Isaiah (1)

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2018. Now the post is separated in each language. For the English version, see this.

The Tripartite Division of Isaiah and the Problem of the Authorship of the Book of Isaiah (1)

Have you ever heard of the terms, such as Second Isaiah (or Deutero-Isaiah) and Third Isaiah (or Trito-Isaiah)? These are quite common terms for Hebrew Bible scholars but, I guess, not for most lay Christians. If you have a good sense of intuition, you would know that these words have something to do with the author of the book of Isaiah. If you have a little better sense of intuition, then you may even notice that these words suggest that the historical Isaiah is not the only one who is responsible for the composition of the book of Isaiah.

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What/Who on earth is Qohelet?

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see  this.

Qohelet is the protagonist of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible. In some (older) English translations, including ESV, KJV, ASV, RSV, and WEB, the word “Qohelet” is translated as “the Preacher.” In some other translations, such as NIV and NRSV, the word appears as “the Teacher.” Additionally and unusually, Good News Bible (GNB) takes the word as the “Philosopher,” and Common English Bible (CEB) as “the Teacher of Assembly.” Among the translations, the most well-known designation is the “Preacher.” But Qohelet is not really a preacher or a teacher in the sense that we usually understand the terms. Perhaps, Qohelet could be seen as a teacher, since his writing, known as Ecclesiastes, is edifying after all. But the Hebrew word, “Qohelet,” does not mean “teacher.” Also, we do not call every speaking subject who provides moral and intellectual lessons teacher.

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Old Testament vs. Hebrew Bible

Ideological Issues of the term, “Old Testament”

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see here

Christian Scripture, commonly called “the Bible,” is divided into two sections, the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament comes first in the Bible and occupies an enormously large portion of it, compared to the New Testament. The “New Testament,” of course, means a new covenant, whereas the “Old Testament” gives an impression that this particular corpus of texts is something old: so it is perhaps obsolete or inferior to the new covenant. I know Christians don’t think this way, but, in terms of the designations themselves, it is true that people rarely think that something “old” is equal to or better than something “new.” Even Jesus says “no one puts new wine into old wineskins” (Luke 5:37). For this reason, there are people who don’t like the name “Old” Testament, and some of them prefer the term “the First Testament.” Despite the limitations or the negative connotations of the name “Old” Testament, however, most Christians seem reluctant to replace the old name with the alternative. That is, perhaps, because they are so deeply familiar with the name “Old Testament.” Or maybe they think that the designations are not a big deal, as far as they are aware that the Old Testament is as important as the New Testament. In other words, even though the “Old Testament” is not the best designation for the corpus of these texts, the discussed problems do not strongly motivate most Christians to seek an alternative for the “Old Testament.” With respect to this point, the mentality of many biblical scholars would probably be the same. Nevertheless, most biblical scholars, whom I know or read, usually prefer the “Hebrew Bible” to the “Old Testament.” Then what on earth caused them to abandon their old habit, to push them out of their comfort zone, and to use an alternative, “Hebrew Bible?”

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Solomon or Qohelet?

Solomon or Qohelet?

*This post was originally posted in two languages (Korean and English) back in 2017, and now I separated it into two. For a Korean version of the post, see this

Ecclesiastes. . . . A problematic biblical text that entails many intriguing questions. Among them, the real identity of the protagonist of the book is, perhaps, the reader’s very first task that should be carried on to understand the text. If you have learned that the main speaker of the book is Solomon if you believe it with no doubt whatsoever, and if you have never been curious about the identity of the protagonist of the book, you might probably have never thought how many intriguing questions the text generates. If you are like this type of reader, this article may be able to open your eyes to see very different or maybe shocking aspects of the book. But don’t be afraid. We are simply going one step closer to this text’s historical aspects.

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Ecclesiastes Translation Series (10): “your creator” (Eccl 12:1)

Remember your creator in the days of your youth

NRSV Eccl 12:1

According to Gen 1:1, God created the heavens and the earth. Christians and Jews all believe that God is the creator of the universe. So, there seem to be no substantial problems or issues to discuss on the term “your creator” in Eccl 12:1. But if you read the Hebrew text of the verse, there certainly are some issues. 

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