There are probably a bunch of typoes, misspellings and grammer errors. I don't give this page out to too many people.
Assumptions of the Hebrew Prophets
Order in which to read to get the most out of it more quickly
A Creator God exists
The Prophets are not meant to be a self help book
Inequality of race and gender
Genesis account of creation
Order in which to read to get the most out of it more quickly
I recommended a Jewish English translation.
is online, but ask any Chabad Rabbi for a printed copy. Rabbi Zucker on Trinity Drive behind Publix. or Try Amazon.
If only to avoid reading words and phrases that are loaded with religious indoctrination. Pervasive religious indoctrination prevents reading the text as any other ancient literature for the value that is inherent to the text.
There is a lot of ancient literature of a technical nature. Archimedes' "Sand Reckoner" Anaxagoras' "Distance to moon and sun," but none so complex as Moses and the Prophets.
This body of ancient literature is also the most complete and well preserved of ancient literature. Whereas, we don't even have a full copy of "Distance to moon and sun." We have to piece it back together from other author's quotations of it.
This preservation of the Hebrew Prophets is not an accident. This is reasonable. Classical Greek philosophers recognized the value of this literature and made many translations of it. Because of this we have multiple copies today found in multiple locations.
These multiple copies more closely agree with each other than the multiple extant copies of the Iliad and Odyssey. Not only can we be confident that we don't have a reliable copy of Anaxagoras "Distance to moon and sun," The exact translation of each word doesn't matter. Just like Einstein's paper on Special Relativity, written in German, concerns about translation errors and spurious additions to the text are simply not relevant.
A lot of time is wasted arguing contradictions and absurdities. A lot of statements that seem absurd appear in many profound works. The internal self consistency of the statements made proves the value of the work, not verification that any particular author actually wrote any particular word. That is largely meaningless.
Here is an example to make this point clear.
ON THE ELECTRODYNAMICS OF MOVING BODIES By Einstein
"That train arrives here at 7 o'clock," I mean something like this: "The pointing of the small hand of my watch to 7 and the arrival of the train are simultaneous events. . . If at the points A and B of K there are stationary clocks which, viewed in the stationary system, are synchronous; and if the clock at A is moved with the velocity v along the line AB to B, then on its arrival at B the two clocks no longer synchronize."
This statement by Einstein is absurd. It not only doesn't seem self consistent. It does't even seem consistent with observations. It suggests that motion alone slows down time. Is this an English mistranslation of Einstein's paper written in German? Did someone mistranslate or add this line to Einstein's paper? No. The problem is that the reader supposes assumptions about space time completely different than Einstein.
EXODUS by Moses
"If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. . . Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation."
This statement by Moses is absurd. It is self contradictory. It suggests that God Himself is merciful never punishing transgression, but punishes children for their parent's moral indiscretions. The problem is that the reader supposes assumptions about "sin," "iniquity" and "visit" that are completely different than Moses. "Sin" is defined elsewhere as inadequacy, not moral defect. If one slips and falls, he has "committed a sin." Sin is not sex out of wedlock, as both modern Christians and Atheists suppose. It is defined by the text instead as an action that didn't bring the expected result. "Evil" is similarly defined. If I find my car has a flat tire, I washed in evil. It doesn't matter if I punctured it, or if a vandal punctured it or it simply wore out. This event and I by association are evil. I am not bad or wicked. I am evil. "Evil" does not imply culpability. None the less I am still responsible for fixing my tire. If I want to get to work anyway. I have to fix it.
If parents eat wrong or do other things that cause harm in non-obvious ways, their children, sometimes even their grandchildren suffer.
Just like Einstein defines his terms, so do Moses and the Hebrew Prophets, but there is a limit to how much definition one can provide. The phrase "no longer synchronize" carries far more meaning than is obvious. In the same way as the phrase "sin lieth at the door" carries meaning that is not obvious. Einstein and Moses expected the reader to have some sophistication. Notice that Moses never connected the "visiting" directly with "God" Just like Einstein never suggested that the motion somehow acted on the clock mechanically.
This is the first myth that screws up most readers. Surprisingly, this myth effects both modern Christians and Atheists in the same way. Modern Christians and Atheists share far more than they realize.
This body of literature is 700,000 words that will have to be read at least twice to get anything useful out of it. Because to understand A one must understand B and C first, but to understand B one must understand A and to understand C one must understand B.
In fact, if you want to know if you will get anything out of reading Moses and the Prophets, try reading Einstein's "Special Relativity" first. It is short, only 24 pages. Here's the link Special Relativity Einstein
Forget all the math and see if you can understand the analogies that he gives of a clock and a train. If you do, then you have a chance with the Hebrew Prophets.
Einstein says things that sound self contradictory, but If you can make sense of it, then you have a shot at understanding the Hebrew Prophets.
Start with II Esdras, then Isaiah and read through all the prophets. Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Revelation of John
Then go back to read the histories. Joshua, Judges, Kings and Chronicles.
