The Instigator
CapAhab
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Petfish
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Paul (the apostle) did not know Hebrew (well) or was lying to the people he was writing to.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Petfish
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/4/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 591 times Debate No: 86067
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

CapAhab

Pro

Round 1 - Opening Arguments Only (No rebuttals)
Round 2 - Rebuttals Only
Round 3 - Counter-Rebuttals
Round 4 - Counter-Rebuttals
Round 5 - Closing Arguments and Closing Statements

The Hebrew Bible, as per this debate is the only inspired word of G-d.

Definition:

Lying: saying something false in purpose

the people he was writing to: The people who received the epistle.

Serious debates only.
Petfish

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for initializing this debate. I believe the “or” we are using is the inclusive ‘or.’ This means that I will both defend that 1. Paul spoke Hebrew “well” and 2. That Paul was not deceiving people on purpose. My opponent, on the other hand, will only have to reasonably deny one of these premises to win the debate.


Argument 1: Paul might have spoken a message in Hebrew.


In Acts 22:2, we read, depending on the translation of book, that Paul was either speaking in Hebrew or he was speaking in Aramaic.[1] We know that this Aramaic was similar to the Hebrew language, possibly in the same way that Spanish is similar to Italian. Dale B. Martin says that “Aramaic is kind of a dialect of Hebrew.”[2] This means that if one was fluent in Aramaic, one might have understood many phrases spoken in Hebrew.


Dr. Michael Brown states, “…This [the hypothesis that Jesus debated against religious teachers in Hebrew] would also suggest that when the New Testament speaks of the ‘Hebrew language’ (hebraidi dialekto) it actually means Hebrew and not Aramaic, as many translators and commentators have believed (see Acts 21:40; 22:2, referring to Paul’s speech; 26:14, referring to Yeshua addressing him on the road to Damascus; contrast the NRSV, which has ‘Hebrew’ in the text, with the NIV, which has ‘Aramaic’ in the text and ‘Hebrew’ in the marginal notes). The question, however, is not so simple, as I pointed out in a somewhat technical article published in 1993, and ‘Hebrew’ can simply mean, ‘the language spoken by the Jewish people,’ meaning Aramaic rather than Hebrew. Other scholars have questioned whether a large Jewish audience in Jerusalem could have been expected to understand Paul preaching in Hebrew rather than Aramaic…”[3]


Now if this is to be taken as fact, this does not prove that Paul spoke Hebrew or Aramaic, just that he spoke one of these languages. We do know that he was speaking a language the Jews could understand. I believe based on this evidence, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Paul spoke Hebrew. I’m very curious to hear what evidence my opponent will bring to show that in fact, Paul did not know Hebrew. It’s very hard to affirm that someone actually does not know something. Perhaps Paul knew calculus or mechanics!


Argument 2: Paul was persecuted and yet remained steadfast to his messages.


This argument, again, does not prove that Paul was not a liar (perhaps he was a masochist) but it does suggest that he probably was not. Usually people do not hold to a false belief they know to be false when they are persecuted for that belief. So was Paul persecuted?


Well, according to 2nd Corinthians and Acts he was.


In 2nd Corinthians 11:24, Paul says he was beaten with 39 lashes 5 times.[4]


In Acts 16:22, a crowd beat Paul with rods. [5]


Now this could all be false, but we have no reason to believe these stories to be false unless we find contradictions between the passages. Even then, it may be possible that the rest of the accounts are true, and there is only one contradiction between the documents. I personally believe that some atheists attack the scriptures far more than the usual general warranted criticisms of a standard historical passage.


But if both Acts and the writings of Paul are completely false, we really cannot affirm or deny the resolution. We would have to say that we do not know whether the resolution is true. And if that is the case, the BoP would be on Pro. So we should examine these passages not necessarily as inspired, but as historical documents that possibly contain contradictions.


So was Paul maliciously trying to corrupt the Hebrew Bible? I cannot really see this. It seems Paul correctly carries the messages of scripture across languages. An example can be found where Paul references Exodus 22:28 in Acts 23:5. [6]


In conclusion, I believe the best conclusion we can draw from the text is that


Paul was familiar with Hebrew and he referred to biblical passages in his writings in an honest manner. However, it is even possible for someone who knows Hebrew well to make honest translation mistakes. I leave it to my opponent to show an alternative view.


Sources:


[1] http://biblehub.com...


[2] https://youtu.be...


[3] https://askdrbrown.org...


[4] http://biblehub.com...


[5] http://biblehub.com...


[6] http://biblehub.com...

Debate Round No. 1
CapAhab

Pro

I would first like to thank my opponent.

First, i would like to say that all quotes from the Hebrew Bible that Paul uses were from the Septuagint. In and out of itself it does not prove anything, because Paul could have used that translation to make his life easier.

Nevertheless, I would like to point one Bible verse. Galatian 3:16:

and to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed; He doth not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to thy seed,' which is Christ;

Here, Paul explains that Jesus was that specific blessing of Abraham, and not the Jewish people. This is because the Bible said "Seed" and not "seeds".

The only problem, the hebrew word word "seed", "seeds" "descendant" or "descendants" are all plural. In other words, David flock only had one sheep, because if not, you English translation would have said sheeps!

I only can see two reason why Paul would have said that:
1) he did not know Hebrew
2) He knew the Galatian Church was made of Gentiles who did not know Hebrew.

My opponent will find many excuses for Paul's lack of knowledge of Hebrew. He will say that he wanted to make a Midrash, but those are all lame excuses to excuses his blunder.

"And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendantsfn after you,

"blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. Genesis 22:17

https://www.blueletterbible.org...

thank you
Petfish

Con

Rebuttals:

1. It is possible to blunder and to be both honest and skilled.

We see blunders in every field of work. Perhaps this is how we got our saying, “everyone makes mistakes.”

Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand are considered two of the world’s greatest chess players. Consider this report by Joe Doliner:

“Magnus Carlsen was 26 moves into game six of his title defense against Viswanathan Anand when he experienced the worst feeling in chess. The feeling that comes with the realization that you’ve left one of your pieces out to dry and there’s nothing left to do, but pray. Blunders like this are all too common when I play chess, but they’re incredibly rare at this level. Anand and Carlsen are some of the greatest to play the game, they (almost) never do things like this. What followed was even more incredible. Despite his blunder, Carlsen went on to win game six (and the series) thanks to Anand responding immediately with a blunder of his own. After the game Carlsen described it as ‘a comical exchange of blunders.’”[7]

How then, can Carlsen be praised as one of the world’s greatest chess players? The answer is simple: because everyone makes blunders.

Even at their peak, humans occasionally fail. Experienced math teachers sometimes reach incorrect conclusions.[8] There is a rather large list of great pianists messing up difficult passages.[9]

So even if we know that Paul did blunder in his translations, we still do not know whether he was lying or whether he knew Hebrew well. Thus, my opponent’s entire argument is based on a false dichotomy, which is logically fallacious.[10]

2. It seems that the Hebrew word ‘zera’ (translated ‘seed’) can be singular in use.

Now I admit that I am certainly no student of the Hebrew language, and am not qualified to talk about this subject on my own authority. However, it seems to me that the Hebrew word for ‘seed’ can be singular. Genesis 4:25 seems to be a passage where ‘offspring’ is used to refer to one person.[11]

Sam Shamoun claims that the Hebrew word for ‘seed’ is singular. He says, “This [the Hebrew word for seed] could either be a true singular where only one person is in view, or it can be viewed as a collective singular referring either to a specific line of the descendants of a person, or to all of a person’s sons and their descendants after them.”[12]

In this context, I believe it is inappropriate to say that Paul blundered when he referenced Genesis 22.

Sources:
[7] http://en.chessbase.com...
[8] http://www.educationworld.com...
[9] https://www.youtube.com...
[10] http://www.logicallyfallacious.com...
[11] http://biblehub.com...
[12] http://www.answering-islam.org...
Debate Round No. 2
CapAhab

Pro

1. It is possible to blunder and to be both honest and skilled.

This would be unlikely. How often do you said "sheeps". That makes very little sense in my opinion. Furthermore, as per Paul own words in 1 Tim 3:16 "All scriptures are inspired". Thus, if the new testament has a blunders, then we should throw the New Testament in the trash. This is exactly what I want to prove when I say that Paul did not know Hebrew or wanted to lie.

2. It seems that the Hebrew word "zera" (translated "seed") can be singular in use.
I agree. The word Zera is either "seed" "seeds" "one descendant" of "descendants".

For you to understand what Paul was saying let's replace "seed" by "sheep"

When Paul said "and to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his sheep; He doth not say, 'And to sheeps,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to thy sheep,' which is Christ;

You see how little sense it makes to do such a mistake. No native Hebrew Speaker would have said that. And to add to this, Paul used the Septuagint, an non-authoritative bible translation. What for? Most likely because Hebrew was not his language and he could not speak it well.
Petfish

Con


This would be unlikely. How often do you said "sheeps".


