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Should there be a comma between Wonderful and Counsellor?


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A Christmas question for the Bible wonks here on the board:

The King James Version renders the familiar passage in Isaiah as “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor ...”, implying by the comma that “Wonderful” and “Counsellor” are separate names. 

And yet, other Bible translations omit the comma, thus implying that “wonderful” is to be understood as a modifier for “counselor,” to wit, “wonderful counselor.” 
 

So which is correct? How do the earliest extant manuscripts have it?

Furthermore, is there a distinction in meaning, however slight, between the varying versions?

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Skousen, KJQ (2019), 148–49:

The King James Bible has a comma between Wonderful and Counselor, which means that
five different names are attributed to the Savior, the adjective Wonderful, the noun Counselor,
and three following noun phrases (each a noun with a modifier): the Mighty God, the
Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. This interpretation of the Hebrew dates back
to the 1560 Geneva Bible. Earlier, Miles Coverdale’s 1535 translation had four noun phrases:
“the wondrous giver of counsel, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace”.
In a similar fashion, modern translations have four names here, combining the adjective
wonderful and the noun counselor into a single noun phrase, wonderful counselor, and thus
ending up with a series of four noun phrases: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting
Father, Prince of Peace” (Revised Standard Version and New International Version).
The 1830 typesetter followed the traditional King James interpretation and placed a comma
betweenWonderful and Counselor in the Book of Mormon version, and this interpretation
was followed in the LDS text until the 1879 edition, when the comma was omitted and
remained so until being restored in the 1920 edition. The Yale edition omits the comma.

 

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10 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

So which is correct? How do the earliest extant manuscripts have it?

Unlikely to have commas, I am guessing.  And if there is a unique word for wonderful and another for Counselor and it isn’t obvious that the one is an adjective for the other....how could we tell? (Serious question, I am wondering if something else could thrown the weight towards Wonderful Counselor.)

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

Unlikely to have commas, I am guessing.  And if there is a unique word for wonderful and another for Counselor and it isn’t obvious that the one is an adjective for the other....how could we tell? (Serious question, I am wondering if something else could thrown the weight towards Wonderful Counselor.)

I think Champatsch has made a persuasive case here that the originally intended meaning is conveyed by there being no comma separating the words. 
 

I shall now have to reform my comprehension of that passage when I hear it read or recited — or sung as part of Handel’s oratorio. 

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The noun phrases convey a more deliberate, artistically crafted construction.  I find it more appealing. 
 

It would be even more satisfying if arranged in a progressive order...

Wonderful counselor, prince of peace, mighty God, everlasting Father...or you could switch the last two if you preferred emphasizing the power. 
 

I wonder if it is in a progressive order where peace being an elusive quality of existence was seen as preeminent. 

Edited by Calm
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13 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

A Christmas question for the Bible wonks here on the board:

The King James Version renders the familiar passage in Isaiah as “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor ...”, implying by the comma that “Wonderful” and “Counsellor” are separate names. 

And yet, other Bible translations omit the comma, thus implying that “wonderful” is to be understood as a modifier for “counselor,” to wit, “wonderful counselor.” 
 

So which is correct? How do the earliest extant manuscripts have it?

Furthermore, is there a distinction in meaning, however slight, between the varying versions?

Yeah, the four titles each appear to be composed of two elements, so these should be read together. "Wonderful" isn't really an adjective, though. More precise translations might render something more like "a wonder of/as a counselor," or "one who counsels wonder."

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21 hours ago, champatsch said:

.......... the 1879 edition, when the comma was omitted and
remained so until being restored in the 1920 edition. The Yale edition omits the comma.

My FARMS Book of Mormon Critical Text, 3rd edition (forthcoming) sets the four phrases apart to make the parallelism crystal clear.

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10 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I think Champatsch has made a persuasive case here that the originally intended meaning is conveyed by there being no comma separating the words. 
 

I shall now have to reform my comprehension of that passage when I hear it read or recited — or sung as part of Handel’s oratorio. 

Yeh, I hear that music in my mind.  Cannot unhear it.

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23 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

A Christmas question for the Bible wonks here on the board:

The King James Version renders the familiar passage in Isaiah as “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor ...”, implying by the comma that “Wonderful” and “Counsellor” are separate names. 

And yet, other Bible translations omit the comma, thus implying that “wonderful” is to be understood as a modifier for “counselor,” to wit, “wonderful counselor.” 
 

So which is correct? How do the earliest extant manuscripts have it?

Furthermore, is there a distinction in meaning, however slight, between the varying versions?

