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"as far as it is translated correctly" (questions on the Bible)


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On 11/16/2018 at 8:29 PM, MiserereNobis said:

Also, an issue I have with protestants is that they accept the Bible as canonized by the Catholic Church, but they don't accept the Church that gave them the Bible. How do LDS view this? Why do you accept a compilation of religious writings canonized by a Church you believe is apostate? 

Well, naturally, as a Protestant, I take exception to your characterization. 😄

The belief that the Roman Catholic Church "gave" the canon to the Christian community is, of course, widespread. From my interactions with LDS, it seems that this belief is accepted, for the most part, uncritically and without hesitation. My faithful Mormon friends here can correct me if I'm overstating the case. 

But this ignores an entire thought world and body of scholarship arguing, to quote Michael Kruger, and particularly with reference to NT: "They [the canonical books] are not canon because the church receives them; the church receives them because they are already canon by virtue of their apostolic authority."

Or, to phrase it another way, the church didn't establish the canon so much as recognize the apostolic authority inherent in what we collectively refer to as the New Testament scriptures. Yes, there is a nuanced discussion to be had; yes, there was a historical corporate reception process. 

I suspect my Roman Catholic friends here will disagree with that assessment, but, to be honest, I don't understand why LDS would. I have no doubt someone here will enlighten me. 🖖

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3 hours ago, cksalmon said:

But this ignores an entire thought world and body of scholarship arguing, to quote Michael Kruger, and particularly with reference to NT: "They [the canonical books] are not canon because the church receives them; the church receives them because they are already canon by virtue of their apostolic authority."

I would agree that there is some truth to that statement. 

But there is a flip side.  There could very well have been some books that SHOULD have been included in the "canon" that were rejected for (apostate) theological reasons.

3 hours ago, cksalmon said:

Or, to phrase it another way, the church didn't establish the canon so much as recognize the apostolic authority inherent in what we collectively refer to as the New Testament scriptures. Yes, there is a nuanced discussion to be had; yes, there was a historical corporate reception process. 

I suspect my Roman Catholic friends here will disagree with that assessment, but, to be honest, I don't understand why LDS would. I have no doubt someone here will enlighten me. 🖖

The removal of things "plain and precious" could very well have been the result of some books not included in the canon that should have been.  Books that could have since been lost to history precisely because they weren't included.

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1 hour ago, Vance said:

I would agree that there is some truth to that statement. 

But there is a flip side.  There could very well have been some books that SHOULD have been included in the "canon" that were rejected for (apostate) theological reasons.

The removal of things "plain and precious" could very well have been the result of some books not included in the canon that should have been.  Books that could have since been lost to history precisely because they weren't included.

I suspect the "plain and precious" things were more the covenants and ordinances that went with the scriptures and not taking scissors and glue to the scriptures themselves to cut those out. Undoubtedly there is lost scripture. The New Testament is weird about what it includes. I have a hard time believing Paul meant for his letters to be added to any sort of canon.

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The whole "as far as it is translated correctly" came to mind when I recently learned that in Luke 2, the word "inn" is probably a mistranslation.  Apparently, the Greek word (kataluma) is the same one that is used for "guest chamber" in Luke 22:11, and different than the word used for "inn" in the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10.

So the idea of Jesus being born in a stable or cave probably isn't accurate.  It was probably a relative's house.  The houses had mangers inside on the main floor.

Who's with me to get this corrected in the Church culture?

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13 hours ago, cinepro said:

The whole "as far as it is translated correctly" came to mind when I recently learned that in Luke 2, the word "inn" is probably a mistranslation.  Apparently, the Greek word (kataluma) is the same one that is used for "guest chamber" in Luke 22:11, and different than the word used for "inn" in the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10.

So the idea of Jesus being born in a stable or cave probably isn't accurate.  It was probably a relative's house.  The houses had mangers inside on the main floor.

Who's with me to get this corrected in the Church culture?

The best way to go about this in the Church is to admit this along with the rest of the scriptures comprise religious myth.  All the contradictions between the gospels can be read as various versions fo the myth.

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18 hours ago, cinepro said:

The whole "as far as it is translated correctly" came to mind when I recently learned that in Luke 2, the word "inn" is probably a mistranslation.  Apparently, the Greek word (kataluma) is the same one that is used for "guest chamber" in Luke 22:11, and different than the word used for "inn" in the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10.

