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Joseph_F
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Re: Bible Translations


utopian wrote:

I had not realized this.  The translations are considered divinely inspired?

 

 


Well, this is the result of an interesting problem almost every text-based religions (religions of the book, etc.) reach at a certain point. There will eventually be adherents who do not speak the language that the sacred text is in. If that sacred text is the literal Word of God, then you now have a problem. What do you do about the barrier between you and God's Word?

 

There are a few different possibilities.  The way Islam handled it was to declare all translations invalid (which is why translations of the Quaran are usually referred to as "interpretations of the Quaran" because they can't be considered the Quaran itself) forcing true believers to learn the sacred language. The way Judaism handled it for the most part was to retain Hebrew as a singular holy tonuge while still allowing for translations that were useful but not considered anywhere near as sacred. Christianity, due to the diverse nature of its sects, has had a much more scattered response. But certainly there have been those who have considered the translations themselves to be new Words of God. This both fits the theology of the religion (if God wants his message spread, then it makes sense to help it along to those who don't speak ancient languages) and also allows groups to consider themselves fully united with God's Word without learning the original languages, thus solving the problem of the language barrier.

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Peppermill
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Re: Bible Translations - Words

Thank you, Everyman.  You expanded upon the complexity of issues of the history of words and their translation to which I alluded. 

 

There are other issues as well, of course. As we know, words can have multiple meanings and which of those meanings are used in what contexts can change over time.  Cultural and secular issues of power can intervene or, as you suggest, Divine Will can prevail.

 


Everyman wrote:

I'm in no way a Hebrew or Aramaic scholar, nor am I a Biblical Greek scholar (what Greek I have is classical Greek), but I wonder whether those different translations were known at the time of the KJV, or whether they have emerged from more recent scholarship.  That is, were the translations known to the translators to be inaccurate, or were they accurate translations given the state of understanding of the original language at the time of the translations?

 

Scholarship into ancient languages has certainly made significant strides in the past four centuries, so it may (or of course may not) be that the translations were considered accurate based on the understanding of the language at the time.

 

And, of course, if one holds the viewpoint, as many do, that the translations were divinely inspired and guided, those were the words that God wished the translators to use, however we may view them today.  Sensitivity to those who hold this position would suggest that perhaps we should not call them outright erroneous translations, since that disrespects those who consider the words to be the literal words of God.   


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Laurel
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Re: Bible Translations

Joseph, the King James Version does not use "horns" for Moses. The horns are from Jerome. Here's what the KJV says:

 

 29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

 30And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

 31And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.

 32And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.

 33And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.

 34But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.

 35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.     --Exodus 34:29-35


Joseph_F wrote:

utopian wrote:

Then there's the rays of light that came from Moses' head and was mistranslated as horns.  Young girl may have been mistranslated as virgin.  It boggles the mind to think of all the mistaken ideas that have been a result of mistranslations.


These are certainly two of the most famous mistranslations from the KJV. From my understanding, neither of these are ambiguities, the words were simply mistranslated completely. "Ray" and "horn" are not the same word, and "young girl" and "virgin" are not the same word. The verses were simply translated completely incorrectly and the result was massive on history for centuries to come.


 

 

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Choisya
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Re: Bible Translations : Moses' horns

There is more stuff about Moses' horns here Laurel.  And an explanation of Jerome's incorrect translation.  Here is an argument about it.  Michaelangelo's famous statue of Moses in Rome also shows him with horns.

 

I have Jewish friend who was evacuated during the war and the first thing that her foster parents did was to examine her head for horns!  It was a common myth that Jews had horns when I was young and of course horns are associated with the devil.:smileysad: 

 

 

 

 

 


Laurel wrote:

Joseph, the King James Version does not use "horns" for Moses. The horns are from Jerome. Here's what the KJV says:

 

 29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

 30And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

 31And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.

 32And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.

 33And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.

 34But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.

 35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.     --Exodus 34:29-35


Joseph_F wrote:

utopian wrote:

Then there's the rays of light that came from Moses' head and was mistranslated as horns.  Young girl may have been mistranslated as virgin.  It boggles the mind to think of all the mistaken ideas that have been a result of mistranslations.


