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Source: (consider it) Thread: Unto Us a Child is Born
Martin60
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Is the Bible in the Bible?

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Love wins

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Martin60
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John 1 (KJV) 1 In the beginning was the Bible, and the Bible was with God, and the Bible was God.

In that version too!

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Whoo-hoo good ha ha ha ...

'They were the equivalents of today's software engineers'.

Now that HAS to go in the quotes file!

No let's ask Eutychus who is a professional translator whether software engineering is an exact analogy for the process of translation ...

This is translation, not automatic writing ...

I'm in the middle of writing a long post looking at each and every one of Fruchtenbaum's arguments about 'almâ and have been temporarily distracted by some stuff about presents and the smell of mulled wine wafting up from below (not to mention a large amount of washing-up), but I had to say something about this.

Machine translation is getting alarmingly good... at translating non-literary texts (except that when it gets it wrong it can be terminally wrong). Where I make my living is largely in translating more creative pieces. Translation is never a direct one-on-one mapping from one language to another, and this is even less the case where more conceptual, abstract, and literary ideas are involved. And believe it or not, the Bible is, amongst many other things, literature.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Jamat
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# 11621

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The fact that the collective here is dismissive of this simply proves only that it is dismissive of the Bible which is seen as a fallible compilation of ancient manuscripts rather than the word of God.

It hardly proves that; you’d get nowhere with that in court. But the inadequacy and aburdity of your “proof” aside, you’re doing an excellent job of providing evidence to support Gamaliel’s assertions about your blindered approach to Scripture.
Well, the court reference?

As a lawyer I'd like to hear your comments on that.
If the subject of a court hearing was the whether the translation of 'almah' in Isaiah 7 is ambiguous, would the case for the defence made by Fruchtenbaum be accepted?

Regarding the scriptures, if you accept them you learn and grow if you don't you shrivel and I think that what I am objecting to in Gamaliel's comments is the dismissiveness of lesser mortals.

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Gamaliel
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I accept my tone has been sarcastic, Jamat but for a lawyer (if that's your profession) you can come across as highly literalistic and binary.

As if the integrity of the scriptures as the word of God is somehow compromised unless we take an overly literal approach such as that espoused by outfits like Dallas.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I accept my tone has been sarcastic, Jamat but for a lawyer (if that's your profession) you can come across as highly literalistic and binary.

As if the integrity of the scriptures as the word of God is somehow compromised unless we take an overly literal approach such as that espoused by outfits like Dallas.

I am not a lawyer.
Look, you need to examine what actually is an OVERLY literal approach and then decide if you have grounds to accuse anyone of it.

I generally believe that scripture is inspired. If it contains errors of fact then this compromises it. Ergo, I look for resolution of prima facie errors of fact. In such instances one can consider if the so called 'facts' are indeed facts or if the anomalies in the text are indeed anomalies.

What I do not do is confuse the genres, deny figurative language or demand that the parables are factual. I do not accept some of the bad exegesis such as the so called 'doctrine ' of tithing or the automatic acceptance that a regulation of the OT law such as not wearing a garment of mixed threads or not seething a goat in its mother's milk is binding on me.

I do not have a problem with God's 'genocidal' judgements as Martin 60 does because God is himself and the potter has rights over the clay.

However, I believe Jesus kept the 613 regulations of Torah..partly to free me from having to and I do accept miracles and such supernatural things as the incarnation, the resurrection and predictive prophecy.

Regarding prophecy, I am basically pre-millennial and dispensational, though not in the extreme sense, as I think this is the approach that best creates a coherent view of the whole Bible. I arrived at this position after 40 years of confusion. The main principle is simple. Let Israel be Israel and do not see the church as replacing it. This solves lots of exegetical problems.

The problem I have with your approach is that it is in the words of Falstaff in Henry the 4th part one, 'neither fish nor fowl'.

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Gamaliel
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Then you've misunderstood my approach.

It isn't 'neither fish nor fowl'.

Rather it's one that is completely compatible with received orthodoxy.

You seem to think that there are only two choices available, a kind of 'milk and water' wooly liberalism on the one hand and a particular late 19th / early 20th century form of Protestant fundamentalism on the other.

The only tradition that insists on the kind of overly literal approach you seem to favour is US style fundamentalism.
All the others appear able to co-exist with nuance.

From your regular posts here it's pretty obvious that you don't understand the various genres and take apocalyptic literature far too literally and have very limited grasp of how any kind of literature actually 'works'.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Gamaliel
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I don't doubt that a form of Dispensationalist pre-millenialism helps you to make sense of the text and fit it into a nice, neat interpretative schema.

But that's exactly what it is,an interpretive framework, a tradition.

It's the apparent refusal to accept that and act as if it is the incontrovertible 'plain-meaning of scripture' that grates with me and why I've kept pressing the points I'm making.

What Dispensationalism does is remove one set of 'exegetical difficulties' and replace them with others.

It requires scripture to 'behave' in ways that conform with it, and not the only around.

The irony is that in setting out to defend the integrity of scripture against Modernism and liberalism, some of the more full-on conservative evangelicals (and not just fundies and Dispensationalists) end up engaging in special pleading and poor scholarship - which is where Eutychus's beef comes in.

