Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by coton boy, Aug 11, 2015.
I'm proud to say I've had the same copy of Jerusalem Bible over 35 years
Does anyone one here use the Peshitta? I have read a bit of it and a bit of the back-and-forth controversies about just how accurate it is. Any thoughts?
I had never heard of the Peshitta until now, but it seems like it has an ancient history, being referenced in the works of Josephus. Seems like there are many translations of the Peshitta New Testament into English, but so far I can only find one translation of the complete Bible. It's offered by Gorgias Press and is printed in several volumes.
I don't know if it'll ever be a primary use Bible for non-Syriac Christians, but I'll definitely be adding it to my library
Does anyone have any personal experience with the Revised English Bible? It's produced in the tradition of the RV, ASV and other revisions of the KJV. It is available in 66 and 73 book versions, and the Apocrypha can be purchased in a separate booklet for those who like to use the apocrypha but prefer to keep it separate from the 66 book Bible.
From what I understand, the REB is quite popular in the United Kingdom, but is largely unknown in the United States. It is one of the approved translations of the Anglican Communion. I have read a few passages and it seems to be readable while maintaining some formality, but I have no idea how accurate the translation is.
Has anyone used it as a daily reading/study Bible? Is there anything about it that might cause it to be less than ideal for daily use?
The New American Standard '95 is my 'shelf' Bible. but I prefer to do most of my Bible study with e-Sword. NASB and ESV primarily, supplemented by the 1885 Revised Version, Brenton's Septuagint, the Douay-Rheims, Horner's Bohairic and Sahidic New Testaments, the Etheridge and Magiera Peshitta New Testaments, and some older translations like Coverdale and the Bishops' Bible.
The REB is a revision of the New English Bible, which was a very poorly received revision of the RV. The phrasing in the NEB has been described as 'egregious' and 'idiosyncratic,' some of which is very clearly left over in the REB. I like it, for the most part, but I can't recommend it as a primary Bible.
Positives: 1. it's written in what I'd call 'high contemporary English.' 2. it's an ecumenical translation, but it doesn't go half as far as the NRSV in the gender neutering department. Reading it alongside a more literal translation is the best way to derive value from it, in my opinion.
The Peshitta is a comparatively late translation of the Old Testament into Aramaic (circa 2nd century AD) and an early (perhaps the earliest) translation of the Greek New Testament (2nd or 3rd century AD). There are some controversies:
- 'Aramaic primacy' (the belief that the NT was originally written in Aramaic) is promoted by a tiny but aggressive sect of heterodox judaizers calling themselves 'Netzarim'. The facts do not fit their arguments, and their skewed translation of the Peshitta (by Andrew Gabriel Roth) should be avoided. You'll usually find them promoting their agenda on Amazon.com.
- The Peshitta itself generally conforms to the Byzantine (Majority) text-family. Majority Text dogmatists point to it as 'proof' that the Alexandrian (Critical) text-family is some kind of late fraud.
- The Syriac Church, prior the late 6th century, rejected 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation. These were later back-translated and added to the Syriac canon by Thomas of Harqel in the early 7th century.
However, much like the Septuagint OT, the Peshitta NT is eminently valuable as a 'witness' to the originals, and it should be studied. There are several trustworthy editions: Etheridge (1849), Murdock (1851), and Magiera (2006). I personally do not believe Lamsa is entirely trustworthy (it seems he forces interpretations for the sake of logical clarity - and he was an Aramaic primacist), but you should search out the arguments and determine that for yourself. Roth and Bauscher are not trustworthy by any standard.
Etheridge and Murdock should be read in parallel, as Etheridge purposely left many Aramaisms untranslated for the sake of highlighting them against the Greek (Matt. 22:32 "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Is'hok, the God of Jakub... But Aloha is not of those who are dead, but of those who are alive.") This is essential to understanding the particulars of interpretation, but not all of the meanings of these transliterations are immediately clear. Murdock simply translated the Aramaic text into English, so his edition is of lesser value to the casual reader, but it will clarify Etheridge. Both of these translations are public domain and can be downloaded as scanned PDFs from Archive.org, and as free modules for the e-Sword program.
However, I wholeheartedly recommend using Janet Magiera's Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation and her "Messianic Version" of the same. The former is a straight translation into English (as Murdock) and the latter is an "Aramaized" version (as Etheridge). Critical manuscripts and Syriac language scholarship have come a long way in 150 years, so it's worth seeking out a modern edition, and hers is generally considered to be both accurate and objective.
Just as the Septuagint can illuminate Jesus in the Old Testament (by substituting 'Christos' for 'Meshicha'), the Peshitta uses 'Alaha' (God) in place of the generic Greek "kyrios" (lord) in the New Testament. There is some debate over whether or not "Mar Yah" means "Lord YHWH" or if it's just an amplified honorific, but the popular question of whether or not Jesus claimed to be God is settled much more quickly in Aramaic. (The answer is, of course, yes.)
I recently bought a NRSV w/ Apocrypha. I haven't received it yet, but I'm excited as this will be my first NRSV. Today while perusing the internet I found a KJV with the Apocrypha and now I want that too... I guess I'll have to keep saving.
The NRSV w/Apocryphal I a great read. I have the Cambridge version. Great Notes!
