Thursday, 17 January 2013

RELIGION OF DRAGON IN OLD TESTAMENT Some notices. A Study by Pasi K Pohjala, January 08, 2013. In Series VERRE ET BIBLE. 1/10 (pages 1-4) Readers may think that writings of Old Testament do not positively describe religion of dragon and religious practises of dragon cult. This is actually one very interesting discussion in study of Old Testament, the Hebrew Old Testament and ancient translations of Old Testament. However, study of positive descriptions of dragon religion in Old Testament is also regrettably quite rare and usually merely concisely in academic Bible studies noticed, or almost bypassed. Hopefully this study therefore may contribute to more knowledge and serious discussion of Old Testament dragon religion and Old Testament religiosity where Snakes were hallowed in the cultic practises. Well known, many ancient religions highly esteemed dragons and snakes and these were often connected with oracles and ancient practises of healing, and also state cult. For example, the famous KERUKEION staff of Hermes was snake staff, one or two snakes winding around the staff. In realities of ancient world, it is fully comprehensible and understandable that also Old Testament religion positively notices snakes and dragons. We first consider Isaiah 14 where also snakes and Seraphim are described. Isa 14:29 writes “Rejoice not, all Philistia, Because the staff of him that beat you is broken. For from the stock of a snake there sprouts an asp, A flying seraph branches out from it” (Tanakh translation) Every serious study aiming at contributing to serious scholarly Bible study should always make clarification of concepts and words. This statement in Isaiah 14:29 is thus very important in noticing the STAFF thus alluding to snake staff (or Caduceus) and also noticing different species, noticing in modern English rendition thus a snake, an asp and a flying seraph. We notice that SRP words notice to burn and to consume; the noun notices a Seraph, an angelic being and also that SRP notices burning, venomous serpents (see J 1633). In this description of Isaiah 14:29 thus is noticed apparently being that is appropriately denoted as DRAGON, because now is especially noticed also its “flying”. Indeed, the consensus of scholarly translation traditions of Biblical Hebrew into modern languages reflected in Gesenius and its English translation BDB does explicit notice the English word DRAGON as translation of SRP (vocalised Seraph) in Biblical Hebrew. Thus the BDB article of SRP (BDB 977) renders this with “serpent, usu. venomous; or a flying serpent, or dragon”. Translators thus also here may slightly differently translate with transliterated “seraph” or “serpent”, or DRAGON, each of these well within the modern main ACCEPTED scholarly translation traditions. Now we here especially emphasise that rendering here with English DRAGON thus well is within widely accepted scholarly academic translation traditions; from the practise of translating, we simply know that some translators wish to write otherwise, merely with transliterated word “Seraph” or with the appropriate although less specific word “snake”. But importantly, English word DRAGON indeed is here one widely and well accepted word in scholarly academic traditions, and EVERY READER easily can find this translation in the widely known important BDB lexicon (that is mostly English rendering of German GESENIUS). And the reason why such word DRAGON is not usually found in usual modern translations of Bible of this statement, is merely the preferences of the group of translators who have written such translations; usually modern Bible translations are prepared by a devoted committee of learned translators and many interesting renderings simply may have not achieved the majority of votes when such committee is preparing the translation. Also it happens that majorities in such votes are determined by illnesses of some Committee members who were regrettably prevented from attending some meeting and vote because of serious illness regrettably occurring during that important time. And the work of a translation committee has duration of several years and in committees regrettably some older Members pass away during the time of work of such Translation Committee so that their important learning cannot contribute to the work of the Committee during the whole time of such Committee and their attendance is seriously hampered in their later times for their illness. Some translations have enhanced public knowledge of such plausible and well possible alternative translation choices in circulating some footnotes to the translation or even lengthier shorter commentaries to some debated statements. Hopefully in our times of AD 2013 we already could publish Bible translations in such method that well motivated and accepted translations might be fully stated in a published footnote with noticing that in there the translation committee was divided and the main text achieved the majority of votes of the Committee but the alternative quoted in footnote represents important translation tradition that was seriously discussed in the Committee as possible alternative translation, although in the vote majority of learned members of the Committee did not support such translation. Thus the modern Readers would be much better informed of such important issues in Bible translation and public knowledge and discussion of Bible comprehension would thereby be enormously much promoted! The currently considered Isa 14:29 is of