There is a more excellent way. One which steers between the destructive Scylla of full-on theological liberalism on the one hand and the theological dead-end Charybdis of fundamentalism on the other.

Rather than being 'neither fish nor fowl' I'm actually steering a course between those equally destructive extremes.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Eutychus
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quote:
originally posted by Jamat:
To me he picked one reference, the Miriam one, to criticise and simply dismissed the line of thinking on that basis.

Alright then. Here’s what I think about all Fruchtenbaum’s proof-texts for ‘almâ meaning “a virgin” “a young virgin” a “virgin of marriageable age”. The verses are taken from the version he uses on his site, the NASB95.

a. Genesis 24:42: “behold, I am standing by the spring, and may it be that the maiden who comes out to draw, and to whom I say, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar”.

There is absolutely no justification in the text for ‘almâ meaning virgo intacta.

In fact I discover the NASB95 goes with my preferred, ambiguous translation, “maiden”. Fruchtenbaum goes on to say “it is used of Rebekah who was obviously a virgin at the time of her marriage to Isaac.” This is the same non-argument he uses of Exodus 2:8.

This would work if the only way one could refer to a young woman was as virgo intacta to the exclusion of any other descriptive. Rebekah’s “obvious” virginity says nothing whatsoever about the meaning of the word used here.

b. Exodus 2:8: already dealt with.

c. Psalm 68:25: “The singers went on, the musicians after them, In the midst of the maidens beating tambourines”.

Fruchtenbaum: “Used in reference to the royal procession of virgins. Since the King in this context is God Himself, absolute virginity is required; it is unthinkable that God would allow unchaste, unmarried women in His procession.”

The King in this context is not prima facie God even if the Psalm is later taken as referring to God. Once again, whether or not the maidens in question are virgo intacta is, it seems to me, entirely irrelevant to the context.

I’m also wondering how on earth Rahab made it into the people of God.

d. Song of Songs 1:3. Fruchtenbaum: “the context here is purity in marriage”.

Riight. Not sure where that assertion came from. And let’s look at what the verse actually says: “Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you.”

What this actually has to say about purity in marriage is beyond me, unless it is that only virgo intacta maidens are allowed to swoon over the lover.

What it has to say about whether the maidens are virgo intacta is even further beyond me.

e. Song of Songs 6:8 “There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and maidens without number”

Fruchtenbaum: “The word is used here in contrast to wives and concubines who would obviously be non-virgins.”

This is actually the strongest verse in Fruchtenbaum’s arsenal to my mind, because a case can be made for the three words referring to three distinct categoris of women in a context in which their virginity (or otherwise) made a significant difference. I found this comment about this verse referring to “crucial technical terms having to do with… political matters vis-à-vis the succession government of the dynastic monarchy”.

If it could be shown that in texts of the time dealing with such matters ‘almâ was strictly defined thus – and only thus – then that would put a serious dent in my position.

However, the comment I found comes from something called the “Orthodox Jewish Bible” which turns out to be something put out by Messianic Jews, i.e. not at all what it says on the cover, which in turn makes me doubt the intellectual integrity of the content. (And I see he quotes Motyer, sigh).

The author concludes “this translation is orthodox because… it preserves the supernatural entrance (virgin) and exit (empty tomb) of… the Savior”).

This is important because it is a frank admission that their overriding hermeneutic dictates their linguistic analysis: first and foremost, it is theologically important, if not imperative, for “’alm┠to mean “virgin”.

f. Proverbs 30:18-19. Fruchtenbaum: “The word is used in verse 19 in contrast to an adulteress in verse 20.” The assertion that the verse is in contrast to what follows is unsupported, and it is not obvious to me that “virgin” is a fitting antonym to “adulteress”.

g. Isaiah 7:14. Fruchtenbaum: “Since all of the above six verses mean “a virgin,” what reason is there for making Isaiah 7:14 the only exception?”

It is by no means proven that ‘almâ means “virgin” in any of the above instances to my mind (with the possible exception of e).

Satisfied?

quote:
The argument put forward is very strong scripturally. It points out a number of places where the 'almah' word occurs in the Bible, explains the likelihood that the referents here were virgins
[brick wall]

Even if the referents were virgins, using the word ‘almâ does not ipso facto mean that ‘almâ means virgin.

Can you really not see the inconsistency here? They were also doubtless all “young women”. Why should ‘almâ mean “virgin” and not “young woman”?

quote:
The objection is per se about predictive prophecy.
I’m honestly not sure about predictive prophecy. I’m certainly not approaching this word study with an agenda to discredit predictive prophecy. I’m approaching it from a linguist’s point of view and concluding that the people who conclude ‘almâ means “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 do so not because that is their conclusion as honest, impartial linguists but because their hermeneutic requires them to do so. Which I think is a recipe for reaching mistaken conclusions since it ignores what the text actually says.

(There may of course be people with an agenda for dismissing predictive prophecy doing the same in reverse, but I’m not one of them).

quote:
I generally believe that scripture is inspired. If it contains errors of fact then this compromises it.
Bearing in mind that if we continue down this particular tangent too far we will get sent to Dead Horses, let me just address that re: Isaiah. As others have also pointed out, I think it’s rather extreme to say that if ‘almâ means “young woman” and not “virgin” it is an error of fact. It doesn’t rule out the understanding “virgin”. It just doesn’t explicitly include it.

