Re: [asa] Predestined Fame:

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Sun Jul 20 2008 - 05:43:05 EDT

Hi Vernon,

Just a point of clarification prior to bowing out of a discussion which,
as I see it, has no constructive direction remaining in which to turn.

I'm afraid you've been remarkably too optimistic about my "concession"
re the omission of "selah" for, if you reread my post on the matter,
you'll observe that I laid conditions on such an exclusion.

However, as such conditions were obviously not spelled out clearly
enough - thus leading to the quite incorrect perception that I've
changed my mind on the matter - I'll restate my position one final time;

I consider that there are two clear implications of your argument;

(1) If we omit "selah" from the inspired text of Psalm 46 and use the
linguistic/numerological approach to demonstrate the inspiration of the
resultant "tweaked" or "modified" text THEN I take such demonstration as
proof that the original text IS NOT inspired as it erroneously includes
the word "selah".


(2) If we include "selah", then your numerological analysis simply
doesn't demonstrate what you claim for it.

Either way, I'll simply restate my position: your approach, when applied
to the text of Psalm 46 AS ACTUALLY PRESENTED IN THE AV demonstrably fails.

I acknowledge that your approach works when one omits "selah" - but as
"selah" is part of the inspired text you seem to have (again) one of two
options - deny the very theory of inspiration you seek to demonstrate OR
acknowledge that you are, despite assertions to the contrary, "tweaking"
the text in order to demonstrate a theory.

I have to say that I'm genuinely sorry that I'm not able to move in the
direction of a compromise on this matter, but feel compelled to restate
my rejection of your methodology and its conclusions due to the question
begging assumptions and selective appropriation of data which, to my
mind, your theorem requires. Indeed, the more I reflect on the issue,
the stronger my reservations become.

Intellectual honesty requires that I state, quite baldly, that I have no
sympathy with your approach. Nor would I wish anybody on the list to
mistakenly assume that I have found your defense of this position the
least compelling.

Just to add one last contrary observation: note that I haven't even
mentioned to this point those words in Psalm 46 which are found in
italics. As you most likely know italics represent words not found in
the original languages but which are added in order to make sense of the
English translation. In my opinion, such words are CLEARLY more
"dispensable" than "selah" so that if one can reasonably exclude the
later then one can likewise reasonably exclude the former. This is just
one more strike against the entire linguistic/numerological approach
which you've been advocating.

Apologies if you feel I've wasted your time but I certainly don't see
that I'm able to warm to what I still consider a fundamentally flawed

Nor do I wish to try the patience of others on the list by furthering
what must be regarded as an off-topic discussion which, as I earlier
stated, probably has nowhere constructive left to turn.

