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Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #8 Selective Bibles and selective people

Some Christian bibles which followed the new knowledge of Hebrew words and used more the Jewish way of saying were condemned or considered ‘from the devil’ by several Christian groups.

The 2000 edition of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, with the NRSV text

New English Bible cover.jpgEven more aggressive than the New English Bible (NEB, 1961-1970), undertaken by the major Protestant churches of the British Isles, for which scholars translated from the best Hebrew and Greek texts, aiming to present the full meaning of the original in clear and natural modern English, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Christian Bible (1989) for their translating Isaiah 7:14 as “young woman” was burned in fundamentalist pulpits and the RSV committee was accused of being in league with the devil. Despite all the uproar, in the first year, the RSV sold 2 million copies. Until the appearance of the NRSV, it enjoyed wide use on college campuses, especially in study editions such as the Oxford Annotated Bible (OAB) with contributors from mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and non-religious interpretative traditions.

The continuing committee of the RSV and NRSV has been working and publishing for half a century: the New Testament (1946), the Old Testament (1952), the books of the Apocrypha (1957), a second edition of the New Testament (1957), an Oxford Annotated Bible with a Catholic imprimatur (1966), an ecumenical [for Protestants, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox] expanded edition with the Apocrypha (1977), a 40% condensed version of the bible: Reader’s Digest Bible (a project, led by John E. Walsh, which took seven editors three years to complete), which abridged the Old Testament to one-half of its original length (1982), and the NRSV (1989).

The Open Bible edition of the New American Standard Bible in the Church of Saint Mary, an Episcopal Church in Sagada, Mountain Province, the Philippines.

In those version one can find  more radical than the slight alterations in the most literally translated New American Standard Bible (NASB 1971 last updated in 1995) which sought to render grammar and terminology in contemporary English or the New King James Bible (NKJV 1982), which are both revisions of the KJV.
Richard Whitaker provided a concordance for the RSV in 1980. The NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible was published in August 1997.

Mostly conservative (Republicans & Tea party) Americans where against the better translations than those of the 17th century. They also resisted to accept that Biblical characters had Jewish names and lots of English people have difficulties to see those names restored. Bibles with names like Moshe for Moses and Jeshua (the real name of the Messiah) instead of the more popular English name Jesus (Issou = Hail Zeus) or where the noun was translated in a subject instead of what they were used to see as a name, like Satan for an adversary or sheol/hades/hell for grave and not a place of doom.

Around the turn of the 20th century to the 21st century many were keen not to have to spent too much time at bible reading and wanted only to see those pieces in it they like or which are good for the pastor to concentrate his sermons on.

As such we can call the turn of the century the time of the “Selection Bibles”, books which were called bible but only presented a selection of the bible and in most cases even only selections from the New testament.

Readers Digest Illustrated Bible

Not a small handy Bible, but more a coffee table Bible the Readers Digest Illustrated Bible could get some people interested to not only look at the nice pictures but to go and read the ‘illustrative’ text. Originally printed in 1990 it got many reprints and its popularity caused other editors also to present some illustrated and thematic condensed Bibles.

In shortening the text some went very far and some even tried to bring the language of their condensed bile translation in what they called a modern language,even presenting a bible in American slang and in the language of rappers. That Rapper’s Bible was one of the many short-lived versions which seemed to try to see the day light.

Today’s English Version

The Today’s English Version (also known as the Good News Bible) is a contemporary translation which according to the publishers seeks to state clearly and accurately the meaning of the original text in words and forms that are widely accepted by people who use English as a means of communication. It is is designed to be easy to read for those who are not familiar with the Bible. This translation does not follow the traditional vocabulary and style found in the historic English Bible versions. Instead it attempts to present the biblical content and message in standard, everyday, natural English and takes a lot of liberties in the way of translation the original texts. The aim of this Bible is to give today’s readers maximum understanding of the content of the original texts, which they try to do by telling what they think the text is wanting to say.

Good News Bible book cover.png

The international cover of the Good News Bible, used since 2004.

Some of the end of century translations said to have chosen to bring a dynamic equivalence, bringing the Hebrew and Greek  in a translation “thought for thought” rather than “word for word”.  But their paraphrasing went sometimes even further than the Good News Bible (GNB), which first had the Messianic writings presented under the title Good News for Modern Man in 1966. That version became anglicised into British English by the British and Foreign Bible Society with the use of metric measurements for the Commonwealth market, and got also known as Today’s English Version (TEV).

Like the GNB several editors tried to bring an English bible for non-native English speakers. The GNB was born out of the translation theories of linguist Eugene Nida, the Executive Secretary of the American Bible Society’s Translations Department. For some dialect versions and the Rapper’s bible we have no idea who created such translations.

Jargon-free English was used for the Contemporary English Version (also known as Bible for Today’s Family) in 1995, originally published by the American Bible Society and for the anglicised version by the British and Foreign Bible Society.

On of the books bringing a selection of the New testament was the “Youth Bible” which was also translated in many other languages and found its way in our regions as the “Jongeren Bijbel” with fluent contemporary Netherlands Dutch. It had a clear Pentecostal touch with its design and purpose to bring youngster to Jesus. With smashing yellow markings phases or words were enlightened to give an idea what the bible wanted to say. Though several notes, from Pentecostal view point, mislead people and wanting them to believe Jesus is God and that it was Jesus who had done and said certain things in the past, which God had done.

Looking at the way our society was going the  intention of that Youth Bible was not bad. The teenage years can be difficult and even in this day and age of more communication and better follow up in schools, the growing up youngsters encounter many difficult things they do not dare to talk or cannot talk about with their parents.  Lonely as most teens struggle to fit in and take on new responsibilities, media and peers both constantly bombard youth with the message that they are never good enough and will never measure up. No wonder most teens end up hopeless and lonely! Teens can use as much encouragement and love as we can give them! For that reason such a selection of bible verses was a real good thing. The given Bible verses for teens were a good selection to offer words of comfort and hope to our youth.  But the publishers better had called the book a selection of the New Testament.

On this line of thinking several other Youth bibles got published. As such we can find the New Century Youth Bible, first published in 1993, which has consistently been among the top three selling Bibles in the UK. The the New Century Youth Bible is based on the New Century Version which has its roots extending to the English Version for the Deaf (EVD) Bible translation (by the World Bible Translation Center, a subsidiary of Bible League International), and is a revision of the International Children’s Bible (1986) which was aimed at young readers and those with low reading skills/limited vocabulary in English. It is written at a 3rd grade level (from the introduction) and is both conservative and evangelical in tone.

The base for the New Century Youth Bible, the NCV had a translation team of 50 Bible scholars and translators which included people with translation experience on such acclaimed versions as the New International Version, the New American Standard Bible, and the New King James Version [(1982) The anglicized edition originally known as the Revised Authorized Version (RAV) New Testament 1979, Psalms in 1980, Old Testament and full Bible in 1982], claiming that the best available Hebrew and Greek texts were used, principally the third edition of the United Bible Societies’ Greek text and the latest edition of the Biblia Hebraica, along with the Septuagint.

The original New Century Version got first the New Testament published in 1978 followed by the Old Testament in 1986, released as the New Century Version in 1987. The NCV has been available as a stand-alone version since 1991.

This revised edition claims to bring the Youth Bible right up-to-date for the twenty-first century. Whilst retaining the original Anglicized text, this revised edition has over 25 of its Life Files replaced or updated. There are also new categories on subjects such as music, euthanasia and the environment. Also in the collage edition are new categories subjects included such as stress, music, image, euthanasia and the environment. What is very good about it is that this time there is also an  updated dictionary and topical concordance; Book-openers – practical introductions to help focus the  youngsters their reading; and a free limited edition CD featuring some new music.

Probably we may count the “Soul Survivor” Bible of “NIV Soul Survivor Youth Bible” in line with the “Youth Bible” but than with texts from the originally published in the 1970s, having received updates in 1984 and 2011 English translation of the Protestant Bible edited by Biblica [formerly the International Bible Society (IBS)]

Easy to Read Version

The English Version for the Deaf on which Ervin Bishop and deaf-language specialist Benton Dibrell worked closely together, was also the base for Ervin Bishop’s Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV). It uses the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1984) as its Old Testament text with some readings from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Also, it follows the Septuagint when its readings are considered more accurate. Those who worked on the EVD/ERV followed conservatively the approach to translation that Nida calls ‘dynamic equivalence,’ referred to by Beekman as ‘idiomatic’ translation” and using a gender-neutral languagehttps://www.accordancebible.com/files/images/156499-custom.pngHaving Billy Graham Evangelistic Association behind the Everyday New Testament (Minneapolis: World Wide Publications, 1988) could have made it more popular. In 1988 Sweet/Worthy Publishing was acquired by Word Publishing, which in 1991 published another revision. This 1991 revision was more extensive, and it was designed to make the version more suitable for an older readership, with longer sentences and more fluent style. In 1992 Word Publishing was acquired by Thomas Nelson Publishers, which continued to print the 1991 revision under the name, New Century Version.

An other good bible translation in the language youngsters easily can understand (lower grades), which also was translated into a 12 year old children’s understanding Dutch is the Living bible or the Life Application Bible (1986/88) presented in Dutch as “Het Leven, Praktische lessen uit Het boek” (2001 Ed; Jongbloed-Heerenveen) as a a Study Bible published by Tyndale House Publishers. It has been available in a number of editions that use various Bible translations, and in Belgium was presented in English and Dutch with the paraphrased version “The Book” (“het Boek”) as basic bible text. The contemporary, easy-to-understand Bible is available in the fastest growing Bible translation, the New Living Translation, impacting the hearts and lives of people worldwide through the authoritative yet easy-to-read Bible translation that brings the Good News alive to readers of all ages. Designed for someone who is new to the Bible or for an unbeliever, The Book features a topical helpfinder, book introductions, and indexes that help people understand God’s Word.

We noticed that that version could bring many to understand the Bible better and to get interested to get to know the ‘real text’ which made them continuous bible students. fro such this could be a version we could recommend for young people, next to the Watchtower Youth bible, which offers a selection of bible texts in an easily told way.

Front CoverWanting to help developing healthy habits is one of the keys to successful living. Experts say that if we do something for 21 days straight, we can turn it into a habit for a lifetime. With that in mind the Life Application Bibles were created. One of the best habits anyone can develop is reading the Bible every day. “The Book: 21 Day Habit” is designed to help you get started. Set aside just a few minutes each day – before bedtime, on your lunch break, or whenever your day allows to read “The Book: 21 Day Habit,” When you finish the 21 days of reading, move right into “The Book” and keep on going.

Front CoverIn the continuing line of “The Life” an expanded book version of the Living Water for Those Who Thirst audio devotional was created. We best call it a topical devotional containing 150 refreshing encounters with God’s Word. Passages are introduced with a lead-in reflection, and each segment concludes with a short devotional that brings it all together. References for numerous related passages are also included for those who wish to expand their devotional time or study the topic further. It features 150 topics! Flexible–short devotions with references for deeper study.

We do like to remind all that for those life application books the language is not at all correctly accurate. The NLT is based upon Kenneth N. Taylor’s corrupted Living Bible (1971), which sold over 40 million copies in North America alone. Somehow the Bible searches for compromises but still has a very evangelical background, avoiding words which can make it clear that Jesus is a human being. As such for example is left out that we are saved by the blood of Christ and is translated “Salvation through Jesus Christ” (Page A47), having the ‘blood of Jesus’ a taboo subject in those days. Though when people would read it carefully they also could find “So we have these three witnesses.” instead what is translated in the KJB – “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” That could still bring the readers to think about the spoken characters which bring witness in unity of mind. Though many trinitarians where offended not finding three names bearing record in heaven.

In a time that more than 200 new English Bible translations were published just within 30 years, several of those publication tried to put the accent on Jesus as the God, omitting Old Testament texts or doing as if in certain Old Testament texts Jesus was saying or doing something when it was Jehovah God doing it, just to give their (false) proof that Jesus would be God.

The NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha

The NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of those selective bibles directed to a special group of people. As such we could find a Housewife Bible (also translated in Dutch, presented in a handy pocket bible format: Huisvrouw Bijbel), a Workman’s Bible (with Dutch version Werkmans Bijbel) and even a Prisoner’s Bible (also in a pocket size edition in Dutch, presented as the “Gevangenis Bijbel, Gods Woord voor gevangenen”). The idea behind that last one was that God must have a special place in his heart for prisoners. according to the publishers this  is shown by the frequent mention of prison and prisoners in his word, imprisonment being one of the most wretched situations into which humans can fall in this world.

The Prisoner’s Bible wanted to buck up the many prisoners in this world. With the knowledge that prisoner movements and activities are restricted, not only are they deprived of family ties and forced to dwell in some of the most vicious company on earth, it wanted to show them there is hope. Also where they can feel they are left on their own in a slave-like relationship where others who care little for their well-being, order them about, and even abuse them, there exist Some One Who is with them all the time. The small book they can have in their cell or take with them can bring them comfort and shows how God, whose love and mercy cause him to commiserate with the downtrodden, sympathizes with the sufferings of prisoners, and how the Bible speaks often, and with compassion, of those in prison.