I do not understand what sources my opponent is using to deduce that a professional in a field would likely never make a blunder. Until my opponent provides sources (or uses sound logic), we are forced to conclude that this argument is a bare assertion.[13]


However, I have argued that it is in fact likely for professionals to make mistakes. So for my opponent to correctly shoot down my argument, my opponent needs to interact with my arguments.


Additionally, remember that Paul lived in a different time period. He did not have the internet to double-check his spelling, grammar, or Hebrew. Mistakes he would make might be considered ‘blunders’ by today’s standards, but this is not a good historical evaluation of the text.


Finally, individuals often make grammatical mistakes throughout their life. Just look at any website on the internet!


Thus, if the new testament has a blunders, then we should throw the New Testament in the trash. This is exactly what I want to prove when I say that Paul did not know Hebrew or wanted to lie.


It does not follow that if something has blunders, we should throw something in the trash. For instance, we read that Aristotle thought that the Earth was stationary.[14] Should we through all of Aristotle’s books into the trash? Furthermore, even if we should throw the New Testament into the trash, this does not affirm the resolution.


I hope my opponent realizes how logically fallacious this argument is. To illustrate my point, let me provide you with a thought experiment:


Suppose you are in a room with ten people. Five people tell the truth all the time. Five people lie all the time. One liar says, “We all tell the truth.” Well, would you dismiss the testimony of the five people who tell the truth? Of course not! So even if Paul messed up in one place, it does not follow that the rest of the New Testament should be thrown in the garbage.


I agree. The word Zera is either "seed" "seeds" "one descendant" of "descendants".


My opponent agreed with my second rebuttal. Additionally, my opponent also said:


“The only problem, the hebrew word word ‘seed’, ‘seeds’ ‘descendant’ or ‘descendants’ are all plural.”


This means that my opponent openly contradicted himself. My opponent has made a blunder, even though he is a skilled debater. :D


And to add to this, Paul used the Septuagint, an non-authoritative bible translation. What for? Most likely because Hebrew was not his language and he could not speak it well.


This speculation is unwarranted unless it is backed with sources. Thus my opponent’s argument here has turned into another bare assertion.


My opening statements have not been addressed and are to be extended.


[13] http://www.toolkitforthinking.com...


[14] http://encyclopediaoftrivia.blogspot.com...


Debate Round No. 3
CapAhab

Pro

"to deduce that a professional in a field would likely never make a blunder."
As per Paul "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"
2 Timothy 3:16.

Thus if the new testament is inspired, there is no blunder possible.

Furthermore, it is reasonable to say that no English speaker will say "sheeps" except little child. the word sheep happens 274 times in the Hebrew Bible and the word "seed" happens 582 times. This is a really common word and should not cause any problem for someone that speak Hebrew. Only someone whose has a really poor Hebrew will not be able to know that.

"The only problem, the hebrew word word "seed", "seeds" "descendant" or "descendants" are all plural."
I meant singular. Zera is singular and invariable (Just like Sheep). Sorry for the blunder, I am not claiming G-d breathed inspiration of my words for this debate :)
Petfish

Con

Now before we close our debate, I would like to summarize what has transpired up until now. Please inform me if I mischaracterized your arguments in any way.

I opened with two arguments:

1. Paul might have spoken a message in Hebrew.
2. Paul remained steadfast to his message.

My conclusion of these two arguments is that it is reasonable to believe that 1. Paul knew Hebrew (well) and 2. Paul was not lying on purpose to his readers. These two contentions have not been addressed.

My opponent opened his side by arguing that:

1. Paul made a mistake in Galatians 3:16.

My opponent concluded that for someone to make a mistake of this magnitude, they would either have to be ignorant or lying.

I objected to my opponent’s claim by saying that his argument was a false dilemma. I claimed that it was possible to blunder and to be both honest and professional in one’s field.

My opponent responded to this objection by saying that it was not likely one would blunder in their field.

However, I responded by saying that I already showed examples of professionals blundering. So it is likely.

But now my opponent responds, “Furthermore, it is reasonable to say that no English speaker will say ‘sheeps’ except little child.”
How do we know this? Again, I say, this is a bare assertion. These seemingly simple grammar rules can actually confuse people of all ages.[15]

But perhaps more telling is that over the course of the debate, both sides have unintentionally broken simple grammar rules! I hope this shows my opponent that mistakes aren’t uncommon.

