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Featured A Modest Proposal

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by Skwim, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    And no, this is not about Jonathan Swift's proposal to rid Ireland of its impoverished children by eating them.


    In almost all publications authors carefully choose the best words they can to represent the idea they wish to get across; and readers, well aware of this, rightfully trust those words and the ideas they express. Responsible authors also take care to present accurate, up-to-date information, but not the author of the Bible. For whatever reason god, in his infinite wisdom, passed down his message to the world in a book

    That contradicts itself: Which were created first, Adam and Eve or the animals? (Genesis 1 and 2)

    Whose various translations are unable to settle on common terms: Does the Hebrew "ra" in Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things," mean evil, disaster, woe, calamity, adversity, or hard times (all alternatives appearing in various translations).

    Whose events contradict science:
    Despite the Biblical claim, rabbits/hares do not chew cud. (Deuteronomy 14:7)

    With inaccuracies: Joseph tells Pharaoh he comes from the "land of the Hebrews" (Gen 40:15). But there was no such land until after the conquest under Joshua.

    Of course, as some will eagerly contend, these problems aren't god's fault but those of fallible humans who mistranslated his word somewhere along the way. Okay, but that doesn't change the fact that god hasn't made any attempt to correct them, leaving them to continue to mislead and confuse the faithful reader.

    A common answer to these difficulties is that one must understand the original intent of the authors and understand what they said in the context of the event and the times. Fine, I say. Then how about a Bible that does just that. Recast all these problematic words and passages in a way that leaves no doubt. Create a Bible that can actually be taken literally---unlikely events like the noachian flood aside perhaps---instead of one that creates misunderstanding or leaves one in doubt.

    If Jonah wasn't ". . .in the belly of the fish three days and three nights," but rather a whale, then don't use "fish.

    If Psalms 92:12: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree." is wrong and Isaiah 57:1: "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart." is right, then either get rid of Psalms 92:12 or change it.

    And how about eliminating the claim that bats are fowls in Leviticus 11:19

    So why isn't there a Bible that says what it means? Why all this *****-footing around with translations that may be etymologically accurate, but fail to convey the real meaning? If "evil," as we understand the term, ain't what was meant in Isaiah 45:7 then don't use it. Use the correct, modern-day word that does!! And stop misleading people by telling them that rabbits chew cud, or even produce it.

    It can't be all that hard, can it? Or is it that it simply not worth the effort to clean up the Bible?

    .
     
    #1 Skwim, Apr 27, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
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  2. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    One is in order, one has to do with marriage in which order was not necessary.

    .
    Interpretation.

    As the NT amplified, "Where there is no law, there is no transgression (or evil). By forming good, the byproduct is that He has formed evil in that now there is a law that delineates evil

    .
    Understanding --

    7 Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.

    ""Rabbits are sometimes called "pseudo-ruminants"... The rhythmic cycle of coprophagy of pure cecal contents practiced by all rabbits allows utilization of microbial protein and fermentation products, as well as recycling of certain minerals. Whereas the feces commonly seen excreted by rabbits are fairly large, dry and ovoid, excreted singly, and consist of fibrous plant material, cecotrophs are about half that size, occur in moist bundles stuck together with mucus, and are very fine textured and odiferous. They are seldom seen, as the rabbit plucks them directly from the anus as they are passed and swallows them whole.""

    .
    Not really. God had said the land belonged to the Hebrews. By covenant, what God said was their title deed. Interestingly enough, they are back to the "land of the Hebrews" as the Title Deed proclaimed.

    We could go on... but what for?
     
  3. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    That may seem the answer for this particular generation, however, it may very well wind up being like the telephone game for future generations, the original message lost. Better to learn how to understand this one, its author's intent and its application for today.
     
  4. Trackdayguy

    Trackdayguy Speed doesn't kill, it's hitting the wall

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    I'm not sure it matters if it contradicts itself, because contradiction is only problematic if your seeking to uncover facts. The Bible is a story book that is about spiritual truth NOT historical facts. That's the problem with literalism and the Greek mind its always looking for facts.
     
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  5. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    As someone who has read poetry which clearly expresses the ideas of the translator not the original poet, I don't "rightfully trust those words and the ideas they express". Often the translator does not fully understand the nuances in the choice of words or substitutes his or her own ideas for the original ideal.

    One obvious simple example of the probelm is "formal" versus informal "you" in some languages (or for that matter various forms of "snow" in some languages):
    https://culturesconnection.com/6-translation-problems/

    Then there are words which can't be translated. Here's some fun ones with one example: Natsukashii - "Of the small things that take you back to a happy time; not a nostalgic feeling to return to the past but an appreciation of good times"
    29 Beautiful Words That Cannot Be Translated To English But Capture Human Emotions Perfectly

    Here's another good example http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/5699/8/08_chapter 2.pdf

    Breaking that down: I agree that the original intent is key. One problem is cultural and historical.

    If I had an experience in say, 10AD, that I tried to communicate to others, I'd use the existing intellectual understanding and cultural assumptions to frame what I said and wrote.

    This is clearly evident in Shakespeare's work where there are things missed today that were obvious to his audience back then Shakespeare's lost puns and rude jokes revealed in new guide to Elizabethan pronunciation

    And it's much more the case as we go back in history. Let's say that the John of Revelation had a vision of World War II including dropping H-bombs and all the horrors of the time. How could someone like him describe his vision to peasants who could not begin to understand 20th century technology. He couldn't use literal language even if he himself knew common 20th century words and the technology underlying it.

