RE: A question from the closed thread

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by preachinjesus, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    In the closed thread about retiring the KJV I got asked a good question from Amy G. and wanted to reply:

    I had said:
    Amy G. then asked:
    This is a good question and I can honestly say that in my time working in Bible studies, extensively translating passages, developing studies/lessons/talk/sermons, examining translations, reviewing present day scholarship, etc. I've worked with and through/with enough translations that I can honestly say that with present day tools the modern scholar is far better equipped and present day translation are based on far better scholarship than the King James version.

    This isn't to say the KJV is bad, poor, or useless, but when it comes down to brass tacks and what truly represents the original intent of the authors I can honestly say there are at least eight or nine present day translations that out pace the KJV in their scholarship. I can supply some passages if given some time but it becomes fairly clear that most modern versions surpass the dated scholarship and language of the KJV texts.

    While the KJV stands, historically, as one of the greatest translations of the text it has been improved upon (usually cautiously) by components of biblical languages research (remember Ugaritic wasn't even known at the last KJV update), archeology, theological conversations, and textual evidences that have immensely enhanced the reliability of modern texts.

    Though some of the updates and clarifications can seem minor and even inconsequential, many are significant and have undergirded the entire biblical record.

    Just my $.02...:saint:
     
  2. humblethinker

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    It seems to me that any discussion about KJVO with those that adhere to it (the kind of adherence that is more than a type of preference) boils down to the necessity of an irrational blind faith. "Irrespective of the facts, it must be the way I think it should be." I'm not sure that the facts will convince most these people. I was once of this kind of thought.
     
  3. Amy.G

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    Thanks for answering my question preachin. I was sorry the thread got closed without an answer. Could you explain what you mean by present day "tools"?

    To humblethinker: you should be more humble. I'm not KJVO nor am I unteachable. :)
     
  4. Jim1999

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    What is good scholarship? Following the Romish Church through the Reformation, and thus equating with what must have aligned with the original manuscripts?

    The KJV translaters were good scholars; the best in England at the time. They followed former versions such as the Geneva and Bishop's Bibles. What they lacked was some historical and animal knowledge. They were also translating some areas in relation to the Church of England's practice.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    That 'irrational blind faith' goes both ways since no one has the original manuscripts. Whichever text body you choose it is, at best, and educated guess.

    I am not even KJV preferred, but this consistent statement declaration that it is an inferior translation based on text and scholarship simply has no evidence.

    'Well the new versions must be better because the KJV translators didn't have x,y, or z texts' implies that somehow we know that x,y, and z texts are superior. How do we know that? The only answer is that 'most scholars agree. How do they know without the original manuscripts to compare them to?

    I don't care which translation or manuscript body a believer uses, but to claim that their's is superior is an opinion and on opinion only.
     
  6. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    What 8-9 translation out pace the KJV in their scholarship and why does each do so?
     
  7. JesusFan

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    To me, the Bigger issue in this is that the modern versions have 'without a doubt" much superior understanding of the history/cultures/biblical languages etc than KJV translators had in their 'tool box"

    MUCH greater lnowledge and understanding would be definition mean that the modern versions would have the benefit of this scholarship and have to produce a final product closer to the original documents!

    Also, there is the case of English changing SO MUCH past 400 years, almost would seem to be an entirely different bible!
     
  8. Jim1999

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    If what you are saying is true, then we should be paying more mind to our modern scholars such as Karl Barth, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Rene Descartes,Albert Schweitzer, Frederick Schleirmacher and a number of other modern intellects.

    Schleirmacher is deemed to be the founder of modern day protestant theology.

    Lord help us.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    I'm generally speaking of the present day (i.e. most recent) lexicons, theological dictionaries, atlases, linguistical tools, lexical data, text-critical work, manuscript research, the assembling together of the critical text, software for analysis and comparison, journal discussions, monographs on an issue, and of the such.

    Scholars today are just far better equipped to produce well founded, well researched text than the KJV is able to provide in the same context.

    Notice my intentional use of the term "present day." I say this because in its day the KJV translators used some of the best resources at their disposal. Yet they produced a text that certainly needed updating and it was. Also please note that I am not referring to the original 1611 KJV. That isn't my area of reference, but rather the last update of the KJV in 1769.
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    I would disagree here. Before I assume too much though, let me ask this. Would you say the 1611 KJV or even the 1769 update (the KJU) are the best text to give to the majority of believers in the English speaking world?
     
  11. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    My opinion? Neither. I prefer and use the NKJV, I recommend it first.

    But, to address your question, we both know that there are only about 100 differences between the two editions apart from updated and standardised spellings. The text is virtually the same so it would be silly to try and make a choice between the two. I would prefer the later editions which corrected the 1 John 5v12 error in the original edition. Looking at the typesetting layout my guess would be that that mistake was made at the printers. The old spelling is more difficult to navigate as well, and the Gothic font is hard until you get used to it.
     