These are certainly two of the most famous mistranslations from the KJV. From my understanding, neither of these are ambiguities, the words were simply mistranslated completely. "Ray" and "horn" are not the same word, and "young girl" and "virgin" are not the same word. The verses were simply translated completely incorrectly and the result was massive on history for centuries to come.


 

 


 

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Peppermill
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Re: Bible Translations : Moses' horns


Choisya wrote:

 

There is more stuff about Moses' horns here Laurel.  And an explanation of Jerome's incorrect translation.  Here is an argument about it.  Michaelangelo's famous statue of Moses in Rome also shows him with horns.

 

I have Jewish friend who was evacuated during the war and the first thing that her foster parents did was to examine her head for horns!  It was a common myth that Jews had horns when I was young and of course horns are associated with the devil.:smileysad:   {Emphasis added.}


 And the horns associated with the bull as a symbol of Baal.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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utopian
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Re: Bible Translations : Moses' horns

I've been thinking...  If a translation is divinely inspired, then it isn't really a translation.  The faithful believe that it is basically written by God.  In that case, when we discuss "translations" we're really talking about all other, man-made translations.  Maybe that differentiation would help in the discussion?  
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Joseph_F
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Re: Bible Translations : Moses' horns

Since which translations are considered divinely inspired changes from group to group (obviously if a group considers a translation divinely inspired, it will be whatever translation they are using), I'm not sure how it is possible to differentiate those in a discussion that encompasses multiple groups. Perhaps you could expand on that, because I'm not sure I understand.
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utopian
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Re: Bible Translations : Moses' horns

I didn't mean to say that there should be any restrictions on discussion.  It just occurred to me that when I speak of "translation" I may be speaking of something different than the divinely inspired text that different religions believe in.  I wouldn't want to offend anyone by implying that those texts are in anyway inaccurate.  If someone believes that the KJV is the word of God then it really isn't in the same realm, I don't think, as the different translations that Nadine posted.  I think it would be interesting, actually, to learn which versions are considered divine and which aren't.  For instance, if the Koran is only divine in Arabic, then translations are open for debate.  But if the KJV is considered to be divine, then it really isn't something that can be described as "inaccurate".  I'm just concerned about unintentionally offending peoples sensibilities.  

 

Personally, I often struggle with a difficult text and then realize, in frustration, that it is a translation and that may be part of the problem in understanding.  But if I believed the text was dictated by God I wouldn't have the same thought process.  I'd struggle directly with every word.  

 

 

Does this make sense?  The whole idea of divine translation is a new one to me and in some sense the concept itself is a difficult one.  It seems that if God is directing the wording, then the text is divine, not a translation of anything else, really.  

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Everyman
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Re: Bible Translations : Moses' horns

Does that makes sense, you ask?  Absolutely.

 

 

 


utopian wrote:

I didn't mean to say that there should be any restrictions on discussion.  It just occurred to me that when I speak of "translation" I may be speaking of something different than the divinely inspired text that different religions believe in.  I wouldn't want to offend anyone by implying that those texts are in anyway inaccurate.  If someone believes that the KJV is the word of God then it really isn't in the same realm, I don't think, as the different translations that Nadine posted.  I think it would be interesting, actually, to learn which versions are considered divine and which aren't.  For instance, if the Koran is only divine in Arabic, then translations are open for debate.  But if the KJV is considered to be divine, then it really isn't something that can be described as "inaccurate".  I'm just concerned about unintentionally offending peoples sensibilities.  

 

Personally, I often struggle with a difficult text and then realize, in frustration, that it is a translation and that may be part of the problem in understanding.  But if I believed the text was dictated by God I wouldn't have the same thought process.  I'd struggle directly with every word.  

 

 

Does this make sense?  The whole idea of divine translation is a new one to me and in some sense the concept itself is a difficult one.  It seems that if God is directing the wording, then the text is divine, not a translation of anything else, really.  


 

 

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Choisya
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Re: Qu'ran translations

For instance, if the Koran is only divine in Arabic, then translations are open for debate.

 

For Muslims no translation is accurate or open to discussion.  The first Koran was written around 100 years after Mohammed's death from collections of writings supposedly kept by his followers and Muslims believe that what they read now has not been translated but is an accurate copy of this first Arabic text. Many Muslims will deny that the Arabic transcript they are using is a translation although many are and there are some beautiful Arabic versions of the Koran in use throughout the Islamic world.  The translation used is often linked to the country people originate from although many now use the Egyptian standard translation first printed in 1925.     Like the Bible, it has a very complex history and the subject of translation arouses great passion.   

