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Light unto my path. I shall light a candle of understanding in the one heart which shall not be put out. Light unto my path. An exploration of the books of the Old Testament. From these books through the ages has come our concept of man born in the image of God
and made to have dominion over all things. The Bible is the record of man's understanding of the role of the divine. Human life we know examined that record when it was written how it was preserved and why it ranks first in our literature. Light unto my path produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under grants from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. These programs are planned and prepared by Dr. Menachem and sword chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Professor meant sword. Let us first listen to this excerpt from the New Testament. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover and when he was
12 years old they went up according to custom and when the feast was ended as they were returning the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. And when they did not find him they returned to Jerusalem seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple sitting among the teachers listening to them and asking them questions. Of course you'll recognize our reading from the Gospel according to look. This is one of the few stories we have of the childhood days of Jesus and we find that he like other Jewish boys of his day went with his family to the Temple in Jerusalem for the feast days. And like the other Jewish children heard the teachings of the Jewish Bible. This experience and others we find in the New Testament leads us back to the Old Testament and its significance for the Christian student of the Bible. Without the Old Testament Christianity perhaps would not be well understood.
The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that in his day the first century A.D. a Jewish child from the very dawn of understanding learned the law all by heart and had it as it were engraved on his soul. We know that from his earliest days in home in synagogue Jesus heard and memorize the words of the Old Testament. He learned as a child the Ten Commandments. Once a man asked him Which commandment is the first to fall. And Jesus recalled the words of Deuteronomy which he had learned in the synagogue. The first is Hear O Israel the Lord our God the Lord is One and love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind and with all thy strength. Then Jesus went on to recall the famous verse from Leviticus The second is this thou shalt
love thy neighbor as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these. No one else ever put these two commandments together. But Jesus as he learned these were recognized their supreme importance and had them so to speak on the tip of his tongue ready to answer the question of the scribe. We have another record of Jesus use of the Old Testament and the earliest day of his ministry after he returned from 40 days in the wilderness. Again from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 4. We read and he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up and he went to the synagogue as was his custom on the Sabbath day and he stood up to read and there was given to him the book of the Prophet desire. He opened the book and found the place where it was written. The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind to set at liberty. Those who are Oprah us to proclaim the acceptable years of the Lord. And he closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down and the eyes of all the synagogue were fixed upon him and he began to say to them today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. From this passage we can reconstruct the scene. We see Jesus standing up in the synagogue a teacher before his class. He asked for a scroll of Isaiah. There was a man in charge of the property of the synagogue. This man went to a box or chest called the ark which contained the scrolls of holy writings owned by that synagogue selecting the scroll asked for. He brought it to Jesus who under all that and after reading
from it returned the scroll to the attendant who replaced it and the ark when it was carefully treasured. What did these holy writings look like in those days. Not books as we know them with pages written on both sides and bound together rather a long sheet of parchment or the skins of animals finished on one side for writing many sheets were sewed together to form one long continuous document which was rolled up wound around itself on a spindle to form a scroll. To read such a book meant rolling until the desired passage was found and then rolling it up again after the reading. Of course no one scroll could contain all the Jewish scriptures. The chest in the synagogue held many scrolls. A collection of the Holy Writings. Thus the attendant would select the one scroll of eyes I would Jesus ask for and when he was finished and the
