Hello! Shalom! Aloha! Mabuhay!

If this is your first visit to Modern Apocrypha, I have only two recommendations for continuing on with minimal confusion:

1) Please begin with the first introductory post (found HERE) and work your way forward. Almost all the posts on this blog flow chronologically and will make more sense with the background and context of previous ones. Jumping in anywhere might be disorienting.

2) Please read along in the texts posted off to the right. I try not to summarize too much in the commentary and discussion, and being at least somewhat familiar with what we're discussing or I'm commenting on will be most beneficial and edifying for all involved. Plus, going along with the theme of this blog, any hidden truths to be brought to light will be found within the text itself and not necessarily within my ramblings.

Okay, fine, three recommendations:

3) Please read with an open heart, mind, and spirit. See what truths you can find in these works--ones which speak to you. Namaste : )

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Like Nephi, Suran teaches his family about the future Messiah directly from the ancient records and quotes teachings and prophecies of Isaiah and other ancient prophets. He begins with what we know as Isaiah 53:2-11, the fourth and last of the Songs of the Suffering Servant (the first three are 42:1-4; 49:1-6; and 50:4-9), the One who will intercede for others, bear their punishments and afflictions, and be rewarded with exaltation. (This passage is also quoted by Abinadi in Mosiah 14 during his confrontation with the priests of King Noah.) Suran also ends his instruction with Isaiah (7:14). (Although, I should say it is Ruman who narrating, and thus, possibly including these specific passages.)

However, what we have here is the first part of an interesting situation with regard to the Aklatan's inclusion of these Messianic passages (and it's the same issue the Book of Mormon runs into). Isaiah 53 belongs to what modern Biblical scholars call Deutero- or Second-Isaiah. However, this isn't a recent division--it was first advanced by rabbinical scholars almost 1000 years ago--and it's based on observed differences in the language, style, themes, etc. within the various chapters of Isaiah. The theory postulates that the "real" Isaiah wrote what are now the first 39 chapters, where his name is used frequently, he is prophesying of a future destruction, etc. Chapters 40-55, then, are written by an anonymous author during the Babylonian exile, since Isaiah is no longer named, and it mentions a Jerusalem already destroyed, a current captivity, Cyrus the Great, etc. (There's also a Trito- or Third-Isaiah, but we'll leave that for now.)

However, alternative explanations for these differing sections exist. For instance, working under the presumption of Isaiah as an actual prophet (since, you know, the "real" First-Isaiah foresaw the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by Assyria, the return of Israelite exiles to Jerusalem, etc.), the possibility remains that this "real" First-Isaiah could've also foreseen the destruction of Jerusalem, the Babylonian captivity, the release of the Jews by Cyrus, etc. described in Second-Isaiah. My personal opinion is that Deutero- and Trito-Isaiah represent exilic and/or post-exilic tweaks of Isaiah's pre-exilic prophecies (e.g., hindsight insertion of the name Cyrus to clarify who they thought Isaiah was describing) and those Jews not understanding the multi-layered complexity of Isaiah's writings, that he prophesied of their time, the time of Christ, and the last days--often within the same passage. Nephi understood this, which is why he included Isaiah's writings in his personal record. The Lord understood this, when he taught the descendants of Lehi, "Great are the words of Isaiah" (3 Nephi 23:1-3). Deutero-Isaiah was part of that pre-exilic Isaiah collection Nephi possessed on the Brass Plates and not a post-exilic addition, and the Aklatan is a second witness of that.

Addendum: I did a comparative analysis of the Isaiah passages found in Suran 3 and over thirty of the more popular English versions of the Bible. There are phrase matches here and there between Suran 3 and these several versions (e.g., the Isaiah 7:14 verse resembles that of the Wycliffe Bible, the 53:2 verse resembles the International Standard Version, etc.), but Suran 3 offers a unique rendering of the majority of these verses separately and the passage as a whole.

No comments:

Post a Comment