After that Moses and the Law, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Forget about the Gospels until you know the Law. Jesus quotes the Law and Isaiah in almost every sentence attributed to Him. You won't get anything out of the Gospels until you know the Law.
"The meek shall inherit the earth." --Jesus in His first public address, the Sermon on the Mount, but this phrase is not original to Him. It is a quote from Isaiah who explains exactly what "inheriting the earth" means, while it is Moses who explains who is called "meek" and who is not. After quoting the prophets eight times, He then declares that the prophets knew it all and ends the sermon by quoting from the Law. Warning His listeners that keeping the Law is not enough, one must love the Law and love keeping it, if one wants to live immortally at the appointed time.
A Creator God exists. This is one of the Hebrew Prophets' assumptions.
The Hebrew Prophets claim that gods are figments of people's imagination. People make up gods to answer their own fears. They repeatedly scold people for believing in gods.
"Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns."
But they presume that one God possess characteristics far different than the gods of Hinduism and the Greek gods all of whom are subject to spiritual rules and subject to each other. Shiva is subject to rules of behavior which Shiva can not break. The Hebrew Creator God is not subject to any rules. He created not just heaven and earth, but He created the rules themselves as well. This one is tough for most thinking moderns. But I agree with it whole heartedly. I am pursaded that one Creator God does exist.
One doesn't have to believe this to understand the Hebrew Prophets, but one must be aware of this assumption and give the idea scientific respect.
The following is why I believe that the world did not come together by random chance.
Don't presume I am ignorant of the difference between proof of something and refutation of its opposite. This is only a summary. I have considered this subject carefully. I do not trust any positions until I can prove it to a reasonable certainty greater than my believe that the earth revolves around the sun. I trust my life to any belief that is that certain. Where as most can't even prove that.
I feel very confident that I could make a fool of anyone in a strictly Socratic debate of the subject where rhetoric is not allowed.
Anybody who poses that it did has only to produce one single scientific, peer review paper demonstrating an example of either protein domain evolution in the lab or demonstrate abiogenesis in the lab.
As far as I am concerned. If someone argues that the universe and life came together by random chance but are unable to produce a single scientific peer reviewed paper demonstrating protein domain evolution in the lab or one single paper demonstrating abiogenesis then I simply can't take them seriously. They are arguing out of ignorance.
I am willing to be generous. They don't have to demonstrate abiogenesis from the beginning. Let a lab do all the work that they suppose a hundred million or billions of years might have accomplished and demonstrate just the very last phosphorylated nucleotides coming together randomly. Just demonstrate the very last moment before the first transition between organic chemicals and a self replicating molecular system. Just show me ONE SINGLE paper demonstrating this in the lab.
A seminal study on this very subject by MIT on the "emergence of the first self replicating molecular system" concludes "current understanding of prebiotic chemistry argues against the emergence of meaningful amounts of RNA molecules even a tenth this length."
After decades and thousands of attempts, the best evolutionary science has to offer is: "I guess we may never know how this happened." Failing that, I can't take their arguments seriously.
This conundrum pushed Richard Dawkins, the famous "evangelical" atheist, into a corner when he finally said "Aliens must have done it."
Dawkins Interview YouTube
Start this interview from the beginning where Dawkins emphatically confirms the racist views of the God of the Hebrew Prophets. The interviewer, Ben Stein, doesn't believe him because Stein also labors under the same false assumption that any just god must have his head stuck up Buddha's ass. It amazes me to see Christians and Atheists agree on more than they disagree.
I simply do not believe anything unless I can demonstrate it to the same level of certainty that I can demonstrate the earth revolves around the sun. Modern popular theories of evolution simply do not meet that standard. The Hebrew prophets do; And they do in the same way Einstein's seemingly absurd speculations also do.
The Prophets are not meant to be a self help book.
Moses, the Prophets and the message of Jesus are simply not meant to be read or understood by most people. The book "Ecclesiastes," "The Public Speaker" is meant for the general population as well as the books of histories and wisdom, but not the prophets.
The books of wisdom are pretty much identical to Confucius. In fact many of the illustrations are so similar to suggest common origin. As with Moses, Jesus, Buddha and Confucius, none actually wrote anything. Their respective followers collected and compiled Confucius' Analects in 200BC about 200 years after his death 400BC. whereas the Hebrew texts which may have been his inspiration or in some cases just plagiarized were in existance before 1000BC and compiled by about 500BC. Archeology supports robust trade between the East and the West, particularly Semitic West during the first of the three times the Suez Canal was open and in use. So the transfer of this knowledge from the West to Confucius is not only plausible, but likely.
The books of wisdom basically say "You die; then your gone. You have no voice from the grave. You will never be remembered. Even your life's work is turned over to another and he does with it what he wants, not what you wanted. So do what you're told and enjoy life while you can. In doing this you glorify God. Does not a bird glorify God when he sings?" "You can get drunk to forget your troubles for the evening, but it's money that answers everything."
