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Strong's Concordance Ruins Lives- Do your part

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by LegionOnomaMoi, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    Intro

    I’ve encountered people many times (although mostly online) who use Strong’s concordance to help them understand what Biblical texts mean in their original languages. Some even try to translate whole lines and passages using this book. Most seem to feel that even though this isn’t the same as knowing ancient Greek and Hebrew, it’s much better than just reading a translation. Here I will say why the opposite is true.

    Problem 1: Strong’s is not a lexicon

    Lexicons are typically a type of dictionary that contain entries in one language (e.g., Greek) and definitions in another (such as English). Dr. Strong, and those whom he worked with, did not make one. They never intended to. What they produced after enormous time and energy at work which must have been incredibly monotonous is an index. They went through the KJV, and cross-referenced each and every word to what was in the original languages. They created an index of all the words in the KJV and what was used to translate them as well as where.

    What they did not do was try to define any of the words. That wasn’t the goal, and others were doing it already, and had been for over 200 years before Dr. Strong was born.

    If you compare entries between standard lexicons of ancient Greekand Hebrew, you’ll notice that Strong’s entries are much shorter. The reason is simple: as their index was for the KJV, they just used the words in it for entries.

    Problem 2: Words, Meaning, and why no translation can be made into a lexicon

    Part I: Words & Meanings

    One might think that if the words word good enough for a translation, then it’s because that’s what the words in the original languages meant.

    It’s easy to see why this isn’t so. Imagine you’re reading a book, and you come across a word you don’t know. You might look the word up in a dictionary, where you’d find a lot of words which are very similar in meaning to the word you looked up. So similar, you are able to understand the word.


    Dictionaries, however, are more like guides for words than they are definitions. Often, the words people look up are technical, like lexicography or hermeneutics, and dictionaries aren’t very good when it comes to technical words. Even worse is when standard words, like “sign”, have a technical meaning (as “sign” does in semiotics). But worst of all is that, despite the way we often think about language (a view reinforced by dictionaries, actually), the real “units” of language are not words (they're constructions, but that's beyond the present scope), because language isn't a mental dictionary + grammar:

    have a seat/I have to go/I have it!/I have more money than Bill Gates/I have what it takes/I have had enough/I have had it up to here!/there’s haves and have nots/I’ll have it to go

    If you look up “have” in a dictionary, the definition will give you words that could serve as replacements in some of the above examples. However, it’s unlikely that the dictionary will use “take” to define “have”, yet “take a seat” is basically the same as “have a seat”. Likewise for “I’ll have/take it to go”. And as for “I have it!”, that’s basically the same as “I’ve got it!”.

    Also, what about “I have had it up to here!”? That “up to here” is idiomatic, like the “haves and have nots”.



    And there are plenty of “phrases” (prefabs) and idioms such as

    pull strings/once upon a time/all of a sudden/drive crazy (or drive mad/insane/up the wall/bonkers/etc.)/in other words/for example/shoot the breeze/on the other hand/what’s up?/etc.

    In reality, langauge doesn't divide into words and grammar, but rather both exist on a contiuum.

    Part II: Translations

    Translations are almost the opposite of dictionaries. A dictionary uses the semantic (meaning) range or ranges (the conceptual space that word occupies), and finds others which are in the same range/ranges. What translations do is take a word with a semantic range/ranges and extract only some of it. You can think of it as removing words in a dictionary entry used to define a particular word. Another way is to think of it as taking the full conceptual space(s) a word occupies and shrinking it.

    I noted that some examples I gave of "have" would be best replaced by a word that one wouldn’t think could do so, such as "take". Translations are trying to do that (replace “units” of language with other units), but they don’t get to use the same language. They have to deal with the full range of meanings and the context (the conceptual space) of the unit, and try to see what unit in another language with its own conceptual space overlaps the most.


    Problem 3: Misleading the Consumer

    Strong’s is marketed (and I’m including word of mouth and other non-corporate marketing) as a way to get closer to the original languages if you don’t know them. Those who use it typically believe that by seeing what the Hebrew or Greek word “means” in Strong’s, they’ve gotten a better understanding than they would have if they’d relied only on a translation.

