Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart
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Sunday, 31 May 2009

Making A Non-Issue into A... Non-Issue

Relatively new commenter Shalmo has repeatedly try to point out that the claim that the Torah we read today is the same Torah Moshe Rabbeinu, a"h, received at Sinai, is specious. He even helpfully provided a link which I follow up on. He has repeatedly said that he is patient awaiting my reply to his challenge and until now, due to Shavous, I have been unable to respond. But it ain't Shavous no more, eh?
The first point is that he uses the Samaritan Torah as a reference. The reason for this sounds logical. While the masoretic text of the holy Writ underwent multiple editing jobs until fairly recently in history, the Samaritan Torah did not. Therefore, if the Samaritan Torah is based on ours, it potentially represents an older, unaltered version of our Torah and discrepancies can be used to prove that our manuscript was altered at some point.
To answer this challenge, I would like to note the parameters I am working with.
First, how do I define a significant change in the 'script? No one except those living in deepest, darkest Me'ah She'arim deny that the Torah we read from today has minor differences that have crept in over history. There are the famous tikunei Sofrim, there are the cases where an aleph and hey get alternated, etc. There is even a comment somewhere in Vayikra from Rashi where he complains about the superfluous presence of the word "et" while in the text the word itself does not appear. Therefore I will not take the position that our Torah is, letter for letter, the one handed to Moshe Rabeinu at Har Sinai.
So for me a significant change is one that is consequential. Consequential, in turn, means that there is a halachic significant to the change. For example, if there is a variant fragment out there that says that Noah's sons were Shem, Cham and Archie, for example, who cares? It does not change the halacha. From this perspective, it is important to note that no such important changes exist.
Further, using the Samaritan text is also problematic. There are multiple versions, including one that is considered authoritative but without huge amounts of evidence to support the claim. There are a couple of major changes that they have made to the text (switching mountains in one instance to fit their own personal history). Further, according to our Bible the Samaritans maintained a level of idol worship even after accepting our Torah. I cannot see the logic of using another nationality's version of the Torah, one which is openly corrupted from the original, as a prooftext for ours.
The second point is to note that how one reads the Torah affects whether one sees certain incongruities within the text as problematic or revealing. For the academic who is looking for textual consistency in terms of narrative, grammar, etc., the Torah contains a whole host of problems. Narratives are inconsistent (compare the story of how Eliezer meets Rivkah Imeinu to the version Eliezer relates to her familiy), or repetitive (the two stories of the Creation of Man), grammar can sometimes seem to switch eras and spelling is erratic. This strongly points to the idea of either multiple authors or excessive editing over the centuries.
However, a believing Jew who approaches the text armed with the right commentators including the Gemara quickly learns that every single possible problematic part of the Torah is actually revelatory. Supposed mistakes or inconsistencies are meant to teach lessons, or shed light on applications of the Oral Law. Two specific commentaries which resolve most of the problems academics raise are those of Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, zt"l, and the Netziv, zt"l, who both toil to show that the entire Oral Law is references through the Written Law and that there are no superfluities or mistakes in the entire text.
For those on the outside, this is seen as an exercise in apologetics but again, that's because they insist on, a priori, approaching the Torah as a piece of literature. If one refuses to see it as the word of God, then all the implications revealed by religious study of the text become irrelevant.
My final argument in support of this is what I call the "Ezra wasn't an idiot" argument. Many documentary hypothesis supports suggest that the Torah we have today is actually a synthesis of multiple (four or five) previous religious documents, each of which held authority in a different part of the Jewish people. For example, the Kohanim lived according to what we call Vayikra. Ezra, in an attempt to rebuild the Jewish people, took these documents and "redacted" them into a single document to create a false but necessary common history including a shared revelation at Sinai.
Never mind that no trace of these four or five separate Torahs has ever been discovered. While lack of his restaurant receipts is enough for academics to "prove" that David HaMelech, a"h, never existed, lack of existence of proto-Torah scrolls isn't proof of absence to them.
But what really strikes me about the idiocy of the DH hypothesis is that it assumes Ezra was a lousy editor. He left in spelling mistakes, didn't make grammer consistent, left inaccuracies between adjacent verses and so on.
Now, speaking as a (secondy) character in a fantasy fiction trilogy, I know something of how books are edited. The books I feature (somewhat) prominently in underwent multiple drafts and edits to ensure that spelling mistakes and inconsistencies were removed from the plot. And while they are breathtaking works of fantasy fiction they do not have quite the historical importance of a book like the Torah. Now imagine you're Ezra and you're trying to convince people that the scroll you're handing out to them is a God-given document. Are you really going to allow spelling mistakes for people to point out? Please.
In conclusion, when one reads the Torah as a religious work instead of an academic one, there are no problems with finding oddities in the text.

54 comments:

Shalmo said...

Hello Garnel. You have made me wait quite a while so I will be typing a LOOOOT, Please pay attention

FIRST I will reproduce what you didn't answer from the previous thread:

A:

The final book of the 5 books of the Pentateuch (Torah) opens with the introductory observation, "These are the words that Moses spoke to all of Israel on the far side of the Jordan river...." (Deuteronomy 1:1)

Unlike the other four books, Deuteronomy is largely a record of Moses' speeches, spoken in the first person to the people before his death. The Talmud affirms that this book is qualitatively different than the others. Moses wrote the other books of the Torah in God's name; Deuteronomy, on the other hand, Moses said on his own. (Megillah 31b)

But…

Moses could not have composed this book on his own, for a prophet is not allowed to say in God's name what he did not hear from God. (Shabbat 104a)

B:

If we read the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 8, Verse 8 it says this

8 " 'How can you say, "We are wise,
for we have the law of the LORD,"
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
has handled it falsely?

It is very clear from the text that the scribes have corrupted the Law (first 5 books of the Old Testament). How did they corrupt it? With their mouths by giving false interpretations? No! They did so with their "pens". Meaning they altered the text of the Law. How else could a pen corrupt something?

After all the context reveals that in fact Jeremiah was against the entire religious establishment of the time. He refers to prophets and priests as frauds after all, giving this verse even more contextual sense.

C:

It is important to bear in mind that there is no a single verse in the Torah that says God himself will protect this scripture from being corrupted.

Often Jewish apologists will use this; “Deu 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”

This is a command unto the Jews. It does not say the Torah is infallible, neither does it say a PROPHET cannot bring a new scripture. Firstly, you should know that God is not speaking here. Clearly Moses is the speaker, as can be distinguished from the last part of the verse:
"that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."

Otherwise, it would have read (if God were the speaker):
"that ye may keep MY commandments"

It is a command from Moses to his followers to not change the scripture. It does not say "There will be no-one who can change the scripture".

I am not going to get into the core arguments against TMS until you deal with these small issues first.

I implore you to give me an answer for them. If you don't have an answer then that is fine as well. But I wish to finish these things up before we move to the big stuff

Shalmo said...

Ok I just read your whole post. Here lemme provide a small example of problems caused by textual variants:

Here is an example of problems caused by textual variants in the works of the prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah's prophecies are noted for the frequent repetitions found in them of the same words, phrases, and imagery. They cover the period of about 50 years. They are not in chronological order.

The Septuagint (Greek or 'LXX') version of this book is, in its arrangement and in other particulars, different from the Masoretic Hebrew. The Septuagint does not include 10:6-8; 25:14; 27:19-22; 29:16-20; 33:14-26; 39:4-13; 52:2, 3, 15, 28-30, etc. In all, about 2,700 words found in the Masoretic text are not found in the Septuagint. Also, the 'Oracles against the Nations', that appear as chapters 46-51 in the Masoretic and most dependent versions, in the Septuagint are located right after 25:13, and in a different order.... Read More

The Septuagint version of Jeremiah also includes the Book of Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah. Jerome's Prologue to Jeremiah says he excluded them: "And the Book of Baruch, , his scribe, which is neither read nor found among the Hebrews, we have omitted, standing ready, because of these things, for all the curses from the jealous, to whom it is necessary for me to respond through a separate short work. And I suffer because you think this. Otherwise, for the benefit of the wicked, it was more proper to set a limit for ... Read Moretheir rage by my silence, rather than any new things written to provoke daily the insanity of the envious." But the Canon of Trent included them as "Ieremias cum Baruch" (Jeremiah with Baruch), Baruch 6 being the Epistle or Letter of Jeremiah in the Vulgate.

