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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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