    I’ve already gone over the issue with thinking that Strong’s is like a real lexicon, or that it was constructed in order to give the meaning of the Hebrew/Greek words. However, that’s at best half the issue. As noted when I covered “meaning”, not only do all words have a range of meaning, many have several that are quite distinct. Nor are the different ranges equally central. The word “drive” usually is at least related to operating a vehicle, or as a noun means “ambition/focus/determination”, etc. It can also be used to signify a mental or emotional state (drive me crazy/mad/up the wall/etc.), but only in particular types of mental states and particular contexts. It’s also far less central than other uses.

    All of this, from a more complete range of meanings that a typical lexicon would have to the complete lack of context which always affects semantics, is missing from Strong's. Every entry gives you a smaller range but doesn’t tell even tell you when a particular word in the entry is closer to the meaning, as that requires context.

    Finally, I’ve said little about grammar, as in English for the most part it seems as if we have words, and the grammatical rules which tell you how they can be combined. This isn’t true even in English, but it is far less true in Hebrew and Greek. That’s because English tends to use words where both Hebrew and Greek use something else. In English, to indicate things like tense/time, we typically use additional words, such as will, have, had, going (“I’m going out later”), etc. In Greek, one reason a single verb can mean, "carry/yell/trim (e.g., a tree)/take/kill/ drop anchor/pray/disarm/ choose/ expel/ etc." is because Greek uses grammatical devices and context where English would tend to have more words.

    Conclusion

    Strong’s doesn’t help one get “closer” to the original languagges. It prevents this. A typical lexicon is still problematic (which is why we people study the languages), as no lexicon can substitute for a knowledge of the language. But the typical lexicons biblical scholars and students use have more than just words to help define. They include examples of the ways contexts and grammar (e.g,. tense, aspect, modality of verbs) affect the meanings. Strong’s has none of that.

    Put simply, Strong’s tells you that “to have a seat” means “to own a seat”, that “to drive crazy” means “to operate a vehicle and go to the location crazy”, and that “put simply” means “position without difficulty”.
     
    #1 LegionOnomaMoi, Apr 14, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
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  2. Avoice

    Avoice Active Member

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    If one looks at Strong's and takes a 2nd century meaning, one certainly can ruin a life to whatever you think Hades is.

    Since the writers of the Greek Texts in particular are talking to non-Christian Greeks of the first Century and to Jews of the first century it is wise to filter out definitions 300 years removed from the time.

    Strong must know Koine Greek to be able to make his Lexicon or, as the e-Sword program calls it, dictionary of the words therein.

    Strong's gives meanings in the 2nd century Christian sense as well as the original meanings of those words.

    Have is a very poor example of what, at least, I use Strong's for. No I don't know modern Greek, but I'm able to struggle through with the help of someone who does.

    What will really get you going is that when I finally started reading the NRSV my mother got me, certain concepts became very clear without any knowledge of Strong's. I read the foot notes and found those concepts well founded. Strong's has had a habit of strengthening those concepts.

    Those who use Christian meanings from our time from Strong's are a Coonhound barking up the wrong tree. Those letters were to teach ancient Greeks and Romans and Jews not 2nd Century and beyond Christians.
     
  3. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    Clearly I wasn't clear. Dr. Strong certainly understood ancient Greek and those that worked under him probably all did as well. Strong did not, however, intend his work to be used as a lexicon. And it isn't a lexicon, because the "lexical entries" or "definitions" it contains are simply ways in ways in which the translators picked certain words or phrases in particular cases. That is why it is called a concordance: it agrees/concords with the KJV.


    People who can read modern Greek cannot read the Greek of the NT. I can read the Greek of the NT but I cannot read modern Greek. The Greek of the NT is closer to the Greek of Plato than it is to modern Greek.



    What are you talking about?
     
  4. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    I have a copy.
    But I use it to locate scripture verses.

    When someone quotes....and I think it out of context or construed....
    I can pick a 'key word' and sort through the numerous occurrences.

    It would be especially useful when desiring to compare the same event as told differently in the gospels.
     
  5. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    So do I. As an index to locate a great many different kinds of things, it is quite helpful.


    But even were it to contain the best biblical lexicon on the planet, without understanding language it is only useful/helpful for things like this
     
  6. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Bump. Yes its true, although a Lexicon can also be bewildering (and expensive), for noobs. Noobs just don't know what we're doing.

    Here's how to leap over the limitations of Strong's and the other 'Exhaustive' concordances:


    • Memorize the order of the books. Use a song or whatever helps you to memorize the order.
    • Focus on reading just one translation, so that when you remember a verse you can quickly look it up using just one type of concordance. Later on you can read additional versions. I made the mistake of reading KJV and NIV, so when I remember a verse I have to look in 2 concordances to find the verse. Its kind of a pain.
    • Software is very important. I suggest Bibleworks if you can afford it. If not get the closest thing you can find. Xiphos has a nice search feature and is available for free for Linux users. Ideally, however, you want a search feature that allows you to use wildcards and regular expression syntax for lookups. Most software allows you to lookup using the strongs # or the NIV # for words but its rare to find software that allows regular expression searches. They are the holy grail of Bible study tools.
    • Bible commentaries written in the last 300 hundred years are nothing but endorsements of particular religious positions. If you want to learn Calvinism, use a Calvinist commentary, etc. Unfortunately most commentaries will use more of your time than they are worth.
    • Learn the Greek alpha bet and the Hebrew Aleph-bet. It will aid you, and its not difficult just to learn the characters.
     
  7. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    What will doing these things accomplish and how does it relate to Strong's? I'm confused.
     
  8. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    The main purpose behind these is to develop a firm and unbiased ability to study. Concordances, like commentaries can be helpful but they also attempt to filter information as light through their particular stained glass windows. Strong's is like 'Blue'. Nave's commentary might be 'Pink'. If you only use Nave's and Strong's, you will see the Bible as if it were 'Purple'. Someone else using a green concordance will think that the Bible is green. How can a new Bible reader get as close as possible to the original colors (thoughts) without attending a university? How can they avoid the minister that will corrupt and abuse them? Doing the above can help.

    Strong's is a usually a bewildering tool for lay person's. Its about ten centimeters thick, and its usually introduced informally. By leaping over its limitations I mean to make it more useful. It cannot replace a Lexicon, but it can become useful. Also a computerized lexicon and a computerized concordance will be more efficient and beneficial.

    Memorizing the order of the books is necessary for anyone who wants to study 'The Bible' as a canon, because it provides a basic frame onto which attach information and also contributes to a time-awareness of when things were written. With these things the concordance becomes a useful tool, turning the Bible into a reference. It has 'Places' and a chronology. Without them a concordance makes very little sense, just as the Bible probably makes little sense.

    Beginners should familiarize themselves with a single translation. Often a scripture that you remember from the NIV or RSV will be difficult or impossible to find using a Strong's concordance. You may be stuck saying 'I wish I could remember where I read this. I'm not sure if its a scripture or just something I read on the internet!' Similarly, if you are familiar with KJV you cannot find the same verse in an NIV Exhaustive concordance. A beginning student who does not remember which verse comes from which Bible version will have to look in multiple concordances to find a verse they are looking for.

    Software crosses over into attributes of a Lexicon while behaving as a specialized search engine for scripture reference. Its possible to search for all instances in which the same Hebrew or Greek phrase is used and have the results presented in English. Along with this there will usually be a full lexicon included with the software. That makes software better than a paper Lexicon, sometimes.

    "Bible commentaries written in the last 300 hundred years are nothing but endorsements of particular religious positions." As are Bible translations. If you read KJV, you are reading a version that has been influenced by the Church of England. At the same time, reading multiple versions can make it difficult to remember where you've read a particular verse. One solution is to stick to a single version most of the time and use other versions for comparisons along with occasionally using lexicons and/or parallel translations.

    "Learn the Greek alpha bet and the Hebrew Aleph-bet. It will aid you, and its not difficult just to learn the characters." -- Concordances include a copy of the alphabets in the appendices or before the table of contents; because they are important. To fully utilize a Bible search engine, one must be able to distinguish a vav from an aleph or a gamma from a beta. It does not require, however, learning the languages just to do a search. The more you know the more search features you can employ, but learning the alpha bets will get you far.

    ********************

    I should also mention that there is nothing to replace a good guide -- someone to answer questions and fill in some blanks. There's also no replacement for independent questioning as well as keeping prejudices out of the reading. If you believe, for instance, that Yahweh is an evil thing it will influence your reading. If you believe that Yahweh is a good awesome thing, it will also influence your reading. Any position you take will influence your eyes. That is why you must leap over the influences already present within the concordances and commentaries. Then you can try out your own ideas: You can try to see Yahweh as a human, as evil, as good, as whatever and allow the text to speak to you. A concordance can be useful to answer questions and help fill in blanks, but it will come with its own opinions which will be inherited from its authors.
     
    #8 Brickjectivity, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
  9. angellous_evangellous

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    This is just silly.
     
  10. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    The main purpose behind a concordance is to provide an index which concords with a translation. It is quintessentially biased by its very nature and the only possible thing it can for someone trying to understand the Hebrew or Greek of the Bible is provide a false sense of knowledge while decreasing accurate understanding of any given passage, line, or phrase.



    I learned Hebrew on my own. Granted, that’s not a fair comparison as I had already studies four other languages and linguistics, but I did teach myself Latin in High School because it wasn’t offered and I wanted to learn it. My Grandfather taught himself ancient Greek in High School (again, not exactly a fair comparison as his ability to learn languages was abnormal, and he wrote his dissertation on Indo-European laryngeal theory in Latin (De consonantibus quae laryngophoni vocantur, praecipue quod ad linguam antiquam Graecam attinet).

    But Strong’s is not the only free resource out there, nor does one have to pay to attend a course to get material designed for self-study. There are “teach yourself”-type books, youtube instructional videos, free downloadable courses, a plethora of online resources, etc.

    However, learning a language can be difficult. Which is why most people rely on translations. Strong’s isn’t a compromise between the two. It’s just a way to think you gain some new knowledge when you are actually decreasing the accuracy of your understanding.



    It isn’t. It’s increadibly easy which is why it is so popular.



    English speakers have the worst possible example of how language works in general through their knowledge of their native tongue. It’s not just that English grammar is communicated through word order and auxiliary verbs (should, would could, will, have, etc.), it’s also that no other language so readily creates, adapts, incorporates, or in some other way develops novel lexical uses rather than extending the meaning of an already existing word. The word “stigma” is from Greek. In English, it means, more or less, a characteristic, property, mark, etc., that conveys something which is socially objectionable. The plural of this word, in English, is “stigmas”. However, English has another word: “stigmata”. This word refers to the wounds of Jesus Christ. In Greek, it is the plural of “stigma”. So we have a Greek word we’ve incorporated and adapted to mean a particular kind of mark (the generic sense of the Greek “stigma”), the English version of the plural of this word (“stigmas”), and an entirely separate word “stigmata” that in English has no semantic connection with “stigma” even though it is the etymological plural. Same with words like scheme/schema/schemata/schemas, or mystery/mystical/mystic/mysterious/mysticism, and many more. A computer is no longer an object which computes (a calculator is not called a computer), nor is a person called a computer. That was the case, but English doesn’t extend meanings the way languages do in general. So computers are specific devices which do not include either people or other machines capable of computation. We don’t have internetworks, but the internet or just ‘net. Kids take kung fu classes or karate classes and just about every American English speaker understands “hasta la vista baby” (or just hasta la vista) as a an American expression with uniquely American connotations thanks to Terminator II.

    Other languages are not like this. In Greek, the word for untying can mean kill, destroy, free, and more. In Hebrew, verbs have gender, not just person, and they don’t really have tense. Languages like these rely heavily on morphology as a means of expressing particular grammatical properties. Words like should, could, would, might, may, etc., don’t exist as words. The phrase “let us go to war” can be expressed in one word, as can things like “should I return home?” This is because TAM (tense, aspect, and modality) are morphological properties of Greek verbs.

    However, Strong’s includes word meanings that only apply if the noun or verb is in a particular form, but doesn’t even tell you there are forms that radically change the meaning.


    Great. Tell you what. I have a bunch of papers in Russian. There are no translations of these. I'll give you links to sites with the Russian alphabet and a Russian-English dictionary. And you can use google translate. That's far more than Strong's provides. How long do you think it would take you to translate roughly 30 pages of Russian with these tools?

