8. And then, women must never forget that all this addition to the text was not only the work of men exclusively, but of men who, in their day, were, as Jews, bitter opponents of the teachings and of the spirit of Christianity. Furthermore, if we may judge from the spirit of the teachings of the Talmud on the “woman question” (for the Talmud was then in the ascendancy, and the sayings of the rabbis considered more authoritative than Scripture itself), these amenders of the original text, as a class, held women in utter contempt. Dr. Paul Isaac Hershon (to quote one of the many witnesses to this statement) says: “The rabbis, over and over again, teach the utter inferiority of woman: they put a definite seal as it were on the degraded life of the female sex which for ages has been lived by women in the East as in the West.” A certain Rabbi Yochanan, we are told, quotes the Mishnic (the Mishna is the most ancient and important part of the Talmud) rabbis as teaching that a man may do as he pleases with his wife: “It is like a piece of meat brought from the shambles, which one may eat, salt, roast, partially or wholly cooked.” A woman once complained before Rav (a great rabbi) of bad treatment from her husband. He replied: “What is the difference between thee and a fish, which one may eat either broiled or cooked?” But Jews alone did not hold women in contempt at that time in human history. It was an unfortunate time, as regards women, for fixing the sense of the Holy Scriptures.
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2. Our argument assumes that the Bible is all that it claims for itself. It is (1) Inspired, 2 Timothy 3:16; (2) Infallible, Isaiah 40:8; and (3) Inviolable, John 10:35. Indeed, no other basis of procedure is available for us. However freely certain male scholars of the present day manipulate the text, no confidence would be placed in the results thus obtained by a woman, at once, she would be faced with the charge that she had manipulated the text to suit her argument. But a manipulation of the text is unnecessary, even if we thought it lawful under any circumstances.
3. The assumption that the text needs amending, to any great extent, is very erroneous. A candid acceptance of the testimony as to its history proves that the original text has been preserved in manuscripts with scarcely an important change. It is known that the Scribes wrote out their copy with immense care, as to the Hebrew Old Testament. They copied even supposed errors, calling attention to seeming irregularities by slight marks, but not venturing to correct. They have left records to show that when copying they counted each consonant and vowel-letter in each line, and kept records of the same, in order to verify their finished work. Superstition alone was enough to cause the Jews to preserve their Scripture text inviolable, they prized the letter beyond the spirit of the Word. The Apostle Paul speaks in direct testimony of their faithful preservation of the Hebrew text, since had it been otherwise, the Jews would have been less in favor with God, Romans 3:1-2. Jesus Christ strongly denounced the misinterpretation of the Scriptures by the “traditions” of the Jews, Mark 7:9-13, etc., but He never accused the Jews of corrupting the text of their Scriptures.
5. But when we speak of the Bible as inspired, infallible and inviolable, we do not refer to our English version, or any mere version, but to the original text. Prof. Deissmann has well said, “All translation implies some, if only a slight, alteration of the sense of the original.” Now we must explain more precisely what “the original text” really implies, and how much it includes. The original Hebrew of the Old Testament was written without any spaces between words in totally different looking letters from those we call “Hebrew” at the present time; and the language as first written contained no vowels, as though the English of Genesis 1:1 were written: