Marg.Or Footnotes Voicing Doubt

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Rippon, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Rippon

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    Sometimes it's hard to word a thread title properly.I went through the NASU,ESV,HCSB,NLTse and TNIV in the books of Psalms and Isaiah.I was searching for the number of times that the footnotes or marginal notes indicated that the translators were unsure of particular words,phrases or entire verses.

    Psalms

    NASU -- no uncertainties
    ESV -- 68:5;74:5;88:15;92:10;102:6;110:3;141:6,7 ("Heb.uncertain")
    HCSB -- 76:10;138:3;139:14;140:11 ("Heb.obscure")
    NLTse -- 2:12;3:2;9:16;58:7 ("The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain")
    TNIV -- 50:23;73:10;110:3 ("Heb.uncertain" -- this translation constantly said "Selah" was a word of uncertain meaning -- but I didn't count those.)

    The only commonality that exists is between the TNIV and ESV where 110:3 was uncertain for both translations.

    The ESV led the this group of translations with eight references which were in doubt.

    The HCSB and NLTse tied at four a-piece.

    Isaiah

    NASU -- no uncertainties
    ESV -- 10:27;27:8;34:11;34:14;38:8 (5)
    HCSB -- 18:2;26:16;27:8;28:10;28:13;29:1,2;40:20;41:2;42:19;43:14;46:8;
    47:3;51:14;66:17 ( a whopping 16)
    NLTse -- 14:4 (Masoretic uncertain);23:10;34:11;34:12 ( the rest of the references said that the Heb. was uncertain) (4)
    TNIV -- 25:11;26:16;27:8;28:25;34:11;45:2;54:11;66:18 (8)

    The HCSB wins first place for this distinction.The TNIV ranks second.The ESV gets third prize.

    The commonalities for Isaiah between these translations are:

    ESV,TNIV,NLTse: 34:11
    HCSB,ESV,TNIV: 27:8
    HCSB,TNIV: 26:16
    _________________________________________________________

    So what does this exercise determine?1) Rip is bored 2) The NASU the best because it expressed no hesitation for any verses. Seriously,do you folks have more confidence in a version which has the least amount of stated uncertainties?Or would the HCSB rank higher in your estimation because of its honesty and perhaps greater scholarship?
     
  2. Ed Edwards

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    Doubt added by footnote reader

    Thank you Missionary Brother Rippon for your addition to the knowledge at the Version/Translation Forum of the BB (Baptist Board).

    IMHO the doubt is added to the footnote by the presuppositions of the reader.

    The trailer &/or signature following my post is a statement is my way of reading footnotes. To me Translator footnotes are an enhancement of the Bible studying experience.

    If one were to presume this:

    There is one and only one source Bible that is right & it does not exist on earth now and there is one and only one English Bible that is right.

    Then that person is going to consider footnotes as not part of the Bible (just like commentary footnotes). This includes versions of the King James Versions (KJVs) that have the original translator footnotes.

    I'll stick with my trailer:




     
  3. EdSutton

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    Yep! Too much time!

    Well, Rippon probably does have way too much time on his hands, I'll agree. :thumbs:

    But, IMO, it would be more accurate to say that the variant readings as found in the footnotes merely represent variant opinions of the translators and scholars, over readings and renderings. Ya' know, like what are found in the Geneva and KJV-1611, as well. ;)

    The alleged "greater scholarship" is highly subjective, at best, even though I am coming to like the HCSB more and more, all the time, thus far.

    Oh yeah! As to the too much time bit, I am voicing "No Doubt!" :laugh: :laugh:

    Ed
     
  4. ktn4eg

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    Here's my $0.02 concerning footnotes in the Bible:

    One of the primary reasons we have what's referred to as the "Authorized Version" (AV 1611 Version, better known as the KJV) is due to the commentary-type footnotes that were found in the earliest versions of the Geneva Bible -- the Bible that the Pilgrims carried with them on the Mayflower when it landed in Plymouth harbor in 1620.

    Among other things, many of these commentary-like footnotes were definitely anti-royalist (i.e., against kings) in nature. There were several reasons for the early versions of the Geneva Bible being decidedly anti-monarchial in their tenor.

    Not the least of these reasons for their footnotes being against monarchs was due to the fact that it was due to the opperssive policies of a monarch--in this case Queen Mary I (Mary Tudor a/k/a "Bloody Mary" [r. 1553-58])--that the group of educated English church men that we know today as "Puritans" were forced from their livelihoods and from their homes in Englands to fend for themselves in whatever places in continental Europe (which itself found itself bitterly divided not only between those who held to the authority of the Roman Pope in all matters of life [including who should be their political rulers and, hence their "protectors" from the armies of neighboring rulers who saw the Protestant Reformation as a means of severing their ties to {as well as their monies from} the pope in Rome).

    Finding no really secure area in northern continental Europe any where near the shores of their beloved homes on the island of Great Britain, they were forced to move in and around the region of SW Switzerland that bordered France along the shores of Lake Geneva where the largest city in that area was a place named after the large lake that formed that place's large lake-front harbor---Geneva, Switzerland---a great metropolitan area that was under the both the religious and political control of John Calvin. (Hence the name of that Bible--the "Geneva" Bible.)

    Even in our other Bibles do we find that many really godly OT kings (and those that were around in the days immediately before, during and after Gospels were originally written). Even the few kings that were remebered for the many good things they may have done (e.g., David) had their shortcomings and backslidings. So, the ammo pile from which their rage against the ungodliness of monarchs the Bible was quite inexhaustible.

    With the death of the last Tudor monarch of England (Elizabeth I--The "virgin[?]" [Spin for "Never-Married"!]) in 1603, the "Royal Selection Committee" [or whatever it was called] had to go back about two or three generations to find a descendant of King Henry VIII's older sister to take over as King of England.

    This descendent of Henry VIII's nephew already had a day job in Scotland, namely being King James VI of Scotland.

    James VI must have known "how not to rule a nation," since he had Mary, Queen of Scots as his mother (not to be confused with "Bloodly Mary" of England--although Mary Queen of Scots was probably as responsible for the shedding as much blood of the Scots men (if not more) as "Bloody Mary" was for that of English men during her short reign in England)!

    James VI's claims to the English throne were tenuous at best, for there other rival constants for the throne of England who claimed to have "better" and/or closer ties to the royal bloodline of England than did James VI of Scotland.

    This was one of the reasons that James was receptive to that part of the "Milliennial Petition" (so called becuse of its claim to have the support of and backing of [even if it didn't actually have that number of signatories] of over a a thousand English men) which called for the translation of a new Bible.

    With a newer translation under way during his reign, if it were to be one that was truly "Authorized" by the king, thenJames I could demand that there be no commentary-like footnotes that put any kind of negative spin on any kings in the Bible (Even old King Ahab would thus be spared any criticism in the footnotes!). And demand it he did!

    Thus, he figured that a Bible without lots of bad things to say about "God's Chosen" leader (Read the Dedication Page that's still printed in many modern editions of the KJV to get an idea of just how the translators were required lavish praise on James I !!) of the people would at least make the English people (most of whom had no love lost for anyone with the blood of the wild, unruly likes of a stubborn Scots man [and especially for one whose mama probably would have never won the title of "Miss Congenialty"!]) little more receptive to the current British monarch--namely old "King Jimmy" himself

    You see, in the eyes of the high church, anti-purtitanical leaders of the Church of England, the Geneva Bible (while very popular with the English masses who could read the Bible at that time) wasn't "poilically correct" for those times since its translators were opposed to an "unpurified" (i.e., one who retained the trappings of Catholicism).

    The only English Bibles of that time that, in the eyes of the high-church Anglican officials at the beginning of the 17th century were PC were the woefully inadequate (even in the Anglican officials' eyes) Bishop's Bible and /or the "Great Bible" or Miles Coverdale's translation.

    Thus, even those who weren't of the Puritan persuasion longed for a "more accurate and readable" Bible than what they had in their hands in 1603.

    Thus King James agreed to "authorize" a commentary-free translation of the Bible. The footnotes James would permit were only those that would provide cross references to other passaages or for "clarifying" the textual meaning of words or phrases.

    Would King James I of England have "authorized" such a Bible that contained such things as the "Scofield Reference Bible's" notes? I doubt it. Perhaps the Thompson Chain Reference Bible might have "passed muster," but even that would be doubtful because of all the stuff it has in the back of it.

    But, if one dogmatically insists that the AV 1611 KJV is the ONLY "God-Preserved," inerrant and infallible 'Word of God' there ever was and ever will be!"--- then I've got "issues" with that person.

    For example, if there was no "pure" Word of God until the KJV was published, what hope would those who died in 1610 or before that ever have of knowing what God truly wanted to reveal of Himself to fallen men, and thus lead them to receive Christ as Savior?

    Thus you have this construction:

    NO "TRULY PURE" WORD OF GOD = NO "TRULY PURE" WAY FOR MAN TO KNOW WHETHER OR NOT WHAT BIBLE HE MAY HAVE IS GOING TO DIRECT HIM IN THE "TRULY PURE" PATH TO THE "TRULY PURE" SAVIOR!

    What a shame for those poor souls who faced eternity before 1611!
     
  5. jonathan.borland

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    Sometimes there is a degree of uncertainty on the text. Is it not better that we be educated by Christians on these matters than by unbelievers like Bart Ehrman?
     
  6. Rippon

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    This is significant.I looked at the NRSV.

    Psalms

    1:11,12
    10:18
    16:2,4
    22:16
    32:4
    37:35
    40:7
    42:4
    49:14
    88:15
    89:47
    92:10
    103:5
    118:27
    119:128
    139:20
    141:5,6,7

    A total of 21 cases where the meaning of the Hebrew was uncertain.And none of these references have anything to do with the small number of verses which were in doubt with the NLTse,TNIV,HCSB and ESV.

    Isaiah

    2:16
    6:4,13
    8:6,22
    14:4
    22:6
    23:13
    25:11
    26:16
    27:8
    28:10
    29:3
    30;7,27
    33;4
    34:11
    38:8,12,13,14,16
    40:20
    42:6
    43:14
    46:8
    47:13
    49:8
    52:15
    53:10
    57:8
    59:10
    64:5
    66:3

    Now that's impressive.There are 34 instances of doubt expressed by the translators.

    Here are the points of commonality.

    14:4 :NLTse
    25:11:TNIV
    26:16 :HCSB,TNIV
    27:8 :HCSB
    28:10 :HCSB
    34:11 :TNIV,NLTse
    40:20 :HCSB
    43:14 :HCSB
    46:8 :HCSB

    Now the texts which were uncertain according to the NRSV translators have no big theological weight as far as I know.And again,as I said in my opening post --sometimes it's a matter of a single word,sometimes a phrase and at times a whole verse.

    I'm just wondering if the other translation teams also had doubts about a particular meaning yet didn't feel it was worth putting those reservations in the footnotes.
     
  7. TCGreek

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    Marginal notes, as important as they are, reveal the challenge in doing a translation.

    I love them... :thumbs:

    Thanks, Rippon.
     
  8. annsni

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    Marginal notes don't make me doubt the passage at all but rather make me more fully understand it. Language is such a tricky thing - and when something cannot be translated perfectly, it is best to understand the scholarship in the translational thoughts. I've seen the notes in the KJV1611 as well as the modern version. I quite appreciate them.
     
  9. Rippon

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    I agree.But I was addressing more than the normal marginal notes which seek to clarify or offer an alternative wording.This thread is about readings which translators felt were of uncertain meaning.
     
  10. ktn4eg

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    And, the fact that even the translators of the 1611 AV Bible did this in various places is evidence that they themselves didn't consider themslves to be infallible or inerrant--especially to the extent that they themselves KNEW they were not omniscient nor did they consider their principal task to be that of "CORRECTING the 'original' Greek and Hebrew"!
     
  11. Deacon

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    Preface to the 1611 KJV [LINK]

    It seems the translators of the KJV (and others) thought a marginal reading of great benefit.
    In fact, those that disgree are quite pope-ish.

    Rob
     
    #11 Deacon, Dec 10, 2008
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  12. Logos1560

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    Scrivener noted that 4,111 of the 6,637 marginal notes in the Old Testament of the 1611 "express the more literal meaning of the original Hebrew or Chaldee" and "2156 give alternative renderings (indicated by the word 'Or' prefixed to them) which in the opinion of the Translators are not very less probable than those in the text" (Authorized Edition, p. 41). He also pointed out that 67 marginal notes in the 1611 O. T. "refer to various readings of the original, in 31 of which the marginal variation (technically called Keri) of the Masoretic revisers of the Hebrew is set in competition with the reading in the text" (Ibid.). He observed that in the N. T. of the 1611 that 37 marginal notes relate to various readings (p. 56). He also listed those 37 notes (p. 58). The 1762 edition added 15 more textual marginal notes (p. 59). The 1769 edition is said to have added at least one more. KJV defender Edward F. Hills also confirmed that 37 of the KJV’s N. T. marginal notes give variant readings (KJV Defended, p. 216). Hills also acknowledged that 16 more textual N. T. marginal notes were added in the 1700’s (Believing Bible Study, p. 206). John Eadie also affirmed that the KJV’s N. T. has “thirty-five such textual notes,” and he listed them (English Bible, II, p. 212). In addition, Eadie referred to “at least sixty-seven notes referring to various readings of the Hebrew” (p. 210).



