Great Moments in Pulpit PaleoBabble

Here’s a YouTube video that’s a real treat (if you like PaleoBabble on Sunday morning).  The sermon is about “alpeh and tav” — the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  The minister (?) equates this with the description of Jesus as the first and the last, and as the Word in John 1:1.  The result?  Why, Jesus is in Genesis 1:1, since we see a small two-letter word there, made of the letters aleph and tav!  These two letters have allegedy mystified scholars for millennia — who were too stupid to see Jesus in the aleph and tav.

This is another nominee for the PaleoBabble Aaaargghhh! Award.  A spellbinding example of truly craptastic Bible interpretation (not to mention the old bromide about knowing enough to be dangerous).

In the real world of biblical knowledge, the aleph and tav spell what is known as the accusative marker (and scholars have known it for millennia – no mystery here).  It is not translated since it is a grammatical/syntactical pointer.  It is a two letter word that points to (in most instances) the direct object of a sentence (clause) in Hebrew.  Other ancient semitic languages have aleph-tav to mark the direct object (the accusative):  Ugaritic, Pheonician, Aramaic, etc.  I guess Jesus is in these pagan inscriptions too!

What an idiot . . . er, paleobabbler.

12 thoughts on “Great Moments in Pulpit PaleoBabble

  1. Ok… but why does the Lord God call himself the alpha and omega in Revelation 1:8? Or, is the aleph-tav marker in other places in Scripture that does not point to God himself? It is in Zechariah 12:10, right? I thought I had heard that orthodox Jews had tried to remove the aleph-tav from that verse, though I can’t confirm that from a quick search…

    I don’t get the John 1:1 part of this, seems like trying to tie up ends that aren’t loose. Just inquiring as to your thoughts on that as I’ve seen this presented elsewhere (though, not quite with John 1:1).

  2. Dr. Heiser,
    I would like to thank you (in true groupie fashion) for your blog. Your blog serves as one of my compasses for traveling the path of truth. I do believe the Holy Spirit can and has embedded “messages” within text, sometimes curiously. Most commonly these appear in plain language references that any diligent student can decipher. (three days in the grave) Still, I occasionally enjoy cryptic adventures into more esoteric (not the best word) “discoveries” within the Biblical text. But your no nonsense approach to textual criticism has reinforced my resistance to being dragged off into complete lunacy.

    So again, thanks for taking the time. I, for one, am paying attention.

  3. Hehe,

    Unfortunately, if it were 3 to 4 years ago, I would have believed it until I would have find out for it to be absurd during the study of the hebrew language. Some comments of the video are surprising though:

    smsuniversity (1 year ago) Show Hide
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    I took this video to my Hebrew class at University and the professor discussed it for over an hour. Actually, Dr. Ollison is more correct than some of the comments here reflect. I think some may view this video with religious bias. Anyway, my Hebrew class learned a lot from this video. I understand that Dr. Ollison’s wife is a Hebrew instructor. Actually, my professor said the teaching was quite good.

    Really………….are these Kabbalah wannabes Professors

  4. I couldn’t get past his definition of Logos. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t “Logos” refer to a heap of a lot more than “the written word of God”?

  5. @Chris: John (the writer of Revelation 1:8) explains the reference to the alpha and omega: it is an illustration of “beginning and end”. No mystery. Jesus isn’t two letters of the alphabet, and God is never described as aleph and taw in the OT. Zech. 12:10 says: ““And ?I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and ?pleas for mercy, so that, ?when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, ?they shall mourn for him, ?as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” I don’t see aleph and taw there. YOu may mean the Hebrew. After the phrase “they shall look upon me” there is an aleph-taw. Why? Because it marks the direct object (like they all do). “Upon me” is a bit misleading if you are thinking about grammar. It’s a preposition + 1 common singular. It should be “they shall look AT me” – which means “me” is the INDIRECT object of the sentence – and that’s why the aleph-taw follows – to mark (more clearly for grammatical reasons) what the DIRECT object is. The direct object in this case is a relative phrase (a phrase headed by the relative pronoun, asher): “WHOM they have pierced.” Again, no mystery, no scholars scratching their heads bloody over the aleph and taw.

  6. @Syngensmyth: You’re welcome, I have no secret other than seeing the obvious and affirming it (but sometimes you have to look at something quite a while and let it be what it is).

  7. @ishcairn: “logos” is the Greek word for “word” (the most common one anyway). It’s “greater impact” comes in how it is used. It was used in pre-NT days (all the way back to the OT on occasion) to describe a personification or manifestation of God – as though his spoken word “came to” people not only as a aural utterance, but as a person.

  8. Pingback: More Pulpit PaleoBabble: President Obama is the Antichrist (The Bible Tells Us So!) | PaleoBabble

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