    No, but it does require learning the language for this to be useful. That phrase, "learning the languages just to do a search"? Almost every English phrase that uses "do" in this sense cannot be translated by the German equivalent (tun). Instead, they use the word "make". In Greek, "to do a search" is one form of one verb (or can be; I can also use one form of another verb, add in pronouns for emphasis, use particles, or do any number of things to make clearer what I want that you will not know even exist using Strong's).

    And Hebrew? It's not even Indo-European. The verbal system is totally unlike English or Latin or French or Greek or Russian.
     
  11. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    While I agree with you, people need something to go on. Hundreds of millions of people are not going to turn on a dime to learn Hebrew and Greek.

    If all you use is Strong's, then yes.

    Strong's is easy to use, yet it is bewilderingly large and does not help one to understand the overall meaning. Its mainly useful for looking up passage references to quotations that one remembers.
    The fault with English is partially compensated by using a computer search on the Strong's number. A lay person can take advantage of the morphology of Hebrew in this way, using the computer to go around the limitations of the English. No, it isn't like 'Reading Hebrew' at all; but its much much better than just using a concordance. You can search by the root Hebrew word, then filter out results according to context, through visual inspection of the translated English phrases. I will call this 'Casting out 9's'. A computer search by the Strong's number for the word can be very handy for this and doesn't require learning the original Hebrew.

    Before computers had search tools I used to use the index in the back of the NIV exhaustive concordance, because it would show all the ways that a Hebrew root had been translated in the canon. This was very time consuming as I then had to go back through the main part of the concordance looking up each of the English words to find which passages had the associate root. Computers make things so much easier and greatly multiply the time spent studying.

    Yes. That is something only a familiarity with the language itself can overcome. A computer search on the strong's number, however, goes a long way. I search on the number, then I eye-scan the results. Its time consuming but its not useless. It requires a familiarity with Bible passages and with English.

    True, one could never translate a Bible using a concordance. A standing translation is necessary. However using strong's numbers with a computer search, one can find passages related by root words. Some will be obviously unrelated and you can cast these out. The translation is already done, but additionally you can then take the passages that are left and compare them with other translations such as Young's, Darby's, RSV, etc. (Should I be patenting this?)

    Um. Studying the original language is useful. That doesn't mean I cannot find a way to get some use from a concordance. It isn't the same thing, but its what I have.

    All of those are very good points, and I recommend learning the originals even if I haven't done it myself. That being the case, computers combined with root words from concordances can make for a very satisfying search. If you add to that an understanding of some of the very common tenses, verb forms etc you can do even more limited searches without knowing the original language. You still have to 'Cast out 9's' when you go through the results, but this system can be made to work -- not by virtue of English but by virtue of the source languages.
     
    #11 Brickjectivity, May 24, 2013
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  12. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    That's why we have translations.

    Let's make this much easier. Can you give me 3-5 examples of specific passages or lines you understand better because of Strong's?
     
  13. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Translations? Post #10 you said "The main purpose behind a concordance is to provide an index which concords with a translation. It is quintessentially biased by its very nature..."

    You have repeatedly indicated translation is the problem that no one can get close to the text without learning the original language. Why call it concern about concordances? You keep trying to make everyone learn Hebrew, but everyone cannot learn Hebrew!
    Translations are not close to the original, and that is your real objection. Concordances are taking the blame for something they didn't do.
    Three to five? Lets go for three using Strong's #'s but not Strongs itself. I will give a fairly straightforward account of how I use the Strong's #s to benefit. There is a method, although it is slightly stream-of-consciousness.

    To test whether the Strong's #'s help me to learn at random I will pick three new words and try to learn some things -- anything that I can learn. I choose "Song/Songs", "Gift/Gifts" and "Bird/Birds" (three words I have never before searched upon) and put them into my search tool set to the KJV version, since that is what Strong's is keyed to. I randomly choose a passage to get a Strong's # from to associate with each word. Whatever # it is, that is what I start with for each, ignoring all other similar words.

    For 'Song' I choose Exodus 15:1, which uses the Hebrew word marked 07892
    For 'Gift' I choose Psalm 72:10 marked 0814
    For 'Bird' I choose Genesis 7:14 marked 06833

    Song 07892
    searching on 07892 gives me a list of 90 scripture references, which I then scan visually... I learn 1. that during temple services the musicians play with 'All of their might', that in some passages 2. that sometimes this Hebrew word is not translated as 'Song' but in I Chronicles 16:42 it comes out "musical instruments" The Strong's here helps me to understand that this particular verse translation cannot be perfect, since an associated word '0430' which means 'People' of 'Nation' has become 'Of God' to make 'musical instruments of God'. Clearly this is something to remember and pay attention to later. Most likely this is a built-up Hebrew word. Too bad I don't know how to translate, but continuing on I find more information about 'Song'. Ah, here in 2 Chronicles 5:13 its clear that the singers and trumpeters and all of the instruments played together as one person. If it weren't for this search engine and Strong's numbers, it might have taken a lot more time to associate all of these verses together; but now I will never again think the same way about 'Song' or its importance. It is clearly extremely important, whereas I had no idea before. Furthermore I am better acquainted with this particular word now and its potential uses, and I have not even scanned through half of the available results yet. The fact that I don't have to flip pages to find every entry makes all of this go quickly and easily. Am I a scholar? No. Might I object to how a word is translated? Not necessarily but I might have an idea of when to look more closely or to ask someone who can translate. I am not merely subject to the will of the translator.

    Gift 0814
    First, I note that there is a similar Strong's term # 0810 which is used as 'Bribe', but I continue searching on 0814. Unfortunately there are only 2 passages where this particular Strong's number occurs: Psalm 72:10 and Ezekiel 27:15. Glancing at the various other English translations I see this word has also been rendered 'Tribute' and appears to have that meaning from the context of the Psalm but in Ezekiel it seems to be more about trade. What I learn is that I must be flexible and not nail down this word to a specific meaning, but I also get clues as to what it can mean -- a sort of range of meaning.

    Bird 06833
    I picked the word 'Bird' because there is a very cool scripture, somewhere, about a bird that takes shelter under the altar of the temple. Perhaps I will come across it? Oh, yes its in Psalm 84:3. (Darn, its one of those 'Selah' Psalms with that untranslatable word Selah!) Selah has always been a pet peeve of mine, or couldn't you tell?

    I sweep through the references in Leviticus, because though they are interesting they do not affect the meaning of 'Bird' by much. In Deuteronomy I see that 06833 is sometimes translated 'Fowl' instead of 'Bird'. Now in Psalm 102:7 the word is translated as 'Sparrow' although the RSV translates it as 'Lonely bird'. The psalmist is very lonely here, and this 'Sparrow' means him or herself. The big payoff comes at random, because now I run into Ecclesiastes 12:4, which contains two of the Strong's numbers I've search upon, speaking of the dark times: "when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;" That raises the interest level in what this verse is about. I get a mysterious and fascinated feeling as if I were fated to read this verse. Moving along, Isaiah 31:5 compares the LORD's defense of Jerusalem to a flock of flying birds. Now I really am started to get a feel for what Birds are about. It is not a clear, precise understanding; yet it is serviceable and scale-able which can be added to other studies later.
     
  14. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I recall that many Hebrew scholars and also Catholic scholars once objected to 'Translating' the Tanach part of the Bible into the common language. This was not out of a desire to keep knowledge away from people but was similar to your own objection about misunderstandings. The translations have been made, however. They are here, and we have to deal with them.
     