Additionally, my opponent seems to have made a mistake similar to the mistake he claims Paul made; he originally claimed that ‘zera’ is plural and not singular. My opponent claims to be 35 years old.[16] But I don’t believe that my opponent doesn’t know English, or that he is insincere. Can we show Paul some mercy?

My opponent brought up 2nd Timothy 3:16. However, many critical scholars do not think that Paul actually wrote 2nd Timothy.[17] And it is quite possible that if Paul wrote 2nd Timothy 3:16, he was referring only to the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament).[18] I do not know whether Paul thought his own letters were divinely inspired.

Finally, my opponent says that the word ‘seed’ appears more often in the Hebrew Bible than the word ‘sheep’. But it does not follow that because a word occurs more frequently, we would be more inclined to spell it correctly. Simple words are usually written with little thought, so it’s very easy to make simple mistakes. For instance, incorrect forms of ‘your’ and ‘to’ are used everywhere online.

I hope this debate has been helpful to our readers and voters. I thank my opponent for his participation in this debate, and I hope we both grow in deeper understanding of spiritual things.

[15] http://askville.amazon.com...
[16] http://www.debate.org...
[17] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[18] http://web.ccbce.com...
Debate Round No. 4
CapAhab

Pro

Thanks to my opponent, this debate was really useful. In my opinion, it is more likely that Paul did not know Hebrew or that he was lying, but my opponent confer a potential blunder as explanation. If the New Testament is not inspired (which I believe), it could be possible, but unlikely to have make a blunder. Thus my opponent, found a third possible explanation which I did not think about. The burden of the proof was on me, thus you may vote for my opponent.

Thank you
Petfish

Con

I'd also like to thank my opponent for this great learning experience.

My goal in this debate was to show that even if Paul did make a mistake, we do not have suffient grounds to believe that he did not know Hebrew or that he was a liar. Perhaps my opponent's arguments would carry more weight if the resolution was "Paul made a mistake in Galatians 3:16."

In closing, I would like to quote Paul on a passage I hope we can both agree with (as theists).

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
"For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?"
"Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?"
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.[19]

[19]https://www.biblegateway.com...
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by CapAhab 1 year ago
CapAhab
Between you and me, as long as the outcome is to prove the New Testament wrong, I am happy with that :)
Posted by CapAhab 1 year ago
CapAhab
As per Deut 4, G-d would not come and manifest himself as a man. G-d said it clearly. G-d is one and worshipping Jesus, a created being is idolatry. Thanks for your comment anyway.
Posted by Kilk1 1 year ago
Kilk1
Actually, I think I'd be too busy to do a debate on Psalm 22:16 right now.
Posted by Kilk1 1 year ago
Kilk1
@CapAhab I haven't read this debate, so maybe your previous comment was already answered. If not, I would answer your objection"that the New Testament is not inspired because it involves the worship of a man (e.g., in Matt. 14:33), while the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) commands for only God to be worshiped"is that if we believe that "God was manifested in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16, NKJV), or became "found in appearance as a man" (Php. 2:8), then worshiping this Man is actually worshiping God. This isn't just a New Testament thing, as God this in the Hebrew Bible as well (Gen. 18:1-10). However, this isn't my debate; it's between you and Con.

By the way, would you like to do a debate on whether Psalm 22:16 should be translated "pierced" or "like a lion"?
Posted by CapAhab 1 year ago
CapAhab
Hi SNP1, I am not rebellious... I believe the Hebrew Biblbe (Tanakh, or Old Testament). I believe that the Hebrew Bible warns against worshipping a man as god. Thus, the NT is not inspired.
Posted by SNP1 1 year ago
SNP1
CapAhab, I am curious, what are your religious views. You look like someone I might want to debate depending on the answer (not on this topic though).
Posted by CapAhab 1 year ago
CapAhab
Hi John, the epistles of Paul were written in Greek.
Posted by JOHNCENA1738 1 year ago
JOHNCENA1738
May sound like a stupid question, but I like to get all the facts that I can.
Posted by JOHNCENA1738 1 year ago
JOHNCENA1738
What church are you referring to? Paul has written to many different churches in the New Testament. And also are you saying that when he quoted Hebrew scripture, or that he wrote the entire thing in Hebrew and lied to them in the process.
Posted by CapAhab 1 year ago
CapAhab
I will prove my point out of the original Hebrew Bible, if I am a fool, you will win the debate!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
CapAhabPetfishTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded in the last round.
Vote Placed by LostintheEcho1498 1 year ago
LostintheEcho1498
CapAhabPetfishTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession by Pro in the 5th round to Con.