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Which of Bilson's renderings is better?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by Logos1560, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Active Member
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    Oct 22, 2004
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    At Hebrews 13:17, the pre-1611 English Bibles have this rendering: "have the oversight of you." The 1538 Coverdale's English-Latin N. T. has "your overseers."

    In his book printed in 1593 and with a second edition printed in 1610, Bishop Thomas Bilson [who would be co-editor of the 1611 KJV along with Miles Smith] once quoted from Hebrews 13:17, using the words "Obey your overseers" (Perpetual Government, p. 280). The KJV revised the rendering "have the oversight of you" to "have the rule over you." Is the KJV's rendering in its text closer in meaning to the 1582 Rheim's rendering "your prelates"? Thomas Bilson cited Jerome as quoting Hebrews 13:17 as Bilson translated it into English as: "Obey your rulers and be subject to them" (Perpetual Government, p. 269). Bilson's own translating of Jerome's Latin could suggest that the KJV's rendering at Hebrews 13:17 was influenced by the Latin Vulgate. The same difference between the pre-1611 Protestant English Bibles and the KJV is also found in Hebrews 13:7 and 13:24. The 1611 edition of the KJV does have a marginal note at Hebrews 13:17: "or, guide" and a note at Hebrews 13:7 "Or, are the guides." The 1657 English translation of the Dutch Bible translated these same words at verse seventeen as "'to your guides,' [that is, pastors and teachers]" and at verse seven as "your guides [Or leaders, as ver. 17]." In his epistle to the reader, Bilson had a reference to Hebrews 13:17, and there his quotation of it used "leaders" ["the Holy Ghost requireth the faithful to 'obey their leaders, and to be subject to them'"] (Perpetual Government, p. 24). Again Bilson had a reference to Hebrews 13:17 in the margin with the word "leaders" in the text (p. 501). The 1842 revision of the KJV rendered them at all three verses as "your leaders."

    Bishop Thomas Bilson himself quoted or rendered it three different ways [not including the fourth way in the 1611 KJV]. Which of Bilson's renderings [overseers, rulers, leaders] of that portion of Hebrews 13:17 is the more accurate one or better one?

    It is interesting that Thomas Bilson in 1593 used the rendering "leaders" long before it was used in some present-day English Bibles.
  2. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    Aug 23, 2002
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    Arrgggh, now you’ve really confused things.

    Is a translation that uses “leader” a modern reading or is it an “ancient path”?


    I’m not sure this will help but…

    The exact Greek word, ἡγουμένων, is only used one time in the NT.
    It’s used in the LXX four more times.

    Many seek the ruler’s favour;
    But every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD.

    Proverbs 29:26 AV 1873

    And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.
    Ezekiel 19:11 AV 1873

    And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.
    Ezekiel 43:7 AV 1873

    Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.
    Ezekiel 43:9 AV 1873

    In Clements letters the word is used twice.

    Finally, when he had given his testimony before the rulers, he thus departed from the world and went to the holy place, having become an outstanding example of patient endurance.
    1 Clement 5:7b
    Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers : Greek Texts and English Translations, Updated ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1999), 35.

    Not all are prefects or tribunes or centurions or captains of fifty and so forth, but each in his own rank executes the orders given by the emperor and the commanders.
    1 Clement 37:3
    [ibid, 71.]