A more important question, however, is now that you have been retired awhile, have you in your writing also retired the hideous AP style rule of omitting the Oxford comma?

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I quoted Barker on this passage in Light and Perspective in Interpreter:

Quote

This is the famous passage on the “wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace” as well as “the throne of David, and his kingdom.” Barker, who has also published formidable commentaries on Isaiah,66 observes that in the Septuagint, these four throne names are replaced with one, “the Angel of Great Counsel.”67 She shows that the four titles Isaiah uses were equivalent to the meanings of the angel names Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel, each title and name representing an aspect or role of the Lord.68 The “Angel of Great Counsel” title converges with the implications of Lehi’s council vision in 1 Nephi 1 and also leads directly to all the divine titles Lehi uses in 1 Nephi 10, given a First Temple and priesthood context. 

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/light-and-perspective-essays-from-the-mormon-theology-seminar-on-1-nephi-1-and-jacob-7/

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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14 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

A more important question, however, is now that you have been retired awhile, have you in your writing also retired the hideous AP style rule of omitting the Oxford comma?

😂 😆 😝 

From my high school days on, the Oxford comma was my preference. But surely you understand that a compelled habit of some 40 years (including engagement in university-level journalism) is nigh on impossible to break. I have just about concluded that is a mountain too steep to climb at my advanced stage in life. 
 

And for the benefit of those who don’t know what MN and I are talking about, the Oxford comma is the punctuational practice of putting in a comma before the “and” just prior to the last item in a series as opposed to leaving it out. For example, 

 

“Planes, trains, and automobiles”

 

as opposed to

 

”Planes, trains and automobiles”.

 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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On 12/26/2020 at 5:50 AM, Calm said:

The noun phrases convey a more deliberate, artistically crafted construction.  I find it more appealing. 
 

It would be even more satisfying if arranged in a progressive order...

Wonderful counselor, prince of peace, mighty God, everlasting Father...or you could switch the last two if you preferred emphasizing the power. 
 

I wonder if it is in a progressive order where peace being an elusive quality of existence was seen as preeminent. 

I like the emphasis given by placing “Prince of Peace” at the end, as it harkens back to Melchizedek, who was the king of Salem (which means peace) and who was a messianic type. 

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On 12/26/2020 at 3:12 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Yeh, I hear that music in my mind.  Cannot unhear it.

Can’t Handel it, huh?

Edited by Bernard Gui
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On 12/26/2020 at 8:50 AM, Dan McClellan said:

Yeah, the four titles each appear to be composed of two elements, so these should be read together. "Wonderful" isn't really an adjective, though. More precise translations might render something more like "a wonder of/as a counselor," or "one who counsels wonder."

It seems the same idea is held in the word "guru" which In Sanskrit means "dispeller of darkness."

"Traditionally the guru is a reverential figure to the disciple (or chela in Sanskrit) or student, with the guru serving as a "counselor, who helps mold values, shares experiential knowledge as much as literal knowledge, an exemplar in life, an inspirational source and who helps in the spiritual evolution of a student". …A guru is also one's spiritual guide, who helps one to discover the same potentialities that the guru has already realized." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru

 

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

It seems the same idea is held in the word "guru" which In Sanskrit means "dispeller of darkness."

"Traditionally the guru is a reverential figure to the disciple (or chela in Sanskrit) or student, with the guru serving as a "counselor, who helps mold values, shares experiential knowledge as much as literal knowledge, an exemplar in life, an inspirational source and who helps in the spiritual evolution of a student". …A guru is also one's spiritual guide, who helps one to discover the same potentialities that the guru has already realized." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru

 

i like it.  The Lord is my guru; I shall not want...

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2 hours ago, Ahab said:

i like it.  The Lord is my guru; I shall not want...

In the spirit of linking two concepts into one title, we also have "satguru." "Guru" is a human being but "Satguru" is the God in human form, and preaches the more complete knowledge-light to remove the darkness-ignorance ("complete" conveys "perfect," "fulness" and "finished" which are used along with "complete" in our canon).

Edited by CV75
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48 minutes ago, CV75 said:

In the spirit of linking two concepts into one title, we also have "satguru." "Guru" is a human being but "Satguru" is the God in human form, and preaches the more complete knowledge-light to remove the darkness-ignorance ("complete" conveys "perfect," "fulness" and "finished" which are used along with "complete" in our canon).

Same thing.  Tamato tamatoe.  God and human are the exact same kind of being, according to what my guru/satguru has taught me.

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On 12/28/2020 at 12:15 AM, Calm said:

Once in a lifetime.....treasure the moment.

Unhandel me, you cad!

 

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