Though the majority of prisoners mentioned in the Bible were not rebels, but rather saints cast into prison as a result of their faithful witness, their feelings and thoughts could be of good help to our present prisoners, and the bible fragments looked well chosen for the subject and its readers.

https://i2.wp.com/isr-messianic.org/assets_c/2012/06/scriptures-leather-thumbs-1-thumb-850xauto-342.jpg

The Scriptures – Leather-binding with thumbs

But all such prints with only a selection of the 66 books of the given Word of God, we can hardly really call a Bible. But the multiple versions published including the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 of the New Testament, we can find is mostly caused by publishers seeing an opportunity to fill their till. Some used the popular names for it whilst others went back to the writings using the name they could find by the Gospel writers themselves. The names given to the Old Testament in the writings of the New are “the scriptures” (Matthew 21:42), “scripture” (2 Peter 1:20), “the holy scriptures” (Romans 1:2), “the law” (John 12:34), “the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms” (Luke 24:44), “the law and the prophets” (Matthew 5:17), “the old covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:14, R.V.).

Concerning “the scriptures” we can think of any religious texts but in our next chapter we look at the ‘revolt’ in bible publishing world from the 1990ies onwards.

 

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Find also

  1. Reader’s Digest Bible
  2. A Curiosity – the Readers Digest Bible
  3. The New Century Version (English Version for the Deaf, Easy-to-Read Version, International Children’s Bible, Everyday Bible)
  4. Website of the World Bible Translation Center: Bible League International
  5. World Bible Translation Center God’s Word or God’s Words? By Ervin Bishop, Senior Translation Consultant, World Bible Translation Center. Bishop’s article defends the “dynamic equivalence” approach by arguing that “the Bible is the Message of God expressed in the words of men.” (Also here.)
  6. New Living Translation
  7. The Book NLT
  8. The Scriptures (Online version)

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Preceding articles:

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #6 Revisions of revisions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #7 Jewish versions

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Additional reading

  1. Creator and Blogger God 8 A Blog of a Book 2 Holy One making Scriptures Holy
  2. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  3. Book of books and great masterpiece
  4. Absolute Basics to Reading the Bible
  5. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  6. Finding and Understanding Words and MeaningsArcheological Findings the name of God YHWHMeaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Judaism and ChristianityDead Sea scrolls at Drents Museum in Assen
  7. Looking at notes of Samuel Ward and previous Bible translation efforts in English
  8. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  9. The NIV and the Name of God
  10. Wycliffe Associates supporting underground Bible translators
  11. HalleluYah Scriptures
  12. World’s tiniest bible to be presented at Israel Museum for 50th anniversary

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Recommended reading

  1. The Conflict Over Different Bible Versions/Part 1: Introduction + Is the King James Version the “only inspired Bible”? + What about the claim that the 1611 edition of the King James Bible alone is “the Word of God”? + What About the Ancient Manuscripts of the Bible?
  2. The Conflict Over Different Bible Versions/Part 2: False or Irrelevant Claims About the KJV [King James Version] and New Translations
  3. The Conflict Over Different Bible Versions/Part 3: Do Modern Versions Corrupt the Purity of God’s Word? #1 The Deity of Christ
  4. The Conflict Over Different Bible Versions/Part 4: Do Modern Versions Corrupt the Purity of God’s Word? + #2 The Deity of Christ
  5. The Conflict Over Different Bible Versions/Part 5: Were There Heretics and Occultists on the Translation Committees of the New Versions?
  6. The Conflict Over Different Bible Versions/Part 6 : Are Modern Versions Less Readable than the King James Version (KJV)? + Riplinger’s Errors on the NKJV

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Further reading
  1. The Modern English Version — First Thoughts
  2. In defense of smaller Bibles
  3. ESV Single Column Reference Bible
  4. Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 22)
  5. Plans and circumstances -September 5, 1982
  6. Christian Scholars Admit To Corrupting The Bible
  7. Muslim Scholars Admit To Corrupting The Qu’ran
  8. Lent: Let the Bible readings begin!
  9. Make the Right Choice
  10. protection
  11. It’s A Matter Of Life and Death!
  12. A New Bible Translation Classification System
  13. KJV – King James Version available in OneVerse Bible app
  14. NASB – The New American Standard Bible available in OneVerse Bible
  15. Which Bible Version can I Trust?
  16. Which Bible Should I Use?
  17. It Pleased The Father
  18. An answer to YouTuber WWUTT
  19. Differences in KJV editions
  20. Why I believe the King James Bible is God’s word preserved in the English language…
  21. Hungry? Don’t Read KJV!
  22. The NIV: the ‘holey’ bible
  23. Catholic Doctrine in New Versions
  24. The ESV “contrary to” Syntax
  25. New Age Deism
  26. Understanding Scripture
  27. Translation Principles
  28. An Argument about Bible Versions with Christians
  29. The Logic of Perfection
  30. Where’s “Clayton’s Bible”?
  31. The Action Bible
  32. The Received Text
  33. Questioning what God has said. 
  34. How I read the bible
  35. The Deutero-canonical Books of the Bible
  36. Which is the best English Bible?
  37. Is the KJV superior to the originals?
  38. New Version Errors
  39. ‘Edgy’ Bible Translations Often Overlooked
  40. A Succinct Critique of the Amplified Version of the Bible

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Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #7 Jewish versions

Leningrad Codex (cover page E, folio 474a)

The Leningrad Codex (Codex Leningradensis) or “L” is the oldest dated ms. of the complete Hebrew Bible, using the masoretic text and Tiberian vocalization. This earliest extant Hebrew Bible codex, Leningrad Codex or the Cairo Prophets was written and punctuated by Moses ben Asher in Tiberias (in Palestine) in 895. Next in age is the Leningrad Codex of the Latter Prophets dated to 916, which was not originally the work of Ben Asher, but its Babylonian pointingi.e., vowel signs used for pronunciation purposes—was brought into line with the Tiberian Masoretic system.

Many wealthy Jews employed scribes to copy manuscripts in order to foster Bible study. When Abraham b. Ḥayyim di Tintori, a master craftsman had largely solved the problems of both vowel-points and accents it became easier to print Hebrew bibles.

Influenced of the Bibles and chronicles in rhyme produced by German writers from the ninth century onwards Yiddish bibles appeared in medieval times.

There are also rhymed Yiddish paraphrases of the Bible, which flourished in the 14th century, predating the rhymed translations. These paraphrases, unlike the translations, go beyond the original text and show the influence of German epic minstrelsy. The best-known work of this type is the socalled Shemuel Bukh, a rhymed paraphrase of I and II Samuel, the prototype of which appeared no later than about 1400, although the first printed edition is of a much later date (Augsburg, 1543). The Shemuel Bukh served as the model for a host of other biblical paraphrases in rhyme, including: three 14th-century paraphrases of Esther; one of Judges (14th–15th centuries); paraphrases of the five Megillot, which were apparently the work of Abraham b. Elijah of Vilna (15th–16th centuries); paraphrases of Judges and Isaiah by Moses b. Mordecai of Mantua (before 1511); and poetic reworkings of the account of the death of Moses and the Akedah. The last two display great originality, adorning the biblical stories with legendary motifs drawn from the midrashic aggadah, and endowing the biblical personalities and events described with medieval characteristics. By the 15th century there were also prose paraphrases of certain biblical books, most of which have, however, been lost. The existence of such literary works is indicated by the late 15th-century Ma’asiyyot (“tales”), stories in prose about the Akedah, Jonah, and King Solomon.

One of the most interesting rabbis of the Middle Ages,  Rabbi Samuel (Shmu’el) son of (ben) Meir (Rashbam) of Northern France his writings were going to be used by many and it can be seen that many aspects of his Torah commentary seem similar to what we find in works of modern biblical scholarship.

For non Yiddish Jewish Bibles they first only saw prints in Hebrew, which started in a 1477 edition of the Psalms, with each verse followed by the appropriate passage from David Kimḥi‘s commentary, an arrangement which does not appear again in Hebrew Bibles. His dictionary of the Hebrew language called Sefer Hashorashim (Book of Roots) (ספר השורשים) draws heavily on the earlier works of Rabbi Judah ben David Hayyuj and Rabbi Jonah ibn Janah, as well as from the work of his father the grammarian, exegete, poet, and translator Rabbi Joseph Kimhi.

The first Great Rabbinic Bible, edited by Felix Pratensis, who was born a Jew but was baptized in 1506, was published in 1516–17.

From the early 18th century, progressive anglicization of Jewish settlers in England and America rendered first the Spanish, and ultimately the Yiddish, translations inadequate for educational needs. The King James Version became current in spite of the Christianizing tendency of some of its “headlines” to the Prophets. The Pentateuch with haftarot published in London by David Levi (1787) appears to be the King James Version but without offending captions and with Jewish annotations. An earlier Pentateuch was produced by A. Alexander in 1785.

Portrait of Seligman Baer, from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.

The masoretic scholar Seligmann Baer, published an Hebrew Bible in single volumes with notes, except for Exodus to Deuteronomy, strictly following the Masoretic tradition. The volumes, with a Latin preface by Franz Delitzsch, appeared (Leipsic, Tauchnitz) in the following order: Genesis, 1869; Isaiah, 1872; Job, 1875; Minor Prophets, 1878; Psalms (together with a treatise “Elementa Accentuationis Metricæ”), 1880; Proverbs (together with “De Primorum Vocabulorum Dagessatione”), 1880; Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah (together with “Chaldaismi Biblici Adumbratio” and a treatise by Friedrich Delitzsch (son of Franz Delitzsch) on the Babylonian proper names in these books), were published in 1882; Ezekiel (with “Specimen Glossarii Ezechielico-Babylonici” by Friedrich Delitzsch), appeared in 1884; followed by the five Megillot, 1886; the book of Chronicles, 1888; Jeremiah, 1890; Joshua and Judges, 1891; and finally Kings, 1895. The last two were edited by Baer alone, Delitzsch having died in 1890.

Death prevented Baer from finishing the series. Attached to each volume were a number of Masoretic notes taken from the best editions and manuscripts, variant readings between the Occidentals and Orientals, between Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali, and various other Masoretic lists and enumerations.

The most comprehensive Polyglot Hebrew Bibles are Brian Walton‘s London Polyglot (1654–57) which contained texts in Hebrew, Samaritan, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Ethiopic, Syriac, Arabic, and Persian (all with Latin translations), and Samuel Bagster‘s Polyglot (1831) in Hebrew, Greek, Samaritan, Latin, Syriac, German, Italian, French, English, and Spanish. More modern polyglots have contented themselves with giving the texts in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and a modern language.

Ashkenazi Jewish lay minister of religion, author, translator, editor, and publisher; pioneer of the Jewish pulpit in the United States, and founder Beth El Emeth synagogue and of the Jewish press of America, Isaac Leeser (1806–1868) who was well-grounded in Latin, German, and Hebrew and had also studied the Talmud tractates Moed, Bava Metzia, and portions of Kodashim and Bava Batra under Hebrew masters, made an effort to provide his fellow Jews in the New World with an English version of the Tanakh or Hebrew bible. He was the first Orthodox rabbi in America to break with European tradition and preach in English and wanted also the Torah in English.

This got him to present first the Pentateuch, Torat ha-Elohim (“The Torah of God”) in 1845 and then eight years later, adhering to the same Masoretic text that was used by the King James translators, he offered “The Twenty-four Books of the Holy Scriptures: Carefully Translated According to the Massoretic Text, On the Basis of the English Version, After the Best Jewish Authorities; and supplied with short explanatory notes. By Isaac Leeser. ” in Philadelphia, 1853. His complete Old Testament in English (1853) incorporated matter from the Mendelssohn school’s German translation and included the Hebrew text.

Criticism was that to much of the Teutonic protruded in the translation. His English being very Germanic, with long and complex sentences, but still the language of America.

On the other hand, the grammatical niceties of biblical Hebrew frequently came through successfully, and the scholarship in general was on a consistently adequate level. Leeser’s Bible would have retained much more of its deserved popularity well into the twentieth century — for it is generally superior even to such early twentieth-century authorized translations as the American Standard Version of 1901 (ASV)—had it not been for the appearance in 1917 of the translation sponsored by the Jewish Publication Society of America. {Harry Orlinski in his book Notes on the New Translation of the Torah (1969), p. 14}

This English Bible revision could be called “Jewish” in that it eliminates a few renderings that Jews have associated with Christianity (such as “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 “young girl”), and also by virtue of its religious adherence to the traditional Hebrew text. Incorporating rabbinic readings of the Bible into his text via parentheses Leeser’s version stood as pre-eminent in the American Jewish community until the appearance of the “Old JPS” translation of 1917.