So the idea of Jesus being born in a stable or cave probably isn't accurate.  It was probably a relative's house.  The houses had mangers inside on the main floor.

Who's with me to get this corrected in the Church culture?

Whether "there was no room at the inn" or "there was no room in the guest chamber" doesn't change the fact that they were relegated to the stables.

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On 12/10/2018 at 9:14 PM, cinepro said:

The whole "as far as it is translated correctly" came to mind when I recently learned that in Luke 2, the word "inn" is probably a mistranslation.  Apparently, the Greek word (kataluma) is the same one that is used for "guest chamber" in Luke 22:11, and different than the word used for "inn" in the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10.

So the idea of Jesus being born in a stable or cave probably isn't accurate.  It was probably a relative's house.  The houses had mangers inside on the main floor.

Who's with me to get this corrected in the Church culture?

A great example of semantic confusion.

So she put the baby in the manger and went somewhere else to sleep?

Otherwise the whole family stayed with the animals. Sounds like a stable to me.

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18 hours ago, Vance said:

Whether "there was no room at the inn" or "there was no room in the guest chamber" doesn't change the fact that they were relegated to the stables.

This article explains it pretty well:

Quote

The family animals were kept in the one-room house at night, but taken out early each morning.

The details of the one-room peasant home with its manger in the floor have not gone unnoticed. William Thomson,long- term Presbyterian missionary in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, wrote in 1857:

It is my impression that the birth actually took place in an ordinary house of some common peasant, and that the baby was laid in one of the mangers, such as are still found in the dwellings of farmers in this region.11

The two leading 20th century authorities on Palestinian life and the New Testament are Gustaf Dalmann and E.F.F. Bishop. Bishop comments on Luke 2:7 and writes:

Perhaps...recourse was had to one of the Bethlehem houses with the lower section provided for the animals, with mangers “hollowed in stone,” the dais being reserved for the family. Such a manger being immovable, filled with crushed straw, would do duty for a cradle. An infant might even be left in safety, especially if swaddled, when the mother was absent on temporary business.12

Dalmann, in his study of the same verse, records:

In the East today the dwelling place of man and beast is often in one and the same room. It is quite the usual thing among the peasants for the family to live, eat, and sleep on a kind of raised terrace (Arab. mastaba) in the one room of the house, while the cattle, particularly the donkeys and oxen, have their place below on the actual floor (ka’ al-bet) near the door.... On this floor the mangers are fixed either to the floor or to the wall, or at the edge of the terrace.13

Dalmann himself has nearly 100 pages of photographs and scale drawings of a wide variety of such peasant homes, all of which fit his two-level description given above.14 Thus a peasant home is the natural place for the Holy Family to have found shelter and the expected place to find a manger. In the case of Luke 2:7 the home which entertained the Holy Family presumably was not expecting a baby and did not have a cradle, but with a manger built into the floor there was little need for one.15 So why has this rather obvious alternative remained obscured? In some cases it would seem that the cultural assumptions of the exegetes have set it aside.

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/11/08/The-Manger-and-the-Inn.aspx

(Emphasis added)

 

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4 hours ago, cinepro said:

 

It is my impression that the birth actually took place in an ordinary house of some common peasant, and that the baby was laid in one of the mangers, such as are still found in the dwellings of farmers in this region.11

The two leading 20th century authorities on Palestinian life and the New Testament are Gustaf Dalmann and E.F.F. Bishop. Bishop comments on Luke 2:7 and writes:

Perhaps...recourse was had to one of the Bethlehem houses with the lower section provided for the animals, with mangers “hollowed in stone,” the dais being reserved for the family. Such a manger being immovable, filled with crushed straw, would do duty for a cradle. An infant might even be left in safety, especially if swaddled, when the mother was absent on temporary business.12

Dalmann, in his study of the same verse, records:

In the East today the dwelling place of man and beast is often in one and the same room. It is quite the usual thing among the peasants for the family to live, eat, and sleep on a kind of raised terrace (Arab. mastaba) in the one room of the house, while the cattle, particularly the donkeys and oxen, have their place below on the actual floor (ka’ al-bet) near the door.... On this floor the mangers are fixed either to the floor or to the wall, or at the edge of the terrace.13

WOW!,   It must be true.

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On 11/18/2018 at 1:57 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

I highly recommend the beautiful New Jerusalem Bible, a product of the best Roman Catholic scholarship, and I refer to it regularly.  I also love the volumes of the Anchor Bible, which includes the Apocrypha.  Quite often, one must study the context of the words of a translation, and that is best done with extensive, scholarly notes.

That's my favorite translation too. I'd second you on the Anchor series too. Too bad it's so darn expensive. I have their Bible Dictionary (bought before it was available as an eBook unfortunately) and love it. Wish I had it in electronic form. Just can't in any way shape or form justify it as a purchase.

Edited by clarkgoble
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38 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

...........................second you on the Anchor series too. Too bad it's so darn expensive. I have their Bible Dictionary (bought before it was available as an eBook unfortunately) and love it. Wish I had it in electronic form. Just can't in any way shape or form justify it as a purchase.

Same here.  I always go over to the Maxwell Institute library when I need to consult the AB.

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On 12/10/2018 at 11:14 PM, cinepro said:

The whole "as far as it is translated correctly" came to mind when I recently learned that in Luke 2, the word "inn" is probably a mistranslation.  Apparently, the Greek word (kataluma) is the same one that is used for "guest chamber" in Luke 22:11, and different than the word used for "inn" in the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10.

So the idea of Jesus being born in a stable or cave probably isn't accurate.  It was probably a relative's house.  The houses had mangers inside on the main floor.

Who's with me to get this corrected in the Church culture?

We are not rewriting the hymns.

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On 12/11/2018 at 1:11 PM, stemelbow said:

The best way to go about this in the Church is to admit this along with the rest of the scriptures comprise religious myth.  All the contradictions between the gospels can be read as various versions fo the myth.

If you mean that in the sense that C.S. Lewis and Tolkien did that it was the one great mythic event that actually happened and the stories around it got a bit confused then I agree.

If by mythic you mean it is a story with only metaphorical meaning then I disagree and if I ever were to come to believe that I would abandon the gospel and Christianity and probably religion in general.

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I think one thing often overlooked when it comes to contemporary translations is the impact of Intellectual property laws both here in the United States and abroad. Say what we will about the King James translation, it is in the public domain, easily available, and can be reproduced without any concerns in regards to royalties. I think that is why we have such a glut on modern translations today, major publishing houses would rather commission their own in lieu of buying the rights to print and sell a version of the NIV or NASB.  

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11 hours ago, The Nehor said:

If you mean that in the sense that C.S. Lewis and Tolkien did that it was the one great mythic event that actually happened and the stories around it got a bit confused then I agree.

If by mythic you mean it is a story with only metaphorical meaning then I disagree and if I ever were to come to believe that I would abandon the gospel and Christianity and probably religion in general.

you'll probably feel the need to see it more metaphorical in time.  And its likely you won't abandon wholesale.  But, I hear what you're saying.  I think the thought is a scary one as you put so much effort into establishing it inside of you as factual.  

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1 minute ago, stemelbow said:

you'll probably feel the need to see it more metaphorical in time.  And its likely you won't abandon wholesale.  But, I hear what you're saying.  I think the thought is a scary one as you put so much effort into establishing it inside of you as factual.  

I doubt it. I am not a hyper-literalist when it comes to scripture but if Christ metaphorically took my sins and metaphorically died for me then I have wasted a lot of time following him. I should be doing it metaphorically instead. Metaphorically give ten percent, metaphorically love my neighbor, metaphorically help those in distress. Probably much easier.

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7 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I doubt it. I am not a hyper-literalist when it comes to scripture but if Christ metaphorically took my sins and metaphorically died for me then I have wasted a lot of time following him. I should be doing it metaphorically instead. Metaphorically give ten percent, metaphorically love my neighbor, metaphorically help those in distress. Probably much easier.

Since God is the one who forgives what's really the difference if the savior really did somehow take upon him our sins or if it was metaphorical?  Either way you are showing your penitent heart, seeking godly living and all of that.  

Edited by stemelbow
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54 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Since God is the one who forgives what's really the difference if the savior really did somehow take upon him our sins or if it was metaphorical?  Either way you are showing your penitent heart, seeking godly living and all of that.  

All the difference in the world. If the Savior endured all my sins and sorrows then I can be forgiven and not just forgiven but also purified and exalted. If Christ did not rise from the dead I have no hope that I will too. That one day I can have a perfected physical form. If it is all metaphor then my hopes are nothing but metaphor. Not worth living or dying for.

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Same here.  I always go over to the Maxwell Institute library when I need to consult the AB.

I've heard they're moving to the Clyde building. It's just such a pain to get up to campus I almost never do. If I ever get rich I'll get that full Anchor series including dictionary for Logos. It's not as if at the moment I have time to read any of it anyway. The general library back in the day had a little section with all the commentaries, including Anchor over near the main desk on the 4th floor. However they've shifted things around so much I don't know if that's still true.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Since God is the one who forgives what's really the difference if the savior really did somehow take upon him our sins or if it was metaphorical?  Either way you are showing your penitent heart, seeking godly living and all of that.  

I think the issue is how he heals people. But I agree that the two key issues are that God can heal us and those we've hurt and he can forgive us and lead us to forgive ourselves. How he does that in some ways is distant and secondary. However if God healing us is metaphoric, then that's a pretty big problem. Yet among some in more liberal traditions that's exactly what is metaphoric. 

4 hours ago, MosiahFree said:

I think one thing often overlooked when it comes to contemporary translations is the impact of Intellectual property laws both here in the United States and abroad. Say what we will about the King James translation, it is in the public domain, easily available, and can be reproduced without any concerns in regards to royalties. I think that is why we have such a glut on modern translations today, major publishing houses would rather commission their own in lieu of buying the rights to print and sell a version of the NIV or NASB.  

The costs of doing a translation are actually pretty huge. The reasons for the multitude of translations - at least the more scholarly ones - are more academic (IMO). There are also bias issues. So as Protestants were doing their translations in the first half of the 20th century Catholics felt lie they needed their own. Thus the NAB and JB. Although in some cases people just like translations in other languages. So my favorite translation, the Jerusalem Bible, was a Catholic commissioned translation started in the late 40's and done in French. After the French translation was done they decided to do an English version that relied on the French.  It's not a translation from the French to the English, but the translation decisions by the French team were followed. By and large all the translations were a phenomena of the mid 20th century.

You still get new translations but they're usually done by smaller groups or even single scholars tied to an interpretive or commentary project. So, for instance, the Anchor Bible Commentaries typically come with their own translations. You have someone like Alter known for his work on the more literary and poetic aspects of the Bible who produces translations emphasizing those aspects. That's been what's been more characteristic of the past 50 years. (There's a transitionary period IMO in the late 70's and 80's) There have also been paraphrases or loose translations typically oriented around missionary efforts to the poor and less educated who struggle even with modern translations.

None of this is to deny the licensing issues. Some have thought that's why the Church hasn't pushed alternative translations. However I don't think those are driving issues. I'd add that I think the Church moving from the KJV (which was archaic language already by the time it was first published) to say Thomas Nelson's New King James Version would be extremely helpful. That's actually among the top selling translations only behind the NIV and KJV. It maintains certain features of the KJV but is extremely more readable. They could then revise the Book of Mormon, D&C and so forth simply following the NKJV in archaic or difficult word replacement. That'd lead to much more readable modern scripture while maintaining fidelity to a Bible translation.  

Since nearly everyone these days is using Gospel Library and a phone or tablet to read their scriptures you could even make a web app that easily switches between the two versions.

Edited by clarkgoble
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17 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

All the difference in the world. If the Savior endured all my sins and sorrows then I can be forgiven and not just forgiven but also purified and exalted.

anything’s possible with god... all that is possible whether Jesus took upon him your sins or not.  Indeed he only would taken your sins upon him because god said so anyway.  Even if the atonement was real it’s really just god forgiving you.  

17 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

If Christ did not rise from the dead I have no hope that I will too. That one day I can have a perfected physical form. If it is all metaphor then my hopes are nothing but metaphor. Not worth living or dying for.

If we continue existing beyond this world then it doesn’t matter if Jesus first rose from the dead. We can all do the same whether Jesus showed his mug on earth agin or not.  

