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Just had to comment on the point at 23:55 in the video: "In a well-known Bible translation we can read, 'I shall prove to be what I shall prove to be.' " The video won't say, of course, what translati

Most (perhaps all?) of the known people associated with the sponsor of the video (Reibling Foundation) are Witnesses, too. If they are trying to hide this fact they have not done a good job. Obviously

-----Found it (from a private conversation)... No. It's a common vowel pointing. It showed up this way sometimes in the Masoretic texts about 1,000 years ago. I know you already know that ther

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18 hours ago, Anna said:

It is to be noted that both Rolf Furuli and Gerard Gertroux are both Jehovah's Witnesses.

Most (perhaps all?) of the known people associated with the sponsor of the video (Reibling Foundation) are Witnesses, too. If they are trying to hide this fact they have not done a good job. Obviously, the language and expressions in the video also indicates that it is from Witnesses.

There are some huge logical gaffes in the video.

Furuli says that "as far back as we have evidence we can find the four letters of the divine name" immediately after showing that the 14th C BCE example is only a trigrammaton (YHW) and it is the "Moabite stone "Mesha stele" (from the 9th C BCE) that is the oldest known use of the tetragrammaton example we have in writing. (The Moabite stone, the first tetragrammaton, is nearly 500 years younger than the older trigrammaton.)The narrator tries to drive the point home by saying that this evidence AGAINST his premise indisputably proves the premise.

On "Yah" (Jah), the narrator says that "Yah is indeed God's name...the short version", after which Furuli argues that Yah is "absolutely not an alternative name for Jehovah." (And Gertoux argues that it is not a shortened form based on the pronunciation of the first syllable, but at 21:40 says that Yah/Yahu is God's name when it attached to the end of a personal name.). This is argued from its supposed rarity as a standalone name. But Furuli says it's found 20 times in hallelujah, and 19 times as a standalone name, which totals 49 times (20+19=49). His math is never corrected (either here or in his chronology books), probably because he speaks so authoritatively that no one notices. Of course, the name "Yah" is also embedded in many proper names of individuals in the same way that this video had already shown that others like Nebuchadnezzar, Ramses, etc, included the name of their god(s) in their names. This gets discussed starting at minute 21 of the video.

Then they show Furuli and Gertoux disagreeing about the importance of the final H, where Gertoux says it means the pronunciation was like the a in "ah" but Furuli correctly points out that it was only "very often" and could also stand for either "A" or an "AE." He indicates through his pronunciation that "AE" means either a short "eh" sound or the vowel sometimes represented by the term "schwa").  Then the narrator ignores this contradiction, pretends it's not one at all, and strangely uses it to leap to the conclusion that Jehovah is therefore correct and Yahweh is isn't. See also http://creationcalendar.com/NameYHWH/6-ah-eh.pdf for a different point on the vowel to be included with the ending "H".

On the point that the vowels for ADONAI (Lord) were attached to the Tetragrammaton the video goes through a confused "proof" that this can't be true because the slight difference in the actual vowels of Adonai are different from the Masoretic INITIAL vowel pointing of YHWH. (YaHoWaH vs. YeHoWaH). But instead of showing the evidence, an interview with Nehemia Gordon shifts the subject to the middle vowel "O" as if this was not already known in the Masoretic text and he appears to pretend that he has discovered this "missing" vowel himself. He didn't "discover" anything except for himself; it was already known. This is the place in the video where Gertoux tries to apply the age-old conspiracy theory that scholars know something but don't want to upset their fellow colleagues. This happens under centralized power structures all the time, but this of course is in direct contradiction to the parallel claim that scholars are always in competition for something new and will sacrifice their own mother for gaining a bit of attention in the academic world. In truth, the reason it's difficult to get a hearing on some new theory is that you have to show good evidence that disproves the earlier theory which should mean that you deal with all the evidence already put forth for the previous theory. These types of videos are rarely ever based on ALL the prior evidence, but usually just some small piece of the evidence that can be made to appear weak. And the audience is often limited to those who are hoping for something, anything, that they can hang onto in support of their own pet theories.

