Someone called “Samuel Eben” sent me this response to my previous article called “Seeing ‘Yeshua’ in the Jewish Bible.” Because it so adequately gives an example of the mindset exemplified by such people, I’m going to quote it in full here without touching a single word that he wrote (in case I am accused of “deception”) and then give my points afterwards.
I am doing some research into the Hebrew name Yeshua which led me to your Blog page. I was fascinated to read that you bitterly castigate an unnamed “individual” because you allege that the “individual” in question “wanted it -Isaiah 49:6- transliterated as yeshuathiy for obvious reasons (i.e., the beginning part of his transliteration, at least in English letters, looks like the proper name “yeshua” which seems superficially and erroneously to support his claim). It had to be transliterated that exact way for him, although anyone with any knowledge of Hebrew knows that Hebrew letters and sounds don’t always have exact equivalents in the English alphabet which is why certain words have a variety spellings once transliterated”.
I took it upon myself to check up on the particular verse and I find that indeed the Hebrew word written in Isaiah 49:6 does transliterate into English as Yeshuathiy as the “individual” stated and, in no way does it transliterate as y’shu’othi as you claim.
You also are widely off the mark in your second allegation “that anyone with any knowledge of Hebrew knows that Hebrew letters and sounds don’t always have exact equivalents in the English alphabet which is why certain words have a variety spellings once transliterated”. There is no “CONFUSION” in what is written in the Hebrew Scriptures as you falsely allege. Also Hebrew scripture words do NOT “have a variety of spellings” as you falsely allege. A “variety of spellings” is only manifested among those who have no knowledge of the original Hebrew scripture. You have shown that you have no knowledge of the Hebrew scripture by your transliterating “Yeshuathiy” as y’shu’othi.
Your Blog is deceptive on the above important poimts which should send warning signals to your readers. You have my permission to publish this response.
It’s important to note what the focus of this individual was. It wasn’t about the context of Isaiah 49. It wasn’t the absence of moshiach (an anointed one) or the promised Davidic king from the text. It wasn’t about the fact that the common noun yeshuah is in the text and not the proper name Yeshua. It was not that trying to fit the name Yeshua in places where the common noun yeshuah actually ignores the text rather than expounds upon it. The focus of this individual (shall I used the word “individual” as if I don’t believe he really existed?) was about nothing fundamentally to the message of that chapter of Isaiah or how Hebrew words should be translated.
What was the individual’s focus? It was mostly this: I didn’t transliterate a Hebrew word into English as he would, which, for him, makes me a liar – not simply mistaken or having a different opinion, but part of a blog that purposely tries to deceive people, the insinuation being that my own words are also deceptive. I personally take it from his writing that he doesn’t even think my experience with the first individual was even real, which aids in his belief that I am either a liar or a deceiver.
If someone thinks you are evil, there is little point in trying to talk to that person. For me, it’s just best to move past that person and learn from the experience.
The important thing is that the central points of my article were untouched. It doesn’t matter whether the word is transliterated as yeshuathiy or y’shu’othi, the text of Isaiah 49 says nothing about the proper name Yeshua, the context has no overt signs of speaking about a promised Davidic king, and to use the proper name Yeshua in the places where the common noun yeshuah is used is like trying to hammer a square peg to fit properly into a circle hole.
Take note of what this person does in his transliteration (trying to represent Hebrew characters in English letters). He changes the word further by capitalising the first English character “y” so that the word becomes Yeshuathiy. He does it twice in the middle of an English sentence when capitalising the first letter would be very odd unless … unless it were a proper name, like Samantha or Barcelona. This would point to the conclusion that this person already thinks a proper name is there when it is not. There is no capital letter in the Hebrew, so Samuel Eben is imposing something on the Hebrew text that was not inherently there.
I’m not going to be too pedantic with Samuel Eben’s text although he did bring up and emphasize confusion when I didn’t say that there was confusion, just different ways of transliterating certain Hebrew letters and vowels. Ah, I won’t dwell on that. What is important to note is that this person’s focus was skewed, bent out of shape. Once again, his issue wasn’t the text or the context, as is the case many times for christians or follows of the Nazarene. Even though he stated that he had checked the Hebrew for himself, his main focus was that one word must be put into the English characters as he chose, despite the fact that, for example, the English “e” is an ambiguous replacement or cover for the first vowel of the Hebrew word in Isaiah 49:6. There are at least three Hebrew vowels that can be transliterated with the English letter “e” and you wouldn’t know which one is being used which is important to knowing which Hebrew word is actually used (which is why it’s best to just go back to the Hebrew than focusing so much on subjective methods of transliteration).
But my main focus was not what english characters must be used, but rather what the actual text and context meant and what the subject of both the text and context was. Again, for me, it goes to show that with certain people the issue is not simply trying to bring out what the text says, but to bring up strife about what is subjective.
I would ask anyone reading this post, whether you like the blogpost or not, please focus on what is important and on the main points of an issue. When you get side-tracked by smaller debateable issues, it won’t help the case. Also, try to move past personal attacks as best you can and focus on the point, or sometimes just walk away. If a person is willing to paint you as evil to get his or her point across, it may be a sign that this person has already closed the door on respectful communication and thus on a true conversation, a meeting of the minds. And that point, it is probably best to walk away.