The way of looking at the Scriptures and the people in this world

At the European continent there are several descendants from saved Jews who either were brought up in another country and in an other religion by their war- or foster families, or could keep their faith but lost the knowledge of Hebrew. We also may find Jews who have found that Jeshua is the long awaited Messiah and are looking for a gathering of like-minded believers.
Being myself also a reflection of time and surroundings I introduce here my aims and hopes and give an idea which bible translations I shall be using and which track I would like to be following.

A Constant open conversation

The tradition of biblical interpretation has been a constant conversation, at times an argument, among its participants; at no period has the text been interpreted in a monolithic fashion. If anything marks Jewish biblical interpretation it is the diversity of approaches employed and the multiplicity of meanings produced. This is expressed in the famous rabbinic saying:

“There are seventy faces to the Torah” (Num. Rab. 13:15 and parallels),

meaning that biblical texts are open to seventy different interpretations, with seventy symbolizing a large and complete number. Thus, there is no official Jewish interpretation of the Bible. In keeping with this attitude, the interpreters who contributed to this volume have followed a variety of methods of interpretation, and the editors have not attempted to harmonize the contributions, so an array of perspectives is manifest.

When looking at people who claim to be following the Holy or Set Apart Scriptures we do find many interpretations. The way of interpretation brought even very different denominations or religious groups. their main ideas even became far away from each other, having groups which adhere the One and Only One True God of Israel or the One God of Abraham, whilst others came to talk about a binary god and others of a ternary god, they call the Holy Trinity.

Interpretive reading and writing

The “People of God” or the Jews have been engaged in reading and interpreting the Bible, or Tanakh, since its inception. Even before the biblical canon was complete, some of its early writings were becoming authoritative, and were cited, alluded to, and reworked in later writings, which themselves would become part of the Bible. Jewish biblical interpretation continued in various forms in early translations into Greek and Aramaic, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in rabbinic literature, and in medieval and modern commentaries; it continues in the present.

In the upcoming articles I also shall try to look at Mishnah and the Tosefta or Hebrew supplements (compiled from materials pre-dating the year 200 CE) which are the earliest extant works of rabbinic literature, expounding and developing Judaism’s Oral Law, as well as ethical teachings and compare them with the teachings from the scrolls we consider to be part of the biblical canon.

I would like to remind the visitors on this site that we do consider Hebrew literature not to be synonymous with Jewish literature. Some Hebrew writing was produced by the Samaritans and in the 17th century by Protestant enthusiasts. Jews also produced important literatures in Greek, Aramaic, Arabic, Judeo-Spanish (Ladino), Yiddish like  many here in Belgium still speak (mostly Ashkenazim, central and eastern European Jews and their descendants), and a number of other languages. Apart from the Aramaic writings, however, such literatures always served only that part of Jewry using the language in question. When the community ceased to exist, the literature produced in that language was forgotten (or, in the case of Greek Jewish literature, became part of Christian tradition) except for whatever part of it had been translated into Hebrew and thus became part of Hebrew literature. At the end of the 20th century and beginning 21st century we could find a revival of the language, also because of newly found Aramaic texts and the production of some film material where Jesus his own mother-tongue was used.

Wanting to show the Hand behind the scenes

At this site I would love to shed a light at the Divine Creator and show how He choose Himself a people and is willing to greet any body who is willing to come to Him to praise and worship Him as the Only One True God of Israel. I want to show the visitors here how this True God has given the world His Dvar or Holy Word and how people accepted His guidance or (the opposite) did not want to know about Him or His works. Furthermore I would love to see and show, how people came to cope with that inspired infallible Word of God and what people did with it or how they interpreted those sayings of the Most High God above all other gods.

What is important by reading the Scriptures that one always has to look how something was expressed in those ancient times. Therefore we have to study the Idiomatic language and compare the Aramaic writing with the Hebrew writings which are available on the many archaeological findings.

Each of us has to be aware, wherever one lives, that language changes all the time, and that when we pick up a bible translation we always have to look at what time it is edited and published, as well do we have to place it in the light of the words being used for certain objects or substantives.