Leeser also believed in speaking to women, inspiring them, caring for their religious well-being. He wrote in The Occident:

The females, too, belong to Israel. And they also must be taught that they may understand and observe the law…. There is so much given to women, especially the women of Israel, that we may freely say with a great writer of modern days whose name we do not remember, ‘that we are always what women make us.’ When the child first begins to think, it is his mother who infuses in his mind the first ideas. It is his mother who teaches him to lisp the first words. If he is able to learn something of God, it is his mother again who instructs him to serve the great Being who is the creator of all. {Isaac Leeser: The Right Man at the Wrong Time}

After his death, Leeser’s publishing enterprise became the Jewish Publication Society, which still operates today. He was the forerunner of Artscroll, Koren and all the successful Orthodox publishers.

At the other site of the ocean in Great Britain Abraham Benisch the Bohemian journalist and theologian in pursuance of his mission, had came to London, where he devoted himself to Jewish journalism and literature, and acquired considerable influence in Jewish and Christian circles. he helped founding the Biblical Institute and its allies, The Syro-Egyptian and The Biblical Chronological societies. These three were afterwards fused into the Society of Biblical Archaeology. From from 1851 to 1861 in four sequential volumes he published A Translation of the Tanakh, Published with the Hebrew Text.

In 1896 C.G. Montefiore’s Bible for Home Reading was published.

Friedlander portrait.png

Michael Friedländer best known for his English translation from the original Arabic text of Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed.

Similar in style to the King James Version English Jewish people could find a Jewish Family Bible in English and Hebrew, edited by the orientalist and principal of Jews’ College, London, Michael Friedländer (1881).

Image resultIn 1905 the Hebrew Publication Society of New York put out Joseph Magil’s Linear School Bible. It’s a 2-column parallel Hebrew/English Torah (Chumash) for high school students.

After the Revised Version of 1885 had appeared, the London Jewish Religious Education Board published (1896) a pamphlet listing essential emendations to make that version acceptable for Jewish use. These modifications were among the material utilized for the version published by the Jewish Publication Society of America in 1917, which also took into account 19th-century Jewish Bible scholarship and rabbinical commentary (e.g., Malbim); the edition – issued by a committee representative of both traditional and Reform Judaism – was basically the work of Max L. Margolis.

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the organization of Reform rabbis in 1892 brought a project to bring the first translation for which a group representing Jewish learning among English-speaking Jews assumed joint responsibility, but each person would take up a book to translate. Assigning different books of the Bible to individual rabbis and scholars did not look the ideal way to have a good progress. After more than a decade only the Book of Psalms had been sent to press. In 1908 the Jewish Publication Society of America agreed to take over the project. Under the direction of Editor-in-Chief Max Margolis, the editors included Solomon Schechter, Cyrus Adler, Joseph Jacobs, and faculty members of Hebrew Union College (associated with Reform Judaism), the Jewish Theological Seminary (part of the Conservative Judaism movement), and Dropsie College (a graduate school not affiliated with any movement).

They continued working on a version which essentially retained the Elizabethan diction. It stuck unswervingly to the received Hebrew text that it interpreted in accordance with Jewish tradition and the best scholarship of the day. For over half a century it remained authoritative, even though it laid no claim to any official ecclesiastical sanction.

The 1917 JPS translation.

The translation, which appeared in 1917,  with the full publication title The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text: A New Translation with the Aid of Previous Versions and with Constant Consultation of Jewish Authorities, follows the edition of Seligman Baer except for the books of Exodus to Deuteronomy, which never appeared in Baer’s edition and for which C. D. Ginsburg‘s Hebrew text was used. It is heavily indebted to the Revised Version and American Standard Version.

The 1917 version is still widely disseminated through its appearance in the commentaries of the Soncino Books of the Bible,  a set of Hebrew Bible commentaries, covering the whole Tanakh (Old Testament) in fourteen volumes, and the Torah commentary edited by Joseph H. Hertz. Further, it has influenced many subsequent 20th century translations by drawing attention to the Jewish view of many passages.

Henrietta Szold.jpg

U.S. Jewish Zionist leader and founder of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America Henrietta Szold

In 1955 a renewed look at the Holy Scriptures from the Jewish view and tradition was taken. Reform Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf as a non-profit publisher got the daughter of the German-speaking Hungarian immigrant family of rabbi Benjamin Szold, Henrietta Szold (1860–1945), to become the responsible for the publication of the English version of Judaic works and for a contemporary translation in English of the Tanakh. The Jewish Publication Society of America wanted some new or more up-to date language and assembled a committee of translators composed of three professional biblical and Semitic scholars and three rabbis.  In 1962  they presented the Pentateuch and seven years later The Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, and Jonah, where offered all in a single volume for the convenience of synagogue use. It took until 1973 to have the appearance of Isaiah and Psalms.

Language evolving the Jewish community found the revision of the outdated 1917 version New Bible Translation in English for the Jewish People of 1953/1955-1962 also to obsolete and worked on a new version resulting in the “New JPS version“, abbreviated NJPS (it has also been called the “New Jewish Version” or NJV).

The procedure was as follows. The editor-in-chief prepared a draft translation of the entire Torah for the committee. Submitted chapter by chapter with the draft was a considerable body of data consisting, when pertinent, of the renderings of such important older versions as the Septuagint, Targum, Vulgate, and Saadia, and of more recent translations such as Leeser, Revised Version, the 1917 Jewish version, Moffatt, the American (Chicago) Translation, Confraternity, Revised Standard Version, and La Sainte Bible; also the more pertinent comments of such notable exegetes of the Middle Ages as Rashi (d. 1105), his grandson, Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam; d. about 1174), Abraham ibn Ezra (d. 1167), David Kimhi (Radak; d. 1235), Moses ben Nahman (Ramban —Nahmanides; d. about 1270), Levi ben Gershom (Ralbag —Gersonides; d. 1344), and Obadiah Sforno (d. 1550), as well as the works of virtually every modern commentator of merit, Jewish (notably Samuel David Luzzatto—Shadal; d. 1865; and Meir Leib ben Jehiel Michael—Malbim; d. 1879) and Christian. Wherever the draft proposed a new rendering of import, some justification for it was offered. The editor-in-chief usually kept no more than ten or fifteen chapters ahead of the committee, so that he might benefit from the thinking and consensus of his colleagues. {Orlinsky describing the early history of the version in the Introduction of his book, Notes on the New Translation of the Torah (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1969), pp. 17-19. The New Jewish Publication Society Version}

Harry Orlinski

Harry M. Orlinsky (1908–1992) editor-in-chief of the New Jewish Publication Society (NJPS) translation of the Torah (1962)

Harry M. Orlinsky, Professor of Bible at Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion (New York), was asked to serve as editor-in-chief for the new translation, along with H. L. Ginsberg, Professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Ephraim A. Speiser, Professor of Semitic and Oriental Languages at the University of Pennsylvania, as fellow editors. Associated with them were three rabbis: Max Arzt, Bernard J. Bamberger, and Harry Freedman, representing the Conservative, Reform, and Orthodox branches of organized Jewish religious life. Solomon Grayzel, editor of the Jewish Publication Society, served as secretary of the committee.

Together they created a gender-free translation of the Bible. He also had helped the Protestant National Council with their Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible and then again with the New Revised Standard Version (1989). He was also instrumental in helping to get The Prophets (Nevi’im) (1978) and The Writings (Kethuvim)(1982) published as well.

A number of the changes for the 1985 version had already been projected in Notes on the New Translation of the Torah, edited by Harry M. Orlinsky and published by the Society in 1969 and in the publication of The Book of Job, in 1980. Subsequent research on the text has led to further revisions in the translation of Torah and some revisions in Nevi’im as well.

Afterwards four outstanding Torah scholars (Nahum M. Sarna, Baruch A. Levine, Jacob Milgrom and Jeffrey H. Tigay) with the JPS Torah Commentary series wanted to represent a fusion of the best of the old and new. Utilizing the latest research to enhance their understanding of the biblical text, it came to take its place as one of the most authoritative yet accessible Bible commentaries of our day.

In 1936 “The Holy Scriptures” was published and  revised in 1951, by the Hebrew Publishing Company, revised by Alexander Harkavy. In this Hebrew Bible translation in English the Tetragrammaton is presented by the Divine Name of God which is very unusual for a Jewish Bible. Perhaps this accounts for it not gaining the popularity of the JPS Tanakh.

The 1973 edition of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, with the RSV text

In 1962 in-depth academic research from non-denominational perspectives, specifically secular perspectives for “Bible-as-literature” with a focus on the most recent advances in historical criticism and related disciplines, with contributors from mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and non-religious interpretative traditions, brought a Bible translation that could be used by any Christian or Jewish group. Edited by Herbert G. May and Bruce Metzger, the Oxford Annotated Bible (OAB) study Bible got published by the Oxford University Press (OUP) receiving a a matching edition of the apocryphal books as well as a version of the OAB including them in 1965.

Based on the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible it was renewed and published in 1973 under the name New Oxford Annotated Bible (NOAB) which got revisions based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible of 1989 and got a more ecumenical version in 2000 .

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version 4th ed. Edition

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha offers a vast range of information, including extensive notes by experts in their fields; in-text maps, charts, and diagrams; supplementary essays on translation, biblical interpretation, cultural and historical background, and other general topics.

Knesset Speaker Kadish Luz announced in 1965 that

“all Presidents of the State of Israel will hereafter be sworn into office on this Bible” (the Koren edition).

The Koren Jerusalem BibleThe first Hebrew Bible designed, edited, printed, and bound by Jews in nearly 500 years. This Hebrew/English Tanakh Tanakh Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Bible), edited by Koren Publishers Jerusalem was the first Bible published in modern Israel. The Koren Jerusalem Bible (not to be confused with the Catholic translation with a similar title) is a revised version of the Anglo-Jewish Bibles that have been accepted for home and synagogue throughout the English-speaking world. It was published just a few short years before the Six Day War. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel accepted The Koren Tanakh for reading the Haftara in synagogues, giving it great importance and authority, quickly gained wide acceptance among many different Jewish communities and became one of the most widely distributed Hebrew editions ever published. It rejects Greek titles, Latin numerals, and chapter divisions based on non-Jewish authority. The English text is divided up according to the traditional system of petuhot (open line divisions) and setumot (closed spaces) as found in ancient Hebrew manuscripts. This Koren Tanakh is in English on the left-hand pages and Hebrew on the right-hand pages and names of people and places in the translation are transliterations of the Hebrew names, as opposed to the Hellenized versions used in most translations. For example, the Hebrew name Moshe is used instead of the more familiar Moses. It uses Koren Type, created by typographer Eliyahu Koren specifically for The Koren Bible, and is a most accurate and legible Hebrew type.

Since the Koren Tanakh is produced by Jews who believe in the inspiration of Scripture, it remains free from the errors and biases of the ‘New Age’ approach to the Bible. {editor Koren Publishers}

The Bible Society in Israel derived from a phrase in the Book of Jeremiah, in the Hebrew Bible the name Habrit Hakhadasha/Haderekh ( ‘the road’ or the New Covenant) for its paraphrased bible (1976, revised 1991). It uses more basic vocabulary and literary style than does Delitzsch, and is similar to English versions such as the 1966 Good News Bible (GNB), also called the Good News Translation (GNT) in the United States or the Kenneth N. Taylor paraphrasings of 1962 New testament Living Letters and the 1971 “A Thought-For-Thought TranslationThe Living Bible (TLB). The Living Bible being the best-selling book in America we can imagine that the Jewish community also wanted a similar Jewish bible.

ArtScroll Tanach Series presenting the comments of the classic giants of ancient and contemporary times in a logical, comprehensible manner, like a master teach on an exciting voyage of intellectual discovery.

Stone Edition Tanach Student SizeFrom 1976-1993 work was made to deliver a giant of Jewish versions, the version of choice for Orthodox Jews, and one of the best selling among all Jews, where this publisher is concerned you are spoiled for choice. The rabbinical commentaries are so exhaustive that Mesorah first released their ArtScroll Tanach as 24 volume set.  A single volume of all 24 books of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings is presented in one 2,200 page volume, as interpreted by the classic sages of Talmudic and Rabbinic literature, with the Stone Edition of the Tanach.

In 1981 Moznaim Publishing The Living Torah by the American Orthodox rabbi and author known for his knowledge of physics and kabbalah, Aryeh Kaplan offered an Orthodox translation into contemporary English. He includes the rabbinic elucidation of the text, which he consciously interspersed with later rabbinic commentary and Jewish law. It was reissued in a Hebrew-English version with haftarot for synagogue use. After Kaplan’s death in 1983, The Living Nach was translated in the same style by Yaakov Elman for Nevi’im (two volumes: “The Early Prophets” and “The Latter Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Sacred Writings” in one volume) by Moshe Schapiro, M.H. Mykoff (Breslov Research Institute), and Gavriel Rubin.

Inspired by the German translation prepared by the  Austrian-born Israeli Jewish philosopher, honorary professor at the University of Frankfurt am Main, Martin Buber and the German Jewish theologian, philosopher, and translator Franz Rosenzweig, Everett Fox translated the Torah (The Five Books of Moses, 1995) for Schocken Press. It uses hyphenated phrases and is printed in blank verse, and the personal and place names are transliterated versions of the Hebrew names.

In 2005 appeared Jay P. Green’s The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers) based on the Masoretic text. The words are keyed to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. The print is much smaller than John R. Kohlenberger III, Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament (based on the Hebrew text of BHS and the NIV) But the Green translation does seem not as accurate. Volume also contains a Linear Greek New Testament.

Rudolf Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia were used as a basic for several Jewish translations and also used for the 1995 revision of the American Bible, maintaining a word-for-word translation style, presented by the Lockman Foundation as the New American Standard Bible, which is widely regarded as the most literally translated of major 20th-century English Bible translations. A committee consisted of people from many Protestant, predominantly conservative, denominations, Presbyterian, Methodist, Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, Nazarene, American Baptist, Fundamentalist, Conservative Baptist, Free Methodist, Congregational, Disciples of Christ, Evangelical Free, Independent Baptist, Independent Mennonite, Assembly of God, North American Baptist, and “other religious groups” prepared the original work (1963-1971) and more than 20 individuals worked on modernizing the NASB in accord with the most recent research, supplanting the 1977 text in current printings, save for a few (Thompson Chain Reference Bibles, Open Bibles, Key Word Study Bibles, et al.) It got further revisions from 1992 up to 1995.

Early this century Robert Alter translated the Torah in The Five Books of Moses (2004) and in a Chasidism translation created the Gutnick Edition of the Chumash (2006).

Rashi.JPG

16th-century depiction of the French religious scholar Rashi, acronym of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzḥaqi (1040-1105) renowned medieval French commentator on the Bible and the Talmud

Judaica Press, an Orthodox Jewish publisher, has published a multi-volume bilingual Hebrew–English translation of the Bible that includes the medieval French rabbi Rashi‘s comprehensive commentary on the Talmud and commentary on the Tanakh in both Hebrew and English, Complete Tanach with Rashi.

Although the Pentateuch has not been fully published in hardcopy (Genesis [in three volumes] and Exodus [in two volumes] only), Judaica Press also published a set of 24 bilingual Hebrew–English volumes of Mikraot Gedolot for Nevi’im and Ketuvim, published as Books of the Prophets and Writings. As in traditional Mikraot Gedolot, the Hebrew text includes the masoretic text, the Aramaic Targum, and several classic rabbinic commentaries. The English translations, by Rosenberg, include a translation of the Biblical text, Rashi’s commentary, and a summary of rabbinic and modern commentaries. {Free Encyclopedia Wikipedia}

Cover

The Jewish Annotated New Testament, Edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler

In 2011 University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies Amy-Jill Levine, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, Vanderbilt Divinity School, and Marc Z. Brettler, Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies, Brandeis University, edited The Jewish Annotated New Testament. It brings out Jewish background of early Christianity, New Testament writers and can be very helpful for non-Jewish readers interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity, also making it clear where certain Christians went wrong in their thinking because of their insufficient knowledge of Jewish way of speaking and thinking. The book also explains Jewish concepts (e.g., food laws, rabbinic argumentation) for non-Jews, Christian concepts (e.g., Eucharist) for Jews.

 

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Please find to read

  1. Magil’s linear school Bible, by Joseph Magil. Hebrew text and English translation … The five book of Moses.
  2. Magil’s linear school Bible
  3. Magil’s linear school Bible, or, The Hebrew Bible in its original language : self taught for teachers and students . . . : a new and easy method for popularizing the study of the original Hebrew Bible by means of a linear translation – Archive copy Robarts – University of Toronto
  4. Magil’s linear school Bible or The Hebrew Bible in its original language self taught for teachers and students, ., a new and easy method for popularizing the study of the original Hebrew Bible by means of a linear translation *EBOOK*
  5. Leeser’s Jewish Bible (1853)
  6. The twenty-four books of the Holy Scriptures, carefully translated according to the Massoretic text, on the basis of the English version, after the best Jewish authorities and supplied with short explanatory notes by Isaac Leeser
  7. Isaac Leeser: The Right Man at the Wrong Time
  8. The New Jewish Publication Society Version
  9. Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam)
  10. Rabbi Samuel Ben Meir (Rashbam): A Short Bio
  11. Jerusalem Bible (Koren)
  12. Full text of “Oxford Annotated Bible Revised Standard Version -(R.S.V.) 1952
  13. Living Nach – Sacred Writings
  14. New JPS+ Mari
  15. Online reading of: The Living Torah
  16. The Complete Tanach with Rashi’s Commentary
  17. Stone Edition of the Tanach.

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Preceding articles:

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #6 Revisions of revisions

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Additional reading

  1. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  2. Lord in place of the divine name
  3. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  4. Lord and owner
  5. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  6. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers

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Further reading

  1. The Jewish Bible ≠ The Old Testament
  2. New JPS Commentary Volumes, Now in Accordance
  3. Your Life Without Torah
  4. From the Desk of Kenneth Seeskin
  5. From the Desk of Alan Levenson
  6. From the Desk of Zev Eleff: A Touchy Subject
  7. Torah on Tap; the Tragedy of Leadership
  8. The Jerusalem Debate – Eleven Objections and Responses | The Lamb’s Servant
  9. 613 Mitzvot & Yeshua keys to be Nazarene Jews
  10. Shabbat Lekh L’kha: Go Forth, in Jewish
  11. We Need A Word Make-Over
  12. The Completely Not-Boring History of the Bible, part 1
  13. Israel: Does the Hebrew Bible indicate the Messiah, the Anointed One of the House of David, is divine?
  14. Israel: According to the Hebrew Bible did the Lord ever become a man
  15. Did Avraham keep all Torah Mitzvot?
  16. Yom Teruah
  17. More on English Bible Versions
  18. Sermon: A Man Who Gave His Life that You Might Have an English Bible
  19. Dr. John Wyclyffe, Low-Tech Bible Translator
  20. Williams Tyndale: The Experiential Outworking of Sola Scriptura
  21. Was Dr. John R. Rice a Heretic?

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Related articles

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Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #6 Revisions of revisions

With the years some english people came to believe that God prepared another world language. Though Spanish and Chinese or Sinitic languages (Sino-Tibetan language family: MandarinWuMin, Gan, Hakka, Xiang, and Cantonese sharing the common literary language wenyan) are bigger world languages, they do think that

English is that world language. And one reason is because of the preservation of the word. {Why should God’s Word be restricted to English?}

Because often those people not knowing enough the other languages and not able to compare them with the original Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew language, they like to place their own language in the first place, not seeing that in many of Bible editions in their language words were not always translated exactly or not seeing that certain words where changed in names in place to taking it for the things they meant in the original language.

In the past some English scholars knew that sometimes the Hebrew and Greek way of saying things could be too complicated for some English speaking people, of which approximately 330 to 360 million have that language as their first language. They did find God His Word so important they wanted all people, young and old, educated and not schooled ones, to be able to come in contact with those precious words. Looking at the level of reading they wanted to adapt the  language of the text to such levels.
The translators wanted to keep the Divine Author in view but found it important to bring over His message. They looked at the meaning of what was said in the original text and translated or defined loosely what was meant. The (more or less) free rewording of an expression or text, as an explanation, clarification, or translation gave way to different paraphrased Bible translations.

Revised Version Bible 01.JPG

Outside cover of Revised Version of Bible, bound in leather with a full yapp, Published by Oxford in 1885.

Others looking at such loosely translated versions started to attack those translations and got the wheel going with lots of discussions saying this or that translation was a corrupted one. Also reasons for a new translation gave the impression to others that they should doubt the sincerity of the translation. as such Muslims got food to call the Bible corrupted, looking at sayings in prefaces, like the scholars’ introduction of the Revised Standard Version of The Bible produced in 1971 as proof of this. {Christian Scholars Admit To Corrupting The Bible} In the Preface are these words:

The King James Version has grave defects…these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision.

Under The Milky Way writes

Muslims find these statements by Christian scholars to be self-incriminating. For Christian scholars to say that the King James Version of the Bible has grave defects which require revision is taken as a self-evident admission that either the Revised Standard Version (RSV) or the King James Version (KJV) of The Bible or both have been intentionally distorted with the intention of fabricating false teaching. {Christian Scholars Admit To Corrupting The Bible}

Though this translation was called to be the first and the only officially authorised and recognised revision of the King James Version in Britain, having the Old Testament edited four years later than the New Testament, which saw the light in 1881. The Apocrypha got printed in 1894. Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort, whose texts  formed also the basic for the New World Translation (NWT) where the best known of the translation committee members. Their stated aim was

“to adapt King James’ version to the present state of the English language without changing the idiom and vocabulary,”

and

“to adapt it to the present standard of Biblical scholarship.”

To those ends, the Greek text that was used to translate the New Testament was believed by most to be of higher reliability than the Textus Receptus used for the KJV. The readings used were compiled from a different text of the Greek Testament by Edwin Palmer. {Palmer, Edwin, ΚΑΙΝΗ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ. The Greek Testament] with the Readings Adopted by the Revisers of the Authorised Version. London: Simon Wallenberg Press, 2007. ISBN 1-84356-023-2}

This version was adapted and revised as the “Revised Version, Standard American Edition” or getting names as American Revised Version, the American Standard Revision, the American Standard Revised Bible, and the American Standard Edition, but at the end of the 20th century commonly known as the American Standard Version (ASV). Here-fore Philip Schaff had recruited scholars from different denominations (Baptist, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, Friends, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, and Unitarian) who began work in 1872 to complete it 29 years later.

The Revised Version (both the 1885 and the American Standard Version of 1901) are some of the Bible versions that are authorized to be used in services of the Episcopal Church, the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the American version was chosen to bring in again God’s Divine Name and where normally the tetragrammaton stood in the original text, it is consistently rendered Jehovah in 6,823 places of the ASV Old Testament, rather than YHWH or rather than LORD as it appears in the King James Bible.

That choice of omitting God’s Name would become more important in later years, several editors afraid of publishing God’s Holy Name and therefore preferring to print the ‘meaningless’ word ‘Lord’ (in later years even omitting the big capitals) so that people could not see the difference between the Lord Most High, the Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah, and God His son, the other lord between the many lords.

During the mid-20th century again a revision appeared on the market wanting

“to put the message of the Bible in simple, enduring words that are worthy to stand in the great Tyndale-King James tradition.”

RSV Bible Meridian paperback.JPG

Revised Standard Version

In a first stage a New Testament (first edition), 1946 (originally copyrighted to the International Council of Religious Education), six years later followed by the Old Testament and thus offering the full ‘Protestant Bible’. A Catholic version was accomplished with the Apocrypha in 1957. Again receiving some modification and a Modified edition (1962) followed by the RSV Catholic Edition (RSV-CE), (NT 1965, Complete Bible 1966). those editions got again revisions with publications in 1971, 1973, an Apocrypha expanded edition (1977) and a RSV Second Catholic (or Ignatius) Edition (RSV-2CE) in 2006.
In later years, the RSV served as the basis for two revisions – the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of 1989, using gender-neutral language, and the  Protestant evangelical English Standard Version (ESV) of 2001.

A revision in 1973 ordered the books in a way that pleased both Catholics and Protestants, dividing the library into four sections:

  1. The Old Testament (39 Books)
  2. The Catholic Deuterocanonical Books (12 Books)
  3. The additional Eastern Orthodox Deuterocanonical Books (three Books; six Books after 1977)
  4. The New Testament (27 Books)

Four years later that ‘Common Bible’ got the Apocrypha expanded to include 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, and Psalm 151, three additional sections accepted in the Eastern Orthodox canon (4 Maccabees again forming an appendix in that tradition), although it still does not include additional books in the Syriac and Ethiopian canons. This action increased the Common Bible to 84 Books, making it the most comprehensive English Bible translation to date with its inclusion of books not accepted by all denominations. The goal of the Common Bible was to help ecumenical relations among the churches.

Facing all those revisions of revisions this Summer the non-profit publisher Crossway released what they are describing as a “permanent” English biblical translation which has  sought to be “as literal as possible” while maintaining clarity of expression and literary excellence, but still shall need some updating. But such updating sometimes can bring wrong texts.

17 years after it was first authorized by Crossway, its publisher, the translation oversight committee changed just 52 words across 29 verses — out of more than 775,000 words across more than 31,000 verses — for what they called the final “permanent text” edition. The board then voted, unanimously, to make the text “unchanged forever, in perpetuity.”

“The text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway—in much the same way that the King James Version (KJV) has remained unchanged ever since the final KJV text was established almost 250 years ago (in 1769),”

Crossway stated on its website.

