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What do those Old Words really say?

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Exegesis is the interpretation of a text.  In this case, the exegete will address one word only, not multiple words or phrases in a text.  In some cases we will accept phrases. The words we will study for you are from the Judeo-Christian traditions of the Holy Bible and or the Torah.

The Exegete, Robert Makin, is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Literature.  He studied the ancient languages at Lancaster Theological Seminary of the United Church of Christ in Lancaster Pennsylvania. He studied Hebrew under Max Jaffe a teacher of the boys in his synagogue. Max, aleva shalom, has gone to join his fathers.

How Much?!

As you can well imagine, this is a very time consuming exercise.  To do this for one word, I am charging a base fee of $100.00 - One Hundred Dollars - U.S.  Email me for specific information and proposals.  The price will go up or down, depending on the availability of my time.  If I have the time and the quest is interesting to me, I'll do it for the fun of it and the learning.


The exegetical technique used by Robert Makin is as follows.

1.  Using Young's Concordance we will identify every occurrence of the word in the Holy Writ in the original languages.  We will array the context of the word in each usage, in the original languages, in an attempt to understand the meaning of the word in the context at issue.  In many cases, interpretations in modern English versions of the Bible are dependent on the faith of the interpreter and subject to syntactical scewing as a result.  We can maintain a level of objectivity in our interpretation to avoid error derived from our own philosophical and religious views to try to find the true meaning intended by the author. In doing so, we have the tools to incorporate an understanding of some of the traditions assumed by the writer to be known by the reader.  Some of those understandings have been lost because of the profound antiquity of the text, but not all of them have been lost.  For example:

In the Gospel According to Matthew, chapter 27, verse 46, Jesus is quoted as saying "eloi, eloi, eloi.  Lama Sabachthani." The Christian translators render this passage as saying in English, and in the Koine, "Oh Lord My God, Why have you forsaken me?"  In the Hebrew, the passage literally says, "God! God! God! Why remain I?"  Eloi/Eli = God.  Sabacht = remain.  Ani = I.  (The quote also exists in The Gospel According to Mark Chapter 15 Verse 34.

The quote is from the Book of Psalms #22.  Jewish people had a tradition about that then, and in some places now.  The tradition was for a dying man to recite the 22nd Psalm.  If he was too weak to recite it, if  he was able to get out at least the first line, "Eloi, Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani," the angels will recite the rest of the Psalm for him.  Jesus was a dying, Jewish man following the tradition in which he was raised.  The word for "forsaken" in Hebrew is "NATASH,"  not "SABACHT."

2.   We will provide a written report summarizing our findings and estimating the most probable intent of the author.  We will include mention of the other interpretations we find with comments about them.  If you really want to know what the Holy Writ says, see Matthew 7;7. 


An Interesting Problem:

   Koinε or Biblical Greek is a dead language. No one has spoken it for a long time and when they did speak it, they wrote no dictionaries.  The only way the words can be interpreted is by comparing how they are used in other contexts.  There are dictionaries today for that language, but the writers of those dictionaries are giving cursory opinions, for the most part about what those words mean.  Many of the words in the Holy Writ have been exhaustively researched while others have not been researched at all.  Some words have been taken for granted as to their meaning. "Evil," for example, is one of those words.  In Koine, no noun can be without an article so the word "evil" is written "the evil."  It is then translated variously as evil, the evil one, the devil, Satan and on and on when the word should usually be translated as simply, "evil."

   This misuse of that word has given rise to faith in an evil alternate to God.  Other confusing usages in Koine are translated by nip and by tuck, so to speak.  An expression we find in the Koine frequently is a redundant use of "the."  "The evil the evil," today is usually translated as "this evil."  The double "the" is treated as a specifying article that is more intense than "the," so it's rendered as "this." This interpretation of the double "the" is probably correct.  The occasional misuse of "the" brings about misunderstandings.  A question that remains unanswered is this.  When a single "the" appears in the Greek by mandate of the syntax, is it correct to translate it to "the" in English, or should it be translated as "a," a non-specific article?  That would result in the translation of "the Evil," to simply a generic "evil."

    It's easy to wind up running in circles after one's own tail, as it were, with these discussions.  When we exegise a word or phrase, we will acknowledge uncertainty where it exists.  Pontificating on meaning is a job for Popes.  The job of the scholar is honest inquiry and honest reporting.