Friday, May 22, 2015

Miracles & Bible Translations

Of all the portions of the scriptures that were changed during the introduction of faulty texts over the past 150 years,  one of the most significant changes both in Bible Textual Transmission and in doctrine has been the effort to remove, redefine, or re-translate passages and words to do with 'miracles'.   It is somewhat redundant at this late point to expound the differences which so many have pointed to since Burgon: changes in passages and translations regarding the virgin birth, changes regarding the deity of Christ, changes regarding the blood atonement and many others: many authors have dealt in depth with those changes which even at the outset of the RV in 1889,numbered over 36,000.

Why then would miracles be of any interest in the controversy regarding  Old vs. the New Translations?   Why would any translator or theologian change the report or interpretation of 'miracles'?   The motives truly have to be examined to begin to understand why there was such a push on the part of European, particularly German and Vatican translators to work towards a 'New Bible'.

   The words for 'miracle' in the bible vary:  leaving aside the Greek and Hebrew for the moment,  the usage of the word is mostly interchangeable with words such as 'wonder(s)' , signs, or others used less frequently, which point to the supernatural, unexpected and often astonishing events which occur in the presence of God's work and people. Curiously,  while 'miracles' is a term assigned as a gift of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, miracles are  more frequently called 'wonders' in the Old Testament (Tenach)  and almost exclusively occur in the life of the Old covenant prophets.   Hence,  we see such events as Elijah and Elisha bringing a child back to life,  making oil and meal last due to obedience to a prophet, an ax head floating to the top of the water, the water parting by the work of Joshua, Moses, Elijah and Elisha, and the countless other events mentioned, with the greatest mention of miracles being in the life of Moses as he, by God, led Israel through the wilderness to Canaan.   The word miracle is used 27 times in 27 verses, miracle: 10 times in 10, wonder: 15 in 15 and wonders 55 times.   With those terms alone, independent of the description of events which do not use those words but are 'miraculous' we can see the frequent mention, indicating doctrinal salience.

The Tubingen School & Miracles

Long before WWII, the advent of the Tischendorf manuscripts, before Westcott and Hort's Revised Version, or the Kittels in Germany,  the move began to 'de-mythologize' the bible.   The reasoning bears the language of unbelief:   theologians trained in a science of theology,  began to implicitly agree that the modern mind could not 'handle' miracles,  though they really meant that they were too sophisticated and well-reasoned to believe in supernatural events.   As early as 1812-1820,  the German school of theology which has come to be known as the Tubingen School,  (named for the University housing its theology school in Bavaria),  began to see a succession of scholars whose main thesis was:

1. That Jesus was either human, enhanced humanity, or his historicity was doubtful, and
2. That which was difficult to the modern mind (e.g. miracles, healing, wonders)  could be reinterpreted as archetype, symbol or parable for the sake of moral edification, but could not be taken literally.
The process in the beginning was the direct offshoot of the Cartesian Enlightenment,  which many mistake for a godless move of human reason,  but which truly, under Rene Descartes was an attempt to move away from religious blind obedience,  though it was under Descartes and others that the idea came about that one did not have to receive the blind authority of the scriptures, but one could use one's intellect to decide either what passages meant, or whether they could be accepted  under human rationale.  The error which was introduced (though blind interpretations have always been a problem to believers) was the affront to Scriptural authority,  and the inerrant, infallibility of the Word of God.

The generations of scholars which followed would take the iasue of 'fides et ratio' even farther,  (for Descartes himself was at least a professing believer):  Baur (1792-1860),  Schleiermacher (1768-1834),  and several others in the crossover of the centuries,  began to try and reconcile the Enlightenment with Christian theology,  although Spinoza (1632-1677) had already begun to apply the principles in Judaism,  where he was met with the constant criticism of 'hellenization'. (Spinoza eventually left Europe and went to a rabbinate in Turkey which allowed for more liberal ideas.)

 The idea though that now, instead of Scripture being interpreted for the sake of belief and obedience,  that man, with his 'god-given' rationale,  could study and even defy canon and teaching based upon inductive human intellect instead of deductive theology or the study of revealed truth.   By the time Baur passed away,  Tischendorf had already returned with the Sinaiticus (1849) and just 30 years after Baur's death,  Westcott and Hort, English bishops, would incorporate the Sinaiticus and other controversial and previously rejected texts in their 'new' or Revised Version.
 Simultaneously,  the time period saw the emergence of a renaissance in German/Nordic culture and interests in paranormal phenomena,  the emergence of theosophy,  the dismissal of the Jesuit order from 25 countries, and the introduction by the Vatican of the doctrine of Papal infallibility, asas well as the reintroduction of Mariology as a discipline.   These seemingly separate incidents become important later to understand the shift in theology from traditional forms of textual criticism to what became known as "Higher Criticism" championed by two well known Tubingen scholars:  Rudolf Bultmann, and later, Albert Schweitzer.

The culmination of the foundation for Higher Criticism would come in the text by Schweitzer In Search of the Historical Jesus in which Schweitzer develops the argument that whatever the outcome,  the 'historical jesus' was different from the religious ideation of Jesus, but his implicit premise comes across as 'if he existed as all' and that it did not matter whether or not he did, clearly a position of unbelief.  He would in later life develop the concept of "reverence for life" which in his mind formed an alternative for modern man who could not receive the supernatural events of the Scriptures,  but could still hold to a reverent 'life principle'.


Where do miracles fit into this shift in doctrinal approach to the Scriptures?   As the Tubingen School over a hundred and fifty years developed and taught (worldwide) the acceptable dismissal of metaphysical aspects of the scriptures,  the Church began to turn from a focus on faith and belief, to a focus on philosophy and good works.   The problem for theology was whether one was to inculcate faith and belief in the Word of God, or whether one changed forrm criticism to a rather jaundiced view that truly none believed anymore in such events as walking on water, healing or the feeding of thousands with a few fish and loaves of bread.   The Tubingen school of scholars essentially tabled the discussion of whether there could be real miracles and wonders, favoring instead the idea of 'archetype' or 'myth':  that world religions, because they share alike in types and kinds of certain miracles (e.g. men or gods with powers, or messengers from God),   rather than see them as a central one being true and the others having a kernel of truth, gravitated instead to the belief "none are true",  but all share teaching principles, symbology,  or archetypes, such as a 'Messianic figure'.

With the removal of the teaching of miracles as true,  much else came under the scrutiny of the 'scientific theologians':  doctrines such as the Chosen place of Israel could be debated,   Eschatology could be assigned to the realm of 'many religions carry apocalyptic tales' [note] and not surprisingly, the Jesuit trained Darby, reintroduced Dispensationalism as a way to assign wonders, if they occurred to a short time period for a purpose, nonetheless diminishing the idea of the power and sovereignty of God.

The diminishing of metaphysical aspects of the Scriptures paralleled the attempt to 'dejudify' the Scriptures as well,  the crux of which has been well expounded in this series.   The diminishing of regard for wonders and miracles also has accompanied a teaching that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are 'not for today', though this is clearly not a Scriptural teaching.  That the miracles of Christ and the Prophets are clearly taught is self evident:  even from the time period Concordances, Lexicons and works such as Scriveners (which became Strong's) and even Thompson's Chain Reference Bible was first out in 1890,  cataloging and listing miracles and healings.