Parts of the Book of Jeremiah have also been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in cave 4 in Qumran. These texts, in Hebrew, correspond both to the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint Text. This discovery has shed much light on the differences between the two versions; while it was previously maintained that the Greek Septuagint (the version used by the earliest Christians) was only a poor translation, professor Emanuel Tov, senior editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls' publication, wrote that the Masoretic edition either represents a substantial rewriting of the original Hebrew, or there had previously been two different versions of the text.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "a comparison of the Masoretic text with the Septuagint ... Read Morethrows some light on the last phase in the history of the origin of the Book of Jeremiah, inasmuch as the translation into Greek was already under way before the work on the Hebrew book had come to an end... The two texts differ above all in that the Septuagint is much shorter... Even if the text of the Septuagint is proved to be the older, it does not necessarily follow that all these variations first arose after the Greek translation had been made, because two different editions of the same text might have been in process of development side by side..."

Shalmo said...

There are even better examples of problems caused by textual variants in what is attributed to David:

Goliath's height: There are significant differences between the Masoretic (Hebrew), Septuagint (Greek), and Dead Sea Scrolls versions of 1 Samuel 17. One of the most interesting of these relates to Goliath's height: 4QSam(a), the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel, gives the height of Goliath as "four cubits and a span," (approximately 200 cm or about six feet seven inches), and this is what the 4th century AD Septuagint manuscripts and the 1st century AD historian Josephus also record. Later Septuagint manuscripts and the oldest Masoretic texts (Aleppo Codex, 10th century AD) read "six cubits and a span," which would make him about 290 cm or nine feet six inches tall.

David's age: Early Septuagint-based manuscripts such as the 4th century AD Codex Vaticanus do not contain the verses describing David coming each day with food for his brothers, nor 1 Samuel 17:55-58 in which Saul seems unaware of David's identity, referring to him as "this youth" and asking Abner to find out the name of his father. The narrative therefore reads that Goliath is challenging the Israelites to combat, the Israelites are afraid, and David, already with Saul, accepts the challenge. The shorter Septuagint version removes a number of ambiguities which have puzzled commentators: it removes 1 Samuel 17:55-58 in which Saul seems not to know David, despite having taken him as one of his shield-bearers and harpist; it removes 1 Samuel 17:50, the presence of which makes it seem as if David kills Goliath twice, once with his sling and then again with a sword; and it gives David a clear reason, as Saul's personal shield-bearer, for accepting Goliath's challenge. Scholars drawing on studies of oral transmission and folklore have concluded that the non-Septuagint material "is a folktale grafted onto the initial text of ... 1 Samuel."

Shalmo said...

Elhanan and Goliath: 2 Samuel 21:19 tells how Goliath was killed by "Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite." The 4th century 1 Chronicles 20 explains the second Goliath by saying that Elhanan "slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath," apparently constructing the name Lahmi from the last portion of the word "Bethlehemite" ("beit-ha'lahmi"). The King James Bible translators adopted this into their translation of 2 Samuel 21:18-19, although the Hebrew text at this point makes no mention of the word "brother". "Jaare-oregim," the name of Elhanan's father, means a nonsensical "forest of weaver's beams", and seems to have been copied from Goliath's weaponry (Goliath has a spear "with a shaft like a weaver's beam").

Goliath and the Philistines: Tell es-Safi, the biblical Gath and traditional home of Goliath, has been the subject of extensive excavations by Israel's Bar-Ilan University. The archaeologists have established that this was one of the largest of the Philistine cities until destroyed in the 9th century BC, an event from which it never recovered. A potsherd discovered at the site, and reliably dated to the 10th to mid 9th centuries BC, is inscribed with the two names "alwt" and "wlt". While the names are not directly connected with the biblical Goliath, they are etymologically related and demonstrate that the name fits with the context of late-10th/early-9th century BC Philistine culture. The name "Goliath" itself is non-Semitic and has been linked with the Lydian name "Alyattes", which also fits the Philistine context of the biblical Goliath story. Aren Maeir, director of the excavation, comments: "Here we have very nice evidence [that] the name Goliath appearing in the Bible in the context of the story of David and Goliath … is not some later literary creation."

Goliath and the Greeks: In 2004 Azzan Yadin suggested that the armor described in 1 Samuel 17 is typical of Greek armour of the 6th century BC rather than of Philistine armour of the 10th century, and that narrative formulae such as the settlement of battle by single combat between champions is characteristic of the Homeric epics (the Iliad) but not of the ancient Near East. Yadin also suggested that the designation of Goliath as a איש הביניים, “man of the in-between” (a longstanding difficulty in translating 1 Samuel 17) appears to be a borrowing from Greek "man of the metaikhmion (μεταίχμιον)."

Shalmo said...

1) I NEVER even mentioned the documentary hypothesis and I made it quite clear I don't intend to even discuss it

2)"mics to "prove" that David HaMelech, a"h, never existed"

Ah-Huh

Didn't you way back say Jesus never existed. There is more contemporary evidence for Jesus then there is for any major jewish figure be it David or Moses

Now ofcouse there is nothing with which we could say Jesus ever thought of himself as God. But there is plenty more evidence of his existent than any other bible figure

Garnel Ironheart said...

I made you wait? It's called Shavous, Shalmo.

> Moses could not have composed this book on his own, for a prophet is not allowed to say in God's name what he did not hear from God

So? At the beginning of parshas Behar the laws of Shmittah are discussed and referenced as being taught at Sinai. The commentators all note this unusual phraseology and note that therefore even those halachos that would only apply once Israel entered Israel were taught at Sinai. So all of the speeches in Devarim were vetted by God, so to speak and delivered through His inspiration.

> It is very clear from the text that the scribes have corrupted the Law

Yep. The Bible clearly states it and the Gemara in the final chapter of Sanhedrin goes through multiple cases of intentional alterations of the Torah by the various idolatrous kings of Israel. The two answers to this are:
Correct Torah scrolls were kept that survived the various idolatrous regimes intact.
Prophecy allowed for the correction of erroneous texts. Men like Yirmiyahu could tell you what the Torah was supposed to have said because of God's help.

> It is important to bear in mind that there is no a single verse in the Torah that says God himself will protect this scripture from being corrupted

Of course He wouldn't protect the Torah. "Lo baShamayim hee." It's our responsiblity to protect the Torah's integrity, hence all the detailed rules for writing new Torah scrolls.

> It is a command from Moses to his followers to not change the scripture.

Moshe Rabeinu, a"h, invented no mitzvos. If he commanded the Jewish people, it's the same as saying God did. He was simply relaying the command in his role as the leader of the people.

In terms of your references to scriptural variation, you won't find me disagreeing. I have clearly said in the past that the only 99% preserved 'script is that of the Torah. The Nach part is clearly based on extensive editing leading to huge inconsistencies at times. Again, so what? The point of Torah is to give us the halachah. Scriptural inconsistencies in Navi don't change the halacha. Therefore they are irrelevant to the topic at hand.

There is good contemporary evidence for JC never having existed based on Josephus, an obsessive compulsive historian, never mentioning him.

It also doesn't help that none of the gospels was JC's contemporary. But I'm not an expert in that area so I'm not going to argue one way or the other.

So in the end, we don't disagree on the Navi/Ksuvim but I continue to maintain that any text variations in the Torah itself are minor and non-significant.

Shalmo said...

Ok let's the ball rolling. Contrary to E-Man's rambling about the dead sea scrolls proving masoretic text, I'm gonna show you that in fact the opposite is true. They confirm the LXX and samaritan version way more than the masoretic torahs

Shalmo said...

The Dead Sea Scrolls have shed new light on the history of the Masoretic Text. Many texts found there, especially those from Masada, are quite similar to the Masoretic Text, suggesting that an ancestor of the Masoretic Text was indeed extant as early as the 2nd century BC. However, other texts, including many of those from Qumran, differ substantially, indicating that the Masoretic Text was but one of a diverse set of Biblical writings (Lane Fox 1991:99-106; Tov 1992:115).