One difference: While the ESV copyright is held universally by Crossway, the KJV copyright held by the Crown of England is only valid in the United Kingdom. So modified versions of the KJV have been popping up in the United States and elsewhere for several hundred years. (Christian Today has explored whether copyrights help or hurt Bible translation.)
The publisher’s intended goal was

“to stabilize the [ESV], serving its readership by establishing the ESV as a translation that could be used ‘for generations to come,’”

The editor desires for

“there to be a stable and standard text that would serve the reading, memorizing, preaching, and liturgical needs of Christians worldwide from one generation to another.”

This September they wrote:

“Our goal at Crossway remains as strong as ever to serve future generations with a stable ESV text. But the means to that goal, we now see, is not to establish a permanent text but rather to allow for ongoing periodic updating of the text to reflect the realities of biblical scholarship such as textual discoveries or changes in English over time.”

That way the same will happen to the ESV as to the KJV that people are going to think they have it about the same Bible translation, though might have a totally different version.

What happened in the past is that many people each time a new revision came unto the market, certainly with a different name several Christians reacted strongly against the new text. Lots of church members prefer a text that doesn’t and won’t ever change, not a text that is on the path of continual improvement. This also comes mainly because several denominations stick to only one Bible translation and do not, like several non-trinitarian groups, have a roster of different Bible translations to look at, taking every time an other version as standard for the next year, having their members to think about the essence of the text and not pinpointing to human doctrinal teachings or limiting themselves just to one Bible version.

Tremper Longman III, a member of the New Living Translation (NLT) committee said

But making a translation permanent ignores the need for updates that reflect scholars’ advances in their understanding of the text, as well as the continuing development of English as a living language.

He continued

“Most translators and linguists would say that such an approach to translation is actually less accurate in terms of communicating the thought of the ancient writer to a modern audience.”

A collection of Bibles in Taiwanese.

A collection of Bibles in Taiwanese. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People should always remember that language is a living thing and by the years words may change meaning or additional (new) words may be better suited to bring over the meaning of those old writing, of which researchers still get more and new insights. Longman also remarks

“The English language changes, and my guess is that over the years even this particularly type of translation will sound more and more stilted, just as the KJV does to modern readers.”

Bible translations to polish language by Czesł...

Bible translations to polish language by Czesław Miłosz. On the left Five Megillot, in center Book of Job, on right Psalms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Publishers are aware that the copyrights of a publication are limited in time and as such it is more profitable to create a whole new Bible version to keep the money coming into the till. At certain times there are also new preachers of high position who want to have their notes presented in a bible version they feel good with in a language of the time they are living in, what again demands a new Bible translation, under a new name.

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Preceding articles:

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles

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Additional reading

  1. Absolute Basics to Reading the Bible
  2. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  3. Lord in place of the divine name
  4. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  5. Lord and owner
  6. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  7. Another way looking at a language #5 Aramic, Hebrew and Greek
  8. Another way looking at a language #6 Set apart
  9. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #13 Prayer #11 Name to be set apart
  10. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God
  11. The Bible and names in it
  12. Let us recognise how great God is
  13. Listening and Praying to the Father
  14. Written to recognise the Promissed One
  15. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  16. Hashem השם, Hebrew for “the Name”
  17. Background to look at things
  18. Religious people and painful absence of spring of living water
  19. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  20. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  21. Some Restored Name Versions
  22. The most important translation…
  23. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  24. Listening and Praying to the Father

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From Mary Harwell Sayler’s article Lent: Let the Bible readings begin!

Further related articles

  1. The inspiration of Scripture
  2. The Preservation of Scripture
  3. The Challenge of Translating
  4. English Bible Translations
  5. Infographic on English Bible Translations
  6. How Trustworthy Are Bible Translations?
  7. The most important translation…
  8. Advice for The Church (Part 3 – Translation)
  9. What Makes A Bible Translation Good?
  10. Where was the Bible before 1611? How can we know God endorsed the KJV?
  11. The King James Bible and the Restoration
  12. The King James Removed Verses?
  13. Study the Word for More Than Words
  14. The Bible or The Watchtower?
  15. What is the New World Translation?
  16. Brief Introduction to the Greek Text of the New Testament
  17. I believe the King James Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
  18. King James Only?
  19. King James Only–Refuted
  20. Six Reasons To Not Follow “King James Version-onlyism”
  21. Textual Criticism Pt. 1
  22. Manuscripts in the Old Testament Synagogue 
  23. Textual Criticism Pt. 1
  24. Which is the best English Bible?
  25. 128 Source Greek Text for NT Translation
  26. 133 Komma Johanneum in die King James Version.
  27. ESV Men’s Devotional Bible
  28. Top Five Premium ESV Bibles for Christmas 2015 (plus two)
  29. The English Standard Version of the Bible
  30. ESV Classic Reference Bible (ESV1) in Burgundy Goatskin by R. L. Allan & Son
  31. ESV Journaling Bible: Interleaved Edition in Natural Brown Cowhide
  32. ESV Heirloom Thinline Bible in Brown Calfskin (Crossway)
  33. Bible Reviewer: ESV Single Column Journaling Bible
  34. Crossway Reverses Decision to Make ESV Bible Text Permanent
  35. Does the ESV Honour the Holy Spirit?
  36. ESV for “Joe the Bus Driver”
  37. (Lost in) Permanent Translation
  38. Book Review, “Guys Slimline Holy Bible,” Tyndale House publishers
  39. Girls Slimline Holy Bible
  40. Sanctuary: A Devotional Bible for Women, New Living Translation
  41. Bible Review: Tyndale Select Reference Edition
  42. Neither Conservative or Liberal … Let’s Be Just!
  43. Lent: Let the Bible readings begin!
  44. Trinitarian Bible Society
  45. Was Dr. John R. Rice a Heretic?
  46. Straightway
  47. Applying God’s Holy Word
  48. How to Study Your Bible…a book review
  49. Basic Principles for “Doing Theology”
  50. Synod Dunnville 2016 (7)

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Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles

In the Wild West women took care their children got a knowledge of the Word of God. In the growing states of the New World the oral tradition of the Word of God ensured the Gospel-readings spreading.

For millennia prior to the invention of writing, which is a very recent phenomenon in the history of humankind, oral tradition served as the sole means of communication available for forming and maintaining societies and their institutions. Moreover, numerous studies — conducted on six continents — have illustrated that oral tradition remains the dominant mode of communication in the 21st century, despite increasing rates of literacy. {Encyclopaedia Britannica}

The States got some very strong ladies, creating schools and congregations where women told in their own words what was written in the Holy Scriptures. In the early nineteenth century, at the European continent and in the colonies where the largest, most influential churches like Catholics and Church of England reigned, they like Presbyterians, and the Episcopalians (or Anglicanism and Episcopal Church in the United States of America) forbade women to preach. In the New World women proved their necessity for leading everything in good directions. Searching the bible and having met people from different denominations many came to conclusions which made them to form newer groups. In a small number of those denominations, particularly the Congregationalists, the restrictions on women’s religious speech became challenged. Professor of Religions in America and the History of Christianity in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, Catherine Brekus whose works have included a history of female preaching in America, entitled Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740 – 1845 (1998) and a history of early evangelicalism based on a woman’s diaries, entitled Sarah Osborn‘s World: The Rise of Evangelicalism in Early America (2013), writes.

“Anti-authoritarian, anti-intellectual, and often visionary, they deliberately set themselves apart from the ‘worldliness’ of established churches by insisting that God could choose anyone — even the poor, uneducated, enslaved, or female — to spread the gospel.”

She briefly traces the story of evangelicals — especially Free Will Baptists, Christian Connection, northern Methodists, African Methodists, and Millerites — who allowed women to preach.

Benjamin Randall (1749-1808) main organizer of the Freewill Baptists (Randall Line) in the Northeastern United States.

Inspired by the preaching of the lay exhorter Benjamin Randall in New Hampshire that Free Will Baptist Association was formed in 1782. By 1780 the various Baptist groups had formed around 450 churches, a number exceeded only by Congregationalists with about 750 and Presbyterians with some 490. With the disappearance of a Puritan orthodoxy at the beginning of the eighteenth century the Congregational churches, whose ideas were based on the priesthood of all believers, developed by Robert Browne and Henry Barrow, and were Calvinist in tone, had opened the way for women preaching and for people telling with their own words what was written in the Bible.

The gradual collapse of state religious establishments after ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789 served Baptist purposes, and by 1800 they had become for a while the largest denomination in the nation, with almost twice as many adherents as the second-ranked Congregationalists. Those Baptists supported the creation of colleges, seminaries, tract societies, and missionary agencies. Educated leaders provided the impetus for the creation in 1814 of a General Missionary Convention, soon called the Triennial Convention, to sponsor home and foreign missions. Before long, it had allied itself with other agencies to promote publication and education. Several groups considered themselves to be a continuation of the first church where followers of Christ, men and women tried to bring people to God and have them baptised by immersion, the only true form of Christian baptism. At the end of the 20th century it would be the pressure of the major trinitarian Baptist groups, like the 13.9 million Southern Baptist Convention which would make the non-trinitarian Baptists looking for other congregations, but still leaving 26,7 million U.S.A. Baptists.

Brekus notes how fearing the colonies’ established churches had “quenched the spirit” by requiring college education for ministers, evangelicals said

“God could communicate directly with people through dreams, visions, and voices,”

and appealed to Joel’s promise (quoted by Peter at Pentecost) to invest

“female preaching with transcendent significance. Whenever a woman stood in the pulpit, she was a visible reminder that Christ might soon return to earth.”

Yet influenced by the wider culture, they did not think the Bible sanctioned their equality with men in Church, home, or political life. Rather than seeking ordination and settled pastorates, they remained itinerate evangelists. So, these biblical feminists were caught between two worlds — too radical to be accepted by evangelicals, but too conservative to be accepted by women’s rights activists. {Christian Reflection; A Series in Faith and Ethics}

Waves of Irish Presbyterians flooded into the middle and southern colonies, which tolerated their religious beliefs, and flowed into the unoccupied western regions. Some were established congregations who brought their ministers with them; most immigrated as individuals or in small family groups and were followed by clergymen. But the Presbyterian Church in England, re-established in 1844, was reported to have only 76 places of worship in 1851 — one-fifth the number of quaker meeting-houses. {J. A. Cannon; The Oxford Companion to British History; 2002}
A Plan of Union with the Congregational associations of New England that existed from 1792 until 1837 was disrupted when the Old School Presbyterians, favoring separate denominational agencies for missionary and evangelistic work, prevailed. The Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions was then established.

The P.C.U.S.A split in 1837 to become New School Presbyterians and Old School Presbyterians.

The P.C.U.S.A split in 1837 to become New School Presbyterians and Old School Presbyterians.

Placing great importance upon education and lifelong learning the Presbyterians and their missionary schools also prepared others to think about the Word of God and to spread it around.

Several men and women brought their notes to the bible words and also did not mind when preaching to quote freely from the bible. In this way the Americans got used to an easy fluent language to tell about God His sayings and wonders.

Gradually, the evangelicals’ educational systems, church organizations, and worship styles became more like those of churches that had been established and wealthy in the colonial era but many Bible students, followers of Dr. John Thomas and of Charles Taze Russell continued to spread the Word of God in their own words and in Bible fragments translated to American English in tracts and magazines.

The Christadelphians offered people the Wilson’s polyglot translation for free. When Benjamin Wilson died in 1900, his heirs inherited the plates and copyright. When they were approached by Charles Taze Russell, then president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, he via a third party obtained the copyright, and at some later point, the plates. The Society published the Diaglott in 1902, and later had the type reset for publication on its own presses in 1927, with an additional printing in 1942.

Much discussion went on between the other Bible-student parties involved in the first edition and still using the version in their churches or ecclesia. Unto the exclusiveness to reprint the polyglot for public release the Christadelphians and Wilson his church had to keep reproduction only for their own members.
In 2003 the MiamiChurch of the Blessed Hope with support from Christadelphians in the United Kingdom and the United States published their own edition, with a new preface, and where pleased the Emphatic Diaglott at last came home again.

Christadelphians, Watchtower Biblestudents and others looked at the return of Christ, a terrible war where nations would get against many other nations, but also were aware that Jerusalem would be restored after some time.

Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843–1921) American theologian, minister, and writer whose best-selling annotated Bible popularized futurism and dispensationalism among fundamentalist Christians.

From English and Puritan descent the American orphan Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843–1921) converted to evangelical Christianity through the testimony of a lawyer acquaintance. He came under the mentorship of James H. Brookes, pastor of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, a prominent dispensationalist premillennialist. He also attempted with limited success to take charge of Dwight L. Moody‘s Northfield Bible Training School, and served as superintendent of the American Home Missionary Society of Texas and Louisiana; and in 1890, he helped found Lake Charles College (1890–1903) in Lake Charles, Louisiana and in 1914 founded the Philadelphia School of the Bible in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (now Cairn University)

Scofield’s premillennialism seemed prophetic.

“At the popular level, especially, many people came to regard the dispensationalist scheme as completely vindicated.”