    At Hebrews 6:1, Backus maintained that the 1611 KJV has in the margin "a literal translation of the Vulgate 'the word of the beginning of
    Christ'" (Reformed Roots, p. 147). At Matthew 4:12, Backus asserted that the 1611 KJV put “the Vulgate reading ‘delivered up’ in the margin” (p. 48). Scrivener suggested that the 1611 marginal note at 2 John 8 came from the Vulgate (Authorized Edition, p. 59). The 1611 KJV at Mark 7:3 has an alternative translation, the literal meaning of the Greek, and the translation of a church father: "Or, diligently, in the Original, with the fist; Theophilact, up to the elbow." The KJV translators put the following marginal note in the 1611 for “mercies” at Acts 13:34: “Greek, [hosios] holy, or just things; which word in the Septuagint, both in the place of Isaiah 55:3, and in many others, use for that which is in the Hebrew mercies.“ At Acts 13:18, the 1611 KJV has another marginal note that refers to the Septuagint and that also refers to Chrysostom. At Luke 10:22, the marginal note in the 1611 stated: "Many ancient copies add these words, 'And turning to his disciples, he said.'" At Luke 17:36, the marginal note in the 1611 stated: "This 36 verse is wanting in most of the Greek copies." At 2 Peter 2:2, the marginal note in the 1611 noted: "Or, lascivious wages, as some copies read." At Acts 25:6, the marginal note in the 1611 was the following: "as some copies read, no more then eight or ten days." At John 18:13, the marginal note in the 1611 gave a conjectural emendation found in the Bishops' Bible: "And Annas sent Christ bound unto Caiaphas the high priest." Other marginal notes that gave variant readings in the 1611 can be found at Judges 19:2, Ezra 10:40, Psalm 102:3, Matthew 1:11, Matthew 26:26, Acts 13:18, 1 Corinthians 15:31, Ephesians 6:9, James 2:18, 1 Peter 2:21, 2 Peter 2:2, 11, and 18.
     
  13. EdSutton

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    Difference??

    In all the cases, it seems the translators themselves were unsure.

    Effectively, the same difference, no?? :confused:

    Ed
     
    #13 EdSutton, Dec 10, 2008
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  14. Rippon

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    You're on the money!
     
  15. franklinmonroe

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    No, I don't think they're the same thing. An "alternate reading" probably means that the translation should be either 'this' or possibly 'that' (the Hebrew being somewhat ambiguous here, but certainly one or the other). Often, one of the translations is much more literal than the other (perhaps a very idiomatic one; ie. euphemism). The choice may be determined by interpretation.

    While an "uncertain reading" usually means the translators just don't know for sure, so they have 'deduced' their rendering (using context, logic, or following other sources). You know that examples of ancient Hebrew words of unknown definition (like names of specific animals and technical terms) abound. This is a 'best guess' situation.
     
    #15 franklinmonroe, Dec 10, 2008
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  16. robycop3

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    It's a simple fact that many Greek or Hebrew words/phrases have multiple correct English meanings, with the best one for a particular usage determined by the context, same as the English word 'break' is defined. This is particularly true in the Hebrew names of certain animals.

    An example is the famous case of the Hebrew 're'em'. The translators know it means a large, powerful animal, but they're not sure exactly which one it is. The AV men said 'unicorn' because they believed unicorns existed & that they were large, powerful animals. Modern translators, knowing unicorns are fictional, said 'wild bull'. But the DOCTRINE remains the same; it wouldn't be changed by calling re'em a wild bull, elephant, or any other large, powerful beast.

    Because of these many possible correct meanings of Hebrew & Greek terms, we have variant readings among translations according to the opinions of the individual translators, & it's wrong for us to sit in judgment of them unless they've made a very obvious goof. And, of course, there are umpteen opinions of what an "obvious goof" is! So, I simply accept what God has made available to me, both older & newer versions.
     

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