    But I 100% disagree with the call to literalism. It removes any beauty from language and turns poetry into a boring set of statements "you're eyes are like diamonds" turns into "when I look in your eyes, my endocrine system generates hormones which cause feelings of pleasure...".

    But I do agree that people should separate what is clearly poetic/symbolic and what might be close to historical ("crossing the reed sea") and what are teaching statements.
     
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  6. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    And why do you think the term "pseudo" is appended to "ruminant," a word designating an ungulate mammal that chews the cud regurgitated from its rumen? because it indicates it's false.

    pseudo
    [soo-doh]

    adjective
    1.not actually but having the appearance of; pretended; false or spurious; sham.​

    Lacking a rumen, It aint really a ruminant that produces cud. No rumen, no cud. No cud, no chewing cud. Simple as ABC.
     
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  7. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    And there's nothing wrong in following the change in the meaning of words as time goes by and substituting a better word in the next edition.

    .
     
  8. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    This sounds equivalent to somebody arguing to change the words of Shakespeare's plays, to make them more clear and easy to follow for a modern audience. I mean, take this:

    Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master of the "Tiger".

    But Aleppo isn't even on the sea!! Shakespeare was WRONG! Scandalous, it should be changed!

    How absurd. The bible is not an instruction manual or a science textbook, it is a work of literature, formed over many centuries, and should obviously be read in that light.
     
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  9. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    So, you put form over function.

    But as we know not every one is capable of making such separations, or maybe wants to, and takes poetic/symbolic imagery literally. So whats the solution? Print poetic/symbolic prose in red perhaps?

    .
     
  10. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    The solution is obvious and has been in practice for centuries. Have the preacher in the Sunday service interpret the bible readings for the day, for his flock.

    He or she can try to tease out the nuances and multiple ways of reading certain parts, bring the symbolism and cultural references to life and in general do what any literary critic does for a work of literature.
     
  11. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Whoa, I believe there are millions of Christians who would disagree. While certainly not a science textbook, and obviously more than just literature, as you seem to suggest, in a very real way it is an "instruction manual." Ever notice how often the Bible is referenced as a basis/guideline for behavior, both personal and public? Perhaps not.

    .
     
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  12. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Sometimes. If I'm describing something from a scientific perspective, accuracy in choice of words is incredibly vital.

    I also believe there are things which cannot be described in words before the experience. If someone has not ever had a headache, words don't really describe the feeling of a bad headache. Once someone has had a headache, in my example, then the words have real meaning.

    That's the sad thing. Of course there are some who can't separate literal from symbolic. And even more, actively fight against anyone who disagrees with their world view because they fear that any admission would cause their entire view to collapse. And that in some cases really does happen.

    So even if there was a Bible that clearly had that separation, some would call that Bible a work of the devil.
     
  13. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    I see that you're a Catholic, ostensibly anyway, Christians who are taught to defer to the church for any and all determinations of what each book teaches. For the rest of Christianity, however, this isn't the modus operandi.

    .
     
  14. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Haha now I think you are being a bit disingenuous. ;) Nobody would dispute that instructions can be found in the bible, e.g. 10 commandments, or Christ's update to them in the NT. But it is not an instruction manual. What do you think the Psalms are? Instructions for what? What do you think the story of the Passion is? Instruction for what?
     
  15. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Well Catholics are not as deferential as their public stereotype might suggest. But seriously, if you are an Anglican (like my mother) or a Methodist (like my grandfather), or belong to the Church of Scotland (which he frequently preached in) you will, just like Catholics, be exposed to guidance on how you might view a lot of passages in the bible, based on a tradition of theology and scholarship. I've no doubt the same is true for the Copts and the Orthodox.

    If you look up "exegesis", you will find there is huge volume of material, developed over centuries and from a variety of theological viewpoints, that addresses your apparent concerns about how to interpret it.
     
    #15 exchemist, Apr 27, 2018
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  16. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Are you being deliberately obtuse? Do you not know what rabbits do? They eat their own sh1t (technically cecotropes), so that it passes twice through their digestive tract enabling them to extract more nourishment. Rather similar in effect to what ruminants do in chewing the cud. More here: Cecotrope - Wikipedia

    So no, it is not simple as ABC.
     
  17. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    And not quite the same as a regular feces.
     
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  18. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Sorry, but your "similar" misses by a mile. Like the similarity between a bumble bee and an elephant.

    Obviously you think ceotropes is the same as cud. Perhaps a zoology 101 course would help. . . . but then again, perhaps not. In any case, take a look at the difference between the two adapted from a children's book on how animals eat.


    [​IMG]

    See any difference? Children do. Cud doesn't go through the poopy hole. Nor is it a kind of poopy.

    .
     
    #18 Skwim, Apr 27, 2018
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  19. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    It seems for every translated word in Greek you get like 20 different meanings by 20 different preachers for the same word.
     
  20. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    To some degree that's the nature of any translation, surely? Words do not generally have exact one-to-one correspondence in meaning between different languages.

    But yes, biblical exegesis has been a huge industry down the centuries and used to justify a wide variety of theological and doctrinal differences. However the main elements of Christianity (and, I presume, Judaism) remain fairly clear.
     
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