Scofield Reference Bible, page 1115. This page includes Scofield’s note on John 1:17, which some have interpreted to mean that Scofield believed in two means of salvation.

The first bible translation, since the Geneva Bible (1560), to bring a commentary on the biblical text alongside the Bible instead of in a separate volume, also attempted to date events of the Bible in its second edition (1917) eight years after its first edition. This Scofield Reference Bible, published by Oxford University Press in 1909 contained the entire text of the traditional, Protestant King James Version, and became a widely circulated study Bible edited and annotated by this American Bible student Cyrus I. Scofield, whose notes teach futurism and dispensationalism, a theology that was systematized in the early nineteenth century by the Anglo-Irish clergyman John Nelson Darby, one of the influential figures among the original Plymouth Brethren (Christian brethren, or Darbyites) and the founder of the Exclusive Brethren, (who like Scofield had also been trained as a lawyer).

John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) Anglo-Irish Bible teacher, one of the influential figures among the original Plymouth Brethren and the founder of the Exclusive Brethren.

In 1867 ex curate in the Church of Ireland parish of Delgany, County Wicklow, Darby had presented a translation of the New Testament which he revised for the editions in 1872 and 1884.  He declined however to contribute to the compilation of the Revised Version of the King James Bible. After his death, some of his students produced an Old Testament translation based on Darby’s French and German translations in which we may see Darby’s dependence on W. H. Westcott’s Congo vernacular Bible, Victor Danielson’s Faroese work and the Romanian Bible published by G.B.V. and Dillenburg, Germany (GBV)

It was after 25 years serious research that in 1881 the British bishop, biblical scholar and theologian, and Bishop of Durham, Brooke Foss Westcott (1825–1901) with Irish-born theologian and editor Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828–1892) had presented their “New Testament in the Original Greek” on the believe that the combination of Codex Bezae with the Old Latin and the Old Syriac represents the original form of the New Testament text. Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort their Greek translation was used as the base fro many later translations.

The Revised Version of the New Testament translators, 1881.

They also were asked to become translation committee members for the Revised Version which in the United States was adapted and revised as the “Revised Version, Standard American Edition” (better known as the American Standard Version) in 1901.

Those translations using the advanced knowledge of the newly found ancient manuscripts and better insight in the old language, received until today opposition from fervent “King James Only” people. Up to today those King James only people say that is the only worthy and true Bible, also forgetting that other people who speak an other language than would be deprived of God’s Word in the Bible. Those KJV-only people complaining that the or a new translation did not base their text on the 1611 KJV forget that it should not be based on that text but on the most original bible manuscripts we can find. The last straw is that many who swear by only the KJV itself do not use themselves the original version and worse even do not know what print edition they use and that this has many differences against the 1611 edition.

Problem with those KJV-only believers is that they want to have their church doctrines still confirmed in the new translations though those versions using the Name of God where it was placed, makes it clear about whom is spoken and about who speaks, so that no confusing is being made between God and Jesus and shows clearly that it are two different characters. Therefore, it mostly are ardent trinitarians who do not want to accept versions which come closer to the original ancient writings, because this way people believing in the Trinity may come to see that it is a human doctrine and not a Biblical doctrine, and as such they may come to see that the non-trinitarian churches are much more following God’s Word than their church want them to believe.

Lots of KJV-only people also do not want to have the real translation or a synonym for a word they use wrongly, like sheol or the hell which just means the grave or sepulchre, but when a bible translation like the NIV translates it with the “grave” they consider an attack on the KJV word of “hell” they understanding it to be a place of eternal doom and torture.

The KJV-only people believe that this English translation of the Authorised King James Version should never be changed, but do not see or forget that they themselves use also a changed version and not the original 1611 first version.

A staunch Seventh-day Adventist missionary, theology professor and college president was even more stepped on his toes when the Bible Students of the Zion’s Watchtower dared to bring out a modern English translation based on that Westcott-Hort translation and on the Greek texts of Nestle, Bover, Merk and others.

Not only women and children had asked for a less archaic Bible translation.

On December 2, 1947 a “New World Bible Translation Committee” was formed, composed of Jehovah’s Witnesses who professed to be anointed.

The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was released at a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses at Yankee Stadium, New York, on August 2, 1950. The translation of the Old Testament, which Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to as the Hebrew Scriptures, was released in five volumes in 1953, 1955, 1957, 1958, and 1960. The complete New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures was released as a single volume in 1961, and has since undergone minor revisions and standing strong between the 55 new English translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures which were published between 1952 and 1990.

They also reproduced The Greek transliterations for the Christian Greek Scripture portion of the Bible from the Westcott and Hort text in The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (1969).

While critical of some of its translation choices, , associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.A., Jason BeDuhn called the New World Translation a “remarkably good” translation, “better by far” and “consistently better” than some of the others considered. Overall, concluded BeDuhn, the New World Translation

“is one of the most accurate English translations of the New Testament currently available”

and

“the most accurate of the translations compared.”

in his 2003 book, Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament, which has generated considerable controversy for highlighting cases of theological bias in the translation process, by which, he argues, contemporary Christian views are anachronistically introduced into the Bible versions upon which most modern English-speaking Christians rely.

BeDuhn noted, too, that many translators were subject to pressure

“to paraphrase or expand on what the Bible does say in the direction of what modern readers want and need it to say.”

On the other hand, the New World Translation is different, observed BeDuhn, because of

“the greater accuracy of the NW as a literal, conservative translation of the original expressions of the New Testament writers.”

The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures by 2004 had been made available in 32 languages plus 2 Braille editions and two years later already in 57 languages.

The 1984 revised edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures richly enhanced accurate Bible knowledge by means of several distinctive features such as the marginal (cross) references, an extensive footnote apparatus, a concordance (Bible Words Indexed) and an appendix. Modern computerization has assisted greatly in preparing these features.

In the New World Translation an effort was made to capture the authority, power, dynamism and directness of the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures and to convey these characteristics in modern English. They also made an end to the used of  now-sanctimonious formal pronouns thou, thy, thine, thee and ye, with their corresponding verb inflections.

Many trinitarians were not pleased with that translation which tried to give as literal a translation as possible where the modern-English idiom allows and where a literal rendition does not, by any awkwardness, hide the thought, but which also placed in the Hebrew text everywhere the tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH) was notated, printed God’s Holy Name Jehovah. As such God His Name was again visible, like in the ancient manuscripts,  6,973 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Though it may be called a pity that they also did not take the effort to put Jesus name right, not going for the Issou or “Hail Zeus“, but printing his real original name Jeshua.

With this word-for-word statement of the original in the hand the real followers of Christ could show those who call themselves Christian, but do follow the human doctrine of the Trinity, where they went wrong in their thinking and could show them that Jesus is the way to God and not God himself.

But in this clear up-to-date contemporary version many churches saw a danger for their followers who could be brought to other thinking than their denomination’s doctrines.

In the previous decades several paraphrased bible book translations had seen the light and many bible students also had used free translations in their pamphlets. This time taking liberties with the texts for the mere sake of brevity, and substituting some modern parallel when a literal rendering of the original makes good sense, had been avoided. Uniformity of rendering has been maintained by assigning one meaning to each major word and by holding to that meaning as far as the context permits. At times this has imposed a restriction upon word choice, but it aids in cross-reference work and in comparing related texts.

In rendering the sense and feel of the action and state of Hebrew verbs into English, it is not always possible to preserve the brevity due to a lack of corresponding colour in English verb forms. Hence, auxiliary words that lengthen the expression are at times required to bring out the vividness, mental imagery and dramatic action of the verbs, as well as the point of view and the concept of time expressed by the Bible writers. In general the same is true of the Greek verbs. Thus, imperfect verbs have been kept in the imperfect state denoting progressive action. Participles have been rendered as participles involving continuous action.

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Preceding articles:

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles

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Additional reading

  1. Codex Sinaiticus available for perusal on the Web
  2. Bible Translating and Concordance Making
  3. Looking at notes of Samuel Ward and previous Bible translation efforts in English
  4. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  5. Rare original King James Bible discovered
  6. King James Bible Coming into being
  7. Celebrating the Bible in English
  8. TheBible4Life KJV Jubileum
  9. What English Bible do you use?
  10. The Most Reliable English Bible
  11. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  12. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  13. New American Bible Revised Edition
  14. The NIV and the Name of God
  15. Archeological Findings the name of God YHWHUse of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  16. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  17. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  18. Some Restored Name Versions
  19. Anchor Yale Bible
  20. iPod & Android Bibles
  21. Missed opportunity for North Korea
  22. What are Brothers in Christ
  23. Wanting to know more about basic teachings of Christadelphianism
  24. Around C.T.Russell
  25. A visible organisation on earth
  26. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  27. Jesus three days in hell
  28. Dead and after
  29. Sheol or the grave
  30. This month’s survey question: Heaven and Hell
  31. Interpreting the Scriptures (Part 5)
  32. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures (1)
  33. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures (2)
  34. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  35. To remove the whitewash of the Jehovah Witnesses as being the only true Bible Students and Bible Researchers
  36. Archaeology and the Bible researcher 2/4

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Further reading

  1. The Bible
  2. Where was the Bible before 1611? How can we know God endorsed the KJV?
  3. Earliest Known Draft of 1611 King James Bible Is Found
  4. KJV Onlyism: What It Does And Doesn’t Mean
  5. What’s wrong with the New King James?
  6. Is it true no doctrines are changed in modern versions?
  7. The King James AV 1611 Bible vs. The New International Version
  8. King James version (1)
  9. King James Version 2
  10. I got saved reading the NIV. How can you say it’s no good?
  11. Christian Scholars Admit To Corrupting The Bible
  12. Why should God’s Word be restricted to English?
  13. Some Notes on Bible Translations
  14. Which Bible Translation?
  15. Is Christianity a paradox?
  16. Migration in a context of colonisation
  17. The sorrow and burden of it all
  18. A Belgian refugee in Maidenhead finds work
  19. When the boys come home…
  20. Do not be dissuaded by so paltry a matter as a change of time
  21. “I often wonder why I joined up”
  22. Dedicating the Powner Hall
  23. A dinner treat for the Congregational men
  24. Church Hill
  25. That We May All Be One: World Communion Sunday, 2015
  26. History, Empathy, and Race in America
  27. Empathy, racial reconciliation, and the study of history
  28. “The End of White Christian America”
  29. The calling we have in culture
  30. A. W. Tozer and the Historic Trinity
  31. Tozer’s Critique of Evangelical Christians
  32. Corporate Evangelicalism – Where did it come from?
  33. Defining Evangelicalism
  34. Decline and Fall
  35. Fundamentalism Will Kill You
  36. Progressive Evangelicals: Who We Are And What We Believe
  37. How Evangelicals are Losing an Entire Generation – by Amy Gannett
  38. On celebrating diversity within the church
  39. Evangelicalism is no longer growing–why?
  40. The Scofield Bible—The Book That Made Zionists of America’s Evangelical Christians
  41. Becoming a Liberal Christian Part I: High Church and Militant Evangelicalism
  42. Reformed Baptists and the Purity of the Church
  43. The Westminster Factor
  44. Of Polls, Presbyterians, and Seventh-Day Adventists
  45. Understanding the Presbyterian Model (Reformed the web)
  46. Understanding the Presbyterian Model (Chanty notes)
  47. “Episcopals Now Second Class Christians”: Anglicans Demote Episcopalians As Global Christianity Gets More Polarized
  48. Am I a Presbyterian?
  49. Daniel’s 70-Week Vision Series #18 – Part 94 of Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
  50. At the resurrection who is left behind?
  51. A Thousand Years
  52. News brings great joy
  53. Confirmation
  54. Bible Wars
  55. How Trustworthy Are Bible Translations?
  56. How I Know The King James Bible is the Word of God
  57. King James Only–Refuted part 2
  58. King James Only–Refuted (part 3)
  59. Ways in which Fundamentalists are discriminated against
  60. Between Christians
  61. Repentance From Dead Works: 3 – Don’t Forget Good Works Are Dead Works
  62. Communion – the most terrifying sacrament in the IFB church
  63. Spirit of our times.
  64. King James XX
  65. I believe the King James Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  
  66. Is Modern Really Better?
  67. How some preachers trick you when defining Greek words!
  68. What’s wrong with the New King James?
  69. Is it true no doctrines are changed in modern versions?
  70. I got saved reading the NIV. How can you say it’s no good?
  71. Why should God’s Word be restricted to English?
  72. Transilvania în 1865, prin ochii lui Edward Millard – blogul unui duh întarâtat

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Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles

Not having enough background of the Jewish Koine Greek, or Jewish Hellenistic Greek, the variety of Koine Greek (hē koinē dialektos ‘the common language’) or “common Attic”  found in a number of Alexandrian dialect texts of Hellenistic Judaism, most notably the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible which at the time of the King James Bible‘s first edition was not yet available, as well as Greek Jewish texts from Palestine. This made that lots of words for previous Bible translations and the Authorised Version, where not yet understood properly and of some words they thought it were persons (names) instead of things (nouns) and situations.

