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NIV Bible : Is revision of the popular version necessary?

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1skoobdo
Jan 28, 2010, 3:43am Top

Give your views and opinions on the ongoing revision of NIV Holy Version in your capacity as
a reader?

Is further revisions on this popular English Language bible a necessary task overdue?

Click, for your info

http://www.NIVBible2011.com

2oakes
Jan 28, 2010, 3:59am Top

Assuming that one translation might be imperfect in some sense, what grounds would there or could there be for assuming that a new translation would be better on net?

3rolandperkins
Jan 30, 2010, 9:01pm Top

This is pretty subjective, but I've never liked the N I V as much as the original edition of the Revised Standard (RSV); so I'm inclined to think, optimistically, that any revision of N I V could only be for the better.

The RSV was very good at retaining c ertain archaic but very well known phrasings of the King James Version (AV), AND at correcting it where it was just plain wrong. The translation of the RSV, which has itself been somewhat revised since, was made about when I was in college in the 1950s. I did hear a lecture by one of the multi-denominational committee of translators: Henry Cadbury, a Quaker.

4mickeymullen
Apr 16, 2010, 4:43pm Top

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5alex.kowalenko
May 6, 2010, 7:21am Top

What if people cannot read English? More Christians in the world today speak another language than English, what Bible are they to read?

6skoobdo
Edited: May 6, 2010, 8:40am Top

There are many versions in different languages to choose from.

There are 35 languages bible online.
Click to:
http://www.biblegateway.com/versions

7johnthefireman
May 6, 2010, 8:43am Top

>4 mickeymullen: I believe it is the Bible mankind will be judged by

Mickey, I'd be interested to hear why you think that. Why the King James bible in preference to earlier and later translations?

8ittai
May 10, 2010, 12:30pm Top

I believe the KJV to be God's word in English for two reasons: faith and fruit.

Faith, because throughout the Book you read that God would preserve His word for His people. If you compare the KJV with other English versions there are numerous differences, inconsistencies and contradictions. In 30+ years of study, I have not found an apparent contradiction that could not be resolved in the KJV. But I have found many in all the others. Just as anyone who is not Catholic has to rely on faith to accept the canon of Scripture, so I rely on faith for the preservation of Scripture.

Fruit, because the spiritual and material blessings that have followed where the KJV has been preached and practiced far surpass anything that any other version has produced in close to 400 years.

I was initially schooled in the critical text in college (Bible major/Greek minor), actually taking up Greek while a pre-med major before I changed schools and major. Thought by learning the Greek all my problems of understanding the Bible would be solved. NOPE!

9DeusExLibrus
May 10, 2010, 2:50pm Top

Because even if its inspired by God, its written by man. Man is imperfect, so of course he won't be able to transmit God's word perfectly. Honestly, I'm more willing to trust more recent translations, where the translators had access to more manuscripts, and thus a higher likelihood of understanding what the author may have been trying to get at. Why put so much stock in a book written in a style of english no longer spoken? Does archaic language really make a book more holy? Sorry if this comes off as combative, its by no means meant to be, just trying to understand your PoV.

10fuzzi
Sep 1, 2011, 7:46am Top

I don't understand why it is necessary to have revision after revision of the Bible. Is our language changing so rapidly that we can't understand what was written 30 years ago, or 100 years ago?

Maybe people are getting dumber and dumber...

11pmackey
Edited: Sep 1, 2011, 7:50pm Top

>4 mickeymullen:, The King James Bible of 1611 Is the only Bible that I will read. I believe it is the Bible mankind will be judged by.

This point of view seems rather unfair for non-English readers and Christians before 1611. Don't get me wrong. The KJV was the version I cut my teeth on and I find that even at 51 it's the version I'm most likely to quote. The translation is so lyrical even today.

As a compromise with better, updated translations versus familiar language and cadence, I prefer (in order of preference) the New King James Version, the English Standard Version, the Good News Bible, then the NIV. But the best translation of the Bible is whichever one you use regularly.

12fuzzi
Sep 2, 2011, 12:51pm Top

>4 mickeymullen:, The King James Bible of 1611 Is the only Bible that I will read. I believe it is the Bible mankind will be judged by.

(11) This point of view seems rather unfair for non-English readers and Christians before 1611.

Life is unfair at times. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew for the most part: it was written for and given to the Jews by God.

If someone wanted to read God's words, he/she would have to learn Hebrew, such as the Ethiopian eunuch did, as seen in Acts 8:27.

The New Testament was written in Greek, the main language of the world at the time, and given to the Christians who were commanded to take God's word to the uttermost parts of the earth.

The King James Bible has been given to English speaking Christians, English being the main language of the world since England became a world power just prior to 1600. Christians are supposed to go and spread the word about God to other nations, or people can learn English in order to read God's word.

This is not just a Biblical issue: if I want to read a scientific journal that is written in German, I need to learn German.

In response to your statement about unfairness to Christians before 1611, I'd like to quote something for you:

Where was the Bible before 1611?

ANSWER:
In the available Antiochian manuscripts.

EXPLANATION:
... The overwhelming majority of Bible manuscripts existent throughout history have been the text found in Antioch. They have always been available in some form, either in copies of the original Greek, or the old Latin of 150 AD, (NOT to be confused with Jerome's corrupt "Vulgate") or the Syrian Peshetto of 157 AD.

That it would be difficult indeed to gather all of these sources together and place them in the hands of the common man gives credence to God's reasoning for the collation and translation of the King James Bible.


http://samgipp.com/answerbook/?page=13.htm

(11) Don't get me wrong. The KJV was the version I cut my teeth on and I find that even at 51 it's the version I'm most likely to quote. The translation is so lyrical even today.

If the King James Bible is the bible you are most likely to quote, and you 'cut your teeth on it', why do you use other versions?

Let's face it, the multiple new versions of the Bible vary, and not just in using 'you' for 'thou': many doctrinal changes can be seen in just a brief comparison between the versions.

If the many modern versions of the Bible don't agree on important points, then what can one base their faith upon? There needs to be one standard, one authority that we can rest upon. Otherwise, there is confusion, and we know that God is not the author of confusion.

13LucasTrask
Sep 2, 2011, 1:05pm Top

fuzzi wrote:
Otherwise, there is confusion, and we know that God is not the author of confusion.


1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speach.

2 And it came to passe as they iourneyed from the East, that they found a plaine in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.

3 And they sayd one to another; Goe to, let vs make bricke, and burne them thorowly. And they had bricke for stone, and slime had they for morter.

4 And they said; Goe to, let vs build vs a city and a tower, whose top may reach vnto heauen, and let vs make vs a name, lest we be scattered abroad vpon the face of the whole earth.

5 And the LORD came downe to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

6 And the LORD said; Behold, the people is one, and they haue all one language: and this they begin to doe: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they haue imagined to doe.

7 Goe to, let vs go downe, and there cofound their language, that they may not vnderstand one anothers speech.

8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence, vpon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the Citie.

9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel, because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad vpon the face of all the earth.

(1611 King James Edition)

14vpfluke
Sep 2, 2011, 1:31pm Top

The King James version was based on old manuscripts, primarily of Byzantine origin, set down by Erasmus, which is known as Textus Receptus (link to Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textus_Receptus ).

All English language versions of the Bible are translations, most recent versions use some version of the Nestle-Aland Greek text. Translating is an imperfect task, there is no one-to-one correspondence between every Greek word and any English word. The King James (i.e. Authorized Version (authorized by the Church of England (Anglican))) notes some of this by showing some words in Italics.

People read different versions in order to get a better understanding of the Bible. The common translations of the Bible don't seem to vary in doctrine (all reveal the resurrection of Jesus, for instance). But they do vary in readability. The NIV reads more smoothly. The Good News Bible is something of a paraphrase, but I use that also.

The most current Eastern Orthodox English language version uses a translation of the Septuagint for the Old Testament (including the Apocrypha) and uses the New King James version (based on textus receptus) for the New Testament.

15pmackey
Sep 3, 2011, 12:28am Top

>12 fuzzi: If the King James Bible is the bible you are most likely to quote, and you 'cut your teeth on it', why do you use other versions?

Why? Because modern translations are easier to understand and so I'm blessed by reading them. The KJV is a masterpiece, but it isn't the be all to end all. Frankly for accuracy of translation and readability, I prefer the English Standard Version. Frankly, I often compare passages from different translations to gain better insight and understanding.

The King James Bible has been given to English speaking Christians, English being the main language of the world since England became a world power just prior to 1600. Christians are supposed to go and spread the word about God to other nations, or people can learn English in order to read God's word.

So, just to be clear are you saying that all English speaking/reading people will be judged by interpretations from the KJV? Or ALL humanity all over the world? I'll say up front that I disagree with you in either case. If we limit the path to salvation or doctrine to one particular translation then we limit God, and that, my friend, just isn't right.

16johnthefireman
Edited: Sep 3, 2011, 3:07am Top

I seem to recall that this is not the first time this discussion has come up on LT. It was news to me that there are people who think the KJV is the version by which humankind will be judged. I was certainly aware that many people prefer that translation for its poetry and beauty, or because it was the one they were brought up with, or for its historic importance, all of which is fine, but I can't understand how it can be viewed as the only acceptable version. What/where is the authoritative text or teaching or revelation or whatever which says that it is?

As others have said, all modern versions are translations, and no translation of old languages and ancient texts is perfect. As translation techniques have improved and more original sources discovered, newer translations are arguably more accurate. At the very least, it is beneficial to compare translations to see what alternative meanings are possible.

During the era of the British Empire there may have been a feeling that "God is an Englishman", but to claim that people can learn English in order to read God's word (>12 fuzzi:) is a quite astounding piece of neo-colonial arrogance. Interestingly it also goes against the overwhelming philosophy and practice of protestant missionaries who were in the forefront of writing down languages which had never been written before, and preparing grammars, dictionaries and adult literacy material, precisely so that people could read the bible in their own languages.

17pmackey
Sep 3, 2011, 4:36pm Top

>16 johnthefireman:, Yea, what you said! I don't understand how one school of thought (that the KJV is the standard by which humankind will be judged) can evolve in light of the massive effort in the 1800 - 1900s to translate the Bible into each person's language.

I love the KJV for the beauty of its language, but as respected biblical scholars have pointed out, word usage and meanings have shifted in the 400 years since the KJV was published. I truly don't understand why the NIV needs to be revised, but I'll wait for the jury to give the verdict. Another thing I truly love -- and am grateful to God, scholars and publishers -- is the numerous, inexpensive translations of the Bible that we have available. I enjoy comparing passages from different translations to gain a nuanced understanding. I just wish I had the self-discipline to learn NT Greek.

: )

18Arctic-Stranger
Sep 3, 2011, 5:46pm Top

Adherence to the KJV is idolatry, plain and simple. It replaces the Living Word with one, old, antiquated, TRANSLATED version. It is a Paper Pope.

Don't get me wrong, I am not attacking any other notion of biblical authority.

The King James Bible has been given to English speaking Christians, English being the main language of the world since England became a world power just prior to 1600. Christians are supposed to go and spread the word about God to other nations, or people can learn English in order to read God's word.

This is the most anti-evangelical statement I have ever read by a believing Christian. This calls into question the wonderful work of the Wycliffe Bible Translators, and basically anyone else who literally believes Acts 2, there the people heard the word of God in their own tongues.

Sorry for the lambaste, but I just have a hard time believing that a) anyone but an American could say such a thing, and b) that any Bible believing Christian could hold such a doctrine. It basically repudiates everything in the Bible after the Gospel of John.

19Rood
Sep 3, 2011, 8:01pm Top


Fuzzi wrote: "The Old Testament was written in Hebrew for the most part: it was written for and given to the Jews by God."

The Old Testament was written by Jewish scribes under the direction of Jewish Priests. Of course they never made anything up on their own or for their own benefit ... it was all miraculously handed down on stone tablets from on high. Only which "covenant" are they supposed to honour ... Genesis 15, Genesis 17, or both.

20fuzzi
Sep 4, 2011, 2:44pm Top

So called 'archaic language' can't explain why we would need over 200 translations since the late 1800s. It's not a legitimate rea$on for the endle$$ parade of new ver$ions $ince then.

I think mo$t of u$ can figure out why there i$ $uch a "NEED" for a new Bible ver$ion every $ix month$...

21fuzzi
Sep 4, 2011, 3:12pm Top

(18) I worship God, and Him only, but I love having a copy of His word that I can read whenever I choose to.

You call that idolatry? Maybe in your eyes, in your mind.

However, what does God say about His word?

He magnifies it above His own Name:

"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." (Psalm 138:2)

I love reading God's word, the Bible. It is a joy to know that I have the words of God, His words that He has preserved for me to read and study and meditate upon!

Men are fallible, but God has promised to keep His words, to preserve them for us to read, forever, and God is more than capable of doing that.

Does the writer of these Psalms sound like an idolater because he loves God's word?

"Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.
Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.
The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live." (Psalm 119:140-144)

"How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:103, 105)

"It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.
Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." (Psalm 119:126-130)

"Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." (Psalm 119:160-165)

"Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." (Job 23:12)


Job esteemed God's word more than his food...is that idolatry?

As far as making God's word "easier" to "understand", I don't need people to make the Bible easy to understand, the Holy Spirit does that for me. "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." (1 John 2:27)

If there is something that I don't understand in the Bible, then I pray for understanding. God will make it clear to me when (and if) it is necessary. I don't expect to understand it all, but just trust in God to give me that which is best for me. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Read whichever Bible you prefer, but I'm staying with that which I believe is THE word of God, the final authority.

22johnthefireman
Sep 4, 2011, 3:39pm Top

>21 fuzzi: I'm staying with that which I believe is THE word of God, the final authority

But what I would like to understand is why you believe that one translation out of hundreds in one language out of hundreds is THE one.

23LucasTrask
Edited: Sep 4, 2011, 8:54pm Top

If a publisher just wanted the money they could reprint an out of copyright version, including the 1611 King James version, for far less than the cost of a new translation.

24cjbanning
Sep 4, 2011, 8:39pm Top

>23 LucasTrask:

That's why I can find $1 Bibles in my local dollar store.

25Rood
Sep 4, 2011, 10:46pm Top


John the fireman wrote: "But what I would like to understand is why you believe that one translation out of hundreds in one language out of hundreds is THE one."

Because that's the version with which he's most familiar ... in the only language he probably knows?

It's so easy to say we are at fault if we don't understand obvious contradictions ... like those found in Genesis 15 & 17. If we don't open our eyes to the obvious .. all the prayer in the world won't reconcile the problem.

The Bible, Old and New Testaments alike, were written by ordinary people. "God" had nothing to do with it.

26vpfluke
Sep 5, 2011, 11:39am Top

The King James Version was not universally accepted when it came out in the early 1600's. When the Church of England revised its Book of Common Prayer (BCP) in 1662, it chose to keep the old (1535) Coverdale psalms, although all other biblical texts were from the Authorized Version (i.e. KJV).

Growing up Episcopalian in the 1950's with the 1928 BCP, it still used the Coverdale psalms. I should note, that the primary source for scriptures in Anglican worship were the scriptures found in the BCP. Not until 1979, was it common in the U.S. to read scriptures as part of the Sunday service from the Bible itself.

Psalm 23 in the Coverdale translation & in the BCP starts off: The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing. (2) He shall feed me in green pasture, and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.

Ps 23 KJV is: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

So, all the Oxford and Cambridge divines who prepared the KJV did not get universal acclaim.

27streamsong
Edited: Sep 5, 2011, 12:30pm Top

>>fuzzi wrote:

However, what does God say about His word?

He magnifies it above His own Name:

"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." (Psalm 138:2) >>>>

Whoa, I thought: How did I miss this in 50 years of Bible reading? So I looked it up online and found this verse is one of the ones we're talking about.

http://bible.cc/psalms/138-2.htm

The KJV and its derrivatives do say 'word above name' . Other translations give variation of magnifying his word **by his name**, **along with his name** **and his name** etc.

Clarke's Bible Commentary says "The original is the following: כי הגדלת על כל שמך אמרתך ki higdalta al col shimcha, imrathecha, which I think might be thus translated: "For thou hast magnified thy name and thy word over all," or, "on every occasion."

Apparently, the Hebrew grammar is pretty obscure--one commentary (commentaries toward the bottom of the page comments that the 'Hebrew has been corrupted".

I'm thoroughly not convinced that 'word above name' as the KJV says is the best rendition although to our modern ears, it does sound very startling.

edited to fix typos which only pop up when I hit send....**grins**

28fuzzi
Sep 5, 2011, 1:39pm Top

(27) streamsong, by looking at different renderings of Psalm 138:2, we come to the conclusion that either God has magnified His word over His Name, or He hasn't.

Roll the dice and place your bets...which version is God's word?

Your observation proves the point made that different versions of the Bible that say different things cannot ALL be the word of God.

And then we either believe what others tell us, or we study and pray to find out God's truth for ourselves. I'm in the second camp. :)

I will stick with the Bible that was used to bring about the Great Awakening, and numerous city and countrywide revivals since it was printed in the 1600s.

If it works, why mess with it?

29Arctic-Stranger
Edited: Sep 5, 2011, 1:59pm Top

The Hebrew is the ONLY inspired version of the OT and the Greek of the NT. If you can't read those you are like the non- English speaker in fuzzi's world.

The Greek and the Hebrew were good enough for Paul and the early church and sparked the world wide rise of Christianity. Why mess with it?

(And for the record I know why this is factually inaccurate.)

30Arctic-Stranger
Sep 5, 2011, 2:02pm Top

And then we either believe what others tell us, or we study and pray to find out God's truth for ourselves. I'm in the second camp. :)

And you came up with the KJV all by yourself? Oh wait, you were dependent on the knowledge and work of others. YOU decided the KJV was the only reliable version all by yourself.

31fuzzi
Sep 5, 2011, 2:17pm Top

(22) john, I took some time to think about the question you asked: what I would like to understand is why you believe that one translation out of hundreds in one language out of hundreds is THE one .

There is no one answer for why I believe this way, but there are several compelling reasons for my belief, and I'll try to explain them here:

1. On a personal level, the KJB speaks to me as I read it. I have spent time reading/studying other versions, but there is something missing. That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald's, I know.

2. The KJB is the one Bible that all the modern versions (MVs) compare themselves to: "More accurate than the KJB", "Easier to understand than the KJV", "Better modern scholarship", etc, etc. You don't see the NIV saying it's better than the ASV or NRSV, do you?

3. The KJV (also referred to as the Authorized Version, 'AV') has a history of 400 years of fruit. God has used this Bible to start and spread the Great Awakening, and the great revivals that spread across the United States in the 1800s and early 1900s. It's got a great track record for accomplishing God's work (Isaiah 55:11 "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.").

4. Those who have created/published the MVs make false claims about their versions, and I have issues with those who lie in order to promote something. How is the RSV's "slime of the purslane" easier to understand than the KJB's "white of an egg"? (Job 6:6) Or the NIV's use of "portent" instead of "wonder" used by the KJB in Isaiah 20:3? Or the NASB's use of "satraps" in Ezra 8:36 versus the KJB's use of "lieutenants"?

Why are they lying about their versions being 'easier to read'?

Why do they come out with a new version ("better than ever!") ever six months on average since the first modern versions were published around the turn of the century (200+ new versions since 1900)?

The love of money is the root of all evil, and people have to choose whether to serve God or mammon/money. Some have certainly chosen what they prefer to $erve.

5. The KJB has been in existence for over 400 years, and in all that time, it has shown that God does indeed preserve His word from the wicked generations that would try to keep us from having God's word, keep us from reading it. Check history and see how many rulers and governments tried (and still try) to keep the people from reading the Bible. Through all that persecution, we still have it, and will continue to have it despite mankind's best efforts. "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." Psalm 12:6, 7


I'm not saying that people can't be saved unless someone preaches from a KJB, and I'm not saying that people can't be blessed by reading a MV of the Bible, whether NIV, NRSV, NKJV, or whatever. I'm saying that the KJB is the final authority, the standard upon which all others should be judged.

Read the Bible that you prefer, but I'm going to read the Bible I believe is the word of God, infallible and preserved for us to this day.

:)

32fuzzi
Sep 5, 2011, 2:21pm Top

Arctic Stranger, by all means, read whatever Bible you want. Don't let my poor choice of words sway you to my beliefs.

I count myself unlearned and uneducated like Peter and John, but in love with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and His word.

I was asked why I believe what I believe, and I have answered.

Have a nice holiday. :)

33johnthefireman
Sep 5, 2011, 2:22pm Top

>28 fuzzi: If it works, why mess with it?

Well, for one thing it doesn't work for a lot of the people I work with, who speak Arabic, Nuer, Kishwahili, or whatever, not English. And even the ones who speak English don't speak archaic English from several centuries ago.

But while not in any way disputing your right to prefer the KJV for your own use, I still would like to understand on what authority you believe it to be the only version by which I (and my Arabic-, Nuer- and Kiswahili-speaking friends) will be judged.

34johnthefireman
Sep 5, 2011, 2:30pm Top

>31 fuzzi: Thanks, fuzzi. My >33 johnthefireman: crossed with your >31 fuzzi:, apparently. Thanks for trying to explain. I'd still be interested to know why an English translation is the yardstick for the world.

35pmackey
Sep 5, 2011, 2:42pm Top

Fuzzi, as Christians we all read the version that God uses to speak to us whether it's the KJV, NIV, ESV, etc. So, go ahead and use the KJV and be blessed, while I enjoy and am blessed by the multitude of modern translations. IMHO, God bless the publishers who continue to bring forth new translations and bindings of the Bible. I hope they do make money, because the love of money is the root of all evil not the money itself. As cjbanning said earlier, I can go to most used book stores and buy numerous translations of the Bible for a few dollars. In this way the Bible is made available to a wider swath of humanity: new or used, rich or poor, English speaking or not....

36jburlinson
Sep 5, 2011, 4:46pm Top

I am still trying to determine whether I prefer The Lion Graphic Bible: The Whole Story from Genesis to Revelation or The Action Bible.



or



37streamsong
Sep 5, 2011, 4:48pm Top

jburlinson--I totally agree with everyone else--use whatever speaks to your heart.

38Arctic-Stranger
Sep 5, 2011, 5:02pm Top

I realize that I am far overstating my case, and apologize for my rough demeanor about this. One the one hand, I really don't care which version people use. I found myself that the NRSV is much closer to the Greek and Hebrew texts than other versions, although there is no one perfect translation.

And I guess that last sentence is the reason why came on so strong. Even if one does believe that God's Word is without compare, inspired, infallible, even inerrant, to elevate a translation is to put human endeavor above God's Word, thus creating a paper pope. That we have to rely on translations may make some people uncomfortable, because a) we are dependent on other people for some very important information, and b) no one translation is perfect.

To the first, I say we are too damned independent, and relying on other people is not a sin, it is a virtue--a very biblical virtue. With the exception of Jesus, everyone in the Scriptures is dependent on other people. Paul needed to be taught, and at one point writes that he needs John Mark to get his work done. Personally I think that is God's way of keeping us from the temptation of thinking we can go it alone, and thus set ourselves up as some kind of final authority--some kind of God, so to speak.

As to the second, it is humbling to think that humans cannot even get God's word down perfectly, but that is the essence of the human condition. If we could, we would not need God, and that old Tower of Babel goes up again, except in our own hearts.

If someone prefers the KJV above all other versions, that is fine. I cannot even READ the 23 Psalm publicly without reverting to the King Jimmy. However, so say that one, very human, translation is spiritually superior leads to a hubris of belief that I feel is very dangerous, very ethno-centric, very culturally bound, and very limiting. And LIMITING God's word is surely not a good thing,

39pmackey
Sep 5, 2011, 9:31pm Top

>38 Arctic-Stranger:, Amen. I'll add one more to Psalm 23: I most enjoy the Lord's Prayer from the KJV.

40DeusExLibrus
Sep 5, 2011, 10:39pm Top

38> Agreed wholeheartedly. I'd also like to say I couldn't help but chuckle at the KJV being refered to as the "King Jimmy." You have a delightful sense of humor Arctic.

41pmackey
Sep 6, 2011, 7:22pm Top

>38 Arctic-Stranger:, 40: Yea, verily thou crackest me up.

42jburlinson
Sep 6, 2011, 8:28pm Top

> 21, 27. "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." (Psalm 138:2)

Maybe there's a comma missing after the word "word"?

43Arctic-Stranger
Sep 6, 2011, 8:42pm Top

Well there are no commas in Hebrew. As a matter of fact, the text contains contains no punctuation, no vowels, and there are not even spaces between the words. You have to be VERY good with the language to read the older manuscripts. If you get a "modern" Hebrew Bible, the words are "pointed" which means vowel markings are added for readability. Words are separated, and the text is split into verses (which are also not a part of the original manuscripts.)

Ummm...I should add that we have never actually seen a truly original manuscript. All we have are copies of copies. The manuscripts available when KJ was in translation were much later manuscripts than what we have today. The Dead Sea Scrolls give us manuscripts that are around 600 years closer to the originals than anything we had before. But I should add that the Dead Sea scrolls only serve to reinforce how accurately transmission has been over the centuries. Not at all like the game "Gossip" where someone whispers "Strangers in the night" to their neighbor and it comes back as "Prove it all night." It is more like WRITING something down, and it gets passed around that way. Except that the only people who get to play the game are the people who have the best handwriting.

44jburlinson
Sep 6, 2011, 8:52pm Top

> 43. Well there are no commas in Hebrew.

Weren't there commas in Jacobean England?

45Arctic-Stranger
Sep 6, 2011, 8:54pm Top

Well, yes, but the Hebrew texts are considerably older. And not in English.

46jburlinson
Sep 6, 2011, 10:55pm Top

Yes, that's true. But the recent conversation has been about the King Jimmy, I mean the King Jamie, Bible. So commas can have considerable exegetical significance in that context.

47timspalding
Edited: Sep 6, 2011, 11:28pm Top

4. Those who have created/published the MVs make false claims about their versions, and I have issues with those who lie in order to promote something. ... Or the NASB's use of "satraps" in Ezra 8:36 versus the KJB's use of "lieutenants"?

One explanation might be that satrap doesn't mean lieutenant! A lietenant is a non-territorial, military rank in clear vertical chain of command--and rather toward the bottom of the chain. A satrap is an appointed or recognized governor of a territory, whose position is territorial, not usually subordinate to any other official, except the shah, and (usually and primarily) non-military. The KJV says the message was sent to "the king's lieutenants ... and the governors" as if the king sent the message to both military and civilian officials. One can well imagine a KJV-only preacher drawing out theis distinction. But the text is actually quite otherwise, without the military implications or the contrast between civilian and military, but actually contrasting governors of larger and smaller territories. While I'll be the first to say details like this aren't important to faith the simple fact is that Ezra is extremely well-informed about Persian administration, but the King James Version is not!

1. On a personal level, the KJB speaks to me as I read it. I have spent time reading/studying other versions, but there is something missing. That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald's, I know.

You're fortunate. But I suspect that there are many passages of the King James that you do not, actualy, understand as its translators intended. Few do. With the King James as with Shakespeare, we are fooled by the illusion of permanence. Lots of words still exist, with the same or similar spelling and make enough sense that you won't be troubled to look into them closer, but experts understand their meaning to have undergone a significant shift.

2. The KJB is the one Bible that all the modern versions (MVs) compare themselves to: "More accurate than the KJB", "Easier to understand than the KJV", "Better modern scholarship", etc, etc. You don't see the NIV saying it's better than the ASV or NRSV, do you?

This is your perception alone. Modern Bible translations do not spend a lot of time comparing their accuracy to the KJV.

3. The KJV (also referred to as the Authorized Version, 'AV') has a history of 400 years of fruit. God has used this Bible to start and spread the Great Awakening, and the great revivals that spread across the United States in the 1800s and early 1900s. It's got a great track record for accomplishing God's work (Isaiah 55:11 "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.").

Church attendance in Britain now stands at 7%, and the hated Catholic church fields roughly the same number of weekly worshippers as the King James'. While the US is still relatively Christian, the fact remains that only 36% of Christians worldwide are Protestants, only a fraction of those are English speaking, and only a tiny fraction of those use the KJV. The Great Awakening is long gone--New York is now one of the least religious states in the counry (40/50 in weekly attendance).

48jburlinson
Sep 7, 2011, 12:22am Top

There are only 40/50 New Yorkers who attend church? How about all the people who sing "God Bless America" at Mets games?

49timspalding
Sep 7, 2011, 12:55am Top

40th place out of 50 states!

50fuzzi
Edited: Sep 7, 2011, 2:00pm Top

(43) Ummm...I should add that we have never actually seen a truly original manuscript. All we have are copies of copies. The manuscripts available when KJ was in translation were much later manuscripts than what we have today.

Yes, and no. No one alive has ever seen a truly original manuscript, so any claims that a version is a closer translation to the originals is just words, with no backing.

The translators for the King James Bible had the manuscripts to translate from as we do now, in fact, they had more. The only exception I am aware of is the Sinaiticus, which is the manuscript found in a monastery's trash bin, back in the 1800s. It was considered so corrupt and worthless that they were using it to help feed the fires. But, hey! Even though it was a horrible translation, full of visible corrections in the text, it's older than some of the others used by the King James translators...so it has to be better, right? A 1957 Edsel or a 1960 Corvair or even a 1975 Vega is going to run better than a 1986 Camry, right? Older is better, right? :)

51Arctic-Stranger
Sep 7, 2011, 2:10pm Top

I think you might want to do a little more study in textual analysis. And there is no way the King James Translators had MORE text, unless they, or someone else destroyed some existing texts.

And a text is not a car. If I had a choice between a text that was 1000 years removed from the original, or one that was only 200 years removed, I would chose the latter, even though it is 800 years older. Remember, the newer something is, the more bells and whistles it might have! And I think we can both agree that we don't need bells and whistles on the original text!

I am just curious....where are the facts behind your statement that the KJV translators had MORE texts than we have today? Can you substantiate this?

52timspalding
Edited: Sep 7, 2011, 5:10pm Top

>50 fuzzi:

Nonsense. Nobody today saw Lincoln's head get blown off, but we don't regard factual discussion of the topic as "just words with no backing." In fact, scholars have an excellent understanding of what sources were available to the translators of the KJV, and, better, they know the actual text they used.

They used the "Textus Receptus," as assembled by that interesting (and Catholic) philologist Erasmus. It's not my area of specialty, but we have a very good idea of the texts he used as well, including (I believe) many of the texts themselves. Although her certainly did his job well—Erasmus was among the first to take a modern, philological approach to the editing of Biblical texts—his work is hardly the best that's been done. He used late manuscripts and, lacking Greek for all parts, retranslated some parts from the Vulgate into Greek! Erasmus himself would have been thrilled to work with the many older manuscripts and papyri scholars now have access to.

Among the obvious problem parts, the Comma Johanneum. It strains all logic and doctrinal sense to canonize a passage is lacking from all early quotations of the relevant section in John, all early manuscripts in Greek, all early translations (Coptic, Armenian, Syriac, Georgian, etc. etc.), but appearing only in later Latin manuscripts.

Even though it was a horrible translation

The Codex Sinaiticus is a manuscript of the text of the Greek Bible. The King James version is a translation.

I am just curious....where are the facts behind your statement that the KJV translators had MORE texts than we have today? Can you substantiate this?

This business about having more and better texts is absolute nonsense. The KJV editors themselves said they used the TR!

This whole thing just shows the absurdity of extreme sola scriptura reasoning. There's something appealing about rejecting the notion that bishops, councils or the pope authoritatively preserve Christian traditions. But to do that and then to vest infallibility on textual critics infallibly choosing between variant readings in texts is just bizarre!

I've done Greek textual criticism, specifically on papyri. I did it as part of a single course in graduate school. Real masters of it have a great deal of training and experience. But none of them are infallible. Good grief, they change their mind the moment after publication. One might as well decide that infallibility rests with sigilographers or numismatists!

53fuzzi
Edited: Sep 7, 2011, 7:00pm Top

(51) I'll look up that information for you, Arctic, but I'm short of time right now. In the meanwhile, you might want to check out Final Authority by William Grady.

Oldest isn't always best, hence my comparison to cars. Sorry you didn't appreciate it. :)

What I find very interesting is how so many think it is important to be able to read Greek or to be a scholar or a highly educated person in order to understand God's word, the Bible! Jesus Christ didn't think it was necessary. He chose unlearned men, such as Peter and John.

"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

The good news isn't just given to those who can read Greek and Hebrew, or those who trust in scholars to tell them about God. A child can understand the simplicity of the gospel of salvation, but often a more highly educated person cannot grasp it.

"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight." (Luke 10:21)

"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." (Matthew 11:25)


The scribes, Pharisees and scholars of the time were, for the most part, against Christ...because they knew better...

"Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
They
(the Pharisees) answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out." (John 9:32-34)

"Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? (John 7:45-48)


The learned men rejected Christ, and anyone else like John the Baptist, who was not as learned and righteous as they believed themselves to be.

Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had it right: "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence." (1 Corinthians 1:25-29)


I put my faith not in men, but in God's ability to preserve His word as He promised. "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." (Psalm 12:6-7)


Now, I'm off to church. You all have a good evening. :)

54Arctic-Stranger
Edited: Sep 7, 2011, 7:14pm Top

This is the same William P. Grady who wrote the preface to Rome's Responsibility for the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and The Suppressed Truth about the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln?

Hmmmm. I don't think so.

55jburlinson
Edited: Sep 7, 2011, 8:25pm Top

> 54. Yes. This is the same William P Grady. Here's the opening from his biography on his web site:

"Dr. William P. (Bill) Grady was born and reared in New York City as a strict Roman Catholic. After attending the University of Delaware and Goldey Beacom Business College, he sold office equipment for three years before entering the airline industry as a marketing representative for British Airways."

More can be found at http://www.gradypublications.com/

From some promotional material for Dr. Grady's book What Hath God Wrought! (not sure why this question ends in an exclamation point):

From the Pilgrim Fathers to the Promise Keepers, What Hath God Wrought! unfolds as the most fascinating American history you will ever encounter. Among other facts, the reader will discover:

- Where America is alluded to in scripture -

- Why Columbus was sent back to Spain in shackles -

- Who really murdered Abraham Lincoln -

- How the Battle of Breed's Hill was actually won on Bunker Hill -

- When Bibles were burned and cannons were fired at churches -

- What famous American's portrait hung in Hitler's private office -

- The Baptist pastor who secured America's religious liberty with a handshake -

- At least 15 unheeded warnings about the impending attack on Pearl Harbor -

- The hidden agenda of the Promise Keepers -

And much, much more!!!

56LucasTrask
Sep 7, 2011, 10:59pm Top

- How the Battle of Breed's Hill was actually won on Bunker Hill -

I have to read this...

57johnthefireman
Sep 8, 2011, 12:20am Top

>53 fuzzi: so many think it is important to be able to read Greek or to be a scholar or a highly educated person in order to understand God's word, the Bible!

fuzzi, I don't think anyone has said that, and clearly it isn't true. There are millions of ordinary Christians who get by fine using the bible translated into their own language.

But this is not about understanding God's word, it's specifically about translating God's word from Greek into English. I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that you need to be a scholar of Greek in order adequately to translate Greek into English, nor to judge the technical accuracy of various translations.

Actually it's you who suggests that people must be scholars of a particular language: in >12 fuzzi: you said that "people can learn English in order to read God's word".

58fuzzi
Sep 8, 2011, 7:25am Top

(54) So, based upon one preface that this author wrote, you are going to reject anything else he has written?

Hey, it's a free country as the expression goes...

59fuzzi
Sep 8, 2011, 8:01am Top

(57) john, you "quoted" me as saying, Actually it's you who suggests that people must be scholars of a particular language: in >12 fuzzi: you said that "people can learn English in order to read God's word".

Perhaps I was not clear, in which case, I will endeavor to clarify what I was trying to say.

In context of what you quoted, I was not saying that people need to be scholars in order to accept Christ or become Christians. Here is what I wrote: Life is unfair at times. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew for the most part: it was written for and given to the Jews by God.

If someone wanted to read God's words, he/she would have to learn Hebrew, such as the Ethiopian eunuch did, as seen in Acts 8:27.


If someone wanted to read God's word before it was translated from Hebrew, they had to learn it. Obviously this man from Ethiopia wanted God so badly that he did just that.

To continue my quote:

The New Testament was written in Greek, the main language of the world at the time, and given to the Christians who were commanded to take God's word to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Until Jesus Christ came to this earth, the Scriptures, God's word was only available in Hebrew, and people had to go to the Jews in order to learn more of God. The Gentiles already were aware of God, through their conscience and through nature, see Romans 1.

Then when the Jews rejected their Messiah, the gospel was taken specifically to the Gentiles, through Paul and others, as documented in the book of Acts. If the new converts wanted to learn more, they had to read Greek, the main language of the day. However, they knew enough of the gospel to believe and be saved. See Romans 10:9, 13.

I also wrote:

The King James Bible has been given to English speaking Christians, English being the main language of the world since England became a world power just prior to 1600. Christians are supposed to go and spread the word about God to other nations, or people can learn English in order to read God's word.

This is not just a Biblical issue: if I want to read a scientific journal that is written in German, I need to learn German.


English remains the main language today. For example, it is used by air traffic controllers in the major airports all around the world. It is taught as a second language in many countries, who realize the importance of learning this universal language.

That being said, someone does not need to learn English in order to understand the gospel and to become a born again child of God, they just need to understand what is needful for salvation, that which is preached to them by missionaries. Once converted, they can either read more of God in a Bible translated into their language or they can learn from God's preserved word in English. It has been my personal experience and my observation of 'new' Christians that a burning desire to learn more of God follows immediately after salvation. If I did not have God's word in English, I probably would have endeavored to read it in a foreign language in order to learn more about the One Who died for me.

Again, it might not seem fair, but since when is life fair? God gives each person enough faith and information to make a decision to accept or reject His offer of salvation. From then on, it's up to the individual to proceed further in his/her quest to know more about their Saviour.

60johnthefireman
Edited: Sep 8, 2011, 8:54am Top

>59 fuzzi: Thanks, fuzzi, but I'm still not clear what you are trying to say. From your sentence they can either read more of God in a Bible translated into their language or they can learn from God's preserved word in English, are you saying that the English bible (specifically the KJV) holds a different place than say an Arabic or Kiswahili translation of the bible? You refer to the former as "God's preserved word in English" and the latter as "a Bible translated into their language". But the latter is actually the same as the former - it is the bible translated into my language, as I happen to be part of that small minority of native English speakers in the world.

I hardly think that the fact that English is a major world language at this particular time in history and is used by air traffic controllers is a reason to suggest that an English translation of the bible (particularly a 400 year old one, which incidentally uses a far more archaic form of English than most air traffic controllers) is more definitive than a translation into any other major language. I believe Chinese is the most common first language in the world. Is a Chinese translation of the bible any less "God's preserved word" than an English one?

I may be misunderstanding you, but it seems you are taking a position akin to that of many Muslims, who believe that the Holy Qur'an can only be in Arabic. Translations into any other language are referred to as "interpretations" of the Qur'an. At least there appears to be a reason for that, as Arabic was the original language. For the Christian scriptures English certainly wasn't the original language.

You keep saying life is not fair, but I think that is irrelevant. If God really had decided that humankind should only be judged by a 400 year old English translation of the bible, then that certainly wouldn't be fair. But you have yet to provide any convincing reason that this is the case. Actually God is a fair bit fairer than many of God's followers believe.

61timspalding
Edited: Sep 8, 2011, 10:13am Top

Battle of Breed's Hill was actually won on Bunker Hill ... I have to read this...

No, that's well-known. Clearly you didn't go to grade school in Massachusetts! You'd have heard that nugget of wisdom over and over.

If someone wanted to read God's words, he/she would have to learn Hebrew, such as the Ethiopian eunuch did, as seen in Acts 8:27.

No, it's likely he was reading the Greek Septuagint. This would be probable generally. An Ethiopian ambassador was likely to know Greek--the linqua franca of the Eastern Mediterranean--rather than Hebrew, which was passing from spoken use. Without Greek, he wouldn't be able to speak to Roman officials(1). It's not like he'd get anywhere with Hebrew and Ge'ez.

It's supported by the fact that Acts quotes the passage from Isaiah and it exactly matches the Septuagint's version of the passage. Of course, he could have been reading the Hebrew, and when Acts was written the author chose to quote the Septuagint. The NT always uses the Septuagint.

Until Jesus Christ came to this earth, the Scriptures, God's word was only available in Hebrew

You understand this is 180 degrees from being true, right? Look up "Septuagint," please. The Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures. It predates the life of Jesus Christ by 300-100 years.

The Septuagint was used by Jews all over the Mediterranean, but especially outside of Palestine. In Palestine some people could still read Hebrew and people also used Aramaic translations of the Bible, called targums. That is, in Jesus' time, the OT was available in at least two languages--and in light of the relative populations at stake, was more frequently read in Greek and Aramaic than Hebrew.

What I find very interesting is how so many think it is important to be able to read Greek or to be a scholar or a highly educated person in order to understand God's word, the Bible!

On the contrary, we don't think it's important. But the people who collate the texts and make the translations need to be scholars, know Greek, etc.

I put my faith not in men, but in God's ability to preserve His word as He promised.

So do I. But people are clearly involved in that preservation. The fact that there are thousands of translations is evidence of that. Some texts and translations are better--they more accurately convey God's message to man. No doubt all the big translations have saved millions.

It's also worth saying that even the worst translations aren't that bad. I'm guessing, for example, that the Jehovah's Witness bibles have brought many people to mainstream Protestantism--that is, even the intentional screwing with a text in order to tilt it toward a particular theology can't overcome the plain meaning of the text. The KJV version may may not be as accurate as it could be, and it certainly isn't written in contemporary English, but it has the virtue of being exceedingly well-written.

William P. Grady ... Lincoln

A neat coincidence! I just mentioned his assasination.

Fuzzi, do you hold Grady's anti-Catholic views? Surely the KJV's basis in a Roman Catholic edition of the Greek text is problemmatic, isn't it?

uses a far more archaic form of English than most air traffic controllers

To everything there is a season: Turn! Turn! Turn!


1. It's an interesting question how Jesus and Pilate spoke to each other. Pilate surely didn't know Aramaic. Did Jesus speak Greek? Or was there an interpreter? The scholarly answer here is that most people think Jesus didn't speak Greek. My guess is that he did. He was a tekton (more "builder" than "carpenter") near a new Greek city—Sepphoris. It's no stretch to think he spent his youth helping his father work there, interacting with Greek-speaking clients, etc. We can assume he was both smart and a "people person." Is it that bizarre to imagine he learned Greek?

62LucasTrask
Sep 8, 2011, 10:26am Top

Battle of Breed's Hill was actually won on Bunker Hill ... I have to read this...

No, that's well-known. Clearly you didn't go to grade school in Massachusetts! You'd have heard that nugget of wisdom over and over.


I did go to grade school in Massachusetts, I've been to Bunker Hill many times and I know the story well. However, the post has made me interested in the author’s take on it, that’s all.

63jburlinson
Sep 8, 2011, 10:36am Top

> 61. It's an interesting question how Jesus and Pilate spoke to each other.

Maybe they used pig-Latin. "At-whay is uth-tray?"

64timspalding
Sep 8, 2011, 11:30am Top

>62 LucasTrask:

You did? Well, that makes two of us. We should get some sort of certificate for time spent at Bunker Hill, Concord, etc. :)

65Arctic-Stranger
Edited: Sep 8, 2011, 1:24pm Top

I was going to add my two cents worth about the Septuagint, but that was done very well, thank you. In an earlier post I mentioned that was I said was historically inaccurate, and by that I meant that the Septuagint was Paul's OT, and the OT of the early church, not the Hebrew.

Interesting note: Most of you know that the Septuagint is called that because 70 scholars worked on the translation, and remarkably, all 70 came up with the exact same wording. I have heard the same story told about the King James, except that it was 40 scholars, and they did it in 40 days and they only differed on one section--Jesus says a demon can only come out by prayer, and some added "and fasting." (Which more likely was the early understanding by the translators of the King Jimmy that even their manuscripts were not always in agreement.)

I am glad that the simultaneously translation story has not come up. I think the Jewish translators of the the Septuagint have a better story.

ETA: Being a born and bred Southerner, I had no idea about the Bunker Hill/Breed's Hill story. But I can tell you that the Civil War ended in Durham, North Carolina, when General Joseph Johnson surrendered all troops fighting in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, totaling 89,270 soldiers, to Sherman.

66timspalding
Edited: Sep 8, 2011, 1:44pm Top

The interesting thing here is that various translations of the Bible have at different times crept into being considered authoritative, normative texts of their own, equal or even superior to the original texts.

A partial list would include Targum Onkelos, spoken of by some Jewish authorities as being given to the Jews by God at Sinai—did he wait until Moses wrote the Pentateuch?—the Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Peshitta, Coptic and Ge'ez versions and, as a late and rather weird example, the KJV.

The process should give Christians a certain degree of pause. Stuff creeps into a position of unquestionable infallibility rather too easily. It appears that familiarity is but a hop, skip and jump from infallibility.

The problem is, I think, rather more general than mere Biblical translations.

67Arctic-Stranger
Sep 8, 2011, 1:47pm Top

I agree. And I for one think the newer, dumbed-down version of the Hardy Boys books is a travesty!

68pmackey
Sep 8, 2011, 5:04pm Top

>67 Arctic-Stranger: I read all the Hardy Boys books. How can they possibly be dumbed-down any further? "See Frank solve. Solve, Frank, solve...."

69fuzzi
Sep 8, 2011, 8:00pm Top

I knew at some point someone was going to bring up the claim that the disciples used the 'septuagint'.

Sorry, it was not written until well after Christ. There's a lot of evidence to that.

Here's a small bit I snagged off the web, more available if you just look:

What is the "Septuagint"?

by David Daniels

If you look in the preface of a modern Bible, you will probably find a reference to the Septuagint, or LXX for short. The translators of all modern Bibles, including the New King James, use the Septuagint along with other texts in translating the Bible. They claim that the Septuagint contains true readings not found in the preserved Hebrew text. Thus they give it great importance. But what is the Septuagint? Here's how the legend goes:

The Septuagint is claimed to have been translated between 285-246 BC during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Alexandria, Egypt. His librarian, supposedly Demetrius of Phalerum, persuaded Philadelphus to get a copy of the Hebrew Scriptures. Then the Scriptures (at least Genesis to Deuteronomy) were translated into the Greek language for the Alexandrian Jews. This part of the story comes from early church historian Eusebius (260-339 AD). Scholars then claim that Jesus and His apostles used this Greek Bible instead of the preserved Hebrew text.

The Letter of Aristeas
The whole argument that the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek before the time of Christ rests upon a single document. All other historical evidence supporting the argument either quotes or references this single letter.

In this so-called Letter of Aristeas, the writer presents himself as a close confidant of king Philadelphus. He claims that he persuaded Eleazar, the high priest, to send with him 72 scholars from Jerusalem to Alexandria, Egypt. There they would translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, forming what we now call the Septuagint.

Jewish historian Josephus, Jewish mystic Philo (both first century AD) and others add to the story. Some say the 72 were shut in separate cells and "miraculously" wrote each of their versions word-for-word the same. They say that this proves "divine inspiration" of the entire Septuagint.

Thus, the Septuagint is claimed to exist at the time of Jesus and the apostles, and that they quoted from it instead of the preserved Hebrew text. This story has been passed around for centuries. But is it the truth? Was this Septuagint really written before the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus and His apostles? Did they quote it? Was it really inspired by God? And if the story is a fake, why make up the story? Is there another reason to get people to use (or believe in) the Septuagint?

The verifiable facts
The writer of this letter, Aristeas, claims to have been a Greek court official during the time of Philadelphus' reign. He claims to have been sent by Demetrius to request the best scholars of Israel to bring a copy of the Hebrew scriptures to Alexandria to start the Septuagint translation project. He even goes so far as to give names of Septuagint scholars, yet many of the names he gives are from the Maccabean era, some 75 years too late. Many of them are Greek names, definitely not the names of Hebrew scholars. There are many other evidences that this letter is from a different time period, and is thus a fake. The writer is lying about his identity.

The supposed "librarian," Demetrius of Phalerum (ca. 345-283) served in the court of Ptolemy Soter. Demetrius was never the librarian under Philadelphus.

The letter quotes the king telling Demetrius and the translators, when they arrived, how wonderful it was that they came on the anniversary of his "naval victory over Antigonus" (Aristeas 7:14). But the only such recorded Egyptian naval victory occurred many years after Demetrius death, so the letter is a fraud!

The Letter of Aristeas is a hoax that doesn't even fit the time period in which it claims to have been written. And since the other ancient writers merely add to this story, it is clear that the story itself of a pre-Christian Septuagint is a fraud. Even critical textual scholars admit that the letter is a hoax. Yet they persist in quoting the Letter of Aristeas as proof of the existence of the Septuagint before Christ.

Many scholars claim that Christ and his apostles used the Septuagint, preferring it above the preserved Hebrew text found in the temple and synagogues. But if the Greek Septuagint was the Bible Jesus used, he would not have said,

"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matthew 5:18)

Why would Jesus not have said this? Because the jot is a Hebrew letter, and the tittle is a small mark to distinguish between Hebrew letters. If Jesus used the Greek Septuagint, His scriptures would not have contained the jot and tittle. He obviously used the Hebrew scriptures!

In addition, Jesus only mentioned the scripture text in two ways, (1) "The Law and the Prophets" and (2) "The Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms":

"And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me." Luke 24:44

The Hebrews divide their Bible into three parts: the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Jesus clearly referred to this. The Septuagint had no such division. In fact, it contains Apocryphal books interspersed throughout the Old Testament. The sequence is so hopelessly mixed up that Jesus could not possibly have been referring to it! ...

70jburlinson
Sep 8, 2011, 8:29pm Top

> 69. If the KJB is "THE word of God, the final authority", why didn't Jesus read that version of the Old Testament?

71timspalding
Edited: Sep 9, 2011, 9:05am Top

I knew at some point someone was going to bring up the claim that the disciples used the 'septuagint'. Sorry, it was not written until well after Christ. There's a lot of evidence to that.

Far from being based on the Letter of Aristeas--which, while a pious fraud, can be dated—the date of the Septuagint is supported by many facts. For starters there are a number of papyrus fragments with a page of two of the Septuagint from the second- and first-centuries BC, including the Rylands Papyrus 485 and the Papyrus Fouad 266. To this we may add that both Josephus and Philo, writing at the time of Jesus, use the Septuagint extensively, quote from the Letter of Aristeas, and both refer to and presume the Septuagint as centuries old. Your theory requires a time machine.

Incidentally, the second flaw in Mr. Daniels' argument lies in the fact that nobody is asserting Jesus used the Septuagint. Jesus clearly read Hebrew and/or Aramaic. The Septuagint was used by Jews outside Palestine, where knowledge of Hebrew was much reduced. No, the argument is that the New Testament, which came primarily from the Greek-speaking, extra-Palestinian church--Paul, for example--wrote in Greek and used the Septuagint when quoting the Bible. The evidence here is simply overwhelming. By one reckoning 2/3 of the Biblical quotations in the NT come from Septuagint. We could march through the citations one by one if you like.

But I think we shall not. You know someone has given up rational argument when they stop arguing their own case and resort to pasting in long texts written by others.

72fuzzi
Sep 9, 2011, 12:39pm Top

(71) tim you wrote: But I think we shall not. You know someone has given up rational argument when they stop arguing their own case and resort to pasting in long texts written by others.

Was that comment necessary?

I do not present myself as an expert on anything, and I know that I do not always communicate clearly. I saw something that I thought would assist in the discussion, so I pasted a portion of it.

If you have issues with copy and paste, well, I'm truly sorry, but it is a basis for many rational discussions here on the web.

It's been my experience that, when people start adding what appears to be 'snide' commentary, dismissing the contributions of those who have an contrary view, then those doing the snide commentary don't want to continue the discussion.

I hope that's not the case with you, tim. :)

73fuzzi
Edited: Sep 9, 2011, 1:57pm Top

tim wrote:
the date of the Septuagint is supported by many facts. For starters there are a number of papyrus fragments with a page of two of the Septuagint from the second- and first-centuries BC, including the Rylands Papyrus 485 and the Papyrus Fouad 266. To this we may add that both Josephus and Philo, writing at the time of Jesus, use the Septuagint extensively, quote from the Letter of Aristeas, and both refer to and presume the Septuagint as centuries old


The papyri you mention each are just a few pages long, a Greek translation of parts of Deuteronomy:

Papyrus Frouad 266, Cairo, (2nd or 1st century B.C.): part of Deu. 31:28-32:7

Ryland's Papyrus, #458 (was your use of #485 a typo?) contains Deuteronomy chapters 23-28

These few pages from one book of the OT and a discredited letter is proof of a complete document called the Septuagint and the 'history' of how it was written?

Josephus couldn't even get his OT facts right (re: Moses and how he died/was buried), and Philo was big into allegory when it came to interpreting scripture. Their quoting from a fake letter (Aristeas) or presumption that the Septuagint was real is not proof of its supposed pre-Christ date.

Paul, for example--wrote in Greek and used the Septuagint when quoting the Bible

Interesting, I've not heard this before. Where do you have evidence of Paul's usage of the Septuagint?

74Arctic-Stranger
Sep 9, 2011, 3:06pm Top

Old Testament Quotations

Some Notes on the Apostles' usage of the Septuagint

Mat. 3:3. The Hebrew of Isa. 40:3 may be rendered, "The voice of one crying, In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord." The crier himself is not necessarily in the wilderness: the path is to be prepared in the wilderness. Matthew follows the Septuagint in construing "in the wilderness" with "one crying," and so renders "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord." Here the cry comes from one who is himself in the wilderness, that is, from John the Baptist, who habitually preached in the wilderness of Judea.

Mat. 12:21. The Hebrew of Isa. 42:4 reads, "and the isles shall have hope in his law." Matthew follows the Septuagint interpretation of this, "and the Gentiles shall have hope in his name."

Mat. 13: 14-15. The Hebrew of Isa. 6:9-10 reads, "Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see..." Matthew follows the Septuagint in changing the first sentence from two commands to the people into a prophetic description of the people, "Ye shall surely hear, but shall not understand; ye shall surely see, but shall not perceive." He also follows the Septuagint in changing the second sentence from two commands to the prophet into a description of the present condition of the people: "This people's heart has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they see..."

Mat. 15:8-9. The Hebrew of Isa. 29:13 reads (somewhat obscurely), "their worship of me is but a commandment of men which hath been taught them." The phrase, "but in vain do they worship me," in which Matthew follows the Septuagint, was created by the translator of the Septuagint by separating "their worship of me" from the words that follow and supplying the thought "is in vain" to complete the sense, and then construing the rest of the sentence adverbially, "teaching the precepts and doctrines of men." The sense of the passage is not materially changed in this.

Mat. 21:16. The Hebrew of Psa. 8:2 reads, "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast established strength." Matthew follows the Septuagint with "thou hast prepared praise."

Mark 1:2. See remarks on Mat. 3:3 above.

Mark 4:12. See remarks on Mat. 13:14-15 above. Mark departs from both the Hebrew and Septuagint with the interpretation, "and it should be forgiven them," instead of "and I should heal them" (Septuagint) or "and be healed" (Hebrew).

Mark 7:6-7. See remarks on Mat. 15:8-9 above.

Luke 3:4. See remarks on Mat. 3:3 above.

Luke 3:5-6. The Hebrew of Isa. 40:4-5 reads "every valley shall be exalted...all flesh shall see it i.e., the glory of the Lord together." Luke follows the Septuagint with "every valley shall be filled...all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

Luke 4:18. The Hebrew of Isa. 61:2 reads merely "the opening to them that are bound," which may mean the opening of prisons. Luke follows the Septuagint interpretation, "the recovering of sight to the blind," in which the "opening" is of blind eyes, but adds "to set at liberty the afflicted" as an alternative interpretation of the Hebrew. The phrase "to bind up the broken-hearted" (Septuagint "to heal the broken-hearted") has been left out of the quotation.

Luke 8:10. The allusion to Isa. 6:9 conforms to the Septuagint. See remarks on Mat. 13:14-15 above.

John 1:23. See remarks on Mat. 3:3 above. John's quotation is somewhat looser.

John 12:34. There is a verbal correspondence here to the Septuagint of Psa. 89:36, "his David's seed shall abide forever."

John 12:38. "Lord" at the beginning of the quotation is not in the Hebrew, but in the Septuagint.

John 12:40. See remarks on Mat. 13:14-15 and Mark 4:12 above. John is quoting the Septuagint loosely, with reference to the Hebrew.

Acts 2:19-20. The Hebrew of Joel 2:30-31 has "pillars of smoke" and "terrible day." Luke follows the Septuagint with "vapour of smoke" and "glorious day."

Acts 2:26. The Hebrew of Psa. 16:9 has "my glory rejoiceth." Luke follows the Septuagint with "my tongue rejoiced."

Acts 2:28. The Hebrew of Psa. 16:11 has "in thy presence is fulness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Luke follows the Septuagint in paraphrasing the first clause "Thou shalt make me full of gladness with thy countenance," and in dropping the last clause.

Acts 4:26. The Hebrew of Psa 2:2. reads, "the rulers take counsel together." Luke follows the Septuagint, "the rulers were gathered together."

Acts 7:14. The Hebrew of Gen. 46:27 and Exod. 1:5 has "seventy." Luke follows the Septuagint with "seventy-five."

Acts 7:43. The Hebrew of Amos 5:26 is difficult. It seems to say, "ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch and Chiun your images , the star of your god, which ye made." Luke follows the Septuagint interpretation with "ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rephan, the figures which ye made."

Acts 8:33. The Hebrew of Isa. 53:8 reads "he was taken away by distress and judgment." Luke follows the Septuagint with "in his humiliation his judgment was taken away."

Acts 13:34. The Hebrew of Isa. 55:3 has "the sure mercies of David." Luke follows the Septuagint with "the holy and sure things of David."

Acts 13:41. The Hebrew of Habakkuk 1:5 reads, "Behold, ye among the nations, and look, and wonder exceedingly." The Septuagint has "Behold, ye despisers, and look, and wonder exceedingly, and perish," which Luke largely follows.

Acts 15:17. The Hebrew of Amos 9:12 reads "that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations upon whom my name is called." The Septuagint has "that the remnant of men and all the nations upon whom my name is called may seek after me," which Luke largely follows.

Acts 28:26-27. See remarks on Mat. 13:14-15 and Mark 4:12 above. Here Luke follows the Septuagint exactly.

Rom. 2:24. The Hebrew of Isa. 52:5 reads merely, "my name continually every day is blasphemed." The Septuagint has "because of you my name is continually blasphemed aong the Gentiles," which Paul follows.

Rom 3:4. The Hebrew of Psa. 51:4 reads "and blameless when thou judgest." Paul follows the Septuagint with "and prevail when thou dost enter into judgment."

Rom. 3:12. The Hebrew of Psa. 14:3 reads, "they are together become filthy." Paul follows the Septuagint with "they are together become unprofitable."

Rom 3:14. The Hebrew of Psa. 10:7 reads, "his mouth is full of cursing and deceit." Paul follows the Septuagint with "whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."

Rom 9:28. The Hebrew of Isa. 10:22-23 is difficult. It seems to say, "a destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For a completion, one that is decreed, shall the Lord Jehovah of Hosts make in the midst of all the earth." The Septuagint abbreviates with "He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness; because the Lord will make a short work in all the earth," which is followed by Paul.

75Arctic-Stranger
Sep 9, 2011, 3:09pm Top

76prosfilaes
Sep 11, 2011, 6:08am Top

#20: Out of the 200 translations since the late 1800s, how many really made money? Many of them were one man jobs, often done primarily for self or family. The major ones of the 20th century were done over a need for a Modern English version, and a concern for clarity and accuracy, plus the whole formal equivalence / dynamic equivalence thing. (And there's some control issues involved, more than money.) And a lot of them were minor changes to older translations, usually again for accuracy and clarity.

Not to mention that English is a living language. The KJV refers to "gay clothing" in James 2:3, a usage no followed by any modern edition. (That usage of gay is only about 60 years old.) Some of the changes in the newer revisions of the NIV have been about the mapping of the idiomatic use of gendered words in Greek and Hebrew and the idiomatic use of gendered words in English, driven by the fact that support for "man" and "he" as gender-neutral words in English is dropping.

77rolandperkins
Sep 11, 2011, 3:47pm Top

"gay clothing" in James 2:3

The Greek of "gay" is ʻLampros", a word related to the Latin "lampas" (Lantern) and English "lamp". The closest modern English to it is "gaudy", though it may indicate brightness of any kind.

Iʻm not sure what you mean by "THAT usage of gay" in Paragraph 2. If you mean "gay" as = ing "homosexual", Iʻve read
(almost 50 years ago!) that "that usage" is traceable to
Anglo-Normans of the Middle Ages. For a long time it had the meaning of any allegedly illicit sexual conduct, and this usage was
still around in mid-20th century. Thhis may have been a
revisionist historical linguistics, but I still questioned your
calling it "only about 60 years old".

78prosfilaes
Edited: Sep 11, 2011, 5:25pm Top

#77: It's a bit off topic, but my source put gay = homosexual in print back to 1951; http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=gay puts it back to 1947. They claim that verbally, it goes back to 1920; I'm a touch skeptical of the reliability of any such claim not backed up by physical contemporaneous evidence, but whatever. I don't believe for one second that it's 800 years older than its first publication in print, and even if it were, it doesn't seem to be a meaning Joe Public would have understood until at least the early 1960s.

For a long time it had the meaning of any allegedly illicit sexual conduct,: The 1913 Webster's says "3. Loose; dissipated; lewd. Colloq.". Which is a lot vaguer than illicit sexual conduct, but it did have some sexual meaning--like dozens of other words that have sexual meaning that doesn't supplant the original meaning, unlike the modern gay.

79timspalding
Edited: Sep 11, 2011, 9:01pm Top

>74 Arctic-Stranger:-75

Nicely done, by the way. Now, my question is: How often does the KJV, and thus Erasmus' TR, follow the Septuagint, and specifically how often in situations where the NT quotes it? That is, how often does it use the NT to edit the OT, using the Septuagint's wording? My guess is that it does it far more often than it otherwise uses the Septuagint, because to NOT do it would be to make a liar of the NT.

I looked up one example you didn't list--the "pierced my hands and feet" (Septuagint) vs. "like a lion, my hands and feet" (MT) in Psalm 22 (see this thread). I noticed that the KJV, and presumably the TR, followed the Septuagint here.

80fuzzi
Sep 12, 2011, 1:02pm Top

(75) Arctic-Stranger, that site seems to compare the Septuagint with not the KJB, but a Greek NT:

"The basic set of quotations for this study was furnished by the "Index of Quotations" in Aland, Karavidopoulos, Martini and Metzger's The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition, published by the United Bible Societies."

81Arctic-Stranger
Sep 12, 2011, 1:39pm Top

Well, that was basically to show that the NT authors used the Septuagint as their OT. We know the King Jimmy folks used the Textus Receptus, and the differences between Nestle Almond and TR are not all that substantial. Most differences occur in the apparatus, not the actual text itself.

82fuzzi
Sep 13, 2011, 6:53pm Top

(81) Arctic-Stranger, I will try to get some information to refute the validity of the Septuagint (as being pre-Christ, and as being used by the writers of the New Testament), but my time is limited right now.

If you are interested in the information, I'll look it up for you. If not, then I won't.

Your call. :)

83Arctic-Stranger
Sep 14, 2011, 1:18pm Top

No, to be honest the scholarship you have provided in the past starts with conclusions already assumed, and seeks to prove what is previously believed. In other words, it assumes a previous truth, then ascertains to prove that truth. I do believe in Anselms fides quaerum intellectum (truth seeking understanding), but not at the expense of legitimate scholarship. I think we will just have to agree to disagree with one another on this.

Whether Paul used the Septuagint or the King James is a superior translation are not issues of faith for me. I have a favorite translation (and a favorite Greek text) but for me the specific text and translation are not important issues, and I won't even say what my favorite translation is, because it is not all that important.

Too often Christians make adiaphoria a focus, and end up circling the wagons and shooting inward. I am pretty tired of that. Translation choice is not an essential for me, it is adiaphora. I don't mind you reading the King Jimmy at all. What I do mind is that the particular translation seems to closer to essential than adiaphora, and that, I believe, is a mistake.

I hate to be so negative about it, because you are really a nice person, and I think you would make a lovely neighbor or member of my church. But that fact is, you don't have scholarship or the facts on your side in this one. But it doesn't really matter. You are committed to Christ, and that is the truth to which you MUST hold. The other stuff is fluff. ((Interesting fluff, I think, but still fluff.)

84fuzzi
Sep 14, 2011, 6:17pm Top

It's a pleasure to disagree with someone who can be so agreeable about disagreeing.

Thanks for letting me know ahead of time so I didn't spend a lot of time looking answers for you.

Nice place, here, and I mean that sincerely. :)

85Arctic-Stranger
Sep 14, 2011, 6:40pm Top

Years of being a pastor taught me to hold my ground without taking it from the other other person.

86timspalding
Sep 14, 2011, 7:49pm Top

Except that you're standing on firm ground, and fuzzi is hanging there like Wile E. Coyote.

87fuzzi
Sep 17, 2011, 10:23am Top

(86) tim, I'm standing on the Rock, and on His word.

Standing on the world or the words of men is sinking sand, imho.

Have a nice day. :)

88jburlinson
Sep 17, 2011, 6:16pm Top

> 86. ...hanging there like Wile E. Coyote.

Have you ever noticed that it takes Wile E. a few seconds to realize he's standing on thin air? During that interval, he doesn't plummet. So it's all a question of faith, isn't it -- kind of like Peter walking on the waves?

89timspalding
Sep 17, 2011, 9:35pm Top

I'm standing on the Rock

A fellow Catholic! ;)

90fuzzi
Sep 18, 2011, 4:02pm Top

Nope, not a Catholic, tim. :D

91prosfilaes
Oct 1, 2011, 1:10am Top

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/30/bible-translation_n_989651.html has a nice survey about what people want out of a Bible. I'm not sure I take it as mattering much; I suspect most of them don't have a clear mapping of their choices to translations. I'm not sure they know what's best for them, either. I would have largely swore by the NIV, but I read a book on Bible translations that quoted a section from Romans for the NIV and then the Common English Version. After reading the NIV, when reading the CEV, I suddenly realized Paul was talking about predestination, which I didn't pick up from the NIV, despite the fact the NIV actually used the word "predestine".

92cjbanning
Oct 1, 2011, 9:00pm Top

I'm fond of God Didn't Say That for its analysis of the pros and cons of various approaches to translation.

93DeusExLibrus
Oct 1, 2011, 11:53pm Top

92> I really enjoyed his TEDx talk. I wish more people, especially fundamentalists would watch it, but I doubt it'll happen.

94timspalding
Edited: Oct 2, 2011, 12:01am Top

Wonderful talk. Wonderful. The KJV-only crowd need to watch it. I was unaware of how I—and I wager 99.9% of people—are misunderstanding "And God so loved the world..."

95johnthefireman
Oct 2, 2011, 6:58am Top

>94 timspalding: Tim, you have to at least give us a clue about what he said about, "And God so loved the world..."

96johnthefireman
Oct 2, 2011, 7:47am Top

Patricia Routledge: 'The King James Bible has great cadences' (Observer)

part of an ensemble cast reading edited extracts to honour the King James version's 400th anniversary

97timspalding
Oct 2, 2011, 10:19am Top

I forgot. You can't watch videos, right? (I'll post later with answer.)

98jburlinson
Oct 2, 2011, 1:34pm Top

> 95. you have to at least give us a clue about what he said about, "And God so loved the world..."

It comes down to the word "so." The standard reading would be "God loved the world so much that ...". Dr. Hoffman reports that it should be understood more as "God loved the world in such a way that ...".

99jburlinson
Edited: Oct 2, 2011, 1:46pm Top

> 96. Patricia Routledge part of an ensemble cast reading edited extracts to honour the King James version's 400th anniversary

At the National Theatre, the 82-year old Routledge will be reading passages from the Song of Songs. She's probably best known for her role as Hyacinth Bucket ("that's pronounced Bouquet!") in the British comedy "Keeping Up Appearances."

Does not compute!

100lawecon
Edited: Oct 2, 2011, 2:53pm Top

As to the controversy that was going on 20 or so posts back in this thread and in another thread:

Isn't it odd that Jesus and the apostles, who were allegedly familiar with the "Old Testament" in Hebrew (and as "the Bible") are reported in the Gospels as discussing with each other and preaching to other Jews with reference to the Septuagint?

Isn't it particularly odd as it is rather obvious that neither Jesus nor any of the original 12 would have spoken Greek, given their backgrounds as rural Jews?

As for Paul, we know he claims to have been a rabbi taught by one of the most distinguished rabbis of his day. So if anyone would have been familiar with the Hebrew originals it would have been Paul, but............

101fuzzi
Oct 2, 2011, 2:55pm Top

(100) Good point, lawecon.

And since the Levites (the 'priest' class of the Jews) were the only ones supposed to copy the scriptures, what is the truth about a story in which a bunch of Jews copy their holy books into a Gentile language?

Unlikely. Unclean, unclean.

102lawecon
Oct 2, 2011, 3:08pm Top

~69

"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matthew 5:18)

Why would Jesus not have said this? Because the jot is a Hebrew letter, and the tittle is a small mark to distinguish between Hebrew letters. If Jesus used the Greek Septuagint, His scriptures would not have contained the jot and tittle. He obviously used the Hebrew scriptures!
===============================

The Torah scroll and all of the other Jewish Scriptures in classical Hebrew are unpointed. Hence, the text referred to is from a period considerably later than Jesus' time or represents conventions adopted by nonHebrew readers to try to facilitate the reading of Hebrew.

=====================================

In addition, Jesus only mentioned the scripture text in two ways, (1) "The Law and the Prophets" and (2) "The Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms":

"And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me." Luke 24:44

The Hebrews divide their Bible into three parts: the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Jesus clearly referred to this. The Septuagint had no such division. In fact, it contains Apocryphal books interspersed throughout the Old Testament. The sequence is so hopelessly mixed up that Jesus could not possibly have been referring to it! ...

======================================

As I mentioned in another thread, the Torah was canonized first - probably around 300 BCE. Next, some of the Prophets were recognized as scripture, but the complete collection was not standardized until much later. Psalms was also accorded considerable respect. I believe that the Septuagint, which was completed sometime around a hundred years after Jesus' death, contains substantially the same books as the Jewish Scriptures - as canonized by Jews another hundred or hundred and fifty years later, with only about 5 or 6 minor books that didn't make it into the canon. Certainly, the Torah, the Prophets and the Psalms are all present.

Basically, all this author really "proves" is that it is unlikely that Luke was written before the Writings were completely canonized. But everyone who has studied the sequence of text adoption knows that to be the case.

103lawecon
Oct 2, 2011, 3:14pm Top

~101

The story is very unlikely if one presumes that the Jews in question were rabbis or other Torah scholars. (Which I believe is the standard claim.) It is very likely if the Jews in question were Hellenized Jews, like Josephus. There were many such Jews in Palestine and the surrounding areas, since Palestine had been under occupation by Assyria and then Rome since the conquest by Alexander. (The Hasmonean period was a comparatively brief interlude characterized mostly by great corruption that no Jews cared for other than the ruling class.)

104timspalding
Edited: Oct 2, 2011, 8:55pm Top

It comes down to the word "so." The standard reading would be "God loved the world so much that ...". Dr. Hoffman reports that it should be understood more as "God loved the world in such a way that ...".

Right. The natural sense--as far as I can see--is "thus.... that." (houtos... hoste). The Latin parallels that with sic... ut. A simple translation of "God loved the world SO MUCH" is surely wrong. But I think it's a little too simple to read it as a flat "In this way did God love the world: namely that...." This isn't the kind of thing I can be dogmatic about on my own—you'd need to look at every time the construction is used. I yield to Wikipedia:
"Theologians Gundry and Howell believe that the sense and syntax of the Greek Οὕτως…ὥστε make it likely that the author of the Gospel of John is emphasizing both (a) the degree to which God loved the world as well as (b) the manner in which God chose to express that love—by sending his only son. Gundry and Howell write that the Οὕτως term more frequently refers to the manner in which something is done (see BDAG 741-42 s.v. οὕτω/οὕτως). However, they add that the ὥστε clause that follows Οὕτως involves the indicative—meaning that it stresses an actual but usually unexpected result. They conclude that the sense and syntax of the Greek construction here focuses on the nature of God's love, addressing its mode, intensity, and extent. Accordingly, it emphasizes the greatness of the gift God has given."


Isn't it odd that Jesus and the apostles, who were allegedly familiar with the "Old Testament" in Hebrew (and as "the Bible") are reported in the Gospels as discussing with each other and preaching to other Jews with reference to the Septuagint?

It's really not very odd. The Gospels were all written in Greek, by Greek speakers.

Isn't it particularly odd as it is rather obvious that neither Jesus nor any of the original 12 would have spoken Greek, given their backgrounds as rural Jews?

Not really. The Gospels were written in Greek.

As for Paul, we know he claims to have been a rabbi taught by one of the most distinguished rabbis of his day. So if anyone would have been familiar with the Hebrew originals it would have been Paul, but............

No, actually, he doesn't claim that. He claims nothing of the sort. Acts, written long after his death by someone who liked but clearly didn't know him, claims it. I know, details, details. How annoying!

Overall, I think your points are basically fluff and hyperbole. The evidence is strongly that the bulk the Hebrew Bible was well accepted by mainstream Judaism. Sure, the Essenes had some other stuff, but the Essenes were an unusual separatist religious group, who spurned the very Jerusalem temple and—incidentally—preserve quite a few of the texts in question! It's worth repeating that Josephus mentions 22 books, and to note how lame it is to dispel this with the attack that Josephus was "not much of a Jew." Certainly it would be odd to call him ignorant, as he wrote thousands of pages on the topic of his religion and, let's be honest, knew 1,000 times more about second-temple Judaism than anyone now alive could ever do. Was he a traitor? Sure, if you like. But if Benedict Arnold wrote that Boston was in Massachusetts would you dismiss it on the grounds that he wasn't much of an American? I'm sure you can't fashion a theory why his bad-Jewishness makes him declare a canonicity that doesn't exist. Really, what on earth does your claim have to do with him being wrong on a question like this?

You can adjust the terms to your satisfaction, of course. Were the books considered a single "work." No. Of course not. They're not even considered a single work NOW, except by the ignorant. Was every book agreed to by all? No, clearly not. Jews in Alexandria and Qumran revered certain texts, like Tobit, that the mainstream of post-70 Pharisaic Judaism rejected. Was the Bible clearly divided into Law, Prophets and Writings? Meh. The grandson of Sirach, who predates Jesus by 150 years, points to a clear division of "law," "prophets" and "other books," and it's likely he wasn't the only Jew in the universe to believe that. But "other books" isn't the formal "writings," so you can define that away too, if you like. To me, the terms Jews apply to the books is really beside the point to general level of fixity that clearly applied—with regard to which "writings" clearly means "and some other stuff," since the actual contents of it are quite miscellaneous. But was everything "completely canonized?" No, clearly not. But there's a huge gap between "completely canonized" and your original statement that "Jesus and the very early Church understood nothing at all about 'the Bible' as we have it today." The former is a reasonable assessment of the evidence. The latter is foolish overstatement.

105lawecon
Oct 3, 2011, 12:05am Top

Isn't it odd that Jesus and the apostles, who were allegedly familiar with the "Old Testament" in Hebrew (and as "the Bible") are reported in the Gospels as discussing with each other and preaching to other Jews with reference to the Septuagint?

It's really not very odd. The Gospels were all written in Greek, by Greek speakers.

=================================

As I recall, Tim, your original assertion was that Jesus and the apostles were "well familiar with the Hebrew Bible." Now how do we know about what Jesus and the apostles said? Well, it is reported in the Gospels and Acts. But has been shown by other posters to this thread, what Jesus and the apostles are reported to have said in the only source we have refers to passages in the Septuagint.

Beginning to get the point?

==========================================

Isn't it particularly odd as it is rather obvious that neither Jesus nor any of the original 12 would have spoken Greek, given their backgrounds as rural Jews?

Not really. The Gospels were written in Greek.
==========================================

Yes they were. But if they were written in Greek from a Hebrew or Aramaic source, then the translations wouldn't be identical to what was in the Septuagint, would they?

106lawecon
Oct 3, 2011, 12:26am Top

As for Paul, we know he claims to have been a rabbi taught by one of the most distinguished rabbis of his day. So if anyone would have been familiar with the Hebrew originals it would have been Paul, but............

No, actually, he doesn't claim that. He claims nothing of the sort. Acts, written long after his death by someone who liked but clearly didn't know him, claims it. I know, details, details. How annoying!
====================================

Yes, indeed, how annoying !! So, according to your present position apparently Acts lies about Paul's background? What else is a lie or has been altered to fit a story line?

You know, Tim, you can go down that road if you want. But the last time I indicated that there might be some merit in going down that road, as has Bart Ehrman, in Misquoting Jesus and Forged you characterized it as "extremism."

========================================
Overall, I think your points are basically fluff and hyperbole. The evidence is strongly that the bulk the Hebrew Bible was well accepted by mainstream Judaism. Sure, the Essenes had some other stuff, but the Essenes were an unusual separatist religious group, who spurned the very Jerusalem temple and—incidentally—preserve quite a few of the texts in question! It's worth repeating that Josephus mentions 22 books, and to note how lame it is to dispel this with the attack that Josephus was "not much of a Jew." Certainly it would be odd to call him ignorant, as he wrote thousands of pages on the topic of his religion and, let's be honest, knew 1,000 times more about second-temple Judaism than anyone now alive could ever do. Was he a traitor? Sure, if you like. But if Benedict Arnold wrote that Boston was in Massachusetts would you dismiss it on the grounds that he wasn't much of an American? I'm sure you can't fashion a theory why his bad-Jewishness makes him declare a canonicity that doesn't exist. Really, what on earth does your claim have to do with him being wrong on a question like this?

==========================================

So, let me understand your point. We should dismiss everything we know about Judaism from, ah Jewish sources, except for Josephus, because, ah, because, Josephus was a traitor who was writing for a Roman audience and his writings, and the writings of what may be called Coptic Jews, are the only sources on Judaism traditionally approved of by Christians?

Ah, no thank you. Jews since Spinoza have been taking apart Jewish texts and reconstructing what really happened for about 300 years. I think that we'll continue to do so, with or without your approval or the approval of your oft referred to but never identified sources.

I am sorry that you and others are now starting to experience trauma when scholars do the same for Christian sources, but, believe me, you'll eventually adjust.

==========================================

You can adjust the terms to your satisfaction, of course. Were the books considered a single "work." No. Of course not. They're not even considered a single work NOW, except by the ignorant. Was every book agreed to by all? No, clearly not. Jews in Alexandria and Qumran revered certain texts, like Tobit, that the mainstream of post-70 Pharisaic Judaism rejected. Was the Bible clearly divided into Law, Prophets and Writings? Meh. The grandson of Sirach, who predates Jesus by 150 years, points to a clear division of "law," "prophets" and "other books," and it's likely he wasn't the only Jew in the universe to believe that. But "other books" isn't the formal "writings," so you can define that away too, if you like. To me, the terms Jews apply to the books is really beside the point to general level of fixity that clearly applied—with regard to which "writings" clearly means "and some other stuff," since the actual contents of it are quite miscellaneous. But was everything "completely canonized?" No, clearly not. But there's a huge gap between "completely canonized" and your original statement that "Jesus and the very early Church understood nothing at all about 'the Bible' as we have it today." The former is a reasonable assessment of the evidence. The latter is foolish overstatement.
==============================================

Words, apparently, mean what you want them to mean. "... 'the Bible' as we have it today." in my world means, ah, "... 'the Bible' as we have it today." Apparently in your world the Torah, some of the Prophets (we don't know exactly which ones) and "some other books" is "the 'Bible' as we have it today."

Hence, when you say something like Jesus and the apostles were familiar with the Bible, you can mean whatever you want. You can even mean that Jesus and the apostles were familiar with the Septuagint, even though there is no evidence that any of them other than Paul spoke Greek. Ah, there is nothing like precision when you're trying to support a faith position, is there? But I do understand what you mean when you assert that there is a lot of "fluff" in this discussion.

107timspalding
Edited: Oct 3, 2011, 2:37am Top

Yes, indeed, how annoying !! So, according to your present position apparently Acts lies about Paul's background? What else is a lie or has been altered to fit a story line?

No, all I know for sure is that you claimed Paul said something he manifestly doesn't say.

To your actual point, doubt about the account in Acts arises from a number of different points. Basically, Luke does not seem to have read or been aware of Paul's letters and there are a number of major discrepancies between his account and the letters. As Paul's authentic letters were written by Paul himself in the 50s, and Acts was written by someone else at the end of the century, we ought to be inclined to trust Paul over Acts, when they conflict. Acts presents Paul as a student of Gamaliel, who was perhaps the top Pharasaic scholar of the age in Jerusalem and whose students would likely be known to locals. Then, later, Acts presents Paul as leading an effort to hunt down, round up and lead to execution Christians in Jerusalem. The latter is unlikely for political reasons. But, stipulating its truth, it seems unlikely the leader of such an effort, recently a student of Gamaliel and therefore resident of Jerusalem, would be unknown to local Jewish Christians. Yet both conflict with Paul's assertions that, when he went to Jerusalem, he wasn't known by his face to anyone in the Christian community.

Certainly one can imagine some improbable way to square these facts, but it's more plausible that Luke's account of Paul's life is not based on original sources and has been embelished. Incidentally, Paul himself never says he studied in Jerusalem, despite mentioning his Pharasaic training a number of times when this would add to his point, and a mention of Gamaliel wouldn't go amiss either. All things considered, it's more plausible he was educated outside of Palestine--for example in Tarsus--which squares with the general impression that he read the Bible in Greek, not Hebrew.

You know, Tim, you can go down that road if you want

I don't particularly know to what you are referring, but if you take me for a fundamentalist you are sorely mistaken. My opinions on the reliability of the New Testament are basically the scholarly consensus.

On Ehrman, I think he was always attracted to the edge of that consensus. Together with, I think it's fair to say, the center of the field, I think his popular bestsellers of recent years are more polemic and bookselling than well-argued scholarship.

the writings of what may be called Coptic Jews

Surely you have no idea of what you're talking about. Sirach? You're under the impression it's Coptic? That Sirach was a Coptic Jew? You know we have copies in Hebrew and that he's quoted in the Talmud, right?

Attacking incidental facts in Josephus and Sirach because you're suspicious of their Jewish bona fides is just weird. Can you propose any reason they'd be making it up here? Did I travel back in time and propose that Josephus dream up the number 22, or that Sirach divide holy books into categories matching later Judaisms, not to mention listing people and events from virtually ever later-canonical book?

We should dismiss everything we know about Judaism from, ah Jewish sources

Josephus is a Jewish source. So is Sirach. So is Philo, who hits almost all the books. So were the authors of the New Testament, who attest to the state of the Septuagint—at least—in the late first century. So too the author of 2 Maccabees, whose reference is not very clear but presumes most of the books that we now number. What sources do you propose to lay against these? The Talmud back dates it by centuries!

Hence, when you say something like Jesus and the apostles were familiar with the Bible, you can mean whatever you want. You can even mean that Jesus and the apostles were familiar with the Septuagint, even though there is no evidence that any of them other than Paul spoke Greek. Ah, there is nothing like precision when you're trying to support a faith position, is there? But I do understand what you mean when you assert that there is a lot of "fluff" in this discussion.

What rot! When your arguments have no support and your evidence nonexistant, you start attacking people on faith?

I no intention of meaning whatever I want. I am perfectly aware "the Bible" then was not "the Bible" of some American fundamentalist. I never said ANYTHING about Jesus speaking Greek or using the Septuagint. The Bible I speak of is a collection of books, revered to a higher degree by large numbers of people in a faith community. That collectionis no amorphous mystery, but something that can be assessed by contemporary references and quotations. When you do that, the overwhelming evidence is that mainstream Jews of Jesus' time revered very closely the same books that ended up in the Greek and Hebrew Jewish canons--somewhere about as close as Josephus' 22 out of 24 books. To claim, as you did, that Jesus and his followers were clueless about the Bible, which was not canonized except with respect to the Torah, simply isn't supported by the evidence.

Speaking of which, please offer some.

108lawecon
Oct 3, 2011, 8:28am Top

Certainly one can imagine some improbable way to square these facts, but it's more plausible that Luke's account of Paul's life is not based on original sources and has been embelished. Incidentally, Paul himself never says he studied in Jerusalem, despite mentioning his Pharasaic training a number of times when this would add to his point, and a mention of Gamaliel wouldn't go amiss either. All things considered, it's more plausible he was educated outside of Palestine--for example in Tarsus--which squares with the general impression that he read the Bible in Greek, not Hebrew.
=====================================

Well, either Luke and Paul are lying about Paul's background ("embellishment" is such a nice word, isn't it) or Paul read the Torah and whatever other scriptures he thought to be authentic in Hebrew. Rabbis were not trained in Greek. Some may have known Greek, but the scriptures were in Hebrew or Aramaic.
====================================

You know, Tim, you can go down that road if you want

I don't particularly know to what you are referring, but if you take me for a fundamentalist you are sorely mistaken. My opinions on the reliability of the New Testament are basically the scholarly consensus.

======================================

Which scholarly consensus is that, Tim? The one where you pick out a particular scholar who has decided that certain of the Christian scriptures are inauthentic, particularly when it doesn't fit with his preconceived theological notions?

109johnthefireman
Oct 3, 2011, 8:39am Top

>108 lawecon: certain of the Christian scriptures are inauthentic

Finding a newer, deeper and/or different understanding of scripture does not make in "inauthentic".

110lawecon
Oct 3, 2011, 9:01am Top

the writings of what may be called Coptic Jews

Surely you have no idea of what you're talking about. Sirach? You're under the impression it's Coptic? That Sirach was a Coptic Jew? You know we have copies in Hebrew and that he's quoted in the Talmud, right?

Attacking incidental facts in Josephus and Sirach because you're suspicious of their Jewish bona fides is just weird. Can you propose any reason they'd be making it up here? Did I travel back in time and propose that Josephus dream up the number 22, or that Sirach divide holy books into categories matching later Judaisms, not to mention listing people and events from virtually ever later-canonical book?

======================================

Ah, first it is Philo, now it is Sirach. Let me repeat what I've said several times before, yet again:

(1) By Jesus' time the Torah was canonized. Some of the prophets were canonized - we don't know with particularity which ones, but we can make good guesses about the major ones. Some other writings were canonized - like Psalms, we know less about specifically which ones than we know about the prophets. Now if you find more than that in Sirach, please quote it with specificity. If you don't, try reading what is being said, rather than just being contentious for the sake of being contentious.

(2) To show that Jesus and the apostles were "familiar with the Bible" you have to show that the above is inaccurate - that there was something extant called "the Bible" - but you also have to show that Jesus and the apostles were literate. Not merely that they had listened in synagogue, that the knew how to keep the festivals and that their former families knew how to keep kosher, but that they could read Hebrew and had ready access to the sources of the Bible to read. Perhaps you could quote someone in the "scholarly consensus" who believes such a thing?

At most such learning MIGHT be true of Paul. But apparently you are willing to admit that Paul quoted the scriptures from the Septuagint, not from the Hebrew. Further, you give up this position by questioning what Paul claimed about his own background.

(3) Yes, I am very suspicious of Josephus. He brags about being a liar and a deceiver. He is writing for a nonJewish audience, and, hence, is unlikely to be contradicted if he gets it wrong. Although he was trained as a military officer, he writes extensively on Jewish scriptures and history. It is amazing that you are not suspicious of such a source.

(4) Previously I gave you a source that I thought was written by a Christian scholar and that does a good job of summarizing the state of society and of "bible learning" in the time of Jesus and for a couple hundred years thereafter Augustine And the Jews. I am now somewhat to chagrined to discover that this scholar has converted to Judaism, but perhaps you will be willing to stretch the definition of "christian" just as you stretch the definition of "jewish" by calling Josephus a "Jewish source."

111lawecon
Oct 3, 2011, 9:12am Top

>108 lawecon: certain of the Christian scriptures are inauthentic

Finding a newer, deeper and/or different understanding of scripture does not make in "inauthentic".

=================================

"Inauthentic" is a nice term for contending that Acts and Paul's letters lie about Paul's background . That isn't a "newer, deeper and/or different understanding of scripture." It is an accusation of wrong doing.

Now it may be a true accusation The Mythmaker but it is hardly just a new insightful understanding of scripture.

112jburlinson
Oct 3, 2011, 9:37pm Top

> 111. "Inauthentic" is a nice term for contending that Acts and Paul's letters lie about Paul's background . That isn't a "newer, deeper and/or different understanding of scripture." It is an accusation of wrong doing.

Now it may be a true accusation The Mythmaker but it is hardly just a new insightful understanding of scripture.


Parsing post # 111 is quite a challenge. I'll take a stab at the first part -- the first three sentences. I understand you to be saying:
a. The use of the term "inauthentic" in post # 108 was as a euphemism for "lying". I'm not sure why you, as the author of # 108, would go to the trouble of sugar-coating the use of "lying" after deriding the use of "embellished" by a previous poster.
b. Someone is accusing the authors of Acts and Paul's letters of lying. I assume that someone is you. A possible, although remote, alternative is that you are saying that Tim is accusing these authors of lying, but that doesn't seem to square with the general purport of Tim's remarks. It's also possible that you're trying to say that by use of such terms as "embellished" and "inauthentic", other posters simply lack boldness and won't call a spade a spade.

The second part of post 111, starting with "Now it may...", almost defies exegesis, especially since "The Mythmaker" is a touchstone to a book that hadn't been mentioned up to that point. My rough understanding of your point is that the author of "The Mythmaker" accuses Paul, at least, of being a liar. Once again we're in the realm of euphemism, though, since "mythmaking" is, apparently, equivalent to "lying."

Finally, whatever word we use for 'lying," we can't consider calling Paul and/or the author of Acts liars a "newer, deeper and/or different understanding of scripture." Frankly, I don't understand why not.

113timspalding
Edited: Oct 3, 2011, 10:32pm Top

"Inauthentic" is a nice term for contending that Acts and Paul's letters lie about Paul's background … Someone is accusing the authors of Acts and Paul's letters of lying

Errors mean "lying." I see. Unfortunately, this isn't how anyone uses the term. Both in scholarship and in plain talk, "lying" is generally understood to be not telling the truth with the intention of not telling the truth.

Imagine you had to write a history of something your grandparents did. You never knew your grandparents. In fact, you never even lived in the same country as them--your parents left there before you were born. Rather, you heard various stories from your parents and uncles over diner and so forth, before they all died. Do you think your account would be entirely accurate? Isn't it likely it would have chronological errors, exaggerations and so forth? When you conflated two similar incidents, or made your grandmother graduate from a college rather than attending, would you be "lying"? No. Not by the usual definition of the word.

The same applies in other ancient texts. Herodotus and Thucydides made numerous factual errors trying to reconstruct the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. They misunderstood stuff. They mixed up stuff. They believed tall tales and exaggerations. They believed stories that agreed with their prejudices and bad knowledge. But were they "lying"? Were they "liars"? With respect, not usually or at all. I don't think the author of Acts was intentionally writing things he knew to be otherwise. Obviously, it's possible Luke was doing that but, absent very strong evidence as to motive, one doesn't usually assume intentional mendacity in an ancient historical account. Anyway, if you want to accuse Luke of lying, you'd probably want to pick something central to his theological concerns, which he'd have a strong motivation to lie about, and risk being caught on it, rather than a fairly incidental fact about Paul's life.

The New Testament is a complex set of texts. Some are semi-historical, some semi-historical, one a weird fantasy. Others are letters, either claiming in themselves to be by someone special or later attributed to someone. There's a lot to be said about intent and method, transmission and factuality. But if your approach is fix upon some apparent or plausible error and yell "LYING LIARS!" you're not engaging in reasoned and reasonable analysis of the texts, but having a naked mud pit wrestle with a fundamentalist of your own imagination.

114lawecon
Oct 3, 2011, 10:39pm Top

~112

If you are confused, I would suggest that you read Tim's #107 and Acts and then read my #108. It really isn't that difficult.

Here, let me help: Acts contends that Paul was the student of a very famous Rabbi of his age. Tim apparently doesn't believe that claim and he is probably right not to believe that claim. But instead of simply saying that the author of Acts lies about Paul's background, he uses the term "embellish" to describe what the author of Acts is doing. Tim then speculates that Paul was a Rabbi from a Greek dominated part of Palestine, but not from Jerusalem. He concludes from that speculation that Paul, albeit a Rabbi, read the Torah in the Greek Septuagint.

I point out that when one makes a false claim about the credentials of someone else the usual description is "lie" not "embellish." I further point out that Rabbis, and for that matter everyone else connected with Jewish worship, read the Torah in Hebrew. That is what a Jewish service centers around - reading the Torah in Hebrew. If a Rabbi wants to translate the Torah into another language to communicate with those who don't read Hebrew, he translates directly into that other language. He has no reason to resort to a translation of the Torah in that other language, particularly when the translation often distorts the passage he is quoting. He has no reason because he can read the Hebrew original as a central part of his training and thus does not have to rely on a translation by someone else.

See, that isn't that difficult to parse, is it?

115timspalding
Edited: Oct 3, 2011, 11:02pm Top

Tim then speculates that Paul was a Rabbi from a Greek dominated part of Palestine, but not from Jerusalem. He concludes from that speculation that Paul, albeit a Rabbi, read the Torah in the Greek Septuagint.

Huh? No. I'm not speculating. And I said nothing about "Greek dominated part of Palestine." Paul was from Tarsus. Tarsus is in smooth Cilicia, at the western end of the plain. It was the capital of the province of Cilicia, and was known for its library. It had a large Jewish population who, there is good evidence, spoke Greek, not Aramaic. Paul was from the world of diaspora Judaism, Jewish by religion but Greek by language.

I point out that when one makes a false claim about the credentials of someone else the usual description is "lie" not "embellish." I further point out that Rabbis, and for that matter everyone else connected with Jewish worship, read the Torah in Hebrew. That is what a Jewish service centers around - reading the Torah in Hebrew. If a Rabbi wants to translate the Torah into another language to communicate with those who don't read Hebrew, he translates directly into that other language. He has no reason to resort to a translation of the Torah in that other language, particularly when the translation often distorts the passage he is quoting. He has no reason because he can read the Hebrew original as a central part of his training and thus does not have to rely on a translation by someone else.

You apparently are unaware of the Septuagint, or of Jewish life outside Palestine, which used Greek texts translated hundreds of years before. You are equally unaware of Aramaic translations. None of this in any doubt, and your description of Hebrew-only Jewish rabbis is some sort of queer fantasy. You can go debate the non-existence of the Septuagint with that King-James-only guy we had in the Christianity group a while back. But I think I'll stop teaching you basic history.

116lawecon
Oct 3, 2011, 11:13pm Top

~113

Interesting attempted save. So it wasn't the author of Acts who lied, it was someone else, and the author of Acts was taken in by this lie.

But why would you conclude that this was the case? Here is a very important account of the early Church. It is an account that is so important that it is included in Christian scripture. You believe that it is mistaken in attributing to one of the founders of the Church, some would say THE founder of the Church, a certain honorific background, a certain credential, that is not true.

Now someone along the way had to have made up these credentials for Paul if they were not in fact Paul's credentials. They didn't just appear in the train of transmission without deliberate actions by someone, they were added to the biography of Paul some place along the line. The person who added them knew that they were false, or maybe he or she was just delusional and regularly had "visions" of The Truth about great historical figures. But then those who passed on the rantings of this unstable person certainly didn't have much regard for accuracy, or maybe, to be less demeaning, they were engaged in honorific falsehoods, commonly known as lying if you don't necessarily approve of the "intent behind" the falsehoods.

But, of course, this lie couldn't have been the doing of the direct author of Acts. It couldn't have been because, ah, ah........ darn you don't get to the reasons for that conclusion......

===========================

The same applies in other ancient texts. Herodotus and Thucydides made numerous factual errors trying to reconstruct the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. They misunderstood stuff. They mixed up stuff. They believed tall tales and exaggerations. They believed stories that agreed with their prejudices and bad knowledge. But were they "lying"? Were they "liars"? With respect, not usually or at all. I don't think the author of Acts was intentionally writing things he knew to be otherwise.

================================

I think that there is a difference between "The battle of X occurred at location A." and "My brother the physicist was the beloved student of Albert Einstein." Don't you? If the first claim is factually false, there is, as you say, no reason for believing that a lie rather than a mistake is occurring unless, of course, that person making the claim owns location A or has a business there or....... But we know quite well why a person would make up very distinguished credentials for himself or his brother or the person who was a key figure in his political party or religion.

===================================

The New Testament is a complex set of texts. Some are semi-historical, some semi-historical, one a weird fantasy. Others are letters, either claiming in themselves to be by someone special or later attributed to someone. There's a lot to be said about intent and method, transmission and factuality. But if your approach is fix upon some apparent or plausible error and yell "LYING LIARS!" you're not engaging in reasoned and reasonable analysis of the texts, but having a naked mud pit wrestle with a fundamentalist of your own imagination.

====================================

Honest textual analysis certainly has to do with taking account of the context in which a writing was created, whether a false claim in the writing is an error or a lie, when the false cllaim arose in the chain of transmission of the writing, particularly if the writing was commonly transmitted through a nonstandardized method, etc.

It also has to do with applying commonly held standards to the writing. Lies, for instance, are lies, and if one is dealing with a text that appears to be uncorrupted from the original or is claimed to be uncorrupted from the original, the lie is properly attributed to the original author of the text. "Lie" may be a bad word, but it is also a descriptive word when its application is justified.

One of the ways one identifies a claim in a text to be a lie is (1) To identify what is claimed as untrue and (2) To identify the claim as occurring in a text that is otherwise considered to be authoritative and (3) To note that the untruth greatly aids the goals of the author of the text.

The same thing is regularly done in legal proceedings today. In the United States, as opposed to Britain, one proves up a libel by proving that the defendant is the author of the text in question, that he distributed the text to others, and that the claim made in the text about the plaintiff is false. The only difference between that situation and this one is that the falsity in question disparages the plaintiff in one of several ways identified in the law in a libel action - here it glorifies the plaintiff.

If you aren't a fundamentalist you have no reason to cast about for a different standard that is "special" in the situation we are discussing. There is really no doubt why a false glorifying claim would be made about the credentials and background of Paul in a Christian text, is there? It isn't really mysterious or difficult or complex, is it? Do you think you'd have similar problems about identifying the nature of false glorifying claims about Moses in a Jewish text or Muhammad in an Islamic text or Joe Smoe in a text written by his wife?

117lawecon
Edited: Oct 3, 2011, 11:53pm Top

~115

Yes, I think you might as well cease.

For instance:

(1) There is not a bit of difference between your first quotation from my previous post and what you then go on to say. Tarsus was dominated by Greeks. If it hadn't been the population would have spoke Aramaic, not Greek.

(2) Your notion that diaspora Rabbis in Greek speaking areas knew only Greek is without any historical foundation at all. It is clearly just something you made up. Next I suppose you'll be telling us that the Rabbis in Palestine read the Torah from the Targum rather from a Hebrew text. You do realize, I hope, that Hebrew was not the language of everyday life in Palestine at the time of Jesus and Paul but that it is and always has been the core of Jewish worship ?

Frankly, this exchange with you is getting rather silly. You are now asserting things like the Septuagint was written "hundreds of years" before the time of Jesus and Paul, that rabbis of the diaspora couldn't have had a working knowledge of Hebrew, and that I am unaware of the Targum, albeit no one has even mentioned that last topic previously. I guess in your world Jewish services are entirely in English in the English speaking world, since there are now English translations of the Bible. (Really really strange and getting stranger all the time.)

I would suggest that if you want to actually know what Jews do and did in the time of Jesus that you read some, ah, Jewish sources rather than the hodgepodge of apologetics you've obviously restricted yourself to up to now.

118jburlinson
Oct 4, 2011, 12:19am Top

> 116. In the United States, as opposed to Britain, one proves up a libel by proving that the defendant is the author of the text in question, that he distributed the text to others, and that the claim made in the text about the plaintiff is false.

It's also necessary to prove that the statement caused harm and was made without adequate research into its truthfulness. Also, in the case of a celebrity, like Paul or Justin Bieber, it's necessary to prove malice.

I don't think libel is a particularly good analogy in this discussion. Maybe a better analogy would be the kind of claims that Texans make about their state.

119jburlinson
Oct 4, 2011, 12:29am Top

> 114. See, that isn't that difficult to parse, is it?

Well, actually, yes, it still is. I'm still puzzling over the meaning of this construction: "Now it may be a true accusation The Mythmaker but it is hardly just a new insightful understanding of scripture."

Much depends, I imagine, on what is meant by the word "it." If "it" means "the assertion that Paul and the author of Acts are liars", then I believe I understand the gist, although I still don't quite grasp the function of The Mythmaker.

If "it" does not mean "the assertion that Paul and the author of Acts are liars," then it's a puzzlement. Or rather, "it"'s a puzzlement.

120fuzzi
Oct 4, 2011, 1:04pm Top

I am glad that I am such an unlearned babe, because if as some of you, I had the doubts about the integrity of the Scriptures (OT and NT), I probably would not have accepted Christ as my Saviour.

"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." (Matthew 11:25)

"He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong." (Job 5:13)

"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
Therefore let no man glory in men. ..." (1 Corinthians 3:18-21)

I would rather put my faith in God's ability to preserve His words so that I can understand them, than to trust in men who are prone to error and fallible. See Psalm 12:6, 7

How do I know which part of the Bible is to be taken literally? I take it literally unless it's impossible, such as Jesus saying He is the Door. He doesn't have hinges and a knob as far as I can discern from reading the Bible.

Keep in mind, all this speculation and individual interpretation puts people on the path of error.

"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." (2 Peter 1:20)

121johnthefireman
Oct 4, 2011, 1:11pm Top

I'd like to draw attention to a post by Booksorting, >102 lawecon: in this parallel thread, which I think is very relevant to the current thread.

Booksorting says:

See this link for an interesting discussion regarding Bible translation with some comments by the orginal KJV Bible translators, as well as what some others have said on the subject in the 400 years since the KJV was first published.

http://bibletruthchatroom.com/2011/09/is-the-king-james-bible-a-divinely-inspire...

122Booksorting
Oct 4, 2011, 6:08pm Top

Here's another link on that same site that deals more particularly with modern translations as opposed to the translation of the King James Version of the Bible 400 years ago.
http://bibletruthchatroom.com/2011/08/the-king-james-version-1611-2011%e2%80%95h...

123lawecon
Oct 4, 2011, 6:14pm Top

I am curious, Booksorting, do you believe that the translators of the KJV were "divinely inspired"? If so, on what authority is that belief based? Could more recent translators also be "divinely inspired"? If not, why not?

124lawecon
Oct 4, 2011, 6:15pm Top

~120

I am glad that I am such an unlearned babe, because if as some of you, I had the doubts about the integrity of the Scriptures (OT and NT), I probably would not have accepted Christ as my Saviour.

=========================

Yes, sometimes ignorance is bliss and a great comfort.

125Arctic-Stranger
Oct 4, 2011, 6:25pm Top

Isn't it particularly odd as it is rather obvious that neither Jesus nor any of the original 12 would have spoken Greek, given their backgrounds as rural Jews?

I know this is old, but that statement is so apparently false I wanted to respond. It assumes an particularly American 20th century view.

First century Jews lived in land occupied by Romans, and which had been occupied for the previous four hundred or so years by various people. Greek was the lingua franca of the day, and it would be more surprising that Jesus did NOT know Greek. After all, he was a builder, and lived within walking distance of the one of the largest building projects in Palestine--Sepphoris. That was a Gentile city, and he would have worked for Gentiles there.

Americans have a funny, almost mystical view of languages. We tend to assume that only really intelligent people can speak more than one language, which is a major fallacy. If I ever want to impress people, I just trot out the languages I have studied, which in fact means very little.

Most people who live in bi-lingual cultures speak more than one language. In Luxemburg I ran into a factory worker who was fluent in three languages and spoke enough of three others to get back in conversation.

The level of Greek spoken is up for debate, which you can even see in the NT texts. John wrote in simple, straightforward Greek. Luke wrote in pretty elegant Greek and Paul's Greek is pretty complicated, much like philosophical German. The John of Revelation fame had horrible Greek. Mark was into word play, and structures his Gospel with incredible forethought and design.

Just sayin'!

126fuzzi
Oct 4, 2011, 6:57pm Top

(124) Ah, lawecon, but 'unlearned' does not necessarily mean the same as 'ignorant'.

I work with highly educated professionals, who need someone to take them by the hand and show them how to do simple everyday tasks (or do those tasks for them). They are clueless about real life and common sense, probably due to being so absorbed and focused on their field of interest.

Job security for me. :)

127lawecon
Edited: Oct 4, 2011, 11:23pm Top

~125

This is a very peculiar type of argument by indirection. Presumably you do not dispute that Aramaic was the common language of at least Northern Palestine? But as I understand your argument, which, incidentally, is advanced without the least shred of citation to any source, it is that many many people also spoke Greek and Latin, and some of them may have even been familiar with Hebrew.

O.K., well, that seems to make sense, except that you seem to be overlooking that there were different strata of Palestinian society. If you were a rich Jewish merchant, or someone who was another sort of professional, you probably were tri-lingual - speaking Aramaic, Greek and Latin. If, however, you were just another poor laborer you probably weren't tri-lingual. At most you probably had Aramaic as your native tongue, knew enough Latin to stay out of trouble with any Roman troops, and were literate in neither of these languages.

Greek was the language of scholars and of the cream of the upper class - as it was in Rome. Of course, it was the common language of other parts of the mideast, but not of the parts that Jesus is recorded as having grown up in or preaching to.

The simple fact of the matter is that, although the Gospels make quite a thing of Jesus' learning, there is no explanation of how he got that learning. He was a carpenter in a small town environment. "Carpenter" may well have meant something much less than exhalted than the skilled craftsman, usually a member of some craft union, we think of today. It may have simply referred to anyone who made his living as a "handyman" who repaired wood. Of course, there are certain apologetic writings that try to turn the term into something like a "general contractor," but there is no extrinsic evidence that Jesus built subdivisions or government buildings or anything similar. There is no evidence that semiskilled workers in the areas where Jesus lived had any acquaintance with Greek or would have had any reason to have any such acquaintance.

We don't know the occupations of many of the other disciples, before you get to Paul, but the ones we do know were fishermen - definitely not a profession or a calling of rich and educated people. One was a tax collector. Tax collectors were not government officials but those who had purchased the privilege to extort whatever they could from a given population. Again, most of these people appear to have been reared in a rural or small town environment, not in a large cosmopolitan city.

Paul was definitely not of this mold. He was at least partially educated. Probably spoke Greek as his native tongue, knew Hebrew if what he reports of himself was true, probably could converse in Aramaic or learned to do so after his conversion and was probably fully literate in Greek and possibly Hebrew - both in the sense that he could read the languages just mentioned and in the sense that he had at least limited facility in writing them. Apparently Paul had a companion who served as his scribe, but he then added some text to the end of some of his letters in his own hand.

128lawecon
Oct 4, 2011, 11:26pm Top

(124) Ah, lawecon, but 'unlearned' does not necessarily mean the same as 'ignorant'.

==================================

It does when you mold your life around a certain set of texts and doctrines and yet admit to not being interested enough in these texts and doctrines to have critically assessed them or read the acknowledged research about them. Worse, it is rabid ignorance when you crow about your "faith" with respect to not having made such efforts.

129jburlinson
Oct 5, 2011, 1:01am Top

> 127 He was a carpenter in a small town environment...

You do an awful lot of speculating on the basis of only a couple of fleeting gospel passages.

‘Is this not the carpenter’s Son?’ (Matthew 13:55).
‘Is this not the carpenter?’ (Mark 6:3).

For all we know, he could have been the guy in the back of the shop who never got anything done because he always had his nose buried in some scroll or other.

130johnthefireman
Oct 5, 2011, 3:04am Top

>121 johnthefireman:, 122 I'm struck by the quotes from the first link, where the earlier commentators seem to be making more cautious claims about the KJV than some of its modern day proponents.

131lawecon
Edited: Oct 5, 2011, 8:43am Top

~129

Could have been. But there would then have to be some evidence that he was literate - presumably in Hebrew rather than in his own language. The "scholarly consensus," as Tim would have it, is currently that most people were not literate in rural Palestine. They had no reason to be literate and no time to be literate. It wasn't exactly a prosperous society where one had a great deal of leisure, and written materials were produced by hand, one by one.

But I am curious why you would doubt these passages but then, presumably, accept the passages regarding his great learning and great deeds?

132fuzzi
Oct 5, 2011, 12:59pm Top

(128) I don't have to know how a computer works to use it.

I don't have to critically assess everything, either, in order to understand enough to believe in something.

I have read and researched many religions since my youth (I was not raised 'Christian'), and did not start reading the Bible until my conversion, about ten years ago.

I'm no Biblical scholar, just a student. However, I don't need to know everything in order to recognize and believe in the veracity of God's word.

If you think that means I'm ignorant in a derogatory way, you're entitled to your opinion.

133timspalding
Oct 5, 2011, 1:09pm Top

>132 fuzzi:

I'm with you 100%.

134lawecon
Oct 5, 2011, 2:26pm Top

~132

Fuzzi, I presume that as a "believing Christian" you do more than merely believe. I presume that you, to a greater or lesser extent, have changed your life based on what you understand to be "G_d's word."

Great.

My only comment is that "I believe" isn't a proper justification for the clearly factual claim that a given text is "G_d's word." It is even less of a proper justification for believing that you, in your professed ignorance as "no Biblical scholar" can just read a given translation of a text and know what G_d wants.

Unless you are a member of a cult to which G_d daily reveals his will, you presumably believe that the text in question was written by someone, some place, at some time, in a different language than the language you are reading it. You presumably also understand that it was transmitted by people copying it over and over and over in various places at various times with various degrees of skill - since parchment or papyrus wear out over time. Each of those factors raises a host of issues that someone who does more than merely "believes" in a very lazy and arrogant way should be intensely interested in - to be certain that he is following what G_d wants rather than chance or error or what Satan wants or some psychological delusion that he has invented for himself.

The world around you really exists and has existed for many thousands of years. There may well be this Great Spirit or Universal Being who cares for each of us individually and seeks to speak to us individually. But it takes a great deal of arrogant ignorance to pick up a particular text, read it, and because you like the way it sounds proclaim it to be "G_d's word". Or are you telling us that you are really a Prophet to whom G_d has spoken about these things?

135jburlinson
Oct 5, 2011, 4:55pm Top

> 131. I am curious why you would doubt these passages but then, presumably, accept the passages regarding his great learning and great deeds?

I don't doubt that any of these passages are pericopae of the various gospels in which they're contained. How closely any of them conform to experiential, let alone verifiable, events in our shared space-time continuum is a different question.

136jburlinson
Edited: Oct 5, 2011, 5:28pm Top

> 134. My only comment is that "I believe" isn't a proper justification for the clearly factual claim that a given text is "G_d's word."

"I believe that the Bible is G_d's word," is a factual claim that is proved by the sincerity of the person making the claim. If the person, in fact, genuinely believes it, then it is a true claim. If the person does not believe it, then's it's a false claim.

I believe fuzzi does, in fact, believe it. Therefore, I take her claim to be true. And, I also believe that in your heart of hearts you too believe her claim to be true.

Whether or not the text itself is, in fact, "G_d's word" is known only to G_d, and is irrelevant to whether or not anyone believes it.

edited to get posting attribution correct

137Arctic-Stranger
Oct 5, 2011, 5:26pm Top

I am still wrapping my head around that last post.

138lawecon
Oct 5, 2011, 10:04pm Top

> 134. My only comment is that "I believe" isn't a proper justification for the clearly factual claim that a given text is "G_d's word."

"I believe that the Bible is G_d's word," is a factual claim that is proved by the sincerity of the person making the claim. If the person, in fact, genuinely believes it, then it is a true claim. If the person does not believe it, then's it's a false claim.

===============================

Well, Fuzzi can correct me if I've misunderstood her, but I understood what she was claiming that the translation of the Bible she uses is in fact G_d's Word, and that she correctly understands what interpretation to give ambiguous passages. That is a claim about what is in the world, not about her psychological state.

Now if she is merely claiming to be telling us about her psychological state, then I have no quarrel with what she says, nor would I have any basis for contending that there is any doubt about what she says. But, frankly, that is a pretty vacuous claim. There are a lot of people who sincerely believe a lot of things which, presumably, you would not want to endorse. Some of those things are even "nice" things, like the existence of numerous benevolent fairies who grant sweet wishes or "it will all turn out right in the end."

139fuzzi
Oct 6, 2011, 7:47am Top

(136) "I believe that the Bible is G_d's word," is a factual claim that is proved by the sincerity of the person making the claim. If the person, in fact, genuinely believes it, then it is a true claim. If the person does not believe it, then's it's a false claim.

That's an excellent point, thank you for clarifying it.

Whether or not someone believes the Bible is God's word doesn't make the claim that I believe it is God's word less than factual. If one of you claim that you don't believe the Bible is God's word, and are sincere about that claim, that too is a factual claim.

Now, whether your claim or mine is truth is another story, but by stating what I believe (or you believe), each of us is making a factual claim.

I understand what you're saying. :)

"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire (supposedly)

140fuzzi
Oct 6, 2011, 7:58am Top

(138) lawecon wrote: Well, Fuzzi can correct me if I've misunderstood her, but I understood what she was claiming that the translation of the Bible she uses is in fact G_d's Word,

Yes.

... and that she correctly understands what interpretation to give ambiguous passages. That is a claim about what is in the world, not about her psychological state.

Not exactly. I have never claimed (or intended to claim) that I understand ambiguous passages...I don't always.

The Bible is a very complicated work, and I seriously doubt that anyone understands all of it, including ambiguous passages.

I understand enough to know that God wants all of us to accept His offer of salvation, through Jesus Christ's sacrifice. It's a fairly simple message, and what I was referring to when I quoted the passage about God revealing truth to babes instead of 'learned' men.

It's not hard to understand, just often is hard to accept.

141lawecon
Oct 6, 2011, 5:00pm Top

~140

138) lawecon wrote: Well, Fuzzi can correct me if I've misunderstood her, but I understood what she was claiming that the translation of the Bible she uses is in fact G_d's Word.,

Fuzzi responded: Yes.

======================

lawecon queries: You do understand that this is not the same type of assertion as:

""I believe that the Bible is G_d's word," is a factual claim that is proved by the sincerity of the person making the claim. If the person, in fact, genuinely believes it, then it is a true claim."
?

The first has to do with what is actually true about a given book. The second has to do with what you believe, and only with what you believe.

142fuzzi
Oct 7, 2011, 12:50pm Top

(141) I'm sorry, let me try explaining it again.

Put the Bible/Bible version/God's word aside for a minute, and look at what was written:

If I say that I BELIEVE that pink fairies live in my garden, then it's a factual claim because I said I believe it. It's my belief.

If I say there are pink fairies living in my garden, then that can be proven as factual or not.

The 'believe' part is the difference.

I believe that God preserved His word as He promised in His word, and that I have an infallible copy of His word, preserved for me in English.

You can't disprove it, and I can't prove it to your satisfaction: it is based upon FAITH.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

You can't disprove 'faith'.

143prosfilaes
Oct 7, 2011, 1:37pm Top

#142: Why do you think we should care? There's few things I find quite as annoying as someone who comes into a discussion to tell us they have an opinion on a subject they're unwilling to support, especially when they're willing to drag out the discussion. If you have an opinion you're unwilling to support, and you absolutely must post on the subject, post once and let it go.

144jburlinson
Oct 7, 2011, 1:55pm Top

> 143. Why do you think we should care?

Because we, or at least some of us, care about the person who is sharing their opinion -- that might be one reason. Maybe we like fuzzi -- from what I know of her, which is only what Ive found out on LT, I do.

There's few things I find quite as annoying as someone who comes into a discussion to tell us they have an opinion on a subject they're unwilling to support, especially when they're willing to drag out the discussion.

It seems to me that you just dragged out the discussion with an opinion. What support do you have for your opinion? I, for one, do not share it. In other words, I don't mind dragging out the discussion with unsupported opinion.

145Arctic-Stranger
Oct 7, 2011, 2:27pm Top

Ninety percent of the stuff on here is unsupported opinion made by people who already know the answers to the questions they ask.

And I do like fuzzi.

146prosfilaes
Oct 7, 2011, 4:35pm Top

#144: It seems to me that you just dragged out the discussion with an opinion.

It was one post, and I don't have any problem trying to support it.

I don't mind dragging out the discussion with unsupported opinion.

Sure, it's fun when you're the one doing it. The question is what about others? When someone comes to your author or politics and the discussion goes:

"Your author/politician sucks."

"Why do you think they suck?"

"Your author/politician sucks."

"Yeah, okay. Does anyone else think The Mountain was a better book than the River?"

"No, really, your author/politician sucks."

is that fun?

147prosfilaes
Oct 7, 2011, 5:24pm Top

http://www.niv-cbt.org/niv-2011-overview/

Going back to the original post, the above link is a fairly detailed list of changes; all presented positively by the translators. I find several interesting.

"And how many readers today would use the word ‟overweening” in a sentence, much less be able to define it? Moab’s ‟overweening pride” in Isaiah 16:6 and Jeremiah 48:29 has therefore now become her ‟great . . . arrogance.”"

Some part of me wants to sneer, but as I said above, I've discovered that the CEV made meaning accessible to me that I didn't get from the NIV, so this is probably a good change.

"We likewise know that those crucified on either side of Jesus (called lēstai) were ‟rebels” rather than ‟robbers” (e.g., Mark 15:27)."

I'm not contesting the accuracy, but that's a big change to a popular Biblical scene.

"Why retain, ‟when Jacob saw Rachel daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother . . . ,” when you can say, ‟when Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban . . .” (Genesis 29:10) — especially when the immediate context goes on to specify which side of Jacob’s family she came from (v. 13)?"

That would be unquestionably good, except for the habit of referencing the Bible by verse. Probably not a big deal here.

"At the same time, recognizing the diversity in modern English, a generic ‟he” was occasionally retained:"

That seems to prioritize literary quality over precision or clarity.

"Certain uses of ‟Christ” are now ‟Messiah.”"

Yes, it's probably more accurate in some cases, but it's all Χριστός, and it seems a little more fair to let the reader figure out what shades this Χριστός has. (Then, once again, this is probably prioritizing that hinders many readers.)

"Some occurrences of ‟Jews,” especially in John, have become ‟Jewish leaders” or something similar. "

I've understood that the use of a plain "Jews" reflects the audience John was writing for. In any case, this seems to interpret rather than translate.

"Translations that leave open important scholarly options have often been chosen."

Interesting; I suspect that some of these will be among the most controversial.

"1984: ‟Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Updated NIV: ‟Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” A footnote on ‟valley” gives the alternative, ‟the valley of the shadow of death.” The HCSB, NLT, NRSV and the New English Translation (NET) all make the same substitution, to clarify what ‟a shadow of death” means, especially for those readers not familiar with this age-old metaphor."

I have to wonder about the equivalence here. I've never even thought of taking "I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" literally, and certainly wouldn't have interpreted "the shadow of death" as being merely literal darkness. It's poetry, evocative poetry, and the 1984 translation is more literal, better poetry, and has more emotional impact.

"In the Hebrew, God’s declaration in the first half of this verse is very elliptical and hard to translate. An interlinear reading might yield, ‟Hating,” ‟divorcing,” ‟and covers,” ‟violence,” ‟upon protection of him”! But how do you put all those concepts together? "

The classic translator's nightmare: this is meaningless, what am I expected to do with it?

148jburlinson
Oct 7, 2011, 7:16pm Top

> 146. is that fun?

I've had worse times.

It is, actually, fairly fun to see fuzzi's and my own contributions to this thread so grossly caricatured in your little dialog. I'm not sure, though, how it supports your opinion.

149fuzzi
Oct 8, 2011, 4:10pm Top

Aw, some of you like me. Now I really feel warm and fuzzi. :D

Note: one of the things I really like about LT is that people can discuss, disagree and not be rude. It's very refreshing, and rare, on the web.

And I like y'all too. :)

150lawecon
Edited: Oct 9, 2011, 10:05am Top

Yes, and we can all relate to each other much better now that we all know where we stand. A few of us stand on evidence and internal consistency of our claim. Most of us stand on "faith" (by which is meant "what we want to believe").

So if a Nazi Christian joins this discussion and really sincerely believes that all Jews are vermin and should be exterminated then that's O.K., because he REALLY believes his position.

If a postmodernist Christian asserts that there is no truth beyond "narratives" and belief, he's right !!

And besides which it is so very convenient that belief trumps everything else. After all, belief is easy, takes no effort at all. You just believe and act. Evidence and logic are hard, you have to think, gather and weigh facts and actually argue for your conclusions. It is much better to be easy, as is illustrated by the fact that most people choose that path.

151jburlinson
Oct 9, 2011, 2:19pm Top

> 150. belief is easy, takes no effort at all. You just believe and act.

That statement is demonstrably false.

Let's take an easy example. "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34, NSB.

How easy is it to believe that? And if you say that you do believe it, how easy is it to act upon it?

It's far easier to say that "evidence and logic" leads me to hedge against inflation, sell short, install a security system at my house, buy an insurance policy, take vitamins, fertilize my lawn, brown-nose the boss and wait until dark to commit burglary.

"Evidence and logic" are easy. It's especially easy to assert the opinion that, " It is much better to be easy, as is illustrated by the fact that most people choose that path." There's considerable evidence for that.

152fuzzi
Oct 9, 2011, 4:33pm Top

How easy is it to believe that God still cares when you face trials, problems, tragedies?

Job is a good example of someone who undergoes so much ill in his life, it should have been easy to curse God or deny His existence. Yet Job does not react in a logical manner, but trusts that God knows what He is doing.

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: ..." (Job 13:15a)

" ...What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." (Job 2:10b)

Job's faith in God is what keeps him from sinning, even during his trials.

Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham took his son, wood, and servants, and traveled three days to a mountain to do as God commanded. Why did he do this? Because Abraham had faith that God would fulfill His promise, that from Isaac would be born many nations, kings, etc. (see Genesis 15:5, 17:16).

"And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you." (Genesis 22:5)

See that? "...and come again to you." Abraham trusted God, believed God, and his faith shows in his actions. He was prepared to sacrifice Isaac, because Abraham trusted that God would keep His promises. How? Probably by raising Isaac from the dead.

Faith is not easy, not by a long shot.

153Arctic-Stranger
Oct 9, 2011, 5:24pm Top

Job is my favorite book of the Bible, and partially because Job does not hesitate to fight for what he knows is right, ie that he is a righteous man, and is getting screwed by God.

And in all this, everything he said and did, in spite of his charges against God, he is not considered a sinner.

154johnthefireman
Nov 17, 2011, 1:55am Top

Clerics and Queen gather to mark 400 years of Bible translation (Guardian)

Westminster Abbey hosts ceremony to celebrate the authorised version of the Bible as presented to King James in 1611

155quicksiva
Nov 17, 2011, 1:11pm Top

>153 Arctic-Stranger:
Job is my favorite book of the Bible, and partially because Job does not hesitate to fight for what he knows is right, ie that he is a righteous man, and is getting screwed by God. And in all this, everything he said and did, in spite of his charges against God, he is not considered a sinner.

=======
I also enjoyed Job, but how did The Book of Job make the cut? He’s not even a Jew. This book left me with the feeling that God is tighter with his son "bene elohim", Satan, than He will ever be with any mere human.

156Arctic-Stranger
Nov 17, 2011, 1:37pm Top

In one commentary on Job it is said that when various books came up for discussion as to canon, each book got vigorous debate, with one exception--Job. John Calvin preached more sermons from Job than from any other book of the Bible.

When I took Hebrew in Germany, we started with the book of Job. It's Hebrew is rather unusual, and I asked why we were starting with Job, and the prof just said, "Think about it. Read it." After two weeks in the class I got it.

Never take a foreign language IN a foreign language!

157quicksiva
Edited: Nov 21, 2011, 6:26pm Top

Side by side, one of these translations sounds a bit biased to me.

The Book of Isaiah
KJV The Authorized King James Version of The Holy Bible
CHAPTER 18 Prophecy the Burden of Egypt

1 WOE to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:

2 That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bull rushes upon the waters, saying . Go, ye swift messenger to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted, out and trodden down, whose the rivers have spoiled!

3 All ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.

4 For so the LORD said unto; I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.
.
5 For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.

6 They shall be left together to the fowls of the mountains) to the beasts of the earth: fowls shall summer upon; and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.

7 In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion.

CHAPTER 19
The burden of Egypt.

1. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

2 And I will set the Egyptians O8t the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

3 And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: they shall seek to the idols, the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.

4 And the Egyptians will I give to the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of Hosts.

5 And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be and dried up.

6 And they shall turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither.

7 The paper reeds by the brooks, the mouth of the brooks, and every- thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more.

8 The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast the angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish.

9 Moreover they that work in the flax, and they that weave networks, shall be confounded.

l0 And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that lake sluices and ponds for fish.

11 Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

12 Where are they? where are thy wise men? and let them tell thee now, and •let them know that the LORD of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt.

13 The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt; even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof.

14 The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.

15 Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do.

16 In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it.

17 And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it.

18 In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Ca-na-an, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction.

19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.

20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD be¬cause of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.

21 And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it.

22 And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be entreated: them, and shall heal them.

23 In that day shall there highway out of Egypt to Assyria and the Assyrian shall come to Egypt, and the Egyptian into Syria, and the Egyptians serve with the Assyrians.

24 In that day shall Israel be third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the mid the land:

25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. '

====

The Jerusalem Bible

Isaiah 18-19

Oracle against Cush

Country of whirring wings beyond the rivers of Cush, who send ambassadors by sea,
in papyrus skiffs over the waters.

Go, swift messengers
to a people tall and bronzed, to a nation always feared,
a people mighty and masterful,
in the country criss-crossed with rivers.

All you who inhabit the world,
you who people the earth,
the signal is being hoisted on the mountains, look! The horn is being sounded, listen!

For thus Yahweh speaks to me:
From where I am I gaze, untroubled, like the clear heat produced by light, like a dewy mist in the heat of harvest.

For, before the vintage, once the flowering is over and blossom turns into ripening grape,
the tendrils are cut back with a pruning knife, the shoots taken off, cut away.
They will all be abandoned together
to the birds of prey in the mountains
and to the beasts of the earth.
The birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth winter on them.

At that time, offerings will be brought to Yahweh Sabaoth on behalf of the tall and bronzed nation, on behalf of the nation always feared, on behalf of the mighty and masterful people in the country criss-crossed with rivers, to the place where the name of Yahweh Sabaoth dwells, on Mount Zion.

19 Oracle against Egypt:

See! Yahweh, riding a swift cloud, comes to Egypt.
The idols of Egypt tremble before him,
and the hearts of the Egyptians sink within them.

I will stir up the Egyptians against each other
and they shall fight every man against his brother, friend against friend, city against city,
kingdom against kingdom.

Egypt is going to be demoralised, for I shall confound all their wits. They will consult idols and wizards, necromancers and sorcerers.
I mean to hand the Egyptians over to a hard master;
a cruel king will rule them.

It is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.
The waters will ebb from the Nile, the river bed be parched and dry, the canals grow foul,
the Niles of Egypt sink and dry up.
Rush and reed will droop,
the plants on the banks of the Nile;
all the Nile vegetation will dry up,
blow away, and be seen no more.

The fishermen will groan,
all who cast hook in the Nile will mourn;
those who throw nets on the waters
will lament.

The flax workers will be baffled,
the carders too, and weavers of white cloth.
The weavers will be dismayed
and all the workmen dejected.

The princes of Zoan are utter fools,
and Pharaoh's wisest counsellors are stupid:
how can you say to Pharaoh,
'I am a disciple of the sages.
a disciple of bygone kings'?

Where are these sages of yours?
Let them come forward now,
let them explain to you
what Yahweh Sabaoth has decided to do with Egypt.

The princes of Zoan are fools,
the princes of Noph, self-deceivers;
Egypt is led astray
by the governors of her provinces.

On them Yahweh has poured out a spirit of giddiness.
They have Egypt slithering in all she undertakes
as a drunkard slithers in his vomit.
And Egypt will never succeed in anything undertaken
by head or by tail, by palm or reed.

The Conversion of Egypt and Assyria

That day, the Egyptians will become like women, fearful, terrified, when they see the uplifted hand that Yahweh Sabaoth will raise/against them. •The land of Judah will become the terror of Egypt. Whenever Egypt is reminded of this, she will be terrified, because of the fate Yahweh Sabaoth has prepared for her. That day, in the land of' Egypt there will be five towns speaking the language of Canaan and swearing oaths in the name of Yahweh Sabaoth; Ir Haheres will be one of them. That day, there will be an altar to Yahweh in the centre of the land of Egypt and, close to the frontier, a pillar to Yahweh, which will be both sign and witness of Yahweh Sabaoth in the land of Egypt. When in oppression the Egyptians cry to Yahweh he will send them a saviour to protect and deliver them. Yahweh will reveal himself to them, and that day the Egyptians will acknowledge Yahweh and worship him with sacrifices and offerings. They will make vows to Yahweh and perform them. Then, though Yahweh has struck the Egyptians harshly, he will heal them. They will turn to Yahweh who will listen to them and heal them. That day, there will be a road from Egypt to Assyria. Assyria will have access to Egypt and Egypt have access to Assyria. Egypt will serve Assyria.
That day, Israel, making the third with Egypt and Assyria, will be blessed in the centre of the world. Yahweh Sabaoth will give his blessing in the words, 'Blessed be my people Egypt, Assyria my creation, and Israel my heritage',

158johnthefireman
Nov 22, 2011, 12:44am Top

>157 quicksiva: As an aside, many South Sudanese believe that these verses refer to them (Country of whirring wings beyond the rivers of Cush, who send ambassadors by sea, in papyrus skiffs over the waters. Go, swift messengers to a people tall and bronzed, to a nation always feared, a people mighty and masterful, in the country criss-crossed with rivers.) It has spawned many prayers and hymns about "Sudan, land of the bible".

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