6 of the 60 Masoretic manuscripts are known to have the full vowels corresponding to Yehowah. (Note minute 46 of this interview with Nehemia Gordon, the same person interviewed in the Reibling video in your original post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLMPZrFom3Q  )


"Even the scholar Rolf Furuli speaks out against the form Yahweh" is so disingenuous as to be cringeworthy. (18:52)

What they have left out here which is very important is that the vowels roughly corresponding to Adonai were NOT the only vowels that the Masoretic texts applied to YHWH.

In the portion of the video about embedding the divine name as part of an individual's name assumptions are made about the vowel pronunciation that completely forget the prior admission that we don't know the pronunciation of the vowels as they were pronounced in ancient Hebrew. (Gordon sells books based on the premise that Hebrew was a resurrected language, not spoken for 2000 years, which allows him some extra freedom for "discovery.") There are also known differences in initial vowels that were long and become short based on the pronunciation of the second vowel in a word. Contractions based on syllable emphasis are common and are even seen in the various verb forms. An initial vowel that we might think would be unpronounced in some words could also develop into a well-pronounced longer vowel if the middle consonant/vowel combination was contracted. The ah and oh vowels were sometimes interchangeable in words so that even the Masoretic pointing for the "ah" is still pronounced "oh" in some words. The long O and U are also commonly interchanged so that even when WAW/VAV is used as a vowel, it can swap between the O "oh" sound and the U "oooh" sound. (Also in Arabic as in the difference between Osama and Usama, Koran/Quran.) In the Bible itself we see alternative names that give evidence of contractions where Yahu or Yeho at the beginning of a word becomes Yo, (Jonathan from Yehonathan, Joshuah/Jesus from Yehoshuah) but the ending Yah could include "YahU" as is admitted in the video by Gertoux at location 21:34. In the mention of Jehoshaphat, Joel is quoted.  It's not mentioned that Joel himself is a name that means Jehovah (Yo) is God (El) but without a Yehoel form known. Similarly, Elijah means God (El) is Jehovah (Yah). It's odd that the video says there are no exceptions when Jonathan himself is a name mentioned with one of the exceptions.

  • (Ezra 10:15) 15 However, Jonʹa·than the son of Asʹa·hel and Jah·zeiʹah the son of Tikʹvah objected to this, and the Levites Me·shulʹlam and Shabʹbe·thai supported them.

This only covers some problems from the first half of the video, which appears intended to convince people who have not done a full study. I'm sure we shouldn't discount the possibility that "Jehovah" (from "Yehowah") is one of the possible alternatives. If however, the entire point of the Masoretic text was to produce vowel-pointed pronunciations that helped readers avoid the true pronunciation, then they did a terrible job by supposedly giving away the true vowels in some places but not others. I believe I wrote a note to the Librarian here once that had some evidence about this in the Masoretic texts. I'll see if it's still here and post it.


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-----Found it (from a private conversation)...

No. It's a common vowel pointing. It showed up this way sometimes in the Masoretic texts about 1,000 years ago. I know you already know that there were no vowel points in the older Hebrew texts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. Usually it did not include the "o" (holam) point after the first "H".

Here's an example at https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/departinghoreb/masoretic-hebrew-vs-septuagint-part-1/

It doesn't say, but it's the Aleppo Codex of Joshua 1:1 . . . . It includes the "e" and the "a[h]" but not the "o".

Here's an example at http://danielbenyaacovysrael.blogspot.com/2013/02/parsha-tetzaveh-youshall-command-shmot.html

It doesn't say, but it's also from the Aleppo Codex of Ezekiel 28:2 and it includes the "o". I included the picture, because it highlights the tetragrammaton.

So, yes, it's one of the possible vowel pointings, which may have been used to remind readers to pronounce with the word ADONAI, ELOHIM, or HA-SHEM, etc. 

Notice the evidence that this Adonai vowel pointing was NOT supposed to be the actual pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, but a replacement pronunciation of the entire word "ADONAI" (Lord). What would happen (sometimes) if the term used in the original Heberw was already ADONAI YHWH? The reader would end up saying ADONAI ADONAI. This happens in Judges 6:22 for example.

Judges 6:22 in the same Aleppo Codex, uses different vowel points shown in the smaller picture, attached. These are the vowel points for ELOHIM. It's evidently because it follows the word ADONAI. (Notice that the "o" is left off Adonai here, too.) It's not consistent, as the Ezekel 28:2 passage showed, but the fact that the name has inconsistent vowel pointing is evidence that whatever vowel points are used were NOT intended for pronunciation. That fact alone is evidence that these two vowel pointings become evidence of two ways in which the name must NOT have been pronounced. (Although someone could argue that an exceptional vowel pointing could have been an accidental slip that revealed the actual way it was pronounced at the time of the Masorete scribes.)






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Just had to comment on the point at 23:55 in the video: "In a well-known Bible translation we can read, 'I shall prove to be what I shall prove to be.' " The video won't say, of course, what translation this is, but we already know it's the old NWT:

  • (Exodus 3:14) At this God said to Moses: “I SHALL PROVE TO BE WHAT I SHALL PROVE TO BE.” And he added: “This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ‘I SHALL PROVE TO BE has sent me to YOU.’”

Of course, this was changed in the 2013 revision:

  • (Exodus 3:14) 14 So God said to Moses: “I Will Become (AHYH) What I Choose to Become (AHYH).” And he added: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘I Will Become (AHYH)has sent me to you.’”

Oddly, the new 2013 translation got rid of the verb form "prove to be [this or that]" in about 300 places, leaving only a few exceptions which seem now as if they are just accidental, vestigial remnants of the old translation. But it's also odd that in the new translation Jehovah CHANGES his name in the middle of this verse, leaving out the idea of "CHOOSING" even though it was never in the Hebrew to begin with. In the Hebrew there is a different "tetragrammaton" here "AHYH" and it never changes between the first two uses and the third use. (Using "A" for the consonant "ayin") It's actually just a form of the word "to be." It's the same word found here:

  • (Genesis 3:1) 3 Now the serpent was the most cautious of all the wild animals. . . (NWT)
  • (Judges 20:12) 12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men to all the tribesmen of Benjamin, saying: “What is this terrible thing that has happened among you?  (NWT)


Hebrew, like some other Semitic languages, does not always need the verb "to be" (or "am") especially in the present tense, because it is easily understood in most contexts without spelling it out. It's used more often when it's useful in producing a non-standard "tense" of a verb. It's definitely given special significance in Exodus 3:14, but not so much that it requires various ideas to be added to the translation.


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5 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Most (perhaps all?) of the known people associated with the sponsor of the video (Reibling Foundation) are Witnesses, too.

Yes, I didn't want to mention this though so it wouldn't bias anyone, and left it up to them to do the research if they wanted. It was sent to me as an "independent, secular documentary". Of course, as soon as I spotted Furuli I became suspicious it was not, and then the contents. Just a little search of the names in the credits after the film brings out lots of other info. Many involved are Witnesses but not all. The director Fritz Poppenberg doesn't seem to be a JW, but obviously a JW apologist, Nehemiah Gordon is a Karaite Rabbi (never heard of the Karaite Jews, very interesting) and the sound director Peter Kaizar doesn't appear to be one. There is a website (obviously biased against JW) that analyses the documentary and the involvement of JWs....(but that's not where I got my info from).

I was hoping you would see this post as I was as sure you would have plenty to say (:D). I look forward to reading your critique later, and respond. 

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I haven't yet. Other things intervene. But I will. You would think something like a documentary on God's name would interest me. Somehow it doesn't. Or rather, it does, but not enough for it to go to the top of the stack.

This fellow Furuli's name pops up a lot. There may even be a brief exchange with him somewhere on my own blog - or maybe it was with someone else. I wonder who he is.

These brothers that write books - I wonder what they are like as people. My understanding is that the books are academic in nature. I have written two ebooks, and they have facts and history, but I would never call them scholarly. They are as much storytelling and anecdotes with large doses of humor inserted.

Even the third book cannot be called scholarly, though it is the one I will first try to get into print. I'll cut back on the jokes, too, but not an occasional measured bit of sarcasm. I hope it is a resource, but it will very much be a work of an apologist.