The belief in and teaching of miracles and wonders is a foundational truth of the Scriptures:  faith remains the 'substance of things not seen'---the school of Higher Criticism can 'reason' away the supernatural in the Bible, but fervent belief in any of the major doctrines of Christianity or Judaism  almost never accompanies the position:  the Tubingen School introduced in modern theology a form of essentially literary criticism applied to an ancient text as opposed to studying revealed truth.  It is unfortunately the former which has prevailed today in the U.S.

How many changes have there been in the Modern translations regarding miracles?  To date, I know of no direct study of pre-Tischendorf texts (though truly pre-Shoah texts work just as well for comparison) with Modern Translations regarding the treatment of words and expressions or idioms with regard to miracles, but it is only logical to posit that a school and area which had for 150 years attempted to 'demythologize' Christian theology and the Scriptures, and then was central in the re-collation of uncertain texts of Greek and Hebrew for new bibles, could only have continued this prejudicial process into translation and collation.

Certain beliefs and doctrines are so critical in the Scriptures,  that if removed or reinterpreted, they sway other central doctrines with them.  One, of course is a blood bought Salvation (also reinterpreted by the same men),  another, the Incarnation,  but following,  if God is made Man in Christ,  then the miracles are not flexibly dismissed:  they demonstrate proof of the Messiah,  are the signs of Messiahship,  (e.g. healing of a man born blind)  and are literally required for evidence in several Old Testament passages. (...the Jews require a sign...).   The issue in modern translations is which direction they are taking:  even the footnotes often guide away from belief in supernatural passages---they may equate vexation with mental illness,  or real events with medical explanations.  The issue though always boils down to belief vs. unbelief:   our Modern Bibles are ALL based upon the Kittel 'Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia'  and the Nestle Aland Greek:  all three were of the Tubingen School,  and were deeply involved in the genesis of Nazi theology.  All three were the 'fathers' of every modern English Bible translation, noted for thousands of changes.   Kittel was a noted Anti-Semite,  and the Nestle line developed the introduction of Greek classicism into National Socialist thought,  and into Gerhard Kittel's Worterbuch, or Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,  now called the ISBE: International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Bromiley, ed.)

A noted atheist and friend of C.S. Lewis,  was challenged by Lewis to really read the Bible.  Upon further discussion, while the man made no profession of faith,  he said that the one thing he could discern was that the Bible was a book of eyewitness accounts,  not fable.   He still did not choose to believe in the bible,  but he was a man of letters,  well educated,  and knowledgeable regarding style: he knew the difference between fiction and report.   The troubling influence of the Tubingen School has had the effect of gutting modern belief of faith in that which is above common understanding:  the trouble is,  that is the whole realm of God.    Modern bibles based entirely on modern re-collations of Greek and Hebrew which include controversial and faulty texts,  re-assembled by men with an agenda and clear prejudice toward human reason vs. divine reason,  can only be a mistake.

till the next, ekb

Friday, May 1, 2015

Turning Tides and the KJV Controversy

For twenty years,  I speculated that the introduction of Kittel's Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and Nestle's Graece Novum were probably tainted by Third Reich scholarship,  and more likely than not subject to the same 'Gleichschaltung' characterizing the rest of German society at the time.   I suggested even that long ago,  that more likely than not the process of 'de-judification, given the two Reich scholars/translators, had hit the shores of Bible text transmission as it had in other areas of church life.    For a number of years though,  my speculations were just that: there was no hard research to prove it one way or the other, and most holocaust scholars do not know Textual Criticism,  and the ones that do , do not know statistics and research design; but conversely,  those in textual Criticism and Bible History usually gladly bypassed Statistics,  and more likely than not had only a nodding acquaintance with holocaust topics.  In a way, I was fairly unique in  these fields as 'jack of all trades, master of none', yet on the other hand, with a doctorate in Personality Psychology,  and a broad knowledge of 'differential psychology, research design and multivariate analysis, holocaust studies related to the Church and a now almost 30 year interest in the KJV controversy,  I stood at a crossroads and could see the variety of juxtapositions in the fields,   and knew at first glance what they were likely to mean.

In 2006,  after writing only generally before on the topic,  I threw out some general numbers and did a short comparison of about 10 Bibles: some pre-Shoah and some post-Shoah, to see if key Jewish terms had been affected by the Kittel-Nestle 'neo-texts' [Hebrew and Greek] since both men were of the same beliefs as the Third Reich and had key roles in its ideology.   My initial pre-study showed several immediate differences, including a trend towards omitting the term 'Children of Israel' and the diminished Jewish mention in the Modern bibles, or even occasionally the radical increase of certain terms.   Both are a severe problem in texts that are supposed to not waver over the years.   In 2006 after the first data was analyzed and shared online,  I designed a comprehensive research project with a number of checks and balances including inter-searchengine-reliability,  agreement rates etc,  to assure the most accurate counts with detailed criteria and a final study to determine whether the effect was particularly toward the Jews.

The complete study was supposed to be written up and published in 2008:  an earlier draft was published with blog posts as chapters, but the new study included up to date and best selling bibles, double checking searches online at different time periods etc.  What I ran into though, is unconscionable in a free society.

One of the first things I ran into,  was persons from our church history, usually somewhat moronic in stance, with no background in research,  trying to edge in and take credit for the data, though most could not even read the graphs and were not remotely invited:  the lack of invitation should have sufficed, but several crossed state lines and replete with illegal entries, lying to police and neighbors, etc 'finagled' their way into getting copies of some of the work.  Most would call it illegal entry and burglary.   We moved on several occasions so that I could keep employed,  but several from Chattanooga and Greenville followed after, interfering with every aspect of life: family, employment, new churches etc.    The line of thinking that was often given was that I was 'trying to get rid of easy reading bibles so that common people couldn't read the bible".   This came from an anti-intellectualism and bigotry,  combined with not understanding the research,  but prevailed farther than I ever thought it could.  Most of these folks also hold an anti-semitic stance,   and had other aggravating ideas.

The next thing I ran into,  was the competition for my data after it was complete:  even unbelieving former colleagues and persons I went to graduate school with tried to take credit for the work, and/or ruin the work, including getting a hold of and 'adjusting' the data: an insane and ruinous process.  Before the study was over, I had to do several of the terms over from scratch, including the word 'Israel' which occurs in most bibles over 2000 times, the task entailing a criteria based account of terms across three search engines.  It is and was meticulous and labor intensive, and they acted as if it were a minor offense.

I also ran into search engines after the first major set of terms was investigated, changing the criteria on their search engines,   e.g.  including counts for a term like 'Christ' in the word 'Christian' or in a header:   these all had to be partialled out,  and worse,  they later had to be checked again across time on the same engine:   I truly believe the change was deliberate to avert accurate counts,  because there is no vested interest in the Christian online bible services in the truth as much as there is in keeping the modern translation business going.  Companies like Zondervan and and Thomas Nelson make millions if not billions on Bible sales,  and the premiere value is no longer at all an accurate Bible, but a marketable one.  