Of course, if you think all prophecy and its fulfilment are fully commutative I can see this would be a problem for you, but that seems to me to ignore the thoroughly linear nature of the biblical narrative.

[ 24. December 2017, 20:35: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Eutychus
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Sorry, end of penultimate paragraph should read "it doesn't explicitly mean just that".

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Gamaliel
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Gosh, and on Christmas Eve too, Eutychus!

You deserve a sherry with your mince-pie.

In the case of Rebekah and Isaac, I'd have thought the balance of possibility would be that she was a virgin before marriage.

But the other references sound more general, other than the one you cite as possibly indicating different categories of women.

The key point to me, though is the one you make about the properties of prophecy not always being 'commutive'.

But a very Merry Christmas to you and to a

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Martin60
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Me too.

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
In the case of Rebekah and Isaac, I'd have thought the balance of possibility would be that she was a virgin before marriage.

[brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]

That.is.not.the.point.

That is Jamat thinking.

Whether Rebekah was a virgin or not has no bearing whatsoever* on whether 'almâ means virgin and not simply "maiden", "young woman".

If the narrative said Rebekah was "flushed" would you conclude that "flushed" meant "virgin" just because she was one?

As far as I can see 'almâ need mean nothing more in the account of Rebekah than that she was a young woman. Certainly the case is not certain enough to translate it unambiguously as meaning "virgin".

==
*Motyer does compare how 'almâ and betulah are both used of Rebekah and tries to make a case for 'almâ having a more restricted meaning of "virgin", but I don't think it's conclusive.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Jamat
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# 11621

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Then you've misunderstood my approach.

It isn't 'neither fish nor fowl'.

Rather it's one that is completely compatible with received orthodoxy.

You seem to think that there are only two choices available, a kind of 'milk and water' wooly liberalism on the one hand and a particular late 19th / early 20th century form of Protestant fundamentalism on the other.

The only tradition that insists on the kind of overly literal approach you seem to favour is US style fundamentalism.
All the others appear able to co-exist with nuance.

From your regular posts here it's pretty obvious that you don't understand the various genres and take apocalyptic literature far too literally and have very limited grasp of how any kind of literature actually 'works'.

It seems the modus operandi of entrenched positions is to defend them by accusing opposing views of not understanding, which is what you say. Anyone who disagrees with me is dumb.

Regarding ’apocalyptic,’ you just use that as a term to hide behind, with the presumption that it is incomprehensible so it is open slather on interpretation. It is hiding lazy thinking behind a scholarly sounding word. You do not need to deal with the detail of the book of Revelation and ancient people were actually primitive..we have insights today that they lacked..just look at our technology. It is simple arrogance.

Regarding your stance. You cannot be all inclusive and hold the line on the basics of the faith which you continually seem to want to do. You end up standing for nothing. Just as an example you assert a high view of scripture, whatever that means, but then you say it matters not if there are one or three Isaiah’s. If there are more than one, it destroys the predictive elements and Opens the door for a naturalistic reading. Similarly if there is a case for a late date for Daniel, it makes the book dishonest. Did the angel Gabriel tell him stuff about the future or did he make it up? The point is it matters!

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Eutychus
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I can see that if one feels prophecy must have 100% predictive accuracy as a core article of faith there is going to be a lot of compulsion to do one's utmost to make all the available text fit that assumption. In that sense "it matters" to you, yes.

Aside from the obvious (to me) violence that can do to the text, though, what's a mystery to me is why 100% predictive accuracy of prophecy should be a core article of faith.

I don't see anybody here, not even Martin, denying that the NT writers understood Christ to have been a fulfilment of OT prophecy.

Why is such an assertion not enough for you, faith-wise? Do you in fact believe, as suggested above, that a prophecy and its fulfilment are commutative? That for all intents and purposes we should be able to insert the text of the prophecy in place of the fulfilment and vice versa and not notice any difference?

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Jamat
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# 11621

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Re Eutychus’ post above.
Well since the gnat being strained at here is the unambiguous translation of a word you are, I think setting the bar impossibly high.

There is no proof texting involved. The case made here is the best way to translate a word in Is 7. Given the contextual use of the same word elsewhere, it is ‘virgin’.

What he says is simply that Miriam in Ex 2 was an unmarried young girl, as Rebecca was when she watered Abraham’s servant’s camels..and so on and so forth. Context and common sense would assume the girls are virgins.

You talk about ‘justification’ in the text. Where does one find such justification apart from context? How is it possible otherwise to determine the exact meaning of such a word? You know that apart from it no one can.

How probable is it that either of these girls was not a virgin. With Rebecca, as you say, it specifically states she was, in the narrative. This was a condition for the bride of the chosen one. So one can safely assume that the Holy Spirit guided the writer in his terminology here, to indicate who and what she was and how she qualified as a prospective bride.

But you demand more evidence an the basis of the Hebraic equivalent of a Webster’s dictionary. you wish to seek for higher linguistic proof for a precise definition? You are demanding the Impossible.

In Ps 68:25 the maidens referred to there are contextually defined as is pointed out. Once again the presumption must be that these ‘ almas‘ are virgins. To deny context here and say,
‘Ah, but you can’t definitively say..’ is to deny both common sense and context.

Anyway it is straining at a gnat. The meaning in all these quoted texts is determined contextually as virgins so it is safe to assume the same regarding Isaiah 7.