scroll rewound it was carefully returned to the chest. People came to this in Iraq to hear the reading of the Scriptures. This was the custom of the service and saw the law and the prophets were read and Re-Read as is the Jewish custom to this very day. In the engine days it was the only way the people could read and study the Bible for the scrolls were few in number and very expensive. Since all were written by a long and difficult task. Slowly performed one copy at a time in the temple and in the synagogue. This precious scrolls were kept for the people to see to cherish and to study. We mentioned briefly last time the scholarly problem of adding Bouse and word divisions to the entrant Hebrew script and which the Bible was originally written. Here we come across the word Messer rhetoric which every Bible student will often come across. What is the mass of rhetoric text. The term comes
from the Hebrew word meaning tradition and the MSA raters where the scholars who began in the sixth century A.D. to work on the preserving of the holy texts as they existed in those days. This meant making copies and the care of this scholars talk to preserve exactly every minute detail of the traditional works. Seems almost fantastic. We are indebted to them and there are centuries of labor at this task for the amazing fact that for almost 2000 years not a single word not a single letter has been changed in the Hebrew Bible. When they encountered variations in the manuscripts they worked with they made no alterations in the text itself for the text was too precious too holy to be tampered with. Instead they made marginal notes of what was to be read and place in place of what was usually written. So it is that modern translators have often had to decide
which wording they prefer the text or the margin of the messages. Likewise introduced a system of dots and dashes to indicate vowels but these did not interfere with any of the original letters themselves. They would not dare to alter the course. Similar care was taken of the scrolls themselves and the preparations for copying the books. This is a description of how the work was done according to the rules laid down by Jewish tradition law in the Talmud. A synagogue role must be written on the skin of clean animals prepared for the particular use of the synagogue by a Jew. These must be fastened together with strings taken from clean animals every skin must contain an equal number of columns equal throughout the entire Codex the length of each column must not extend over less than forty eight or more than sixty lines and the bread must consist of
thirty letters. The whole company must be first lined. And if three words be written in it without a line it is worthless. The ink should be black neither green red nor any other color. And be prepared according to a definite recipe. An authentic copy must be the exemplar from which the transcriber ought not in the least to deviate. No word or letter must be written from memory. The scribe not having looked at the Codex before him between every consonant the space of a hair or thread must intervene between every new section the breadth of nine consonants between every book three lines the fifth book of Moses must terminate exactly with a line but the rest need not do so. Besides this the copyist must wash his whole body not begin to write the name of God except with a pen newly dipped in ink. And should a King addressed him
while writing that name he must take no notice of him. The roles in which these regulations are not observed are condemned to be buried in the ground or they are banished to the schools to be used as reading books. No scrap of parchment no fragment of a scroll was worthless to the Jewish rabbis or teachers since it might contain the holy name of God. Yet they needed only copies that were accurate and clean. So when sacred books were worn out and beyond us they were put aside in a special chamber adjoining the synagogue from time to time this room called the guineas was cleared out and its contents barred by the side of a scholar. Such a good news that was discovered in modern times in a synagogue of old Cairo Egypt and the precious scrolls found are now the treasured possessions of many libraries. The
MSA rhetoric text of the Scriptures as it emerged in the tenth century A.D. is the traditional text we now know and we can be assured because of the extreme care in copying that this text of the Old Testament is substantially what it was in Jesus life time and throughout the first century. Indeed those were desperate years for the Jews culminating in the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D. when the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans and the Holy Bible became tragically important. Everything else was lost their country their homes their temple. Only the Holy Scriptures were left and more than ever. Judaism became the religion of the book. Such great care was taken off it but we know it's suffered literal corruption in the centuries that followed and now midway through the 20th century we have apparently discovered a Hebrew text from days earlier than the master Retic times
the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls which include a complete manuscript of The Book of Isaiah has given biblical scholars documents to work on that are hundreds of years older than anything they had before and the original Hebrew. There are some who believe that these documents date from before the time of Christ. Now we turn to the story of the Bible which the early Christian Church used the Bible which the early church fathers carried with them far and wide in the century after Jesus death. This was a Bible not in Hebrew but in Greek yet it was the Jews who provided this translation and who needed a translation. A century or more before Christ was born. Why would Jews feel the need of a Bible in the Greek language. This scene is the great Egyptian seaport of Alexandria a cosmopolitan center of trade and culture a symbol of the great Greek wave of influence