I then encountered viscious assaults on my character and reputation, particularly after finding that many principle Nazi theologians who had been involved in bible translation and transmission in WWII had moved to the US and were instrumental in several well known even 'evangelical'  divinity schools:   while most are retired or deceased, their influence and tainted doctrine persists,  and this work became even more targeted for ruin.

At one point,  a well known 'theologian' from down south, known for his support and place on a well known modern translation committee,   interfered directly by rewriting sections of my blog to look like there was a minimal or no effect of the shoah and its texts,  and in one instance, when one graph was corrected that really did contain an error,  someone repeatedly hacked in the site and put the errored slide back on.

What's there to be afraid of?  Finding out that Nazi translators really did 'dejudify' the Bible?  We know they did it to worship, liturgy, pastoral training, etc,  so it is hardly a surprise, nonetheless I had to provide empirical evidence for persons who will take nothing less.  I did that and I found the effect:  all but two of 51 terms had changed on the average, most downward,  and reaching statistical significance in at least 20 or more terms, though it is a moot point since I dealt with a 'whole population' of terms.  Any change, reaching significance or not,  is 'significant' since any change, even of one term matters in inerrancy.

Later,  several persons with no training at all,  did horrendous feats such as showing up at conferences where I was supposed to present to try and take over,  spreading rumors about my doctorate,   spreading false information about the study and 'warning' people to have nothing to do with the study.  When my study is completely out as a whole work, it will be easily replicable:  I deserve to be heard.   This is not a dangerous study:  failure to heed what has been discovered is dangerous.  Failure to care about an inerrant text is dangerous.  Failure to allow any research that supports older traditional texts  is extremely dangerous.

This is a scholarly and controlled study:  at least two bibles early on ran a few of their own stats to confirm what I had out,  and both found the same thing, and corrected the problem in later editions:  even they though have made the complete publication extremely difficult.  This is not Antwerp or England during the Inquisition: this is 2015 in the US,  and we are guaranteed the right to discuss, speak openly or research difficult or controversial topics.   This evening before writing this,  I found that my folders had been gone through, and some key printouts missing:  this is very unnerving since it means a deliberate and outrageous effort to overthrow the findings.

I am not going to back down nor am I going to cease the publication of the work.   The work however is mine and is intensive and detailed,  and not easily transferred even to another competent researcher:   please be on guard when others claim to be working with me, they do not:  it has been an independent project and I am the sole Principle Investigator.

Pray for this work:  once it is out and discussed it allows others to make up their own minds as to whether they have a real Bible or not.  The work is designed to be a springboard for future research for other scholars as well.   In the wrong hands,  it becomes a key to ruining the publishing of the Word.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Thought of the Day: Roses by any other names

Kittel- 'Shroud'
Grundman- 'grund' -reason  man-one
Maglione - may be 'sweater' or 'shroud'

note one source says Grundmann descend from
'gruenas' meaning 'green',  from Silesia

Tampering with site and graphs

For several years, in an attempt to carefully express the finding s of this study, I have been confronted with an insane amount of hacking and illegal entries into the site,  by persons who see the KJV issue mostly as one of 'easy' bibles vs. 'hard' bibles and who think that those of us who present data and research confronting the authentic quality of the modern bibles are trying to somehow take away their rights to an 'easy reader'.

I have also been confronted by those who know what those of us who study the issue know:  that the history of the modern bibles is sinister, and that they are serious flawed.   Some of you who read this blog may have heard that my data is in error,  but the original data, originally published is not.  In a small pilot study ten years ago, there was one graph that was in error,  in which a word count vs. a verse count was accidentally included, but those graphs were corrected back then.   Entering into this field as a woman and former university professor/researcher has been fraught with difficulty:  we have run into people in fundamental churches who have an errored notion that women cannot even speak or do research in public, or that men should be able to take over research, even if the woman holds a doctorate, did the research and is more than competent.   I have had pastors in the past whose churches we have long left, who feel they have a right to 'correct' or rewrite my work because we once attended their church!!!  This is not a biblical position:  it is a dangerous and divisive and very errored idea.

Today I found another graph which had been 'changed out'  and this past week I found the IP which is reading as our account,  was reading in 4 or 5 other locations including New Jersey, Boston, and a few others.  We have just moved to Eagan MN and we have only a single line running into our computers:  with others 'sharing' an IP,  the possibility of copyright fraud, internet fraud and in this case ruin of research and writing become a real possibility.

An example is as follows:   my most recent post looked at the terms 'chief shepherd' and 'great shepherd'.   The original data on 'great shepherd'  showed a count of 1,1,1,0  for pre-Shoah bibles.
This results in a mean of .75 with a sd of .5.  The count for post-shoah includes 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1 for ten bibles (including the 'Message)  which even a beginning stat student can figure as having a mean of '1'.  Because there is no variation at all, the sd is going to be '0'.  

I made the graphs on Excel,  and published the study and sent a copy to my email.  Checking this evening, I find the stats reading pre-shoah mean=.75,  post shoah mean=1  (the pre-shoah mean is not '1' because the Douay Rheims, a catholic bible does not include the verse in Hebrews 13:20.)  This is correct.  But the data had been changed and the chart, to include a .5 as the SD (standard deviation) in the post-shoah means,  which cannot be, since all read the same.

I hold a doctorate in a research area of Psychology,  and a minor in what was then called "Quantitative Methods" at UF but is entirely coursework in statistics.   I have published research over the past 34 years in peer reviewed professional journals, and I do not make errors of this nature:  the data and graph were changed, in order to make me or my study look as though in error.   We all have the possibility of a fallibility,  but even the law protects research,  such that tampering with research can amount to a felony, because research carries the weight of the 'public good' in being able to obtain objective research in order to make decisions which affect in this case, even future generations.  

No one but myself is allowed on any blog or site or study which is published under my name.  The insane attempt to alter my data or what I say is becoming so great as to deny me the right to publish accurate data and findings in defense of the KJV and in this case some older bibles.   Those who have studied the events leading up to the modern translations, including bible transmission of text during WWII in German theological circles,  know precisely how sinister was the attempt to forever change the bible and its power of authority:  this includes the introduction of a 'new Greek' and 'new Hebrew' off of faulty texts, many of which were dismissed over hundreds of years by scholars.  I do not care how 'readable' some church infants find traditional texts, though that factor has been more than settled:  most bibles, old and new are within a 1 year level (6th grade, give or take) of 'readability'.  The issue is not as readers of this column know, not one of easy vs. hard readers, or old vs. modern English even, but of whether the 'modern bibles' are bibles at all, or an attempt at changing the social order.

The first step in that determination,  is objective and clear research,  without petty church antics interfering.   If my research seems in error, write to me:  do not illegally intrude on my accounts and sites, change data etc.   Most of the people who have tried to run this study off the road are not researchers:  they are not people with formal training, and if they have formal training, they are of an opposite point of view.    The normal course of research is to present one's data in finished form, and then either build on the idea, or counter ideas which one can find error in:  it is not to try and ruin research.