Hellenistic Judaism: historical sites

Important historical sites of Hellenistic and medieval Judaism. – Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Words and word elements were adopted and adapted into Latin over c.1,500 years, and passed through Latin into many European and other languages, being used in the main for scholarly and technical purposes. The flow into English was at first very limited and largely religious, such as Old English cirice and its descendant church (from kūriakón dôma the Lord’s house).

Katharina-von-Bora-05.jpg

Katharina von Bora (1499–1552) one of the most important participants of the Reformation because of her role in helping to define Protestant family life and setting the tone for clergy marriages.

At the beginning this knowledge of languages was a man’s job, but from the 19th century women began to have their say as well. Lots of Christians have the wrong idea that women in the ancient times had nothing to say. Many also think that in Christianity women played no role at all. they should know that the Set Apart or Holy Scriptures  acknowledges and celebrates the priceless value of a virtuous woman (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10; 1 Corinthians 11:7).

Whilst by the Jews there where not so many women teachers or rabbi’s, from the beginning the master teacher Jeshua had a big heart for them and had many women around him, following him everywhere they could and talking about his actions. The Bible teaches women are not only equals with men (Galatians 3:28), but are also set apart for special honour (1 Peter 3:7). Jeshua also knew how in the past the the priceless value of a virtuous woman was celebrated and insisted those around him to respect the woman also. (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10; 1 Corinthians 11:7).  Not only did the master teacher encourage their discipleship by portraying it as something more needful than domestic service and always treated women with the utmost dignity — even women who might otherwise be regarded as outcasts (Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 7:37-50; John 4:7-27).

“1  After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” (Luke 8:1-3 NIV)

“38  As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)

Clearly the listening to Jesus’ teaching was for the rabbi important, because he would not be long with them. for him it was also important that they would know what they had to talk about when he would be gone, because they had to go out into the world and witness about what he had done, and for telling others about the coming Kingdom of God. All those who wanted to be called a disciple or follower of Christ had to witness for him.

“You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:15 NIV)

Already from the start women where there with Jesus.  Christ’s first recorded, explicit disclosure of His own identity as the true Messiah was made to a Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26). When he was gone there were also women present in the room when the Spirit came over the apostles.  From then onwards they too were not afraid any more to come out with their beliefs. Soon they too took also their role in the preaching and some of them even became renowned.

“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.” (Acts 9:36 NIV)

Often it were women who opened up their house for followers of Christ coming together and to lead the meetings.

“When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.” (Acts 12:12 NIV)

Also when things where not so clear for some they dared to call them with them and explain it so they could better understand the truth. Also women who talked about Jesus but did not know everything well, were helped by the apostles so that they could do a better job.

“13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptised, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:13-15 NIV)

Throughout history there have always been faithful women spreading the Word of God.

It might well be that the energetic monk and young theologian Martin Luther, who felt himself to be “a sinner with an unquiet conscience,” was stimulated by the former Benedictine and Cistercian nun Katharina von Bora, who had fled her convent with several other nuns or ‘vestal virgins’, to Wittenberg, and who became, at the age of 26,  his  wife in 1525 (him being 41) and became known as “die Lutherin”.  She became the “boss of Zulsdorf,” after the name of the farm they owned, and the “morning star of Wittenberg” for her habit of rising at 4 a.m. to take care of her various responsibilities, administering and managing the vast holdings of the monastery, breeding and selling cattle, and running a brewery in order to provide for their family and the steady stream of students who boarded with them and visitors seeking audiences with her husband. It can well be that her being at the site of the prosecuted Luther, made him to continue his translation work of the Bible and not giving up his ideas.

In the two following centuries it were women who often took care that the children got to hear the Word of God at home, whilst they were able to hide this sacred book for the persecutors. Those who fled from the European continent to look for a New World also carried with them the Holy Bible in their language or in Latin.

In the 17th century religious groups found their way to the New World and at certain places founded their own colonies so that they could perfectly practice their own faith. Religious liberty for others — a concept Americans would later take for granted — was not part of the Puritans‘ plan. Instead, founding Governor John Winthrop envisioned a model “Citty [sic] upon a hill,” an example of Christian unity and order. Not incidentally, women were expected to play a submissive and supporting role in this society.

Anne Hutchinson, née Anne Marbury

At the Massachusetts Bay Colony a skilled midwife and herbal healer with her own interpretation of Puritan doctrine, challenged the leaders of this “wilderness theocracy,” as Barbara Ritter Dailey describes it.
Anne Hutchinson  [Anne Marbury Hutchinson (1591-1643)] eldest daughter of a strong-willed Anglican priest who had been imprisoned and removed from office because of his demand for a better-educated clergy, had probably inherited the strong will of her father, taking with her a legacy of biblical scholarship and religious independence.

When the Anglican Church silenced one of her favourite teachers, John Cotton, one of England’s outstanding Puritan ministers, one of New England’s first generation, leader in civil and religious affairs, and a persuasive writer on the theory and practice of Congregationalism, left for the colony of Massachusetts in America, Hutchinson became extremely distraught. She finally persuaded her husband to leave for America, so that she could follow her religious mentor.

William Hutchinson was granted a desirable house lot in Boston, and both husband and wife quickly became church members.
When she was criticized for failing to attend weekly prayer meetings in the homes of parishioners, she responded by holding meetings in her own home. She began by reiterating and explaining the sermons of John Cotton but later added some of her own interpretations, a practice that was to be her undoing. As her meetings became more popular, Hutchinson drew some of Boston’s most influential citizens to her home. Many of these were town merchants and artisans who had been severely criticized for profiteering in prices and wages; they saw in Hutchinson’s stress on grace a greater freedom regarding morality and therefore more certainty of their own salvation. But others came in search of a more meaningful and personal relationship with their God. As she attracted followers and defenders, the orthodox Puritans organized to oppose her doctrines and her advocates.

Cotton was chiefly responsible for the exile of Anne Hutchinson, because of her antinomian doctrines, and for the expulsion of Roger Williams.They continued to preach and used their own words. Quoting from the Bible in a non literal way became common practice and would be later taken up in presenting fragments or stories from the Bible. This free telling of Bible stories was also taken up in other languages and was breeding ground for children’s Bibles and freely quoted or paraphrased Bible translations.

The Ritual Dance of the Shakers, Shaker Historical Society

The priests and male clerics mostly kept the bible in their hand and sometimes read some phrases out of it. They still were in the majority, though some ladies walked to the forefront and got followers. It had not all to be literate women who took charge.
An unlettered daughter of a blacksmith who was probably named Lees joined at the age of 22 joined the faith group Shaking Quakers, or Shakers, because of the shaking and dancing that characterized their worship (It originally derived from a small branch of English Quakers founded by Jane and James Wardley in 1747). Ann Lee married in 1762, a union that tradition holds was unhappy and may have influenced her later doctrinal insistence on celibacy. She became the group their accepted leader and was known as Ann the Word or Mother Ann. Although illiterate, she claimed the gift of tongues and the ability to discern spirits and work miracles. She was also convinced of the holiness of celibacy, an idea stemming from her own experience of losing four children at or soon after their birth. In 1774 she led a band of eight to America, where, two years later, at Watervliet, N.Y., the first Shaker settlement in America was founded. The Shaker communities flourished in the mid-19th century and contributed a distinctive style of architecture, furniture, and handicraft to American culture. The communities declined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The two American converts who followed Mother Ann as Lead Elder — Joseph Meacham (1787–1796) and Lucy Wright (1796–1821) — developed an institutional structure for less antagonistic relations with society.

At that time, a woman’s leadership of a religious group was considered to be a ‘sect leader’ and as a radical departure from Protestant Christianity. Living apart from her husband Elizur Goodrich, she like him committed herself fully to Shakerism and within a decade rose to leadership within the Shakers movement, with the power and authority which women were not allowed in other religions.

Wright was fully aware of our task of witnessing and sent missionaries to preach across New England and upstate New York as well as into the western wilderness, where those preachers recruited proselytes and established new Shaker villages in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
Under Wright’s administration, Shakers standardized and increased book and tract publishing for the widely-scattered religious society. Their first statement of beliefs was Testimony of Christ’s Second Appearing in 1810, followed by a hymnal which served much the same purpose in 1813. This way the bible-fragments were brought to the general public in ordinary simple words.

In the early nineteenth century the movement expanded into Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. By the mid-1820s about 4,000 believers lived in sixteen communal villages, usually with residential “Great Houses” surrounded by meetinghouses, barns, mills, workshops, and smaller residences for children and probationary members. A hierarchy of elders and eldresses who had completely abandoned the sinful world were in charge.

Charles g finney.jpg

Charles Grandison Finney (1792–1875) American Presbyterian minister and leader in the Second Great Awakening in the United States.

In the New World several Female Missionary Societies saw the light and invited men as well as women to proclaim the Word of God.  The Female Missionary Society of the Western District hired in this way Charles Grandison Finney who came to promote social reforms, such as abolition of slavery and equal education for women and African Americans. From 1835 he taught at Oberlin College of Ohio, which accepted all genders and races, opening the way for more women able to read the Bible.

The Christians who believed only in One God and wanted others also to know the biblical truth, saw with dismay how Finney used scare tactics to gain converts.

Across the board, many thought that his habitual use of the words you and hell “let down the dignity of the pulpit.” {Charles Finney Father of American revivalism}

During the 16th and 17th century Anabaptists were heavily prosecuted in Europe because of their view of Jesus his position and man’s position in this world. By the many searchers for the truth lots of them found they could not take on the human doctrines like the Trinity and found that people had to be fully aware of what believing meant and when to commit themselves to the Only One God. From the Low countries many went to America. On the boat-trip they had a very good opportunity to speak about the biblical truth to others form different denominations. also the English doctor John Thomas who as ship’s surgeon on the Marquis of Wellesley, took the occasion to share his ideas with many people on board. When this boat docked in New York, Thomas travelled on to Cincinnati, Ohio where he became convinced by the Restoration Movement (also known as the or the Stone-Campbell Movement) of the need for baptism and joined them in October 1832. Looking for the “church within” we can imagine that people tried also to express themselves freely to show others how they understood the Word of God.

The Restoration Movement developed from several independent strands of religious revival that idealized apostolic Christianity. They were united in the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. After his bad experience fearing for his life when the boat had nearly sunk, Thomas took his vow to God seriously and went going from one place to another, preaching the Word of God. Many of his followers came to “the Brotherhood”, and started to have meetings in their houses or barns to study the Word of God. For them it was clear that human doctrines and church creeds divide and that real Christians should be under Christ. for them God’s Word was clearly given to all people and the Bible was not to be the matter only for clergy. For them all Christians should take the Bible as their guide and leader and should suppress all divisive doctrines and practices.

One of Thomas his disciples would find enough people interested to print pamphlets and tracts. He also started as a Christian restorationist minister and became better known as Pastor Russell, being the instigator of Russellism or founder of the Russellites, opposite the Thomasites or followers of Dr. Thomas who founded the Christadelphians, Brothers in Christ who took studying the bible as one of their priorities (hence the other name Bible Students).

Dr Thomas also wrote for and was editor of the Apostolic Advocate which first appeared in May 1834, whilst Charles Taze Russell started only in July 1879 with publishing his monthly religious journal, Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. In 1881 he co-founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society with William Henry Conley as president, providing the establishment of an international Bible Student movement. In 1884 the corporation was officially registered, with Russell as president. From then onwards those Bible Students tried to bring Bible fragments in the common language of the day. For them women had also their say and were worthy co-operators to produce articles and to bring bible texts in contemporary American English.

It was his successor as society president, Joseph Rutherford who brought a wide division in the Bible student movement and created the Jehovah’s Witnesses who would work at translating the Word of God, doing a marvellous job, presenting bibles in many languages all over the world, so that nobody would have an excuse he or she could not find a Bible in a language he or she understands.

10MaryPatterson1862.jpeg

Mary Jane Patterson (1840–1894)

In 1862 Mary Jane Patterson became the first African-American woman to receive a B.A degree in the New World. She received a recommendation for an “appointment from the American missionary Association as a … teacher among freedmen.” In 1865 Patterson became an assistant to Fanny Jackson Coppin at the Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania). In 1869 to 1871 Patterson taught in Washington, D. C., at the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth known today as Dunbar High School (Washington, D.C.). She served as the school’s first Black principal, from 1871 to 1872. She was reappointed from 1873 to 1884. During her administration, the school grew from less than 50 to 172 students, the name “Preparatory High School” was dropped, high school commencements were initiated, and a teacher-training department was added to the school. Patterson’s commitment to thoroughness as well as her “forceful” and “vivacious” personality helped her establish the school’s strong intellectual standards.
We can imagine by those standards being a Christian life style and good moral where essence.

