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To: Boagenes
There is absolutely no proof, only speculation, on just about any of this
No, the burden of proof is on the party making extraordinary claims, which would be the Bible in this case. In absence of proof, doubt is justified. Just because I believe there are pink unicorns on Jupiter doesn't mean it's true.
Moreover, it would take nothing short of extraordinary evidence to prove any of that. You claim authority of the Bible entirely based on your personal faith; nothing more substantial. The Muslims do the same with their Koran. And the Jews reject the New Testament entirely based on their convictions. There is nothing self-evident in any of these books unless you, as a precondition, believe they are true.
[U]nless you can come up with actual contradictory evidence from archaeology or some alternate text is discovered that completely contradicts, alters, or discounts it.
Try Exodus. It never happened. It's a myth, a legend.
There are arguments that are just as compelling, more so, that Isaiah is indeed the product of one author just as it claims
Don't hold back.
The truth is, if you pick at the Bible as piecemeal as possible and with enough skepticism, you will see what you want to see.
The truth is that if you approach the Bible already convinced that everything in it is true and inerrant, chance are you will see exactly what you want to see.
(I'm reminded of the old Jewish lady Fr. Benedict Groeschel always quotes about the skeptics, "Oh, really? What, you were th-e-e-e-re?"
Have you?
Nothing in archaelogy or history has proven a single thing in the Bible to be false
And what was proven to be true that really matters? Biblical archeology is an oxymoron. David's empire wasn't really an empire but a couple of villages. Exodus never happened. Hundreds of thousands of Hebrews allegedly lived in Egypt 430 years and left no archeological remains there. A million Israelites mostly sat in the Sinai for 40 years and left no trace of their presence!  But the Egyptians the Bible doesn't mention left plenty of evidence of their presence in Sinai in the 13th century BC! Canaan was an Egyptian province on the New Kingdom. Get real.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
Absence of evidence is not a proof of extraordinary biblical claims either. In absence of evidence, doubt is justified.
I have heard arguments from Jewish Rabbis that are as deep and as sound as anything from conservative Christian scholars, too, about the origin and authority of the Old Testament. The accuracy of tradition and the transmission of that tradition and the scriptures, in Judaism, is mind-boggling and without parallel in any civilization in antiquity.
Then their rejection of Christianity must be justified too, since they know so much more than we do. They list seven conditions a man must fulfill in order to be considered a messiah, one of them is being Jewish. According to the rabbis, Jesus fulfills one, namely being Jewish. Are you Christian?
I don't buy 99% of the arguments of "textual criticism" because it almost always comes down to limited knowledge (later proven wrong, as has happened time and again down through the last couple centuries when it comes to textual criticism, or "higher criticism", by the so-called "experts"), incomplete knowledge, or simply "because we know the supernatural isn't possible, prophecy can't be real" (the real argument against Daniel's authorship and dating, for instance, even though the argument is absurd on its face for reasons too detailed to go into here).
So, you are the authority on textual criticism and everyone else isn't? Is this all about your opinions? Why don't you provide credible evidence of these fancy terms such as "almost allays," or "the so-called 'experts'" or "incomplete knowledge"  (do you have complete knowledge?)

Isaiah 53 was believed to be the work of later Christian scribes - interlopers - until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered...Oops! There was Isaiah 53, exactly as the modern Bible has it. DOH!

Which Isa 57? Doh! The first version is the Eastern Orthodox version. The second one is the Roman Catholic. Protestant. Hebrew version.

Isaiah 57 Septuagint (LXX)


1 O Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 We brought a report as of a child before Him; He is as a root in a thirsty land; He has no form, nor comeliness; and we saw Him, but He had no form nor beauty. 3 But His appearance was without honor, and inferior to that of the sons of men; He was a man in suffering, and acquainted with the bearing of sickness, for His face has turned from us; He was dishonored, and not esteemed.

