Author Topic: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15  (Read 1405 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2018, 09:21:15 PM »
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Note that the middle consonant is different.

I notice that graphically, vav and jod look kind of similar (at least in the square script). Is it possible that the word הוא in Genesis 3:15 might just be a misspelling of היא (through scribal error)? Maybe the word was originally היא but somewhere along the lines somebody had bad handwriting and later copyists mistook the jod for a vav? Or vice versâ: maybe הוא is the correct/original spelling and היא is the corrupted reading (which perhaps was in circulation in St. Jerome's day)? Just speculating...
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 09:41:52 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Fleur-de-Lys

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2018, 09:58:39 PM »
Hebrew verbs are also inflected for gender. So, even if the pronoun is unclear, the verb should convey the gender of the subject. It seems unlikely that a scribe could have mistaken both.
 
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Offline aquinas138

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2018, 07:11:41 PM »
Hebrew verbs are also inflected for gender. So, even if the pronoun is unclear, the verb should convey the gender of the subject. It seems unlikely that a scribe could have mistaken both.

A very excellent point. The feminine form of the verb would begin with a different consonant, which is not nearly as similar in appearance.
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2018, 06:55:19 AM »
The serpent's head was crushed at Golgotha: this is the very center of the Christian faith. The Blessed Virgin only crushes the serpent's head in a secondary sense, as the vehicle through which the Logos became flesh. The one actually crushing the serpent is Christ.

No, Christ merited the power to crush the serpent's head at Golgotha, but He did not crush it Himself once and for all. The proof of this is that the devil is active today, still misleading countless souls and causing innumerable sins and untold suffering. The prophetic Woman of Genesis should be compared with the prophetic Woman of the Apocalypse (chapter 12). It is the Woman that wars against the serpent, and the Woman should be understood as Our Lady or the Church, or both. It is ultimately the Church (empowered by Christ) that does battle and triumphs over the serpent in the end times, and we can also see this as being Our Lady who represents the Church archetypically (Mother of the Church, Mother of all believers).
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2018, 02:22:34 PM »
Have you read the testimony of exorcists, Vetus? Every exorcist when fighting against one or many demons invokes the Most Holy Trinity, the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Precious Blood, the Holy Wounds, and then the power and prayers of the Blessed Mother. Christ defeated Lucifer on the Cross and that victory becomes a reality in our lives to the extent He lives in us and repeats it. But He dwells more perfectly in Mary than in all other creatures. Hence, after God, Lucifer fears Her the most, and She is destined to crush him. Exorcists say the devil's pride is humiliated to the utmost in being defeated by a Creature and a Woman, and God has willed it so. What of the Biblical types of Jael, who struck Sisera dead? And of Judith, where the symbolism is so deep and plainly typifies the Virgin Mother, who strikes of Holofernes' head and is praised by her people as blessed among women, because she did not spare her life when her people were in distress. Then there is finally Queen Esther, by whose intercession with the king, Aman's plans were foiled, and Israel saved.

A legion of demons confessed when the Rosary was first given to St. Dominic from Heaven, " She is the Sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles and subtlety. It is she who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares and makes our temptations useless and ineffectual ... Oh if only that Mary (it is thus in their fury that they called her) had not pitted her strength against ours and had not upset our plans, we should have conquered the Church and should have destroyed it long before this; and we would have seen to it that all the Orders in the Church fell into error and disorder." http://www.how-to-pray-the-rosary-everyday.com/demontfort.html After devotion to Mary fell, Orders falling into disorder is precisely what happened. And yet, it is within the plan of God. Recall how victorious Holofernes initially was, before God raised up Judith at the right time to crush him. "13:17 "Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him. 13:18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night." The name Judith means Jewess. The city of Bethulia which figures so prominently means, a consecrated Virgin. Jewish Encyclopedia: "The name "Bethulia" may, therefore, be assumed to be an allegorical one, meaning perhaps "Beth-el" (house of God), or it may be a word compounded of "betulah" and "Jah" ("Yhwh's virgin")." A variant of that is used in the Aramaic Tanakh for Isa 7:14, which the Masoretic text also gets wrong. The Masoretic text cannot be considered completely reliable, because our Evangelists do not use it, as is evident from the Gospel citation of this passage, and St. Jerome had access to older, better Hebrew texts.

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Now, there are a few places where the text has the rarer, archaic form הִוא - that is, spelled like the masculine, vocalized like the feminine. It is found only in the Pentateuch, alongside the more common form, except for one occurrence in Isaiah. There are two instances of this archaic form in Genesis 3, actually, adding to the confusion.

[Before continuing, I freely admit I may well be wrong in my conclusion. Though I am familiar with Hebrew, my specialty is not in that language. And this is admittedly a convoluted issue.]

