he overturned the tables of the
money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.
And he would not allow anyone to carry anthing through the temple.
And he was teaching them and saying to them,
"Is it not written,
'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'?
But you have made it a den of robbers."
[Mark 11:15-17 ESV]
And he entered the temple and began to
drive out those who sold,
saying to them, "It is written,
'My house shall be a house of prayer,'
but you have made it a den of robbers."
[Luke 19:45-46 ESV]
וּבְנֵי הַנֵּכָר הַנִּלְוִים עַל־יְהוָה לְשָׁרְתוֹ וּלְאַהֲבָה אֶת־שֵׁם יְהוָה לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לַעֲבָדִים כָּל־שֹׁמֵר שַׁבָּת מֵחַלְּלוֹ וּמַחֲזִיקִים בִּבְרִיתִי׃
Also the aliens, that join themselves to the LORD, to minister unto Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and holdeth fast by My covenant:
וַהֲבִיאוֹתִים אֶל־הַר קָדְשִׁי וְשִׂמַּחְתִּים בְּבֵית תְּפִלָּתִי עוֹלֹתֵיהֶם וְזִבְחֵיהֶם לְרָצוֹן עַל־מִזְבְּחִי כִּי בֵיתִי בֵּית־תְּפִלָּה יִקָּרֵא לְכָל־הָעַמִּים׃
Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה מְקַבֵּץ נִדְחֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹד אֲקַבֵּץ עָלָיו לְנִקְבָּצָיו׃
Saith the Lord GOD who gathereth the dispersed of Israel: Yet I will gather others to him, beside those of him that are gathered.
Within the New Testament quotations for "My House Shall Be Called A House Of Prayer For All Peoples" — are actually misquotations of the Isaiah context. Isaiah is concerned with obedience to the commandments (the Torah), and says absolutely nothing about making the House of Yehovah a den of robbers.
הַמְעָרַת פָּרִצִים הָיָה הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָא־שְׁמִי עָלָיו בְּעֵינֵיכֶם גַּם אָנֹכִי הִנֵּה רָאִיתִי נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃ ס
Is this house, whereupon My name is called, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, saith the LORD.
As in Isaiah, the Jeremiah 7 passage shows a completely different context than what is quoted in the Synoptic Gospels!
Thus, the "you have made it a den of robbers" — simple as a phrase as it is, is even a misquotation of the original!
The Jeremiah 7 passage asks in context, Is this house ... become a den of robbers in your eyes? — NOT, but you have MADE it a den of robbers — as the Synoptic Gospel quotations suggest!
Interestingly, only the passage in Mark closely quotes Isaiah 56:7.
Mark also contains "... den of robbers" from Jeremiah 7:11. The Matthew and Luke references are closer to the Jeremiah "... den of robbers" passage.
Munging Different Passages Into One — Creating A New Gospel!
Those who choose to quote the "House of Prayer" passage(s), for all practical purposes, munge all three New Testament references into one single unit of thought (as they do so many other multiples of a telling of a same event elsewhere).
Isn't that essentially creating a New Gospel?
Each NT passage does refer to Yeshua thowing the money-changers out of the temple, but only the passage in Mark contains the more often quoted "House of Prayer" part from Isaiah 56.
Within their original contexts,
"Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." [Isaiah 56:7 JSP1917]
This is part of a much broader context which clearly shows that non-Jews can join in the [salvation] of greater Israel, WITH THE CAVEAT that they obey the commandments, of which the [7th Day] Sabbath is emphasized over and over again.
That's obeying the commandments just like the Israelites are supposed to obey the commandments!
The second part of the compilation is from Jeremiah 7:11
"is this house, whereupon My name is called, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, saith the LORD."
This context is clearly about how Israel had forsaken יְהֹוָה [YehoVaH], committing abominations, and forsaking Him, and he basically tells them He will destroy His House just like He did in Shiloh.
Regarding the aformentioned New Testament passages, we believe the scribe or scribes that initiated those "It is written" passages did so as "additions". It really does make the text more poetic, but we are not so sure if something was intended to be historically accurate that it should be allowed to have such casual embellishment.
As mentioned above, the Isaiah 56 passage is about those Non-Jews who keep the Sabbaths And The Commandments — it is they who will be included with Israel. Neither the "House of Prayer" passage in verse 7, nor the context of the entire dialog has anything to say about making the House of יְהֹוָה [YehoVaH] a "den of robbers".