Reading the Word of God and trying to come to a good understanding of it I do not mind searching in the very old wisdom of ancient masters and scribes, who have spent so many years analysing the Scriptures. For studying the Bible I also am aware we must be conscious of archaeological works and look at the best of modern academic scholarship on the Bible, that is, scholarship that reflects the way the Bible is approached in the special Torah study places and bible Study institutions. My second goal is to reflect, in as broad a fashion as possible, the range of Jewish engagement with the Bible over the past two and a half millennia, having an open mind to reflecting divergent Jewish commitments and beliefs, which infuse several rebbe their commentaries.

With the knowledge that Jesus spoke Aramaic I shall also not be afraid to look and use the Aramaic writings around and about him, next to using as standards the Schocken Bible – The five Books of Moses (SB),  Orthodox Jewish Bible translations in English (OJB) and Dutch (OJBV) as well as the Modern Literal Version (MLV), plus The Scriptures and De Geschriften (from 1995,1998 and 2002) as well as the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB), and in Dutch the Wetboek van God (WBvG) (The Law Book from God) on this site and on the Jeshuaists.

With the book of books at hand, I would love to ask you to compare with what you can find and understand from your Bible translations. In a certain way all those studying the bible thoroughly should come to similar conclusions, though I must agree the Bible still lets some things unspoken or unknown and for those unknown matters many try to guess what could happen or how it shall be. Those things we can not be sure of are of not such an importance for me (I must admit) and I agree that for them much speculation can be found and many ideas do the round. Therefore people have to pick their own choice. But for the more important matters God clearly provided all the answers. He gave all the necessary points to know. We only have to be willing to see them and therefore we should open our eyes and ears and see the words in their context.

Being a reflection of time

Being a reflection of my time, raised by my parents and the history around me, I may be influenced by particular ideas. We can not ignore the powerful influence of our parents, family, early acquaintances, teachers, and childhood friends. In Antwerp and Amsterdam, there having been a mix of all sorts of Jewish groups and stories from the surviving family and community members of the camps, I can not ignore to be part of a certain generation brought up in a special placed position and relationship with other religious people and religious groups.

The influences I was able to receive did not make me hateful, but the opposite have learned me to respect all others, as creatures of the Most High Maker and to have an open mind for diversity. Most people, be them believers in a god or many gods or be them so called non-believers or atheists (which are also a sort of believers in my eyes, e.g. believing that God does not exist) may have different ideas and are creatures of the Most High Elohim He is wanting to receive as His children.

For my study of the Scriptures I may be sensitive to Jewish readings of the Bible, to classical Jewish interpretation, and to the place of the Bible in Jewish life. In this respect my visions also may be quite “traditional,” but also showing my curiosity in what Jewish interpreters have brought along with them in a long history of drawing on ideas and methods from the non–Jewish world in which they lived and incorporating them into Jewish writings.

“Tanakh” and “the Bible”

Jews have no Bible but the “Hebrew Bible” and as such would just say the Bible for what some Christians, Messianics and  Jeshuaists would call the “Hebrew Bible,” as a sensitive substitute for “Old Testament,” to distinguish it from the “Greek Bible”, or New Testament which we would also call Messianic writings.

