I don't understand this

by embeth2525 64 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • SixofNine
    [For Yahweh's portion is his people; Jacob the lot of] his [inher]itance" (4QDeut j 32:8-9).
  • Leolaia

    I'm very much relieved that you were not offended....it is very easy on the internet to misunderstand each other when you can't hear the intonation of the words and when we're not conversing face to face...so I say it's the medium that's to blame and not any person per se, since eventually everyone misunderstands someone at one time or another. If you think there is a possibility that "intellectual" writing (such as mine, in quoting sources and detailed at times in its reasoning) is off-putting to people, what do you think the solution should be? I don't want to make people feel unwelcome, devalued, or make them think I'm "showing off" or arrogantly being "argumentative," I just have a love for these subjects, a love for the literature, and I have some strong opinions and some knowledge in these areas, and I like to share or correct errors that I recognize, or stimulate debate on certain subjects I am interested in. And because I want to "show my work" and back up my claims with the relevant evidence, my posts tend to be quite long often and "overly intellectual" from your point of view. And ironically enough, I decided to refrain from this for much of this thread and posted shorter, less researched posts for the sake of simplicity. I would like to have my voice heard, but after reading your earlier posts, I felt like withdrawing and as if I wasn't welcome. So it seems to cut both ways. This forum declares "...everyone welcome!" and so I always believed that there was room for all sorts of people here with different points of view and different ways of expressing themselves (as long as they respect each other and abide by forum rules), and so I think there is a place for presenting detailed "intellectual" posts. You are right that for many new people, it matters a lot how people approach them and express themselves; witness how many people trying to leave the Witnesses are turned off or offended by vitriolic anti-JW websites. I am quite turned off myself by this attitude. But understand too that not everyone here is a "newbie" per se, and many newbies themselves come out of the religion being very well-versed in biblical literature and criticism, and I write too for the benefit of sharing ideas with other well-read people I like talking with here...and especially when someone poses a question that I'm interested in and I know a great deal of information on. Maybe I should post a "Why I Post" thread to clear up any misunderstandings...

  • seesthesky

    this guy apparently believes in a single protolanguage


    here's s'more


    hope this helps someone out -

    on a somewhat related note - isn't there a giant leap of faith going on when we assert certainties about anything related to our mere existence - even our existence

    now, that degree of skepticism could, perhaps, undermine present order and function - and, given its impracticality - i don't keep it at the forefront of my mind

    but certainties seem quite absurd when they concern the distant past - hell - even certainties about the near past, e.g., the u.s. civil war, seem foolish to me


  • upside/down

    Ll- your point is well made, I understood. But just to prove my point I don't understand what seethesky was refering to (no offense), I just don't get it.

    Obviously I need to choose my discussions a little better, so as not to get in "too deep" for my own good. It's just so tempting to jump in sometimes. You know what they say about fools rushing in... that's me.

    So as regards, "intellectual" posts, post away! But as you alluded to try and be mindful of us more simple folk. It is actually more beneficial to your entire argument, as I (and I'm sure others) would actually LIKE TO UNDERSTAND, some of these more researched answers or comments. It's no fun seeing a long answer that only a more verbotious(sp), learned (scholarly) person can relate to (but by all means do it if need be, to make your point). All I ask is a "favor" if it's possible, to try and put your thoughts in a way the most people can benefit. But by all means share your thoughts. That's what this forum is for- you're right!

    I really appreciate it- Thanks


  • Pole


    All I said is that we don't find "primitive" simplistic ancient languages, rather fully developed all encompassing vocabularies that are able to convey the full range of thought and emotion. This of course tends to support the idea that a "God" made man originally with the ability for verbally expressing himself both literally and on paper (or pottry or cave wall, whatever)

    OK, now it's clear. I thought you were saying some ancient languages surpassed modern ones, bacause of this part of your post:

    Highly complex languages that many linguists say surpassed modern language in it's ability to convey thought and feeling much more precisely, for one.


    I'm not a linguist by any stretch but that makes no sense. Human languages are evolving systems of communication. Relationships can be traced thru linguistic connections. Some very simplistic languages do bestow extremely limited means of transmitting complex thought.

    I am afraid you're wrong. Could you give me one example of a simplistic human language which is used as a native language (apart from pidgins and some creols which are not naturally acquired in the sense native languages are)? That no "primitive" human languages have ever been observed is one of linguistic universals taught in the first class of any course in linguistics.

    This usually is not required in the simple environment and lack of education of the language's users.

    You see, language is highly repetitive in its form. You can use one literal meaning to make a dozen metaphors. This doesn't make the grammar of a language a single bit complex. To the contrary, many languages (like English) have lost a lot of their original morphology as they have gained more metaphorical meanings.

    Earliest written language was little more than simple symbols representing concepts like, man, fire, gods, etc.

    This doesn't tell us anything about human language. The fact that a person cannot write or that a person uses symbols has nothing to do with the ability to use a highly complex language.

    Ceturies later the symbols became a concept in itself, representing a sound that could be used to form an endless variety of spoken words.

    Again the history of writing has very little to do with the biological origins of language. If anything, it tells us that over the last couple of thousands of years the grammars of recorded languages have become much less complex than they used to. This doesn't mean that the languages we speak today are inferior of bastardized, but it doesn't mean they're more complex either.

    Animal language, with syntax and notion of narrative exists in at least some of the higher species.

    Now, that's interesting. I'd love to know the references, so if you have any, please let me know.



  • Narkissos
    From the limited documentation I have at home, I understand that there are two extant Qumran manuscripts, one bearing bene-'elohim, meaning "sons of the gods" or "sons of God"

    Do you have any idea which Qumran manuscript that might be? I would try to find it myself if you could give me an inkling as to the particular manuscript.