What you will find, prior to the Dead Sea Scrolls is that the oldest manuscripts of the Torah dated from well into the Christian era (around the ninth century CE) matching up to the Masoretic text Jews use today. In addition to this there was Samaritan Torah, and the Greek Septuagint, both of which are fairly close to the Masoretic overall, but do have a number of clear differences (more than simple vowel changes as the apologists advocate). However, since then, there has been the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This dates the manuscript evidence back to around the second century BCE.

So, how do they match up? Like the other two I mentioned, close, but certainly not identical. In fact, in some cases the Dead Sea Scrolls versions confirm the alternate version as opposed to the Masoretic edition, or they differ from all of them. This indicates a fluidity to the text, though it's substantial form had it's shape by them. Again, some of the changes are minor, some aren't.

Since the earliest complete manuscript of the Masoretic edition of the Torah is very, very late (around the 9th century CE), there's no way at this point that it could be "proven" to be the authentic one. One might ask that were the extreme care and precision Jewish apologists claim that their scribes practiced in regards to writing the Torah in fact true, why the need them for the Masoretes to have come up with their own edition in the first place? And that as late as the post-Christian time period, literally 800 years post Jesus???

Anyhow, as I mentioned before, what we do mainly have from prior to the very late Masoretic texts are the LXX in Greek, the Dead Sea Scrolls material and the Samaritan Pentateuch. In comparing these to the current Masoretic, while substantially much of it is the same, there are notable differences. And if it can be shown that the earlier texts agree on something, that that agreement disagrees with the Masoretic, but that this alternate version makes more contextual sense, then it is a pretty good argument for demonstrating that in that instance the Masoretic is the one that has been changed. Now, does this "prove" the genuineness of the alternate sources? No, of course not. All it proves is that the alternate is what was common amongst Jews around the second century BCE. In terms of the actual Mosaic text itself, or a Torah version from before this late time period, other than possible short fragments we don't have any.

Shalmo said...

So, some comparisons then. Taken from here:

http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/dss.htm

MT = Masoretic Text
DSS = Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q referring to the fourth cave at Qumran)
LXX = Septuagint
SP = Samaritan Pentateuch


QUOTE
1&2 Samuel

For the past two centuries textual critics have recognized that the Masoretic Text (MT) of 1&2 Samuel has much textual corruption. The Samuel MT is shorter than the LXX and 4QSama. The Samuel MT has improper word division, metathesis, and other orthographic problems. Certain phrases and clauses go against the Hebrew grammar rules. Parallel passages vary from each other (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.227-8).

In 1952 Roland De Vaux and Lankester Harding found manuscripts of Samuel under three feet of debris in Qumran Cave 4. 4QSama shows that the Old Greek Bible (LXX) was based on a Vorlage similar to 4QSama. Josephus agrees with 4QSama in 6 places against the MT and LXX. Josephus, 4QSama, and LXX share about three dozen readings against the MT (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.229).

Where the book of Chronicles parallels 1 Samuel, the readings of Chronicles follow 4QSama rather than the MT 42 times. Only one time does Chronicles agree with the MT. Over 100 times 4QSama does not agree with any ancient reading (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.230-31).

The Book of Samuel varies widely and frequently from the Masoretic Text. 4QSama preserves a number of superior readings that help correct errors in the Masoretic Text (DSS Bible, 213). Let's look at some of these.

One dramatic example is in I Samuel 11 where the MT and KJV left out the first paragraph. The Longer reading in the DSS explains what happens in this chapter. It says:

"Nahash king of the Ammonites oppressed the Gadites and the Reubenites viciously. He put out the right eye of all of them and brought fear and trembling on Israel. Not one of the Israelites in the region beyond the Jordan remained whose right eye Nahash king of the Ammonites did not put out, except seven thousand men who escaped from the Ammonites and went to Jabesh-gilead" (The Dead Sea Scroll Bible translated by Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich page 225). Then verse one of I Samuel 11 starts.

1 Samuel 14:30

There is a mis-division of words here in the MT. The 4QSama divides it differently which makes better sense. The MT has hkm htbr rather than hkmh hbr in the 4QSama.

1 Samuel 14:47

There is a singular instead of a plural noun in 4QSama. 4QSama is the better reading.

1 Samuel 15:27

There is an omission of the subject in the MT. According to 4QSama Saul is the subject who grabbed the garment, not Samuel.

1 Samuel 17:4

How tall was Goliath? The MT says, "six cubits and a span" while 4QSama says, "four cubits and a span." People don't usually grow to be over 9 foot tall, so the "four cubits"(7 feet) seems the most reasonable height of Goliath.

1 Samuel 26:22

The MT preserves two variant readings by combining them while the 4QSama just records the one correct word. The MT has an ungrammatical reading.
Biblical Texts that need to be changed as a result of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Genesis 1:9

4QGenk has added "and dry land appeared" indicating that the longer reading of the LXX is from an ancient Hebrew text that the MT lost by haplography. The LXX addition says, "and the waters below heaven gathered into their gathering place and dry land appeared" (See Charlesworth, 2000, p.200).

Shalmo said...

Genesis 4:8

Genesis 4:8 leaves us with the unanswered question about What did Cain say to Abel? The Samaritan Pentateuch and the LXX have what Cain said. The LXX says, "Let us go out into the field." 4QGenb does not have this reading, but scholars think the sentence dropped out because of scribal error (Ibid., 15).

Exodus 1:3

4QExodb in Exodus 1:3 has "Joseph and Benjamin" while the MT, SP, and LXX have only "Benjamin." Frank Cross thinks 4QExodb reading should be preferred (Ibid., 201-203).

Deuteronomy 32:8

4QDeutj and the LXX say, "according to the number of the sons of God" while the MT and SP say, "according to the number of the sons of Israel." "Sons of Israel" does not make sense here. This is probably a theological change. The 4QDeutj and the LXX seem to preserve the older reading that implies a god, or guardian angel for each nation.

Joshua 8:34-35

4QJosha locates the paragraph about Joshua's construction of an altar (Joshua 8:30-35, MT) at the beginning of Joshua 5. The LXX locates this paragraph at Joshua 9:7-8. Josephus follows the 4QJosha tradition which is probably the earliest or original order of Joshua.

Judges 6:6-11

4QJudga is different from the MT and the LXX in that it lacks Judges 6:7-10. These missing verses are said to be a literary insertion added by an editor. Here is clear evidence of scribal expansion of the MT.
Psalms

There are a number of additional Psalms in the DSS than in our Bible. Psalms 1-89 are basically the same as ours in the DSS (Psalm 32, and 70 are absent). From Psalm 91 on there are radical differences in arrangement, and/or in different Psalms that have never been seen before (Psalm 90 is not preserved). There are a total of 15 different Psalms which are not included in our present Bible, nine of which were completely unknown. None of the Psalm scrolls found has our present day arrangement of the Book of Psalms.

Psalm 22

Psalm 22:17 in the MT "like a lion are my hands and feet" which does not make sense. The LXX and 5/6HevPs read "They have pierced my hands and feet."

Psalm 145 is an alphabetical psalm. Each verse begins with the next letter in the alphabet, but "N" verse is missing in the MT and KJV. In the DSS it is there, so somehow a scribe left this verse out.

Ezekiel

The oldest known texts of Ezekiel are from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scroll Bible states, Small fragments from six manuscripts of Ezekiel were found at Qumran and another atop Masada. All of them and the traditional Masoretic Text fairly uniformly attest the same textual tradition. Only seven minor variants are clearly preserved, though reconstruction according to spatial requirements indicates that in two places (5:13 and 23:16) the scrolls may have had a shorter text than the Masoretic Text" (page 407).

Shalmo said...

