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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

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I originally posted the following before on another forum but I would like to share this here as well:             

 

Not everything found in Codices of Hebrew Bible nor in the printed editions of the Hebrew Bible is translated in Christian editions of the OT.

There are numerous notes, list, and pages left by the Masoretes that are rarely if ever translated into English or any other modern language.

Common examples of this include the Masorah Ketanah, Masorah Gedolah, keri uchetiv (Qere) readings, data list at the end of each book, mikra Soferim, ittur Soferim, and the Tiqqune Soferim.

In the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (page 25 print) Genesis 18:22 is notated with two lowercase 'a's one before (and Avraham) ‬וְאַ֨בְרָהָ֔ם and one attached to יְהוָֽה (YHWH )

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a‬וְאַ֨בְרָהָ֔ם עֹודֶ֥נּוּ עֹמֵ֖ד לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽהa‬

but, Avraham still stood before YHWH (Genesis 18:22)

 

that directs us to the apparatus or footnotes:

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22 a–a Tiq soph, lect orig אברהם … ויהוה

'Tiq soph' tells us that we are encountering what is known as a Tiqqūn sōferīm

'lect' is short for 'lectio' (reading)

'Orig' is short for originalis (original)

 

What, the abbreviated notes from the BHS' textual apparatus are telling us is that originally the text may have 'theoretically' read:"but, YHWH still stood before Avraham". This text is one of the 18 tiqqūnēy sōferīm texts that were alleged (according to tradition) changed by the ancient scribes for theological reasons.

 

This begs the question: "what was the theological reason that the text was supposedly changed for"?

Some claim that this text put YHWH is less role by having YHWH stand before Avraham rather than the other around, but it, in my opinion, is more likely that the alleged Scribes were worried if read that way it would paint an anthropomorphic picture of YHWH by directly stating that YHWH was actually standing in front of Avraham. The Masoretes themselves did not make the Tiqquney Soferim changes but only noted changes they believed had happened.

 

However, If the Masoretes were Karaite Jews (as some claim) rather than Rabbinic Jews and they would have outright rejected the early Midrashic/oral interpretations that claimed that YHWH would either manifest himself personally as the Memra and or Metatron or that they were his mediator or conduit with which to speak to mankind. I have no doubt that would not have also have found John 8:56-58 problematic too none the less they wanted to make sure that any changes or textual phenomenon were noted.

 

 

Sources Cited:
(1) Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: SESB Version. electronic ed. Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 2003. Print.
(2) Weil, Gérard E., K. Elliger, and W. Rudolph, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. 5. Aufl., rev. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997. Print.

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A little bit more food for thought on Genesis 18

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Gen 18:1 states that God appeared to Abraham, who immediately looked up and saw three men approaching.

The first difficulty centers on the precise relationship between these four characters; was God one of the three, symbolized by all three, or a fourth visitor? The answer to this question will affect how one understands the use of singular and plural verbs and pronouns throughout the chapter. Thus verses 3-4, ‘im na’ masa’ti hen be-‘eneka, ‘al na’ ta’abor me-‘al ‘abdeka, “ I have found favor in your [sing.] sight, do not pass [sing.] your [sing.] servant by,” which is addressed to one individual, differs from the plural usages in the subsequent yuqqah na’ me’at mayim we-rahasu raglekem, “Let some water be brought and wash [pl] your [pl.] feet.” Also, one must establish the relationship between God’s appearance in verse 1, the anonymous comment in verse 10, God’s speaking in verse 13, and the ambiguous use of ‘dny, traditional vocalized as a divine name but equally readable as a reference to the three guests, even in some Masoretic traditions. These concerns run through Genesis 18 and 19, and their resolution has a profound impact on how one interprets the entire narrative, even on how parts of it are vocalized.

12

Levy, B, Barry, FIXING GOD’S TORAH; the Accuracy of the Hebrew Bible Text in Jewish Law Oxford University press pg.82

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