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17 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

This fellow Furuli's name pops up a lot. There may even be a brief exchange with him somewhere on my own blog - or maybe it was with someone else. I wonder who he is.

I would have never known he even existed were it not for JW Insider. You can just google his name and go to Wikipedia which gives pretty concise info. about him. His name has also been mentioned in our publications, but easily overlooked. He wrote the two articles in WT 2011 about when was ancient Jerusalem destroyed, if I'm not mistaken. Of course there is a lot more interesting stuff, as he is a big supporter of the 607 B.C. question. One can even contact him via a blog. (I think JW Insider had discussions with him)

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15 hours ago, Anna said:

Yes, I didn't want to mention this though so it wouldn't bias anyone, and left it up to them to do the research if they wanted. It was sent to me as an "independent, secular documentary".

This is the first time I've seen this video. (About 3 AM this morning.) I watched it because I think it's something I should have seen before. Someone mentioned it a couple years ago, but I never went looking for it. Actually I think you still had to pay for it back when I first heard about it, so I figured I'd wait until it came out on cable or Netflix.

Sorry if I biased anyone about the Reibling Foundation or their projects. I think most of their projects have been good, high-quality projects. But I'm concerned about the kind of money that has been transferred in their direction. I'll post a couple of items below  that appear to be based on some evidence.  I've also heard that Gene Smalley (Writing Department, Bethel) had evidently shown great interest in the Watchtower getting in on the ground floor investments in a device that hospitals could use in support of JW blood policy on autologous transfusions. The Reibling Foundation was paid 4 million for promoting support of this device (not from WTBTS, however). The WTBTS gave them the deal on one of their Brooklyn Heights hotels, where the Reiblings made about 10 million in profit reselling the building, and were able to take advantage of some volunteer labor under Bethel's control.

15 hours ago, Anna said:

The director Fritz Poppenberg doesn't seem to be a JW, but obviously a JW apologist,

Not even sure that JW apologist is appropriate. Don't think he has much of a relationship with JWs. He was hired for his voice and the ability to "independently" represent a point of view, even if it was completely scripted for him. With enough money, I suppose you could even hire Morgan Freeman to give the "independent" voice to a crazy conspiracy theory about UFO's abducting Hillary Clinton. (Look at the kind of stuff they call "discovery, history, or science" on cable's Discovery Channel, History Channel, etc.)  I know that Poppenberg helped with other JW related projects, but I'd guess it's only because they already know he will. The production end of this video need not have been done by people with any JW interests. Nehemia Gordon gives several interviews to Christian "Jewish" Messianic outreach organizations, even though he also makes fun of some of these same groups on the side.

The following is not completely checked out, but I've found info so far that confirms some of it, and nothing that disconfirms any of it.

