This week's talk introduces the Paleo Language system of determining word definitions. Also this week are updates to the TT, BRB, and BOM.
In traditional Bibles there is a huge problem with word definitions. The normal tool for this is a lexicon. A cross-language dictionary that explains what a word means.
The problem, though, is no dictionary survives from history that explains what words mean. Lexicons are constructed by looking at how the words are typically translated. This is the only source of definition available to lexicon builders.
A times, say with Greek words behind the NT, there are additional ancient documents, which can also be consulted. But, in the end, the problem of word definition is always solved by looking at uses of specific words.
So when you use a Lexicon, asking what the word means, you are not consulting an authoritative source. Instead you are looking at modern consensus as to what the word means.
You should recognize this as a circular argument and thus it is invalid. No Lexicon is ultimately provably correct. Words could have easily drifted across the centuries. Especially considering the theological debates that have surrounded specific words, you should see this process as invalid.
Preachers, who give word definitions in support of their sermons, are thus grandstanding and not giving a valid argument.
Lexicons also inherently assume the text being translated is trustworthy. This is also an invalid assumption.
Finished in 1008 AD, the Old Testament Hebrew was rewritten using a language feature called vowel points. The writers of the day were inventing changes in order to rewrite and hide history. Though the base letter sequences were the same as earlier manuscript sources, vowel points were used to change the meaning of otherwise embarrassing or troubling words.
The editors of the day were erasing stories that were causing them political trouble. It appears they were hiding history in order to support the eventual return to Modern Israel. There may have been other motives, but discovery of those awaits a fully audited text.
Modern Lexicons build atop this major historical crime. They depend on the vowel pointed sources. They do not provide any visibility back to the inspired but hidden stories.
The idea that God himself would write a book that degenerate men could easily rewrite is the false premise in this discussion. This is an unstated, false, premise across most of Christian practice.
The Inspired Alternative
When we took a Hebrew class, many years ago, the instructor gave us general principles to see back, and thus read back, through the known history of edits.
The first principle was to learn to read the text without any attention to the vowel points. "Jesus read the Old Testament without Vowel Points, why should you?" A firmly stated condemnation against the entire modern Christian literary tradition.
The second principle was to learn to spot and ignore added vowel letters. This was an earlier editing pass that functioned the same as vowel points. Our instructor did not see this as malicious in intent, but our later study showed this to be so. Inspired 'King' to uninspired 'Angel' is our best early example of this editing pass. By the way, this could easily be seen by anyone else who took the same class.
The third principle was that Paleo Hebrew letters have meaning that drive the meaning of words. Students were taught to learn Paleo Hebrew letter forms at the same time as learning modern Hebrew letter forms. The instructor insisted we mentally substitute from the modern Hebrew forms to the Paleo Hebrew forms in real time during reading.
(As a programmer, with access to computerized texts, it seemed easier to just rewrite the text into that earlier form... I digress.)
The fourth principle taught to us in Hebrew class was to learn those Paleo Hebrew letter meanings in order to check word definitions. The Paleo Hebrew letter shapes are small pictograms, so the meanings map to their shape.
Note how this is the path to eliminate the circular reasoning used in modern Lexicons. The structure of this approach allows for a valid definition for words in the text. Our tests at the time suggested it would also work for Aramaic. The only issue was the tests taught in Hebrew class for added vowel letters would need to be expanded to cover Aramaic word forms. This is especially so with Aramaic word endings.
The letter meanings given in class were roughly accurate for only 11 of the 22 Hebrew letters. That system had no sense of secondary definitions. We had much more work ahead of us, but it was a start. This was the most important lesson we would ever receive in the area of the Hebrew language. I hope you get this lesson too.
Ryan and I, as we worked out the 3D models, found our Hebrew class workbook had about 1/2 of the letter definitions incorrect. So the principles taught in class were reasonable, but the the exact tooling and thus final definitions had trouble.
Many years before I had been reviewing a study of historical timelines, which also had unusual interpretation of time. The writer of that work had a valid structure to his argument, but he had numerous detailed errors.
The same happened here with Hebrew. The structure of the argument was correct, but individual letters had trouble. It would take much work to correctly restate the argument so it did not have problems.
This Week's Talk
The talk this week goes through a series of sample Paleo vocabulary words. I expect the spelling for these words to turn out to be inspired. I had a much longer list of words to choose from, but they risk being uninspired. I may still have uninspired words in the talk, but this is a good place to start.
For each word I show how the letter definitions apply to the word. At this point it is something of an art, but it will settle down into a practice as our other work completes.
For each word, I give both the primary and secondary definitions so you can see how the system works. We expect this definition system to apply across every word in the entire inspired text.
I intend this as a brief introduction, so you can think about the definition process against the common use of Lexicons. I hope you catch a vision of how this will eventually work. No more Humpty Dumpty from Alice in Wonderland, where he gets to make any word mean anything he wants.
This week the BOM website has updates in the Ezekiel Case. I'm preparing a talk for that case and found trouble in 1 of the cells. The design files are updated to fix. Because we are working on the house most days, I will not be 3D printing my own copies of the fix until late this year.
The TT and BRB have changes in Joel and Acts 2. This edit ties some of the quotes together better.