This is what the Bible says, but only to the masses. It invites a very few to read more. The rest is terrifying. "The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror." the prophet Isaiah chapter 28 verse 19
The text was not written for the masses. It was not written as a self help guide to spirituality for better living as were the writings of Confucius and Buddha.
Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew who was expert in the text. He was a Master of the Law and the Prophets. He says this of that body of literature.
"His followers asked him, Rabbi, why do you always speak to the crowds in riddles? He answered them. If I explained it to them plainly, they'd all understand. What good could possibly come from that? only confusion. Have you not read the prophet Isaiah explain this?" chapter 13 of the book Matthew Jesus goes on to say "it is not their fault, it was simply not given to them to understand these things."
Isaiah says this in the explanation to which Jesus refers.. "Show this book to someone and ask him to read it. Will he not say to you 'I can not read this. It makes no sense to me.' It is as if they are not even literate. It is as if they have not even learned letters." 29th chapter book Isaiah
Supposing this is a self help book is only one of several false assumption that prevent understanding the Hebrew Prophets, just like false assumptions about Special Relativity prevented the world from accepting Einstein until the proof was undeniable. The Hebrew Prophets say that when the proof of what they say becomes undeniable, it will be too late.
The idea of the equality of all races and both genders was first posed by Indo-Iranain philosophers about 1500BC.
The Hebrew Prophets do not agree, but this idea was accepted by the Persian empire and enforced on all the Western world, until Greece took control and returned the world to a more reasonable understanding of race and gender.
"Animals aren't equal, but every human being is equal." This is not only modern, but it is also an ancient philosophy. One to which the Hebrew Prophets did not subscribe. But which they mention derogatorily a lot. This was a principle tenant of the ideology of the woman Jezebel, which the Hebrew prophets mocked. They say "Why doesn't your god actually do anything in real life? Maybe he's on vacation or perhaps he is busy having sex. You better shout louder so he can hear you."
If you read the Hebrew prophets with the assumption that it teaches merit based egalitarianism, you will come away thinking they contradicted themselves in almost every chapter.
It would be like reading Einstein's paper on relativity with Newtonian assumptions about space-time. "What, . . ! the planet Mercury travels at 105,000mph and simultaneously also travels at 104,000mph. That's preposterous. Einstein was an idiot."
Not all kids can become president. What's more. Genetic predisposition lies largely along genetic inheritance. There are exceptions, and the Hebrew prophets note them. You will find an emphasis on genetic inheritable traits expressed in archaic language in the very first chapter of the whole body of texts. "Kind after its kind" "Seed within itself." They pose that within an organism is the capacity to reproduce itself complete with all the characteristics peculiar to itself.
The Hebrew prophets pose that the greatest problem civilization will face is its erroneous policies dealing with race and gender. They teach a very complex recognition of race and gender in answer to the contradiction inherent to civilization.
The Genesis account of creation.
Don't read this first. The first eleven chapters of Genesis rely heavily on ideas that are not introduced until much later, but are never explained fully because these fundamental assumptions needed to understand what was being said, i.e. "firmament," "water," "day/night," would have been taught to school children as they were growing up. These words are awkward translations of concepts for Paleo Hebrew words that have no direct translation in Greek, Latin or English. Greek translations had to coin new words to express the ideas posed by those Paleo Hebrew words. Latin and English then employ these Greek words as cognate. "Firmament" is a principle example of this. The english word had no english etymology. It can be traced directly back throug Latin and Greek to an untranslatable Paleo Hebrew word.
The Genesis account of creation basically says that at first earth was without land or ocean. In fact, that is true. It was molten. Then water covered the whole planet and after some time, land pushed up from underneath the water separating the water into seas. After that plants appeared, then sea animals, then land animals. Then finally, last, man appeared. Remarkably, this is in stark contrast to all other ancient creation stories which usually start with man.
This of course, agrees with modern science. This is exactly the order in which events occurred. But the text is not meant to be a science text book. It is about civilization so it glosses over the facts of origins and assumes the reader has this all figured out already. It was common knowledge at the time, 4,000 years ago, that the earth was round. The moon orbited the earth while the earth and five other visible planets orbited the sun. They also knew the size of the earth, about 80,000 stadia or about 8000 miles in diameter, and the relative distance of each of the planets. We find both artifacts, Antikethera Mechanism for one, and literature, Nineveh Plate 3100BC for one, which confirm this.
This can all be deduced by observing the motion of the five "wandering lights," planets with an unaided eye. The phases of the moon can be used to determine the base distance for all the other distances relative to the moon's distance and careful measurements with an ancient astrolabe can in a single night be used to calculate the distance to the moon. All of these are recorded. But interestingly enough, the records of these calculations are not as well preserved as the text of the Hebrew Prophets which are better preserved.