Biblical Translation.

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by aged hippy, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. aged hippy

    aged hippy drifting gently

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    My stumbling along the path seems to have led me back to Christianity - not, i feel i ought to add, as a religious belief - but in the pursuit of god. And i wonder if someone can give me some guidance.

    My question is this: With regards to the original meaning of the Hebrew language, how accurate is the King James version of the Bible? Or any other version, for that matter.
    What i am seeking is the most accurate translation of Genesis, and would deeply appreciate any assistance whatsoever.

    Would i be better off reading Jewish works? (I know nothing of them.)

    Warmest Regards
    malcolm
     
  2. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters New Member

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    The most accurate translation is in dispute. Words can be read several ways. My favorite translation and one I personally find most accurate is Friedman's "The Hidden Book in the Bible" although it does not encompass all the verses. I have found only one word in his work I would have to change to give the text its proper meaning and that was from "feet" to "foot." If one was really serious about this, I would recommend a comparison of texts using a concordance. http://bible.crosswalk.com/

    This requires more work than simply taking one man's word for it. I have found phrases and texts mistranslated and some looked as if it was a deliberate mistranslation. Others simply showed the translator was clueless as to what the passage means. The classic mistranslation is Exodus 4:25 where Gershom foreskin is "cast at Moses' feet." First off Moses is not mentioned in the verse. It is "his" not "Moses." The translator assumes it was Moses. Secondly it is not "cast", but "touched." And the third problem is that the word is "foot" singular, not "feet" plural.

    What is clear is that translators and theologians don't know what to do with these passages, especially when YHWH tries to kill Moses. Their explanations and tap dances give me laughter as they try to explain the text using the wrong translation.

    Good Luck.
     
  3. FriendRob

    FriendRob New Member

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    This web page has a brief summary of the Bible and translations:
    http://www.bidstrup.com/bible.htm

    I think the New Jerusalem Bible is pretty good, but I haven't found any one translation that I feel I can trust fully.
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    There's a good section of major translations on the Christianity section on the main site:

    The Bible.

    :)

    Of course, there are more...
     
  5. Siege

    Siege New Member

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    I'm both a translator and a Christian, so of course I've got to chime in.

    The King James Version is about the last currently popular translation of the Bible I'd recom mend to someone interested in an accurate translation. While the language is beautiful, language has shifted over the past 400 years, to the point where meaning can be distorted or lost. Take, "trespass" as used in "forgive us our trespasses" in the Lord's Prayer or "suffer" as in "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me" in Mark 19:14.

    I use The New English Bible for my everyday Bible, but that's partially because it was the one which someone gave me when I was a teenager. I'd recommend looking at several translations when possible. There's a website called Bible Gateway which allows you to search for words or phrases in various translations, or compare the way various versions translate the same verse. Not only do I keep it bookmarked, it's where I got the exact wording of that passage from Mark. If you're interested in the Gospels alone, I'd recommend The Complete Gospels, edited by Robert J. Miller. It examines all 4 canonical gospels, along with various source documents and non-canonical versions of the Gospel. One word of warning. Some of the documents included in it, notably The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, contain material which many Christians find heretical.

    Translations a tricky business. If I look at my standard Japanese dictionary (I usually translate to and from Japanese and German into English, although that's changing), I see 4 possible words for "peace", each with its own nuances and connotations. When Christ said, "Peace be with you" in Luke 24:36,which of those words would best convey what He meant by those words?

    May I ask why you're interested in Genesis, in particular?
    Thank you, and may your searching bring you peace.
    CJ
     
  6. aged hippy

    aged hippy drifting gently

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    Thanks for the help, together, i'm a bit further along the path to .... wherever. Words are tricky, and unless we know what was originally intended, confusion easily arises. Possibly some of this is caused by unfamiliar imagery in the sentences and verses. Haps if we try to 'analyse' it too deeply (with the left-brain) we miss the true meaning of the images and symbols, which were probably first described using the right-brain.

    I'm not seeking to 'analyse' the words in a dead, academic sense, i just want them to make sense to me, to come alive, as it were. But it appears that i have picked a long row to hoe, and it would appear that - with all due respect to the devout - much has sprung up, that was'nt originally planted.

    CJ, in answer to your : "May I ask why you're interested in Genesis, in particular?" - there seems to be a lot of correlation between the older texts of the early Christian church (Testimony of Truth, Trimorphic Protennoia, Allogenes, Seven Sermons to the Dead, The Apocalypse of Adam, etc.), and the book by Vissarion, 'The Last Hope', in that god 'brought forth' the universe from himself (divided himself into smaller and smaller parts), each part of which has it's own intrinsic awareness - in decreasing amounts.

    It is these correlations that interest me, as the feeling is growing within me that those older texts - and the Last Hope - do have a valid message for us.

    Warmest Regards,

    malcolm
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Malcolm -

    That is truly a knot!

