This blog deals with the general issues of music in the inspired text. This is a longer followup to comments in last week's blog. The tools we use to spot editors in the text can spot also problems with Christian music. I use an example below to show how this might work.
Regular readers here know that Ryan recently finished an editing pass across the BRB where he inserted poetry formatting for every passage known to have some sort of verse or rhyming structure.
To speed this along, he pulled out an English translation and paged through it end to end, and added verse tags to the BRB to follow known conventional poetry formatting.
Since finishing that work he has repeatedly commented to me how very important that round of tedious editing was to helping to spot other issues in the text.
Ryan was using a Bible translated from the Hebrew and Greek texts. For the purposes of formatting, this should not have mattered much. Those texts usually vary from the Aramaic by simple translation differences.
One of the things Ryan noticed was that in some places the Aramaic should probably have poetry formatting done in wildly different ways. The 2 manuscript traditions do not differ by just their word spellings, but by content.
Ryan also noted that the use of short couplets is found across many places that are within otherwise prose passages. You've probably noticed that recently if you are using the BRB or TT at all.
Our general work season is getting prepared to start running the entire text against the audit pattern. We have been working down a long list of other stuff that has bugged us and needs to be fixed before we move forward.
We have also been thinking about how to start applying the audit pattern against the rest of the text. The 10 Commandments was relatively easy to work against the audit pattern once it dawned on us that the short commandments at the end likely followed an inspired pattern down the entire list.
Every long sentence early in the Commandments was likely just bulked up, either with commentary or conditions. Once we were looking for the key ideas, we could then manually pick out the short phrases and find the word list that passes the letter level audit.
There are a few points left in that work. Those points solve once we have a better word list in an inspired lexicon. In the Commandments, the audit pattern itself allows for some limited variation especially in the words at the very front of the commandments.
So our problem is building up a list of inspired words so the recovery puzzle is word based and less based on every single letter.
Where should we start first when looking for those words?
Proverbs is a possible starting place for this recovery work. Why? Much of proverbs is built up from short, stand alone, sentences. Proverb has a sentence structure very similar to the Commandments.
So conceptually, every single proverb could be run against the audit pattern. Some proverbs will pass, some not. Some will pass but with spelling corrections. (Most will need spelling corrections. Added vowels are everywhere.)
As individual proverbs pass the audit, then the words known to be used in the inspired text will grow. The lexicon will begin to take form. At the same time, each word in the lexicon will have at least 1 inspired use. How words are used in the grammar will start to become evident.
The link here is to Proverbs chapter 1. The key quote is verse 2. To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding. There is of course more there, but it is starting on the idea that it is about words and language and how these things work.
Proverbs is not really a dictionary, but it may be functioning in some way that builds upon the letter definitions. Words already carry dictionary definition based on their spelling. So proverbs may step up a level and provide understanding involving the simple use of those words in sentences.
So dictionaries as we know them now might not be a proper tool. Proverbs might be the inspired way to build up understanding of words and simple grammar.
This literary purpose suggests Elisha as the inspired writer, or perhaps the inspired collator. Elisha appears to have been funded by Namaan to build a house for the prophets at the Jordan river. At that location he would have wanted such a book for the young prophets in his care. Those young people are called out in Proverbs 1.
So Proverbs is in poetic structure, but probably not intended for use in song. There are other places where poetic structure is clearly used for song. Let me give you a good example.
The link here is to the song which was sung after the Exodus.
The song itself in some sense is retelling the story of the Exodus. This is something to that generation like the patriotic songs of the modern USA. In the modern case, the close of the Civil War was the basis for many of the well know patriotic songs of today. Think Battle Hymn of the Republic, as but 1 example.
This song from Moses' day is likely intended to teach young people about their history. It is likely an inspired song. There are several likely edits.
The divine name has been changed. The Aramaic and Hebrew severely disagree on the divine name. Hebrew appears to be using an actual divine name, Aramaic is instead using a title. There are likely many spelling changes that we have yet to consider. We may find other editing details as we go.
So at least 1 full and long song is likely inspired. So music as a form is not lost on inspired text. It can be used anywhere else, it is not itself a marker of an editor's hand.
So what about Psalms?