You are also demanding confirmatory evidence that the word as used in Song of Solomon 6:8 is defined as ‘technical virginity’ once again making demands of the text to go beyond itself and refusing to acknowledge the commonsense reading dictated by context. I think this is mere academic posturing.

So no, I am not satisfied that anything you’ve said here suggests that the young women denoted in any of the contexts Fructenbaum cites could reasonably be expected to be non virgins. He makes his case not by specific definition but by expounding context. This is not proof positive perhaps but certainly enough for me.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Gamaliel
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I'm not hiding behind anything, Jamat. And Merry Christmas by the way ...

If you think I'm accusing you of being 'dumb' then you are accusing me of bad faith or arrogance ...

It isn't in the least bit arrogant to understand the Book of Revelation as apocalyptic literature.

What is arrogant is to claim eschatological insights in a way that does violence to the genre.

Anyhow, you keep missing the point by a country mile.

I hope you have a great Christmas and a Happy Year though ...

And Eutychus, yes, I did get your point about Rebekah ...

But it's late and I need a mince pie ...

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Jamat
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# 11621

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Seasons greetings to you as well.

You don’t seem to be aware of the condescension you often convey.

What is eschatological?

You use that word like ‘apocalyptic’ as some kind of esoteric undefined term that only the initiated really understand. What is the nature of the genre? How Have I done violence to it. How relevant is this remark to the present discussion. Why the continued inference that I miss the point that you and all the initiated bros here really get?

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What is eschatological?

Relating to the end times, second coming, etc. From "eschatology" which means the study of the end times.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Well, the court reference?

I’m not sure I understand the “?”. You’ve said more than once that Fruchtenbaum’s argument would clearly win in court.

quote:
As a lawyer I'd like to hear your comments on that.
If the subject of a court hearing was the whether the translation of 'almah' in Isaiah 7 is ambiguous, would the case for the defence made by Fruchtenbaum be accepted?

I haven’t read Fruchtenbaum; I hadn’t heard of him until this thread. All I have to go by is what you’ve said about his argument and what Eutychus has said.

So, from the standpoint of evaluating evidence and arguments, nothing you’ve said suggests to me that he’s laid out a compelling case. And if his argument is along the lines described by Eutychus, then I’d say no, Fruchtenbaum hasn’t made a strong case at all. His evidence would appear to be based on assumptions for which he has not laid an adequate foundation. It would appear to be an argument with holes big enough to drive a truck through.

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
It seems the modus operandi of entrenched positions is to defend them by accusing opposing views of not understanding, which is what you say. Anyone who disagrees with me is dumb.

Is that as opposed to the modus operandi of defending entrenched positions by accusing opposing views of not taking Scripture seriously and refusing to accept it as the word of God?

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You don’t seem to be aware of the condescension you often convey.

Neither, I’m afraid, do you.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Jamat
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# 11621

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quote:
Nick Tamen: I haven’t read Fruchtenbaum; I hadn’t heard of him until this thread. All I have to go by is what you’ve said about his argument and what Eutychus has said.
There was a link on P 5 of this thread about 3 up from the bottom.

Be interested in your take on it.

Merry Christmas.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What [Fruchtenbaum] he says is simply that Miriam in Ex 2 was an unmarried young girl, as Rebecca was when she watered Abraham’s servant’s camels..and so on and so forth. Context and common sense would assume the girls are virgins.

I don't have any argument with that at all.

The argument is about whether 'almâ specifically means "virgin" to the exclusion of a broader meaning, "young woman", "maiden" (not necessarily virgo intacta).

quote:
You talk about ‘justification’ in the text. Where does one find such justification apart from context? How is it possible otherwise to determine the exact meaning of such a word? You know that apart from it no one can.
The discussion here is not so much about the exact meaning of 'almâ as about whether it has an exact, technical meaning such that it should be translated in English by an exact, technical word: "virgin".

My contention (based on observation not Hebrew scholarship) is that when either Hebrew or Greek writers want to convey that exact, technical meaning they use a periphrase: "she knew no man". This is said of Rebekah (Genesis 24:16) and Jepthah's daughter (Judges 11:39) in the OT in contexts where their virginity is an important issue and similarly of Mary in the NT.

If Isaiah had felt it important to predict a specifically virgin birth (merry Christmas from me too), then on the basis of the wording in Genesis and Judges I would have expected him to say "and there shall be a sign, a young woman, who has known no man, shall be with child...".

Note that asserting that 'almâ is not best translated "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14 does not in and of itself mean Mary was not a virgin and it does not mean Isaiah was not making a prediction. It just tries not to make the text say more than it actually says*.

quote:
How probable is it that either of these girls was not a virgin. With Rebecca, as you say, it specifically states she was, in the narrative. This was a condition for the bride of the chosen one.
No problem here. However...
quote:
So one can safely assume that the Holy Spirit guided the writer in his terminology here, to indicate who and what she was and how she qualified as a prospective bride.
I don't know about "safely", but it is indubitably an assumption for Isaiah 7:14. We are told it is the case for Rebekah, and we are told it is the case for Mary by Luke, but in my view we are not told beyond all doubt that it is by Isaiah.

