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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    This seems unlikely because the Jews had no power to destroy Christian books after the first century.
    Here is some further evidence as to that situation:

    Foremost scholar, James Parkes, in his book, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue, comments on this issue with added details: “...the rabbis show a knowledge of the New Testament and of the details of the life of Jesus. The gospels are known as ‘Aven-gillayon’ by Rabbis Meir of Jabne and Jochanan. The word is an offensive pun [in Hebrew] meaning ‘revelation of sin’ or ‘falsehood of blank paper’. There is a discussion reported as to what shall be done with ‘external books’....Rabbi Meir says that they are not to be saved from the fire, but to be burned at once, even with the names of God in them. Rabbi Jose says that on a week-day the name of God ought to be cut out and hidden away. Rabbi Tarphon invoked a curse on himself if he did not burn the books, names of God and all.

    Scholar F. F. Bruce also adds interesting comments in his book, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament: “...the minim in question appear to be Jewish Christians....we are dealing with the controversies between Jewish Christians and the representatives of what was now main-stream Judaism in the period after A.D. 70, when Jewish Christians were excluded from the synagogue. Discussions sometimes arise about the status of ‘the books of the minim’....Derogatory puns on evangelion, the Greek word for ‘Gospel’, are ascribed to rabbis of the Tannaitic period: They called it ‘awen-gillayon or ‘awon-gillayon, which means something like ‘falsehood of the scroll’ or ‘perversion of the scroll’. Any claim that such works should be granted canonical recognition was decisively rejected. Some rabbis thought they might well be burnt; others suggested that the occurrences of the name of God which they contained should be cut out first.”

    Bruce further elaborates on this little-known subject of the rabbis’ abuse and intolerance of the New Testament, in his book, New Testament History: “It is only after A.D. 70 that we can begin to talk about normative Judaism and of deviations from the norm; in the days of the Second Temple there was a much greater variety of Jewish religious life and practice, and no one form could claim to represent the standard by which others were to be judged.
    When the rabbis of Jamnia discussed the recognition of canonical books and the rejection of others, one group to which they paid attention was ‘the books of the minim’. These contained the name of God, and yet their contents were unacceptable....it is unlikely that the idea of extending canonical recognition to the Christian books was seriously entertained: they were mentioned only to be condemned. ‘The gilyonim and the books of the minim are not sacred scripture’ [Talmud, Tosefta, Yadaim 2:13].[29] Some leading rabbis, like Yohanan ben Zakkai and Aqiba’s pupil Me’ir, made derogatory puns
    on the word evangelion, altering the vowels to ‘awen-gillayon or
    awon- gillayon’ (‘iniquity of the margin’). But ‘the vehemence with which the leading rabbis of the first generation of the second century express their hostility to the gospel and other books of the heretics, and to their conventicles, is the best evidence that they were growing in numbers and influence; some even among the teachers of the Law were suspected of leanings towards the new doctrine.’

    The widely respected Jewish scholar, G. Alon, quotes the Talmud and other sources as he tells us: “Blank writing surfaces (gilyonim) and books of the Minim are not to be rescued (on the Sabbath) but should be allowed to burn right where they are, along with their azkarot [the explicit names of God, y´h'/hy]. Rabbi Jose of Galilee says: On a week-day, one should cut out the azkarot and bury them, then burn the rest. Said Rabbi Tarphon: May I lose my sons if I would not burn any such books that fell into my hands, azkarot and all! Indeed, if I were fleeing from a deadly pursuer, I had rather take refuge in a house of heathen worship than enter into the house [Messianic synagogue of the Nazarenes] of such as these. For the heathen do not know Him and (so) deny Him; but these do know Him, and (yet) deny Him....The same question is the subject of a disagreement between Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Akiba in Sifre on Numbers: Rabbi Ishmael says: The way to deal with books of the Minim is this: one cuts out the azkarot and burns the rest. Rabbi Akiba says: One burns the whole thing, because it was not written in holiness.”

    D. S. Russell, author of The Method & Message of Jewish Apocalyptic, informs us: “L. Ginzberg has pointed out that in the entire rabbinic literature of the first six centuries there is not a single quotation from the extant apocalyptic literature; because of this it has sometimes been too readily assumed that rabbinic Judaism would have nothing whatever to do with the teaching and ideals contained in these books. C. C. Torrey, for example, affirms that from AD 70 onwards, so great was the devotion of the Jewish leaders to the Law and the sacred Scriptures, the decision was taken to destroy as undesirable all the Semitic originals of the ‘outside books’, including the apocalyptic writings, and so effect ‘the sudden and complete abandonment by the Jews of their popular literature’. Thus, this once-popular literature was discontinued and the ideas which it perpetuated were rejected as dangerous and heretical.”54
    Russell goes on to say: “...the very fanaticism of the
    apocalyptists would in itself be a warning to the rabbis of the dangers inherent in such teachings....Thus, they were a challenge both to rabbinic authority and to the safety of the State. Another, and perhaps decisive, factor in the decline of apocalyptic would be the rapid growth of Christianity and the adoption and adaptation by the Church of many Jewish apocalyptic writings whose messianic and eschatological teachings were eminently suitable for the purpose of Christian propaganda....With the return of more peaceful times the original Hebrew and Aramaic texts would be no longer in existence. Such books as survived would owe their survival to the fact that they had already been translated into other languages, and such apocalyptic ideas as persisted within rabbinic Judaism would be the result of oral transmission. This attempted solution is only a guess and cannot be proven; but it underlines the fact that, for whatever reason, the apocalyptic books were perpetuated not in the original Hebrew and Aramaic tongues but in Greek and in the many other languages of the Dispersion. By reason of the antipathy of many rabbis to them and because they were no longer available for study in their original texts, it was inevitable that they should at last fall out of use [among Jews].”55
    Several of these apocalyptic writings included commentaries on the Bible by ancient rabbis whose originals were written in Hebrew. There is an extensive list in the back of Raphael Patai’s book, The Messiah Texts, in his section, “Abbreviations and Annotated Biography.” W. Bousset, in his book, Antichrist Legend, A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore, quotes from many translated apocalyptic writings.

    To conclude our comments regarding all of the attempts to destroy and cover up certain original apocalyptic writings dealing with predicted future events,56 we would like to ask you a question. Could all the talk about the burning of the New Testament by rabbis such as Me’ir, Akiva, Jose and Tarphon, have been connected with the destruction of these writings? If the New Testament was hunted down and destroyed in its original Hebrew editions, could this be the reason why we have been unable (as of yet) to discover the original57 Hebrew New Testament, which is the question of the century?
    Fragments of an original document have been found and many wait for the original Hebrew New Testament to reappear from archaeological excavations in Israel. Such a find would impress a new openness to Jesus upon many Israeli rabbis’ eyes (see our appendix 1, “It’s All Hebrew to Me”)! We urge all true believers to pray that we soon discover the “Hebrew New”!

    The entire article can be found here: http://www.ramsheadpress.com/messiah/ch08.html

    The reason I bring this up is that if they didn't have any power to burn these books, then why meet to discuss how to do it, and then write it in their Talmud?
    Last edited by gregoryfl; 02-10-2010 at 11:23 AM.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    Here is some further evidence as to that situation:

    Foremost scholar, James Parkes, in his book, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue, comments on this issue with added details: '...the rabbis show a knowledge of the New Testament and of the details of the life of Jesus. The gospels are known as ‘Aven-gillayon’ by Rabbis Meir of Jabne and Jochanan. The word is an offensive pun [in Hebrew] meaning ‘revelation of sin’ or ‘falsehood of blank paper’. There is a discussion reported as to what shall be done with ‘external books’....Rabbi Meir says that they are not to be saved from the fire, but to be burned at once, even with the names of God in them. Rabbi Jose says that on a week-day the name of God ought to be cut out and hidden away. Rabbi Tarphon invoked a curse on himself if he did not burn the books, names of God and all.
    I find it extremely interesting that the Aramaic NT texts included the "name of God." I wonder if that means they included YHWH. I searched my Peshitta in Bible Works and it doesn't have YHWH. So I am guessing the "names of God" the Rabbis worried about were just Elha and similar words corresponding to Elohim in Hebrew. If it had YHWH it would impact questions of the early understanding of the divinity of Jesus.

    But as for the original question - I doubt that the Rabbis had sufficient power over Jewish Christians after 70 AD to influence the propagation of the Aramaic copies, so I don't think this is a good explanation for the lack of copies.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    Scholar F. F. Bruce also adds interesting comments in his book, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament: '...the minim in question appear to be Jewish Christians....we are dealing with the controversies between Jewish Christians and the representatives of what was now main-stream Judaism in the period after A.D. 70, when Jewish Christians were excluded from the synagogue. Discussions sometimes arise about the status of ‘the books of the minim’....Derogatory puns on evangelion, the Greek word for ‘Gospel’, are ascribed to rabbis of the Tannaitic period: They called it ‘awen-gillayon or ‘awon-gillayon, which means something like ‘falsehood of the scroll’ or ‘perversion of the scroll’. Any claim that such works should be granted canonical recognition was decisively rejected. Some rabbis thought they might well be burnt; others suggested that the occurrences of the name of God which they contained should be cut out first.'
    I really find their perversion of evangellion into the Aramaic pun hilarious and so so typical of folks who are frustrated with an argument that they can not win and that will never end. Human nature never changes.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post

    Bruce further elaborates on this little-known subject of the rabbis’ abuse and intolerance of the New Testament, in his book, New Testament History: 'It is only after A.D. 70 that we can begin to talk about normative Judaism and of deviations from the norm; in the days of the Second Temple there was a much greater variety of Jewish religious life and practice, and no one form could claim to represent the standard by which others were to be judged.

    When the rabbis of Jamnia discussed the recognition of canonical books and the rejection of others, one group to which they paid attention was ‘the books of the minim’. These contained the name of God, and yet their contents were unacceptable....it is unlikely that the idea of extending canonical recognition to the Christian books was seriously entertained: they were mentioned only to be condemned. ‘The gilyonim and the books of the minim are not sacred scripture’ [Talmud, Tosefta, Yadaim 2:13].[29] Some leading rabbis, like Yohanan ben Zakkai and Aqiba’s pupil Me’ir, made derogatory puns on the word evangelion, altering the vowels to ‘awen-gillayon or awon- gillayon’ (‘iniquity of the margin’). But ‘the vehemence with which the leading rabbis of the first generation of the second century express their hostility to the gospel and other books of the heretics, and to their conventicles, is the best evidence that they were growing in numbers and influence; some even among the teachers of the Law were suspected of leanings towards the new doctrine.’
    This is extremely fascinating! It just so happens I have had a copy of Bruce's book on my shelf for a couple decades, but never dug into it! I'm going to read it this afternoon. Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    The reason I bring this up is that if they didn't have any power to burn these books, then why meet to discuss how to do it, and then write it in their Talmud?
    You misunderstood my point. They had all they power they needed over books in their own possession. But after 70 AD, I doubt they had power to go out and confiscate books from Jewish believers that they had already excluded from their synagogues. And it seems rather unlikely that the Jewish believers would have handed over their sacred NT Scriptures. So this does not seem to be a likely answer to why the early copies are missing. It seems more likely that they are missing because they never existed. But there is another possibility too. It's the same explanation we have for the dearth of Hebrew OT mss. They were treated like a person and buried when worn out. So maybe that's what happened to the early copies of the Peshitta.

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    I find it extremely interesting that the Aramaic NT texts included the "name of God." I wonder if that means they included YHWH. I searched my Peshitta in Bible Works and it doesn't have YHWH. So I am guessing the "names of God" the Rabbis worried about were just Elha and similar words corresponding to Elohim in Hebrew. If it had YHWH it would impact questions of the early understanding of the divinity of Jesus.
    Yes, you will not find YHWH, but you will find an equivalent that is used, that came out of Daniel's time, MarYah, only applied to the true God and to Jesus. I am not sure if this is the name that the Rabbis had issue with. I highly doubt they had an issue with El though.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    You misunderstood my point. They had all they power they needed over books in their own possession. But after 70 AD, I doubt they had power to go out and confiscate books from Jewish believers that they had already excluded from their synagogues. And it seems rather unlikely that the Jewish believers would have handed over their sacred NT Scriptures. So this does not seem to be a likely answer to why the early copies are missing. It seems more likely that they are missing because they never existed. But there is another possibility too. It's the same explanation we have for the dearth of Hebrew OT mss. They were treated like a person and buried when worn out. So maybe that's what happened to the early copies of the Peshitta.

    Richard
    I am only pointing out that they at the very least spoke of it, of burning them and cutting out the divine name so as not to be burnt along with it. Whether they actually did or not I have no idea, but just wanted to share that they did discuss it. Just seems odd that they would discuss something they could not actually at least attempt to do.

    I was going to suggest the burial of the texts also as a possibility but figured you might not find that plausible, so am pleasantly surprised to see you mentioning it as a possibility. The scribes who transcribed the Aramaic texts are said to have done that very thing.
    Last edited by gregoryfl; 02-10-2010 at 12:29 PM.

  4. #24
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    Matt 1:23 Peshitta uses Batulta!

    This is a very curious case. Isa 7:14 (MT) uses "almah" which can mean "virgin" but most generally means "young maiden." The Hebrew for a strict "virgin" is batula. This has caused a lot of dispute about the Greek NT which follows Isa 7:14 (LXX) and uses parthenos (virgin) in Matt 1:23.

    So I checked the Peshitta and it uses batula (virgin).

    Why would the Peshitta use batula when the Hebrew text being quoted uses almah? Aramaic has the word almah in its Lexicon.

    It seems that the Peshitta used batula because it is a translation of the Greek parthenos of Matt 1:23 which came from Isa 7:14 in the LXX.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
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  5. #25
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    Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

    Jas 5:16 Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working.

    Some texts have αμαρτιας, while others have παραπτωματα. They are synonymous words, but again, some chose one word, and others chose the other word, which look nothing alike. They appear to find their source in an Aramaic word which happens to mean both things, סכלותא

  6. #26
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    Here is one that actually has 7 variants:

    Mat 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

    Since most English Bibles use the major manuscripts, we have to look at the actual copies of the Greek manuscripts themselves to see these variants listed, as follows:

    akrasia – intemperate, lack of self control, excess
    Mss.: ℵ B D Θ f1 f13

    akaqarsia – unclean
    Mss.: O Σ

    adikia – unjust
    Mss.: 28 579 700

    akrasia adikia – 'unjust intemperance'.
    Mss.: W

    pleonexia – covetousness
    Mss.: M

    ponhria – wickedness
    Mss.: Rare manuscripts, attested to in the much revered 'Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible'.

    iniquitate – iniquity
    Mss.: Rare manuscripts, attested to in the much revered 'Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible'.
    Perhaps it is from a rare Latin manuscript, translated from a Greek manuscript that said 'iniquity'.
    Curiously, the Latin Vulgata says 'immunditia' (uncleanness).

    Taken from "Was the New Testament Really Written In Greek?" pg. 45,46.

    The one Aramaic word which happens to convey all of these meaning is what is found in the Peshitta, עולא

    Of these variants, the 2 main readings are: akrasian, (excess, lack of self control) and adiikiiav (iniquity, unrighteousness)

    Not sure why my fonts aren't working. Oh well.

    Ron

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    This is a very curious case. Isa 7:14 (MT) uses "almah" which can mean "virgin" but most generally means "young maiden." The Hebrew for a strict "virgin" is batula. This has caused a lot of dispute about the Greek NT which follows Isa 7:14 (LXX) and uses parthenos (virgin) in Matt 1:23.

    So I checked the Peshitta and it uses batula (virgin).

    Why would the Peshitta use batula when the Hebrew text being quoted uses almah? Aramaic has the word almah in its Lexicon.

    It seems that the Peshitta used batula because it is a translation of the Greek parthenos of Matt 1:23 which came from Isa 7:14 in the LXX.
    I agree that that is a possibility. But there are also many readings in the Peshitta OT which go against the LXX and are in line with the Masoretic text, which would seem to speak against it being a sole translation of the LXX alone, if at all. Perhaps there were manuscripts we know nothing about that contained betulah, and both the LXX and Aramaic Peshitta might have used those manuscripts for their renderings. We do know that the manuscripts used in the LXX are different from the Masoretic text.

    Ron

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    I agree that that is a possibility. But there are also many readings in the Peshitta OT which go against the LXX and are in line with the Masoretic text, which would seem to speak against it being a sole translation of the LXX alone, if at all. Perhaps there were manuscripts we know nothing about that contained betulah, and both the LXX and Aramaic Peshitta might have used those manuscripts for their renderings. We do know that the manuscripts used in the LXX are different from the Masoretic text.

    Ron
    Yes, that idea occurred to me too. I could imagine that the Scribes changed batulah to almah in reaction against Christian "abuse" of that text as proof of Christ as messiah. But I have never seen any textual evidence for this idea, and it seems unlikely only because I have been told how they would never do any such thing. (Reverence of the text and all that.) Then again, I've seen politics and religion turn saints into demons and it got pretty hot between Christians and Jews in the first century so it seems not unlikely that at least one or two not so scrupulous scribes would have at least been tempted to tamper with the text.

    It would be good to focus on how the Peshitta compares with the verses in the Greek NT that cohere with the LXX. That should shed some interesting light on this topic.
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  9. #29
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    I found this article called The Influence of the Septuagint on the Greek NT. Here is the concluding paragraph:
    J. Ross Wagner writes: My own close examination of the wording of Paul’s quotations and allusions to Isaiah in Romans supports the consensus view that Paul cites a Greek text (or texts) of this prophetic book. In most cases, Paul’s Vorlage seems to have been nearly identical with the Septuagint version of Isaiah; at times, Paul’s interpretation of a verse clearly depends on the form of the text distinctive to LXX Isaiah. In some cases, however, it appears that Paul has drawn his citation from a Greek text that reflects efforts to revise LXX Isaiah toward a Hebrew exemplar. Although I have given full consideration to textual evidence provided by MT, the Qumran finds (biblical MSS, pesharim, and quotations in other documents), the Targum, and the Peshitta, at no point has it been necessary to suppose that Paul has relied on a Hebrew or Aramaic text of Isaiah. This does not prove that Paul could not read these languages, nor does it show that he knew the book of Isaiah only in Greek. It does suggest, however, that Paul was intimately acquainted with a Greek version of Isaiah much like the LXX and that he apparently did not hunt down and exploit the textual variants in other languages as he interpreted the book.
    The next stage is to compare the Peshitta rendering of the Greek texts in Romans that are quotes from Isaiah. It should be very enlightening.

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  10. #30
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    Sounds good. Now, are we seeking to establish whether the Peshitta NT, (for the moment looking at it from your view) when quoting from the OT, translated from the LXX?

    Ron

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