Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

David Bokovoy

Textual Divisions in Isaiah and the BofM

Recommended Posts

Bill,

Could there be any position less satisfactory, scholastically speaking, than denying the unity of Isaiah but dating "Deutero-Isaiah" before the Babylonian Exile (and before Cyrus!)? Such a position would seem to have all of the supposed difficulties of the traditional view (to which I adhere) but few or none of the supposed benefits of the multiple-Isaiah theory. It's like not having your cake and not having eaten it, either.

Well, it's a long story, but the short story is, what difference does it make to the BOM? The BOM does not quote the Cyrus portion, so why is that a problem for the BOM? It is not clear to me why it is a problem for Evangelicals if there were two people who contributed to Isaiah.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, it's a long story, but the short story is, what difference does it make to the BOM? The BOM does not quote the Cyrus portion, so why is that a problem for the BOM? It is not clear to me why it is a problem for Evangelicals if there were two people who contributed to Isaiah.

I suppose then it would be okay for me to write a book of ancient scripture, quoting many chapters from Harry Potter and attributing them to Thomas Jefferson, as long as I never mentioned Dumbledore?

Share this post


Link to post

Indeed, if Deutero-Isaiah was a contemporary of Lehi and Jeremiah then how could Nephi et al. have confused him with Proto-Isaiah?

Well, of course, you are ignoring the possibility that some of 2 Isaiah may be actually come 1 Isaiah, and have been edited into 2 Isaiah.

You are also ignoring the possibility that there were two men named Isaiah.

And you are ignoring the possibility that the text was anonymously added to the Isaiah material (just like 2 Isaiah supposedly was). Remember, Lehi had no copy nor knowledge of scripture until he got the brass plates. How would he know if a particular text was added two hundred years earlier or two years earlier?

Or maybe Lehi had a scroll from an a prophet who wished to remain anonymous because of the persecutions. One of the "many prophets prophesying" at that time (1 Ne. 1:4).

Now all this is highly speculative, and the real answer is, as with most things about ancient history we don't know. There is insufficient data to come to a solid conclusion. But you don't know either. You simply pretend to know. Your perpetual certitude is a pretense. You pretend that all these questions are not only conclusively answered, but conclusively answered in your favor--that is to say, in ways that supposedly support your attempts to dismiss the BOM, Bible etc.

Share this post


Link to post

I suppose if I were to write a book of ancient scripture quoting many chapters from Harry Potter and attributing them to Thomas Jefferson then that would not be a problem?

Your problem would be actually writing the book and then getting the thing published.

But the Federalist papers are a better example.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, of course, you are ignoring the possibility that some of 2 Isaiah may be actually come [from] 1 Isaiah, and have been edited into 2 Isaiah.

On the contrary, I think that is likely, especially with the servant songs.

You are also ignoring the possibility that there were two men named Isaiah.

You mean three men, plus perhaps an "Isaiah" editor for chapter 1 and another "Isaiah" redactor for chapters 36-39.

And you are ignoring the possibility that the text was anonymously added to the Isaiah material (just like 2 Isaiah supposedly was).

There's always that possibility but the consensus among the "majority of scholars" is that Deutero-Isaiah is "almost uninterrupted by later additions" and manifests "a high degree of internal coherence".

Remember, Lehi had no copy nor knowledge of scripture until he got the brass plates. How would he know if a particular text was added two hundred years earlier or two years earlier?

I'd be interested to see if your fellow apologists agree that Lehi had no "knowledge of scripture until he got the brass plates."

Or maybe Lehi had a scroll from an a prophet who wished to remain anonymous because of the persecutions.

An anonymous prophet who happened to go by the name of Isaiah? You'll have to better explain this one.

Now all this is highly speculative, and the real answer is, as with most things about ancient history we don't know. There is insufficient data to come to a solid conclusion. But you don't know either. You simply pretend to know. Your perpetual certitude is a pretense. You pretend that all these questions are not only conclusively answered, but conclusively answered in your favor--that is to say, in ways that supposedly support your attempts to dismiss the BOM, Bible etc.

I simply lay out all the facts and look for the best fit. You can make the puzzle pieces fit with an exacto knife but the resulting picture doesn't look very good.

Honestly, I think you'd be better off just sticking with the unity of Isaiah. Rob might even share his cake with you. I'll tell you what, because you always say such kind things to me, I'll give you a free takeback. If you want to abort this partial-birth dating of Deutero-Isaiah, I won't hold it against you. A pre-exilic date for Deutero-Isaiah is utterly untenable. You may as well try to argue for biblical inerrancy.

Share this post


Link to post

I'd be interested to see if your fellow apologists agree that Lehi had no "knowledge of scripture until he got the brass plates."

On Lehi's lack of knowledge of scripture, see 1 Ne 5:10-16. He appears to not know the contents of the brass plates, that is a proto-Hebrew Bible. From the way the text is worded, it implies to me that he is learning all sorts of new things as he reads it.

It's clear you don't understand my position and don't really want to. So be it. I'll leave you to your self-congratulations.

I'll just add a couple last ideas.

1- If the BOM is authentic, there are two explanations for Isaiah material:

A- First and Second Isaiah were really written by one author.

B- Parts of Second Isaiah quoted in the BOM were written before the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem.

Those are the two options I can think of. If someone has another, I'd be happy to consider it. I don't know which one is correct, because I don't believe we have enough evidence to decide one way or another. So I'll wait and see. I am simply discussing the ramifications of an early 2 Isaiah in relationship to the BOM. I'm exploring that possibility. Get it?

2- If the BOM is authentic, it will necessarily change our perceptions of Isaiah, and many other things. Discovery of new texts ALWAYS changes previous scholarly consensus. The discovery of the DSS Aramaic changed views on 1 Enoch. The discovery of Hebrew biblical texts in the DSS paralleling the LXX text changed perceptions of the origin of the LXX. The discovery of the Nag Hammadi codices dramatically changed our understanding of early Christianity. If the BOM is an authentic ancient book, it will necessarily likewise challenge current scholarly opinion. Of course this doesn't mean it is an ancient book, but it does mean that we shouldn't be too upset if the BOM is not in perfect harmony with biblical scholarship at any given moment (which is a moving target by the way.)

Share this post


Link to post

Indeed, if Deutero-Isaiah was a contemporary of Lehi and Jeremiah then how could Nephi et al. have confused him with Proto-Isaiah?

I came across this post on another board and am curious how the cohesive structure of Isaiah lends itself to "multiple" authors.

There is an overarching, double structure to the whole book of Isaiah:

Ruin and Rebirth - chapters 1-5 and 34-35

Rebellion and Compliance - chapters 6-8 and 36-40

Punishment and Deliverance - chapters 9-12 and 41-46:13b

Humiliation and Exaltation - chapters 13-23 and 46:13c-47:15

Suffering and Salvation - chapters 24-27 and 48-54

Disloyalty and Loyalty - chapters 28-31 and 55-59

Disinheritance and Inheritance - chapters 32-33 and 60-66

I excerpted this structure from a book called "The Literary Message of Isaiah" by Avraham Gileadi, page 15. In the book, he refers to it as the "Bifid structure."

If this is too far off topic please ignore.

carry on..

Share this post


Link to post

My use of his commentary simply illustrates that the issue of the suffering servant(s) is open for debate (a fact which provides more evidence that this issue is not a "straw," let alone a big one.

Best,

---DB

:P

Indeed.

Share this post


Link to post

Bill,

Um, I think you do know what the problem is. The Book of Mormon quotes material that the standard Deutero-Isaiah theory maintains was written after Lehi and his family set sail. The Book of Mormon does not cite the references in Isaiah to Cyrus, but it quotes material from the same portion of Isaiah (Is. 40-55), which is typically all assigned to Deutero-Isaiah. The whole point of the Deutero-Isaiah theory is to explain why this section of the book of Isaiah speaks about Jerusalem's restoration following the Babylonian Exile. There simply is no point holding on to Deutero-Isaiah while assigning those chapters, or even many of those chapters, to a period prior to the Exile.

Conservative evangelicals reject the Deutero-Isaiah theory because they understand the point of Isaiah 40-66 to be that the Lord knew and announced ahead of time through Isaiah that although Jerusalem was going to be conquered and its people scattered, he would restore the city and its people in order to prepare for the coming of the Messiah.

Well, it's a long story, but the short story is, what difference does it make to the BOM? The BOM does not quote the Cyrus portion, so why is that a problem for the BOM? It is not clear to me why it is a problem for Evangelicals if there were two people who contributed to Isaiah.

Share this post


Link to post

Rob, Bill is speaking of the Babylonian conquest, not the exile. There were exiles before the final conquest.

Share this post


Link to post

Rob, Bill is speaking of the Babylonian conquest, not the exile. There were exiles before the final conquest.

It'd be interesting to come up with a timeline that tracks the composition of the relevant portions of Deutero-Isaiah, its incorporation into the brass plates, and finally the falling of those plates into Nephi's hands. It seems those events would need to be relatively close together.

Share this post


Link to post

Rob, Bill is speaking of the Babylonian conquest, not the exile. There were exiles before the final conquest.

