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Christian: Problems With Modern Bible Translations

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by Linus7, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    It is, and there won't be any more discussion of the JWs as a group on this thread unless it is directly relevant to the NWT, just translations.

    EDIT:

    To clarify things a bit, a criticism of the Watchtower would only be permissable if it directly affected the discussion of translations. Local experiences, no matter how good or bad, are off-topic and quite outside the bouds of the thread.
     
  2. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    For my personal tastes, I find the NRSV too PC.

    The NIV takes too many liberties for my taste. One of the worst is the translation of sarx as "sinful nature." How can a nature be sinful? That translation of sarx misses many important connectsions with other passages and adds an anti-material spin that isn't present in the original.

    The NKJV I like, but it's got some textual problems (such as the inclusion of the Johannine Comma), and doesn't include the Deuterocanonicals.

    I don't like the NWT at all. The insertion of the term "Jehovah" into the NT is unfounded, and there are those red-letter verses that are mistranslated. It strikes me as deliberately mistranslated in places (such as the insertion of "other" in Col. 1.16) :(.

    That's some problems with the modern translations that I do see :). Of course, older English translations have some problems as well (better texts are available, better understanding of Greek, etc.).
     
  3. Linus7

    Linus7 Member

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    Please elaborate on that "Johannine comma." I've never heard of that.

    I like the NKJV, too, but, like you, I wish it included the Deuterocanonical Books.

    I used to have a little pamphlet that extolled the virtues of the Douay Rheims over other translations. It was pretty convincing. I loaned it to a Byzantine Catholic buddy of mine, and he still has it. Anyway, the gist of it was that St. Jerome had access to manuscripts that are no longer available so that his Latin Vulgate Bible (upon which the Douay Rheims is based) is extremely reliable.

    That is a good argument for the Septuagint, as well, IMHO. The Jewish translators of the LXX had access to manuscripts that later scholars - notably, the Masoretes - did not have.

    Have you seen The Millenium Bible? I heard it is a slightly updated KJV with the Deuterocanonicals. I saw one in the bookstore at Holy Virgin Cathedral (where the body of St. John Maximovitch rests) in San Francisco. I think I might buy a copy when I get the chance.
     
  4. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    Look up I John 5.7 in your KJV. That verse, while nice, is almost certainly an addition, probably from marginal notes. It doesn't appear in the vast majority of manuscripts and appears in only a few late manuscripts (13th century, I believe). It is not a part of the Byzantine text-type (as much as I dislike the B-word, it's the only common term for the textline), nor is it a part of the early textual witnesses we have.

    There are real problems with that argument for the Douy-Rheims. First, we have Greek manuscripts as old as the Vulgate, and even older. That, in many ways, mitigates the advantages for the DR :). It also is subject to copying, but where it agrees with an ancient witness, it can be potent.

    The same problems apply to the LXX, and the LXX has been vindicated a good deal by the DSS :).

    I almost mentioned it. I like it, because I like the KJV, and I like updates. I like the KJV, simply because as a Protestant, that was the "traditional" Bible and I tend to be attracted to old stuff :p. I like it, often, in spite of its errors (even those that it started a tradition on), so I liked the TMB lol.
     
  5. Linus7

    Linus7 Member

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    Ah, yes, I had heard of that info regarding 1 John 5:7. I just never heard of it referred to as the Johannine Comma.

    I don't get into the "higher criticism" of the Bible, in part because I don't know enough about the biblical languages and the manuscripts.

    I know the official OT of the Orthodox Church is the LXX.

    What is the official NT of the Church (I realize it, too, will be in Greek), and does it include 1 John 5:7?

    If so, the authority of the Church is good enough reason for me to accept it.
     
  6. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    I can understand that. The Johannine Comma is the "technical" name for I Jn. 5.7 :). Sorry about that. I've read scholarship, and it has its pros and cons like everything, but it can be very enlightening. There's scholarship on a lower level for people like you and I, then there's scholarship that quotes in six languages for a book. Now that's over my head :p.

    As for what the Bible of the Church is...I don't think it's that cut and dried. Almost all our Greek manuscripts of the NT come from the Church, and the bulk of them don't include it. I don't think there is an official text-type of the NT in the Orthodox Church. Until there is, that leaves us afield to look at the versions, though if there is one, I suspect it would be the Byzantine text-type.

    On the OT, I enjoy my OT (I have Rhalf's LXX...which suits all my needs, has a very beuatiful type-facing, and includes variants enough to satisfy me).
     