I have the New Oxford Annotated Bible NRSV with the Apocrypha. I find the NRSV to be quite accurate, formal, and easy to read. Some people complain about the use of inclusive language, which is true, but for the most part the inclusive language is used in places where it actually makes sense: "God created humankind in His image" vs. "God created man in His image", etc. The only major downfall, in my opinion, is the deviation from traditional renderings. Many people, self included, simply prefer "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" because that's what we've always known, not because it is the most accurate translation.
If the KJV w/Apocrypha that your looking at is the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, I have to recommend against it. Thin pages are a common issue in bibles today, but I found the NCPB pages to be so thin that the text became completely unreadable. For $120 or so I don't think it's worth the price. I use a KJV from Barbour publishing that has a handsome leather cover and nice thick pages, paired with a KJV apocrypha booklet from Cambridge.
But of course, that's only my opinion.
That's the KJV I was looking at. That being the case I'll keep on shopping. Thanks for the heads up.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible NRSV with the Apocrypha, 4th edition is what I ordered. A website had it about 45% off so I snatched it up along with a Cambridge 1662 BCP.
You NRSV people have the patience of Job.
I bought a NRSV Wesley Study Bible back in early '12, before I knew much about Bible translations. I figured since I liked the RSV, that the New RSV would necessarily be an improvement. I opened to a random page, landed in Isaiah 56, and started reading. Instead of blessed is the man in verse 2, I got happy is the mortal.
Happy is the mortal.
I don't mind happy. I think blessed is the more accurate translation, but whatever. And I get the 'gender inclusive' stuff. I don't see an evil conspiracy behind using a neutral pronoun where one is appropriate. But the mortal? I'd get blessed is the one, happy is the person, happy are they... but the translators went so far to avoid using a masculine pronoun that they ended up with an absurd and even annoying phrase, to the point where you really do have to wonder if are pushing an agenda. I realize English lacks a common third person gender neutral pronoun, but there are tactful ways to deal with it. Not to mention the theological and Christological implications of neutering 'Son of Man.' And so it goes throughout the entire thing. I ended up hucking it into the trash.
Yeah, it's really sad because Cambridge is usually known for their quality, and the bible seemed quite promising. Maybe other people with better eyes don't have trouble with it, but I found the bleed-through so bad that the text became unreadable. (I even left a one star review on Christianbook.com lol) If you really really want one, I'd be willing to mail you mine so that you don't have to pay.
I have the NOAB 4th edition as well. The notes are somewhat critical of the traditional authors of the books, but they never overtly challenge any biblical teaching. (at least as far as I've seen, I haven't read it cover to cover.) It does use "young woman" in place of "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14, which is controversial, but it seems that even conservative Christian scholars think that the Hebrew word is more accurately translated "young woman". (I readily admit that I have no knowledge of biblical Hebrew, just repeating what I've read.)
Plus, it contains several maps not normally included in other bibles, such as maps of both Temples and local areas relating to specific biblical stories, along with the more common maps of Israel and St. Paul's journey.
As Rhys pointed out, their are some issues with the translation itself, so I wouldn't recommend it as a sole use bible, but I firmly believe that the NOAB NRSV w/Apocrypha belongs on the shelf of every serious bible student. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
The Hebrew word is almah, which is more specifically translatable as a woman of marriageable age - and of course it was normative back in the day for unmarried women to be chaste. Much of the controversy stems from projecting modern sexual ethics (if they can be called such) into the past. The translators of the Septuagint used the word parthenos to translate almah - the same word used in the Greek New Testament - and that is why 'virgin' tends to pop up in that verse, because that interpretation predates Christianity by almost three centuries.
In my view the ideal translation for almah and parthenos is: maiden. It is a complex term which combines the concepts of youth and customary chastity, rather than the simple virgin which has none of these, and has grown many barnacles around it (due to bad R. Catholic influence).
What are the "bad RC influences" please?
Well a virgin in the Roman Catholic conception is a woman that can be of any age, while the Scriptural sources mandate someone very young. Also, virginity is thought of as formally and solemnly professed, when in the Scriptural language Mary was chaste without any formal lifelong vows, having kept chastity during her teen years only out of personal piety and godly virtue.
In actuality, virgins can and do be of any age. It's never been necessary to profess oneself a virgin. It's a life choice. By the way, virginity is not a prerequisite to being a nun for example
For ease of reading I always have favored the Good News Translation since I was young. But when I need something that's authoritative I tend to fall back on the King James Version out of convenience/familiarity (not any big dedication to that particular translation).
King James for me. Specifically the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible (5th edition) KJV.
It's just a great resource...a study bible without the running commentary. You can track topics in the margins and indexes, has outlines of the books, timelines, biographical summaries, archaeology supplements, pretty much everything I need to study the Sacred Scriptures.
And the one I have was given to me as a Christmas gift by my parents back in 1996. Leather-bound, red-letters of Christ, and has my name engraved on the cover corner
So there's some sentimental value to it as well.
Study bibles I've owned over the years (various translations): New Geneva Study Bible, Orthodox Study Bible, Ryrie Study Bible (during my very brief dispensationalist days), Catholic Study Bible, and the Wesley Study Bible.