4 He bears our sins, and is pained for us; yet we accounted Him to be in trouble, and in suffering, and in affliction. 5 But He was wounded on account of our sins, and was bruised because of our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; everyone has wandered in his way; and the Lord has delivered Him up for our sins. 7 And He, because of His affliction, opened not His mouth; He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth. 8 In His humiliation His judgment was taken away; who shall declare His generation? For His life is taken away from the earth; because of the iniquities of My people He was led to death. 9 And I will give the wicked for His burial, and the rich for His death; for He practiced no iniquity, nor craft with His mouth.

10 The Lord also is pleased to purge Him from His stroke. If you give an offering for sin, Your soul shall see a long-lived seed; 11 the Lord also is pleased to take away from the travail of His soul, to show Him light, and to form Him with understanding; to justify the just one who serves many well; and He shall bear their sins. 12 Therefore He shall inherit many, and He shall divide the spoils of the mighty; because His soul was delivered to death; and He was numbered among the transgressors; and He bore the sins of many, and was delivered up because of their transgressions


Isaiah 57 New American Bible (NAB), and Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)




     1The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
         And devout men are taken away, while no one understands
         For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
    2He enters into peace;
         They rest in their beds,
         Each one who walked in his upright way.
    3"But come here, you sons of a sorceress,
         Offspring of an adulterer and a prostitute.
    4"Against whom do you jest?
         Against whom do you open wide your mouth
         And stick out your tongue?
         Are you not children of rebellion,
         Offspring of deceit,
    5Who inflame yourselves among the oaks,
         Under every luxuriant tree,
         Who slaughter the children in the ravines,
         Under the clefts of the crags?
    6"Among the smooth stones of the ravine
         Is your portion, they are your lot;
         Even to them you have poured out a drink offering,
         You have made a grain offering
         Shall I relent concerning these things?
    7"Upon a high and lofty mountain
         You have made your bed.
         You also went up there to offer sacrifice.
    8"Behind the door and the doorpost
         You have set up your sign;
         Indeed, far removed from Me, you have uncovered yourself,
         And have gone up and made your bed wide.
         And you have made an agreement for yourself with them,
         You have loved their bed,
         You have looked on their manhood.
    9"You have journeyed to the king with oil
         And increased your perfumes;
         You have sent your envoys a great distance
         And made them go down to Sheol.
    10"You were tired out by the length of your road,
         Yet you did not say, 'It is hopeless.'
         You found renewed strength,
         Therefore you did not faint.
    11"Of whom were you worried and fearful
         When you lied, and did not remember Me
         Nor give Me a thought?
         Was I not silent even for a long time
         So you do not fear Me?
    12"I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,
         But they will not profit you.
    13"When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you
         But the wind will carry all of them up,
         And a breath will take them away
         But he who takes refuge in Me will inherit the land
         And will possess My holy mountain."
    14And it will be said,
         "Build up, build up, prepare the way,
         Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people."
    15For thus says the high and exalted One
         Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
         "I dwell on a high and holy place,
         And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
         In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
         And to revive the heart of the contrite.
    16"For I will not contend forever,
         Nor will I always be angry;
         For the spirit would grow faint before Me,
         And the breath of those whom I have made.
    17"Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him;
         I hid My face and was angry,
         And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart.
    18"I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
         I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners,
    19Creating the praise of the lips 
         Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,"
         Says the LORD, "and I will heal him."
    20But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
         For it cannot be quiet,
         And its waters toss up refuse and mud.
    21"There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."


Now, even to an untrained eye, the version of Isaiah 57 that would be suspect of being Christian is the last paragraph of the LXX version, and that's not the Isaiah found either in the Catholic, Protestant or Hebrew Bible! It is found only in Orthodox Bibles.

We do know that a number of Dead Sea Scrolls agree with LXX, but we also know that DSS were written from the 3rd century BC and into the 1st century AD (i.e. when Christians were already around). So, the fact that something is discovered in the DSS doesn't mean is is not of Christian or Christianin-fluenced writings.

