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Featured Holy books and semantic changes

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by CriticalThinking, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. CriticalThinking

    CriticalThinking Quranist

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    How do believers in a holy book makes sure that their understanding was not a result of a semantic change in the words of a language ?

    ps: Not sure if i phrased this correctly, if not please clear out my mistake(s)
     
    #1 CriticalThinking, Nov 26, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  2. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    Tradition?
     
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  3. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Typically they don't. As long as the text comports with their theology it's good as golden.

    .
     
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  4. CriticalThinking

    CriticalThinking Quranist

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    can you elaborate more on this ?
     
  5. CriticalThinking

    CriticalThinking Quranist

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    But where did they get their theology in the first place ?
     
    #5 CriticalThinking, Nov 26, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  6. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    Many religions have theologians who specialise in the the study and interpretation of the scriptures of their faith, often comparing various versions, even to the point of obsession, and trying to think through its meaning. None of this can be said to prevent errors, but at least it should avoid a lot of the potential for mistakes of the kind you refer to in the OP.
     
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  7. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I think context and unity of the whole book indicates that there are no meaningful semantic errors.
     
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  8. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    I think you phrased it well.
     
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  9. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    If one is a believer, then we accept that the God who authored the book will make sure that it is presented correctly in any language. He is the creator of language and all that exists....is he not powerful enough to ensure that mankind has the correct message? The problem is with God's adversary who is bent on twisting the scriptures through misinterpretation to distort his character and muddy the message. That is why he sends his servants to people directly to engage them and to impart that message accurately.

    English is not your first language? Always happy to help refine the process. It must be so difficult to communicate in another language. You are doing well.

    The phrasing is correct, just minor things....like e.g.
    "How does believers in a holy book..." should be "How do believers in a holy book..."

    and....
    "But where they got their theology from in the first place ?" Would be "Where did they get their theology in the first place". Your posts are perfectly understandable though...:)
     
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  10. CriticalThinking

    CriticalThinking Quranist

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    But like you said this method is not perfect because there could some unrecorded semantic changes just like the existence of some events that history books hasn't recorded but can be found in archaeological sites, so there isn't a perfect way ?

    Some of these semantic changes may effect the context too ?

    Thanks !
     
  11. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    First of all, it's not an issue confined to believers. At best, one tries to achieve a reasonably accurate understanding informed by Semitic and Hebrew philology and the study of early translations. To quote Nahum Sarna, sometimes the best one can say is "Hebrew meaning uncertain."
     
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  12. CriticalThinking

    CriticalThinking Quranist

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    If god protected his words from being corrupted ( and i believe he did ), he must have left a clear evidence that leads to the correct meanings ?

    Yeah, i'm a native Arabic speaker and English is my 3rd language ( French is my second ) .
    Thanks a lot for the corrections, please keep it up
     
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  13. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    Sure.

    In Judaism, when semantics and grammar rules are discussed, the supporting evidence in these discussions comes from Oral Tradition that is passed down and collected in writing. Essentially, the language rules are part of the culture and are transmitted as part of the tradition.

    I would expect that this is the same for all languages, both ancient and modern.

    The first example that I thought of is: Thespians ( American Actors ) have a saying: "Break a leg". It means "Good Luck." The Thespian tradition is what maintains this rather odd euphemism.
     
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  14. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    There's also the problem of translation. Sometimes the various translations are pretty close and sometimes the meaning varies widely.

    This is also true of Quranic Arabic.
     
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  15. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    No of course, there is no perfect way in anything. But that is why, in my opinion, it makes sense to think for yourself what makes sense, and not merely to follow slavishly what appears on the printed page without question. This is an error that fundamentalist make, I think. Also, the chance of an individual amateur misinterpreting something difficult is far greater than a body of learned people who have thought about it and discussed it a lot, perhaps over generations. This is why the established religions tend to develop a body of tradition and doctrine resulting from this process, rather than just relying on individuals reading the book each time and half understanding it.
     
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  16. CriticalThinking

    CriticalThinking Quranist

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    As i said earlier i guess this method is not perfect because there could some unrecorded semantic changes just like the existence of some events that history books hasn't recorded but can be found in archaeological sites, so there isn't a perfect way ?

    But some traditions gets lost right ? so this not a very reliable way ?

    Indeed the translations are really a big problem especially if some one is translating a text that has already got some unnoticed semantic changes, its like killing some one twice

    Agreed, but who knows maybe one day there will be a perfect way ( thanks to science of course )
     
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  17. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    In fact, "not perfect" is an understatement. Note, for example, the following:

    Biblical study is easy for the dogmatist, but far more challenging for the intellectually honest. That's what keeps it fun.
     
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  18. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    True, so long as this "body of learned people" are driven by a desire to understand the text rather than rationalize the tradition.
     
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  19. CriticalThinking

    CriticalThinking Quranist

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    No comment :D
     
  20. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    My favorite problem translation is currently the Quran 17:104. I noticed that even the tense is different in one translation. And "rabble" versus "mixed crowd"? Finally of great controversy to Muslims, some versions basically say that we are living in the end times due to the Quranic prophecy that the state of Israel would come into existence as a sign. Take your pick ;)

    And We said to the Children of Israel after him, 'Dwell in the land; and when the promise of the world to come comes to pass, We shall bring you a rabble.'

    And We said to the Children of Israel after him: "Dwell in the land, then, when the final and the last promise comes near [i.e. the Day of Resurrection or the descent of Christ ['Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) on the earth]. We shall bring you altogether as mixed crowd (gathered out of various nations).

    And We said thereafter to the Children of Israel, "Dwell securely in the land (of promise)": but when the second of the warnings came to pass, We gathered you together in a mingled crowd.

    Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: 'Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] al together [in the Land of Israel]."
     
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