  7. may

    may Well-Known Member

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    In recent years a number of modern Bible translations have been published that have done much to help lovers of God’s Word to get to the sense of the original writings quickly. However, many translations have eliminated the use of the divine name from the sacred record. On the other hand, the New World Translation dignifies and honors the worthy name of the Most High God by restoring it to its rightful place in the text. The name now appears in 6,973 places in the Hebrew Scripture section, as well as in 237 places in the Greek Scripture section, a total of 7,210 places all together. The form Yahweh is generally preferred by Hebrew scholars, but certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable. Therefore, the Latinized form Jehovah continues to be used because it has been in use for centuries and is the most commonly accepted English rendering of the Tetragrammaton, or four-letter Hebrew name יהוה. Hebrew scholar R. H. Pfeiffer observed: "Whatever may be said of its dubious pedigree, ‘Jehovah’ is and should remain the proper English rendering of Yahweh.-----Introdution to the old testament, Robert H..Pfeiffer 1952 page 94

    The New World Translation is not the first version to restore the divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures. From at least the 14th century onward, many translators have felt forced to restore God’s name to the text, particularly in places where the Christian Greek Scripture writers quote from Hebrew Scripture texts that contain the divine name. Many modern-language missionary versions, including African, Asian, American, and Pacific-island versions of the Greek Scriptures, use the name Jehovah liberally, as do some European-language versions. Wherever the divine name is rendered, there is no longer any doubt as to which "lord" is indicated. It is the Lord of heaven and earth, Jehovah, whose name is sanctified

     
  8. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    But May...the Tetragrammaton hasn't been left out of the translations. Saying that is something of a scarecrow. They denote it with "LORD," but use "Lord" in the generic sense for other words. Putting it like that has always been done out of dignity for the term. That's rather insulting to the translators, and the long-time Jewish practice, to indicate that they omit the name, when they use "LORD," "G-d," or "HaShem" to indicate it on the grounds that they do revere it.

    Such an assertion is insulting to anyone who holds to that practice.
     
  9. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    This is turning into a debate. I have moved it to Same Faith Debates on account of that
     
  10. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

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    When news started to leak about the new Swedish confessionally neutral, government sponsored translation (the third since 1541), finally published as "Bibel 2000", I was outraged. In Gen 1, they wrote "And a wind of (a) god swept over the water." (My translation from Swedish, of course.) Sacrilege, I thought. Where's the "Spirit of God", like in KJV?

    At that time, I had tried neither Bible Hebrew nor Religious studies at the university, but was just a full-time translator of technical texts.

    Now, I realize that B2000 didn't go far enough in giving a correct rendering of the Hebrew. It should IMO be something like "God, what a wind that was blowing!"

    And of course the B2000 adheres to the European continental, linguistically correct tradition, in using "Jahve" for יהוה. I find no excuse for adding the vowels of adonai '(my) lord' to the consonants יהוה.
     
  11. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    You're right about "spirit" and "breath/wind." That's how it is in the LXX (well, except the emphatic translation you gave), but translations of it cause a good degree of problems. The ancient societies tended to view the wind as something spiritual, so the word for "spirit" and "wind" was synonomous, where it isn't in English (and evidently not in Swedish). The decision on which way to bias the text is a matter of how one interprets the passage in question where the word occurs.

    Like I said in another thread, and you as a professional translator are certainly acutely aware of, "translations are a very messy business."

    May:

    Ander's post also brings up something I would like you to address. Since you feel it is important to criticize other versions for downplaying the name of God (even though they don't leave it out) and feel the need to support a version that inserted it arbitrarily into the NT, on what grounds do you mispronounce it? Pronounciation is important with names anywhere a name is a sign of respect. If someone pronounces my name, "Kenneth," as "danneck" I would feel insulted. It is a universally recognized sign of respect, but you champion the name "Jehovah" for "Yahweh." We know it's wrong, so if the name is so important to you, why do you feel so bent to perpetuate a disrespectful mispronunciation as a translation of it? That is an issue of respect in translation as you brought up.
     
  12. may

    may Well-Known Member

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    the king james at psalm 83;18 says


    That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah,




    You alone are the Most High over all the earth.If it is wrong how come they insert it then

     
  13. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

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    Very simple explanation. The KJV translators in the 17th century didn't understand the work of the masoretes, and didn't know that the vowels written on the consonants of Yahwe belonged to the word Adonai 'My Lord'. The reason for this exchange was that no one should be tempted to take God's name in vain, but remember to say "My Lord".
     