The difference in these versions of Isaiah 57 is stunning. They are like night and day. Yet the Apostles refer to the Septuagint in over 93% of their Old Testament quotes. I guess you can thank St. Jerome for beleiving Christ-hating rabbis and convincing the Catholic Church to drop the Septuagint. So, the issue of Isaiah 57 is moot from your side of the great divide.

16 posted on 04/09/2008 3:56:28 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodox is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50
I'm utterly confused as to your point and your perspective. On the one hand you seem to be arguing an atheist viewpoint as to the reliability of scripture (at least Old Testament history, anyway). On the other hand you seem to be arguing for the Orthodox Church as the "true" Christian faith. Which is it?

As to the "various" versions of Isaiah 53 (why you refer to it as Isaiah 57, I can only guess - the Orthodox version refers to it as 57, I would assume?), I can't argue for this because I have no idea what the textual basis for it is, or if what you're posting is accurate. I can only go by what I know, and what I've read. So far as I know, scholars generally agree that Isaiah 53 in the version found at Qumran matches the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible (which most modern Bible translations are based on). I find it a dubious claim the LXX doesn't match up (and yes, I know that the LXX was what Paul and most of the other Jews read, and based their scripture references on) and would need a lot more evidence, from scholars I know, recognize and respect, than just your hearsay claim. Who did the translation? What LXX sources did they use? Etc.

"There is nothing self-evident in any of these books unless you, as a precondition, believe they are true."

You mean nothing "self-evident", like, say the fulfillment of prophecies spelled out in the O.T.? Yes, I point to Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and each of the others (which you can handily find in any Study Bible or on-line). I consider each of the prophecies (generally recognized as prophecies of the Messiah even by the Jews of old) to be "self-evident" for not only belief that Jesus was who he said he was, but also for the validity of the Bible. I'm sure you're aware of the statistical arguments of the likelihood that any one man could fulfill each of the prophecies so exactly. (And please spare me the Mark Twain quote about statistics: heard it, know it, it doesn't impress me.)

Your assertion that the "Exodus never happened" is laughable. Says who? You? Liberal scholars? Based on what, because they say so? I can give you an easy example of evidence for it - just one, and it's fun, and I point to it simply because it's fresh in my mind - the History Channel (ever an anti-Biblical media source) had a series in which they went into a cave in Sinai to find one of the earliest forms of written language, and it was made by Hebrews, and it was an appeal to God - El. Amusing, fun.

There are a number of excellent books, written by a number of excellent scholars (and their conservative view is just as valid as any liberal's view because they're both working with the same sources and "evidence") that present excellent cases for the reliability of the Old Testament (yes, based on *finds*, based on "real evidence").

Try "On the Reliability of the Old Testament", by Kitchen. 20 bucks on Amazon. It's pretty standard fair for first or second year seminary or religion programs at divinity schools. Example after example after example. Try "A Biblical History of Israel", or the other standard, "A History of Israel" by Bright. Even Mr. Titanic (of the infamous "Jesus Tomb" fame), James Cameron, did a recent television special on the Exodus that claimed it really happened and provided numerous examples of historical evidence for it, even as they tried to show that all of the "plagues" were simply from a volcanic event. Annoying example, I know, but they still did a pretty good job of making the basic case for the Exodus.

As to the kingdom of David being "a couple of villages", that is simply a laughable claim. Please read the books I pointed you to, above. Real scholars, real archeologists, well respected even by liberal peers; scholars and archeologists at top universities, with "real" degrees that aren't out of a Crackerjack box. The Davidic kingdom was not the Persian Empire, it also wasn't "a couple of villages". That statement just makes you look silly.

And yeah, in the end, it all comes down to faith - belief in God, belief in the book, belief in Christ, belief in the Resurrection. It's also a statement of faith that you believe Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

18 posted on 04/09/2008 4:34:33 PM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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