I also found this list, which gives substantially more cases of agreement between the LXX and the DSS in distinction to the Masoretic: http://www.geocities.com/r_grant_jones/Rick/Septuagint/spappendix.htm

There's around 200 or so instances listed on there where the LXX and the Masoretic disagree in the Torah, yet the DSS supports the LXX version). The Jewish apologists will often use Deut. 4:2 to make argument such as "The Torah tells us not to change the scripture, therefore, we never would have done it", even though the documentary evidence clearly shows that's exactly what happened, and their own past scholars have admitted as much ("Rabbi Simon ben Pazzi (third century) calls these readings "emendations of the Scribes" (tikkune Soferim; Midrash Genesis Rabbah xlix. 7), assuming that the Scribes actually made the changes. This view was adopted by the later Midrash and by the majority of Masoretes. In Masoretic works these changes are ascribed to Ezra; to Ezra and Nehemiah; to Ezra and the Soferim; or to Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Haggai, and Baruch. All these ascriptions mean one and the same thing: that the changes were assumed to have been made by the Men of the Great Synagogue..)

Bare in mind that the reasons the LXX was done in the first place was because most Jews were no longer fluent (if at all) in Hebrew, and Greek had become their main language. I don't know where the apologists get this fantasy of a nation full of Torah reciting scholars, but that isn't what the history books show. Again, if it was all so set in stone, why the need for the Masoretes to have come up with their own edition in the first place?

I don't care what legends the rabbis have cooked up over the centuries to convince folks about how wondrous and pious they've been, because we still need an explanation as to why the actual documentary evidence clearly shows many, many discrepancies with what they're using today, and why in many cases those discrepancies make more sense in terms of being older). These aren't all the types of errors that you might get with a wrong consonant here and there or what have you (which is what christians and jews often insist are the only discrepancies), entire passages show up (or disappear), completely different words are used, and so on.

Shalmo said...

PS: i will argue Jesus and his existence with you another time, coz I don't wanna go of topic

Garnel Ironheart said...

Shalmo, I appreciate the completeness of your sources but I would note a few things in response:

1) The vast majority of your proofs of textual variations are from Nach. I'm not arguing that variant texts existed. The Massoretic text of Nach is clearly the best editing job that could be done given the variation.

2) I ascribe no authority to the Vulgate, Septuagint or Samaritan Torahs. They may be older, they may have undergone less revision, but they were written by groups that had an agenda in terms of undermining the original Torah in order to create a new "reality". They are suspect from their start points. Therefore I cannot consider them as legitimate sources.

3) I'm not arguing JC because I don't know enough about the subject to do so.

4) Were their alternative Torahs available back then? Of course there were. If there weren't, why did the Massoretic text have to be formulated? But the presence of alternative texts does not mean the original one wasn't still around and that using their extensive knowledge the Massoretes were able to determine what the proper text was.

In the end, you make very good points but they fail the test to be definitive. They're just great theories.

David said...

"Never mind that no trace of these four or five separate Torahs has ever been discovered."

The oldest complete Torah scroll ever discovered is only about 1,000 years old, so it doesn't come near being old enough to say what Moshe's Torah would have looked like (if there was a Moshe and he had a Torah). And the orthography in the Torah as currently written is completely different from the orthography that dates to the time that Moshe supposedly lived. And the Noah story clearly echoes (and even plagiarizes) the Gilgamesh legend, which is older... the list goes on. Why should anyone believe that God wrote this?

"While lack of his restaurant receipts is enough for academics to "prove" that David HaMelech, a"h, never existed, lack of existence of proto-Torah scrolls isn't proof of absence to them."

Doesn't the narrative in 2 Kings suggest that the Torah did not originate in its current form?


"But what really strikes me about the idiocy of the DH hypothesis is that it assumes Ezra was a lousy editor. He left in spelling mistakes, didn't make grammer consistent, left inaccuracies between adjacent verses and so on."

So, inaccuracies, misspellings and other inconsistencies "prove" that God, and not people, wrote the Torah. Is that a joke? Just because later traditions have come up with (frequently far-fetched) explanations for the various inconsistencies in spelling doesn't make those explanations anything more than post-hoc rationalizations.

In the end, you're resting your argument on an approach to the Torah that rests on an assumption that it was written by God. With all due respect, for purposes of this discussion, that's just assuming your conclusion.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Okay, let me state this a little differently. The Torah we have today is, in terms of the halachic conclusions that can be drawn from the text, indistinguishable from the Torah given to Moshe.

And again, Shalmo, I'm limiting that to the Pentateuch.

As for David's argument regarding the oldest Torah being only 1000 years old, there is the issue of the Damascus Bible which a sofer I know taught me about. It's far older than 1000 years and is the prooftext that Torah's are checked against.

> In the end, you're resting your argument on an approach to the Torah that rests on an assumption that it was written by God. With all due respect, for purposes of this discussion, that's just assuming your conclusion.

Yeah. You're doing the 180 degree opposite. We agree to disagree then.

E-Man said...

Garnel, this is what the minchus chinuch and several others say about the Torah in the last halacha of sefer hachinuch. There are some slight variations to our modern torah, but since they are inconsequential that doesn't matter. This goes on the gemorah in kedushin that says we are not experts in additions and deletions, extra vavs and yuds and the sort.

Garnel Ironheart said...

That's the point I've been trying to get across, E-man. Given the tribulation that Jewish history has seen, it's a miracle from Heaven that we have the Torah in the first place!

As I noted earlier, and as you reinforced with your reference in to the Minchas Chinuch, the Torah is about teaching us halachah. If the Torah we have today teaches us the same halacha as the Torah handed to Moshe, then it is the SAME Torah.

David said...

No, Garnel, you've completely mischaracterized my view. After extensive consideration, I ultimately come to the conclusion that the Torah is extremely unlikely to have been written by God. You, on the other hand, begin with the assumption that it had to have been written by God, and then you treat all evidence one way or the other as proof of what you had assumed from the start. You're engaging in a logical fallacy, and then, to cover your tracks, you're accusing me of doing the same thing (which, manifestly, I am not).

As to the Damascus Bible, is this what you're talking about:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damascus_Document
?

Garnel Ironheart said...

First of all, thanks for the link. No, that's not what I'm talking about. The sofer noted it was a complete Bible that had been stored in Damascus by the Syrian community and until the Arab regime made it impossible, it was consulted by people who wanted to know if their Torah was correct.

And I don't want to sound like I'm accusing you of anything bad. I could word my position: after extensive consideration, considering my background, I ultimately come to the conclusion that the Torah IS written by God. As a result, that conclusion is my current given assumption.

David said...

Garnel--
I've never heard of this Damascus Bible, but would be curious to learn more. How old was it?

Regarding the second point, it's all well and good for you to assume something is true after having reached the conclusion. However, when you're arguing with someone else who has not reached that conclusion on the very merits of the conclusion, it's not reasonable to rest any of your arguments on that assumption, as it is obviously not shared (nor, for that matter, would it be reasonable for me to argue my point based on the assumption that the Torah was not written by God).

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

Hi David,

Mea culpa, I got the name wrong. It's another city in Syria. Anyway, here's the reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleppo_Codex

David said...

The Aleppo Codex only dates to the 10th century CE. Which is to say that, in terms of a timeline, this ancient text was created at a time that was much closer to our own time than to the time of Moshe. If there was a Moshe.

In other words, I really don't see how this advances your point very much. If I grant you that our current Torah is pretty much the same as it was in the year 950 CE (and I'm willing to do that), what conclusion could I draw from that with regard to the events narrated in the text which, in theory, took place a few thousand years before that?

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

The Codex is significantly older than the 10th century but its traceable history begins then. That's a significant different. If it dates back to the Dead Sea scroll era, then it is closer to Moshe Rabeinu, a"h, than us.

On the other hand, I stand by my original argument. The Samaritan "Torah", the Vulgate, etc, were all written with ulterior motives - that of discrediting the original document. Are their narratives more complete than ours? Well if you were trying to copy out the Torah, I could logically argue that you would complete the narratives just to make the text look better. You could argue the other way, of course but each view is equally legit then. But from my perspective, I put no faith in them simply because they're older and didn't undergo extensive "editing."

Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

I found this essay by R' Gil Student about comparing various biblical texts to be very informative. I suggest everyone discussing the issue here to read it before proceeding:

http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/en_text.html

David said...

Garnel, according to the information on the link you provided, the Aleppo Codex is only about a thousand years old. I'm not sure why you're saying it's older. As to the vorlaage (or however that's spelled) in older copies of the Bible in translations, I'm not sure that it's legitimate to simply dismiss them as politically driven-- what's your evidence for that?