    Leolaia already gave the translation of 4QDtj which has the full reading bene 'elohim (with the full spelling of matres lectionis as typical of Qumran, bny 'lwhym). The other is 4QDtq (the letters j and q are usually in exponent form, but I can't type it on JWD) which has only bene 'el (bny 'l) with a subsequent blank corresponding to several missing letters.

    Edit: http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/DT32COOVER.pdf

    Still, even with what you have provided I do not understand how you could come up with this reconstruction:
    When the Most High (Ely├┤n, title of the supreme god El) apportioned the nations,
    when he divided humankind,
    he fixed the boundaries of the peoples
    according to the number of the gods;
    Yhwh's own portion was his people,
    Jacob his allotted share.

    Both examples you've provided use, "sons of the gods" or "sons of God" but not anything like the above, "of the gods"

    I could be missing something though.

    Here I was just quoting the NRSV (only reverting the LORD to Yhwh). In Hebrew "sons of" means "belonging to the kind of". So bene 'elohim (literally "sons of god") means "gods" just as bene 'adam (literally "sons of man") means "men" two lines before ("humankind", NRSV). Another obvious case is Genesis 6:3f (sons of god / the daughters of men -> gods / women).

  • Yizuman

    Babylon 1 was the first government ever created by man, which made man become dependant on man rather than God. They had everything they needed. They had homes, trade centers (even ports for ships to dock to deliver trade goods from nearby countries and islands not far from Babylon) in which people can buy and sell goods.

    It was a huge city back then.

    Like u/p said, God commanded man to be fruitful and multiply all over the earth, yet they stayed in one place and they were not doing what they were commanded by God. Plus pride grew into the souls of men, the bad types of pride. It was also ruled by evil men to keep mankind together in order to maintain control of the population. There was even slavery as well.

    They took pride that they all had one language, which is another thing that hindered them from spreading apart. So God changed their languages and forced them to seperate from among themselves and only went with people that spoke the same language as they. So spread among the earth they finally did, through force even though it would have been more preferable that they obeyed God's command rather than being forced to do so.


  • funkyderek


    Excellent point. I read somewhere that in theory if the languages had't been confused knowledge and technology would have reached where humanity is now at about the time of Christ.

    In theory? How can you base a theory on a myth?

    Could also explain why so many (almost all) ancient cultures were so advanced instead of primitive as logic would suggest. We still don't know how they did some of the stuff they did.
    You mean you don't know. Ancient cultures were all more primitive than modern cultures - without exception.
  • City Fan
    City Fan


    Babylon 1 was the first government ever created by man. It was a huge city back then.

    When you say Babylon 1 do you mean somewhere like Ur, Uruk or Eridu? Here's a section from page 9 of 'Babylon' by Joan Oates:

    "There can be no doubt that Babylon was the most impressive city of its time, yet it was not a settlement of great antiquity nor indeed of any importance until well after the the time when Mesopotamian civilisation had aquired its very characteristic and persistent form. It was not to Babylon that 'kingship first descended' before the time of the legendary flood, nor is the name to be found among those cities recorded from their distant past by diligent Babylonian scribes. While the city states of Sumer (the southernmost part of Mesopotamia) vied with one another for power and prestige, Babylon was at best an unimportant village. Indeed its name remains unknown until the end of the third millenium BC, 1000 years after the invention of writing and several millennia after the founding of the earliest farming villages in what was later Babylonia."

    "By contrast, Ninevah, Babylon's greatest rival in the ancient world, could trace its past back into the shadows of prehistory: here the earliest occupation so far discovered can be dated to the beginning of the 6th millennium BC."

    The writers and redactors of Genesis would probably not realise that the great city of Babylon was nothing like that when these stories were set. It's a bit like the verse that says Abraham was in the 'land of the Philistines', even though the Philistines didn't settle in Canaan until around 1400 BC.


  • Greenpalmtreestillmine


    Here I was just quoting the NRSV (only reverting the LORD to Yhwh). In Hebrew "sons of" means "belonging to the kind of". So bene 'elohim (literally "sons of god") means "gods" just as bene 'adam (literally "sons of man") means "men" two lines before ("humankind", NRSV). Another obvious case is Genesis 6:3f (sons of god / the daughters of men -> gods / women).

    Thanks for the reply. One problem I have with NRSV is its gender neutral stance. But having said that when translating Deut.32:8 am I understanding correctly that they gave preference to the Qumran manuscripts over the LXX? The Oxford Bible Commentary (NRSV) says concerning 32:8, "Whereas the LXX reads 'according to the number of the angels of God'...." So apparently the NRSV discarded both the LXX and M's readings for the Qumran's? I sound blind don't I? lol

    Also, if in the Hebrew "son of" means "belonging to the kind of" and that litereally "sons of God means "gods" then Job 1:6 could also be translated as "gods" instead of "sons of God" and the same for Job 2:1 and Job 38:7? (just a side note here the NRSV in each of those scriptures uses the phrase "heavenly beings" but then footnotes it as "sons of God" in Hebrew. Their gender probem is annoying sometimes)

    I find this all very interesting because it adds to something I've been considering for some time now. But I'm not scriptually ready to speak about it here. Thanks for the link to the divine council material unfortunately, though I tried several times, it would not load properly nor print out. If you or Leolaia should know of another link I would be most appreciative, it sounds very interesting and I'm anxious to be able to read the entire article.


    Anything you can add would be something very much appreciated. Also, can you recommend a few books in this area? One or two that might be suitable for a beginner like me? I want to understand, Leolaia, because greater understanding of Biblical linguistic history will lead to greater understanding of God and the use of the name YHWH and in turn to understanding Jesus. I would like to learn so that I can understand, any help from you is a literal god send.

    Thank you both,


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