In 3:12, the "she" in "[she] gave me of the tree" is this rarer form, as it is in 3:20 in "she was the mother of all the living." Now, you could go one of two ways in understanding 3:15:

(1) You could posit that the original unpointed text had the rarer form and that it was commonly misunderstood as the masculine, even though it was supposed to be the rarer feminine form, referring to the woman; the Old Latin (in some manuscripts) and the Vulgate recognized this while other ancient translations did not. The presence of the rarer form in this very chapter indicates that this is at least possible (but maybe not probable). Or,

Thank you, Aquinas, for this clear explanation. So the Vetus Latina also has some manuscripts with the translation, She. St. Jerome certainly cross-referenced the old Hebrew texts he had with the old Latin translations. It all seems to come down to whether the Hebrew word in question was intended by God and the Prophet Moses to be read as Hu or Hi.

Has anyone been able to find the text of Philo mentioned by Fr. Cornelius Lapide? It seems the text of Josephus says Woman in the Latin but not in the Greek. To me, the internal evidence from other Scriptural types mentioned above make 1 more probable.

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(2) The Masoretic text is correct. Typological interpretation, the pronoun being taken as feminine in at least some manuscripts in the pre-Vulgate Old Latin, perhaps a Hebrew manuscript pointed feminine, etc., could have led St. Jerome to read it as feminine, given the rare form being present in nearby verses, even though this is a mistake.

Hmm. What is your opinion, Aquinas, on the other areas where the Masoretic text appears plainly wrong? Certainly, St. Matthew does not cite the Masoretic in Isaiah 7:14. The Septuagint had been translated centuries before Christ and it correctly renders it parthenos or virgin. The Aramaic versions are also better than the Hebrew. Do you think the Hebrew here is correct? If not, does that not make the Masoretic itself doubtful? My opinion is the Septuagint is better, and the Septuagint originally had she in the times of Philo and Josephus. Philo very likely preserves for us the Apostolic interpretation and understanding of the passage, because he spoke to St. Peter and knew St. Mark. The Vetus Latina picked this up, and St. Jerome after comparing with Hebrew texts older than the Masoretic, retained it. St. Jerome wrote after studying some of the old texts to Marcella, "to speak frankly to a friend, I have found several variations which confirm our faith."

One final question to our friends who can read Hebrew here: is it the case, linguistically speaking, that the word for seed, transliterated Zera by Blue Letter Bible, in Gen 3:15 (not considering the parallel passage in Rev 12:17 for now) is in the plural?

According to Blue Letter Bible, the same word is used in Gen 17:10 "This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed  זֶרַע (zera`) after thee" where it seems to be plural, referring to all of Abraham's children in subsequent generations. Therefore, does UP's argument stand?

It goes like this (1) The Pronoun used is a singular Pronoun - it is either He or She, but not They. (2) However, the seed is in the plural, not the singular. (3) Therefore, the Pronoun is not referring to the seed (else it would be the plural they) but linguistically refers to the Woman, and is She. Thoughts?
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Offline Fleur-de-Lys

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2018, 03:51:40 PM »
I’ve asked Jayne to comment.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 04:43:05 PM by Fleur-de-Lys »
 

Offline aquinas138

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2018, 10:39:30 PM »
Hmm. What is your opinion, Aquinas, on the other areas where the Masoretic text appears plainly wrong? Certainly, St. Matthew does not cite the Masoretic in Isaiah 7:14. The Septuagint had been translated centuries before Christ and it correctly renders it parthenos or virgin. The Aramaic versions are also better than the Hebrew. Do you think the Hebrew here is correct? If not, does that not make the Masoretic itself doubtful? My opinion is the Septuagint is better, and the Septuagint originally had she in the times of Philo and Josephus. Philo very likely preserves for us the Apostolic interpretation and understanding of the passage, because he spoke to St. Peter and knew St. Mark. The Vetus Latina picked this up, and St. Jerome after comparing with Hebrew texts older than the Masoretic, retained it. St. Jerome wrote after studying some of the old texts to Marcella, "to speak frankly to a friend, I have found several variations which confirm our faith."

I guess it depends on what we're asking, exactly. From a text-critical standpoint, establishing the original reading kind of approach, the MT is critically important but not infallible. The Hebrew manuscript tradition, even with the variants found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, is much more uniform than either the Septuagint or the Vulgate. That is something that gets lost a lot – there is not really ONE Septuagint or ONE Vulgate, speaking in terms of transmission. The text of the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate was established on doctrinal lines, not text-critical lines. That's not a fault, necessarily, but it just needs to be kept in mind that it's a different kind of project than modern editions.

I, personally, take the Septuagint as the starting point for OT readings. It is the Bible of the ancient Church, even if virtually all modern Western Christians reach for Bible translations based on the MT. I have some perhaps idiosyncratic views on the biblical text and revelation, which I'll leave aside here, but I think it best if each tradition kept its traditional Bible – the Latin Church the Vulgate, the Greeks the LXX, the Syriac Churches the Peshitta, etc. Their respective liturgies and theologies are based on those versions – it does a certain amount of violence to use another version.

