Jump to content

German bible now available online and in the gospel library app


Recommended Posts

On 5/29/2021 at 9:58 AM, Dan McClellan said:

We are beginning the process of revising a public-domain German translation of the Bible in order to be able to provide a Church edition of the Bible for German-speaking Latter-day Saints. The current preferred translation in German, the Einheitsübersetzung, was first published in 1980 and is not in the public domain, so it was not a possibility for this project. We evaluated a number of German translations and the 1939 Menge best fit our criteria. While we're going through the process of revising the text and translating the study helps, the Church has made the original version of the Menge available online and on the Gospel Library app:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/ot?lang=deu

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/nt?lang=deu

The only thing that comes to mind is Isaiah 28:10,13.

In English it reads: "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:".

Luther has it: "Zawlaza zawlaza, kawlakaw kawlakaw, hier ein wenig, da ein wenig!" with the note that those words cannot be translated and represent the muttering of drunks, in order to mock the speech of the prophets.

Menge has it: "Da heisst’s immer: 'Tu du dies, tu du das! Mach mal dies, mach mal das! Hier ein bisschen, da ein bisschen!'"

Which is really odd! The English speaks of a valuable principle, but the German seems to be going off on a tangent. In either translation. All I can say is, good luck dealing with this, ye translators!

Any thoughts?

Link to comment

Anecdotally I can say that on my mission in the late 90’s all the German elders I served with and around disliked the Luther version as it was very difficult to comprehend without references. Probably the same problem many in English have with the KJV. Most of them preferred and used a different translation.

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Dan McClellan said:

So the German versions are much closer to what's really going on in the text. The Hebrew is repetitive and nonsensical precisely because it is supposed to be mimicking unintelligible speech. This is why the very next line is "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people." Literally, the Hebrew says tsav latsav tsav latsav qav laqav qav laqav. Isaiah is basically saying, "he's gonna say 'blah blah blah blah,' and you won't be able to understand." The translators in the 16th and 17th centuries didn't recognize this rhetorical device and tried hard to make some kind of sense of the words, which required some etymological fudging, but they came up with a plumb line and a word that refers to a precept or principle. The repetition includes the preposition la-, which refers to movement towards or benefit for, which they interpreted as "upon," and thus was born the phrase "precept upon precept, line upon line." 

That is really interesting.  I read that passage in a whole new light now and it makes so much more sense.   

I don't mean to try to stump you, but this new understanding does raise a new question for me on how etymological fudging from the 16 and 17th centuries made its way into the Book of Mormon.   We see the KJV translation of those words in 2 Nephi 28:30.  We see the same phrasing in D&C 98.

Quote

30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, aprecept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn bwisdom; for unto him that creceiveth I will give dmore; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

I guess one could argue that the root reformed Egyptian words in the gold plates really did mean "line upon line, precept upon precept..." instead of "blah, blah blah...", as was intended in Isaiah.  It just seems unlikely that we would end up with almost identical English phrasing from completely different intentions in meaning from the different authors.  It seems more likely that Nephi was borrowing phrasing from Isaiah when he wrote 2 Nephi 28:30, but how is it that he ended up translating "blah, blah, blah" into the nearly identical phrasing (which was an example of etymological fudging) from 16th and 17th centuries?  Seems highly unlikely.  Any other possible explanations about what might be going on here?      


 

 

Edited by pogi
Link to comment
12 hours ago, Calm said:

So is this in reality not related to the original scripture at all?

Apparently not, for as Dan explains it the KJV translators didn't know what to make of what they found in the original language.

There will be those who look at that as a kick against the church, because the Book of Mormon expressly uses the KJV wording, and not the Luther Bible's. But the true kicker is this: the Book of Mormon (2 Ne 28:30) is not reproducing the Isaiah 28 verses. The expression "line upon line," etc., is not a reproduction of Isaiah. It is explaining the principle of "line upon line":

“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have”

Elder David A. Bednar wrote about this principle in “Line upon Line, Precept upon Precept” <-- which is a really good article on the subject. 

I'm thinking that the KJV translators were embarrassed by the literal Hebrew. And it wasn't just them! Here's that verse in several Bible versions:
King James Bible
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

New King James Version
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”

American Standard Version
For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little.

Berean Study Bible
For they hear: “Order on order, order on order, line on line, line on line; a little here, a little there.”