----------------WARNING: some parts picked up from ex-JW sites-----------------

A Common Bond's Response to the Documentary Knocking - part 2

Where the Money Came From

On May 22, 2007, a documentary program entitled Knocking was shown on some Public Broadcasting System (PBS) stations throughout the United States as a part of their "Independent Lens" series of programs. Because PBS does not accept commercial advertisements, programming on this network is paid for through grants from various corporate sources, public and private foundations, and individual funding. Programming on PBS always discloses the sources of funding for it's shows at the time of the
program's airing, as well as on the PBS website. An examination of the PBS website lists the following as providing major funding for Knocking:
Walter Zaremba
Gunther Reibling
New York Community Trust
A further examination of the Knocking website shows the following list of supporters at the bottom of each page:
Independent Television Service
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Reibling Foundation
Note the name "Reibling" on both sites as a major contributor for the production of this program. A quick search on the internet found a
connection between Gunther Reibling, the Reibling Foundation, and the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society on the Boston College website. Further research reveals the establishment of the Laura and Lorenz Reibling Family Foundation of Boston, Massachusetts as a charitable organization some time after Knocking had been funded. According to the website of Taurus Investment Holdings, Lorenz Reibling is the brother of Gunther Reibling. Unconfirmed sources we consider trusted and reliable believe both Reibling brothers to be practicing Jehovah's Witnesses. Whether or not this is true, the Reibling family does associate with people who have close ties to the Watchtower. An online bio of Lorenz Reibling states the following:
Lorenz Reibling, Chairman, Taurus Investment Holdings
Lorenz is Chairman and a principal of Taurus Investment Holdings, LLC. As cofounder of Taurus, Lorenz has been responsible for the acquisition and/or development of over 100 commercial real estate projects throughout the United States since 1976. He regularly participates as co-investor in Taurus-sponsored real estate transactions. In 1966, Lorenz completed an apprenticeship as Industriekaufmann at Obpacher AG, a Weyerhauser-affiliated, Munich-based printing and publishing plant. Lorenz subsequently graduated from Munchen-Kolleg and attended Technische Universitat and Ludwigs-Maximilians Universitat, earning degrees in Cybernetics and Psychology. His early research on personality changes in heart transplant patients was conducted at
University Hospital Munich Grosshadern. After immigration to America he received a MS from Boston College in Organizational Management with focus on maximizing intellectual capital. He has attended and completed specialized courses at MIT and Harvard on real estate related subjects. Mr. Reibling's early career included employment with multinational corporations such as Hoechst (Cassella Riedl), American Hospital Supply Corporation, and CPI Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. specializing in sophisticated cardiac stimulation appliances. Mr. Reibling is a full member of the AHI Angel Healthcare Investor Group, The Massachusetts Historical Society, Friends of the Kunstakademie Munchen, and supporter of numerous philantropic organizations. He was appointed to the advisory board of MIT/CRE (Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Center for Real Estate). As a collector of 15th-16th century Bibles and Reformation literature, Mr. Reibling has initiated and co-sponsored significant research and exhibition projects, such as "The Art of the Book: A journey through a Thousand Years" and "Confront: Resistance against Nazi Terror." He is fluent in German, English, Spanish and Italian. His residency is in the United States with homes in Massachusetts and Florida. He is married for 26 years with three adult children.

It is startling to note that Lorenz Reibling conducted research on "personality transplants" at around the same time that the Watchtower was teaching that organ transplantation was a disfellowshippable offense due to it's being considered cannibalism and a risk for the patient taking on the personality of the donor. Some time later, the Watchtower lifted the restriction against organ transplants, but failed to invite back the disfellowshipped members who had "sinned" by having life-saving surgery, but "went ahead of Jehovah" by doing so before the ban was lifted. Another way to trace the Reiblings' association with the Watchtower is by doing an internet search on the other name that appears on the PBS website as a provider of major funding: Walter Zaremba.
A search on the internet revealed the docket of a federal court case:
BIELERT v. NORTHERN OHIO PROPERTIES [No. 87-4031, 1988 WL 125357, at *5 (6th Cir. 1988)] was a 1988 federal lawsuit in which David Bielert alleged that he suffered employment discrimination, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, because he was not a Jehovah's Witness. Northern Ohio Properties was a subsidiary of Zaremba Corporation, owned by Tim Zaremba, Walter Zaremba, and other members of the Zaremba family. The Zaremba family are Jehovah's Witnesses, and many of the investors and employees of the related corporations are believed to be Jehovah's Witnesses.
Zaremba is linked to Reibling by a man named Aaron Gibitz who has worked for both Taurus (Reibling) and Zaremba:
From March 2002 to the present, Mr. Gibitz has been a consultant to Taurus Investment Group,Inc., based in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Taurus invest in real estate and has other business interest including health and wellness consumer products and media/technology. From March 1997 through March 2002, Mr. Gibitz was an executive with Zaremba Management, based in Independence, Ohio..


  • Westbrook declined to comment, but public records show the company paid $60 million for the 12-story building overlooking the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with views of the city. The Watchtower Society of The Jehovah’s Witnesses sold the building at 169 Columbia Heights for $50 million in 2007 to the Boston-based Taurus Investment Holdings, which converted it into 94 luxury apartment rentals shortly thereafter. [Taurus Investments is a Reibling company]


Then again, these amounts are only a small percentage of the real estate deals the Reiblings have been involved with. I found this in the New York Times:

Don't know if you can still do this, but after Knocking came out, I looked up names on LinkedIn for the companies involved and was able to confirm a network of JWs involved.


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