Who has a language degree …

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by thjplgvp, May 23, 2006.

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  1. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
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    Quite honestly I never fully realized the incredible controversy surrounding the KJVO stance and those who hold that the MV’s are solid. I have consistently stood against the MV’s for fear they would change a doctrine (Ariansim primarily) and I would not be able to detect it in casual reading. I have upheld the King James in that given its history it has stood the test of time and scrutiny and has emerged in good shape (inerrant in all matter of faith and doctrine). That I can accept other versions as being preserved is not an enigma, at least to me, for I do not underestimate the power of God in maintaining a group of witnesses through out history and providing each group with the powerful living word that were translations of the originals or translations of the translations of the originals.

    With all the posturing and bantering on this forum I am curious who has a degree in biblical languages? Since few folks today bring their LXX to services who then is truly qualified and tested in the languages to the point that they can challenge the common understandings and misunderstandings of the forum.

    If I am going to be taught I want to know that the teacher is qualified and conservative in their doctrine. If one is posting on this board they are teaching and I trust that each will be a benefit to others on the board. Please don’t take me to task on this forum because I failed to demonstrate a complete knowledge in the subject that is why I need to be taught.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. DesiderioDomini

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    First off, I really respect your honesty.

    2nd, by far the most qualified is TCassidy. He has a Doctorate in textual criticism and biblical languages. I understand he teaches at a seminary in California.

    I am no where near him, but I will graduate next may with a degree in biblical studies, so I am in the process. My greek is coming along, and I'm not going to take Hebrew until my graduate work.

    However, this is all a moot point for the KJVO we are fighting here. They claim it is wrong to seek out the original languages to see if the KJV is right....but they only claim that when it is clear the KJV cannot be defended....if the greek supports the KJV, then it is authoratative, if it does not, it should be ignored.

    They refuse to acknowledge that the KJV translators themselves would have called such claims absolutely foolish.

    Make no mistake, anyone who wants to can learn Greek. In my first year, I spent most of my time using a book by Vine's that cost me about $4 at a used bookstore.

    It may take longer without a teacher, but it is certainly possible.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thank you for your refreshing honesty, thjplgvp.

    As DD has pointed out, TCassidy is far more qualified in this area than virtually anyone.

    As for myself, I usually just weigh in here when the discussions approach foreign versions. Some would accuse me of being a slacker for not posting more, but I don't do guilt trips. :D ;)

    To give me a little bit of weight when I do weigh in :D , I have a B. A. in Bible and an M. A. in Biblical Studies. I have 19 credits in undergrad and grad Greek and taught it in Japanese at a Bible school down in Tokyo for two years. Alas, I only have 3 credits in Hebrew, but have just recently started relearning it so I can help with a scholar friend's project, among other reasons. I am also a graduate of the two year full time course at the Tokyo School of the Japanese Language, which would be equivalent to an M. A.

    Like you are, I am an IFB. As a missionary to Japan doing church-planting and translation work, I deal with at least three languages every day of the year. This gives me a practical perspective on language that I often see lacking in the debates here.
     
  4. DesiderioDomini

    DesiderioDomini
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    We dont need to accuse.

    You are a slacker. [​IMG]

    [​IMG] <--- What you should be doing.
     
  5. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    while it's certainly helpful to have a handle on Gk n Heb, what's far more important is a handle on honesty, which u seem to have and which several have recognised.

    there are people who hold ThDs in Greek but who are completely dishonest, leading whole congregations and denominations into KJBOism thru their false teachings--e.g. the demonisation of Westcott n Hort.

    there are also people with scant knowledge of Gk or Heb but who've shown impartiality with the facts--as they compare the sources a line at a time, e.g. the owner of http://www.truth.sg/

    so the truth's out there. i've personally had lessons in Gk n Heb but am nowhere near a PhD in either. but i'm grateful to have learnt enuff to know that what's lacking isn't evidence or information on the issue, or even a knowledge of biblical languages (altho that, i repeat, is useful), but honesty pure n simple.

    our faith's an open book, n there's nothing to hide. [​IMG]
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. DesiderioDomini

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    All evidence to the contrary, brother.
     
  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    They were crocodile tears. :D
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    I have a little formal language training and still often defer to Doc Cass as more of an authority on Biblical languages.

    4 years of Greek (undergrad minor along with Biblical Theology and doubled Pastoral Theology majors)

    2 years advanced Greek and Hebrew (required for a Master's in my day - I'm old!! [​IMG] )

    Self-taught Latin and now have taught it in the public school system.

    And Russian! (Doesn't count in our discussion, eh?) But sure came in handy when smuggling bibles in the old USSR!
     
  10. greek geek

    greek geek
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    thjplgvp,
    thank you for your post. it was quite refreshing to read. i am always amused by reading very adament posts on this board about translations by people who obviously have no idea that the Greek or Hebrew completely opposes their very firm stance. =)

    I have a BA in Biblical languages (both Hebrew and Greek). And I am very close to finishing my masters in Hebrew (with loads of Greek on the side). And I will shortly start a PhD in Hebrew. I do not claim to be an expert in translation - but I am working hard to become as good as I possibly can be.

    The ability to properly handle Greek and Hebrew is very important in the discussion on Biblical languages. And so are good skills in textual criticism and exegesis. I would also add that in addition to those qualifications to accurately translate the Bible, you must have a good grasp on proper translation philosophy.
     
  11. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    It's always important to be honest!