that swept the known world following the brilliant career of Alexander the Great. Though this fantastic young conqueror died at the age of 32 in three to three B.C. the city which was his greatest namesake continued to flourish in the centuries that followed. And it's framed as this as the seat of learning and of Greek culture grow. There were Jews in Alexandria as in all in Egypt and Syria and other Mediterranean lands. And their backs turned and the Alexandrian Jews were very much respected and protected by the Greek authorities. They had many synagogues in the city where they worship according to tradition in the Hebrew language. But outside the synagogue the Jews spoke Greek. Children learned it from their playmates. Business was conducted in Greek speaking Greek was not a luxury but a necessity of life in Alexandria. That's as the years passed the need for a Greek Bible was obvious. The
story has come down to us in the form of a letter known as letter telling how the translation was made. The king asked the Royal librarian how many books there were in the Alexandrian Library. More than 200000 okaying the librarian replied. And I will before long make diligent search for the remainder so that a total of half a million may be reached. I am informed that the Jews also have certain laws which are deserving of translation and a place in our library. The king asked what is to hinder the men in this task. All the necessary means are at their service said the librarian. Translation is required for in the Jew's land they use a peculiar script and speak a peculiar language. When the king heard this he sent a letter to the High Priest in Jerusalem asking for the necessary manuscripts and four men learned in the law to do the work. In time six elders from each of the twelve tribes of
Israel seventy two elders in all arrived in Egypt bringing a copy of the Hebrew law written in letters of gold on a scroll made of skins. They were given a royal banquet and questioned by the king. Then three days later they were taken to the island of pharaohs where a building had been prepared for them and they set to work making the translation in 72 days. The work was done. The Septuagint Bible this was the name given the translation because 72 elders completed the work in 72 days according to this legendary story. A later version of what happened said that each of the seventy two men worked in a separate cell with no contact between them but miraculously when the final day arrived. All versions were compared and found to be identical. What truth lies in all of this. We are certain that the Septuagint
was produced in Alexandria for it has all the marks of Alexandria and scholarship. And one more clue to the mystery. The Jewish scholars file. Almost contemporary with Jesus recorded that down to his own day the writing of the Septuagint was celebrated by feast each year on the island of ferrous where the translation was made. The letter of Everest as VeriSign refers to the Five Books of Moses only the entire Old Testament must have been many years in the making. The completed Septuagint also included the apocryphal books which are in the original Hebrew Bible so it was that this large Bible the Hebrew Plus the Apocrypha was the bible of the early Christian church. The years that followed brought more translations the Vulgate bible a translation into Latin by Saint Jerome who worked at the direction of Pope domus us about the year 380 to A.D..
The Vulgate bible was at first not generally accepted by the medieval church but eventually and 15 5:56 it was declared by the Council of Trent to be the authoritative Latin version. We have 8000 manuscripts of it today. The first Bible to be printed from Movable Type the Latin Bible in fourteen fifty six by Gutenberg Thirty years later the Hebrew Bible printed in Italy by the stone see no family of printers and others. This sounds you know press is a name very familiar. Still today the polyglot Bible a Bible in many languages all in one book compiled in the 16th century of great value to Biblical students. This sixteenth century a time of turbulent history of enormous up evils and changes in the lives of people and of their use of the Bible. It brought heroes and martyrs into the story of Bible translations miles Coverdale Bishop of Exeter wrote the first complete English Bible
printed in fifteen thirty five. Covered there worked on other Bibles as well fled into exile during the reign of Queen Mary. William Tindall wrote the New Testament in English in 15 25. Had it printed in worms and smuggled copies of it into England he was arrested in Holland and while awaiting trial for heresy he wrote to the governor of the prison as follows. If I am to remain here during the winter will you request the inspector to send me my goods which he has in his possession. A warmer cap and coat also a piece of cloth to patch my leggings and a woman shirt of mine above all I entreat and beg you to be urgent with him that he may kindly permit me to have my Hebrew Bible my Hebrew grammar and my Hebrew dictionary that I may spend my time with that study. Tyndale did not complete translating the Old Testament but was convicted of heresy and strangled and burned his last recorded words.