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  14. may

    may Well-Known Member

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    Jehovah​








    Definition:​
    The personal name of the only true God. His own self-designation. Jehovah is the Creator and, rightfully, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. "Jehovah" is translated from the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, יהוה, which means "He Causes to Become." These four Hebrew letters are represented in many languages by the letters JHVH or YHWH.







    Where​
    is God’s name found in Bible translations that are commonly used today?







    The​
    New English Bible: The name Jehovah appears at Exodus 3:15; 6:3. See also Genesis 22:14; Exodus 17:15; Judges 6:24; Ezekiel 48:35. (But if this and other translations use "Jehovah" in several places, why not be consistent in using it at every place where the Tetragrammaton appears in the Hebrew text?)






    Revised​
    Standard Version: A footnote on Exodus 3:15 says: "The word LORD when spelled with capital letters, stands for the divine name, YHWH."







    Today’s​
    English Version: A footnote on Exodus 6:3 states: "THE LORD: . . . Where the Hebrew text has Yahweh, traditionally transliterated as Jehovah, this translation employs LORD with capital letters, following a usage which is widespread in English versions."






    King​
    James Version: The name Jehovah is found at Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4. See also Genesis 22:14; Exodus 17:15; Judges 6:24.






    American​
    Standard Version: The name Jehovah is used consistently in the Hebrew Scriptures in this translation, beginning with Genesis 2:4.






    Douay​
    Version: A footnote on Exodus 6:3 says: "My name Adonai. The name, which is in the Hebrew text, is that most proper name of God, which signifieth his eternal, self-existing being, (Exod. 3, 14,) which the Jews out of reverence never pronounce; but, instead of it, whenever it occurs in the Bible, they read Adonai, which signifies the Lord; and, therefore, they put the points or vowels, which belong to the name Adonai, to the four letters of that other ineffable name, Jod, He, Vau, He. Hence some moderns have framed the name of Jehovah, unknown to all the ancients, whether Jews or Christians; for the true pronunciation of the name, which is in the Hebrew text, by long disuse is now quite lost." (It is interesting that The Catholic Encyclopedia [1913, Vol. VIII, p. 329] states: "Jehovah, the proper name of God in the Old Testament; hence the Jews called it the name by excellence, the great name, the only name.")






    The​
    Holy Bible translated by Ronald A. Knox: The name Yahweh is found in footnotes at Exodus 3:14 and 6:3.






    The​
    New American Bible: A footnote on Exodus 3:14 favors the form "Yahweh," but the name does not appear in the main text of the translation. In the Saint Joseph Edition, see also the appendix Bible Dictionary under "Lord" and "Yahweh."






    The​
    Jerusalem Bible: The Tetragrammaton is translated Yahweh, starting with its first occurrence, at Genesis 2:4.






    New​
    World Translation: The name Jehovah is used in both the Hebrew and the Christian Greek Scriptures in this translation, appearing 7,210 times.






    An​
    American Translation: At Exodus 3:15 and 6:3 the name Yahweh is used, followed by "the LORD" in brackets.






    The​
    Bible in Living English, S. T. Byington: The name Jehovah is used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.






    The​
    ‘Holy Scriptures’ translated by J. N. Darby: The name Jehovah appears throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, also in many footnotes on Christian Greek Scripture texts, beginning with Matthew 1:20.






    The​
    Emphatic Diaglott, Benjamin Wilson: The name Jehovah is found at Matthew 21:9 and in 17 other places in this translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures.






    The​
    Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text—A New Translation, Jewish Publication Society of America, Max Margolis editor-in-chief: At Exodus 6:3 the Hebrew Tetragrammaton appears in the English text.




    The Holy Bible translated by Robert Young: The name Jehovah is found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures in this literal translation.

     
  15. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    My God, by any other name, is still my God. If he were THAT concerned about the phonemes he would have made it plain, much as the Apostles refused to translate Jesus' triumphal cry over Satan.
     
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  16. may

    may Well-Known Member

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    The work of the Masoretes continues to benefit us today. Their Hebrew texts form the basis for the Hebrew Scriptures of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. This translation continues to be translated into many tongues with the same spirit of dedication and concern for accuracy that was shown by the ancient Masoretes. We do well to show a similar spirit in paying attention to the Word of Jehovah God.—2 Peter 1:19.

     
  17. may

    may Well-Known Member

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    What​
    Is in a Name?









    In the Hebrew language, God’s name is written יהוה. These four letters, which are read from right to left, are commonly called the Tetragrammaton. Many names of people and places mentioned in the Bible contain an abbreviated form of the divine name. Is it possible that these proper names can provide some clues as to how God’s name was pronounced?​

    According to George Buchanan, professor emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., the answer is yes. Professor Buchanan explains: "In ancient times, parents often named their children after their deities. That means that they would have pronounced their children’s names the way the deity’s name was pronounced. The Tetragrammaton was used in people’s names, and they always used the middle vowel."​

    Consider a few examples of proper names found in the Bible that include a shortened form of God’s name. Jonathan, which appears as Yoh·na·than´ or Yehoh·na·than´ in the Hebrew Bible, means "Yaho or Yahowah has given," says Professor Buchanan. The prophet Elijah’s name is ´E·li·yah´ or ´E·li·ya´hu in Hebrew. According to Professor Buchanan, the name means: "My God is Yahoo or Yahoo-wah." Similarly, the Hebrew name for Jehoshaphat is Yehoh-sha·phat´, meaning "Yaho has judged."​

    A two-syllable pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton as "Yahweh" would not allow for the o vowel sound to exist as part of God’s name. But in the dozens of Biblical names that incorporate the divine name, this middle vowel sound appears in both the original and the shortened forms, as in Jehonathan and Jonathan. Thus, Professor Buchanan says regarding the divine name: "In no case is the vowel oo or oh omitted. The word was sometimes abbreviated as ‘Ya,’ but never as ‘Ya-weh.’ . . . When the Tetragrammaton was pronounced in one syllable it was ‘Yah’ or ‘Yo.’ When it was pronounced in three syllables it would have been ‘Yahowah’ or ‘Yahoowah.’ If it was ever abbreviated to two syllables it would have been ‘Yaho.’"—Biblical Archaeology Review.







    These comments help us understand the statement made by 19th-century Hebrew scholar Gesenius in his Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures: "Those who consider that ​
    יהוה [Ye-ho-wah] was the actual pronunciation [of God’s name] are not altogether without ground on which to defend their opinion. In this way can the abbreviated syllables יהו [Ye-ho] and יו [Yo], with which many proper names begin, be more satisfactorily explained."





    Nevertheless, in the introduction to his recent translation of The Five Books of Moses, Everett Fox points out: "Both old and new attempts to recover the ‘correct’ pronunciation of the Hebrew name [of God] have not succeeded; neither the sometimes-heard ‘Jehovah’ nor the standard scholarly ‘Yahweh’ can be conclusively proven."


    No doubt the scholarly debate will continue. Jews stopped pronouncing the name of the true God before the Masoretes developed the system of vowel pointing. Thus, there is no definitive way to prove which vowels accompanied the consonants YHWH Yet, the very names of Biblical figures—the correct pronunciation of which was never lost—provide a tangible clue to the ancient pronunciation of God’s name. On this account, at least some scholars agree that the pronunciation "Jehovah" is not so "monstrous" after all.



     
  18. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    I'm glad you think I'm YHWH, but that really doesn't address the problem :p.

    Here it is. The pronunciation "Jehovah" is done by first substituting the vowel sounds from another word underneath it, and it was then broght over into our Bibles where the soft "J" sound was turned into a "Y" sound. The most correct pronunciation we know is "Yahweh."

    If you are willing to say others are disrespecting the name of God why do you continue to pronounce God's name like a totally different name. "Jehovah" is different enough to qualify as another name, and I think it is disrespectful to substitute "Jehovah" for "Yahweh."

    That is a nice, lengthy, argument you posted to explain it, but still, it doesn't change the fact that I have almost never heard another pronunciation forwarded in a scholarly work. When were your references written, and if you don't know, what are you quoting for all your references? There seems to be an over-all consensus today, and there's been one for a while.

    Heck, one of your quotes neglects the very nature of "Yahweh," and so, kind of calls the others into question:

    "Yahweh" is an Anglicization of a Hebrew term. It is not[/i] a two syllable pronuncation. Ya-he-weh is three-syllable. The middle "he" though contains a vowel which is not present in English. Your source was constructing a scarecrow, and I can see that with even my limited knowledge of English, and I can quote Professor Ratcliffe for this point.
     
  19. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    *****MOD POST*****

    Everyone participating in this discussion please fill out your religion field to indicate your association with "Christian."​
     
  20. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    Oh, I think there's a point where concern comes in. Let's not translate "YWHW" as "Zeus." Phonemes are important ;). However, I tend to agree with the point you're driving at. God doesn't require everyone to use the Divine Name.

    Of course, if it's fundamentally important to use the name of God, then it becomes equally important on how that's pronounced ;).
     
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