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Offline xasop

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Re: Translations of the Bible
« Reply #40 on: April 03, 2022, 03:12:57 AM »
I acquired a copy of the NBV21, and it is a very well produced book. It just feels so nice to hold in one's hand. The translation is beautifully done, too.

I would like to take this opportunity to focus on 2 Chronicles 7:19, which includes a feature that is notoriously difficult to render into idiomatic English: the use of a plural "you" in Hebrew, where a singular interpretation of the English word "you" could also make sense. Of course, Dutch and Irish both have plural forms for "you", so there is no ambiguity there.

Quote from: NBV21
Maar mochten jullie je van Mij afwenden en je afkeren van de bepalingen en geboden die Ik jullie heb opgelegd, en in plaats daarvan andere goden gaan vereren en voor hen neerknielen,
Quote from: An Bíobla Naofa
Ach má iompaíonn sibh uaim, agus nach gcoimeádfaidh sibh m'aitheanta agus mo reachtanna a chuir mé romhaibh, ach imeacht agus seirbhís a dhéanamh do dhéithe eile agus iad a adhradh,

Predictably for how outdated it is, the KJV in English also makes this distinction clear — but perhaps not so clear to modern readers who haven't studied Early Modern English.

Quote from: King James Version
But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;

On the other hand, the NRSV uses the ambiguous "you" of Modern English, but with a footnote illuminating the reader as to its plural sense in Hebrew.

Quote from: New Revised Standard Version
"But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them,

Finally, we come around to my favourite English translation, which is an exceptional case here in treating this passage with the clarity it deserves in Modern English that everyone can understand.

Quote from: Good News Bible
But if you and your people ever disobey the laws and commands I have given you, and worship other gods,

Of all these translations of this verse, I actually like An Bíobla Naofa the most. It's slightly more literal (based on comparison with the very literal NRSV) than the Dutch, while conveying the message in clear and (as far as I can tell with my current level) idiomatic Irish. But in terms of reaching the greatest number of people, the Good News Bible is the clear winner, with a simple yet accurate rendering in the world's most widely spoken language.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2022, 03:31:23 AM by xasop »
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Offline xasop

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Re: Translations of the Bible
« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2022, 10:12:26 PM »
I have spent long enough considering Bible translations in different languages now that I have been able to articulate the criteria by which I evaluate a translation. These are, of course, subjective to my reasons for reading the Bible — as a cultural influence and a (somewhat biased) historical document, without any particular religious affiliation.

My criteria are, in descending order of importance:


1. It must include the Deuterocanonical books.

Aside from the Jewish Tanakh, no Christian denomination — whether Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant — excluded these books until around the 19th century. Martin Luther himself asserted that they should be read, but not considered to be scripture in the same way that the other books are. Thus, they were placed in their own section of the Luther Bible, rather than among the Old Testament books where Catholics prefer them. The refusal by many Protestants to read them at all is a modern invention. In any case, since they were universally treated as scripture prior to the Reformation, they are just as important to the cultural influence of Christianity as the rest of the Bible.

Of the Bibles I own, the Good News Bible, the New Revised Standard Version and the NBV21 all include the Catholic Deuterocanonical books separately from the Old Testament, which is ideal, as it makes the separation of sources clear to the reader. They vary in the order of books within this section and the inclusion of additional books not considered canonical by the Latin Church — they all include the Prayer of Manasseh, but beyond that there is considerable variation.

An Bíobla Naofa, on the other hand, includes only the Catholic canon in the Vulgate order. This is not surprising, since — unlike the ecumenical translations mentioned above — this is a translation commissioned by the Catholic Church. This approach somewhat masks the distinction between Hebrew scripture and the later Greek additions, especially in books like Esther and Daniel with extensive insertions of entire passages, but is acceptable.

Many Protestant translations fail this test and are immediately eliminated. The New International Version is a notable such failure.


2. It should be as faithful to the original as possible, according to scholarly consensus based on available manuscripts.

This is nebulous in some cases — for example, is 1 Corinthians 7:36 about a betrothed couple, or a father and his daughter? Both are valid scholarly interpretations of the Greek, so neither one makes a translation any more or less acceptable based on this test. But there are translations that ignore scholarly consensus in favour of traditional (mis)translations, particularly where there are valid interpretations of the Greek Old Testament which do not reflect the original Hebrew.

My go-to example for this is Isaiah 7:14. If that verse contains the word "virgin", it is not an accurate translation of the Hebrew. It may be an accurate translation of the Greek, but every good translator knows you don't translate a translation if you can help it. The New International Version fails this test too, as does the King James Version. (The latter case is forgivable because modern Biblical scholarship did not yet exist in the 17th century; what is not forgivable is that such an outdated translation is still so widely relied upon.)

