Why do our Bible translations contain vulgar words?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by JohnJoeMittler, May 5, 2003.

  1. JohnJoeMittler

    JohnJoeMittler
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    Translators often make strange choices when translating the Bible. Examples:

    The Hebrew word "ha ca;tan" is a common noun (confirmed by the definitive article preceding it), which means "adversary / foe / devil". How many are the Bible translations that treat this word as a proper noun (which it never was in the Hebrew Bible) -- leaving the word untranslated, and in the worst case using a capital S?

    How about the expression "h*ll" then? The Greek New Testament cites Jesus saying "Gehenna" -- which is the LXX version of the Hebrew words Gey Hinnom -- literally meaning: "Valley of Hinnom", the dump of the Temple, the most unclean place on earth. How many are the Bible translations that leave the Valley of Hinnom (mentioned by Jesus) totally unmentioned, and replace it with something that Jesus actually never said?

    Example (Matthew 18:9):

    "... it is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the fire of the Valley of Hinnom."

    Or more descriptively: "... to be cast into the fire of the Temple's dump.")

    So, actually Jesus never literally speaks of "damnation". Literally taken, He always speaks of the unquenching fire that burned in the dump of the Temple. It is a parable -- another example of His favourite teaching method.

    -------

    To me it seems likely that already ancient Israelites sweared -- but the writers of Bible censored such words from the language (according to the will of God). The ordinary people must have had at least some unrespectable expressions for intimate union and so on. (Modern Israel has taken into use a complete set of all thinkable swear-words. Many Ultra-Orthodox Jews complain that the holy language has been "defiled", and refuse to speak modern Hebrew at all.)

    *** untasteful words removed****

    [ May 05, 2003, 04:14 PM: Message edited by: C.S. Murphy ]
     
  2. CatholicConvert

    CatholicConvert
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    Any bets on how long it will be before this crude post is deleted?

    What's yer point anyhoo?
     
  3. stubbornkelly

    stubbornkelly
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    Too right about "how long before . . . "

    BUT . . .

    The answer isn't evident at all. The words we commonly consider to be vulgar didn't begin a vulgar words. They are vulgar only because we attach such meaning to them - besides, they're slang.

    Donkeys were "asses" before people were.

    The "eff" word didn't exist as we know it until the very late 15th century.

    We're the ones who've made words "bad." It isn't unbelievable that the Bible would include some words we hear as "bad" words, before they were considered so.
     
  4. MEE

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    If not, it should be!

    I've been waiting on an interesting new topic and this is what you all get? :rolleyes:

    MEE [​IMG]
     
  5. Wisdom Seeker

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    Although I found the original post difficult to read and doubt that it will be allowed to remain very long because of it's sensitive nature. I would like to answer the second to last question asked seriously.

    The abreviation for the crimal offense of carnal relations outside the legal bond of marriage was often punishable by the person being put in stocks before the township to be publicly ridiculed and pumelled with rotten produce. The abreviation for the offense was displayed above them. This took place, I believe around the 1600's.

    In Bible times, a person would be stoned for unlawful carnal knowledge of a person outside of the lawful union of marriage. But this I do not believe would have been observed until after Moses' time when the law was revealed.

    Adam and Eve were married by God, this word could not ever be applied to them, even if it had existed at the time the Bible was written....which it did not. I believe the word "knew" is very appropriate, and the word you mentioned would not be.
     
  6. stubbornkelly

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    I hate to bust the legend, but "the" word we're speaking of is etymologically linked to three middle languages --

    middle Dutch - "fokken" which means "to breed"
    Swedish - "fokka" which means "to copulate"

    and then there's the Germanic -- "ficken" which means "to beat against"

    There's a similar middle English word, but it's all pretty much the same idea.

    Kelly the GeekGirl [​IMG]
     
  7. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Im not sure that I agree that there are any words in the Bible which could be described as Vulgar.

    The Bible is Gods word, and if a word is in there to describe something, so be it. [​IMG]
     
  8. Matt Black

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    I think the Bible does contain 'strong language' at points when it is merited. Eg: Matt 15:17b reads "sh*t into the sewer" in the Greek. Similarly, Rom 6:2a - "megenoto" is quite a bit stronger than "certainly not!" or even "God forbid!"; in the secular Greek usage it is more akin to something unprintable ending in "--- off!" :eek:

    Apologies to everyone for the above language; no doubt if the mods consider it too strong they will edit accordingly, just like the NT translators did to spare our blushes!

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  9. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    You know, this is the reason St. Jerome's translation of the Scriptures into Latin is called the "Vulgate".
     
  10. Jude

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    Might be interesting to discuss "what are bad words?" (could George Carlin help here?), "ARE there any bad words?", does the Bible forbid believers from saying 'bad words'?
     
  11. ONENESS

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    I have often wondered the same thing. Who gets to decide if it's bad or not. Maybe society?

    All I understand about it is that the bible says in Romans 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

    SO there's my view on it.

    God bless

    Brian
     
  12. SolaScriptura in 2003

    SolaScriptura in 2003
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    I think that the concept of bad words comes from this precept "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." (Eph 5:12) There are certain words that have come to be connected with "those things which are done of them in secret" and by this connection have become shameful. When this happens, though, what do we do? We just invent a new word that has that same connection but has not been labeled by society as bad, and due to the direction modern society is going in, will never be labeled as bad. In all of this of course, we are not realizing that it's not the spelling of the word itself that makes it bad, but this connection. In fact those who would certainly never say the words connected with "those things which are done of them in secret" would not think twice about watching "those things which are done of them in secret" on TV or in a movie.

    PS: Matt, quit making up obscene Greek lexicons.
     
  13. DHK

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    The Bible, though using many strong words at times, does not contradict itself.

    Col.4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

    The words that Christ chose to speak in Mat.15:17 would not be "vulgar" or dirty in that sense. If you choose to think that way then you have a very low view of the Saviour. The obscenities that you read into the Bible are not really there at all. They are just in the mind of the person who prefers to think in an unwholesome way.

    Paul used the word "dung" in his writings. He said I count all things but dung for the excellency of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a very strong word, but not obscene and dirty. The filth is in the mind of the reader. It seems to me by your post that you deliberately try to put four letter words into the minds of those reading your posts. That's unkind and unChristian like. Here is the advice of Paul:

    Phil.4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
    DHK
     

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