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Did Science Influence Translation?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by Deacon, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Aug 23, 2002
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    In a footnote in Andrew White’s, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, 1896, he writes:

    The verse in question reads differently in various versions.

    Ezekiel 38:12 (AV 1873)
    to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.

    Ezekiel 38:12 (ESV)
    to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth.

    Were the translators of the KJV influenced by scientific knowledge?

    Did the KJV “soften” its translation based upon this knowledge or is it a strictly literal translation of the passage? ... or something else?

  2. rsr

    rsr <b> 7,000 posts club</b>

    Dec 11, 2001
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    I think White may have supposed too much.

    First, the KJV translators in this case were cribbing from the Bishops and Geneva, all of which picked up the wording from Coverdale. There is no evidence that they gave much thought to the rendering, for any reason.

    That does beg the question of why this rendering arose. Wycliffe had translated it as navel of the earth and Luther had rendered it similarly; the original Douai followed suit. I don't know the answer, but I don't think you can assume new geographic findings were the reason. Even if such discoveries were taken into account, Israel (or Jerusalem) as the theological center of the earth was certainly defensible.