Moreover, none of the referenced passages, in the "Christian Scriptures" have anything to say about Gentiles being joined to Israel, nor to do so that they would have to keep the Sabbaths and the rest of the commandments — just as Israelite Jews are so obligated. That is, indeed, the actual context of the quoted passage in Isaiah!
Even the Jeremiah 7:11 passage is misquoted as all three references speak of a 'You' making the House of Yehovah a 'den of robbers'. That Jeremiah passage clearly shows that the reference to "robbers", in context, is with a greater question essentially emphasizing that the audience sees the House of Yehovah as a den of robbers, not that they have made it so.
Taking these things into consideration, we believe that the "It is written" passages from Matthew, Mark and Luke would most likely NOT have been part of an original Israelite authored "text".
Even more so, to believe that the Holy One of Israel, The King Messiah – Yeshua – would ever misquote or misrepresent the Holy Scriptures, is to discredit even the idea of a chief Messiah, let alone to derogate the person of Yeshua with such impunity — which, in our opinion, is exactly what has been done in these NT quotes!
At best the references to the passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah make their inclusion poetic, but a discerning individual should easily see that both passages blatantly misrepresent the originals.
– The Christian Conundrum –
Essentially, If Yeshua Actually Made These Statements,
Each of those passages begins with a similar phrase, "It Is Written" or "Is It Not Written". No doubt but these passages refer to the "Hebrew Scriptures" as to where the "It is written" theme points.
Yet, what most "Christians" do when "quoting from that event" is to munge all three quotes together, coming up with what is closer to the Mark quotation:
"'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations' but you have made it a den of robbers."
Again, there is actually no single passage in all of the Hebrew Scriptures where that munged phrase (from those Mathew, Mark and Luke passages) is written.
Rather, it is a compilation from Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11 — two separate passages by two separate authors; and thus only in that way can those three New Testament passages be considered as "quoting" the Hebrew Scriptures!
Why Do We Bring This Up?
What can this mean? Is there a possibility that Yeshua is actually quoted accurately in all three Synoptic Gospels and that he didn't understand the context of the orginal passages nor that He was also munging the Isaiah and Jeremiah passages into one?
Or does it mean that Yeshua actually didn't say these things as quoted, and that the original authors or later scribes who may have inserted these stories did so without having a thorough understanding of the original contexts?
We choose the latter option.
We, at The Iconoclast actually do believe that Yeshua is the promised Mashiach whose coming coincided with the timeline prophecy from Daniel (see our page "Can Mashiach Promised To Israel Actually Be Yeshua of Nazareth?").
Why do we hold the view that the original authors or later scribes failed in their attempt to reference the oft quoted "House of Prayer For All Peoples?"
Simply to illustrate the arrogance of "Christian" interpretation which often does a great injustice to the original context of quoted passages in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Within each of the Synoptic Gospel quotations for "My House Shall Be Called A House Of Prayer For All Peoples" — are actually misquotations of the Isaiah context.
Isaiah is concerned with obedience to the commandments (the Torah), and says absolutely nothing about making the House of Yehovah a den of robbers.
This further illustrates a likelihood of Non-Israelite/Non-Jewish authorship, particularly in how that within the Synoptic Gospel passages, the original Hebrew passages in Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah 7 show a completely different context.
Thus, the "you have made it a den of robbers" simple as a phrase as it is, is even a misquotation!
The Jeremiah 7 passage asks in context, Is this house ... become a den of robbers in your eyes?; NOT, but you have MADE it a den of robbers!
Now, we want to provide a little background to this argument thusly: as mentioned above, by stating that the passage containing "Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani" [Matthew 27:46], which Yeshua says on the execution stake (aka cross – and it is translated "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"), is a reference to the entire context of Psalms 22, which clearly is about suffering.
We believe Yeshua was quoting just a "snippet", and the average Israelite would have understood he was referring to the overall context of that Psalm.
To us, it is quite obvious where in Psalms 22, verses 6 & 7,
Thus, we believe that when a passage is quoted it is referring to the context of the passage and not meant to be a single thought like a Proverb (unless, of course, a proverb is being quoted!).
Just one little curious detail, as noted in the section above, "Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani" is ARAMAIC. Psalm 22 is written in Hebrew, not Aramaic (a completely different language). We have to ask, "Why would Yeshua have quoted the Hebrew Scriptures in another language?
Ironically, there is a great deal of "Christian" theology that is taken from these misquoted "Is it not written" passages, chiefly the "My House Shall Be Called A House Of Prayer For All Nations."