Murray Hogg
Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology

Vernon Jenkins wrote:
> Hi Murray,
> Here is what you last wrote with my responses interleaved.
> MH> We're on totally different wavelengths as regards our understanding
> of the
> role and nature of Scripture, I'm afraid. My guess is that your puzzlement
> arises from the assumption that we share the same conceptual space on the
> matter.
> VJ> Yes, I guess one learns as one goes along.
> MH> First, I don't consider ANY translation as divinely inspired nor do
> I consider
> the Holy Spirit to be bound by such considerations. It is, basically, a
> distinction between (1) the origins of a text and (2) how we read it
> under the
> influence of the Spirit. Failure to draw such a distinction means that one
> either has to argue that ALL translations of scripture are inspired OR the
> Holy Spirit cannot speak through the "non-inspired" translations (which
> include, what? The NIV? NKJV? RSV? Good News? Non-English translations?).
> Neither seems a desirable position to take. One _might_ adopt a mediating
> position saying that the Spirit speaks most clearly through the AV - but
> there's a MAJOR catch lurking in there which I leave others to discover for
> themselves (that said, ask and ye shall recieve!).
> VJ> While you may not consider any _translation_ to be divinely
> inspired, presumably you'd go along with the Spirit-guided words of the
> Aposle Paul (2Tm 3:16,17) and agree that the _original_ undoubtedly was;
> otherwise, the Holy Spirit speaks with an uncertain voice, does He not?!
> MH> Second, regardless of how you see it, I have said nothing about
> whether one
> can, or cannot, deducing the truth of Scripture by rational argument. All I
> have stated is that I find unconvincing your attempts to demonstrate the
> divine inspiration of the AV by using the particular
> linguistic/numerological
> arguments you have so far advanced. As to whether such arguments are based
> on "self-evident" truth - well, that's precisely the question at issue. You
> think it self-evident that the 46th word from the end of Psalm 46 is
> "spear",
> whereas I consider it self-evident that the word is "in".
> VJ> I thought we had agreed that a _careful_ consideration of the
> circumstances attending Psalm 46 reveals that the concluding 'selah'
> should, logically, be _excluded_ from the reverse word count. You've
> obviously had second thoughts. Would you care to explain your change of
> view?
> But anyway, you must realise that this phenomenon is no isolated case -
> though the easiest of all to comprehend. It is but one of many unique
> and rare events which conspire together to 'spell ' the word 'miracle'
> and thereby raise the status of the whole of the Judaeo-Christian
> Scriptures. I have already drawn your attention to some of these, viz
> and
> MH> I actually dislike saying too much about whether one can "prove"
> anything
> respecting the faith by rational argument as one is almost always
> interpreted
> wrongly on such matters. My experience is that most people take a
> dichotomizing view of faith and reason whilst I would hold that the
> interplay
> between the two is actually far more complex. Personally, I consider
> that the
> Holy Spirit can speak as well through a mathematical proof as through a
> sunset
> or a sermon. But because it IS the Spirit speaking, it is therefore an
> error
> to ask whether it was the proof or the sunset or the sermon or the Spirit
> which convinces. The Spirit works THROUGH such secondary causes, not apart
> from them. So we're not forced to discriminate between the primary cause of
> the God's revelation through the Spirit, and the secondary causes already
> mentioned. I'll only add that my current post-grad studies are PRECISELY on
> the question of how John's Gospel presents God as making himself known
> through
> Christ - quoting Jn 10:37,38 as thought this were ALL that John's gospel
> says
> about the relation between Christ's works and the knowledge of God shows a
> woefully inadequate grasp of John's theology of the Spirit which is,
> essntially, the fact that even when one sees the works of Christ one
> believes
> on the basis of the Spirit enlightening the eyes of the soul THROUGH the
> works. Again, it isn't an "either/or" proposition with regards to secondary
> causes (Christ's works) and primary causes (the witness of the Spirit).
> VJ> Murray, I believe you elaborate too much. All that I am aware of in
> the quoted passage is that the Lord invites those skeptical of his words
> to believe _because_ of the miracles they had seen him perform. Isn't
> that a fair reading of the matter? And doesn't it extend to what I am
> now promoting?
> MH> Incidentally, you might consider that the arguments your are
> presenting are
> not, strictly speaking, "rational" arguments so much as "empirical"
> arguments:
> they hinge on the simple question of whether or not the text of the
> Authorised
> Version AS ACTUALLY WRITTEN shows the characteristics you claim for it. Yet
> what I find is that when I count so many words from such-and-such a
> position
> in the text IT IS DEMONSTRABLY THE CASE that your argument fails UNLESS you
> first "tweak" the data to fit the theory. Not a good game to play amongst
> those attempting to be faithful to the scientific method. It's like arguing
> that "all swans are white" is self-evidently true just so long as one
> disregards the black ones.
> VJ> I believe I've already dealt with this objection. However, you ought
> to know that most of phenomena I speak about are based upon the Hebrew
> and Greek texts of Scripture. If you are interested, the following page
> provides a good overview:
> MH> Third, I consider your position viz-a-viz linguistic/numerological
> arguments
> to be fundamentally flawed for the reasons already given. One simply can't
> argue that the facts ought to be faith strengthening when the facts
> actually
> have to be tailored to fit the faith one wishes to espouse.
> VJ> No tailoring, no tweaking, Murray; just careful observation and
> simple logic.
> Regards,
> Vernon

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Received on Sun Jul 20 05:43:40 2008

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