We may assume he meant "virgin", but in my view he does not specifically say so and it would be wrong to overtranslate the text to suggest that he did, no matter how hard we want him to.

(This is a lesson I learned the hard way: I used to get into trouble in translation classes at university for wanting to improve, as I saw it, what the original author wrote in my translation).

quote:
you wish to seek for higher linguistic proof for a precise definition? You are demanding the Impossible
I think the existence of the clarification phrase "she knew no man" is all the definition one needs; it's absent from Isaiah.
quote:
In Ps 68:25 the maidens referred to there are contextually defined as is pointed out. Once again the presumption must be that these ‘ almas‘ are virgins.
But again, it is presumption and that can be perilous. For a long time I presumed plan d'intéressement and plan de participation salariale meant much the same thing in French: a company-based employee savings scheme. Until I came across a text that used both terms one after the other and I had to establish what the difference was (one is mandatory, the other not, I can't remember off the top of my head which is which).
quote:
The meaning in all these quoted texts is determined contextually as virgins so it is safe to assume the same regarding Isaiah 7.
It is safe to assume a similar meaning for 'almâ in Isaiah 7 as everywhere else, but so far as I can see this meaning could equally be "young woman" and that is the linguistically safer and thus more honest translation.

quote:
You are also demanding confirmatory evidence that the word as used in Song of Solomon 6:8 is defined as ‘technical virginity’ once again making demands of the text to go beyond itself and refusing to acknowledge the commonsense reading dictated by context.
The commonsense message from the context is that this is poetry, not marriage legislation. I think the case would be much stronger here if we were looking at a non-poetic record of wedding arrangements - such as the meeting with Rebekah. As it is, we're looking at poetry, and it's difficult to know whether we're looking at a technical enumeration or simply the author reaching around for nice-sounding words rather than be technically accurate.

quote:
So no, I am not satisfied that anything you’ve said here suggests that the young women denoted in any of the contexts Fructenbaum cites could reasonably be expected to be non virgins.
Once again, the point is not what they could reasonably be expected to be, the point is whether 'almâ corresponds to your highly specific "reasonable expectation" or to a more general sense.

I think your "reasonable expectation" is being viewed through hermeneutical lenses, not linguistic ones (see my question in my previous post), and that makes it suspect for me.
quote:
He makes his case not by specific definition but by expounding context. This is not proof positive perhaps
And in the absence of proof positive, as a linguist and translator I say that an honest translation should reflect the absence of proof positive. Based on what I've seen, I'd go with "maiden" throughout. I certainly wouldn't, as the NASB95 does, inexplicably jump from "maiden" in every other passage Fruchtenbaum cites to "virgin" for Isaiah 7:14.

==

*Bible translations, especially ones by a specific denomination or theological movement, are notorious for doing this; it's not just the JWs. The Bible du Semeur in French is translated from a Reformed, cessationist perspective and systematically slants the translation that way. If there's an ambiguous word, the translators will systematcially plump for the one that suits their hermeneutic. This is bad translation practice. There used to be a good blog, by a translator, about this: the Better Bibles Blog, but it seems to be defunct.

[ 25. December 2017, 06:44: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Gamaliel
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Merry Christmas everyone!

I certainly accept and am aware that I can sound condescending in my posts at time and will try to redress that. In mitigation the tone of condescension can come in when I get frustrated with those who attempt to defend their entrenched positions by bandying clichés and 2-Dimensional accusations around.

But that doesn't excuse the tone on my part.

Once the Christmas festivities have run their course I may start a new thread all about 'apocalyptic' literature band prophetic genres and how to appear them. It certainly isn't in the manner of the Initiated or the 'Illuminati' but the application of hermeneutical and interpretive principles appropriate to this particular genre.

My beef with Jamat over this particular issue is that he seems to apply the same standards to apocalyptic writings as he does to 'straight-forward' narratives, although no narrative is ever straightforward. We don't have to be Barthes or Derrida to acknowledge that.

I often see Jamat cite literary texts - Milton, Shakespeare (and sometimes make misattributions too when he's quoted poetry but I've let those slide).

I might be wrong, but from what he posts he doesn't always appear to take genre onto account as much as some other posters here.

Just sayin'.

Anyhow, seasons greetings and love to all.

Christ is born! Glorify him!

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I don't doubt that a form of Dispensationalist pre-millenialism helps you to make sense of the text and fit it into a nice, neat interpretative schema.

But that's exactly what it is,an interpretive framework, a tradition.

It's the apparent refusal to accept that and act as if it is the incontrovertible 'plain-meaning of scripture' that grates with me and why I've kept pressing the points I'm making.

What Dispensationalism does is remove one set of 'exegetical difficulties' and replace them with others.

It requires scripture to 'behave' in ways that conform with it, and not the only around.

The irony is that in setting out to defend the integrity of scripture against Modernism and liberalism, some of the more full-on conservative evangelicals (and not just fundies and Dispensationalists) end up engaging in special pleading and poor scholarship - which is where Eutychus's beef comes in.

There is a more excellent way. One which steers between the destructive Scylla of full-on theological liberalism on the one hand and the theological dead-end Charybdis of fundamentalism on the other.

Rather than being 'neither fish nor fowl' I'm actually steering a course between those equally destructive extremes.

My 'Me too.' was to this, sorry, as it was the latest post at the time. Prior to Eutychus' labour of love. Oh and Happy Christmas.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Eutychus' labour of love.