So many "Christians" profess their own inclusion into "Israel" (or the Israel of God) and use those passages as their justification for doing so, but it is apparent that the original context has little to do with their interpretation, poetic as it may be.
How many of these "self proclaimed children of Israel" actually guard and keep the Sabbaths of יְהֹוָה [YehoVaH]?
How many actually obey the rest of the commandments?
Dare we mention that commandments regarding food are also part of the commandments in the Torah given to the children of Israel?
PIG BETWEEN THEIR LIPS?
How many of these "self–proclaimed Holy Children of Israel" treat PIG within the context of authority as the Hebrew Scriptures clearly do, treating it as an abomination, let alone allowing it to pass between their lips?
אֹכְלֵי בְּשַׂר הַחֲזִיר
'Christianity' — The Religion Of Paul
We hold to an opinion that the knowledge of the truth regarding not only the content but the assembling of 'The Christian Scriptures' was subject not only to outright manipulation but also to corruption.
Could The Early Writings
If the earliest writings of that which became 'the New Testament' canon (aka 'the Christian Scriptures') were written by Saul of Tarsus, we come to a rather obvious conclusion as to the sphere of influence in the mindset of other authors.
In other words, if it can be shown that Saul of Tarsus wrote his books prior to the bulk of the rest of what is 'The New Testament', it is easy to see that his influence could well have dictated how that those following him would have thought about and made conclusions regarding the topics and even history which they wrote about.
Indeed, we have elsewhere discussed how that the way the 'Christian' world looks at their 'Jesus' is essentially what they have been told about 'Him' by Paul!
The information below was found at The New Testament Canon (Chapter 2), By Glenn W. Barker. It shows each 'New Testament' book, its author, the best guessed dates for date written followed by the best guessed place of origin. Our comments follow the list.
"Due to the nature of the New Testament material, the matter of authorship, date, and place of origin is necessarily tentative and conjectural. Books which treat this material in a more extensive form include Feine-Behm-Kümmel, And Introduction to the New Testament (Protestant Liberal); D. Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, 3 vols. (Protestant Conservative); and A. Wikenhauser, New Testament Introduction (Roman Catholic). Our suggestions are as follows:"
The list above is primarily consistent with many of the other sources found regarding the dating of the books of 'The Christian Scriptures'.
Does anyone besides us find it odd that for a religion which was to be built upon the teachings of the King Messiah, and following His death, the leadership of his hand-chosen disciples who were native born Israelites, that absolutely none of those books is definitively shown to have been written in the land of Israel? Moreover, it is clear that the writings of Saul of Tarsus preceded those of actual eye-witnesses!
From the list above, it shows that Saul of Tarsus wrote between the years 50 and 64 CE. The only other book shown to possibly have been written within that timespan was the book of James (50-60). Every other book is dated thereafter.
That fact alone should cause enough of an alarm (it should 'raise a red flag') for even minimally discerning people.
It is quite obvious to see that there is a possibility that just one individual could have predominantly influenced the entire canon of 'The Christian Scriptures' — And That One Person Was NOT Yeshua!.
Is it not apparent that 'Christianity' is, in fact, 'the religion of Paul'?
Anti-Semitism In The 'The New Testament'?
Those of us who are ethnically Jewish find it especially disturbing how that, particularly evident in the New Testament book of John, that the ruling authorities are mostly referred to as "Jews!" — these references supposedly by a writer who himself was to have been an Israelite Jew!
To illustrate, we will cite just a few passages that refer to the Israelite ruling authorities using the term "Jews". That makes it quite clear that in the least there has been a great deal of corruption through a scribal "poetic license"; but all such examples make it look quite probable for a non–Jewish authorship as well.
However, particularly in lieu of the internal evidence we note herein, and even though we have to consider that the book of John actually may have been 'authored' by Gentile(s), that does not preclude a possibility that the Apostle John, whom the book was named after, did not write an original manuscript or would have dictated to another to write his words which could have been considered an original manuscript.
Yet, if that were the case, we find it hard to believe that the original manuscript would have been written in Greek!. Even if there was original authorship by the Apostle John, the results speak for themselves! Quite obviously, later scribes with anti–Jewish biases clearly added to the book (or wrote it en toto, as the case may have been).
We appreciate and may be sometimes informed by some of the books of the New Testament (they could be considered a history, after all). However, when the rabbis, priests, etc. (ruling authorities) are casually referred to as "Jews", it really appears that the author is anti–semitic. It appears that the writing is from a non–Israelite, Gentile perspective.