particular importance for its thus specifying the words and especially noticing different types of thus designed snake style beings. Thus we consider this statement in the Greek Septuagint translation tradition, writing that ME EUFRANTHEIEETE, PANTES OI ALLOFULOI SUNETRIBEE GAR O ZUGOS TOU PAIONTOS HUMAS EK GAR SPERMATOS OFEOON EKSELEUSETAI EKGONA ASPIDOON, KAI TA EKGONA AUTOON EKSELEUSONTAI OFEIS PETOMENOI The main Greek Septuagint MSS well support this Greek translation where OFIS and ASPIS snakes are noticed. Now it is very important to notice that Greek New Testament the Revelation 12 writes very powerful image of a nourishing dragon, and the scholars usually see here allusion also to currently discussed Isaiah 14:29; also this emphasises dragon traditions of Isaiah 14. Thus, appropriately, we consider the Hebrew statement that in Isaiah 14:29 writes HJH HMSA HZH AL TSMHJ PLST KLK KJ NSBR SBT MKK KJ MSRS NHS JZA ZPY WPRJW SRP MYWPP This statement of Hebrew Bible importantly notices thus types NHS and ZPY and SRP MYWPP. The NHS is the usual NAHAS word of Hebrew Bible that usually there designates snakes; and the ZPY is another type of snakes. Now the SRP MYWPP here notices the SERAPH and importantly specifies that this SERAPH is winged by stating the MYWPP. Appropriately thus this is rendered into English with word DRAGON. Importantly we notice here then written references to KR and DL that also designate water containers and water buckets- indeed often are DRAGONS noticed as guardians of wells and springs. In this description of NHS, ZPY and SRP snakes and dragons, we now importantly notice mention of the SBT that is the SBT staff or rod; language of this statement in Hebrew Bible thus specially notices SNAKE STAFFS. Emphatically, here in the Greek translation is the KERUKEION staff of messengers noticed, because Septuagint translation here writes of SUNETRIBEE GAR O ZUGOS where Readers with comprehension of religion easily notice letters G,R,U,G,O and S that here make clear reference to culture of KERUKS messengers and their KERUKEION staffs (those also known as CADUCEUS). Notoriously writes Isaiah 46 that “To whom can you compare Me or declare Me similar? To whom can you liken Me, so that we seem comparable? Those who squander gold from the purse And weigh out silver on the balance, They hire a metal worker to make it into a god” (Tanakh translation of Isaiah 46:5-6) The Hebrew Bible concludes this statement writing JSKRW ZWRP WJYSHW AL. We are now considering the Seraphim, the dragons, in Old Testament religion, so that here noticed ZWRP now is notorious. In Biblical Hebrew the SPR notices Seraphim, or dragons, and verb SRP notices to burn, thus noticing how fire or flames burn. More specifically in Biblical Hebrew the ZRP notices to smelt and to refine, specially smelting metals. 864 Now is the YSH usually comprehended here of the YSH verb, to do or to make. But YSH also can denote a staff or rod, understandably for staffs and rods being devices for making and many doings; this is importantly usual in Arabic. We thus read in this statement word ZRP, thereafter the YSH referring to rod and staff and the AL (the EL) refers to God: apparently we here find important ancient reference to CADUCEUS form God, the dragon ZRP and rod here combined to divine EL, the CADUCEUS. It is notably important that here Isaiah so clearly utters questions concerning finding and conceiving likeness of God. Even if tradition severely restricts speculations concerning visual imagery of Deity, now in the current study we mention this important statement. Important statement is also in Psalm 18:29ff noticed “It is You who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. With You I can rush a barrier, with my God I can scale a wall; the way of God is perfect, the word of God is pure; He is a shield to all who seek refuge in Him” (the Tanakh translation). Hebrew Bible here writes HAL (hael) TMJM DRKW AMRT H’ ZRWPH MGN HWA. Here is noticed well that way of God, EL, is perfect (tamim). But following statement writes mysteriously the Tetragrammaton with ZRWPH. Now interesting is the AMRT vocalisation; usually is here found a noun of “word of God”; but also good vocalisation rather finds here verb of AMR rendering “Confess/say! JHWH He is divine Seraph/Dragon (ZRWP-JH) the MGN!” Easily thus is here found notoriously different statement than the statement that Readers usually find in translations- clear encouraging to confession that JHWH is Divine SERAPH or Divine Dragon. (The usual vocalisation comprehends AMRT H’, Divine Word or God’s word and sees this qualified with the adjective ZRWPH as “pure”. But equally good and grammatically well motivated vocalisation of AMRT comprehends this as encouragement for saying or uttering a confession, and the content or formula of that confession is the JHWH ZRWPH MGN HWA. In THIS statement is not the AMRT JHWH qualified and described with the ZRWPH, but rather the Tetragrammaton- thus we find here important confession concerning somehow identity of the JHWH God. This confession JHWH ZRWPH then states that: JHWH IS DIVINE DRAGON, ZRWP-JH In many mythologies is centrally important that Divine Dragon is guardian of fire and light- and indeed, here the usual rendering praises that “It is You who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness”. The whole Psalm 18 notoriously notices how this god is flying upon wings and how from mouth and nostrils of this god fire is blazing, thus very vividly describing fire breathing