Most of my statements in this blog, are well founded in scholarly research.  One can read Weinrich's Hitler's Professors, written shortly after the war for a telling account of the Kittels,  or The Aryan Christ by Heschel or the many other books out there (e.g. Michael Phayer's  The Catholic Church and the Holocaust 1930-1965, works or Ericksen's Theologians Under Hitler) for an introduction to the topic.  All of these books are written by non-Christians who are not involved in the KJV controversy on either side, and in many cases are liberal by a believer's standard,  but they show what occurred during the war years in German theology.  If one digs far deeper into source documents, reading translations of the Kittels work and others, there will not remain a naive stance regarding what this controversy is about.

I am attempting to clean up the graphs in this column and double check the research,  but I wanted those to attend to this blog to know that more than once, this very sinister tactic has been attempted to ruin the credibility of me and my work.  Recently also, in another bible series I write,  the references to KJV verses were changed to a modern version.   One change made to the blog was even to introduce error into an historical account, and one involved a change in a source quote to make it sound like the man said something different.   I wish it was only these minor fixable errors I have had to deal with.   Instead,  several of the people who have tried to talk up the work as though they did it, when they had NOTHING to do with it but talk,  have interfered with conference presentations at Liberty and Baylor, and have caught the ear of some online search engines such that I am about to do a study of hard copy bible translations vs. online versions (which are easily changeable back and forth) to show why this study has been so harrassed.  If I do a count on verses and terms this year will it be the same over 3 major search engines next year?  Or even 3 months from now?   We cannot do this research any other way:  there are only Concordances with counts for the KJV, NASV and NIV, so the comparisons would be greatly limited as would accuracy overall.

I will be reviewing my blogs over the next few weeks, for other changes, and may eventually switch to a hard copy newsletter to try to circumvent the incredible affront to the first amendment rights of all of us who do not see Modern bibles the way their sales committees and proponents see them.  Let this be a real call to those who study in this field,  to pick up the gauntlet.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Note from Dr. Best

With years of Bible study, prayer and the like it always amazes me that some Christian people cannot give other people the liberty in Christ to hold a different opinion on some topics. This research, which was begun in its infancy over 25 years ago, but more directly about ten years ago, has been beset by non-stop problems from the direction of those who do not adhere to the traditional texts.
Since i know that many who read this blog pray, I am asking for your prayer for my family, our safety, and the protection of many years of work. We are currently facing several persons from other locations and other beliefs who have tried to ruin and commandeer the research for their own purposes. One is a former neighbor with no experience, training nor background in any academic area,nor research background.

 We have for years been patient with many different kinds of people who come from different backgrounds than our own, but those in academics mostly respect each other's rights to their own research save for the occasional unhappy soul; we should not hold a lower standard in Christian belief but a higher one. Much mis-information has gone out regarding this work: it is not in error: the work has been meticulous,and accurate, but it requires knowledge of the study. My publication of the work is greatly held up by such audacious tactics as 'uncomely folks' stealing and then handing out my pre-publication materials,or even former pastors or church members taking credit for the work of which they had no part. In one case a person from another faith has tried to 'super-size' what I have said, which may be used later to counter the data.

Yesterday, on one of my more traditional Bible study blogs, I found that yet another person had tried to takeover a site I have written since 2012 called THE PASSOVER BLOGS. Someone had gone on and replaced KJV references with modern version refs. (since corrected) This is not good. I leave their sites alone and expect the same dignity.

I do not hold a degree in Textual Criticism which I have freely admitted, but I have studied in and around the topic for 30 years. I write what I know and can verify carefully. I do hold a doctorate in another field and have designed, implemented and published research for 34 years. research is not 'interchangeable': the researcher knows his or her work better than anyone else can.
Please pray for us, that this ministry which includes scientific research may continue unhindered, and be allowed to freely be heard, and to fairly be heard, without the necessity some feel to ruin my reputation or those who are supportive, to take credit for what is not theirs, etc. We discipline children who steal homework: what shall we do with pastors or church people who try to ruin an important research project out of petty personal motives? I am not requesting divisive 'side taking' but only for prayer that the study be allowed to be heard and that we might not be ruined in the process of sharing information. The study is not skewed: I was overly careful explaining all possibilities for findings and implications. Please pray that this column may be able to continue in the Lord's grace.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Great and Chief Shepherd Before and After the Shoah

Well, it's been a bit since the last post:  I have relocated in Minnesota and am hoping for an easier time at doing my work:  Wisconsin was not friendly to a study on either the Bible nor the dissension of Jewish terms in pre- vs. post Shoah Bible translations, perhaps because a few were related to the principles in the process.  O alas.

I have continued to add to the terms from the original study, and am including here two terms which are used only once or twice in all the translations:  'Great Shepherd' and 'Chief Shepherd'.  Recall once more than though these comparisons of means for verses in pre vs. post Shoah Bibles did not attain statistical significance, that the same principles hold as before:

1. The number of terms is so small that differences statistically are difficult to demonstrate,
  and that
2. In the case of terms in the Scripture with the criteria of inerrancy , and using a total population of words in the comparisons, ANY change is worthy of note, since the terms are not supposed to change greatly over time,  particularly after 2000 years of scholarship, save for idiomatic expressions or language use. (e.g. We no longer use 'f-stop' for an 'S' sound.)  The two terms included today are 'Great Shepherd' and 'Chief Shepherd.'  The term 'Great Shepherd ' is found primarily in Hebrews 13:20:

[Heb 13:20 KJV] 20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

One bible translation  leaves the term out completely: the Douay Rheims 1899, and the Good News Translation (which had catholic translators which is worthy of not).  Their rendering is instead:

20 And may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great pastor of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the blood of the everlasting testament, 
which changes the wording to 'great pastor of the sheep' and changes the syntax.  This does not seem to be a critical change, as the word 'pastor' coming from 'pastoral' or in the Vulgate Latin: "pastorem magnum ovium"  but in Scrivener's (using Strongs) greek: 

μέγας ποιμήν

or 'megas poimen'  meaning literally great (mega) shepherd(poimen) notably following 'that'.  The Tyndale translation translates likewise as follows in what was middle to modern English:

20 The god of peace that brought agayne fro deth oure lorde
 Iesus the gret shepperde of the shepe thorowe the bloud of
 the everlastynge testamet
This does not seem to be a worrisome or great change in the new bibles.Only one bible contains two verses counting 'great shepherd',  the NLT which changes the 'chief shepherd' of I Peter 5:4 to:
4 And when the head Shepherd comes, your reward will be a never-ending share in his glory and honor.



Unpaired Student's t test results

NOTE: This data has now been corrected again: the original was not in error, but between the first publication and this, changes were made by someone illegally getting on this blog, to make it look like there was .5 standard deviation in the post-shoah bibles which cannot have been since they read '1'.  My research is accurate,  but I will again have to shut down the project until the tampering stops: this data is too important for 'fun and games'.

P value and statistical significance:
The two-tailed P value equals 0.4231 -By conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be not statistically significant.
Confidence interval:

The mean of Group One minus Group Two equals -0.25
95% confidence interval of this difference: From -0.91 to 0.41

Intermediate values used in calculations:
t = 0.8321
df = 11
standard error of difference = 0.300



The 'Chief Shepherd'

As mentioned, the 'chief shepherd' also occurs primarily 0 or 1 time in most bibles, but in the  old NIV (new has only 1), TNIV, and NIRV it occurs twice :

1 Samuel 21:7 TNIV

Now one of Saul's servants was there that day, detained before the LORD; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul's chief shepherd.

1 Peter 5:4 TNIV

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

In some ways, this is not a problem either, since in only one verse is the reference messianic: in the Old Testament, in I Samuel 21:7,  Doeg the Edomite is mentioned as being 'Saul's Chief Shepherd' but it is clearly an occupation and office and not a messianic title.  Most translations translate the passage in Samuel as 'head shepherd'  which is probably the better translation because it separates the one time only use of 'Chief Shepherd' as a title of Messiah, caring for souls and not physical or natural sheep.  However since even in these translations since the passages are separate and only in the two,  it seems neither deliberate nor directly troublesome.  Again, the two means for pre-Shoah vs. post-Shoah bible translations on the term 'chief shepherd' also does not arrive at statistical significance, but there is a CHANGE, at least indicating a word to watch in the future.  One version of NIV on one search engine counted two verses,  but on only showed 1, with 2 each for NIRV and TNIV:  one must recall from previous analyses that the NIV, the NIRV, the TNIV and the 2011 'gender neutral' NIV which changed 9% of wordings from the previous, which may sound small, but comes to 39,995 changes!  Beyond the differences with the traditional texts!   Lord bless and keep the NIV far from us. (apologies to Fiddler on the Roof).  More next time.

Welch t-test results

P value and statistical significance:
The two-tailed P value equals 0.3360
By conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be not statistically significant.

Confidence interval:
The mean of Pre minus Post equals -0.35
95% confidence interval of this difference: From -1.14 to 0.44

Intermediate values used in calculations:
t = 1.0235
df = 8
standard error of difference = 0.342

(Neither Students nor Welches yields statistical significance, and the standard deviations do not vary that much.)

Group Pre Post
Mean 0.75 1.10
SD 0.50 0.74
SEM 0.25 0.23
N 4 10

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Henry Bradshaw Society & the Sinaiticus Controversy

Note: This is just a short post to keep things moving along: more coming shortly.  Join us shortly on this site and Judah's Glory for "In a KJV Minute": 60 second 'facts of the day' on the KJV Controversy, &the preservation of the Masoretic text for Hebrew translation and the TR for Greek.

When Count von Tischendorf brought back 43 leaves of the Codex Sinaiticus, most who are already familiar with the modern translation controversy, are aware that after purchase by Frederick, the manuscripts found their way to the Westminister Library in the UK.   Many are also aware that the leaves, still archived at Westminister, both then and now came under controversy, as the Count claimed he was given the leaves for a fee with a promise to return for more, and the abbey posited some questions about the transaction.  Tischendorf himself though describes his initial 'discovery' of the texts while visiting St. Catherines at Sinai:

In visiting the library of the monastery, in the month of May, 1844, I perceived in the middle of the great hall a large and wide basket full of old parchments; and the librarian, who was a man of information, told me that two heaps of papers like these, mouldered by time, had been already committed to the flames. What was my surprise to find amid this heap of papers a considerable number of sheets of a copy of the Old Testament in Greek, which seemed to me to be one of the most ancient that I had ever seen. The authorities of the convent allowed me to possess myself of a third of these parchments, or about forty-three sheets, all the more readily as they were destined for the fire. But I could not get them to yield up possession of the remainder. The too lively satisfaction which I had displayed had aroused their suspicions as to the value of this manuscript. I transcribed a page of the text of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and enjoined on the monks to take religious care of all such remains which might fall in their way.1

What was the text which Tischendorf saw, that we refer to as the Sinaiticus?  Simply, by the admission of the steward of the Abbey, it was not a previously undiscovered text of the standard bible,  but it was called by the steward of the Abbey, the SEPTUAGINT.

"And I, too, have read a Septuagint"--i.e. a copy of the Greek translation made by the Seventy. And so saying, he took down from the corner of the room a bulky kind of volume, wrapped up in a red cloth, and laid it before me. I unrolled the cover, and discovered, to my great surprise, not only those very fragments which, fifteen years before, I had taken out of the basket, but also other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete, and, in addition, the Epistle of Barnabas and a part of the Pastor of Hermas.

 The 'Septuagint'  was a Greek Bible, Old and New Testament (the new as always in Greek or Aramaic),  and by many was considered the 'find of the century' because many scholars posited that the Septuagint was the Tenach used by Jesus in quoting scripture,  though the evidence for this is faulty and flimsy since Jesus would never have used a Greek copy of the Scriptures, and since at the time of Jesus and ever since, the implied 'Septuagint' was a fabled work supposedly composed all at once by 70 rabbinical scholars in a miracle reported by 'Aristeas' a shadowy character referred to in ancient literature at various times over several hundred years. (2)   The Septuagint modern scholars referred to was the greek translation of the Old Testament or Tenach in the fifth colum of the Hexepla, a work by Origin which could best be described as an ancient 'Amplified bible'.   Origin's work though was not an original Greek text, but the hebrew translated into Greek AFTER the time of Jesus.   Most likely, the great 'find' of Tischendorf was one of the known copies, or the emulated copy which was referred to by Constantine Simonides.

Tischendorf and his 'Codex Fred' (amusingly referred to by scholars) was less of a discovery, and may have been far more of a useful tool in administering a plan to undercut the traditional texts, both hebrew and Greek of the Bible in order to bring about a furthering of the 'Enlightenment', removing the voracious loyalty of believers to the scriptures, for motives which are many and still not all exposed.  That Tischendorf was of the group of scholars wishing to overthrow the Erasmus Greek and the Masoretic Hebrew, the 'Received Texts' of history, is made clear in the following passage---it is no secret that his dismissal of most of the manuscript evidence up to his time was due to his and others clear intent to overthrow what was then over 4800 years of preserved Bible text transmission:

Learned men have again and again attempted to clear the sacred text from these extraneous elements. But we have at last hit upon a better plan even than this, which is to set aside this altogether, and to construct a fresh text, derived immediately from the most ancient and authoritative sources. This is undoubtedly the right course to take, for in this way only can we secure a text approximating as closely as possible to that which came from the Apostles.1
 Henry Bradshaw, Count Tischendorf, Hort & Westcott and the New Bible

Henry Bradshaw Society,  founded in 1890, was founded by Bradshaw's instruction following his death (1831-1886).  Victoria was queen of England at the time and the esteemed Cambridge librarian had a few notable distinctions:
1. He was at the hub of many persons in both Bible Transmission circles, and in Eugenics, or Racial Science, as well as other disciplines
2. His work and societies were notably associated with the Crown
3. His work and activities coincided with the introduction of the Aryan Renaissance spearheaded by the Grimms,
4. His work and activities coincided with the introduction in Europe of Blavatsky's Theosophy and an attempt to re-invent the Bible via translation
The last in the list is remarkable since the 'brand new Sinaiticus' included the two books which most occupied Blavatsky's attention: The Shepherd of Hermas, and the Epistle of Barnabas, along with Mme. Helena's sharp criticism of traditional bible texts.   A few dates are helpful in keeping this perspective:
1844-  Tischendorf's first find of the Sinaiticus: includes Shepherd of Hermas & Epistle of Barnabas
1840s-50s -Grimms & German 'Volk' Renaissance
1849,94-Novum Graece by Count von Tischendorf (Nestle will continue) 
1853-5 Gobineau writes "An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races" inspiring Racial Science
1852 Nietzsche writes Fate & History attempting to discredit Christianity

1859-Tischendorf's second trip to claim the Sinaiticus
1859-Darwin's Origin of the Species
1862-Haeckel begins at U of Jena: will found Racial Science
1863-Constantine Simonides vs. Tischendorf controversy over forgery of Sinaiticus in the Guardian:
          Bradshaw dismisses Simonides, supports Tischendorf.
1866-7 -Haeckel meets with Darwin, Huxley
1869-70 First Vatican Council: Papal Infallibility declared
1875  Founding of the Theosophical Society by Blavatsky
1881  Westcott and Hort's 'Revised' New Testament
1882- Society for Psychical Research forms (Ghostly Guild, orig.) Westcott and Hort attend.
1885  Westcott and Hort's 'Revised' Old Testament
1885  Nietzsche writes Thus Sprach Zarathustra
1888,95  "            "        The Anti-Christ: theory of 'Herreman' (the Superman)
1886- Henry Bradshaw dies, designating membership/leadership in forthcoming society
1890   Founding of the Henry Bradshaw Society: members include F.A. Hort & Bishop Westcott, and other members of Translation committee of RV:
1898  Eberhard Nestle publishes Graece Novum based on Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, and
          Weymouth.  Continues to now. 

1901 Rudolf Kittel's first edition of Biblia Hebraic: Masoretic text greatly 'adjusted', Samaritan Torah added (Kittel writes on the Jews of today not being the 'Children of Israeland racial superiority. Kittel and son described by Buber as 'theologians making anti-Semitism theologically acceptable.'
1911  Schweitzer, Tubingen writes In Quest of the Historical Jesus : discounts Jesus as a real Messiah

What many do not realize is that Bradshaw as a 'hub' person not only was at a juxtaposition among fields of scholarship,  but was able to foster 'politically correct' attitudes of his day:  the move away from traditional religion and belief in the Gospel was already afoot,  and the deliberate attempt to 'adjust' the Scriptures to accept a lower place of authority in the life of Europe and the world can be seen even by the layperson.   Much of the attempt was characterized in outspoken debate leaving little to the imagination.

Beyond this, though,  when examining the rough and brief 'timeline' of about 50 years, we see the intertwining of  the formation of Racial Science, the move toward a 'New Bible' and even toward new religions (though most were reintroductions of pantheism, a common theme of the literature of the day), the interest of Royalty in the purchase of antiquities, and with the introduction of the new Hebrew text by an avowed anti-Semite, the dawning of two world wars on the horizon.

One may easily posit, that what became the Henry Bradshaw Society,  before its foundation already was comprised of the key people who would form the RV committee, though technically, the translation was being done before the founding of the committee, which essentially already existed.

The total committee should not exceed fifteen members
and the proposed members (among them personal friends of Bradshaw) were Rev.
W. C. Bishop, Rev. F. E. Brightman, Mr Duff, Rev. Dr F. J. A. Hort, W. H. St John
Hope, Francis Jenkinson, J. Madan, J. T. Micklethwaite, Rev. H. A. Wilson, Rev.
Christopher Wordsworth, and Wickham Legg as Secretary and Treasurer. 
from       pg 5

The move to dismiss the traditional texts of Erasmus' Greek and the Ben Chayim or Masoretic text, was well under way by the mid 1800s.  Further,  the 'new Greek' of today, continuing in the tradition of the Tischendorf Greek,  further credits the 1571 Roman Catholic Greek text,
  the Complutensian Polyglot Bible by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, printed in 1514, but not published until 1520. 2

The conclusions are not for now addressing direct vs. indirect associations,  but the trend of the second half of the 1800s was clearly towards unbelief:  a reformulation of the Word of God, the triumph of man's scholarship over the received text and hundreds of years of believing scholarship, and the simultaneous introduction of Racial Science, Genocide, and the attempt in the years following to eradicate the Jews on the verge of their return to Palestine to reclaim Israel.  One might suggest that the Jews, described in Romans as the 'Oracles of God' might have been the ones to most argue against the modernistic retranslations,  and that when a society seeks a divorce from the Word of God, they must necessarily seek one from the Jews, the constant reminder in this world that God and his Word are real, and true.

till the next
1,  von Tischendorf, Constantine  When Were Our Gospels Written . Leipzig

Friday, July 18, 2014

Prince of Peace
(Messianic Terms)
A Comparison of Verse Counts in Pre- vs. Post Shoah Bible Translations

"Prince of Peace" is a title given to the Lord and Savior in only one passage:  Isaiah 9:6, though 'the Prince' is mentioned in other prominent passages:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

[Eze 46:2 KJV] 2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of [that] gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening.

[Dan 8:25 KJV] 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify [himself] in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

 The term is particularly important because it herald a special title of the incarnate Messiah: God made man, somehow both Counsellor and Mighty God, and correcting false doctrine for centuries, 'El Gibbor' is also the "Prince of Peace".  This critical mention carries in part through Ezekiel and Daniel, as the Prince enters 'by the way of the port of [that] gate without..' , the eastern gate, the 'gate shall not be shut until the evening.'   The messiahship of the Prince is again underscored.  Additionally in Daniel 8:25,  the 'Prince of Princes' is the one which the false prince, the 'vile one' the 'abomination of desolation' stands up against: the Prince of Peace dismantles his authority 'without hand':  no weapons, but the Word, most likely.

While the pre- vs. post shoah difference does not test out as significant, this is one of those cases where statistical significance is actually meaningless, so the raw change can be taken as actual.  Probability levels on sampling from a whole population have to do with how good a sample we took out of the population of whatever data we are looking at, and how representative our findings are of the whole population. For example if we in a sample at the Mall of 800 people find that 798 own a refrigerator, and we find that to be different from a Mall sample in another nation, we say 'there is a statistically significant difference in refrigerator ownership between the two nations ' if the numbers turn out.  We are empiricially 'guessing' the goodness of our observation based upon the size of or estimated size of the population.

Here in the term "Prince of Peace" we have only one mention of the term across bibles, except for one, the NIRV.  (last observed 2008).  Since the total population of verses containing the term is one in every bible save one, there is no 'sampling': we have the whole 'population' of terms.  Therefore, when we seen any difference, whether it comes out significant or not, it is a REAL difference, not a spurious finding.  That is generally true throughout this study though because we are always dealing with the complete set, the total population of number of verses containing the term, pre-Shoah and post-Shoah.   This is problematic more for Statistics, which should render a significant difference where there is one at all, but because of corrections, differing variances etc,  some real differences do not show as significant.  I would have stayed with just the raw count comparisons, but our friends the scientists like data to always look empirical and statistical, so we continue to humor them in the good grace of God.