The fact is that according to the "gospel" accounts, the original Talmidim (disciples) of Yeshua were all ethnic Israelites (Jews). Therefore, we have to question as to why, as it appears in the book of John, that ethnic Israelites would ever refer to their own priests and/or other rulers using the term "Jews". This appears to be not only offensively derogatory, but also quite suspect to us!
Moreover, it seems much more likely that a purportedly Israelite/Jewish author, to refer to their own ruling authorities by using the term, "Jews" in the derogatory manner by which it appears to be within the passages that follow, would only do so if he was what is modernly termed "a self-hating Jew".
Much more likely, the author was probably NOT ethnically Jewish, nor, for that matter, even a native Israelite!
Calling the ruling authorities, Jews, when it would have been quite reasonable to call them priests, rabbis, members of the Sanhedrin, etc. is rather anti-semitic to us!
Note — we have changed the color of the term, Jews, for this illustration:
"And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”" [John 1:19 ESV]
"The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem." [John 2:13 ESV]
"So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?" " [John 2:18 ESV]
"Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews." [John 3:1 ESV]
"After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem." [John 5:1 ESV]
"So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed."" [John 5:10 ESV]
"This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." [John 5:18 ESV]
"Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand." [John 7:2 ESV]
"Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him."
"Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves." [John 11:55 ESV]
"Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."" [John 18:36 ESV]
We Want To Emphasize This:
However, we do acknowledge that there are some passages written in Aramaic.
We believe that a clear distinction should be made regarding 'scribal' standards of quality and integrity between the Tanakh (the Hebrew Scriptures) and that of the Christian 'New Testament'.
Are There 'Scribal' Standards
– YES! –
Jewish Scribes 'Set The Gold Standard'!
As we discuss below, Jewish scribes meticulously preserved the original writings of the Hebrew Scriptures under exacting scrutiny.
Were There Acceptable Scribal Standards
It is a fact that there is a huge discrepancy in the acceptable scribal requirements between what are known as the Hebrew Scriptures (the Tanakh) and the Christian Scriptures (the New Testament).
The Hebrew Scriptures were copied only under conditions of strict and rigorous scrutiny of detail and oversight.
In simplistic terms,
This point can be illustrated with a discussion regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls. The texts that were found at Qumran (the Dead Sea scrolls) show only a miniscule number of variations to the Masoretic text (which is mostly regarded as Judaism's official version). The Dead Sea Scrolls were dated from 300 years prior to the first century to the first century and the Masoretic Texts, which are used as the source for all Jewish Scriptures, were dated from around 930 C.E.
Qumran – A Community Of Scribes!
It is well known that the majority of ancient inkwells archaeologists found in the land of Israel were discovered at Qumran and/or related to it. Consequently, with this information as well as based upon the layout of its settlement and even information found in some of the recovered scrolls themselves, many people hold to the idea that Qumran was a "Scribal Community".
Hebrew Manuscripts With Scribal Errors
The "dead sea scrolls" at Qumran that comprise texts from the Hebrew Scriptures were "buried" in earthen jars. They could not be destroyed because they contained the name of יְהֹוָה [YehoVaH] (G–d)! They did not 'pass muster' for having been copied without error — they were unfit to be used in Temple (or Synagogue) worship, and were buried rather than destroyed for the aforementioned reason.
Did The 'New Testament' Scribes
Quite unfortunately, judging just by the results – there appeared to be little commitment for any such rigor or standards of excellence such as was obviously used in copying the Hebrew Scriptures for what has become the New Testament.
In fact, it is probably appropriate to say that, simply by the way they treated it, 'New Testament scribes' DID NOT CONSIDER MANUSCRIPTS THEY WERE 'COPYING' AS THE WORD OF G–D!
Yet, the texts that were accepted as "canon" for the assembling of the New Testament are treated as though they were assumed to have been personally approved by יְהֹוָה [YehoVaH] and/or Yeshua!
Ironically, at least in the Protestant world, the 'mantra' of 'inerrancy and infallibility' regarding the 'New Testament' seems to infer or imply that any TRANSLATION should automatically be considered as directly inspired by G–d, inerrant and infallible as well!
Those in the King James Only movement, those who declare that the King James translation is, in fact, the WORD OF G–D, are a testament to this kind of 'sillyness'.
Please note: It must be understood that a TRANSLATION is itself someone's INTERPRETATION.
An interpretation is an attempt to capture the correct meaning of original language documents into another language, but that meaning is always subject to original language literacy, the biases of the translators, and possibly even to private agendas. That does not mean that a translation is necessarily incorrect or intentionally biased, but it can never substitute for the original writing itself.
Moreover, in our opinion, it takes 'extreme poetic license' to assume that a translation could also be considered inerrant and infallible!
In simplistic terms, the basic argument regarding the doctrine of inerrancy and infallibility for the New Testament is that the original writings were all inspired by G–d; therefore, as G–d embodies ultimate TRUTH, 'New Testament Scripture' is to be regarded as TRUE, inerrant and infallible [AND, OF COURSE, – NOT TO BE QUESTIONED!].
It is a rather circular argument.
Original Manuscripts For The 'New Testament' DO NOT EXIST.
To make the statement, "the original manuscripts are inspired by G–d, infallible and without error" is subtly misleading, particularly when there is no prima facie evidence that original manuscripts ever existed!
We need to be very clear here: there are no extant, original, New Testament manuscripts, nor are there existing copies of the original manuscripts of the New Testament!
However, this is also true for the Hebrew Scriptures in that original manuscripts got old and copies have since replaced them.
But any similarity stops there. It is abundantly clear that the scribal integrity for the Hebrew Scriptures was so guarded that if there were any flaws in the copied manuscripts they were buried, never to be used in Temple or Synagogue service.
Whereas, it is strikingly apparent that there was little if any semblance of integrity for scribal integrity for New Testament scribes/copyists.
With literally thousands of the remnants of 'ancient', but not original, manuscripts with suspect scribal standards, none of which was found written in the native language of Israelite authors, it is embarrassing to presume that the New Testament could qualify as the wholly inspired, inerrant and infallible word of G–d.
Might it be that in doing so is to call יְהֹוָה [YehoVaH] G–d a liar?
Does that mean thatיְהֹוָה [YehoVaH] (Elohim/G–d) cannot use what has survived for His glory? Of course NOT!
"And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham." [Matthew 3:9 ESV]
Ancient Hebrew Documents Have Survived!
Ancient Israelite documents have survived! Those from Qumran are estimated to be aged from between 300 BCE (Before Common Era) to the 1st century CE (Common Era, known also as A.D.).
Moreover, the Aleppo Codex, one of the original Masoretic texts, is from 930 CE.
Quite significantly, there are only slight discrepancies, changing no meanings whatsoever, between the Qumran (Dead Sea) scrolls of Hebrew Scripture and the Aleppo Codex.
Whereas, with the more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts, where no two agree and some significantly so, the Christian New Testament has absolutely no comparison of scribal standards and integrity to that of the Hebrew Scriptures!
Purposeful Corruption Of New Testament Manuscripts
Unfortunately, there was no such rigor and qualifications not only for authenticity but also for standards for what has become known as the corpus of texts comprising the manuscripts that have made themselves into the "New Testament".
Can The Sheer Number
Yet, there is a prevailing view by many "Christian" apologists who argue that due to the sheer number of manuscripts and 'their nearness to each other' – that qualifies them to have attained high standards 'for authenticity' – declaring that they are essentially equivalent to the same standard set by the Jewish scribes in their copying of the Tanakh! Of course, that argument for 'New Testament' authenticity is absolutely preposterous!
Isn't that 'apology' and subsequent Christian doctrine essentially stating that having an overwhelming number of documents, none of which agree completely, constitutes a model of authenticity so pure that it cannot even be questioned?
We consider that to be absolutely inane, insane and preposterous (OK, we consider it to be absolutely STUPID! — there, we said it!).
Moreover, it belies the idea that the Roman Catholic church corrupted the "body of evidence" and then purposely put a "canon" together that potentially included not only additions and untrustworthy elements but also writings that could not possibly meet rigorous standards of testing for authenticity.
Why Were Original Sources Only In A Foreign Language?
We find it odd that despite the fact that the original faith community of Yeshua was Israelite (Jewish) in culture and language, absolutely no original source writings are in either Hebrew or Aramaic, nor many (if any) references to them from other early 'accepted writings or personal letters' (note: other early writings or letters have been used to corroborate some of the manuscripts included in acceptance of documents for the 'canon').
What writings/manuscripts that "survived" the purge of the anti-Jewish factions leading into the Roman Catholic church are all copies of copies at best and often contain 'scribal additions and embellishments', but they are all written in the foreign, Greek language and apparently were added much later than when the manuscripts were supposed to have originally been written!
Again, absolutely no original Hebrew language writings were used for source material, despite the Israelite Jewish ethnicity and culture of the original handpicked messengers (aka, Apostles or Shaliachim) and others in the original faith community that followed Yeshua of Nazareth!
Should We Accept The Arguments
Modern arguments that Greek was the universal language of the time and that all of the early Israelite Jewish writers used it exclusively may entertain the many or perhaps the gullible, but we find that line of argumentation to be incredulous if not absolutely absurd and preposterous! We also expect that idea in and of itself has been given to us by the entity that has written (or re-written) the history — anti-Jewish factions extended into the Roman Catholic church (and its Protestant offshoots)!
A Question Of Hebrew Or Greek Ethnicity?
In regard to what is known as "The New Testament", it is our belief that the history regarding the Israelite ethnicity (aka Jewishness) of the original faith community has been grossly ignored and even expunged and supplanted by Greek culture and, especially, a 'Gentilized Religion, Christianity, centered on the teachings of one Saul of Tarsus, about Yeshua, whom he never even met'.
Moreover, the topic of our discussion regarding the credibility of Saul of Tarsus about his claims to being an Apostle (and even his own inference as an uber–Apostle) illustrate to us that the acceptance of 'Paul' has brought about the destruction of not only the core message but also the cultural and ethnic basis of the original faith community of Yeshua HaMashiach (for more information, see our page, Paul, the false apostle).
To us, it is clear that "The Roman Catholic Church" (aka the last of the four world kindgoms of Daniel 2) has deftly followed the lead of Saul–of–Tarsus, creating and establishing 'The New Testament' and 'Christianity': 'Paul's 'easy, Gentile/pagan oriented Religion about his interpretation of all things Yeshua'.
Together, in our opinion, they have supplanted, and all but eradicated, knowledge of the original faith community — that 'Israelite Faith centered in the Torah given by יְהֹוָה [YehoVaH]' which was championed by Yeshua HaMashiach and was subsequently taught by His true followers, His emissaries, His handpicked Shaliachim (Apostles) — people He actually knew!
In fact, according to the book of John, it was to those original 12 disciples that Yeshua said would be his [exclusive] messengers:
"And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning." [John 15:27 ESV]
We sincerely doubt that any of the assemblers and many of the original writers of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) were themselves Israelites or Jews. For, in assembling their "canon," apparently they had little interest or gave little consideration to the words attributed directly to Yeshua where he said:
"... I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Contrary To Popular Belief
The image above is taken from a page on the internet we found searching for Qumran and the Hebrew Language: 407-did-the-messiah-speak-aramaic-or-hebrew-part-4-by-eaknapp
This snippet above was taken as a screen-grab from a pdf document by Dr. Gary Rendsburg
You might note that the salient text is
"Accordingly, I return to the question: to what extent does the fact that 80% of our documents are composed in Hebrew reflect the linguistic reality of the Qumran community? Or to put it in simpler terms: did they speak Hebrew? — as opposed to Aramaic, for example, or to Greek. There seems to be no other approach possible than to say: yes, the individuals at Qumran spoke Hebrew."
The link to the page by Dr. Rendsburg is: 396-qumran-hebrew-studies-on-the-texts-of-the-desert-of-judah
Why do we take the time to include information regarding the language of Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls came from), and by extension, inferring that the language was common in ancient Israel?
To us, the answer is quite simple. It is because of those who consider themselves "Bible Scholars", a clear majority have espoused the argument that because the New Testament was written in Greek, and the Greek quotations of Hebrew Scripture were predominantly written in the Aramaic language, then it follows that Aramaic would have been the native tongue of "Jesus" and by inference his disciples and those others responsible for writing the manuscripts.
By contrast, those familiar with the texts found at Qumran, known as the "Dead Sea Scrolls" discovered in 1947, as the above links illustrate, by showing the predominance of Hebrew language (80% according to Dr. Rendsburg) in both the biblical and non-biblical texts lead most of those scholars to believe that the language of even the common people of ancient Israel in the last century while the Temple stood (until ~70AD) was indeed Hebrew; not Aramaic, not Greek, etc.
In our efforts to show the importance of the language of the New Testament we believe that if in fact the native tongue and Scripture knowledge of those credited with authorship was indeed Hebrew, as opposed to the commonly held belief that it was Aramaic and even Greek, we find it refreshing that the Qumran discoveries are exceptionally revealing.
Unless otherwise noted, 'Scripture' passages from the Tanakh (Old Testament) have been taken from the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) English version of 1917, and passages from the Brit HaHadashah (New Testament) have been taken from the King James version of the Bible.
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July 9, 2017
by Robert M. Pill