 

Here you can turn the pages of Sultan Baybar's Quaran, written in pure gold in 1304, which is displayed at the British Library. 

 

I too struggle with the ideas (and emotions) surrounding translations because my interest is in the story they tell, not the accuracy.  I am looking for beauty in the translation and perhaps I find that one translation has a better version of a story than another.   I like the KJV because it is nearer to Shakespeare and I do not like any of the modern translations, although I can see that they often clarify the meaning for the modern reader.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


utopian wrote:

I didn't mean to say that there should be any restrictions on discussion.  It just occurred to me that when I speak of "translation" I may be speaking of something different than the divinely inspired text that different religions believe in.  I wouldn't want to offend anyone by implying that those texts are in anyway inaccurate.  If someone believes that the KJV is the word of God then it really isn't in the same realm, I don't think, as the different translations that Nadine posted.  I think it would be interesting, actually, to learn which versions are considered divine and which aren't.  For instance, if the Koran is only divine in Arabic, then translations are open for debate.  But if the KJV is considered to be divine, then it really isn't something that can be described as "inaccurate".  I'm just concerned about unintentionally offending peoples sensibilities.  

 

Personally, I often struggle with a difficult text and then realize, in frustration, that it is a translation and that may be part of the problem in understanding.  But if I believed the text was dictated by God I wouldn't have the same thought process.  I'd struggle directly with every word.  

 

 

Does this make sense?  The whole idea of divine translation is a new one to me and in some sense the concept itself is a difficult one.  It seems that if God is directing the wording, then the text is divine, not a translation of anything else, really.  


 

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utopian
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Re: Qu'ran translations

Choisya, I'm not quite clear about what  you're saying.  Is it that the Moslems believe that every translation is divine?  Joseph had mentioned that they don't acknowledge the validity of any translation.

 

When I struggle with the accuracy of a translation I don't mean to say that I'm necessarily seeking the word of God as it's contained in every word.  I'm struggling, as with everything we read, to understand the meaning of the writer.  The narrative is just a small part of that and usually pretty easy to grasp.    These works, I think, run much deeper than the story line and my hope is to delve into the deeper concepts and allegories,  whether or not I "believe" in them.    I guess when I read anything I try to buy into what is being said, just so that I can first understand, and only later judge.   

 

I'd be interested, if there are any Catholics on here, to know how they feel about Vatican II and the end of the Latin mass.  I've heard people say that that kind of ruined the mass for them.   

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utopian
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Re: Qu'ran translations

Sorry, Choisya, I misread your post.  No translation is accurate or can be discussed.  So, really, there are no translations possible.  So, if I understand, there is no way to discuss Islam, in English, without offending.  I think I understand now.  Actually, I see the logic there.

 

 

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Everyman
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Re: Qu'ran translations

I too struggle with the ideas (and emotions) surrounding translations because my interest is in the story they tell, not the accuracy.

 

Do I understand this to mean that you would rather read a well told story that is not an accurate representation of the original than a less well told but more accurate rendition?  

 

This isn't intended to be a demeaning question.  I haven't really considered it with respect to translations before, but it's a common question when considering a film rendition of a book, which is really a different sort of translation, not translating languages but translating genres.  Sometimes a director will deviate significantly from the book in order, in their view, to tell the story in a better way (we saw this in, for example, the recent BBC/PBS showing of Sense and Sensibility where major changes from the book were made to produce a more compelling story.  Some people approved of this, others didn't.)  

 

Am I correctly understanding what you are saying about translations, then?  That you like the better-story less-accurate translation to the more-accurate, not-as-good-a-story ones?  

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Joseph_F
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Re: Qu'ran translations

utopian, the reasons no translation of the Koran is considered accurate is that the text itself is not the Word of God, but is rather considered God himself. The book is akin somewhat to Jesus in that the words themselves are earthly manifestations of God. As such, translating those words is considered impossible because the meaning is not the only thing that is divine, but the specific words and characters. So no translation can be valid.