  15. Jayhawker Soule

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  16. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    The Catholic church certainly objected to translating the bible into the vernacular. However, the bible they were refusing to translate is called the vulgate, and it is written entirely in Latin. John Wycliffe didn't just make his own translation, but an argument for the need and a condemnation of the Church for not allowing one: "Also þe hooly gost &#541;af to apostlis wit at wit-sunday for to knowe al maner langagis to teche þe puple goddis lawe þerby; & so god wolde þat þe puple were tau&#541;t goddis lawe in dyuerse tungis; but what man on goddis half shulde reuerse goddis ordenaunse & his wille? & for þis cause seynt ierom trauelide & translatide þe bible fro dyuerse tungis into lateyn þat it my&#541;te be aftir translatid to oþere tungis. & þus crist & his apostlis tau&#541;ten þe puple in þat tunge þat was moost knowun to þe puple; why shulden not men do nou so? & herfore autours of þe newe law, þat weren apostlis of iesu crist, writen þer gospels in dyuerse tungis þat weren more knowun to þe puple. Also þe worþy reume of fraunse, not-wiþ-stondinge alle lettingis, haþ translatid þe bible & þe gospels wiþ oþere trewe sentensis of doctours out of lateyn in-to freynsch, why shulden not engli&#541;sche men do so? as lordis of englond han þe bible in freynsch, so it were not a&#541;enus resoun þat þey hadden þe same sentense in engli&#541;sch; for þus goddis lawe wolde be betere knowun & more trowid for onehed of wit, & more acord be bi-twixe reumes. & herfore freris han tau&#541;t in englond þe paternoster in engli&#541;sch tunge, as men seyen in þe pley of &#541;ork, & in many oþere cuntreys. siþen þe pater|noster is part of matheus gospel, as clerkis knowen, why may not al be turnyd to engli&#541;sch trewely, as is þis part?"

    That's basically a single paragraph, written in a language that is far closer to modern English than is German (let alone ancient Greek or Hebrew), so much closer that they don't really teach Middle English as a foreign language anymore than they do Shakespeare.

    And with the exception of two letters, you already know the alphabet. You have already more than you do with Strong's to understand that paragraph. Can you?

    As for the Jewish reluctance, it is entirely different.

    It absolutely was. The Catholic Church believed that individual's should not be able to read the Bible because they did not want individuals to obtain personal understanding of theological matters which were not mediated through Catholic priests trained to read and understand the Bible in terms of Catholic beliefs.

    As for Jewish communities over the centuries, they required not only regular study Tanakh, but the Torah (in the broad sense of the word; i.e., the law of YHWH). This meant understanding studying the Mishnah, or "oral torah" first written down in c. 200 CE, as well as the talmudim. These are usually called simply the Talmud and considered singular, and contain the Mishnah as well as rabbinic commentary on it (called the Gemara). I was jealous as a kid because my best friend got to study Hebrew while CCD (the Catholic equivalent to the study of the Torah that Jewish children are required to undertake before they can become full members of the Church or "adult" members of Jewish culture). What he had to study is nothing in comparison with what Jewish boys were required to learn for centuries.

    The reason the study of Hebrew was required was because of a fundamental and key difference between Christianity and both Judaism and Islam. First, there is no equivalent of any "new" testament of God in either. In Islam, both Judaism and Christianity had it wrong, while in Judaism, there was always only the Law of YHWH and the history of his relationship with his people. Second, only Christianity had one set of inherited texts, and another set unique to Christianity yet which was supposed to be understood as fundamentally related (somehow) through the inherited set of texts. Also, the second set is written in a different language belonging to a different language family. Third, various elements in this New Testament seem to both indicate that the earlier scriptures are irrelevant (esp. Paul), while others that every single little tiny letter is relevant.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, both Islam and Judaism understood the study of the texts themselves to be in many ways what their respective religions were, while Christianity understood redemption through Jesus Christ Son of God Savior (an anagram which comes from the Greek word for "fish", which is why so many people have fishes on the back of their cars) and his good news. In other words, Christianity (as indicated by its very name) holds the person, role, and actions of Jesus to be central, not the texts. Even Muhammad is not comparable to the Christian understanding of Christ (although in Islam the two are both messengers, &#1585;&#1587;&#1604;, of God; Muhammad is the last of the messengers). So Imams/A'immah and Rabbis were experts because of textual studies, while priests spent more time studying Catholic doctrine.

    Then do so. You have two options beyond reading one translation: read many and read commentaries and read other material written by experts, or learn the languages yourself. The option you propose is not a middle ground. It is a way to decrease understanding but increase your belief that you understand more.
     
  17. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    The Vulgate is the translation that I was referring to. It was itself a translation into the vernacular, Latin.
    At the time you refer to it seems like it, but I don't think the entire Church felt the same about it uniformly. Clearly the royals were against educating the masses.

    It is the world that has been pulled over my eyes to keep me from knowing the truth?
     
    #17 Brickjectivity, May 24, 2013
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  18. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    Yes, it is biased. It is biased (rather than just the typical ways in which translations separate one from the original language) because it is one translation of a Religious text. One does not overcome the biases of the KJV by using a lexicon that does nothing more than provide ways in which words were translated in the KJV.



    I have repeatedly indicated that translation is the problem, but have done so by noting the many ways in which it is, and one is "concern about concordances" which "concord" with one translation, and therefore do nothing more than tell you how the KJV translators translated the texts they had, but without telling you why they chose to use one method in one place and another in some other place. Which means all you have is an amalgamation of the ways the KJV translators took a particular word in e.g., Hebrew and translated it in various ways, but no idea why they used any particular translation in any particular place.


    I am absolutely NOT saying this. I am saying that there are particular ways to understand the Bible beyond just reading one translations, and that some of these will help, but some will not. In particular, using concordances or any similar method which tells you what "word" was translated from Hebrew or Greek at some particular spot into English will not help.


    No, my objection is not to Dr. Strong or his work, but to its use as a means to understand the original texts in their original languages better.



    Look back at my original post. I said nothing against Strong.

    First, "song". Looking in Strong's I find &#1513;&#1473;&#1497;&#1512;&#1492; &#1513;&#1473;&#1497;&#1512;. First, why are their two words? Well, because only one of them is actually the word translated as "song" in Ex. 15:1. Does Strong's tell you which one? Or why? Or what the differences are? A little. It tells you "the second form being the feminine". What does that mean? Strong's doesn't say. Why? It assumes you aren't using this to understand Hebrew and that you already know. So what difference does this make?



    That is because the word in Chronicles is not feminine. It is not the same word. If you had only the BDD lexicon, and not even an elementary grammar, you would know that the word in Ex. 15:1 is &#1513;&#1473;&#1460;&#1497;&#1512;&#1464;&#1492;, not &#1513;&#1473;&#1497;&#1512;. Now, depending on which linguistic theory one subscribes to, the differences can be described in terms of words, or something else (constructions, Semitic root morphology, etc.), but the important thing is that the form you found in Exodus 15:1 cannot mean "musical instruments". You can't possibly know that, of course, because Strong's gives you no indication of how lexical morphology indicates important semantic differences.

    Thankfully, the word you chose has a way to illustrate this in English. "Song" is a noun in English. I "sing", but I don't "song". I can say things like "A song is nothing without instruments to complement the singer who is singing the song". "is singing" is the English way of indicating the continuous present. A "singer" is someone who "sings". The word "song" in Hebrew is like this, in that different forms can mean one thing but not another, only there are far, far, far more forms that indicate differences on a level English cannot begin to match.

    This means that you have looked up a word, and "learned" something false.


    No, it has prevented you from understanding why the translation is different. You looked up a word, found a definition, and instead of using Strong's as it was meant (as an index), you used it as a lexicon. So you had no idea why the form in Chronicles cannot be translated as "song".


    That "associated word"? It is elohim. Perhaps you've come across it before.


    Clearly. You've now misunderstood one of the main ways the Bible refers to YHWH, and claimed it means "people" in some sense.

    You've fundamentally misunderstood a word, which has led you to misunderstand several other passages and again one of the main ways the Bible refers to YWHW in Hebrew.

    That's because they are both related to &#1513;&#1474;&#1464;&#1499;&#1464;&#1512;. And so depending on the form you find this lexeme in, it can mean anything from "hire" to "wages" to "gifts" and even a soldier, a shepherd, or a mercenary. And you definitely don't know why.

    That's true of all words. In Hebrew, a lot of that flexibility isn't the word, but the form of the word. It is similar to the way "sing", "song", and "singer" are related but mean different things, except that in Hebrew, every single word has far, far more ways in which different forms indicate different things. And that's without getting into the essential role context plays in a way that is far beyond that of English.
    It's not untranslatable. In fact, one of the central meanings in the bare form is "set" (as in "set up", "set down", "put"). I can "set up a tent" in English", and I can "set up an appointment", but I cannot "put up an appointment" although I can "put up a tent". Even in English, this way of understanding language fails constantly. In Hebrew, it's a no-go from the start. Ever instance you chose just made you less informed than if you had simply relied on a single translation, and not even bothered with commentaries or reading multiple translations.

    You have not learned more, but you thought you did. As I said.
     
    #18 LegionOnomaMoi, May 24, 2013
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  19. Skwim

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