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Solution to Puzzle

April 23, 2010

I am just back from spending April in Trinidad where we visited Jenny’s mother and I did some consulting with Principal Joy Abdul-Mohan and colleagues at St. Andrews Theological College where I am Professor Emeritus. I also had some productive time with my mentor there, Mawlana Saddiq Nasir of the Islamic Studies Institute, and did some research for Hans Stetcher of the Jewish community on the later island settlement by the crew of Christopher Columbus. All these good folks are part of this online community.

Re the puzzle posed in the March blog:

The good news is that I found what I was looking for in the Hebrew Scriptures with the help of online collaborators, some of whom are members of the Jewish research facility H-JUDAIC, which kindly provided access to an even wider group of Jewish scholars who joined in the pursuit of an answer to this puzzle. Some good people in Europe and Israel joined with the Jewish community in North America to pursue this question.

The answer:

Second Isaiah’s unique use of the Hebrew word Gaol, as meaning Redeemer, to translate the Zoroastrian word Saoshyant (Redeemer) provides the linguistic marker we were seeking. Gaol appears elsewhere, where it means kinsman (even nearest kinsman or avenging kinsman) and other things in the Tanakh or other translators, but nowhere in the Torah is it translated as simply Redeemer, where that word in the nominative case is used as a name for God. Second Isaiah uniquely gives us a cluster of 15 such special usages. The complex but convincing argument that he had a particular agenda relating to conversations between Zoroastrian and Jewish priests in Babylon will be presented in the book.

Thank you to all those who emailed me with ideas, clues, and finally a solution. I continue to be amazed at everybody’s interest in my project, even those who only occasionally read along with us.

Posted by: Brian Arthur Brown