In the case of the Isaiah prophecy, from a Christian standpoint, the LXX reading is to be preferred as it is the version quoted in the Holy Gospels.

As for Philo and Josephus, I have yet to see an example in their writings that says "she." I have read Taylor Marshall assert such exists, but I have not actually seen it. As for Josephus, the Greek editions I've looked at in fact do not say "she." I also do not like appealing to imagined versions of a text to support a reading we like. No surviving edition of the LXX in any Christian Church says "she"; I think it is a mistake to argue for or from versions that have not been demonstrated to exist. "She" seems to be largely peculiar to the Old Latin and the Vulgate. I believe it is erroneous from a textual standpoint, but can certainly be read in an orthodox manner. In any event, I do not think "the textual standpoint" is the most important.

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One final question to our friends who can read Hebrew here: is it the case, linguistically speaking, that the word for seed, transliterated Zera by Blue Letter Bible, in Gen 3:15 (not considering the parallel passage in Rev 12:17 for now) is in the plural?

According to Blue Letter Bible, the same word is used in Gen 17:10 "This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed  זֶרַע (zera`) after thee" where it seems to be plural, referring to all of Abraham's children in subsequent generations. Therefore, does UP's argument stand?

It goes like this (1) The Pronoun used is a singular Pronoun - it is either He or She, but not They. (2) However, the seed is in the plural, not the singular. (3) Therefore, the Pronoun is not referring to the seed (else it would be the plural they) but linguistically refers to the Woman, and is She. Thoughts?

The pronoun is definitely grammatically masculine singular, so "he" is appropriate. Also, however, Hebrew and Aramaic/Syriac make many plays on the ambivalence of collective nouns. You see this a lot with "Adam"; both in the Hebrew OT and in Syriac hymnography, references to Adam are frequently to be understood in multiple senses. In Syriac, "Adam" often simultaneously refers to (1) the first father himself, (2) all human beings as descendants of Adam, and (3) Christ the Second Adam. I think "seed" in this context clearly has multiple meanings, especially in a prayerful Christian reading. For that matter, whether we think the Woman or the Seed is crushing the serpent's head, we all agree that "the woman" simultaneously refers to two people, Eve and the Second Eve, Mary.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2018, 07:19:09 AM »
If we read "seed" as a collective noun then wouldn't we expect it to be singular, grammatically-speaking? That's how it is in English anyway. We say "look at all those people"... the word "people" is singular, even though the people are many. (To say "look at all those peoples" is to change the entire meaning of the sentence.) And we say "I'm going to drink some water"... the word "water" is singular, but what we are drinking is many. (Many water molecules. But to say, "I'm going to drink some waters" doesn't make a whole lot of sense.)

I assume that it's the same in Hebrew, at least when it comes to the word "seed". St. Paul (in Galations 3:16) says, "To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not, And to his seeds, as of many: but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." St. Paul is here talking about the seed of Abraham (not the seed of the woman), but both signify the same "seed". So Christ is that seed.

But I believe that the word "seed" is otherwise collective. Christ is the seed, but all Christians "participate" in Christ. And so all Christians, insofar as they participate in Christ, are also the "seed". I believe that that is why St. John (in the Apocalypse 12:17) says, "And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." The word "seed" is still singular here, (he does not say, "with the rest of her seeds",) but it's a collective singular, referring to many individuals, (though those many be one in Christ).
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 07:28:37 AM by Daniel »
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2018, 10:40:32 AM »
I've located an English translation of the Philo quote, though Philo quotes the scriptural verse as saying "he". Here's what he says:
Quote from: Philo of Alexandria, Treatise on The Allegories of the Sacred Laws (Νόμων Ἱερῶν Ἀλληγορίαι / Legum Allegoriæ), book III -- translated by Yonge 1854/55
LXVII. (188) And the expression, "He shall watch thy head, and thou shalt watch his Heel,"{93}{#ge 3:15.} is, as to its language, a barbarism, but, as to the meaning which is conveyed by it, a correct expression. Why so? It ought to be expressed with respect to the woman: but the woman is not he, but she. What, then, are we to say? From his discourse about the woman he has digressed to her seed and her beginning. Now the beginning of the outward sense is the mind. But the mind is masculine, in respect of which one may say, he, his, and so on. Very correctly, therefore, does God here say to pleasure, that the mind shall watch your principal and predominant doctrine, and you shall watch the traces of the mind itself, and the foundations of the things which are pleasing to it, to which the heel has very naturally been likened.
( http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/philo/book4.html )
I really can't make much sense of what Philo is saying exactly. Something about the "he" referring to the woman, and something about the "he" referring to the mind which is grammatically masculine...


