When is revision necessary?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by John of Japan, Aug 12, 2016.

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  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    It is my contention that English language Bibles are revised too often with the result that missionary Bible translations are under-supported and often even ignored by the translation "powers that be" in America.

    Now by all means, please stick to the OP. Have you noticed that very few threads nowadays in this form survive the first five pages? Please try to keep it civil and pertinent.

    So, when is a revision justified in any language? Here are some suggestions. A revision is justified when:

    1. There is a major change in the written language. This most often has occurred in history when a country switches from a classical written language to a colloquial one. Examples include: changing the High Wenli Chinese Bible of Robert Morrison to the Easy Wenli version of Joseph Schereschewsky; the Colloquial Version of Japan which updated the Classical Japanese Bible.

    2. There is a change in crucial terminology so that the terminology used in the original version becomes insulting. The New Japanese Bible was revised somewhat in recent years to update the original words used for leper, etc., which are now considered to be rude.

    3. The original version was done so poorly and has so many errors that a new one becomes necessary. This was true with Jerome's Latin Vulgate version, which revised and replaced the Old Latin versions.

    4. The semantics or syntax of the language has changed so much that the original version was no longer understandable.

    5. The translators believe that a different original text is necessary. This was true of the ASV, which replaced the TR of the KJV NT with a critical text. (This particular revision went too far, I believe, being a Byzantine priority guy.)
     
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  2. Van

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    I can remember typing an article on a type writer. If changes to improve it occurred to me (or were brought to my attention) I would be reluctant to type the whole thing over. But now with computers, we can delete, added, or change to our hearts content. Rather than less updates or revisions, we are going to see more.

    I think it would be rather easy to radically improve all English translations by being as consistent as possible in translating each source language word meaning into one English word or phrase. Next, we could eliminate or limit to the extent possible, overlap where the same English word or phrase is used to translate different source language words. When the translations do this (for example use Hell for both Hades and Gehenna) we obliterate the distinction drawn in the inspired text.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Maybe I should say, when is revision not necessary? My answer would be, not in any English for at least 100 years.

    Any of you read old books? Like Mark Twain's writings? Still easy to understand after well over 100 years. Tom Sawyer: 1876, 140 years ago. Can we still understand it? Yep, easily, even with some dialect in there.

    What I'm saying is that a language does not usually, except for those times I mention in Post #1, change that much over time. To be more specific, syntax (how a sentence is constructed) does not change that much. Modern Greek syntax is still closer to koine Greek than you would think.

    So where does a language change? In the semantics--the meanings of words. So the classic example is "let" meaning "prevent" in the KJV but "allow" in modern English. But folks, that does not usually happen in just 100 years. It happens over centuries. What does change in semantics is slang and colloquialisms. Thus, there are some words being used in America in a way that was not used when we left for Japan in 1981, such as "sweet" meaning "cool." I thought "amazing" was being used in a new way as "wonderful" instead of "surprising," but the other day I was reading a book from the 1950's, and there it was with the same meaning!
     
  4. TCassidy

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    But "let" even in contemporary Modern English can mean "prevent" or "hinder."

    I was a tennis player when I was young. A "let" is when the served ball strikes the net but continues over to the other player's court. It means the net "hindered" or "prevented" the completion of a legal serve. :)

    And I agree. There was no need for 200 new English translations in the 20th century. But different languages evolve (or devolve, as with English) at different rates. (The KJV may have been instrumental is slowing such changes in the English language.)

    Every couple hundred years a modest revision would probably be sufficient for the major languages. :)
     
  5. Smyth

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    The greatest impetuous to English language Bible translations of the last 30 years is not changes in the English language nor improvements in our understanding of biblical languages, but changes in our politics and values.

    We have a generation of Christian who grew up in a post-Christian West. They want to produce and consume Bibles that reflect their post-Christian Christianity. Feminism is giving us feminized (gender neutral) translations. Dispenstionalism is replacing "Jews" with "Jewish leaders", identifying people who are not (or may not be) Jews as "Jews", and replacing "LORD" with "Yahweh". The Critical Text is changing our translation by editors who comb through all the many thousands of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts picking out the most Political Correct-friendly variations.

    It's only a matter of short time for a major translation to change "homosexual" to "temple prostitute" and otherwise remove what the translators insist is "inaccurate homophobia" of earlier English translations.
     
  6. Van

    Van
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    Since the modern translations can be radically improved, why not do it? Why tolerate a lack of transparency and correspondence. Why hide the inspired word? Why not make full use of the digital revolution?
     
  7. Martin Marprelate

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    I think I disagree. The Spanish Reina Valera version is actually older than the KJV. I don't know too much of its history, but it was revised in 1909 and again in 1961. The Trinitarian Bible Society is in the throes of producing another revision. It remains SFAIK the leading Bible version in the Spanish language.

    I suggest that if the KJV had been revised every 50 years or so, it might still be the leading English language version and we might have been spared some of the junk currently on the market.

    I would like to see a revision of the NKJV sometime soon. It is my favourite version but the are some improvements that could be made. Also, who says "behold" these days?
     
  8. Deacon

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    John, you're only considering one aspect; changes in the English language.

    Consider that revisions also include changes in the way we understand the original languages.

