A Word in Edgewise

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A Dissident Rabbi

As reformation is fomenting in Europe, there is a Jewish fellow who proclaimed himself Messiah and developed a huge following in the Ottoman Empire and parts of Europe.  According to him, the redemption of the world was at hand.  His name was Sabbetai Zevi.  The year is 1665. 9780691183572

His followers set aside their traditional Jewish beliefs and practices for new standards set by Zevi.  But there was a naysayer in the bunch, a dissident rabbi who warned his countrymen that Zevi was not the Messiah after all.  So they should abandon their enthusiasm for this man and return to their traditional practices.  His name was Jacob Sasportas.  A new book, written by Yaacob Dweck, provides a biography of this Separdic rabbi who stood up to Zevi.  It is published by Princeton University Press.

As it turned out, this “messiah” converted to Islam at the behest of the Ottoman sultan.  It’s was a wild and crazy century for Europe and the Ottoman Empire.  This book tells a fascinating story.   For more click here.

 

 

The Wicked Bible

In 1653 typesetters in Cambridge made a big mistake as they were typesetting an English version of the Bible.  In their Bible the seventh commandment read: “Thou shalt commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).  When the publisher realized the mistake, he immediately recalled what was then and now referred to as “The Wicked Bible.”  Any Bible commanding adultery should certainly be considered “wicked.”  Eleven copies remained in circulation.  If you owned one, it would be worth a king’s ransom.  The angry publisher fined the typesetters 300 pounds each.  In those days that was roughly 20 years salary. the wicked Bible

I tell that story because something similar  happened to us.  I was the senior theological review director for a new Bible translation called THE VOICE (Thomas Nelson Publishers).  A few years ago we published a book called The Voice from on High (Thomas Nelson 2007).  It is a compilation of Scripture (Old and New Testaments) that corresponds roughly to the libretto of Handel’s “Messiah.” Despite all our best efforts (14 levels of review and proofing) a mistake crept into the final product.  In 1 Corinthians 15:54 our version reads: “And, when we are all redressed with bodies that do not, cannot decay, when we put immorality over our mortal frames, then it will be as Scripture says: “Life everlasting has victoriously swallowed death.”  Christians don’t expect to be clothed with immorality.  Immorality is to be avoided.  We expect that at Christ’s return that we will put on immortality not immorality.  It is amazing what a difference 1 letter makes.

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