There are 150 of them in printed Bibles. The Hebrew version of the Psalms often includes some sort of introductory phrase. These are usually printed in special fonts in modern Bibles. In the computer file formats for the Psalms these are usually addressed as a verse 0. Bible printers usually do not display that number 0.
None of those Psalms introductions exists in the Aramaic manuscript files we have in our collection. This itself is a problem, Hebrew and Aramaic must have diverged relatively recently. Because the editing pattern involves adding to older texts, the Hebrew side must have grown these verses. The Aramaic side remained the same, likely by then located in some other geographic place.
The Hebrew version of the Psalms also include many musical notations. The term Selah is a good example. These terms are found in Psalms verses in Hebrew but these terms are not found in Aramaic.
Both of these clues indicate recent editing of the Hebrew, say in the modern era, but before the year 1000 when the WLC was being formalized.
A content review of Psalms is more troubling. Most of the Psalms have content problems that mark their creation after the Babylonian exile. That content, alone, has caused us to reject Psalms as an inspired work at all.
We will, of course, run the audit against every Psalm to see if this hunch is correct. We may look again through the individual Psalms to see if there might be something inspired hidden within. Elisha, running his prophet's house by the Jordan, would be the likely responsible author. Of course he could have been collating inspired songs that were originally penned by others.
Last week the Table of 400 stories was enlarged. It can now hold 500 stories. Part of that expansion was to allow for study of Proverbs and Psalms. More on this when we find anything.
I have been working nearly constantly on my computer, working on build environment and content refresh across our various websites and apps. There has been very little shop work over the past 3+ months that would normally get me away from the computer.
To help with the monotony, I have been playing music on my laptop at the same time. Sometimes I play music I learned from Christian radio after getting saved. Some music is from my own Church history. Some of the music I have been playing is on current Christian playlists.
I eventually started thinking about the lyrics in modern Christian music. This is an obvious thing to do. The Psalms themselves are trouble, so to is modern Christian music.
We spot edits in the text based on what we know about the editors. Those villains have various topical themes. Those non-inspired themes show up across the Bible. Those negative themes counter the virtues. The more familiar we have become with those themes, the easier the hand of editors are to spot.
Listening to Christian music from my past caused me to think about lyrics the same way as I think about the text. You can do this too.
For any given lyric ask yourself, What inspired this song? Was it some inspired passage? Or was it a passage from an editor? Or even, at times, did some young person take a phrase from a sermon and not base it on scripture at all?
On some topics we have been told by Joshua that he hates those topics. Sacrifice is perhaps his most hated topic. So any song about the 'blood of Jesus' is going to be a song that Joshua hates with a passion. We are not to venerate his death, but marvel at his resurrection.
There were enough songs with trouble in my playlist of familiar music that I went looking for alternatives. How about a little George Strait? That worked for awhile too. After awhile, driving around Texas visiting bars gets dull. How about Christmas music? In season, some of that is OK, some not. Christmas music, though, often touches on Choir music. Now, that was an idea.
I have never listened much to choir music. I have never attended a church with a big choir. Hymns come from an earlier era. Content in hymns is very different than popular Christian music.
In particular Hymns were more commonly based on some passage or theological point that comes from the text. These songs were generally printed in Hymnals. So they went through a publisher's theological review process.
Hymns are devoid of problems caused by the young and clueless. Hymns are generally old enough that modern Jewish and other godless music promoters had no hand in promoting hymns.
So for variety I started listening to choir music. The most prolific of those on Youtube is the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. From a variety stand point this was better. But eventually it got dull and a few songs were so bad I had to skip them by hand. Choirs are not limited to Hymns. So I looked around for alternatives.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is the other very prolific choir. My Christian history sort of cringes when I think about that choir, they do at times sing about Mormon specific theology. That really is cringe worthy.