    #11 NaasPreacher (C4K), Sep 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2011
  12. preachinjesus

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    I am not disparaging the KJV, it stands as the monumental document in the English language for the past 400 years. You can't debate that reasonably. It changed the English speaking world. Yet it has been surpassed by many contemporary versions of the last 100 years simply in terms of scholarship, verbiage, and communication of the authorial intent.

    For my money I desire a text that communicates the intent of the author while being accurate to the original languages and handling the scholarly conversations around important texts. If anyone (again not putting words in your mouth) disagrees with this desire please voice your opinion and let's have a respectful dialogue. Not to beat a dead horse but at the time of the last update to the KJV Ugaritic wasn't discovered as a language. This fact alone has had innumerable consequences for OT scholarship. (I can broach this subject more effectively later.)

    Also (before I get to my task) I don't engage this kind of conversation to say we haven't had a faithful text for the last 1800 years. I disagree with that completely. This is akin to having the rough hewn statue and now applying the appropriate smoothing devices to produce a masterpiece.

    My list of contemporary translations is in no particular order and has a bit of annotation to it. I'm not speaking authoritatively. If you like the KJV and prefer it, that is awesome and I praise God for your desire to read His words and grow in them. This is simply an honest discussion.

    NET (New English Translation) - this translation is one of the more recent and utilizes a completely different approach to the text than most other major translations. Instead of gathering a committee and cranking out the passages and voting on the best rendering, this was developed and translated by specialists in each book. The translators' notes and textual notes are invaluable. It presents a good mediating translation and takes into account the CT and utilizes the most up-to-date scholarship in both OT and NT texts.

    NASU (New American Standard Version Updated) - updated the update to the ASV. It utilizes a formal equivalent approach to the text and draws on excellent textual tradition to deliver a text that is highly regarded for study. In the 1995 update (which I am referring to) the translators helped smooth over some parts to present a text that effectively gets at the original statements in the passages.

    NKJV (New King James Versions) - Used a similar translation philosophy to the KJV but updated the language and imputed some (admittedly) better scholarship to help bridge the gap on difficulties created by the out dated scholarship that informed the previous version. This is a great text and needed update. Ironically it draws on both the TR and CT to help put forth a good presentation of the text.

    NIV (New International Version) - Some of the best scholarship of the last quarter of the 20th century aided this translation in effectively deploying a dynamically equivalent text that has become the primary Bible for most evangelicals. Though I am reticent to add the 2011 version, it really builds on recent scholarship done by some of the top scholars in their discipline. Just read the translator's notes and preface to the text and you can easily see the advances in linguistics and scholarship that led to the version.

    NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) - I know this isn't a favorite for evangelical scholarship but it definitely accomplished a lot for a formal equivalent translations. Using some of the best scholars from evangelical and mainline denominational schools, the NRSV put forward a text that ran past many other contemporaries and continues to be the preferred version for mainline scholarship. Though I don't use it, one can't deny it is a distinguished advancement in Bible translation.

    ESV (English Standard Version) - This almost speaks for itself and is one of the first contemporary versions to utilize advances in linguistics to overcome the difficulties of the NRSV and present a (publicly) readable formally equivalent text. In terms of scholarship it uses the best texts available (which far outpaces the original documents for the KJV) and makes strides towards clarifying seemingly conflicting passages by rightly stating the authorial intent in their context.

    HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) - A most recent entry into the field it curiously utilizes textual data from both the TR and CT to provide rounded out translations of difficult passages. This text strives for an "optimal equivalency" and comes closer to formal equivalency though it is still mediating. They built on scholarship from previous contemporary versions to further clarify difficulties within the text.

    JPS TNKH (Jewish Publication Society Tanakah) - Maybe this is half a translation but it represents the most recent and best Jewish scholarship of the OT. Here we can see significant advances in the linguisitical understanding in the OT. Particularly in the discoveries and work in Aramaic, Ugaritic, and the Dead Sea Scrolls have really done a lot for this translation. Just this text alone should be enough to detail the monumental scholarly differences between what the KJV presents and what is available today.

    That gets us to eight I guess. Maybe there are a couple more out there. I could include the NLT because it is a terrifically grounded text but is highly functionally equivalent. Nevertheless, this isn't to say the KJV is bad or poor but just dated.

    One closing thought: I got into a debate with an atheist friend not too long ago and he kept referring me to stuff from Sam Harris who says that the only objective text in English that hasn't been "white-washed" by scholarship is the KJV 1611. This guy was adamant about using it to expose the contradictions and errors within the Bible. He had a running list of about 350 errors in the 66 books. As we discussed and corresponded (via lunches and emails) I pointed out to him that scholarship hasn't been the enemy of the church, or scientific objectivism, but a friend. My point of reference in our conversations was always the original languages but since he couldn't read I used a combination of the ESV and NASU to clarify my counter arguments. Finally, after two weeks of him insisting on the KJV 1611 I finally said he could use the KJV from 1611 if I could then use science from 1611 and nothing following.