Just as there is no one Jewish interpretation, there is no authorized Jewish translation of the Bible into English or Dutch. In fact, translation has always been less important in Jewish communal life than in Christian communities, because in the Jewish communities public liturgical readings from the Bible have always been in Hebrew, a language understood until recent centuries by many within the community, but somewhere abounded by the newer generations plus  Messianics and Jeshuaists giving preference to the spoken language of the region or group (Yiddish, Dutch or French as well as a mixed language, like you shall find in the Orthodox Jewish Bible we use). For centuries Jews had for their official Bible the the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic Masoretic (from Hebrew masoreth, “tradition”) text of the Tanakh, copied, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries CE.  The Masoretic Text defines the Jewish canon and their precise letter-text, with their nikkud or vocalization and accentuation known as the Masorah or Mesora. That Hebrew Masoretic Text has never been replaced by an official translation (like the Vulgate, for instance, which can be called the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church). Nevertheless, because many Jews since postbiblical times did not understand biblical Hebrew, translations into vernacular languages were made.
For contemporary English–speaking Jews, according to many the best and most widely read Jewish translation, by Dr. David H. Stern, is the one commissioned and published by the Jewish Publication Society (JPS), begun in 1955 and completed in 1982 under the name Complete Jewish Bible (CJB), with revisions to the earlier books incorporated in the 1985 edition, and with a revised and corrected second edition in 1999 (NJPS Tanakh) which you might find here as well. Presenting the Word of God as a unified Jewish book, the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) is a translation for Jews and non-Jews alike. It also connects readers with the Jewishness of the Messiah. Names and key terms are according to the publishers returned to their original Hebrew and presented in easy-to-understand transliterations, enabling the reader to say them the way Jeshua (Jesus) did, but I have my reservations about that idea. Instead of this paraphrased bible with Anglo-saxonised names the Scriptures 1995 and the OJB as well as the WBvG offer a more correct name giving. It was Dr. Stern’s purpose for restoring God’s Word to its original Jewish context and culture as well as presenting that Word in easily read modern English, for which he succeeded. For many english people the OJB may be much more difficult to read at first. Applying Yiddish and Hasidic cultural expressions to the Messianic Bible the Orthodox Jewish Bible, completed by Phillip Goble in 2002, presents for many Jews and people living around Yiddish communities a more familiar reading and giving a lot of English equivalents in parentheses after the Hebrew.

The only pity about the OJB is that it is not a not a True Names Bible, though – it curiously uses a mixture of Elohim and G-d without explaining why it chooses one or the other. The Tetragrammaton YHWH or God’s Name  Jehovah is conspicuously absent and is replaced by haShem, doubtless to make this version usable by Orthodox Jews, for whom it is written. Oddly, it does not use Jesus, Jeshua, Yeshua or Yah’shua for the Messiah but simply (Rebbe) Melech haMoshiach (Rabbi the Messiah King) or Yehoshua (Joshua).

The other bible translations you shall be able to find here, like The Scriptures, do present the restored names properly.

For most versions I shall use in the articles the order of the books will be as found in published Tanakhim, rather than that of common English Bibles. As such you may find me following the traditional Jewish division into Torah (the five books of Moshe), Nevi’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings).

Due to the fact that English became the major spoken language among Jews only in the era since the Holocaust, many translated Bibles and prayer books from before the Holocaust having been still in Yiddish, even those published in countries like the United States, many of the children born in the second World War and later grew up in non-Hebrew speaking war – or foster-families and as such lost sufficient thorough knowledge of Hebrew and were and still are happy to use English as their basic worship and study language. Jewish translations of the Bible to English have become far more widespread, especially since the 1980s, and been made available in numerous complementary versions and styles, which made them very much appreciated in the groups of youngsters and also in the Messianic and Jeshuaist groups.

Kindertransport movement

As part of the Kindertransport movement (Children’s Transport) a series of rescue efforts which brought thousands of refugee Jewish children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1940. Children from the European continent travelled from their homes to Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and other major cities collection points in order to join the transports to be brought to the United Kingdom to find a safe home.  The Reich Association of Jews in Germany; and the Jewish Community Organization (Kultusgemeinde) in Vienna generally favoured children whose emigration was urgent because their parents were in concentration camps or were no longer able to support them. They also gave priority to homeless children and orphans.

Passport issued to Gertrud Gerda Levy, who left Germany in August 1939 on a Children's Transport (Kindertransport) to Great Britain. Berlin, Germany, August 23, 1939.
Passport issued to Gertrud Gerda Levy, who left Germany in August 1939 on a Children’s Transport (Kindertransport) to Great Britain. Berlin, Germany, August 23, 1939. – US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Children chosen for a Kindertransport convoy traveled by train to ports in Belgium and the Netherlands, from where they sailed to Harwich. At least one of the early transports left from the port of Hamburg in Germany. Some children from Czechoslovakia were flown by plane directly to Britain. The last transport from Germany left on September 1, 1939, just as World War II began. The last transport from the Netherlands left for Britain on May 14, 1940, the same day that the Dutch army surrendered to German forces.

In the war several Jewish children also found their way to the United Kingdom by ship, hidden by several helpers who risked their life to protect the Jews. Those kids which were saved and found a roof above their head by Christadelphians, Quakers, and other Christians of many denominations had then no opportunity to be brought up with the Hebrew language and often also not with the Jewish rabbinical texts.

For the 250 Jewish children who found refugee by Christadelphians there was the same faith in the Only One True God, but still many of them felt completely abandoned. The food, the language, everything was so different. Many of those children who reached England or who were hidden in houses of Christian families in Holland, Belgium and France, were taught Christian. They knew they were Jewish but could not speak about it to others nor share their faith.

After the war several of those kids tried to pick up their life again but came to learn that their father, mother, brother, sister and other family members had perished in the Nazi death camps. From those who did not go to practise Judaism, later their kids knew about their Jewish background and wanted to become Jewish, though that was not always easy because there was no Jewish mother for them.

Many of those kids and/or children of those war kids a felt they were Jew through and through, but when it came to observing all the holidays and all the rituals, they often felt like a complete outsider.

Several Jewish kids brought up in a Christian family came to learn about the Messiah Jeshua, and found it important to have that faith spread further.

This site and my other site “Jeshuaists” may hopefully offer a place of reassurance and may present a shelter for the searchers of the Biblical emet. Hopefully several of the second and third generation after World War II may find their way back to the beautiful Faith in One God and shall be able again to rejoice willing to spread their faith.

Spreading the Besorah

It is my craving that I may reach others who also wish to find peace in their heart and a restored relationship with our Most High Bore, that we may grow together in a brotherhood of God loving people who give preference to Biblical teachings instead of human doctrines.

Therefore I invite every visitor to join me on my quest for the Truth. Together we can merge with others who also look for worshipping the Only One True God of gods, and this under the umbrella of the rebbe Jeshua, who has given not only some wonderful lessons but also has given his followers to unite people and to proclaim the Kingdom of God.

As such I want to be a “heraut” or herald for Christ and a bellman broadcasting the Good News of that precious hope we may have and share of that coming Kingdom.

For those who have and feel they have Jewish roots there does not have to be a reason to abandon those roots. Today, again seeing and feeling grudges against Jews, many fleeing West Europe, we should feel strong enough to share our faith and to show those around us that we all should be able to live together in peace.

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Preceding

How to Read the Bible (sequel 4)

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Additional reading

  1. Another way looking at a language #4 Ancient times
  2. Another way looking at a language #5 Aramic, Hebrew and Greek
  3. Another way looking at a language #7 Lingua Franca
  4. Knowing old sayings to understand the Bible
  5. When reading your Bible be aware of changing language
  6. Revival of Jesus’ language at Oxford
  7. Jesus spoke Hebrew and Aramaic
  8. The language of Jesus and the title of God
  9. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  10. Some Restored Name Versions
  11. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions
  12. Murdock or Murdoch Bible
  13. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  14. Difference between a Messianic Gentile, a Messianic Jew and a Christian
  15. Some christians do have problems with the Christian connection with Jews
  16. Christadelphians’ role in the rescue of Jewish children from Nazi Germany
  17. Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust
  18. The Christadelphians in Jewish history -The Kindertransport
  19. “How My Mother, Sis. Hana Holman, Learnt the Truth”, by Sis. Susan Waite, Canterbury Ecclesia, Victoria, Australia
  20. * Bro. Gerhardt (Jim) Rosenthal, Melbourne Ecclesia, Victoria, Australia
  21. *My Big Sister Ursula, by Bro. Mark Sawyer, South Brisbane Ecclesia, Queensland, Australia

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Related

  1. Why is the original Hebrew called “the Holy Tongue”?
  2. Is there any difference between the pre-exile Biblical Hebrew and post-Exile Biblical Hebrew?
  3. Bart Ehrman on Christian Literacy in the First Century
  4. Being Jewish, Writing Greek
  5. A Loose Translation Within Scripture?
  6. What is Classical Syriac?
  7. What is the Benefit of Greek & Hebrew?
  8. About Aramaic the language of Jesus
  9. Can you tell what script this is? If yes: you are one of the few.
  10. Jesus spoke Aramaic but the Bible is in Greek!
  11. «Talitha kum»: what kind of Aramaic did Jesus speak?
  12. Parashat Bo / פרשת בא
  13. Myth, History, Language, and Reality
  14. Book Review – Biblical Aramaic: A Reader & Handbook by Athas, Avrahami, & Kline
  15. Announcement = Lections, Hebrew and Greek notes, now being posted at another website
  16. Exegesis
  17. Why Are There So Many Bible Translations?
  18. Was Jesus Magical? Larry Hurtado on “Semitic Language in Mark”
  19. Allah in the Bible/Torah
  20. Lord’s Prayer
  21. Aramaic Prayer to Our Father
  22. Your Will Be Done
  23. Aramaic chant
  24. Thaddeus
  25. Bartholomew
  26. Two positions in Syriac and Arabic Christian digital philology at Venice
  27. New book: Apocalyptic Thinking in Early Judaism
  28. Russian soldiers protect children who speak Jesus’ language in Syria
  29. The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities, POLIS
  30. Hebrew language files
  31. Local Newspapers and Learning about the Holocaust and Refugees
  32. The Holocaust and Refugees: Topics and Themes
  33. Refugees Between the Nazi rise to power in 1933 and Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945, more than 340,000 Jews emigrated from Germany and Austria. Tragically, nearly 100,000 of them found refuge in countries subsequently conquered by Germany. German authorities would deport and kill the vast majority of them. The search for refuge frames both the years before the Holocaust and its aftermath.
  34. German Jewish Refugees, 1933–1939
  35. Children during the Holocaust
  36. Jewish Aid and Rescue
  37. Seeking Refuge: Fleeing from the Holocaust – An Educational Website
  38. Summer 1939: all change in England after arrival on the Kindertransport
  39. Notes from Berlin
  40. Every Immigrant is Undesirable: British policy 1905-2018
  41. Kindertransport, 1938–1940
  42. Part of the Family – Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust  video’s by Bibletruth and prophecy
  43. Christadelphians, Kindertransport & rescue from the Holocaust
  44. Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust by
  45. Part of the Family: Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust by 
  46. Jewish refugee children from Children’s Transport (Kindertransport) arrive in the United Kingdom
  47. Jewish refugee children arrive in the United Kingdom
  48. Austrian Jewish refugee children arrive in the United Kingdom
  49. Norbert Wollheim describes working for the Kindertransport (Children’s Transport) program, arranging for Jewish children to leave Germany
  50. Jewish refugee children leave Berlin
  51. Alice (Eberstarkova) Masters describes leaving Czechoslovakia on a Kindertransport (Children’s Transport)
  52. Alice (Eberstarkova) Masters describes going to a home for refugee children in England after arriving on a Kindertransport
  53. Norbert Wollheim describes departure of Kindertransporte (Childrens’ Transports) from Berlin, and the separation of children from their parents
  54. Jewish refugee from Vienna upon arrival in the United Kingdom
  55. History: Sir Nicholas Winton, a true hero, organiser of the Kindertransport
  56. Marie Schmolka – Female Jewish Rescuers
  57. After the Kindertransport: the view from Munich, May–June 1939
  58. The Fictionalisation of the Kindertransports: Moral Lessons from Literature
  59. Kindertransport by Diane Samuels
  60. Interview with Kena Sosa, author of KindertransportMy Family for the War
  61. Escaping Hitler Book signing at Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
  62. Review: Kindertransport @ The Opera House, Manchester
  63. Kindertransport
  64. Come Yew In!: Children on The Move: Imagining the Kindertransport
  65. Staying Jewish Against All Odds
  66. Entry 670: Bi-National
  67. Embers of Compassion
  68. Jacqueline Saper: Two Irans and One Holocaust

7 thoughts on “The way of looking at the Scriptures and the people in this world

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