I also know folks on this blog who have been discriminated against by Mormons. My mom's professional work history included work as a regional supervisor for a well known national youth organization. Various communities that she served had trouble with girls who had suffered incest. That incest was known to my mom and her staff as common in some heavily Mormon communities. This was because incest is part of Mormon theological history. So Book of Mormon incest is imitated in Mormon families. So wandering into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as a source of music is something done with some trepidation.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is also interesting because of the Qu Map. The Paleo Letter Pe is on the US national map at Salt Lake. The letter deals with language and song. Proper understanding of the entire prophetic map of the USA requires that we understand Mormons and accept them as part of the country. If we judge them by their city, Salt Lake far surpasses the cities of New York, Washington DC and San Francisco for most of the other moral attributes.
So their choir performances are as important to understand as performances near the Epcot Ball in Disney World in Florida. Listening to their choir as a huge prophetic group of performers is itself very interesting.
So, yes, I must confess, I have been listening to a long Mormon Tabernacle Choir playlist on Youtube Music while I have been also working on my computer. (No wonder I keep accidentally deleting files.)
Most of that choir's music, at least on Youtube, is common Christian Hymns. They also include Christmas music. They have a long list of patriotic music. Also, to my surprise, they also do many songs from the popular culture especially from movie sound tracks.
But, when I am paying attention at all, I am listening with the same ear I use to think about inspired text. Which of the 6 villains provide the song's theme? If not from a villain, then what inspired passage is providing the theme?
One song, in that long Mormon Tabernacle Choir playlist, hit me strongly. I was not expecting anything like that to happen. I am coding, after all.
Through Heaven's Eyes
The content and title, Through Heaven's Eyes, suggested it was built on an inspired scriptural theme. As a first guess, I assigned a possible base text for that song to John 3:9-12, where Joshua is telling Nicodemus that Joshua cannot tell Nicodemus about things in the sky. Nicodemus was not using heaven's eyes.
Joshua was politely telling Nicodemus that he was going to die because Nicodemus' own training prevented him from being able to learn about the things of the sky. Nicodemus would only survive if he made a complete and radical and immediate change away from his tightly held, sacrifice based, religious beliefs.
Nicodemus is a pattern that informs all current Christian leaders. As a community they are responding to world events by doubling down on their false theology. They are throwing their hats in the ring with genocide. They are agreeing with the crucifixion of Joshua. Their city will not survive the Romans who will come along soon enough.
Most Christian leaders do not want to take stock of what is going on. O'Biden is winning. At least the Mormons are having children. Egypt is now being overrun.
About once a day, that song has rolled through the playlist. It was standing out. Every time I heard that song, all these ideas kept coming back to mind. All I wanted to do was weep.
Eventually, I wondered, was there a specific origin story for this song? Something that might cheer me up? Where did in come from? What was the actual inspiration? Was it something less depressing than Nicodemus? With not much work, I found it.
This song is from an animated Dreamworks movie. It was released 1998. The movie itself is called Prince of Egypt. The movie is a fanciful retelling of the story of Moses from the Book of Exodus. The link here is to a clip of the scene where that song is performed.
The original idea was hatched at Disney, but Disney, even in the mid 1990s, did not want Biblical movies. The seeds of Woke theology were already being sown. As an independent movie it was a smash hit. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir simply picked it up as they do so many other movie theme songs.
This particular song is set in the desert, timed when Moses was working as a shepherd. Moses was getting married and raising his children. He was not yet old enough to be called. Reuel, also called Jethro, is the man doing the singing, giving advice to young Moses. The idea is simple, you never know how you might be used in the future. Just like Nicodemus, you must get your head out of Egypt.
In the text, Reuel is an heir of Esau. Reuel is also called a priest. This might mean Reuel taught Moses the inspired language and early texts. That family history might have been erased from Moses' line while in Egypt. Nicodemus certainly had that problem.
Note I suspect Moses had to personally go through the same relearning process that he would later ask of the people still in Egypt. My Nicodemus hunch is still valid for this song, even with a different real theme story.
In the animation linked above, there is a mountain looming high in the distance. It is hinted at in the lyrics of the song. Climbing that mountain was still future in Moses' life.
OK, I only knew this by Mormon Tabernacle Choir sound track. So I went looking around. I found a full video of the performance of this song in the sanctuary in Salt Lake City.
This is in the building of the Pe letter. Visiting the choir room in Salt Lake is like riding inside the Epcot ball in Florida. Consider this a Qu Map field trip to the Pe.
Enjoy and reflect.