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

The Samaritan Torah specifically changes the name of Har Moriah to Har Grizim becaus that was their holy mountain and they wanted their Torah to reflect that. If they have no trouble adjusting place names, what else did they change?

You know, this all boils down to something I heard an Israeli archeologist say years ago. "If we find a monument in the desert that say 'On this site I Nebuchadnezzar slaughtered 10 000 Arameans' then even if we never find so much as a single bone we will put this battle into the history book. But when it comes to the Bible, unless we found cross-confirmation in five foreign sources, we say 'Ah, the Bible, it can't be relied on!"

This is exactly where some of this discussio has wound up. The Samaritan Torah is more reliable because it's older? So what? The Chrisian Bibles are for sure not reliable either.

E-Man said...

The link that Freelnace Kiruv Maniac provided was excellent. Everyone that is interested on the mesorah of the Torah should read it.

Shalmo said...

Garnel I am not at all impressed with your "defense", mainly because you don't deal with the evidence

Your argument is that those other groups had an "agenda"

Well first of all the Dead Sea Scrolls were made by your fellow Jews

It is true that before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls people believed the masoretic torah to be the most reliable and the other cheap mistranslations

HOWEVER...........

Today the DSS matches MUCH MUCH more closely with the LXX and the Samaritan Torah than it does with your masoretic text.

The people who did the LXX and the Samaritan Torah were not co-conspirators. They were not aligned to "undermine" your Torah. They were both separate groups

However their version matches much closer to the Torah Jews had in second century, namely DSS, than it does with your masoretic version

It takes amazing mental gymnastics to believe that despite all this YOUR version is the most reliable

If the masoretic text was the most reliable then it should also be the one that matches most with the DSS since that is what Jews were using second century, but it doesn't

What this proves is that despite your claims that the other groups had an "agenda", their versions match closer to Torahs from second century than your version

This automatically makes the masoretic version the false one when compared to the others. If anything it seems the masorets were the ones with the "agenda"

Since the earliest complete manuscript of the Masoretic edition of the Torah is very, very late (around the 9th century CE), there's no way at this point that it could be "proven" to be the authentic one.

And again I ask that were the extreme care and precision Jewish apologists claim that their scribes practiced in regards to writing the Torah in fact true, why the need them for the Masoretes to have come up with their own edition in the first place? And that as late as the post-Christian time period, literally 800 years post Jesus???

Should I believe YOUR masoretic text, something that comes literally almost a millennium after the oldest Torahs we have today?

And should we also believe that all those other groups had conspiracies to undermine the Torah despite them having versions much closer to DSS (the oldest Torah written by Jews nonetheless) than your version. Of course not

Bare in mind that the reasons the LXX was done in the first place was because most Jews were no longer fluent (if at all) in Hebrew, and Greek had become their main language. I don't know where the apologists get this fantasy of a nation full of Torah reciting scholars, but that isn't what the history books show. Again, if it was all so set in stone, why the need for the Masoretes to have come up with their own edition in the first place?

In fact the very existence of the LXX proves that there was MASSIVE forgetting of their scriptures going on amongst Jews, that they don't even know the hebrew of God anymore, relying on a greek transliteration to "guess" what it might have been today. This shows there was massive loss of jewish scriptures going on, which btw not only makes the written Torah suspect, but casts doubt on any so-called oral torah

What you have presented are very weak apologetics

I believe David is correct that you are seeking these desperate roots because your religion is on the line. But I am not impressed and I don't believe other jews will be either

I await your response.

I have ONE argument to make, and then we can close our engagement on this subject, since I have summer school starting.

Peace!

E-Man said...

Again, I can repeat things as much as needed, read this article it explains all the proofs for MT, http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/en_text.html.

How can the LXX be identical to the DSS if the LXX is not written in hebrew and the DSS is?

Also, the DSS was written by a separate sect of Jews that had nothing to do with the pharisees. In fact, they were either the essenes or a renegade sect of tzidukim who, surprise, did not believe in the same type of Judaism we did. So in fact any resemblance to the MT is amazing proof for the MT. As I stated before, over 80% of the DSS correspond to the MT very closely. Also, the DSS are completely different than the Samaritan Torah because...wait for it...... the Samaritan Torah says the temple is supposed to be on Har grizim... COMPLETELY DIFFERENT IN AN IMPORTANT AREA!!!!! Oh wow, what should we take away from this. Oh read the Gil Student article and you will find the truth.

Shalmo said...

You are getting tiresome E-Man. I already explained the deceitful nature of "Gil Student" and his findings in the other thread to you. Him being an orthodox jew doesn't make matters any more reliable, since his mission is to prove the MT is the correct one

BUT as we can see through comparisons:

http://www.geocities.com/r_grant_jones/Rick/Septuagint/spappendix.htm

The DSS and LXX are far closer to each other than the MT. You cannot argue that its because LXX is a greek translation, because IN CONTENT it is much closer to DSS than your version. Which makes the matter even more obtuse, because a translation should not match closely at all. The very fact that a translation is closer to the DSS than the MT is even more of a case of the MT being corrupt

And yes the samaritan version is closer to the DSS as well, not just with what they say about Mount Gerazim. And as I have already shown all of you, their Torah is much better preserved with lesser grammatical errors, philosophical issues and so forth

Finally you just shot yourself in the foot by saying the DSS was made by the Essenes, which is true.

But then than means different Jewish sects had different Torahs, in which case (ahmadullilah as the muslims say) because then that provides even more evidence to the Torah being corrupted. Do you honestly want to go this route to claim the different jewish sects had different Torahs?

You would then have to prove which one was right (which you can never do). A mosaic authorship dating to Sinai is impossible if you go this route and I'm certain even Garnel would not dare take that chance.

Shalmo said...

I am glad your brought this point because it all adds to the simple fact that the text of the Torah was EXTREMELY FLUID till the second century.

If we found a Torah before the second century then then I'm certain it would have differences with the DSS as well

There is a reason the LXX and Samaritan Torah match closer with the DSS than the MT. Its because , as I have explained to JP, that the changes are gradual, happening over time. This is why the older Torahs match closer with each other than versions that were cooked up 800 years later like the MT. So if we had Torahs before the DSS then it would be closer to the DSS then to the LX and SP (both of which would be closer to the Torah before the DSS, and the MT would be even more different

When we examine all the Torahs together then evidence of gradual changes makes all the more contextual sense; proving that indeed the text of the Torah was extremely fluid before the second century until it reached it final approved form.

This makes mosaic authorship absolutely impossible and your own past scholars have admitted as much ("Rabbi Simon ben Pazzi (third century) calls these readings "emendations of the Scribes" (tikkune Soferim; Midrash Genesis Rabbah xlix. 7), assuming that the Scribes actually made the changes. This view was adopted by the later Midrash and by the majority of Masoretes. In Masoretic works these changes are ascribed to Ezra; to Ezra and Nehemiah; to Ezra and the Soferim; or to Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Haggai, and Baruch. All these ascriptions mean one and the same thing: that the changes were assumed to have been made by the Men of the Great Synagogue..

The above being the tikkun soferim stuff

TMS = IMPOSSIBLE.

But I have one more argument to bestow upon our Lord Garnel before I am done with this matter, so I await his response

E-Man said...

The DSS 80 % of the time is very close to the MT. That is a fact. Anyway let us focus on your points:

"And yes the samaritan version is closer to the DSS as well, not just with what they say about Mount Gerazim. And as I have already shown all of you, their Torah is much better preserved with lesser grammatical errors, philosophical issues and so forth'

So according to you the DSS says the mountain is on Har Grizim?? This is a false claim. The DSS does not say this.

If you could bring some realy sources like GIl Student does here
http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/en_text.html then maybe I would listen so something you were saying. However, the fact that all you do is call him a liar with no proof or evidence of any kind shows me you are being disingenuous. People that do not have real cases just argue without proof or real sources. That is what you are essentially doing. Your geocities website does not prove anything., other than the english translations. Which is worthless when we are talking about comparing Hebrew books. Also, the fact that the LXX is written in a different language means that it can not be compared. You only understand english so how do you even know the content is similar? Oh, someone translated it so that the content is similar, right, that is a definitive proof.