It feels more like Purgatory. Thinking of renaming myself Niggle.

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Martin60
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That made me read it. Very worthwhile. Like your rebuttal to Fruchtenbaum's futile wordism.

I imagine that we see prophecy like we see healing, none of us has ever witnessed, experienced either or ever will but I'll bet what we think of the one we think of the other.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Is the Bible in the Bible?

WTF?

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Jamat
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quote:
Eutychus: If Isaiah had felt it important to predict a specifically virgin birth (merry Christmas from me too), then on the basis of the wording in Genesis and Judges I would have expected him to say "and there shall be a sign, a young woman, who has known no man, shall be with child...
This betrays that you are judging the text. What gives anyone the authority to demand a higher definition than the text conveys. If I were the author I might suggest that the reader has enough clues as to what I meant by the use of the word elsewhere in the Bible. Fruchrenbaum has seen it this way.
quote:
We may assume he meant "virgin", but in my view he does not specifically say so and it would be wrong to overtranslate the text to suggest that he did, no matter how hard we want him to
Well the 70 Rabbis who translated the Septuagint into Greek obviously did not agree with you. To them, out of the choice of terms they had, they used the one that to them best conveyed all of the aspects of such a girl as Mary including, youth, character,marriageability.
quote:
The commonsense message from the context is that this is poetry
The reference is to Song of Solomon 6:8.
This is a weak argument. Poetry itself is not a precise term.
I’ve read written and taught it all my life. John Donne wrote metaphysical poetry. It was characterised by extremely dense logic that depends on precise expression. Read his sonnets and you will see what I mean. All this to say that because something is poetic does not suggest imprecision. There is a kind of waffley writing one might associate as poetic but, for instance, in the Bible as in Psalm 23, no one is going to cavil over what is meant by ‘shepherd’ just because the genre is poetry.

So, ISTM, your view seems to come down to the fact that if Isaiah in Ch7 meant to convey ‘virgin’, he should have made it clearer through a clarifying phrase or a different term. However, these kinds of issues, (why one term was used not another etc,) are not knowable. One can only speculate. And meanwhile, we have the Septuagint translators and we have context. Above all, we have the Holy Spirit. It should be enough for us.:

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Martin60
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Anybody got a prophecy?

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
This betrays that you are judging the text. What gives anyone the authority to demand a higher definition than the text conveys.

It's nice to see you taking my argument on board. It's precisely because I don't think we should force a higher definition into the text than what the words actually say that I think "virgin" is wrong. It's too narrow.
quote:
Well the 70 Rabbis who translated the Septuagint into Greek obviously did not agree with you. To them, out of the choice of terms they had, they used the one that to them best conveyed all of the aspects of such a girl as Mary including, youth, character,marriageability.
Sounds like "maiden" to me.
quote:
So, ISTM, your view seems to come down to the fact that if Isaiah in Ch7 meant to convey ‘virgin’, he should have made it clearer through a clarifying phrase or a different term.
Absolutely.
quote:
However, these kinds of issues, (why one term was used not another etc,) are not knowable. One can only speculate.
Which is precisely why giving it a narrower definition than is reasonable is a bad idea.
quote:
we have the Holy Spirit. It should be enough for us.
It?

[ 25. December 2017, 20:33: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Nick Tamen: I haven’t read Fruchtenbaum; I hadn’t heard of him until this thread. All I have to go by is what you’ve said about his argument and what Eutychus has said.
There was a link on P 5 of this thread about 3 up from the bottom.

Be interested in your take on it.

Merry Christmas.

And Merry Christmas to you and yours, too!

Sorry that link slipped by me earlier on. Yes, I’ll take a look—after Christmas. [Biased]

But in the meantime, since you’ve asked for my take, I’ll note that I and others have asked you variations on a question numerous times, but have received no answer: Why do you think it’s important, or perhaps even necessary, that Isaiah was written by one person only, or that Isaiah was consciously foretelling the Virgin Birth in Chapter 7 and used “almah" to specifically mean "virgin" rather than, say, "maiden"?

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Gamaliel
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In fairness to Jamat, Eutychus, I took 'It' to refer to his statements about the translators of the Septuagint and and the working of the Holy Spirit. 'That (or those facts) should be enough for us ...'

I didn't take it as a depersonification of God the Holy Spirit.

I have to say though, that I am very surprised and indeed disappointed to learn that Jamat is some kind of English teacher and writes, reads and teaches poetry.

Poetry can indeed be very precise, but it deals in metaphor and suggestion, in figurative language. Which is why I find Jamat's reasoning so baffling when applied to apocalyptic and prophetic writings. It's almost as if he treats them as a mathematical equations rather than poetry.

It's almost as if he'd expect us to take Donne literally when he wrote, shockingly, of being 'ravished' by God.

A discussion about the interpretation of apocalyptic and prophetic texts will have to wait until I start a new thread on the topic.

For the time being, I'll register surprise ...

Although to be fair, I've been more conservative and literal in the past then I am now, despite being one of these arty, literary types.

I don't think I've ever been quite so literal though ...

But there we go. It's about the interpretation of texts and not about Jamat or me.

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Gamaliel
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Jamat rarely answers direct questions in my experience, Nick Tamen. He tries to change the subject instead.