    And consider the effects of rapid technological changes.
    The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 encouraged a proliferation of translators to produce translations.
    The development of digitalization has allowed new opportunities.
    The digitalization of ancient texts has opened vast libraries of information inspiring new discoveries in semantics and linguistics.

    I've heard that the separation between a scholarly understanding of the scriptures and the laity is about 100 years (some people today still use Matthew Henry's Commentaries) .
    Rapid communication across limitless distances insures that new ideas will proliferate swiftly not only among scholars but among interested and educated laity.
    Not only has technology opened access to sources but it has allowed a broader audience to participate.

    Rob
     
  9. Van

    Van
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    Look! with an exclamation point could replace behold.
    One of a kind, could replace begotten when translating monogenes.
    The WEB treatment of the egregious errors (J. comma) would make the NKJV acceptable to all but the KJVO folks. And it is beautifully written.
     
  10. Rippon

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    Hmm...
    Absurdity after absurdity Smyth.
    Gender-accurate is more like it. It's otherwise known as inclusive language --and it is used when the original reflects the fact..
    Please try to prove that incredible charge.
    That doesn't make a lick of sense. Try rewording.
    That is part of some sinister plot?
    You are spewing a lot of disinformation with nary a scintilla of fact to back up anything.
     
  11. Smyth

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    What do you suggest? People don't say "behold". People rarely say "look" or "see here", which sound relatively irreverent, anyway. In Greek, ἰδού (behold) probably doesn't sound so visual but more like "know this" or "listen", even though this option is an even looser translation. The most natural-sounding option would be for translators to ignore ἰδού, but do you want translators ignoring Greek words?

    I think it's bad for a translation to sound too natural. People pay less attention to natural-sounding speech. Natural-sounding quotes wouldn't be easily recognizable as biblical quotes.

    "Behold" is probably the best a translation can do.

    I'd love for someone to make an a conservative, modern AAA TR translation. But, I don't think such a translation could be produced in our current unchristian climate (unless you count the NKJV). The HCSB might have been this if the original editor hadn't died, resulting in a new editor with a fundamentally different vision.
     
  12. Rippon

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    Regarding inclusive language, I will quote from How To Choose A Translation For All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Mark L. Strauss.

    "Since grammatical gender does not necessarily coincide with biological gender, it is necessary to carefully consider words in context to determine their meaning. Thousands of examples could be introduced to show that using inclusive language for masculine generic terms in Hebrew and Greek improves the accuracy of Bible translation." (p.98)

    "...the use of gender accurate language can significantly improve the reliability of a translation. Terms like 'person,' 'brothers and sisters,' 'children,' and 'ancestors' are more specific than their masculine generic counterparts and so more accurate. Inclusive language, however, should be introduced only when the original meaning of the text included both males and females." (p.107)
     
  13. Smyth

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    Why did the NIV1984 say "brothers" instead of "brothers and sisters" in verse X? Why does the original Greek say "brothers" rather than "brothers and sisters"? Any reason other than the growth of unbiblical feminism that took place since the formative years of the translators of the NIV1984 translators that the NIV2011 says "brothers and sisters"?

    Sorry, Rippon, I don't what translator interpreting the text any more than they have to. I have more respect for myself than that, than wanting a translator to lead me around by the nose.
     
  14. Rippon

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    Because 32 years ago the term "brothers" was understood to mean both brothers and sisters in the Lord.
    It doesn't. Adelphoi is a transliteration meaning brothers and sisters.

    Adelphos is singular --meaning brother or sister.

    I just stated why above. And I have explained why on other occasions with you in the past.
     
  15. TCassidy

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    IDOU is a verb that only relates to seeing.
     
  16. Smyth

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    What changed, other than the unchristian feminist revolution I keep pointing out, which you apparently want to implicitly support?

    Please show me just one verse where Adelphos is used to refer to a single woman. You might have better luck with Adelphe, except that wouldn't make your case. Behold, defending the lie you call "gender accurate" is making you look bad.

    No, you haven't stated why (you completely fail to notice what I'm asking "why" about, which means you're ignoring my argument, which means you know you can't defend your position). You haven't even tried to state why. You're coming with with a big fat NOTHING in response to my observation about feminism. You assert "brothers" no longer means "brothers and sisters" but you don't tell me WHY that has changed. Behold, defending the lie you call "gender accurate" is making you look bad.

    And, still, if you had any self-respect you wouldn't want a translator to leading you around be the nose, adding unnecessarily to the translation with the excuse "it means the same thing."
     
  17. Smyth

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    Yet, ἰδού is frequently used where vision isn't applicable.
     
  18. TCassidy

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    No, it's not. Adelphoi is a masculine plural. It means "brothers."

    A masculine singular, meaning "brother."

    The Greek word for "sisters" is Adelphia" as we see in the LXX in Job 42:11 "hoi adelphoi autou kai hai adelphai autou" - "his brothers and his sisters."

    It is ludicrous to think God is so stupid he would refer to a female with a masculine noun! God knows the difference between men and women. He made us that way. And the prevailing rule of Greek grammar is the same as the English rule, "when gender is unknown or inclusive the masculine gender is correct."
     
  19. TCassidy

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    Where? Give me just one example from the bible. Just one.
     
  20. Van

    Van
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    Not sure what Greek word is being discussed, but Strongs 1492 sometimes is used for "to know." On the other hand, Strong's 2396 seems to mean to look at or think about something.
     
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