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Re: poor in spirit

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    ... Again -- even if the phrase poor in Spirit in War Scroll means what you claim it means (it does not. See below) -- your conclusions that (a) it was a
    Message 1 of 7 , May 14, 1999
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      Jim Deardorff wrote:

      > Jeffrey,
      > You omitted the one location where I had pointed out that Frank Cross had
      > referred to an equality between "poor in spirit" and the opposite of "hard
      > hearted" -- the DSS War Scroll. Thus you should have included a third
      > category between your "Yes" or "No" demands. So if the phrase was pretty
      > well known by the Qumrum people, and it occurs in Matthew, I tend to think
      > it was a phrase likely known by AMt also in the same sense.

      Again -- even if the phrase "poor in Spirit" in War Scroll means what you claim it
      means (it does not. See below) -- your conclusions that (a) it was a phrase that
      was "pretty well known by (sic) the Qumrun (sic) people" and (b) it was a phrase
      likely known by AMatt also in the same sense do not follow. One occurrence in the
      DDS does not indicate a well known expression. And since you date AMatt to the
      second century, it is hardly likely, as you claim, that AMatt would have been
      familiar with the way the phrase was purportedly once used in a document that
      presumably had never been available to him (unless you want to argue that AMatt was
      a Qumran covenanter or had access to the Qumran library -- which of course did not
      exist in his time), let alone one which had been lost to everyone for more than 50
      years (on your dating).

      Thus your argument assumes what needs to be proven.


      > Show me the evidence that AMt did not mean it in this way, please.

      Since you made a claim, the onus is on *you* to back it up, and not upon me to do
      what you call for. In any case, the challenge to prove a negative -- which involves
      a shifting of the burden of proof -- always seems to me to be a sign of
      desperation, a sure sign that the one making it has nothing to back up his claims.

      > I don't
      > have the article by Cross on hand, but the part of the War Scroll that he
      > must have been referring is in Col. 14 where one translation is, "He [God]
      > gives those whose knees shake strength to stand, and strengthens those who
      > have been smitten.... Among the poor in spirit [...] a hard heart ..." So
      > Cross evidently concluded from the oppositions here that "poor in spirit"
      > stood in contrast to "a hard heart," and that's a reasonable conclusion.
      > Since this meaning of "poor in spirit" was likely available to AMt, I feel
      > it is reasonable to offer it as one possible answer to Mark's question.

      Let's have a look at the text: It appears in Col. 15 line 7

      And he girds the kidneys
      of those with broken backs.
      Among the poor in spirit
      [...] to a hard heart.
      For the perfect ones of the path
      all the wicked nations shall be destroyed.

      While we might reasonably conclude from this that the expression "the poor in
      Spirit" is set
      in opposition to "a hard heart", there is absolutely no justification for then
      concluding that "the poor in Spirit means "humble", let alone "those willing to
      listen to the clergy",

      Here, as the synonymous parallelism shows, "*the* poor in Spirit" is not an
      adjective, but a title, as is presumably "a hard heart". The expression "the poor in
      spirit" is synonymous with "the perfect ones of the path" and the "heard of heart"
      with the enemies of Israel, those who have and are now persecuting God's righteous.
      And as line 8 shows, "the poor in spirit" is just another name by which the Qumran
      covenanters -- who thought themselves to be the faithful remnant -- called or used
      to refer to themselves. The reference then is not to humility, let alone an
      individual who is humble, but to a community who can claim that in the midst of
      persecution it has shown itself to have remained obedient..

      So even if, as you claim above, that "poor in Spirit" was a phrase that was not
      only "pretty well known by (sic) the Qumrun (sic) people" but something both
      familiar to your purported Matthew, let alone your AMatt, and used by your Matthew
      and AMatt -- your argument that Matthew and AMatt used it with the sense you claim
      he did collapses. The (rather slim) "evidence" upon which you build your case does
      not support it. That is to say, that *if*, as you claim, the meaning that "poor in
      Spirit" has in (your) Matthew and in (our) GMatt is that of the expression as it is
      used in the War Scroll, then it cannot have the meaning you claim it does, for the
      meaning the expression has in the WS is patently not what you claim it is.

      Jeffrey Gibson

      Jeffrey B. Gibson
      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...
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