My poit that the essenes wrote it was taken from Gil Student. That the DSS is so close to the MT and yet it is still written by another sect, showing the vast influence of the Parushim even on the people that did not follow their sect of Judaism.

You have no idea what the tikkunei soferim really are do you. It says it and therefore you think, CHANGED TEXT. If you would actually read gil students article he explains, with sources, what this means.

E-Man said...

Here are some further sources that show how close the masoretic text is to the DSS:

About forty percent of the biblical texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are Masoretic. Further, the group of manuscripts listed by Dr. Tov as unique to Qumran also resembles the later Masoretic Text. [VanderKam, 143.] These texts account for twenty-five percent of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Therefore, among the biblical books of Dead Sea Scrolls, sixty-five percent reflect the Traditional Text of the Old Testament.

Providing additional support to the Masoretic readings among the Dead Sea Scrolls are findings at Wadi Murabbaat and Masada. In 1951, caves at Wadi Murabbaat, which is south of Qumran near the Dead Sea, were discovered which contained biblical manuscripts. The major difference here is that these biblical texts exclusively reflect the Masoretic Text. [Mansoor, 28.] These manuscripts, however, are slightly younger and are believed to have been written between 132 and 135 AD. Still, their relationship to the Masoretic Text of the Middle Ages is virtually identical to that of the Proto-Masoretic Qumran group. [Ibid., 31.] The findings at Murabbaat include the Pentateuch, Isaiah, the Minor Prophets, and the book of Psalms.

If you want further reading check this website: http://www.soulcast.com/post/show/179814/The-Dead-Sea-Scrolls-Support-the-Masoretic-Text

This site is supported by many sources if you actually read it.

E-Man said...

Check out this great convo with Prof. chiffman, an actual researcher that is heavily involved with the DSS http://www.mystae.com/reflections/messiah/research/shifman.html

Shalmo said...

E-Man:

"So according to you the DSS says the mountain is on Har Grizim?? This is a false claim. The DSS does not say this. "

I stopped reading right here. This is lie. I never said this

I said in overall content the LXX and samaritan torah are closer to the DSS than your masoretic text

The LXX being a different language is non-consequential because IN CONTENT it is closer to DSS than the MT is. You can ignore this point all you want, but you won't be convincing anyone with such intellectual dishonesty

You keep blabbering about the MT and the DSS, when what I keep on saying is that the older manuscripts (LXX, and samaritan torah) agree with it more than the MT, proving that the scriptures have undergone gradual changes. IF the Torah was preserved then the MT would be the closest to the DSS, but its not.

You are not addressing the real argument at all, and its pitifully obvious why you are not.

And your tone has become more offensive, which means I am aggravating you because your belief in TMS has reached wall it cannot overcome. Were you a hindu you would have defended the Vedas just as blindly

And for the last time the link I provided gives the results of the comparison in english so that the people can READ THOSE COMPARISONS. But they have done the actual comparison in their original language as they have clearly it. They only post their results in english. Really this is a sour point that won't stop being a sour point. You keep repeating the same lie over and over again, but what does that accomplish? It certainly does not convince me that you are an honest person, nor will it convince other people who watching this.

I don't care what legends the rabbis have cooked up over the centuries to convince folks about how wondrous and pious they've been, because we still need an explanation as to why the actual documentary evidence clearly shows many, many discrepancies with what they're using today, and why in many cases those discrepancies make more sense in terms of being older).

These aren't all the types of errors that you might get with a wrong consonant here and there or what have you (which is what christians and jews often insist are the only discrepancies), entire passages show up (or disappear), completely different words are used, and so on.

The painstakingly obvious reason that the LXX and samaritan torah are closer in content to the DSS is because the changes are gradual, happening overtime. This is why the MT, a Torah written literally 800 years post Jesus, is so different. This is why the older Torahs (samaritan and LXX) agree with the DSS more because they were made closer to its creation.

And if we found Torah scrolls from before the DSS then it too would be closer to the DSS then it is to the LXX and samaritan torah and be even more different than the MT. The reason the older Torahs are closer in content is precisely because of that, that changes were gradual.

Hence changes made to LXX would not be available in the DSS because those changes were made centuries after it. Similarly the changes that were made to MT would not be visible in the LXX because the MT came way after. This is why the older Torahs match with each more closely, because changes are being gradually made.

This really makes TMS impossible. Because if there are this many differences from the time of the DSS to the MT, then imagine how many differences there must be between Sinai and the modern Torahs.

Shalmo said...

I already explained the issue of tikkun soferim to you, and did I feel you were even remotely interested in being objective, then I would type it out for you again, but clearly you are not.

E-Man you are not the first frummie to blindly defend TMS that I have encountered, so I already know where this conversation is headed with you.

I have already explained (MORE THAN ONCE) why Gil Student is a charlattan. You are free to go to any skeptic forum on the internet and ask for all the lies he is propagating on the internet. For example he distorts passages from the Talmud that clearly are written in an anti-gentile perspective in order to prove to the world that those passages don't say what they say. Fortunately people who can actually read the Talmud for themselves have exposed his falsehood. This is why I don't take him seriously

If all you have are apologist websites by orthodox jews, then I similarly go to atheist websites on the Torah, or go to christian websites that "prove" jesus is the messiah prophecized in the torah.

Its also interesting how you totally ignored my rebuttal to your previous point about the Essenes and whether they had a different Torah. IF you really are saying that different Jewish sects had different (which indeed may be true), then that further destroys TMS because then you have to prove which sect had it right

But overall all this does is show that the text of the Torah was extremely fluid till the 2nd century, which makes TMS totally impossible for any but the blind to believe.

If you believe in God, then you should also believe that he is watching you and is aware of what you are pulling here.

Be honest with yourself and start from there.

--------

I will ignore you from this point onwards.

If you want me to take you seriously then you must ADDRESS THE ACTUAL ARGUMENT and explain why the changes are gradual.

And you also need to stop rehashing falsehood about those links as well. People here are free to check them out and see what they say themselves.

Your choice!

Shalmo said...

HEY GARNEL COULD YOU PLEASE QUICKLY RESPOND TO THE ABOVE ARGUMENTS

After that I have one more argument to make against TMS, after which we can wrap up this discussion as I have summer school starting

E-Man said...

You said "And yes the samaritan version is closer to the DSS as well, not just with what they say about Mount Gerazim" and then you quoted me ""So according to you the DSS says the mountain is on Har Grizim?? This is a false claim. The DSS does not say this. "
Then you said.
I stopped reading right here. This is lie. I never said this"

CONTRADICTION!

Anyway let me just tell you, I actually looked into it and the samaritan Bible is not older than the MT. The oldest samaritan bible is from the middle ages. So again FALSE on you.

Let us look at another statement of yours

"You keep blabbering about the MT and the DSS, when what I keep on saying is that the older manuscripts (LXX, and samaritan torah) agree with it more than the MT, proving that the scriptures have undergone gradual changes. IF the Torah was preserved then the MT would be the closest to the DSS, but its not."

This is also false, as I have shown with my sources. The DSS more closely relates to the MT. As my sources that I link to show, at least 65% of the time if not more. YOU HAVE NEVER SHOWN A SOURCE FOR YOUR FALSE ARGUMENTS.

The one geocities source you post does not actually source any real sources from scolars. I however have linked to websites that source real scholars that say opposite everything you do.

PLus the sources I link also allow people to compare the dead sea scrolls, just go on gil students link.

Again, reading through your post it is funny, the samaritan torah in no way is close to the dead sea scrolls. Also, if you actually look through the sources and read the scholars on he dead sea scrolls you would see this. You are just repeating a lie over and over.

I will repeat this over and over again, there are so many DSS that corroborate the MT it is ridiculous that you is this argument. Apparently, you are just obsessed with restating a lie over and over again.

Your Gil Student is a charlatan theory is very ridiculous. He is not and even if he were, he quotes real sources to prove his points, and you do not. Sorry. Scholars in the field that say opposite you know much better and they say MT is closer to the DSS than the LXX or the samaritan Torah. Especially since the samaritan Torah talks about Har Grizim over and over d the DSS and LXX do not. If anything the similarities between the LXX and the samaritan scrolls would show much editing. Especially since the midrashim tell us that when the rabbis made the septuagint they needed to edit it extensively and change a bunch of the translations. If this were true, then the LXX being close to anything reveals its fallicy. Even if it isn't true, the fact that the DSS more similar to the MT reveals the point.

If you look through some of my other posts you would see how I answer that, plus Gil Student answers that question on his source. But you refuse to read him since you are afraid of the truth.

You are right people should check out those links and see what real scholars say and not some guy on the internet. Real scholars say the samaritan bible is from the middle ages and that the DSS more closely resembles the MT. There are some fragments that are not like the MT, but at least 65% if not more are like the MT. That is huge. Everyone should read those link and see the truth. Unfortunately, you ignore everything that I say and just continue with your falsehoods. I know you dislike Judaism, but please don't make up lies.

E-Man said...

Here are some sites to see the truth about the MT, Samaritan Bible and the LXX:

http://www.datingtheoldtestament.com/Texts.htm

http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:sNi-yCmLCrkJ:hebrewscripturesandmore.com/APTS-Subpages/BIB509/PowerPoint/01-1-TextoftheOldTestament.ppt+compare+the+dead+sea+scrolls+masoretic+text+samaritan+bible+and+LXX+scholars+tov&cd=11&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

http://www.essene.com/History&Essenes/dss.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretic_text#cite_note-2

For wikipedia, only believe what is sourced or whatever you want. The main idea is what is under the second temple period.

http://www.soulcast.com/post/show/179814/The-Dead-Sea-Scrolls-Support-the-Masoretic-Text

http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/en_text.html

Shalmo said...

Hey Garnel. Since you won't reply I assume you don't have an answer for the issue of gradual changes seen in comparisons of the various texts (SP, MT, LXX and DSS), which is fine. I only came here because I wanted to see how strong my arguments against TMS are when put against an avid defended of the faith

Anyway here are my final arguments arguments. Suffice to say we don't have to turn to secular scholarship or textual criticism because the rabbis themselves have more or less admitted to the corruption of the Torah:

Here is rabbinical insight on the subject:

Maimonides (Rambam), Hilkhot Sefer Torah 8, 4:
Since I have seen great confusion in all the scrolls [of the Law] in these matters, and also the Masoretes who wrote [special works] to make known [which sections are] "open" and "closed" contradict each other, according to the books on which they based themselves, I took it upon myself to set down here all the sections of the Law, and the forms of the Songs [i.e. Ex.15, Deut.32], so as to correct the scrolls accordingly. The copy on which we based ourselves in these matters is the one known in Egypt, which contains the whole Bible, which was formerly in Jerusalem [serving to correct copies according to it]. Everybody accepted it as authoritative, for Ben Asher corrected it many times. And I used it as the basis for the copy of the Torah Scroll which I wrote according to the Halakha.

Shalmo said...

If you think Maimonides' testimony was grim, wait 'til you read the rest:

RaMaH (R. Meir Ben Todros HaLevi) in his introduction to Masoret Seyag LaTorah:
...All the more so now that due to our sins, the following verse has been fulfilled amongst us, "Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, Even a marvelous work and a wonder; And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the prudence of their prudent men shall be hid"(Is. 29:14). If we seek to rely on the proofread scrolls in our possession, they are also in great disaccord. Were it not for the Masorah which serves as a fence around the Torah, almost no one would find his way in the controversies between the scrolls. Even the Masorah is not free from dispute, and there are several instances disputed [among the Masorah manuscripts], but not as many as among the scrolls. If a man wishes to write a halakhically "kosher" scroll, he will stumble on the plene and defective spellings and grope like a blind man through a fog of controversy; he will not succeed. Even if he seeks the aid of someone knowledgeable, he will not find such a one. When I, R. Meir HaLevi Ben Todros of Spain, saw what had befallen the scrolls, the Masorah lists, and the plene and defective spelling traditions, due to the ravages of time, I felt the need to search after the most precise and proofread codices and the most reliable Masoretic traditions, to resolve the conflicts. The newly-produced scrolls should be abandoned in favor of older, more faithful ones and among these the majority of texts should be followed as commanded in the Torah to decide any controversy, as it is written: "After the multitude to do..."(Ex. 23:2).

It gets darker:

R. Yom Tov Lippman Milhausen, in his work Tikkun Sefer Torah:
Because of our many sins, the Torah has been forgotten and we can not find a kosher Torah scroll; the scribes are ignoramuses and the scholars pay no attention in this matter. Therefore I have toiled to find a Torah scroll with the proper letters, open and closed passages, but I have found none, not to mention a scroll which is accurate as to the plene and defective spellings, a subject completely lost to our entire generation. In all these matters we have no choice [i.e. we are halakhically considered anusim]; but how to write the correct forms of the letters we do know and their laws are like that of tefillin. Thus if we allow the ignorant scribes to continue to follow their usual practices [in shaping the letters], here we sin on purpose [mezidin].

Don't really think so. Who knows what Maimonides and the two other Rabbis didn't disclose to the general public. Maimonides, in fact, when writing to the Jews of Yemen, lied to them by saying that there exist no discrepancies at all between all the Torah scrolls of the world, not even in vowelization. Obviously, this was to keep their faith up. Disclosing what he knew to them could've really shaken their faith.

Seriously Garnel, it doesn't get any more obvious than this. There is no point in brainwashing ourselves into believing in TMS after this is what the best of the scolars of Jewry have to say about their own scriptures. And added with all the other arguments I have presented against TMS, it really is a no-brainer.

You are free to raise opposition, but frankly I believe that were you born into a hindu family in India, then you would have defended the Vedas just as blindly.

E-Man said...

Do you realize that two out of the three sources you quoted actually say they found an older torah scroll that was correct? The other source you could just say he was in a remote place that did not hve access to all the right spellings and such. Either way, the halacha is clear, as long as the mispelled words do not change halacha it doesn't matter. Meaning, in essence, they are the same scroll. Color vs colour. AS the gemorah in kedushin that is, I looked it up, on 30A at the bottom where the wide lines are says we are no longer experts in deletions and additions.

Shalmo said...

QUOTE:

"
I will ignore you from this point onwards.

If you want me to take you seriously then you must ADDRESS THE ACTUAL ARGUMENT and explain why the changes are gradual.

And you also need to stop rehashing falsehood about those links as well. People here are free to check them out and see what they say themselves.

Your choice!"

Shalmo said...

GARNEL are you going to provide a reply for the above rabbinical testimonies or are you going to ignore this one as well?

Its impossible for any honest person to continue believing in TMS when there are this many disprancies in the masoretic texts alone; the lack of a single kosher Torah scroll in particular as the last rabbi said makes the matter even more dire

Please let me know if you are planning to respond or not.

E-Man said...

Shalmo, here is no point answering your ridiculous questions. If you want an actual answer read my post. If you want to ignore it and just say TMS is wrong then that is your choice.

You remind me of a guy I once had an argument with about the sky being blue. I kept saying look up, but he refused and kept saying there was no logical proof, based on any evidence on the earth that the sky was blue. That is Shalmo in a nutshell. The guy who wouldn't look up.

Garnel Ironheart said...

For the love of Pete, I take one day off...

All right Shalmo, we are arguing about two different things. Are there subtle differences that have evolved into the text of the Torah over time? Sure, no argument there. Any good sofer will tell you that.

My point is not that the text is letter for letter the same as the one handed to Moshe Rabeinu at Har Sinai.

My point is that it is halachically the same. There is no Torah that lists different animals that are kosher, no Torah with a different definition of Shabbos, no Torah that has hints towards a different set or civil or criminal laws. Based on the quotes we have from the Gemara we can see that from a halachic perspective, the Torah is unchanged even if a few parts are subtly modified here and there.

You have proved evolution of the text, something I gladly concede. You haven't proved that it amounts to anything significant.

Good luck in summer school.

Shalmo said...

Garnel could you please provide a little more thorough answer on what you feel about the three rabbinical opinions I just posted, particularly on "R. Yom Tov Lippman Milhausen, in his work Tikkun Sefer Torah"

You are trying to say these differences are trivial, when clearly those three rabbis I quoted say there's more to the story, especially R. Yom Tov Lippman Milhausen, since he in particular in particular is quite upfront on the Torah being corrupted.

Who knows what the other two rabbis didn't disclose to the public. Maimonides when writing to the Jews of Yemen lied to them by stating that there exist no contradictions in the various Torah scrolls. Clearly he needed to keep their faith up since his entire family was cnverting to Islam. I am extremely suspicious of what didn't reveal to the public. If he's willing to lie to his fellow Jews about there being no contradictions, then one has to wonder what else did he hide from them

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

> Since I have seen great confusion in all the scrolls [of the Law] in these matters, and also the Masoretes who wrote [special works] to make known [which sections are] "open" and "closed" contradict each other

Okay, he's talking about where paragraphs being and end. That's not even a content change!

> When I, R. Meir HaLevi Ben Todros of Spain, saw what had befallen the scrolls, the Masorah lists, and the plene and defective spelling traditions, due to the ravages of time

Spelling mistakes. Right. I've already told you several times that there's no disputing this. He's complaining about yuds in the wrong place and alephs being interchanged with hey.

> Therefore I have toiled to find a Torah scroll with the proper letters, open and closed passages, but I have found none, not to mention a scroll which is accurate as to the plene and defective spellings

Once again, Shalmo, we're saying the same thing only you're insisting that paragraph and spelling changes mean the Torah is a fraud and I'm saying that these mitakes, while they create differences from the original of Moshe Rabeinu, a"h, don't create halachic implications that matter.

These poskim were upset that any change at all, even minor ones, had occured in the Torah and that's clearly what they're complaining about.

Shalmo said...

Ah-huh

"Because of our many sins, the Torah has been forgotten and we can not find a kosher Torah scroll."

"Thus if we allow the ignorant scribes to continue to follow their usual practices [in shaping the letters], here we sin on purpose [mezidin]."

"If we seek to rely on the proofread scrolls in our possession, they are also in great disaccord."

"Even the Masorah is not free from dispute, and there are several instances disputed [among the Masorah manuscripts], but not as many as among the scrolls."

"Because of our many sins, the Torah has been forgotten and we can not find a kosher Torah scroll; the scribes are ignoramuses and the scholars pay no attention in this matter."

Because of our many sins the Torah has been forgotten and we can not find a single kosher Torah scroll. That's a line that is never gonna get out of my head. Clearly the rabbi here is complaining about a lot more than just spelling mistakes otherwise why say because of our many sins the Torah has been forgotten. That quite a mouthful isn't it? And we don't know what else the three rabbis didn't disclose to the public, since the Rambam lied about there being no contradictions in the Torah scrolls at all, it makes the matter all the more suspect

In my opinion this was something that was prophecized by Moshe:

"For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the LORD while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to testify against them. For I know that after my death you are sure to become **UTTERLY CORRUPT** and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall upon you because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD and provoke him to anger by **WHAT YOUR HANDS HAVE MADE**." (Deuteronomy 31: 27-29)

Here the Jews' HANDS are predicted to cause so much corruption (including corruption in the Bible seen where it mentions "WHAT YOUR HANDS HAVE MADE").

How do their hands corrupt something? simple!

Jeremiah 8:8 below which came approximately 826 years later confirmed the Bible corruption, through the HANDS of the scribes:
"How can you say we (the Jews) are wise and the law of the Lord is with us, when in fact the **FALSE PEN OF THE SCRIBES** has made it into a lie? (Jeremiah 8:8 )"

How did they corrupt it? With their mouths by giving false interpretations? No! They did so with their "pens" (and the HANDS that use them) as the verse says. Meaning they altered the text of the Law. How else could a pen corrupt something? After all the context reveals that in fact Jeremiah was against the entire religious establishment of the time. He refers to prophets and priests as frauds after all, giving this verse even more contextual sense.

I guess it also explains why after Malachi Jews have no longer received any more prophets, after a continuous stream of prophets. That's a time span of over 2400 years. The answer lies in Devarim 31 and Jeremiah 8:8 again.

Anyway Garnel I thank you for your patience. I just wanted to see how strong my objections against TMS are when put up against a knowledgeable rabbi. And I feel I have the answer. Thank you for your time

Wish me luck in summer school!

Peace!

E-Man said...

The pasuk you quote is talking about man made idols genius.

Also, did you actually read the whole teshuva that you actually quoted R. Yom Tov Lippman Milhausen, in his work Tikkun Sefer Torah:
Because of our many sins, the Torah has been forgotten and we can not find a kosher Torah scroll; the scribes are ignoramuses and the scholars pay no attention in this matter. Therefore I have toiled to find a Torah scroll with the proper letters, open and closed passages, but I have found none, not to mention a scroll which is accurate as to the plene and defective spellings, a subject completely lost to our entire generation. In all these matters we have no choice [i.e. we are halakhically considered anusim]; but how to write the correct forms of the letters we do know and their laws are like that of tefillin. Thus if we allow the ignorant scribes to continue to follow their usual practices [in shaping the letters], here we sin on purpose [mezidin].

The unkosherness of these scrolls has to do with open and closed passages and letter mispelling. Shalmo, you can interpret whatever you want. You can also translate the yud k vav k as baal and satan or anything you want. The truth is you don't actually understand what you are reading or you are blatantly misrepresenting it.

E-Man said...

The reason we know it has to do with some misspellings and open and closed passages is because the very next sentence says he has been looking for a torah scroll that has the correct spellings and the open and closed passages. Clearly nothing as significant as you say. But again, you love making things up.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Shalom, first of all: good luck in summer school.

Now, tachlis. If you look at all the quotes you provided regarding the corruption of the Torah scrolls, you will note, as E-man already has, that these complaints all related to paragraph breaks and the shapes of letters, not to the actual content.

Further, it's a bit dishonest to deny Torah miSinai and then use verses from the Torah to show that the Moshe who never existed predicted this change would happen.

Finally, if you read the Gemara in the final chapter of Sanhedrin, the sages discuss how various kings of both Israel and Judah altered Torah scrolls to fit their whims. So nothing new there.

Shalmo said...

Garnel I never said Moshe never existed; this is no different then you bringing the DH against me when clearly I never even issued the idea of discussing it

E-Man is on my ignore list for this thread, because he refuses to stop lieing about what the links I provided say, and how he refuses to addess the issue of gradual changes in the text

I am glad you did though.

Furthermore my issue is not just with what these rabbis are saying, it adds together with the other arguments I have presented such as comparisons of the MT to the DSS and so on.

Also please note that my purpose here was to hear out your counter-arguments. That does not mean that I actually believe your replies resolve the problematic issues.

For instance with the prophet not being allowed to say in God's name what he did not hear from God issue, your reply was that Deutoronomy was filtered by Moshe but came from God. The obvious onjection to this would be that well why does Devarim have to be filtered by Moshe at all. Why did God not make all 5 books of Torah verbatim speech, rather than having one section "filtered". JP offered the same explanation, and I don't buy it. to me it just seems you are trying to rationalize something that cannot be rationalized. The same goes with other counter-arguments you provided

You cannot accuse me of being dishonest when clearly I am here giving you the chance to rebuttal my objections to TMS. BUT that doesn't mean I find your counter-arguments convincing. I hope I am making sense here.

Now about Jeremiah 8:8 you are saying the Jewish kings on numerous occassion altered the Torah. And as I understand you previously stated that prophets were there to correct the corruptions of the text. Well now what do we do post-Malachi when there are no more prophets? Why has God stopped sending the Jewish people prophets? If we had a prophet then he could easily resolve the conflicts between the scrolls, assuming any of them are even legitimate, so why isn't there one? God seems to have given up on the Jewish people if they havn't had prophets for 2400 years?

Lots of good questions for discussion, but sadly I don't have the time.

But thank you for what you offered. I wish you well!

E-Man said...

Shalmo, your "sources" don't support anything you are saying. In fact you have so few and all the one source you provide does is compare different texts in english. The sources that I provide were based on scholars in the field, not just someone posting an english comparison from a couple texts. If you were the slightest bit intellectually honest you would see that your "source" that you use is worthless in light of all the true sources that exist. But alas, you are dishonest in these arguments.

Also, you are not being honest since you do not listen to any of the counter arguments given. Your points are invalid and are basically asking "why don't you understand how G-D works." That is foolish.

Enjoy summer school.