Oh Lord open the King of England's eyes. But two years after Tyndale's death the King of England issued an order that no man should be discouraged from hearing or reading the Bible. The great Bible of fifteen thirty nine The first authorized version the first to be permitted for public reading in churches in place of the Vulgate bible. This and other English versions came through the sixteenth century. Each translator trying to correct the errors and improve the language of the earlier ones. They culminated in a version called the finest blah some of my flowering branch. This was a King James authorized version of 16 11. The work of 54 scholars for seven long years. Arrangement and accuracy surpassing all others. Majestic style and beauty of language. Super. Indeed the beauty of King James Version has made it the beloved Bible for English speaking Protestants for three centuries. The stately and
musical style the familiar words and phrases almost make the listener believe that the Bible was originally written in this language. Yet the story of Bible work is never finished nor can it be a static thing. William Tyndale said long ago that he wanted to make a Bible that a plowboy could understand. Twentieth Century Scholars feel the same need the need for a Bible is really understood to modern readers and this has now been achieved. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible for Protestants published in 1952 sponsored by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States. This Revised Standard Work was helped by the discovery of new manuscripts and by the development of biblical scholarship far beyond what was available to writers in centuries past. Modern scholars come closer and closer to the secrets of antiquity to the actual realisation of what lies in the past two reconstructions of the towns and nations of biblical days
and of the lives of the people to whom the Bible lands were home as twentieth century man draws closer and understanding to these men and women of the past. The Old Testament of the heroes becomes a living thing a timeless record of man's struggle out of darkness as the Psalmist wrote so many years ago. The word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. This work guided an ancient people in a world of primitive paganism. This word which was embodied in the Old Testament was the word in which Jesus began His teachings. It was the Word of the early Christian church which came after him. The only scripture and that church was the Hebrew scripture translated into Greek the Septuagint Bible. The disciples of Jesus were Jews and their church was in the city of Jerusalem. Their Peter preached the first Christian sermon on record on the Jewish day of
Pentecost. In this sermon Peter quoted from the Old Testament to explain his messages to prove his claims concerning Jesus. Jesus himself wrote nothing. And some time passed before his followers wrote the books. Therefore the first disciples use the Hebrew Scriptures they search them for material for their preaching and teaching referring constantly to the law and the prophets. These words were part of the message they took forth into the world to spread the gospel to their own empire. We might say this was a part of the continuing process of interpreting the Bible. These scriptures were to be sure regarded as the Word of God yet that word as read and studied and used in the lives of the people was always necessarily interpreted its meaning explored the ideas applied to concrete situations and an ever evolving process of interpretation carried on. Links to this
continuing process of interpretation is the modern attitude toward Bible criticism. It is a controversial topic. This matter of criticism. Yet it is almost as old as the Bible itself through the ages. There has been scholars and free thinkers all concerned with the search for truth and sincere in their quest for answers to mysteries and the past in the foreground today are the archaeologists men with tools of modern science who contribute much to our understanding of the Old Testament days by the discovery of actual relics. Their work is like the peeling of an onion. There are diggings and cover one civilization and its relics after another. One layer beneath the first another beneath that still another underneath. What they discovered tells us much of how people lived in ancient times their homes their to their religious customs their art. And
all this background helps our reading of the Bible. So it is that in these broadcast in the weeks ahead we shall explore the books of the Hebrew Bible and the light of scholars the discoveries and the best of modern opinion. We stand in a point of time when greater understanding is possible than ever before. And this increased understanding can only enhance our appreciation and reverence for the Bible. It stands and excelled and paralleled in the literary heritage of man. It comes to us in terms of divine revelation but its impact on the history of human thought is not obscured not lessened by this concept. It speaks to us as it did to the ancient heroes of the universe united in the concept of One God and of man his creation as we shall see. These were magnificent
Light unto my path
Jesus Christ and the Old Testament
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program explores the influence that the Old Testament had on Jesus Christ and his subsequent teachings.
Series Description
This series explores the books of the Old Testament, how they were written, how they were preserved, and why they continue to have influence.
Broadcast Date
Jesus Christ--Biography--Early life
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Composer: Voegeli, Don
Host: Grauer, Ben
Narrator: Manning, Dean
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-50-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “Light unto my path; Jesus Christ and the Old Testament,” 1960-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 6, 2023,
MLA: “Light unto my path; Jesus Christ and the Old Testament.” 1960-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 6, 2023. <>.
APA: Light unto my path; Jesus Christ and the Old Testament. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from