Already around the turn of the 18th to 19th century women had started wanting to have a stronger voice in the education of children. Also parents started looking more at how to bring up children together in a community. They had seen the public school system starting to develop going away from certain ways of life preferred by them. The spiritual aspect was important and could not be forgotten. Discontented with the new public school system more alternative education developed in part as a reaction to perceived limitations and failings of traditional education. In many of such schools at that time the Bible and Christian life formed an important element of educational basic training. A broad range of educational approaches emerged, including alternative schools, self learning, homeschooling and unschooling.

Benjamin Wilson (1817–1900)

In 1840 the English family Wilson though originally Baptists, joined the growing Campbellite movement and moved to the New World four years later. In Geneva, Illinois the family began to distance themselves from the Campbellites. In 1846 Benjamin Wilson wrote his first letter to the other ex-Campbellite John Thomas, as recorded in the latter’s magazine The Herald of the Future Age, agreeing with the Thomas’ views on the immortal soul – the initial cause of his break with Campbell. There is considerable correspondence in Thomas’ magazines from various members of the Wilson family over the next several years.

Just as John Thomas had been re-baptised in 1847, Benjamin Wilson was rebaptised in 1851, marking off a new start from the Campbellites.

The first page of the Complutensian Polyglot

From 1855 to 1869 Benjamin Wilson published a monthly religious magazine, the Gospel Banner, which merged with John Thomas’s magazine, Herald of the Coming Kingdom.

In 1857 the autodidact Biblical scholar Benjamin Wilson presented a first section of a side-by-side two-language New Testament version like the New Testament in Greek and Latin, had been completed in 1514 with the Complutensian printed by Axnaldus Guilielmus de Brocario at the expense of Cardinal Ximenes at the university at Alcalá de Henares (Complutum) and the Antwerp Polyglot, printed by Christopher Plantin (1569-1572, in eight volumes folio). Polyglot means, literally poly or multi tongue or multi lingual, “through tongue” or “many / several languages” and is understood to signify “interlinear.”

In England there had also been a polyglot translation by Brian Walton who was aided by able scholars and used much new manuscript material (London, 1657). It included the Ethiopic Psalter, Canticle of Canticles, and New Testament, the Arabic New Testament, and the Gospels in Persian. His prolegomena and collections of various readings mark an important advance in biblical criticism.

It was in connection with this polyglot that Edmund Castell produced his famous Heptaglott Lexicon (two volumes folio, London, 1669), a monument of industry and erudition even when allowance is made for the fact that for the Arabic he had the great manuscript lexicon compiled and left to the University of Cambridge by William Bedwell. {Free Encyclopedia Wikipedia}

The Emphatic Diaglott.jpgThe Bible was also published in several languages by Elias Hutter (Nuremberg, 1599-1602), and by Christianus Reineccius (Leipsic, 1713-51). Ten years before the “Polyglot Bible in eight languages” (2 vols., London, 2nd ed. 1874) the Christadelphians produced the complete two-language Emphatic Diaglott translation, of the New Testament by Benjamin Wilson. For the Greek text he based it on the various Readings of the Vatican Manuscript, No. 1209; the text used by the German rationalist Protestant theologian Johann Jakob Griesbach, who was the earliest biblical critic to subject the Gospels to systematic literary analysis. In this translation the name of God is also restored, so that readers could clearly see about whom was spoke and who said something, the lord Jeshua (Jesus Christ) or the Lord of lords”Jehovah“.

In this Interlineary literal Word for Word English translation ‘Signs of Emphasis’ were given; whilst under each Greek word the English equivalent is printed. In the slim right-hand column of each page is presented a modern English translation as made by Benjamin Wilson. Also a copious selection of ‘References’; many appropriate, illustrative, and exegetical ‘Foot-notes’; and a valuable ‘Alphabetical Appendix’ are given. This combination of important items could not be found in any other book at that time.

Such literal translations made many bible Students to see much things more clearly. Also Charles T. Russell, learned that the inspired Greek Scriptures speak of the second “presence” of Christ, for the Diaglott translated the Greek word “parousía” correctly as “presence,” and not as “coming” like the King James Version Bible. Accordingly when C. T. Russell began publishing his new Bible magazine in July of 1879, he called it Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

The Christadelphians allowed also the Millenial Dawn Bible Students (later the Watchtower Society) to distribute Wilson’s work widely around the world from 1902. Also the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith and the Church of the Blessed Hope which he founded are still part of the Christadelphian movement which still print this Bible translation.

Bible students form the Zion’s Watchtower suggested that,

Every student of God’s plan, as presented in the Tower, ought to have the aid which the Diaglott affords.

As such this translation became a useful attribute for the later standard Bible of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, The New World Translation.

In 2004, the Abrahamic Faith Beacon Publishing Society brought home The Emphatic Diaglott and re-published a new version of it, working in partnership with The Christadelphian Advancement Trust.

In the homeschooling opposite to traditional Christian schools it were mostly women who took up the job as teacher. Having only bibles in Old English they wanted books in a more contemporary language and put pressure on the existing clergy. From the congregations also came a louder cry to provide them with modern language bibles.

King James Version of the Bible

King James Version of the Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Answering that cry from the housewives and teachers in 1870 an invitation was extended to American religious leaders for scholars to work on the revision of the Authorized Version/King James Bible of 1611. In 1871, thirty scholars were chosen by Philip Schaff. The denominations represented on the American committee were the Baptist, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, Friends, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, and Unitarian.

In England also there was a request to have a revision and by the Convocation of Canterbury in 1870 two companies were formed, one each for the Old and New Testaments to revise the King James Version. Parallel companies in the United States received the work of the English scholars to return their comments. For those at work it was made clear only a revision and not a new translation was contemplated.

The New Testament was published in England on May 17, 1881, and three days later in the United States, after 11 years of labour. Over 30,000 changes were made, of which more than 5,000 represent differences in the Greek text from that used as the basis of the King James Version. Most of the others were made in the interests of consistency or modernization.

In the traditional churches there was not much interest in the Old Testament, this not fitting in with the accent of their teaching on Jesus, instead of God.

On certain points the English and Americans did not agree. At that time the Americans still gave in to the British revisers and published preferred readings and renderings in an appendix to the Revised Version. In 1900 the American edition of the New Testament, which incorporated the American scholars’ preferences into the body of the text, was produced. A year later the Old Testament was added, but not the Apocrypha. The alterations covered a large number of obsolete words and expressions and replaced Anglicisms by the diction then in vogue in the United States.

As shown above women and the general American public made use to talk about the Bible and to use it at home. The publishers could not ignore their wishes and provided them with some official version which could offer an alternative for the partly published Bible books and for the unofficial translations into modern speech made from 1885 which had gained popularity. Their appeal reinforced by the discovery that the Greek of the New Testament used the common non-literary variety of the language spoken throughout the Roman Empire when Christianity was in its formative stage.

The notion that a nonliterary modern rendering of the New Testament best expressed the form and spirit of the original was hard to refute. This, plus a new maturity of classical, Hebraic, and theological scholarship in the United States, led to a desire to produce a native American version of the English Bible. {Encyclopaedia Britannica}

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Preceding articles:

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions

Next: Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles

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Additional reading

  1. Codex Sinaiticus available for perusal on the Web
  2. Bible Translating and Concordance Making
  3. Looking at notes of Samuel Ward and previous Bible translation efforts in English
  4. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  5. Rare original King James Bible discovered
  6. King James Bible Coming into being
  7. Celebrating the Bible in English
  8. TheBible4Life KJV Jubileum
  9. What English Bible do you use?
  10. The Most Reliable English Bible
  11. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  12. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  13. New American Bible Revised Edition
  14. The NIV and the Name of God
  15. Archeological Findings the name of God YHWHUse of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  16. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  17. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  18. Some Restored Name Versions
  19. Anchor Yale Bible
  20. iPod & Android Bibles
  21. Missed opportunity for North Korea
  22. What are Brothers in Christ
  23. Wanting to know more about basic teachings of Christadelphianism
  24. Around C.T.Russell

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Further reading

  1. Jennifer Strauss, ‘The Anabaptist Cages, Münster’
  2. The Bible: Kept Pure in All Ages
  3. Where was the Bible before 1611? How can we know God endorsed the KJV?
  4. AV1611: England’s Greatest Achievement
  5. Earliest Known Draft of 1611 King James Bible Is Found
  6. Ye King Iames Bible
  7. King James Version
  8. Thees, Thous, and Wot Nots
  9. The King James Bible
  10. The King James Bible and the Restoration
  11. King James Only? (Ethernal Christ)
  12. KJV Only? (Lynn Thaler)
  13. KJV Onlyism: What It Does And Doesn’t Mean
  14. King James XV
  15. Christian Scholars Admit To Corrupting The Bible
  16. What’s wrong with the New King James?
  17. Is it true no doctrines are changed in modern versions?
  18. The King James AV 1611 Bible vs. The New International Version
  19. I got saved reading the NIV. How can you say it’s no good?
  20. Why should God’s Word be restricted to English?
  21. The Attack on the Bible
  22. John 3:16 isn’t the gospel that saves men’s souls today
  23. New Age Deism
  24. New Age Deism: Part Two
  25. Inside Orthodox Judaism: A Critical Perspective On Its Theology
  26. Mailbox Monday August 29: on Katharina von Bora
  27. 11th April 1612. Dangerous Heresy.
  28. Book Review: The Reformers and Their Stepchildren by Leonard Verduin
  29. women.born.before | 05 feb 1760
  30. Settler Colonialism and the Freedom of Religion
  31. Searching for Religious Freedom
  32. Freedom From and For Religion
  33. This Week in History – Kicked to the Curb by a Pilgrim
  34. King Survey: Women and Other Puritans
  35. The Puritans: Church and State
  36. Midweek Blog: Anne Hutchinson, the “Unnatural Woman”
  37. Paddling the Hutch: Ned P. Rauch takes the plunge
  38. Great Information Wrapped Inside This Human Struggle
  39. The Puritan identification with the Bible
  40. Despite Roger Williams’ Efforts, Providence Burns in 1676
  41. Williams
  42. Roger Williams in Art
  43. Mass Moments: Roger Williams Banished
  44. Research Reading IV
  45. Research Reading V
  46. History Weekend: The Shakers, pt. 1
  47. Quakers
  48. Commonwealth – Part Two
  49. A Catalogue of Severall Sects & Opinions
  50. History of the Anabaptist Head Covering
  51. Faith in the Head Covering
  52. Persecuted in Revolutionary Baltimore: The Sufferings of Quakers
  53. Half an hour in James Watt’s Workshop
  54. The Advices & Queries project
  55. The Violent Seduction of Thomas Paine by Rocket Kirchner
  56. The Last Runaway Review
  57. Stantons in America
  58. Eber Sherman, ,7th Great-Grandfather
  59. Birmingham Quakers and the Spanish Civil War
  60. Hidden Nearby: Charles Grandison Finney’s Birthplace
  61. Free Charles Finney Book!
  62. The reward of fervent prayer, Charle G. Finney
  63. Midweek Blog: Charles Finney, Staring at You Until You Join His Revival
  64. “Could God Forgive A Man Like That?”
  65. Joseph Logan land, 127 acres, Ninety Six District, South Carolina, 1785
  66. Alexander Campbell & the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
  67. Restoration
  68. The Restoration Movement, Acapella & the Trinity
  69. The Future of the Restoration Movement, Part 2
  70. Charles Taze Russell – “Don’t read your Bible”
  71. Apocalyptic Forecasts
  72. Women’s History: Mary Jane Patterson
  73. Some Notes on Bible Translations
  74. What is Wrong with Evangelicals in America?
  75. For Us or Against Us: The Politics of the Christian Right & the Shutdown
  76. Icon: Tacy Cooper
  77. The Secret of Powerful Revivals Are the Intercessors Praying Behind the Scenes
  78. Les origines de nos traditions dans l’Eglise : Partie 1
  79. Edifying Christian Biographies That Will Bless Every True Christian!
  80. A Visit to Pembroke College
  81. Hospitality
  82. ‘Tis a Gift
  83. A weekend away
  84. Simple gifts
  85. Becoming Visible: Quaker Outreach at Colleges
  86. Turbulent Londoners: Ada Salter, 1866-1942
  87. A Spicy Letter to Preachers
  88. On Church Leadership (an email exchange with Sándor Abonyi of Hungary) – Pt.1: “The First Button”
  89. My way is the best
  90. ELCA Repudiates the Doctrine of Discovery, Next Up: Mennonite Church USA
  91. A glimpse of Missouri’s Amish
  92. Freedom of religion
  93. Book Review – Recovering the Margins of American Religious History: The Legacy of David Edwin Harrell, Jr. (Waldrop and Billingsley, eds.)
  94. Book Review: The Churches of Christ in the 20th Century: Homer Hailey’s Personal Journey of Faith (David Edwin Harrell, Jr.)
  95. Churches of Christ – The Road Ahead
  96. Some Notes on Bible Translations

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