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Author Topic:   Which Version of the Bible is the Word of God?
anglagard
Member
Posts: 2171
From: Big Spring, TX, USA
Joined: 03-18-2006
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 1 of 174 (493653)
01-10-2009 6:03 AM


I think debates here concerning what this or that Bible says are hampered by posters not citing exactly which version of the Bible they are using as a reference. Often I feel that such posters may be talking past each other by using different translations. I have seen various sources indicating there are thousands of versions of the Bible and even on the internet there are search engines such as BibleGateway that claim to search 100 versions simultaneously.

So I have some questions:

Some people here believe this or that Bible is a literal translation of the word of god. Please identify which version of the Bible is the literal word of god including the language in which it was written.

Some people apparently believe that all the versions generally state the same concepts and therefore are equivalent regardless of version or language. How does this belief square with the idea that every dot and crossed T is to be taken literally letter by letter. What about the difference just between the Catholic and many Protestant versions in number of books included or excluded?

A few people seem to believe that the best version of the Bible, such as the Tanakh when referring to the OT, is that which has undergone the least translations is subject to the least error. Does anyone agree or disagree with this assessment?

Also, there are various denominations that evidently consider the Bible either incomplete or improperly translated. Such would to me seem to include Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, etc. I am curious as to what justification one uses in declaring all previous versions of the Bible either incomplete or obsolete while simultaneously considering it whole, complete, and infallible.

I just think it creates problems when Biblical literalists refuse to identify exactly which version of the Bible they are using, including any supplemental 'prophets' they include, when arguing for the veracity of biblical history, sanctions, guidelines, laws, and prophecy.

So I ask those who claim Biblical inerrancy to identify which version is inerrant so that us unwashed masses can be 'saved.'

Remember refusal to do so puts your position concerning your own religion and proclamations in this forum in an unfavorable light.

I realize there have been threads discussing this very concept in the past and if one is still open please fold this proposal into the appropriate venue. If not then please place this PNT under The Bible: Accuracy and Inerrancy.

Edited by anglagard, : fix grammar problem


Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider - Francis Bacon

The more we understand particular things, the more we understand God - Spinoza


Replies to this message:
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Message 2 of 174 (493689)
01-10-2009 8:56 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 174 (493695)
01-10-2009 9:21 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by anglagard
01-10-2009 6:03 AM


anglagard writes:

So I ask those who claim Biblical inerrancy to identify which version is inerrant so that us unwashed masses can be 'saved.'

Remember refusal to do so puts your position concerning your own religion and proclamations in this forum in an unfavorable light.

There are two primary texts from which the major versions of the Bible are translated, what is referred as the Received Text from which the KJ version is translated and the Alexandrian or Nestlie's Text from which the 1901 American Standard Version was translated.

The Alexandrian/Nestlies text includes some of the older manuscripts from which it was derived. For this reason and for others being that imo, it clarifies some problematic aspects of the Received/KJ version, I go with it and the ASV/American Standard Version.

There are over 6000 references to the proper name of God which is Jehovah (modern English rendering of YHWH/Yahweh, (Hebrew). The 1901 ASV is one of the few modern translations that correctly includes that in the translation though both the Received and the Alexandrian manuscripts have those 6000 plus texts naming Jehovah as the proper name of God. The others, including the KJ falsely and erroneously change it to Adonai/Lord because some latter BC superstitious Jews had the silly notion that the name of God was not to be written or spoken by man. Well the reason that's silly is because if God didn't want it spoken he wouldn't have had it included in the scroll manuscripts by the ancient scribes.

I've got to leave now for church. That's a kicker off for the thread. Great topic, Anglagard. I share your concern regarding this issue. Most Biblical fundies err in that they give reason for intelligent non-believers to question their scriptures.

Edited by Buzsaw, : No reason given.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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anglagard
Member
Posts: 2171
From: Big Spring, TX, USA
Joined: 03-18-2006
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 4 of 174 (495701)
01-24-2009 1:01 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Buzsaw
01-10-2009 9:21 AM


Thanks for responding Buz, it appears you are the only participant in this forum who insists that the Bible is the actual word of God that is willing to identify which version of the Bible is the 'word of God.'

Please pardon me for not replying sooner but I am currently researching this topic in regard to your reply in order to provide an appropriately comprehensive critique.

It may take a bit of time as IMO I am finding the development of the KJV and ASV are rather interesting subjects in their own right.


Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider - Francis Bacon

The more we understand particular things, the more we understand God - Spinoza


This message is a reply to:
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Nighttrain
Member (Idle past 1587 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 5 of 174 (495723)
01-24-2009 3:41 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by anglagard
01-24-2009 1:01 AM


The Long Way Back
Hi, Angla, I`ve been tempted to track the provenance of 'the Bible' here on EVC many times, but the abysmal lack of knowledge on the part of believers has always stopped me. Would you care to enlarge the topic to include a hunt down the corridors of Christianity to see where it ends? Or should we cut to the chase and see how Eusebius forged his masterpiece? :-)
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Peg
Member (Idle past 2522 days)
Posts: 2703
From: melbourne, australia
Joined: 11-22-2008


Message 6 of 174 (495748)
01-24-2009 6:30 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by anglagard
01-10-2009 6:03 AM


its important to know that there are two types of translation. A Paraphrased translation, and a Literal translation.
All bibles will have a 'Forward/Preface' note at the front of the book indicating the type of translation it is.

I would always prefer a literal translation over a paraphrased because its sticks closely to the original language that its being translated from.

In the Preface to the paraphrased Living Bible, the following statement is made: “Whenever the author’s exact words are not translated from the original languages, there is a possibility that the translator, however honest, may be giving the English reader something that the original writer did not mean to say. . . . For when the Greek or Hebrew is not clear, then the theology of the translator is his guide.”

As an example, During the Church of England’s Synod in July 1978, an altercation developed between some bishops about the value of the popular Good News Bible. One claimed that the translation was too full of paraphrases and particularly in its rendering of the Greek word sarx at Galatians 5:19. Sarx means “flesh.” But rather then translating "erga tis sarkos" as “works of the flesh,” the Good News Bible paraphrases the three Greek words, attributing the vices listed in Galatians 5:19-21 simply to “human nature.”

the problem here is that it implies that sinful activities are merely human nature as opposed to something we must strive to avoid.

On the other hand a literal translation such as the King James for insance, keeps this verse in line with its original greek word..."the works of the flesh are manifest..."


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NosyNed
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Posts: 8800
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 7 of 174 (495798)
01-24-2009 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Peg
01-24-2009 6:30 AM


What is a "literal translation"?
I would always prefer a literal translation over a paraphrased because its sticks closely to the original language that its being translated from.

Can you explain in much more detail what you mean by a "literal translation"?

I can tell you that using the common usage of the words "literal translation" among at least some (and I think most) translators they will tell you that a "literal translation" is impossible and only produces unreadable and partially incomprehensible output.


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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 694 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 8 of 174 (495814)
01-24-2009 11:58 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by NosyNed
01-24-2009 10:24 AM


Re: What is a "literal translation"?
NosyNed writes:

Can you explain in much more detail what you mean by a "literal translation"?

I can tell you that using the common usage of the words "literal translation" among at least some (and I think most) translators they will tell you that a "literal translation" is impossible and only produces unreadable and partially incomprehensible output.

I agree that it is near impossible to attain a literal interpretation of the Bible. This is due to the differences in syntax and grammar between different languages especially languages separated by both time and by distance. In addition there is always a loss or corruption of meaning when translating between languages. The further languages are away from each other linguistically both temporally (by time), spatially and culturally the higher the rate of corruption in meaning is going to occur when translating from one language to another.

Here is an example (from this online Hebrew interlinear Bible. In this example I will put the original Hebrew on the top, the phonetic translation of Hebrew letters into English letters, and its direct word for word translation into English-equivalent words (spaced for readability purposes only). Genesis 1:1-2 states in Hebrew (I transposed the Hebrew words in the left to right order versus its normal right to left order to help in translation [it is closer linguistically to Chinese than it is to English]) :

. הָאָרֶץ וְאֵת , הַשָּׁמַיִם אֵת , אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא , בְּרֵאשִׁית

b•rashith bra aleim ath e•shmim u•ath e•artz

in-beginning he-created Elohim the-heavens and the earth

; תְהוֹם עַל-פְּנֵי , וְחֹשֶׁך , וָבֹהו תֹהו הָיְתָה , וְהָאָרֶץ

u•e•artz eithe theu u•beu u•chshk ol -phni theum

and•the•earth she-became chaos and•vacancy and•darkness over surfaces-of abyss

ו. הַמָּיִם עַל- פְּנֵי מְרַחֶפֶת , אֱלֹהִים וְרוּחַ

u•ruch aleim mrchphth ol -phni e•mim

and•spirit-of Elohim vibrating over surfaces-of the•waters

Repeated in literal order Genesis 1:1-2:

Literal translation of Genesis 1:1-2 writes:

In beginning, he created Elohim the heavens and the earth.
and the Earth, she became chaos and vacancy, and darkness over the surface of abyss;
and spirit of Elohim vibrating over surfaces of the waters.

Compare this to the following "literal translation":

King James Version writes:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

New American Standard Bible writes:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters

There is evidedently some loss of meaning here, would you not agree?

BTW, anyone else see the similarity between aleim (elohim) and alah?? Anyone, anyone!?! They both come from the same Semitic root words "al" meaning "the" and " ilah" meaning "God", the root "im" in aleim (elohim) denotes plurality when this "im" ending is dropped the two names of God are pretty much synonymous.

The New Encyclopaiedia Britannica, Micropaedia, Vol. III, 15th Edition, p. 863 writes:

Elohim, the plural of the Hebrew word eloha, "god," a lengthened form of the Canaanite word el (Aramaic alaha; Arabic ilah), is most frequently used for the God of Israel in the Old Testament. … The Israelites probably borrowed the Canaanite plural noun elohim and made it singular in meaning in their cultic practices and theological reflections


For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan
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Nighttrain
Member (Idle past 1587 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 9 of 174 (495890)
01-24-2009 9:09 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Buzsaw
01-10-2009 9:21 AM


RCs
There are two primary texts from which the major versions of the Bible are translated, what is referred as the Received Text from which the KJ version is translated and the Alexandrian or Nestlie's Text from which the 1901 American Standard Version was translated.

The Alexandrian/Nestlies text includes some of the older manuscripts from which it was derived. For this reason and for others being that imo, it clarifies some problematic aspects of the Received/KJ version, I go with it and the ASV/American Standard Version.

Hey, Buz, you mean a billion Catholics are reading the wrong Bible?


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Peg
Member (Idle past 2522 days)
Posts: 2703
From: melbourne, australia
Joined: 11-22-2008


Message 10 of 174 (495920)
01-25-2009 4:54 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by NosyNed
01-24-2009 10:24 AM


Re: What is a "literal translation"?
NosyNed writes:

Can you explain in much more detail what you mean by a "literal translation"?

I can tell you that using the common usage of the words "literal translation" among at least some (and I think most) translators they will tell you that a "literal translation" is impossible and only produces unreadable and partially incomprehensible output.

Interlinear translations are literal translations prepared directly from the original language manuscripts and often have both

i probably should have said 'interlinear' rather then literal to save confusion....they are the same thing.

A good example is the 1857 Benjamin Wilson translation called 'The Emphatic Diaglott'
It has a left-hand column with the Greek text, and under each Greek word is presented its English equivalent. In the right-hand column is the modern English translation as made by Benjamin Wilson.

So a literal translation like this will allow the reader to see the greek word and what that word originally meant. There is less room for error.


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Replies to this message:
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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8800
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 11 of 174 (495951)
01-25-2009 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Peg
01-25-2009 4:54 AM


Re: What is a "literal translation"?
So there is a word for word literal translation on the left and a very non literal translation on the right?

There is still a huge amount of room for error otherwise machines could translate which, to my knowledge, they are still very poor at.

A translator will tell you that a translated novel is not the original work and will vary with the translator.


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Grizz
Member (Idle past 3064 days)
Posts: 318
Joined: 06-08-2007


Message 12 of 174 (495960)
01-25-2009 11:47 AM


The problems with translation, intent, and and meaning are often compounded by the fact that the original words and ideas attributed to a figure of antiquity have undergone many iterations in various languages and cultures.

Example:

Jesus spoke words in Aramaic. The ideas and words contained in any of the alleged quotes were passed along verbally for a generation before being set down in print. The translators then had to do their best to take these words and ideas in Aramaic and translate them to first-century Koine Greek.

Centuries later, translators had to do their best to take these words in first-century koine Greek and translate them to Latin, English, German, etc etc...

Holy Hermeneutics Batman !

All along, one must assume the original verbal tradition correctly preserved and passed along the words, intent, and meaning in Aramaic and there was no distortion or editing.

One must then assume that the original translators interjected no distortions or edits. Since many words in Aramaic had no direct translation to Koine Greek, one must resort to generalities, many of which which may be misinterpreted later when translated to English or Latin.


    
BobAliceEve
Member (Idle past 2988 days)
Posts: 107
From: Seattle, WA, USA
Joined: 02-03-2004


Message 13 of 174 (495962)
01-25-2009 12:02 PM


Why worry about versions when one can...
...go to the Source? We are instructed to pray for wisdom (James 1:5 and others). If Wisdom comes to us from the Source then we need not worry.

An "outsider" will complain that this is not helpful because s/he can not tell who is telling the truth. However, it does not matter because this is a personal journey. The person who knows the Truth also knows how he Knows. The person who does not know knows he does not.

I never simply believe what a "preacher" says. I ponder what s/he says and pray about it. When I get an answer then I know the Truth.


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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 694 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 14 of 174 (495970)
01-25-2009 1:53 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by BobAliceEve
01-25-2009 12:02 PM


Re: Why worry about versions when one can...
...go to the Source? We are instructed to pray for wisdom (James 1:5 and others). If Wisdom comes to us from the Source then we need not worry.

An "outsider" will complain that this is not helpful because s/he can not tell who is telling the truth. However, it does not matter because this is a personal journey. The person who knows the Truth also knows how he Knows. The person who does not know knows he does not.

I never simply believe what a "preacher" says. I ponder what s/he says and pray about it. When I get an answer then I know the Truth.

And just about every religious fundamentalist claims they have the truth from this "source" and everyone else is wrong. One of the many reasons we have thousands of different denominations and sects of just one religion, Christianity.

Again how do YOU know you are right and all these other people studying the same Bible and praying to the same source of inspiration are wrong?


For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan
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BobAliceEve
Member (Idle past 2988 days)
Posts: 107
From: Seattle, WA, USA
Joined: 02-03-2004


Message 15 of 174 (495971)
01-25-2009 2:10 PM


I am not saying I am right
It does not matter which person says they are right. Of course we all say we are right - who would be dumb enough to defend a position we new was false, unless we had an agenda? In fact, an outsider can not tell one from another (wolf in sheep's clothing or the real sheep so to speak).

It is, however, completely logical to report that the Creator can and does tell the Truth to those who are interested. No one can argue with the statement that an answer from the Expert is the best answer. The good news is that you do not have to believe me or anyone else. You can know for yourself.


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