Yup. The Babylonians had been dominating Jerusalem for nearly 20 years before the exile in 586.

Share this post


Link to post

David Larsen has an excellent blog post on this subject. It is taken from a lecture by Lena Sophia Tiemeyer. The post itself as well as the comments are informative.

Share this post


Link to post

Bill,

You wrote:

Yup. The Babylonians had been dominating Jerusalem for nearly 20 years before the exile in 586.

Maybe you could spell out the theory you are proposing. According to the Book of Mormon, Lehi and his family were traveling from Jerusalem to Arabia between 600 and 592 BC, and built their ship and sailed away in 591. The Babylonians began their conquest of the region that included Jerusalem about 609 but did not conquer Jerusalem itself until 605. When are you suggesting that Deutero-Isaiah might have been written?

The conventional view is that Deutero-Isaiah was written between the beginning of Cyrus's rise to power ca. 550 and Cyrus's conquest of Babylon in 539, i.e., in the 540s (e.g., Anchor Bible Dictionary, 3:492-93, where this is said to be "the position of the vast majority of scholars today").

Share this post


Link to post

Bill,

You wrote:

Maybe you could spell out the theory you are proposing. According to the Book of Mormon, Lehi and his family were traveling from Jerusalem to Arabia between 600 and 592 BC, and built their ship and sailed away in 591. The Babylonians began their conquest of the region that included Jerusalem about 609 but did not conquer Jerusalem itself until 605. When are you suggesting that Deutero-Isaiah might have been written?

The conventional view is that Deutero-Isaiah was written between the beginning of Cyrus's rise to power ca. 550 and Cyrus's conquest of Babylon in 539, i.e., in the 540s (e.g., Anchor Bible Dictionary, 3:492-93, where this is said to be "the position of the vast majority of scholars today").

Well, it's not quite a theory. It's a proposal. Here's a chronology (all dates BC)

608 = Jehoiakim installed by Necho II as Egyptian vassal king of Israel

605 = Defeat of Necho by by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish.

605/604 = Jehoiakim becomes vassal of Babylon

604 = Nebuchadnezzar conquers Philistia

601/600 = Nebuchadnezzar invades Egypt but is defeated by Nicho at the battle of Migdol

598 = Jehoiakim revolts against Babylon

597 = siege of Jerusalem; it surrenders, first exile; Jehoiakim dethroned.

597 = first year of the reign of Zedekiah = beginning of Book of Mormon

589 = Zedekiah revolts against Babylon

588 = Babylonian siege of Jerusalem begins

586 = Babylonians conquer and destroy of Jerusalem and temple, second exile.

We know the BOM begins in 597 in the first year of Zedekiah (1 Ne. 1:4). We do not, however, know how long Lehi stayed in Jerusalem before departing into the wilderness. It was possibly a few years.

Thus, from the beginning of Babylonian domination in 604 until the departure of Lehi into the wilderness was about ten years. The proposal is that parts of 2 Isaiah that appear in the BOM could have been written between 604 (beginning of Babylonian domination, and first Jewish exiles as war prisoners during Nebuchadnezzar's 604 campaign) and say 595 when Lehi finally departs Jerusalem. The 2 Isaiah context of some Jews in exile in Babylon would have applied during this period. The Cyrus chapter (not in BOM) was either added later, or the name Cyrus was added to an earlier prophecy which did not name Cyrus explicitly, but which was understood by Jews in the 540s as applying to Cyrus. (Just as the DSS community saw the Teacher of Righteousness as fulfilling prophecies, etc.)

Share this post


Link to post

We know the BOM begins in 597 in the first year of Zedekiah (1 Ne. 1:4). We do not, however, know how long Lehi stayed in Jerusalem before departing into the wilderness. It was possibly a few years.

You know Dr. Hamblin. I can see in my minds eye, all those arm-chair critics sitting and chuckling glibly to themselves...

1 Nephi 19:8

And behold he cometh, according to the words of the angel, in six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem.

3 Nephi 2:6

And six hundred and nine years had passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem.

Mosiah 6:4

And Mosiah began to reign in his father

Share this post


Link to post

You know Dr. Hamblin. I can see in my minds eye, all those arm-chair critics sitting and chuckling glibly to themselves...

One thing they forget... How long was Lehi in the wilderness (kind of like the essense) before he sent his son back to get the plates?

These are also things we have to take into account when calculating these time lines.

Pin pointing this might help too...

600 years of 360 days. They didn't use the same calendar we do.

Share this post


Link to post

Bill,

You wrote:

600 years of 360 days. They didn't use the same calendar we do.

Interesting. Could you supply a reference for this?

Share this post


Link to post

Never mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×