    I have no degree in languages (I'm an MD) but have enjoyed being an amateur linguist (Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, Syriac, and a little German) in my spare time. I can learn but don't have to take tests! :D

    Biblical language study has changed a good bit in the last century. Application of formal linguistics to this discipline has resulted in many good insights. Many of the old standby works such as Robertson and Kittel, while still being the product of extraordinary scholarship have become a bit outmoded in certain areas, especially in terms of verbal analysis. There has been a bit of a paradigm shift from diachronic (comparing languages across time intervals) to synchronic analysis. What does this mean for us? In the 19th century there were many rather presumptious theological conclusions drawn from the word usage and choices of tense. Such assumptions (like the aorist tense referring to a once and for all timeless action) have been pretty well recognized as reading too much into the text. But yet many of these things still circulate in conservative circles.

    An important thing to remember is that language is colloquial and is ever-changing. Consider how many figures of speech we use - or how much slang!!

    Our mindset wants concrete information. We like nice neat statements like "agapaw is one kind of loving and philew is another completely different type." The fact is that these sort of statements are always misleading - a close look at the context is ALWAYS necessary in order to be a good translator.

    In addition textual study is NOT the same as linguistics.

    For all practical purposes mastery of biblical language is very difficult - and MANY MANY years of study are necessary before one reaches this level. Several years of Greek can give one some familiarity with the language - but the individual must realize his/her limitations. Many many errors have come from those who take a few years of a language and then want to get doctrinal! Many blessings can come from learning the old languages - but misuse can be worse than no knowledge at all!!

    Always be willing to learn!
     
  12. DesiderioDomini

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    The most important statement one can make, and a stance which finds itself in the minority quite often in here.
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I dunno, Charles, I think modern linguistics takes things too far, and evangelicals are too enamored of the insights it give (and there are insights). Some evangelicals are even rejecting grammatical-historical interpretation for a modern linguistics approach to hermeneutics.

    I still cling some to historical linguistics, and am slightly offended when D. A. Carson in his Exegetical Fallacies completely rejects the use of eytomology in determining the meaning of a word. (Though to be honest my seminary son disagrees with me here.) [​IMG]
     
  14. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    i'm wondering if this is an example, when someone defends rendering the Holy Spirit by the pronoun IT simply becos the Greek grammatical gender is neuter.

    sometimes it seems that it's better NOT to have a little knowledge than to flaunt that little bit and commit a bigger error, as pertaining to the personality of the 3rd Person.

    ultimately, it doesn't matter what string of degrees one has, but whether one's committed to the truth rather than to a manmade conclusion (like the KJB's peculiar wording).
     
  15. greek geek

    greek geek
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    i do believe committment to truth is essential in the translation area. however, a committment to truth without knowledge required for acurate translation can still lead one astray. as has been seen on this board, people can hold a view about translation that is dead wrong (such as when their view denies the greek or hebrew or the textual critical issues, etc.) and be extrememly committed to the truth. faulty knowledge or no knowledge mixed with a committment for truth leads to error.

    so, while i agree that sometimes degrees aren't worth more than the paper they're printed on; in most cases they indicate that the person has committed themselves not only to the truth, but to study and research so that they may more accurately arrive at truth.
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    Glad we don't have to agree with Carson, eh? I greatly respect him, but believe that etymology is an excellent way to understand the meaning and development of words.

    We do this in English all the time. I took a class at the University on Classical Greek and it opened up much understanding of the language as words evolved into Koine (common) Greek. Translating Thucydides helps understand the mind behind use of certain NT words.
     
  17. Charles Meadows

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    I don't agree with everything Carson says - but I would have to say that I agree with almost everything in "Exegetical Fallacies". I also agree with many of the criticisms offered by Stanley Porter, James Barr, and Buist Fanning. Fanning's book on aspect is a bit "chewy" - but his essay in the JSNT volume a few years later is EXCELLENT.

    What I like about Carson's approach with regards to this is that he realizes the importance of context and how language is used colloquially.

    To see "Koine Greek" as some magical language, more able than any other to express meaning, and uniquely organized so that roots and tenses forms precisely delineate meaning is a bit naive. Language doesn't work that way. People don't speak that way. Roots are useful for sure. And indeed they can be helpful in some cases. But in other cases the root has nothing whatsoever to do with the meaning of the derived word. It depends how the words evolve in usage.

    I think that many well-meaning preachers have been overconfident in applying the above scheme to the Greek NT with suboptimal results.

    I agree with Dr. Bob that Thucydides and other classical authors are of value. And I think that there are many many capable NT scholars in the conservative tradition. But I do not agree with much of the 19th century "biblical theology". I do not agree with it because I think it leads to excessively concrete (and thus non-contextual) interpretation. This leads to bad exegesis and overconfidence in that bad exegesis.
     
  18. TCassidy

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    Although I think Carson sometimes carries his position to extremes, I also think that philology is the more accurate means of determining a word's meaning.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Glad we don't have to agree with Carson, eh? I greatly respect him, but believe that etymology is an excellent way to understand the meaning and development of words.

    We do this in English all the time. I took a class at the University on Classical Greek and it opened up much understanding of the language as words evolved into Koine (common) Greek. Translating Thucydides helps understand the mind behind use of certain NT words.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Carson is great--except where I disagree with him! :D

    I envy you your classical Greek training. :( I have a few books, but it is really plowing for me to read them.
     
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I agree that "excessively concrete" (nice phrase) exegesis is wrong, and there is too much of that. I do believe that scholars in the later decades of the 20th have helped us get away from the "aorist is always point action in past time" syndrome. I still enjoy my Alford, Vincent and Robertson, though. ;)
     
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