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On 12/10/2018 at 7:13 PM, Vance said:

I would agree that there is some truth to that statement. 

But there is a flip side.  There could very well have been some books that SHOULD have been included in the "canon" that were rejected for (apostate) theological reasons.

The removal of things "plain and precious" could very well have been the result of some books not included in the canon that should have been.  Books that could have since been lost to history precisely because they weren't included.

This is unlikely. The other books which were considered, and rejected are known to us. One early book, the diatessaron, does appear to have been lost to us in the Greek and Syriac, but was also preserved in Arabic. It is attested to as a combination of the four gospels, and the surviving Arabic version is clearly so. The other books - at least in their surviving form - I personally find specious. While they may preserve some truths, I don't find them to be apostolic in character. I feel we very much have the original (or close thereto) NT texts written by the early apostles, and the Book of Mormon really gives us no reason to believe otherwise. Rather, it mentions that the revelation given to John shall be fulfilled in very deed - not that it needs to be restored. Clearly there are some variations in the NT, and I believe this is what the BoM is talking about with perhaps some teachings or interpretations  being changed or lost as well. 

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By the way, for those interested in seeing how a different version of the Bible compares with the KJV,  I highly recommend The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version 

which can be had for as little as a few dollars on Amazon or there is a Kindle version available. There are a lot of versions available, and unless you're a scholar, you will probably find that even the older (2010 or even before) versions are very similar to the most current and are a lot cheaper.

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20 hours ago, Vance said:

WOW!,   It must be true.

I'm guessing you didn't read the entire article, or the many other articles on the subject.  The linguistic, cultural and anthropological evidence against the "stable" story is pretty strong (especially when compared to the evidence for it).

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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

The costs of doing a translation are actually pretty huge. The reasons for the multitude of translations - at least the more scholarly ones - are more academic (IMO). There are also bias issues. So as Protestants were doing their translations in the first half of the 20th century Catholics felt lie they needed their own. Thus the NAB and JB. Although in some cases people just like translations in other languages. So my favorite translation, the Jerusalem Bible, was a Catholic commissioned translation started in the late 40's and done in French. After the French translation was done they decided to do an English version that relied on the French.  It's not a translation from the French to the English, but the translation decisions by the French team were followed. By and large all the translations were a phenomena of the mid 20th century.

You still get new translations but they're usually done by smaller groups or even single scholars tied to an interpretive or commentary project. So, for instance, the Anchor Bible Commentaries typically come with their own translations. You have someone like Alter known for his work on the more literary and poetic aspects of the Bible who produces translations emphasizing those aspects. That's been what's been more characteristic of the past 50 years. (There's a transitionary period IMO in the late 70's and 80's) There have also been paraphrases or loose translations typically oriented around missionary efforts to the poor and less educated who struggle even with modern translations.

None of this is to deny the licensing issues. Some have thought that's why the Church hasn't pushed alternative translations. However I don't think those are driving issues. I'd add that I think the Church moving from the KJV (which was archaic language already by the time it was first published) to say Thomas Nelson's New King James Version would be extremely helpful. That's actually among the top selling translations only behind the NIV and KJV. It maintains certain features of the KJV but is extremely more readable. They could then revise the Book of Mormon, D&C and so forth simply following the NKJV in archaic or difficult word replacement. That'd lead to much more readable modern scripture while maintaining fidelity to a Bible translation.  

Since nearly everyone these days is using Gospel Library and a phone or tablet to read their scriptures you could even make a web app that easily switches between the two versions.

It could be that I’ve become jaded; conversations with vendors at SBL and other experiences in seeing how the sausage is produced left me feeling disillusioned. I had to smile though when you immediately brought up ‘The Jerusalem Bible’ because it is one of the few examples of a translation working directly from an ancient language and put into modern English (though in the Editor’s Foreword of my 66 edition does admit a few books were drafted from the French but then checked against the ancient text), the NIV is another example that is actually a direct translation.

I was really disappointed to learn that the revision committee of the New Revised Standard Version kept their editions of the Biblia Hebracia Stuttgartemsia and the USB’s Greek new Testament more as secondary and tertiary sources. My time spent at Hebrew Union left me with the distinct impression that the NRSV’s fidelity lies more with the Authorized Version than it does with the BHS.     
 

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