Today, July 18, 2014,  according to Bible Gateway search engine,  NIRV still does not include "Prince of Peace" but uses the substitute "Prince who will bring Peace".  Well, to many modern theologians that sounds like one of those "dynamic equivalents", but consider for a moment that the 'Vile one', the anti-Christ or anti-'Messiah' will also bring a season of peace, but will hardly be a "Prince of Peace".  Words matter.

Below is a result of the t-test for 'Prince of Peace' but remember with only one count, and only one bible differing, the data yields a real difference, but the statistical test is not powerful enough to detect the only one omission since all other post-Shoah bibles include it.  Do note though in the bar graph below that there is no variance in pre-Shoah variance, obviously because it is one repeated term, but the small s=.03 shows the variance.  Nonetheless if one omitted the NIRV as an 'outlier', there would be no difference,  but the trend to an incorrect translation of this term is worth noting, though not serious presently as most do not change the term and hopefully will keep this title of the Messiah of God intact.  The Hebrew term is "Sar Shalom",  with 'Sar' being the ancient hebrew for Prince, and of course 'Shalom' peace.  This is also worth noting as the 'shalom' portion of his name forms the basis also for the place of his throne, Jerus-shalom  or City of Peace: Jerusalem.


Unpaired t test results  :P value and statistical significance: 
   The two-tailed P value equals 0.5661
   By conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be not statistically significant.

Confidence interval:
   The mean of Pre-Shoah minus Post-Shoah equals 0.09
   95% confidence interval of this difference: From -0.24 to 0.42

Intermediate values used in calculations:
   t = 0.5888
   df = 13
   standard error of difference = 0.154

Group  Pre-Shoah    Post-Shoah

Mean 1.00 0.91
SD          0.00 0.30
SEM         0.00 0.09
N              4     11

till the next time ekbest

P.S. It is a horror to me that some of these posts are missing and have been truncated and occasionally some whom we are aware of have tried to rewrite the posts.  Only myself, Dr. Best collected and analysed the data over several years.  I know that many in the Christian community are not research oriented but there are some serious ethical issues to be aware of: 1. It can be up to a felony to tamper with data, 2. One NEVER impinges on another's study or research: people lose their careers over that offense, and 3. only the person who has proposed the idea originally and handled the data can field the difficult technical questions about the data.  If anyone attempts to represent this study as having participated in it, they have not, I was the sole principle investigator, and author.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Who are the Jews? Part I and II: Responding to the theories of Rudolf Kittel (1899)

 Mystery of the Jews

A Bible Study Offering of Judah's Glory
                                        Who are the Jews? Part 2

Who are the Jews? Part I: Introduction

Who are the Jews?  No one can offer a satisfactory definition, yet everyone knows who they are.   While there are no two Jews who are alike, and while some may appear as the opposite our stereotypes,  still,  no one can define the Jews, yet everyone identifies the Jews as a people.   The problem of definition of Jewish identity is not exclusive to the non-Jewish community but extends even to Israeli Jews and Jews from other nations,  who debate the qualifications for Israeli citizenship,  for burial in sacred ground, or even for marriage or other rites of passage.    For the believer though,  the definition of who a Jew is, or even ‘what’ a Jew is , is tied up in doctrine and eschatology.
In the years  spent in a fundamental church,  I attended church with many persons of a very different backgrounsd from mine,  and many bore an intrinsic prejudice against the Jews, even while claiming to be Bible -believing Christians, and staying in the Word of God often.  This is a paradox since so much of the Word centers on the Jews and their relation to the God of Israel, and causes one to wonder how such a dichotomy can exist:  the truth is that even many ‘born again’ Christians do not resolve in their minds and hearts, that the Jews of today are the same generation, the same ‘chosen people’  described in the Scriptures.

Forms of Anti-Semitism in the Church

There are several types or forms of anti-Semitism that prevail in the church and that are somewhat shared in the public, and somewhat peculiar to the church.  I have categorized them as follows:
1. Raw Anti-Semitism-a full fledged, hateful stance toward the Jews involving violent thought and action towards the Jews which is primarily racially motivated
2. Political Anti-Semitism- a form which may or may not involve hatred, but a stance which holds the Jews responsible for most of the world’s ills: this may include the belief in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy,  a desire for Jewish world domination, or a belief that the Jews act in a way contrary to the good of nations.  #1 and 2 are not always mutually exclusive.
3. Doctrinal Anti-Semitism:  this stance includes doctrinal positions in which the Jew is less than those of other national or racial inclusions, or in which the Jew has to try twice as hard to ‘earn’ Salvation as others, while others gain salvation by grace,  or in which the Jews of today are declared a different race of people than those who are in the Bible.  The other form of doctrinal anti-Semitism I have seen includes blaming or retribution against the Jews for everything from the Fall of Man to the death of Christ,  or even their own holocaust.  Doctrinal anti-semitism is any form of anti-Semitism which is either based upon doctrine, or which emanates from doctrine or leads to new formulations of doctrine.
4. Ignorant Anti-Semitism
This form of anti-Semitism in the church has to do more with upbringing and culture, in which persons really bear no animosity towards the Jews, and in some cases may even appear pro-Israel or pro-Semitic, but carry prejudicial information or stereotypes about the Jews: e.g. believing that all Jews look the same and have the same traits, or that they are very good with money, but very tight with it, or that all Jews want to go to Israel, or wear sidelocks etc, etc.  They repeat what their pastors and parents have always told them.  This kind of anti-Semitism responds best to education:  the others are more difficult.
5. Intellectual Anti-Semitism
Intellectual anti-Semitism in some ways can be the most dangerous:  one church I attended before understanding where they stood on a number of issues, amidst tracts and pamphlets had out a magazine edited by two very liberal thinkers, people who normally would not even be known of in fundamental circles.  The two though,  had a decided anti-Israel mindset,  and a sophisticated defense of their position which tried to divorce it from tolerance issues.   It is not unlike a form of pro-Palestinianism which currently is sweeping college campuses,  where Israel is targeted for boycotts and condemnation for the same actions every nation on earth takes in self-defense.  There are always abuses in every nations, but the boycotts, blockades and flotillas seem to come out full force when Israel is involved—when advocates of this position though are unipolar in addressing only Israel’s wrongs,  it becomes dangerous and affects the thinking in the church as many use the ‘intellectual’ arguments to bolster their already anti-Semitic stance.
The ‘kinds’ of anti-Semitism which are fostered in the church though, should be able to be remedied by correct teaching on the Christian doctrine and duty to the Jews:  the Bible makes it very clear who the Jews are before God, and why we are to ‘touch not God’s anointed’  or the ‘apple of his eye’.   The Jews, even suspended in what William Tyndale referred to as ‘disquietness’ or the ‘slumber’ of the KJV,  are still God’s chosen people and have not been cast off, as Paul noted, “God Forbid”.    In this series in Promise of Messiah, we will begin to look at what is referred to as the ‘mystery of the Jews’.   The next post will begin to answer the question of who the Jews are as a people before God.
by Elizabeth Kirkley Best, (more to follow)

Who are the Jews ? Part 2:  Your Mother was a Hittite….(?)

