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QUESTION A Mind-Bending Translation of the New Testament

Just read this and found it interesting (the interpretation of the bible was a theme in the book "East of Eden" ). However, I saw a lot of errors and misleading statements..

The original language of the people of the area was Aramaic (this was supposedly the language of Jesus). The original language of the bible was Hebrew and then Greek (the basis for this article). From Greek it was translated into Latin and then the present day vernacular.

When one speaks another language one understands direct translations are difficult especially if one wants to retain the meaning of the original language. Additional translations brings more errors. Then you take a translation some 1,500 years after the fact and by a king who had his own issues and you get what we have, a mismash.

There are many translations of the Bible and even Thomas Jefferson wrote his version of the bible. In order to be a 'true' Catholic bible the words "Nihil Obstat" and "Imprimatur" have to be present

JackPedigo 9 Jan 12

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It also has to be transliterated from one alphabet to another alphabet, and there is not always a one-to-one correspondence. This is much more of a problem than many people recognize. Not only that, but there are language idioms in other languages that don't exist in English. I once studied Biblical Hebrew. I could never read the Old Testament in English again and really feel that I was reading the same book.


You should read “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman. It sheds new light on how the Bible came to be.

Also, the book "The Closing of the Western Mind-the rise of Faith and the close of Reason" by Charles Freeman. There are a number of books by John Dominic Crossan. He goes into literal translations. Christ is not a name but a title. Jesus' last name was not Christ. It is a title so it should be Jesus the Christ.


I thought the NT was originally written in koine Greek, but I could be wrong. I have seen Aramaic translations, but thought they translated from the koine Greek. Now I have to research. -- I did some fact checking. The earliest manuscripts of the NT were written in koine Greek. By the time the first books of the NT were written, the common language used by the Jewish people was koine Greek. Why did the Jewish people speak koine Greek? It is because they under Roman rule, and because Alexander the Great many people through out the known world spoke Greek, and was even adopted by the Romans for communications. Theses early manuscripts were then translated to Aramaic, Slavic, Ethiopian, Coptic and others as time passed. The Greek translation of the Hebrew OT is called the septuagint. As languages and readers changed the manuscripts were translated.

Just to make my rambling clear the earliest NT Manuscripts were written in koine Greek.


An old and a young native American were found trespassing near a NASA installation. When questioned the young man explains "This is my grandfather, he was showing me our old hunting grounds. I am sorry but I will have to speak for him as he does not speak English". They invite the two men into the installation and explain that they are sending out a space probe that will explore the solar system, then go on into deep space. "Would your grandfather like to record something for other beings that might be out there?" The old man nods and says something into the microphone. The young man laughs. "What did he say" they ask. "It does not translate". So they take the recording to a bar where they ask another native American what it says. He laughs too but says "It does not translate". Eventually they take it to a professor of native American studies at Princeton to translate and he tells them it says "Watch out they`re after your land".


Don't mind if I pass, I am very well settled already on my lack of belief.


As serious as this problem is even if translation and transcription was perfect he meaning is affected by interpretation at every level of the process.

Plus the basic fact that languages evolve and meanings as well. For the average person Shakespeare is difficult to understand even though it is English.


I think it started as a recipe book, possibly cannibals lost something in translation.


Of course the original texts are long lost, but this does look to be an interesting attempt to recapture as nearly as possible what could have been in those original texts. It could well prove to be a fascinating addition to New Testament scholarship, and I've downloaded a sample to my Kindle.

What the author says about the poor quality of the authorship as reflected in the existing copies of the book of Revelation reminds me of what Nietzsche wrote in Beyond Good and Evil (Helen Zimmern translation): "It is a curious thing that God learned Greek when he wished to turn author—and that he did not learn it better."


Mistranslation of copies of copies of copies of copies of copies of copies . . . (no original manuscripts exist).

Thank you for that. Exactly, This is one reason learning another language is so important. In Calif., where I went to HS, it was mandatory. I took a German class but could not understand why the importance. Now I do.

@MsOliver The thing I like about this site is that it triggers memories. In one class we talked about monks transcribing documents. The work was long and boring and there was no personal touches. However, some monks found ways to autograph their work and one that became famous had a drawing of a mouse face in one corner. It was imagined a little mouse was a pet and sat on the monks shoulder while he worked.

@JackPedigo I would have thought Spanish more useful


Yes - it reminds me of the communications experiment we used to do in grade school where a message is whispered from one student to the next, all around the room. The final version of the message is usually quite different from the original source.

Wow, My late partner was a lower level elementary teacher. This was the first thing she did with the class. It showed them the power of gossip.

You septics are seriously weird.

@El-loco One advantage with thinking outside the box is that one is not boxed in with outmoded ideas!

@MsOliver Never assume. It is Cockney rhyming slang: Septic tanks: Yanks.

@MsOliver Not meant in a spiteful way. It's just my way.

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