dragon. For New Testament studies here described TAMIM perfectness, especially via the Greek translation tradition, is important also for comprehending Jesus’ call to his followers to be TELEIOS perfect, so noticed in Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5:48, importantly, in context describing Divine Providence seen in Sun and Rain. Similarly we find in tradition of Psalm 18 recorded in 2 Samuel 22. Also in Psalms we more encounter important description of similar style in Psalm 26 that also writes of tam completeness, this Psalm 26 begins LDWD SPTNJ H’ KJ ANJ BTMJ HLKTJ WBJHWH BTHTJ LA AMYD BHNNJ JHWH WNSNJ ZRWPH KLJWTJ WLBJ KJ HSDK LNGD YJNJ Importantly is also here discovered how JHWH is specified as being the Divine Seraph, ZRWP-JH the Divine Dragon. Here are written two verbs of similar form BHNNJ and WNSNJ where sg.1. suffix is in both written. The subject of first exhortation to BHN examine here clearly is mentioned the Tetragrammaton, and in this formulation of two similar forms BHNNJ…WNSNJ (of verb NSH, so these BHN and NSH generally both notice some surveying and examination) the Readers would wait to discover also the second words denoting subjects of this doing surveying, so that the JHWH and ZRWPH become in this formula both designations of the Divine subject- that is, the ZRWP-JH word thus notices Divine Seraph, the Divine Dragon, this designation here more specifying the JHWH Tetragrammaton. Thus we translate in English clearly and straightforward Probe me, JHWH and try me, O Divine DRAGON In this formulation the designation Divine Dragon (the Seraph) importantly specifies JHWH; that is, this formulation specifies that JHWH is Divine Seraph, Divine Dragon. (We notice that this comprehension is in usually hidden by considering the word ZRWPH not as noun or name designating subject of exhortation NSNJ, but usually this ZRWPH is comprehended as noticing third exhortation, or verb ZRP; and this conveniently hides from Readers that here is JHWH actually specified as Divine Seraph. Importantly, this Psalm 26 and Psalm 18 both consider TAM completeness). Thus we notice statement in MALACHI 3:2 that WMJ HYMD BHRAWTW KJ HWA KAS MZRP Here is clearly described of Divine Vision BHRAWTW stating HWA KAS MZRP. Usually thus is noticed how God is like smelter’s fire KAS MZRP; and this was followed in Verre et Bible 2 Translation 2008. However, when we consider the much more delicate question of identity of god, we indeed find here statement that GOD IS LIKE FIRE WHERE THERE IS DIVINE DRAGON (Seraph) The visual appearance now can be appropriately described as being of style of “smelter’s fire” that describes vividly the vision; but when specific religious language considering divine beings and their doings here is specifically considered we indeed find in Malachi 3:2 the notorious statement GOD IS LIKE FIRE WHERE THERE IS DIVINE DRAGON (Seraph) This statement is, of course, theologically much heavier and more substantial than merely likening appearance of God with description of burning fire like smelter’s fire. Thus we consider some aspects of the mysterious Temple Vision of Isaiah 6; the mystery of Qedusha liturgy and Trishagion. We approach this mysterious text by quoting one very learned current consensus translation from the Tanakh “In the year that king Uzziah died, I beheld my Lord seated on a high and lofty throne; and the skirts of His robe filled the Temple. Seraphim stood in attendance on Him. Each of them had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his legs, and with two he would fly. And one would call to the other Holy, Holy, Holy! The Lord of Hosts! His presence fills all the earth! The doorposts would sake at the sound of the one who called, and the House kept filling with smoke” (the Tanakh translation of Isaiah 6:1-4) This Encountering the Divine is truly powerful. Importance of this profound event is continuously repeated in Jewish Qedusha and Christian Trishagion and Sanctus. The time of whole world would not be sufficient to properly contemplate this hallowed event. We make thus here only some very concise although informative remarks. In the whole Old Testament, this Encountering the Divine is the specifically important episode where Seraphim are noticed. The main question now is whether we reasonably here find that Seraphim merely were attendants of God; or if God Himself thus is here coming forward qua Seraphim. Of course we remember the plural grammatical form of ELOHIM that in Old Testament so usually notices the ONE God. In the Hebrew Bible, the place of these Seraphs is described stating WARAH AT ADNJ JSB YL KSA RM WNSA…(I beheld my Lord…) SRPJM YMDJM MMYL Literally, this Hebrew MMYL not at all designates that such Seraphim were “in attendance” of God; such translation is actually really misleading and erroneous but more ideologically motivated, trying to prevent discussions whether the Lord here Encountered actually IS HIMSELF those Seraphs (clearly Readers may not suppose that beings who are merely “in attendance” of Lord would actually be Lord Himself). But Hebrew text states here the MMYL that usually denotes a place, “there up” or “there in heights”. Readers can easily be fully confirmed of this rendering simply by looking the BDB 751 where the “above” is usual translation for MIMMAL. Neither does this place Seraphs in place higher compared with appeared God and thus create separation of visions of God and Seraphs. Usual lexical meaning of MMYL

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