In fairness, he does get a lot of questions and challenges thrown his way so may miss some of them.

He appears to believe that it is axiomatic that Isaiah was necessarily written by a single author because it says so in chapter one.

If it wasn't, then from his perspective it means that God the Holy Spirit is unreliable and indeed a liar ...

Likewise, the reference in Isaiah 7:14 had to be taken in a direct, predictive sense because his model of dealing with scripture requires it to be.

Anything less, in his schema, opens the way towards what he calls 'naturalistic' approaches that diminish the supernatural element and under mine the status of the Bible as the word of God.

Which is, of course, what the rest of us here are doing ...

It's late and it's Christmas but get with the programme ...

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

I have to say though, that I am very surprised and indeed disappointed to learn that Jamat is some kind of English teacher and writes, reads and teaches poetry.

He teaches English in a fundamentalist school in NZ.

[Amended to correct a copying error]

[ 25. December 2017, 23:37: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Jamat
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quote:
Nick Tamen: Why do you think it’s important, or perhaps even necessary, that Isaiah was written by one person only, or that Isaiah was consciously foretelling the Virgin Birth in Chapter 7 and used “almah" to specifically mean "virgin" rather than, say, "maiden
Gamaliel is essentially right as I wrote in a reply to him upthread.
The Bible needs to have structural and thematic integrity if God has inspired it. I believe he has. It cannot contain errors or he did not. It also has to be accessible to simple minds.

If Isaiah and Daniel are in fact corrupted and redacted texts, then divine inspiration is in question.

If only theologians and church authorities are able to access it, then God has failed to communicate to broader humanity.

Certain fundamental issues hinge on the questions you pose.

Christ was born by a virgin.
This event was prophetically signalled in advance.

Neither of these truths can be unequivocally affirmed if textual integrity is legitimately in question.

@Gee D. I did once teach at a Christian school but not any more. Yuletide greetings to you.

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Jamat
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quote:
Sounds like "maiden" to me.
One with a Maidenhead. The chosen word implies virgin..really that’s beyond dispute contextually..as Fructenbaum has conclusively shown.
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Gee D
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And Christmas greetings to you.

Of course, the school to which my father, Dlet and I went was also Christian. In my time my father and I were there, it was Presbyterian but on the formation of the Uniting Church, it was allocated to that. Scots stayed with the continuing Presbyterians. Madame, my mother and sisters went to went to a Christian school, an Anglican one.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Sounds like "maiden" to me.
One with a Maidenhead.
As already argued here, although, as I myself pointed out, "maiden" did originally mean "virgin", it no longer does in common parlance. The word we use in English to unambiguously denote virgo intacta is virgin.

quote:
The chosen word implies virgin
Indeed, 'almâ may well imply virgin, but in my view it does not mean virgin. It has a broader, non-technical meaning. A faithful translation will use a word with an equivalently broad meaning and leave the implication as just that - an implication.
quote:
..really that’s beyond dispute contextually..as Fructenbaum has conclusively shown.
He has not by any means conclusively shown that 'almâ has the limited, technical meaning of "virgin" rather than "young woman".

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The Bible needs to have structural and thematic integrity if God has inspired it. I believe he has. It cannot contain errors or he did not. It also has to be accessible to simple minds. (...) If only theologians and church authorities are able to access it, then God has failed to communicate to broader humanity.

Your own reading of Isaiah 7:14 is mediated by recourse to someone you consider an authority - Fruchtenbaum. So has God failed?

For pages now your ultimate argument to decide on the meaning of "'almâ" has been variations of "Fruchtenbaum has conclusively shown". You've never once stated the argument in your own words. Isn't there a problem here in view of your reasoning above?

Similarly, while I certainly believe it is the job of translators to make the Bible accessible in contemporary language, I strongly believe it is not their job to impose a hermeneutic as they do so. An honest translation is one that makes the text understandable without trying to spoon-feed its readers the translators' preferred interpretation.

(It seems to me that in its sudden switch from translating 'almâ "maiden" everywhere else to "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14 the NASB95, used on Fruchtenbaum's website, is doing precisely this: the translators are acting as an "authority" to make up readers' minds for them).

quote:
Christ was born by a virgin.
This event was prophetically signalled in advance.

Neither of these truths can be unequivocally affirmed if textual integrity is legitimately in question.

It seems to me that the historic article of faith we affirm is the former, not the latter: Christ was born of a virgin. Unlike Isaiah, Luke's account puts the virginity of Mary beyond doubt, because she explicitly says "I know no man".

That the Gospel writers saw the Nativity as the fulfilment of OT prophecy is also beyond doubt.

What we are arguing about is the extent of "prophetically signalled in advance". I've already asked you why this is so important to you and haven't had an answer.

If you or your authorities have to start tweaking Bible translations to make that mean "predicted with 100% accuracy", I submit that they have departed far from the idea of allowing Scripture to be accessible without recourse to authorities to decide for the simple masses what it means.

If I were you this would give me pause for thought about whether your stance as outlined in the part I quoted at the start of this post is really a reasonable one. It certainly seems back-to-front to me.

If you believe in the inspiration of Scripture it seems to me you should be looking at what it actually says first, before considering what you think it ought to say (or how you think it ought to say it). That doesn't torpedo the doctrine of inspiration, but it does mean you might have to re-examine just what is being said.

