7 March 2022

Isaiah: Part 4

In this blog entry we continue focusing on the most complex structure diagrams in the Book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16 in Romans 9:33

(If you click on a structure diagram, you can change the numbers into Greek/Latin texts and back.)


We already found this match when collecting the quotations from the Romans. Now we check the words added by Paul. The first 8 letters consist of two parts: the first part “τιθημι” (“I lay”) sounds differently as the LXX version of another verb of a similar activity, “εγω εμβαλω” (“I shall put”), in Isaiah 28:16. In fact, it is worth checking the words appearing after these words in Isaiah: the whole expression is “εγω εμβαλω εις τα θεμελια” (“I shall put for the foundations”), and here the first part of the last word “θεμελια” has a similar sound like the middle of the word “τιθημι”. These weblinks point to Strong's Concordance that remarks that the word “θεμελιος” is a derivative of the word “τιθημι”. This could be eventually incorporated in the diagram as well.

The next part, 2 letters “εν” (“in”), does not appear in the LXX passages, but it seems to be required to communicate Paul's message to connect the two passages from Isaiah. The second 3 letters describe the word “και” (“and”), so this is a just simple separator. The final 9 letters build the word “σκανδαλου” (“of offense”) which can be considered as a kind of synonym of the LXX word “πτωματι” (“downfall”).

This is clearly a kind of mixture of class 4 and 5 structure diagrams. Both passages from Isaiah point to the Romans when the getrefs algorithm is performed.

Isaiah 10:22 and Hosea 1:10 in Romans 9:27


This match was already mentioned. Now we have a closer look. The diagrams give an overview: some words are skipped from Isaiah, but no new word was inserted, except that 4 letters from Isaiah were changed to 3 letters – the word “καταλειμμα” is written as “υπολειμμα”. But these are just variant readings of the same word, “remnant”. So, at the end of the day, this type of quotation is very similar to a class 4 quotation.

Alternatively, if we assume that the change “καταλειμμα” → “υπολειμμα” is just minor, a simplified diagram can be used:


Here a larger number (44%) for the Jaccard distance for this change is shown. (Check this via bibref.) This confirms that this change is rather incompatible with the automated comparison methods. I personally prefer keeping the first diagram because the change “καταλειμμα” → “υπολειμμα” is major enough. Therefore there is a need to display that the first characters are different in the two words.

Isaiah 28:11 in I_Corinthians 14:21


This pair cannot be found with the getrefs algorithm. On the other hand, the words used by Paul clearly refer to Isaiah 28:11, even if there are some minor (mostly grammatical) modifications in his text. His insertions are: “Εν (“in”, grammatical), “και εν” (“and in”, grammatical), “ετερων” (“other”, a repetition, for amplification – this could be visualized by a second arrow pointing to the same word). In fact, Paul does not add any new concepts here, just some minor edits are done on the text of Isaiah. Nevertheless, it remains challenging to get this match by mechanical methods. Also, Paul's conclusion “και ουδʼ ουτως εισακουσονται μου” (“and not even thus will they here Me”) cannot be mechanically identified, even if there is some similarity with the end of the next verse in Isaiah: “και ουκ ηθελησαν ακουειν” (“and they did not want to hear”); these two have a Jaccard distance of 65%. (Check this via bibref.)


Continue reading…

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Zoltán Kovács
Linzer Zentrum für Mathematik Didaktik
Johannes Kepler Universität
Altenberger Strasse 54
A-4040 Linz