All four of the Bibles I own pass this test with flying colours. It is an issue I am not willing to compromise on.


3. It should be written in clear, straightforward, idiomatic and modern language, in whichever language it is translated into.

This is obviously quite subjective. Regular church-goers will have a much easier time understanding Christian jargon than the irreligious. My personal view is that while translations that try to render every word of the original Hebrew and Greek (formal equivalence) have their place as study Bibles, a good general-purpose translation is one that uses natural language to convey the same ideas that the source texts would have conjured up in early Christians (dynamic equivalence).

In practice, this is a spectrum and every translation does this to a greater or lesser degree. (Simply translating each word by itself would result in incomprehensible gibberish, while some concepts cannot be rendered into natural English without needing some background explanation — the archetypal example being the tetragrammaton.) As such, it is more of a way to choose between two translations than a test that can be applied to a single translation.

The Good News Bible passes with flying colours, and the NBV21 only slightly less so. The Bijbel in Gewone Taal does better than the NBV21, but it lacks the Deuterocanonical books, so it is already eliminated by this point. The New Revised Standard Version does not do very well here, being very literal, but that is acceptable for a study Bible. This does not really apply to An Bíobla Naofa, which is the only complete translation of the Bible into modern Irish, and therefore has nothing to be compared with.

Notably, this is where the King James Version truly proves its irrelevance. The New International Version doesn't score too badly here, but still loses out to the Good News Bible.


4. It should include ample footnotes where alternative readings are possible.

This comes last because a Bible that scores well on the other points is still an excellent reading experience, even without providing the reader with the opportunity to consider alternatives. But for a Bible that passes the other tests, this is the icing on the cake.

The Good News Bible is excellent at this. The New Revised Standard Version is also good, and the specific edition I have it in — the New Oxford Annotated Bible — includes a plethora of additional notes and essays with further detail and scholarly commentaries. The NBV21 includes ample footnotes — though not as many as the Good News Bible — while An Bíobla Naofa includes no footnotes at all (but does have introductory essays for each book).


I feel like I have a much clearer understanding of why I like the Good News Bible now, and a better appreciation of how to measure others by the same yardstick.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2022, 10:18:16 PM by xasop »
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Offline crutonius

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Re: Translations of the Bible
« Reply #42 on: April 13, 2022, 04:57:09 PM »

Some people don't think that is what they were writing:

https://www.fayobserver.com/entertainment/20170316/ruler-of-this-world-god-or-satan

Quote
Ruler of This World: God or Satan?

Many people are surprised by the evil in this world. Do you ever wonder, “If God is good or even exists, why is there so much pain and suffering? Why is it that bad things happen to me even when I work hard and try to be a good person?” I’ll tell you why. The Bible records that while God gave Adam authority over the world, Adam gave it over to Satan.

That’s right; Satan is the temporary ruler of this world:

“Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.” (John 12:31)

“Jesus said, ‘The ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me.’” (John 14:30)

“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe the Gospel.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

“We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil spiritual rulers and authorities, and against mighty powers in this dark world.” (Ephesians 6:12)

“We know that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19) “Who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:5)

God is using Satan’s rebellion to reveal the hearts of men and women. Those who put their faith in God’s salvation will be raised from death and live for eternity with him.

“Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.” (Galatians 1:4)

“The world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” (1 John 2:16-17)

Why do I say that Satan is the temporary ruler of this world? Because the Bible tells us that Satan’s end has already been determined: “The devil was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:10-15)

Rev. Dr. J. Robert Kretzu is pastor of Hope Mills United Methodist Church

Perhaps the Bible is saying that there is a good God somewhere, but the God of this world isn't it. When God, or the 'Lord', is present and doing things in our world in some passages it's possible that it's not the good one.

Here's where all this confusion comes from.  Most Christians assume that the Bible makes sense, that it's cohesive, that while not written by a single author directly that a supreme being directed it to be written the way it is.

The truth is, and this is not controversial, the Bible is a collection of stories crammed together over thousands of years that were often completely unrelated.  If it seems like the character of God shifts wildly over the course of the Bible its usually because its written about several different gods.

Most Christians can't handle this so they come up with a lot of stupid nonsense trying to reconcile all the contradictions.

I sometimes think that atheists are more interested in the Bible because once you see it's not a great holy book you realize it's a fantastic historical document.  A lot of religious scholars are starting to see it this way.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Translations of the Bible
« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2022, 03:23:19 AM »
If it seems like the character of God shifts wildly over the course of the Bible its usually because its written about several different gods.

Correct. That was the thesis provided; that the Bible is about different gods.