[ 26. December 2017, 07:27: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
the translators are acting as an "authority" to make up readers' minds for them.

Apologies for triple post. It's just occurred to me that this is what Fruchtenbaum himself does, too.

He goes through his selection of references to 'almâ, and each time says "it means 'virgin' here" (imposing his preferred meaning) before turning to Isaiah 7:14 and declaring
quote:
“Since all of the above six verses mean “a virgin,” what reason is there for making Isaiah 7:14 the only exception?”
i.e. "because I've declared 'almâ means virgin in all those other passages [over and against the NASB95 translation he himself uses on that site which says "maiden"], I hereby decree, o uneducated masses, that it means virgin here in Isaiah 7:14, too."

[ 26. December 2017, 08:02: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Martin60
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A superb, truly inspired prophecy Eutychus.

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Gamaliel
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What I find puzzling about Jamat's approach to inspiration (and Dead Horse issues such as scriptural inerrancy and infallibility) is the insistence that any form of addition, development or redaction in the texts - which he sees as 'corruption' - somehow, in and of itself, undermines their authority and reliability.

Fundamentalists often proof-text for that notion by quoting the anathemas at the end of Revelation which call for judgement on any one who adds anything.

They don't seem capable of entertaining the possibility that a collection of writings can be inspired even if they were compiled over a period of time and written by different people.

It seems a very restrictive approach to me. The Bible has to conform not only to their particular 'take' on what it says, but also how they insist it should be structured and how it should have been written.

The irony of course, is that in shuffling off what they believe to be extraneous sources of authority - whether Papal or Big T - they have ended up replacing them with an extraneous small t source of authority of their own - their own schemas - which they then insist is the plain-meaning of scripture.

It is a blind-spot and one, I'm afraid, which I see Jamat persisting in here.

Verses have to be squeezed into a particular mould. Scholarship has to be rejected unless it accords with their somewhat wooden and literalist framework.

As Eutychus says, even if the reference in Isaiah 7 is to young women more generally rather than virgins specifically, it can't be 'allowed' to be because that would potentially undermine both the Virgin birth (even though that is attested in Luke) and the idea of predictive prophecy.

In my younger and more conservatively evangelical days, I used to worry about Isaiah 7 as not all the details of the chapter seemed capable of being applied to Christ. It seemed a bit of a stretch to fit all the details of Christ's life to the passage in Isaiah. I used to wonder whether this was undermining the prophetic element in some way ...

Looking back, I now realise I was approaching it the wrong way round. What we have are the writings of a prophet addressing the issues of their own day - with Israel (and perhaps individuals) portrayed as a child ... and with references that later generations would then apply to Christ. The whole kit-and-caboodle didn't 'need' to apply to Christ in a detailed sense.

I used to worry about references to times before the child 'learned to discern good from evil' and so on. Surely as the incarnate Word, the Christ-child wouldn't have to learn that ... ?

And so on and so forth.

Which of course betrays the somewhat Docetic as well as overly literal atmosphere in which I moved at that time.

The antidote to all that lay, of course, in wider reading and in fellowshiping more broadly.

As I did so, I found the whole thing a lot richer than I'd assumed.

Anyhow, that's all by the by.

The point is that fundamentalists - of all kinds - squeeze the scriptures into conformity with interpretative grids and frameworks without realising it whilst insisting they are simply going by the plain-meaning of the text.

Consequently, anyone who doesn't adhere to those particular frameworks are accused of mistreating the scriptures, denying inspiration or not taking the Bible seriously as the word of God.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15997 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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As we know from scripture all scripture is inspired; it says so. Including all the God the Killer stuff, which isn't how God is at all; if it doesn't look like Jesus it isn't God. So what is this 'inspiration'?

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mudfrog
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# 8116

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If Mary was not a technical virgin, what does that actually make her?

She was not married to Joseph but was legally betrothed.
Either way, a natural pregnancy would make her a sinner - as assumed, of course, by Joseph.

I am quite happy to go along with alma being 'a young woman of marriageable age' - though that does rather imply there are two types of women: married ones and virgins (being chaste before marriage).

If Mary was a young woman of marriageable age one hopes that she was a virgin. If she were not, would that not rule her out as being full of grace, a fit vessel for the Son of God?

And if Joseph, a just man and therefore highly unlikely to have had sex with Mary pre-wedding, are we suggesting some unknown father?

To me that would be quite unthinkable.

It seems to me that looking at the hundreds of words you have all written, you can't see the wood for the trees. You're dealing with tiny technicalities and ignoring the bigger picture.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Mamacita

Lakefront liberal
# 3659

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Hosting

For the last several pages, this thread has been wandering like the Israelites lost in the desert. And while tangents are acceptable, sometimes unavoidable, and occasionally useful, this thread has taken on a number of them that go beyond the remit of Kerygmania (extended analysis of a theologian's writing, as one example). Some of you may wish to start a new thread(s) where posters can focus on those issues.

I appreciate how many of you have indicated awareness of how often the thread has skirted the boundaries of Dead Horses, but at this point it's knocking on the paddock door.

In any case, I believe the Kerygmanian side of the thread has run its course.

Mamacita, Keryg Host

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Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

Posts: 20761 | From: where the purple line ends | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged



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