Thursday, April 01, 2010

Discussion with Atheists, Babinski, 4-1-10

Babinski: There is nothing about scourging or crucifixion in the description of the Suffering Servant, nor any mention of the sins of the world, only of the sufferings of Israel.

Kelly: You admit too much. Even if it is only a reference to the sins of Israel, the suffering servant is an innocent sin-offering substitute for Israel. You cannot be substitute for yourself.

Kelly: “His visage was so marred more than any man” KJV. “Appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance” liberal RSV. While the text does not say HOW he was marred, scourging fits the description as well as your own speculation of disease. Like it or not, it is still a good description of what happened to Jesus.

Babinski: If you were to ask several translators what Isa. 52:14 means in context it implies his face was ugly due to disease.

Kelly: None of the translations which are legitimate contain the word “disease.” You want to hold me to an exact literal translation but you want me to accept your loose interpretation.

Babinski: You can compare translations and commentaries. But don't just read Evangelical ones, try Jewish ones and Cambridge and Oxford and Anchor Bible commentaries as well.

Kelly: The Jewish, Cambridge, Oxford and Anchor comments are liberal and PREJUDICED. They do not assume that an Omniscient God can know the future and they go to great extremes to cover up any prophecy. I see no need for them to even worship a God who is so feeble. They should disband and spend their money on better things.

Babinski: According to The Bible in Basic English: "As peoples were surprised at him, And his face was not beautiful, so as to be desired: his face was so changed by disease as to be unlike that of a man, and his form was no longer that of the sons of men."

Kelly: Reads like Sesame Street to me. It is definitely a very loose paraphrase and not an attempt at true translation at all. I reject it.

Babinski: A few verses after that The Amplified Bible, chapter 53:3-4 describes this servant: "3 He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness …

Kelly: Thanks for reminding me how dishonest the Amplified and paraphrase Bibles are. Read the same text in the NAS, RSV, NIV and KJV. The Amplified has added the words “and sickness.”

Babinski: 4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]." The brackets are from the Amplified Bible translation.

Kelly: Again the words “sickness” and “as if by leprosy” are not found in legitimate translations such as the NAS and RSV. You resort to questionable translations in order to argue against God’s ability to know and prophesy the future.

Babinski: In brief, the servant cannot refer to Jesus because the subject of Isaiah 53, was sick, was buried with the wicked (plural) and had children and long life.

Kelly: Mt 8:17 says Jesus bare our sickness as he was healing them during his daily ministry. There is no mention that such healing marred him. (1) It is only your interpretation using a bad translation which says that the servant of Isaiah was sick. (2) Do you realize that Jesus was buried among the wicked because, for the most part, the rich wicked rulers were the only ones who could afford expensive above-ground sepulchers.

Babinski: Jesus does not fit any of these. Also read the previous chapters in Isaiah that refer to The Servant, and notice they are referring to the people of Israel, though a single individual prophet might also be view perhaps Jeremiah.

Kelly: It cannot possibly refer to the “people of Israel.” (1) In 53:3 the general population “despised him.” (2) In 53:4 he bears the sins of the people who considered him “smitten of God.” (3) In 53:5 he was punished for the people. You cannot substitute for yourself. (4) The “we” of 53:6 included the prophet (whether Isaiah or Jeremiah). (5) In 53:8 he was “cut off” for the transgressions of my people” –the writer is not speaking about himself as a prophet. (6) In 53:10 God Himself made the suffering servant a sin offering. You cannot possibly say that this is either the people in general or a prophet. Be honest to the text. (7) In 53:10 “prolong his days” follows being “cut off as a sin offering” and must refer to resurrection. This is because 53:9 says that “he had done no violence, neither was there any deceit in his mouth.” There was no person or prophet in Israel who was sinless.

Babinski: But it's a human figure, described in human fashion with no divine overtones.