    The changes between 1611 and now have been huge for both biblical translation and scientific knowledge. Why restrict our scholarship to that era when we've accomplished so much more and have far better information now than then?

    Now I love the KJV and think it has been monumentally important. I just don't recommend it to any Christians as their primary text. There is better scholarship undergirding the contemporary versions that the KJV. We need to leverage this when we can. :)
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    While I don't have as much a problem with including Barth, the others aren't necessary. You're leaving out a tremendous number of present day evangelical scholars that supersede the ones you've mentioned.

    I'd rather pivot to scholars like Carson, Moo, Fee, Metzger, Wallace, Bock, Wright, even Pannenberg, Grenz, or Moltmann, etc. than these guys. Not that they didn't make a contribution, I just think they've been responded to and their objections have been answered.

    It is an odd list you have here.

    We should be paying attention to the best scholarship period, and yes I include people I disagree with here, and test everything by the text of the Scriptures which has been proven over the past 150 years and not disproven.

    Whoever told you this? Schleiermacher is important, but he isn't the "founder of modern day protestant theology." He is the father/founder of Protestant Liberal Theology but his reach is limited therein. He, Schweitzer, Bultmann, von Harnack, et al were pretty well devastated by Barth's superiority in the mid-20th century.
     
  14. Jim1999

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    You mean Barth who taught that the bible becomes the word only when man experiences it. Barthianism did enter modern theology and corrupted the evangelical church with his German philosophy. He did teach for a short period at Chicago Divinity School alongside the other liberal s from Union Seminary; the most liberal schools in America.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. Palatka51

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    [​IMG] Thank YOU!
     
  16. Martin Marprelate

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    There seems to be a confusion of theologians with washing powder. It is the latter that always seem to have a 'New, improved formula.' In theology, new is by no means always better, which is why the prophet instructs us to look for the 'old paths' which will give us rest for our souls. Whilst I do believe that God's word can yield new insights to those who study it humbly and carefully, I would say that there is more danger of losing some of God's truths in studying preachinjesus' list of modern theologians than likelihood of gaining anything. If N.T.Wright is the person meant in the list, then I don't hesitate to say that the man is a heretic and a blind guide and needs to be avoided at all costs. Carson is the best of the bunch, and I know he's hugely popular, but I wouldn't recommend him.

    For great scholarship coupled with true godliness, you can't beat the Puritans. Read Sibbes, Bunyan, Keach or Watson for real blessing.

    With regard to the modern translations, I use the NKJV because I prefer its textual basis. The NASB is good and the ESV is OK if you like the Critical Text. The NIV, even the 1984 version, is IMO inferior. Read Robert Martin's critique in Accuracy of Translation and the New International Version, Published by Banner of Truth in 1989 (ISBN 0 85151 546 0). Of the others, I haven't read them all, but some of them like the GNB, CEV, NRSV and the dreaded Message, I would run a mile from.

    Steve
     
  17. preachinjesus

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    I like Karl Barth and have read him, and continue to do so, extensively. Here you've mischaracterized his theology, specifically his engagement with the kergymatic function of proclamation. It's okay, most people have probably never read a lot of Barth so it's easy to get messed up on it. For what its worth, what Barth does to KO Protestant Liberalism in his works, specifically the Dogmatics, is unparralleled in the modern theological world.

    Now he did work with people at some seminaries in the US. Keep in mind though there weren't a lot of respected institutions (to the level which a thoroughbred of Continental theology would recognize) in the US that weren't in the circles of the schools you've mentioned. I mean Union of the 1920s-1940s is much different than present day. Even Bonhoeffer studied there.

    So let's actually engage with Barth's thought and not mischaracterize it. Also let's not attempt to paint him as a theological Liberal (which he wasn't) through guilt by association.

    I know a lot of people don't care for Barth in traditional Baptist circles. That's fine, I don't mention him too often or around the laity. That said his influence is huge. So what about the other names I mentioned? :)
     
  18. preachinjesus

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    Well I'm glad you're comfortable calling a faithful leader in the English church a heretic. I guess I'm not nearly qualified enough to make such a judgment about him.
     
  19. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    While I disagree that we can state categorically that any of these are 'superior to the KJV' because we still don't really know I do appreciate you taking the time to share your reasoning. It does help me to understand your viewpoint.
     
  20. Martin Marprelate

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    Clearly not, if you call him a "faithful" leader. I prefer the previous Bishop of Durham who denied the miracles and the Resurrection. At least you knew where you were with him. Wright is wrong :laugh: on Justification, which, as Luther said, is the doctrine on which the Church stands or falls.

    Wright is like a poisoner who slips a tiny pill of cyanide into your wholesome cup of cocoa. Such a man is more dangerous than a maniac who comes at you with a kitchen knife. At least you can run away from him.

    Those who believe that whatever is new is automatically better are Wright's lawful prey.

    Steve
     

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