    One must also ask Old Testament (Hebrew) or New Testament (Greek)

    One must also acknowledge that the authors of old were not so schooled in critical method as is the norm today - they wrote from the heart, as it were, not from the head, and that's the way Scripture should be read. Which translation is which then becomes almost immaterial, because people don't read from the heart anyway. If Christ was right there talking to them, they'd still miss the point.

    The point being that the various translations have inspired saints and sages throughout history. It's easy to knock the bible, but then let the critics come up with something better than the beatitudes!

    Hebrew, especially, was written at a number of levels. Not only the literal, but there's whole sciences of first and last letters, meanings within meanings, and the numerical value of letters (gematria). I've read a whole screed on the significance of the word 'camel' in reference to passing through the eye of a needle, and a detailed description of the 153 fish caught in the net by Peter.

    Here's something on Genesis:
    "The Hebrew Bible opens with Beresith which is rendered in English as 'in the beginning'. The Hebrew however, understood according to its primary meaning, which is implicit in its Greek translation as en arche and in its Latin as in principio, would properly be rendered in English as 'in the principle', the English then rightly and more accurately conveying a meta-temporal condition which is not equally as explicit in the common English term 'beginning'.

    This timeless condition of 'beginning' refers not to any physical, finite, temporal or otherwise quantifable moment, which would carry the Greek protista and the Latin inceptium or initium{/I], but rather to the principle by which and in which things have their source and origin, not simply as a cause but as the First Cause, in which the cosmos in its entirety and totality is predicated and from which it draws its essential being."

    more at: http://www.theveil.net/meta/hex/gen_1_1_1.html
     
  8. kavalec

    kavalec New Member

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    May I suggest taking a look at the Qur'an? Multiple translations are available for comparison here

    http://cwis.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/

    and here

    http://www.universalunity.net/quran4/index.htm

    The original Arabic revelation has not changed by one word since the time of the Prophet.

    Salaam
    G. Waleed Kavalec
     
  9. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    If it is Old Testament material you are most interested in, Jewish sources are more likely to be written by someone who is familiar with the text in the original language, and therefore less likely to fall into silly misunderstandings.
     
  10. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web New Member

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    A much discussed point about the Bible is that it should not be the literalism of the words that define belief, but the personal understanding that is found between the words.
     
  11. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    Yes, but if you do not even have the words right, then you are not looking between the words but off somewhere else.
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I'm curious as to whether anyone has any pointers on the major differences between the translations. I know I should have something somewhere from an old backup, but it's going to take a while to locate it.

    Either way, I'm in the process of reformatting the KJV for uploading to this site. I know there are specific criticisms of the translation, but it's effectively the most well known, well used, and most referred to version, so far as I can tell - regardless of how many warts it may or may not have.
     
  13. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    Doing a quick search, here's a page devoted to different bible translations & discussions about the topic: http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/

    Me, I merely maintain the reference library, now with several KJV, a New American, the Jewish Publication Society version, a catholic version (it's downstairs and I'm too lazy to walk down there right now), plus a couple of other varieties I've acquired over the years.

    Here's one with some different comparisons: http://www.bibletranslation.ws/comp.html
     
  14. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    with the many interpretations , misunderstandings ,translations and the "reading between the lines " there is no direct path from the bible to god
     
  15. emong

    emong New Member

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    amen
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That may well be your opinion - but that is all it is - not an expression of truth. Because one cannot see it, does not mean it is not there.

    Thomas
     
  17. Chronicles

    Chronicles New Member

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    I believe that most opinion indeed comes under that regard. :)

    Btw - brucegc's earlier links are very informative, if anyone wishes to check them out.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Malcolm -

    Having posted just prior to this, I thought I might offer a more specific indication, rather than answer.

    The best bet is to find a text or commentary that 'lights you up' as it were, but without knowing your tastes I can't offer assistance. What's your flavour - Doctrinal? Evangelical? Mystical? Spiritual? Neoplatonic? Kabbalistic? Alchemical?

    My own turning point was symbolism - which I thought I understood - but in which 'my eyes were opened' by a Buddhist writing on Initiation and the Rending of the Veil of the Temple as accounted in the Gospels.

    Thomas
     
  19. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    @ thomus what do you mean no truth in my statement .i said no direct path .if the path was direct i.e. form a to b then all christians will have the same belief but as they dont then there is no DIRECT path just a path they make for themselfs .the bible people read today is a book rewritten time and time again that is the truth .plz dont flame if ou dont understand ,because the book has been altered sooo much there is not direct path from god to the bible
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK - one step at a time -

    I did not intend offence - I simply pointed out that there is a difference between a statement of fact and of opinion.

    You cannot say 'no direct path' because you cannot speak for the rest of humanity - only for yourself - that is why I said you are stating an opinion - not a fact. To be a fact you would have to ask everyone whop has ever read scripture to endorse your viewpoint.

    Divergence in belief is to do with people not the Path, nor Revelation, nor Scripture.

    That each person is called to walk their own path is part of Christian doctrine. There would be no point in having two people live exactly the same life.

    The argument that Scripture has been altered so much that it no longer serves as a Symbol and a Sacrament falls flat because it serves precisely as such for myself and for others.

    Thomas
     

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