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An Explanation of Resources

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing all of the beliefs stated on these links.

Bibles

Linguistics and Semiotics

Linguistics and semiotics are a couple of areas where we in the Hebrew Roots Movement make errors. I recommend studying these two topics and these links will give one author's analysis of semiotics. Ferdinand de Saussure was a Swiss linguist who well formulated and graphed some theories concerning communication. He is often called the "Father of Semiotics." These excerpts from his book may help clarify the difficulties in translation and the reason there is such debate on the meaning of Scripture. He who is best informed is the most likely to win the debate. I hope to add other essays later that may help us develop on this topic. These will be a deep plunge into the ocean of semiotics. Be prepared to think.

From the Hebraic Perspective

  • Gesenius Hebrew Grammar
    HEINRICH FRIEDRICH WILHELM GESENIUS (1786-1842), German Semitic language scholar and biblical critic, was born at Nordhausen, Hanover. In 1803 he became a student at the University of Helmstadt specializing in philosophy and theology. Heinrich Henke was considered to be his most influential teacher. He later took courses at Göttingen, where J. G. Eichhorn and T. C. Tychsen were his mentors. In 1810 he became professor in theology at the University of Halle. In spite of many offers he spent the rest of his life at the University of Halle. He taught over thirty years. He quickly became the most popular teacher of Hebrew and of Old Testament exegesis in Germany. He died at Halle in October of 1842 at 66 years of age. Gesenius is credited with being the first to review Hebrew and other Semitic languages with strictly a scientific method and his work is considered some of the best by both Jewish and Christian sources.
  • New Testament Commentary
    by Hebrew Roots teacher John Lightfoot, 1602-1675
  • J.B. Lightfoot on the Style of John's Gospel
    A Lightfoot of another era, J. B. Lightfoot, an Anglican Bishop, who also found interest in the Hebraic nature of the Apostolic Writings.
  • Some scholarly reviews
    of Hebrew scholarship throughout the ages.

Targums

The Targums are Aramaic translations/paraphrases that were orally passed down centuries prior to Yehoshua’s life on this earth. Sometime in the 5th to 7th century AD Jewish scribes wrote down these oral traditions. Their existence came about as a result of the Babylonian captivity. When Judah returned from Babylon, the Jewish children had grown up in a society that spoke Aramaic rather than Hebrew. It became necessary to translate the sacred Scriptures into Aramaic so as to communicate these truths to the next generation. Since these translations were not considered the sacred Scriptures, it gave the translators liberty in expressing somewhat more clearly the traditions of some verses. Thus, texts that were considered to have messianic prophecies in them were paraphrased in such a way as to clearly reveal their messianic content.

By the first century AD these traditions were orally transmitted in the synagogues after the Torah readings. These ancient traditions contain the messianic expectations of first century Aramaic speaking Jews. They are a missing link between the Christian Messianic teachings of the New Testament and the Masoretic text.

It wasn’t until the late 1800s that any of these were translated into English. They were considered useless with regards to Textual Criticism. While that may be true, their value is great for context to the New Testament. When reviewing New Testament references to the messianic passages of the Tanack, always check out how they read in these texts. Other references may also become clearer if they are read from the Targums. These should not be considered as proof of a doctrine, merely as context explaining the understanding of the first century Christians and their audience.

Peshitta

The Peshitta (meaning simple) is the official authoritative texts of the Syrian church. Much of the Syrian church still speaks Syriac, a version of Aramaic used during the time of Messiah. There is some dispute between the Churches of the East and those of the west concerning the language of the original documents of the New Testament. The Churches of the East claim Aramaic to be the original language of the New Testament while the Churches of the West claim Greek to be the original language. The Church of the West will admit that some books such as Matthew and Hebrews were originally written in "the tongue of the Hebrews" which could mean Aramaic. The word Hebrew could have been a term used to describe Aramaic in the 3rd and 4th Centuries AD since most Hebrews during that time spoke Aramaic. Syriac is Aramaic written in a cursive type script. The script is called Estrangela and is a distinguishing difference between something said to be written in Aramaic and something said to be written in Syriac.

Dry Bones Restoration Company does not necessarily agree with the Syrian churches position that the New Testament was written in Syriac rather than Hebrew or Greek, nor do we agree with the Western Churches position. Truth often is lost in the desire to win an argument. However, the Peshitta is one of the oldest extant documents of the New Testament. It should be considered a very important document on that alone. In addition, the Gospel of John is dependant upon the Aramaic language to tie its first chapter to that of the 1st chapter of Genesis. Read Targum Jonathan for Genesis one, then the Peshitta for John one. You will be enlightened by reading the Peshitta in other texts also. There are several projects translating the Peshitta into English at this time, and there are other translations that have recognized the value of its text. Most of these are in process. George Lamsa, by publishing his translation of the Peshitta in the early 50's, inspired this new generation to look at the Peshitta as an important text in understanding the Bible. This version has just come back into print after many years of being out of print. Please contact us for information on purchasing this Bible.

Historical Writings

These are writings that provide context to Scripture.

Evidences of a Semitic Origin to the New Testament

Maps

Often context is completely lost when we don’t know the area that an event took place in. We will try to make available many maps that will help in understanding the Bible texts. Pay close attention to scale when reading maps. Sometimes places are only a few miles apart, but on the map look to be great distances because of the scale we are acquainted with in America. Remember, maps are like any other document and reflect the belief and study of the one making the map. They are no more inerrant than their creators.

Time Line

A time line is an invaluable source to the serious student of the Bible. One must know who are contemporaries of one another in order to get a complete understanding of the times. Sometimes two prophets are speaking to the same people, but there are other times when a prophet may be confronting a king or people far removed in time from a like-sounding prophecy of another prophet. Time lines will help to orderly align events so the student can get a better historical view of the Bible and the events it records. Remember, writings never have a date of 764 BC written on them, so it is often speculation exactly when some of these events took place. The most accepted time line will probably have several errors in it. I will attempt to present varying positions and let you chose the one that seems to be the best according to your understanding.

Archaeology

Miscellaneous