As for the Maimonides quote, Dr. Taylor Marshall (in a footnote in his book The Crucified Rabbi) translates it as,
Quote from: Moses Maimonides
But what must be admired most of all, is that the serpent is joined with Eve, that is, its seed with her seed, its head with her heel; that she (Eve) should conquer it (the serpent) in the head, and that it should conquer her in the heel.
(Dr. Marshall provides the citation of More Nebochim, Part II, chap. 30.)
edit - It appears that Taylor Marshall did not translate Maimonides directly but only translated that one sentence from the Latin as it is quoted in Cornelius a Lapide...


But Taylor Marshall does point out that Cornelius a Lapide reported that in his day there were some extant Hebrew manuscripts (and one Aramaic translation from the Hebrew) which had "she".
There's also mention in the Haydock commentary that the Hebrew text in some copies reads "she", and the Haydock commentary cites an interlinear Hebrew-Latin translation from 1572... but I have located the aforementioned translation, and am not seeing the textual variant. Should be on this page: https://books.google.com/books?id=Vt9TAAAAcAAJ&pg=PP976 (unless it's hidden in a footnote somewhere).
So I don't know. Maybe "she" was in some copies of the Hebrew at some point, but maybe not.


(On a side note, does anyone know why Hebrew text in Renaissance typesetting often has some of its letters stretched horizontally like that? Is that just for looks? I notice the stretched letters always seem to come at the end of words...)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 06:40:59 PM by Daniel »
 
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2018, 07:43:57 PM »
I looked up ה֣וּא in the Brown Driver Briggs Lexicon.  It had one entry for the words for he, she, it, them (m) and them(f), treating all of these as variations on the same root.  It says:

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In the Pent. הוא is of the common gender, the fem. form היא occuring only 11 times, viz. Gn14:2, 20:5 .... The punctuators, however, sought to assimilate the usage of the Pent to that of the rest of the OT, and accordingly wherever הוא was construed as fem. pointed it היא. ... The origin of the peculiarity in the Pent. is uncertain.


As I understand this, the Hebrew does not prove anything either way.  It could have used  הוא even if it meant "she".  The punctuators apparently thought it meant "he" but this is not authoritative.

Personally, I would just go with the Vulgate on this.  (The verb is a masculine form, but I would still go with the Vulgate for theological rather than linguistic reasons.)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 08:14:21 PM by Jayne »
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2018, 07:51:08 PM »
"He", "she" and "it" aren't articles. They are pronouns which Semitic languages, including Hebrew, share with our own.

Hebrew is a gendered language in which all nouns are either masculine or feminine.  There is no neuter like there is in Latin.  So the pronouns are words for "he" and "she".  There isn't a separate pronoun for "it".
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2018, 08:19:05 PM »
If we read "seed" as a collective noun then wouldn't we expect it to be singular, grammatically-speaking? That's how it is in English anyway.

The word זַרְעָ֑הּ "seed" may be a collective noun referring to many offspring.  It may also refer to a single offspring. 
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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2018, 07:57:44 PM »
"He", "she" and "it" aren't articles. They are pronouns which Semitic languages, including Hebrew, share with our own.

Hebrew is a gendered language in which all nouns are either masculine or feminine.  There is no neuter like there is in Latin.  So the pronouns are words for "he" and "she".  There isn't a separate pronoun for "it".

I know.

In context, I was pointing out to Michael Wilson what are pronouns vis-à-vis articles.
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Offline PatronOfHeaven

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2019, 07:28:22 PM »
Hi,
 
   I am new to the forum. Thanks for having me.  I want to contribute to this topic by posting a reference to Eve being the serpent crusher in a translation of Flavius Josephus I own. It is the Ebenezar Thompson translation and according to the title page was translated from the original Greek in 1777.  I have attached images.

Thanks,
Patron

Made this post in response to aquinas138 :

The English is a translation of the Greek, so the Greek and English basically agree; this is the classic and well-regarded Whiston translation. Thackeray's translation in the Loeb Library can be found on Archive.org. He translates it basically the same way; the Greek is on the facing page.

Honestly, the Latin looks like an interpolation. That manuscript is a ninth-century manuscript from northern Italy; it may have been harmonized with the Vulgate reading of Gen. 3:15. Whether that was intentionally done or subconsciously done because of familiarity with the biblical text, I don't know.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 10:41:27 PM by PatronOfHeaven »
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Three Jewish witnesses: She will crush your head, in Gen 3:15
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2019, 08:42:35 PM »
Hi,
 
   I am new to the forum. Thanks for having me.  I want to contribute to this topic by posting a reference to Eve being the serpent crusher in a translation of Flavius Josephus I own. It is the Ebenezar Thompson translation and according to the title page was translated from the original Greek.  I have attached images.

Thanks,
Patron

Great start for a first post.
 
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