Turning to a Scriptural description of the Jews,  while in many ways the description is very clear,  nonetheless the debate of who the Jews are and where they come from has raged for centuries,  and yet at the same time, even theologians appear to know who they are, and where they are from.   From the outset, the word ‘Jew’ derives from “Judah” and means “Praise”.  The word for Jew or Jews  is (plural determined by use)
and is derived from
The first mention of the exact word is the plural “Jews” referring to ‘Jews from Elath’ in I Kings 16:6,  with the first mention of the singular in Esther  2:5, referring to the ‘certain Jew whose name was Mordecai’.

At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day. I Kings 16:6
Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose namewas Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; Esther 2:5
The Jews either individually or as a nation or people, are mentioned much earlier in the Scriptures than either of these.  The debate among Theologians and Bible Scholars is essentially at which point the Jews as a people are 1) identified as a people or nation and 2) cannot be identified as something else.  Some scholars note the Jewish people as a ‘generation’ all the way back to the Garden of Eden, reasoning that since Adam was the firstborn of mortal men,  and one must assume that he was implicitly chosen and set apart,  that one could reason the generation of the Jews all the way back to Adam,  since it is not at all indefensible to argue that this is where their history with God starts.  Others argue the Semitic line begins with the third child:  Abel, the righteous son of Adam and Eve dies outside of the Garden at the hand of his brother Cain.  Cain is banished, due as much to his fratricide as to his arrogance toward God, and it becomes clear to Eve that when she declares …”I have gotten a man from the LORD.” (Gen 4:1) that Cain, the man she refers to,  is not the promised deliverer of 3:15 who will bruise the serpents head, but instead is the first progeny of the Fall of Man,  a murderer.   Both sons gone,  feeling the sting of departing from God’s presence in the Garden,  Eve bears a third son called ‘Seth’ or ‘Sheth’  (Gen 4:25) meaning ‘compensation’ but literally ‘buttock’ regarding another child coming from the womb,  and some argue that Seth is the beginning of the Semitic line leading to the Jews.
In some ways this cannot be an incorrect argument since at the time,  Eve is the ‘mother of all living’ and it is clear from the genealogy that from this point on, the direct line of Adam continues in Sheth,  and includes such notables s Enoch, Methusaleh and Noah.   Concurrently,  Cain, though banished knows his wife and from him proceeds another line,  and the question of ‘where Cain got his wife’ for the moment is best left to continuing debate.
Since the whole known human race is destroyed in the flood of Noah, save for the eight left alive of Noah’s line,  many other choose to trace the ‘generation of the Jews’ back to one of Noah’s sons:

Gen 6:10  And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth

In Genesis 10:21,  the descendants of Shem begin to be listed:

       Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth  the elder, even to him were children born. 22 
The children of  Elam,Shem;    and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram…(continuing to 10:32).

The reason this is of interest is that some scholars refer to Eber   (עֵבֶר) as the name from which Hebrew derives,  since it is also anglicized as heber.   The name means literally “the land beyond” (Gesenius, BLB) .   The line of Shem  includes also Elam and Asshur (Asshurites, Assyrians), ‘Aram’ whose name will be applied in the northern regions,  and  ’Arphaxad’ , whose name is applied to the region from Assyria to Armenia, the home of the Chadeans.  WebBible Encyclopedia notes that Josephus named Arphaxad as the father of the Chaldeans.
To some this line of Elamites, Asshurites, ‘Chaldeans’ and Aramites might seem to contradict the line of the Jews, or ‘Chosen People’ but this is not the case.  Arphaxad is third from Noah, and only five immediate generations from Abraham.  Further,  though we seldom equate it with genealogy,  Ezekiel 26 notes:

And say, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan;  thy father was aAmorite, and thy mother aHittite.

The reason the above passage in Ezekiel is interesting is that though it is a rebuke reminding Israel that though she is a favored nation, her beginnings were humble, and Cainan was Arphaxad’s son:  they came from the line of Shem who settled in the region mentioned.  Within short generations of Cainan,  Abraham appears to whom the covenant of the Land and Seed,  Israel and the Jews,  set apart for God’s purposes and blessed with cause and covenant, is made.   While a few anti-Semitic theologians who have made too great a dent in reasonings in the twentieth century, argue that the line of Jews is more Hittite than special origin,  there is little doubt that this is the area to which Abram is called: first to Haran and then to the plains of Moreh,  the land of the Hitittes.   He sends back though to his family when choosing wives for his sons,  though his grandson Esau causes him much pain in choosing wives from local peoples.
While we still have not completely answered the question ‘Who are the Jews?” we begin by examining where they are from by the Scriptures.   They are without question sons of Adam, as the rest of the human race, but they are also set apart.  They are referred to by various names such as Hebrews, Jews, Israelites, Children of Israel, the tribes,  Children of Abraham, and many others.  Where they come from though and from whence they descend is of a critical understanding because the question stands thousands of years later regarding their origins,  and divides Scriptural and lasting accounts of who they are, vs. a wide variety of secular accounts which were manipulated in German theology in WWII,  to divorce the region of Judah and Benjamin from an Aryanized Aram, or northern Israel.  *
We turn next time to and examination of how the Bible defines the Jews.   Elizabeth K. Best
*Rudolf Kittel in 1899 in writing about the Jews and Israel,  begins his treatise by arguing that Aram is the ‘high land’ north in Israel, and that Kenaan or Canaan, is the ‘lowland’.  He argues that the Aramites were of a more noble ‘master’ race, and that the Canaanites which the Jews in his opinion were never able to subject, were of a subjugated race.   This makes too much sense in terms of what the Kittels attempted to do to the Bible and theology in WWII:  The older Kittel included the Samaritan Torah from the Northern kingdom in his remake of the Hebrew Bible, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.   Grundmann, a student and colleague of the younger Kittel who shared the belief,  also argued for an ‘aryanized’ Jesus,  born in the North in the Hazor-Aram area,  and at least partly aryan.   Further,  one can see the beginning in this reasoning of why they provided an anti-Semitic foundation for a ‘new’ theology,  since later they argued that the Jews of yesteryear were not the 20th century Jews, and they later go on to refer to Judaens as an inferior lot compared to the northern, divided kingdom of Jeroboam.  Scripture though teaches that the ten tribes who went north and formed an emulative form of worship suffered greatly because of it, refusing to worship in Jerusalem and reintroducing idolatry and false worship: the Northern Kingdom was the first to fall to the brutal King of Assyria, and Judah,  not much more obedient, but holding to God’s direction in worship and the Temple, lasted awhile longer.   Kittel tries to erase Israel and the Jews as a nation, by ignoring biblical/Torah accounts of history,  and making even Jacob/Israel into just another clan which comes to be identified among clans who sort of ‘fall together’ as a loosely defined nation:
the patriarchal history states further, that israel is a later name for the founder of the tribe, that originally was called jacob.  From this it may be concluded that there was at one time a tribe called jacob which afterwards blended with and took the name of the tribe of israel to which it was related.”  (from kittel, r. A history of the hebrews, 1899, pg. 19)
The reason the kittels managed much influence is that their work was read out of context,  and they make broad statements as fact, e.g. ‘which afterward blended’, to other theologians who did not specialize in israel and the jews, and most of whom were not orthodox believers.   Too little knowledge of biblical history among germans then and believers now, allowed the kittels to form a theological foundation for the removal of jews from german society.