Kelly: “No divine overture”??? In 53:1 “the LORD revealed.” In 53:4 “smitten of God.” In 53:6 “the LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all.” In 53:10 “it pleased the LORD to bruise him.”

Babinski: … Reading everything as a metaphor for Jesus is just not playing fair with the original text.

Kelly: You have ignored all the arguments AGAINST interpreting the texts as either Israel itself or a prophet.


Edward T. Babinski said...

Russell, I see that you posted some of our conversation that was on facebook. For the record, if you think Oxford, Cambridge and the Anchor Bible commentaries are "PREJUDICED" (your caps) that's an ironic comment coming from the world of inerrancy. The scholarly level of those commentaries, especially the Anchor Bible is among the highest in the world. Are you afraid to read them?

Secondly, even if you don't read them, please note there are EVANGELICALS who agree citing OT verses as though they were prophecies does not prove the case for Christianity.

Edward T. Babinski said...

J.P. Holding's Tektonic apologetics site is quite conservative and pro-inerrancy. He points out that the following is a MYTH:

MYTH #10
"OT prophecy fulfillment is a good apologetic.

"It actually isn't useful in the way it was at first. We need to understand (as do Skeptics) Jewish exegesis of the first century.

"It is not so much that the OT predicted the NT events as that the NT writers looked at history and sought OT passages that echoed what they had seen. This does not mean that there is not actual predictive prophecy at all (for even then God may have orchestrated the pattern) but rather that we cannot present an apologetic on this basis as we normally have; or else we are forced into a corner of explaining ie, why the NT allegedly uses OT passages 'out of context'."

Edward T. Babinski said...

Check out THE GROUNDS OF CHRISTIANITY EXAMINED (Boston, 1813) [available online for free] by George Bethune English (1787–1828). He graduated from Harvard College in 1807, and received the highest academic award, the Bowdoin Prize for his dissertation, and was awarded a Masters in theology in 1811.

During his theological studies at Harvard he began to doubt the truth of the Christian religion and was excommunicated for writing the above menitoned book. But what would make a nineteenth-century Harvard Divinity School graduate turn his back on his deeply held religious beliefs and write an incisive attack on Christianity? He had learned about Jewish objections to Christian use of OT “prophecies.”

One reader commented that English's book would "pass like wild-fire through the country," yet an accessible and informative version of Bethune English's groundbreaking critique has not been available until a few years ago. See DISPUTING CHRISTIANITY: THE 400-YEAR-OLD DEBATE OVER RABBI ISAAC BEN ABRAHAM OF TROKI'S CLASSIC ARGUMENTS (Prometheus Books, 2007). It provides a fascinating commentary that notes many points of historical interest and demonstrates the significance of Bethune English's analysis.

English wrote a second book "A Letter to the Reverend Mr. Cary," as a result of criticism of his first work and the controversy that it provoked. A colleague from Harvard, Edward Everett, published a rejoinder to English's book "The Grounds of Christianity Examined," to which English responded with his 1824 book FIVE SMOOTH STONE OUT OF THE BROOK [available online for free].

English was nominated by President James Madison on February 27th, 1815 and commissioned on March 1, 1815 as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps during the War of 1812. English worked in the Diplomatic Corps of the United States and worked to secure a trade agreement between the United States and the Ottoman Empire, which had trade valued at nearly $800,000 in 1822. In 1827, he returned to the United States and died in Washington the next year.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Bethune English in his book, THE GROUNDS OF CHRISTIANITY EXAMINED (Boston, 1813) [as alredy mentioned above], discusses how Jews interpret Isaiah 52-53.

Bethune also mentions that some English translators have "taken certain liberties" by translating some of the Hebrew words as though they were in the future tense instead of in thep past "to make this prophecy (and several others) more accordant to their own views, which are not supported by the Hebrew."

Bethune adds, "this prophecy can by no means relate to Jesus, from these circumstances:

1. Jesus certainly was not exalted and magnified, and made very great upon earth, which, as has been shown, was to be the scene of the exaltation of the Old Testament Messiah ; but was put to a cruel and disgraceful death.

2. He was not oppressed hy pecuniary exactions, as is said of the subject of this prophecy.

3. He was never taken from prison to die, for he was never in one.

4. He did not "see his seed,"
nor " prolong his days," since he died childless ; and we will not permit the word " seed" to be spiritualized on this occasion, for the word "seed" in the Old Testament, means nothing else than literally " children," which it is not pretended he ever had; and how could he "prolong his days," when he was cut off in his 33d year.

5. Besides, who were "the strong and mighty,"with whom he divided the spoil? Were they the twelve fishermen of Galilee? and what was the spoil divided?

In a word, the literal application of this prophecy to Jesus is now given up by the most learned Hebrew scholars, who allow, that the literal sense of the original can never be understood of him.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Have you seen THIS book by THREE EVANGELICALS?

Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)eds., Kenneth Berding, Jonathan Lunde, Stanley N. Gundry, and contributors, Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, Peter E. Enns

First, Walter Kaiser argues for the "single meaning, unified referents" view. Whereas many scholars see a problematic disparity between the NT authors' meaning and that of the OT authors, this perspective claims that closer exegetical investigation reveals complete harmony between the two. Kaiser goes even further down this line of thinking by arguing that the Old Testament writers understood where their prophecies were moving. Consequently, he rejects any appeal to sensus plenior or to the use of Jewish exegetical methods to explain any supposed tension.

Second, Darrell Bock argues for the "single meaning, multiple contexts and referents" view. While acknowledging that there is disparity between the NT and the OT meanings, he nevertheless argues that they are fundamentally connected. He makes this move through employing the distinction of "sense" and "referent." While there may be a disparity on the level of "referent," there is a unity on the level of "sense." Therefore, like Kaiser, he seeks to vindicate the NT authors' reading of the OT. However, unlike Kaiser, he is quite willing to appeal to sensus plenior and to the use of Jewish exegetical methods in order to explain what the NT authors were doing.

Third, Peter Enns argues for the "fuller meaning, single goal" view. Out of all three views, Enns allows for the greatest amount of tension between the meaning of the OT and NT authors. Although he affirms that we must factor in the questions of sensus plenior and typology, he rejects the usage of these concepts to attempt to remove this tension. On the contrary, he claims that the NT authors did not always respect the context of the OT passages to which they refer. However, he agues that this isn't a problem because they used Jewish exegetical methods which were appropriate to their time and context, and most importantly, because they properly read the OT Scriptures with a "Christotelic" hermeneutic.

J.P. Holding and some other Evangelicals note with Peter Enns, above, the difficulty of attempting to cite OT verses as though they proved the inerrancy of the Bible concerning the first coming of Jesus as Messiah.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Lastly Russell,


And neither is J.P. Holding, nor Peter Enns, nor even Bethune English whom I mentioned above.

Perhaps you concentrate on discussing the Bible "with atheists" because you imagine that the only alternative to your particular "inerrant" view of the Bible is "atheism." That's like saying that if you can convince a person to avoid eating one end of a carrot, they must eat the other end, either atheism or inerrancy/infallibility. But there's the whole length of the carrot inbetween both ends that you're leaving out. A wealth of questions and different positions held by moderate-liberal Christian scholars, Jewish scholars, deists, and agnostics throughout the LONG mid-section of the carrot, not just the inerrant end and the atheist end. Check out all the questions.

Edward T. Babinski said...


The verse in Isaiah about the suffering servant, that begins, "Surely he as suffered for . . . " is most likely hyperbole.

Bethune English explains the meaning of that verse in his book that's online as already mentioned above.

It's interesting that you've blinded yourself to all the ways that the description of the suffering servant in that section of Isaiah does NOT match Jesus, and then in this case of "Surely he has suffered for..." you completely miss the hyperbolic meaning. Please see English's manuscript online. And search for suffering servant.