 

As for calling the KJV inaccurate, from a factual point of view that is what it is. Hebrew words have a meaning, and the KJV does not accurately convey that meaning. That is a fact. Whether the translation is divine is a matter not of fact but of faith. The belief must then be that either God has decided to reword his message when translating to English, or that humanity's understanding of Hebrew has been wrong all this time. You can see that the ramifications of this belief are complicated if you think of it in the broad perspective of all translated and not translated texts available, which is why the belief is most common in those situations where the translated text is the only version accessible or allowed to the community.

 

 

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Everyman
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Re: Qu'ran translations

So, if I understand, there is no way to discuss Islam, in English, without offending.

 

If this is true, it will certainly have an impact on our discussion of Armstrong.

 


utopian wrote:

Sorry, Choisya, I misread your post.  No translation is accurate or can be discussed.  So, really, there are no translations possible.  So, if I understand, there is no way to discuss Islam, in English, without offending.  I think I understand now.  Actually, I see the logic there.

 

 


 

 

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utopian
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Re: Qu'ran translations


Joseph_F wrote:

utopian, the reasons no translation of the Koran is considered accurate is that the text itself is not the Word of God, but is rather considered God himself. The book is akin somewhat to Jesus in that the words themselves are earthly manifestations of God. As such, translating those words is considered impossible because the meaning is not the only thing that is divine, but the specific words and characters. So no translation can be valid.

 

As for calling the KJV inaccurate, from a factual point of view that is what it is. Hebrew words have a meaning, and the KJV does not accurately convey that meaning. That is a fact. Whether the translation is divine is a matter not of fact but of faith. The belief must then be that either God has decided to reword his message when translating to English, or that humanity's understanding of Hebrew has been wrong all this time. You can see that the ramifications of this belief are complicated if you think of it in the broad perspective of all translated and not translated texts available, which is why the belief is most common in those situations where the translated text is the only version accessible or allowed to the community.

 

 



Thanks so much for that explanation.  I had no idea!

 

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Joseph_F
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Re: Qu'ran translations


utopian wrote:

Sorry, Choisya, I misread your post.  No translation is accurate or can be discussed.  So, really, there are no translations possible.  So, if I understand, there is no way to discuss Islam, in English, without offending.  I think I understand now.  Actually, I see the logic there.

 

 


This is actually not true, although I can see your point. Most Muslims are not offended by English translations of the Qu'ran, although they do not recognize them religiously as translations. That is why all English translations of the Qu'ran are referred to on their cover as "interpretations of the Qu'ran".

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utopian
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Re: Qu'ran translations

BTW, don't think I missed the irony in my misreading Choisya's very clear sentence! 

 

Joseph, you really have your work cut out for you!  We're all coming from such different places, which is the exciting part of this.  Maybe once we get into actual texts things will become easier. 

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utopian
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Re: Bible Translations


Laurel wrote:

Joseph, the King James Version does not use "horns" for Moses. The horns are from Jerome. Here's what the KJV says:

 

 29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

 30And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

 31And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.

 32And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.

 33And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.

 34But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.

 35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.     --Exodus 34:29-35


Joseph_F wrote:

utopian wrote:

Then there's the rays of light that came from Moses' head and was mistranslated as horns.  Young girl may have been mistranslated as virgin.  It boggles the mind to think of all the mistaken ideas that have been a result of mistranslations.


These are certainly two of the most famous mistranslations from the KJV. From my understanding, neither of these are ambiguities, the words were simply mistranslated completely. "Ray" and "horn" are not the same word, and "young girl" and "virgin" are not the same word. The verses were simply translated completely incorrectly and the result was massive on history for centuries to come.


 

 



Laurel, are all translations considered divinely inspired then?  How are the discrepancies accounted for?
 

 

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Laurel
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Re: Bible Translations

I believe that the original manuscripts were inspired, and that the Bible that I read each day is the Word of God. A big question is finding which extant copies are closest to the original. I stick with Erasmus and company, myself, but I know there are many who disagree. I also think it is absolutely amazing that there are so very few discrepancies. Compared to other ancient books--well there just is no comparison.

utopian wrote:


Laurel, are all translations considered divinely inspired then?  How are the discrepancies accounted for?
 

 


 

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton