tisdag, januari 10, 2006

The Bible... part II

The order of the scriptures in different Bibles is ideological, expressing both different views of the relative value of different scriptures themselves, and different views of the value of "Scripture".
In the 2nd century early Judaism and early Christianity had violent discussions over both the compass of the OT (22 books or 32) and of the authenticity of (differing) versions/translations.
The short Hebrew Bible of 22 scriptures (which in its present form is a 1000 years younger than the Alexandrian Bible) is organized historically, that is the age of the scripture determines it's place and relative weight, theoretically excluding late ones and those first written in Greek (some of these remain important such as the Mackabees).
Torah = the Teaching (= the 4 Ezraic rolls "of Moses").
Prophets incl. the Psalms (that is scriptures of Temple origin – these are in fact much older, but in part ("great" prophets) much redacted in Ezraic times).
The (general) Scriptures starting with Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, and (often) ending with Ester.
The Alexandrian Septuagint (which is the first Bible-edition) arranges these and other scriptures in a historico-ideological order.
Historical: 4 Books of Moses, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Ezra, Chronicles & c.
Philosophical: Prophets, Wisdom and Psalms.
Jewish Bibles (Septuagints as well as the later short one) tend to end with Esther, that is confirming the late Feast of Purim, whereas Christian Septuagints end with the Minor Prophets, namely with the Messiah-prophesy of Malachi – leading directly over to the NT.
The idea of "inspiration" was first advanced by Justin Martyr around 150, to defend textual differences (or obvious mani-pulations according to camp) in certain Septuagint quotes used by him and other Christian apologists, to "prove" Christian teachings as "fore-told" in the OT.
(But the Prophets are not fortune tellers – they speak to their contemporaries: Thus saith the Lord!)
Now, there was a question mark over the word used in Jesaiah 7.14 for instance: young woman or virgin?
Justin and others – already Platonists in inspiration – claimed that Jesaiah had written parthénos.
The virgin shall conceive...
And already understood this platonistically as virgo intacta; technical virgin.
Contra which Jewish apologists claimed, that the (Greek) word used by Jesaiah was néantis; young woman, almá in Hebrew.
To which Justin held up that the TRANSLATION was inspired - and more so than the original...
That Jesaiah wrote almá; "young woman", is the view held by OT exegetes today – but to actually know, we need an almá (or on the other hand a betulá) preserved in the Dead Sea roll of Jesaiah, for instance.
And I have not heard anyone say that we do.
The one thing we can be sure of, is that Jesaiah did not talk of either "technical virginity" as a platonist value or was referring to the semper virgo of Rome or any other such late fantasy, denying the humanity of Mary (and of Christ).
Adapted from comments on Augustus Meriwether's blog (länk till höger)

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