"Hopefully adults know that a lot of what they read on the web
is just not right, and just not true. But kids don't know that,
they read it and think that it says it, it must be true. …
There is no editor on the internet so people can put
stuff out there that is just absolutely drop dead wrong."
- Dr. Phil McGraw (Wed. 12-16-09)
"All that is required for evil to prevail
is for good men to do nothing."
There has been a lot of false information sent around the internet about the so-called “Halleluyah Scriptures” and the ISR. In fact recently YahSpace stopped promoting the legitimate ISR “Scriptures” version and started promoting the piracy of the so-called “Hallelyah Scriptures” instead.
To begin with, in the interest of full disclosure, I am not an authorized spokesman for ISR. Also I should say that the ISR has been the publisher of the printed edition of the Hebraic Roots Version Scriptures since 2005. I do know the people involved and can speak to the facts in this matter.
ISR (Institute for Scripture Research) (http://www.messianic.co.za ) is an organization established in 1992 in South Africa. Chris J. Koster was the first director of the organization. It has been implied that the ISR was just a “title” Chris Koster did business under, this is not so, it is and was a full fledged organization with a Board of Directors.
Through this organization the first edition of “The Scriptures” was published in a small printing in 1994.
In 1996 Chris Koster passed away and his dear friend and colleague Wilhelm Wolfaardt succeeded him as Director of ISR.
It has been implied that some sort of death bed event occurred in which Koster asked Wilhelm to keep the ISR “Scriptures” available for free, asking only for donations to support reprinting. It has also been stated FALSELY that Koster left Wilhelm a sum of money to support this effort. This concocted deathbed event has been used to falsely claim that Wilhelm betrayed some sacred trust and therefore help justify the outright piracy of the “Scriptures” translation. This is a total falsehood, it never happened. In fact even the Halleluyah Scriptures publisher does not claim that this deathbed event happened (though he does wrongly claim that Koster left a sum of money to Wilhelm) instead it is thinly guised in an allegory about a painting, but the allegory leaves hearers with the impression that such a deathbed event occurred with Koster and Wilhelm. It is true that Wilhelm succeeded Koster as director of the ISR and it is true that the ISR had money in its account at that time, but this was not Koster’s money and it did not become Wilhem’s money, it was the ISR’s money both before and after Koster’s death.
In 1998 a new edition of The Scriptures was printed in a much larger printing. To better facilitate worldwide distribution, printing was done in North America.It was originally Chris Koster's idea to put a price on The Scriptures. He told Bill Meyer "we cannot keep on handing The Scriptures out like tracts as we will not be in the position to reprint." The shipping costs alone were killing th ISR. A joint decision was made at the time by all seven remaining committee members of the ISR that it was necessary to begin actually selling The Scriptures version in order to guarantee the ability to keep the translation and other books in print. This was a legitimate decision that the committee members were fully empowered to make. Regardless of whether one likes or agrees with ISR’s decision, ISR has the right to manage its intellectual property (and the Scriptures was always the intellectual property of ISR even while Koster was alive).
Although ISR does not sell the Scriptures version for a profit, it would not be a Torah violation if they did (nor would it violate Mat. 10:8)
(See: http://nazarenespace.com/group/bewareslandererandlashonhara/forum/t... )
The Halleluyah Scriptures publishers have argued that an alleged wish by Koster that the “Scriptures” be distributed free, gives them the right to publish them free if the ISR does not. The Church of God Philadelphia made the argument that Herbert W. Armstrong's intent that his books be distributed without charge allowed them after his death to hijack the rights and publish it free themselves since the organization owning the rights did not do so. The argument failed and this plainly violates international Copyright Law.
It has been implied that Wilhem and other ISR Board members “live in luxury” on profits that they receive from the sales of the Scriptures version. This is also an outright falsehood. Neither Wilhelm or any other ISR officer receives one penny from the ISR. Wilhelm has made a living for himself as a Civil Engineer. All of the funds received by ISR through the sale of the “Scriptures” version is directed into ISR accounts to be used for future printings of the “Scriptures” and other books. ISR does not aim at turning a profit on the ISR Scriptures, but only at selling each printing for enough to ensure future printings, this accounting for inflation and other variables, and allow future printings of ever increasing size (the larger a printing, the more cost effective). It was this process that put the ISR in the position of also publishing the HRV Scriptures as well (In the interest of full disclosure, I do receive a very modest royalty on the ISR publication of the HRV Scriptures. I think this is well earned in the hundreds (thousands?) of hours I put into the HRV, and it goes to support my continued research and teaching.)
It has been stated that ISR is not really an organization, but a “ma and pop” operation run by Wilhelm. This is also false. The ISR is a very real organization. The decision to begin selling the Scriptures was made by seven committee members. When I negotiated the publication of the HRV Scriptures with ISR as the new publisher, I recall repeatedly having to wait for elements to be approved by the Board of Directors.
It has been suggested that the ISR has refused bulk discounts to those requesting them. This is also false, in fact ISR has a bulk pricing schedule on their website at http://www.messianic.co.za and has had for years. ISR has also, at their discretion, given away copies free as YHWH provides.
Perhaps the most outlandish claim is made by Bob Field and his Hall of Lashon HaRa website which says “Two men: Wilhelm Wolfhaardt and Lew White teamed together and STOLE and PLAGIARISED [the Scriptures version]…” This is an outright lie, Wihelm was the legitimate successor of Koster at ISR and Lew White is only a US distributor who did not even become involved with ISR until the 21st Century! He then outright lies and says that Wilhelm and Lew are “living in luxury all gleaned from greed profits and donations given by unsuspecting believers who have been blinded by 'good works'...”
The attacker suggest that Scripture translations should not be copyrighted. It is necessary to copyright Scripture translations so as to maintain intellectual rights over the material to prevent its misuse and defacement by others. For example maintaining a copyright prevents the Mormons from printing an edition of the Scriptures that implements the Translation changes made by Joseph Smith jr. in his "Inspired Version" or from a non Sacred Name group hijacking the translation and printing a "Jesus" version of it.
Copyrights DO apply to Scripture translations, trust me I spent about a year last year in a Federal Lawsuit defending the copyright of the HRV from a challenge by The Way International. (One cannot copyright the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek, but a modern translation of them can be copyrighted).
One cannot say "YHWH told me to commit piracy so it is OK" otherwise we can all do anything we want and say "YHWH told me to..."
It is sad to say that a web of lies has been spun in order to defame ISR and excuse the blatant piracy of the producers of the so-called “Halleluyah Scriptures” and it is even more sad to see YahSpace promoting this outright piracy.