Anyone ever heard of the "Good As New" Bible?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by pghguy, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I don't think such a translation is heresy (personally), but I'm not overly interested in any Bible version that sacrifices accuracy or poetry for wider readership. There are other versions out there that also attempt to make the Bible more amenable to the modern English-speaker's average reading level, but I just don't find the language as beautiful, the mystery as deep, or the accuracy as great as those translations that are more concerned with scholarship and poetic beauty.

    I'm not a journalist. I'm an anthropologist and occasional professor. I am also a writer, and I have done various sorts of writing. I understand the merit of newspapers and newsletters using news-y, basic language; technical reports using technical, dry language; and so on. But newspapers are newspapers and the Bible is the Bible.

    When I read sacred text (in any religion), I want it to challenge me to dig deeper. I want it to demand me to learn new things, to critically think about what I am reading, to ask myself what it means on multiple levels. I also want it to be a window to mystical insight. Frankly, I'm for people learning how to learn, spending time in their religion, doing research to understand what the original languages meant and how they've been glossed to English, and so on... rather than caving into general laziness, apathy, and the ubiquitous loss of commitment to lifelong education that seems to occur in the United States. I think people should be sufficiently interested in their own religion to study it throughout their lives, reading not only the sacred texts, but also commentaries, archaeology, linguistics, and other scholarship relevant to their faith. I think people should gather together outside of church to discuss, debate, probe, and discover the history of their religion, its various languages, and its relevance for today.

    I don't want the language-for-everyday version of the Tao Te Ching, the Bible, or any other sacred narrative, for that matter. I want a translation that is either (a) as accurate as possible to the original concepts and/or (b) as accurate as possible to the original poetry of the piece.

    (And no offense, perhaps it's because I'm not British, but "splendid" really is a lousy replacement for "blessed," in my opinion. Being Pagan, but still quite interested in and tied to Christianity, I can't imagine the Priest "splendiforizing" the bread and wine during communion, nor would I say "splendid be" or "bright splendidness!" Blessed and splendid seem to be entirely different concepts, with one implying a Divine involvement and the other describing something that may or may not have anything to do with the Divine.)

    But then, I'm willing to struggle with a sacred narrative for years on end, returning to it again and again, to wrestle out my own meaning and relevance. So perhaps, my needs are different.

    If others want a different version, I guess it's fine for them. Just not for me. I still maintain that religions would have stronger communities if people were willing to study their own religions a bit more, but I suppose most people won't be willing to do that. What I guess I don't understand is why people who want a basic, really understandable, non-churchy version don't just pick up one of the many good youth Bibles available.

    My 2 cents.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  2. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    But I am not referring to biblical accounts of ancient languages POO.

    There was a known proto-language that preceeded what is known as Aramaic (administrative language - used to cover the bases of all similar languages in places of commerce, government, admin, etc., ), and it was called Hebrew (or proto Hebrew)...

    "Aramaic is one of the Semitic languages, an important group of languages known almost from the beginning of human history and including also Arabic, Hebrew, Ethiopic, and Akkadian (ancient Babylonian and Assyrian). It is particularly closely related to Hebrew, and was written in a variety of alphabetic scripts. (What is usually called "Hebrew" script is actually an Aramaic script). But what preceeded the Aramaic precedence, was what is called proto-Hebrew, an older sister language to be dominated by latter Aramaic."

    Which means, I do not lie, or bluff.
     
  3. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Sorry, Q- I should have been more clear. I wasn't weighing in on the Hebrew/Aramaic debate, but just giving my 2 cents on the original post.

    I don't pretend to know which preceded the other (Hebrew or Aramaic). So far as I understood it, Hebrew was the original language of the OT, and Aramaic was the original spoken language of the NT, though it was first written in Greek. The leap from Aramaic to Greek is, on its own, something that warrants closer study in terms of meaning... but then from Greek into English was another issue altogether. I'm no expert (by a long shot!) but the little bit I've been able to read in commentaries about Aramaic have made it a most interesting language, very different from English, and quite worthy of investigation as to the meaning of various passages of the NT.

    Just as I've found the bit I've been able to read of Jewish commentaries on the OT makes it an interesting comparison to mainstream Christian ways of thinking about the same stuff.

    Probably the most notable is all discussion of the afterlife, hell, and Satan. Fascinating stuff.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Just to pitch in ... it seems to me that 'translation' is not a science, it's an art.

    Thomas
     
  5. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Or perhaps, like surgery, a bit of both, eh? Linguistics is a science. Archaeology is a science. These should influence translation (expanding what we know, the context, etc.). But retaining the poetry and mystical depth is most certainly art.
     
  6. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule Well-Known Member

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    They should inform the translation. But rather than having the translator "retaining the ... mystical depth" of a text (whatever that might mean), I far prefer to see him/her demonstrate technical skill while retaining intellectual integrity. Sarna proudly notes that the most repeated comment to be found in the new JPS Torah translation is "meaning of Hebrew uncertain."
     
  7. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Considering that at the time the Bible(s) were written (the variations based on the languages at the time), those "archaic language" variations were anything but...

    Indeed they were the most modern versions to come across.

    And as far as "God" speaking to "his people" in an informal vs. other people in a formal vernacular...isn't the bible written for "all people"? And wouldn't a believer already have an "informal" communion with God, and so would readily be able to understand this "formal" stance taken by him, in his written word?

    Kinda like a loving son who hears his father (and Police Chief of a community), advising the town's folk, in an official, authoritative and professional manner...on how things are supposed to run according to the law...

    What do you think?;)
     
  8. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    I don't know about the Tanakh/OT, but from what I have read, the authors of the NT thought in Hebrew and wrote it down in Greek. Th NT is full of Hebrew idioms expressed in Greek. When read in Greek, it doesn't make as much sense. If you translate the Greek back into Hebrew, then it makes sense.

    For example, consider Matthew 5:20.

    The Hebrew for righteousness is tzedakah, but it actually means charity in practice, particularly when you mean it in a religious context. You don't need a time machine to know that. I am sure this is something Jews still practice today.:)

    It's been a while since I did a search on what people said was the original language of the NT. Yes, it's written in Greek, but is that the language in which it was supposed to be understood?

    Logos may have come from a Greek culture, but tzedakah obviously did not come from a Greek culture, even if it was written down in Greek.

    I can see how "righteousness" as in "tzedakah" might mean charity, that it's about socio-economic fairness and justice, but a Greek could look at that and think you're talking about general morality and ethics. It could be extended to mean a lot of other things in addition to charity and generosity, including honesty, self-control, civil obedience, doing as you're told, bowing to Caesar, pleasing the powers that be, etc.

    Translated into Greek and then English, tzedakah starts to mean something completely different from what it meant in its original language. There would be other examples in the NT. I came across a whole list several months back. I've probably bookmarked it. I hope so.
     
  9. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule Well-Known Member

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    That is not at all clear. So, for example, distinctions between the MT and the LXX seem to reflect differences between the Proto-Masoretic and some assumed vorlage of the latter, and not between, i.e., Hebrew and Koine Greek - although it must be admitted that every translation involves interpretation.
     
  10. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Salt, I originally think in English, but can write in French and Russian...does that make me "accurate" in my translations, particularly to those that are the recipients of my non-native transcripts?

    It would be absolute arrogance if I said yes...
     
  11. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Ah, Ralph Klein! Lutheran school of theology...Chicago. Thoughtful insight.
     

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