Douay-Rheims Bible
For command, command again; command, command again; expect, expect again; expect, expect again: a little there, a little there.

English Revised Version
For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little.

World English Bible
For it is precept on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little.

Young's Literal Translation
For rule is on rule, rule on rule, line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there,

 

Link to comment
16 hours ago, Calm said:

So is this in reality not related to the original scripture at all?

That's correct. It has nothing to do with what the Hebrew was intended to do. The Bibles that preceded the King James Version tried a variety of ways to make sense of the passage, but the 1560 Geneva Bible seems to be the first to go with "precept upon precept, line unto line." The Bishops' Bible (of which the KJV is a revision) went in another direction, but the KJV seems to have adapted the Geneva Rendering.

Link to comment
19 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

That's correct. It has nothing to do with what the Hebrew was intended to do. The Bibles that preceded the King James Version tried a variety of ways to make sense of the passage, but the 1560 Geneva Bible seems to be the first to go with "precept upon precept, line unto line." The Bishops' Bible (of which the KJV is a revision) went in another direction, but the KJV seems to have adapted the Geneva Rendering.

How would you suggest teaching the concept given the other scriptures using “precept upon precept”…it seems a common sense idea after all?

Link to comment
4 hours ago, Calm said:

How would you suggest teaching the concept given the other scriptures using “precept upon precept”…it seems a common sense idea after all?

I'd suggest teaching it from 2 Nephi and the D&C rather than going back to Isaiah. At least that way the teaching can be consistent from language to language and we don't have to try to skirt around all the languages where Isaiah is translated differently.

Link to comment
9 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

I'd suggest teaching it from 2 Nephi and the D&C rather than going back to Isaiah. At least that way the teaching can be consistent from language to language and we don't have to try to skirt around all the languages where Isaiah is translated differently.

And for those who argue that it is evidence Joseph wasn’t inspired?

(It is a valid belief in my view and should be taught, so no one should assume I want it dropped)

Link to comment
On 7/19/2021 at 11:39 PM, The Nehor said:

Anecdotally I can say that on my mission in the late 90’s all the German elders I served with and around disliked the Luther version as it was very difficult to comprehend without references. Probably the same problem many in English have with the KJV. Most of them preferred and used a different translation.

Wow! You served in a German-speaking mission? Which one?

I, myself, served in Germany Düsseldorf, 1973-1974, which I believe was discontinued before you were there.

Link to comment
On 7/21/2021 at 9:41 AM, SeekingUnderstanding said:

You probably don’t want the “critics” answer, so from a faithful perspective, I’d say this is evidence for a loose translation heavily influenced by Joseph’s mind and culture. 

I can imagine to myself the "critics'" answer. Being moderately intelligent, I can see how a nonbeliever's thoughts might run, when confronted with this.

If I were to say that the "line upon line" version was what God wanted in place of what was in the OT manuscript, you'd probably think I was turning myself inside out trying to overcome obvious evidence of the manmade nature of the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants. But if God gave Joseph Smith the text found in the BoM (because Joseph obviously couldn't translate it in a conventional sense), and God who gave the D&C, then it's God who needs to answer for the text. And in the words of Bones McCoy, "You don't ask the Almighty for his ID."  Or maybe you do. Seems He might be happy to show it to you, if you ask. James 1:5 and Moroni 10:3-5. Having done so, myself, and received an obvious answer, it seems to me, at least, that it might be something explicable in the end. 

YMMV.

 

Link to comment
10 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

I can imagine to myself the "critics'" answer. Being moderately intelligent, I can see how a nonbeliever's thoughts might run, when confronted with this.

If I were to say that the "line upon line" version was what God wanted in place of what was in the OT manuscript, you'd probably think I was turning myself inside out trying to overcome obvious evidence of the manmade nature of the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants. But if God gave Joseph Smith the text found in the BoM (because Joseph obviously couldn't translate it in a conventional sense), and God who gave the D&C, then it's God who needs to answer for the text. And in the words of Bones McCoy, "You don't ask the Almighty for his ID."  Or maybe you do. Seems He might be happy to show it to you, if you ask. James 1:5 and Moroni 10:3-5. Having done so, myself, and received an obvious answer, it seems to me, at least, that it might be something explicable in the end. 

YMMV.

 

My POV might eventually become (still exploring the circumstances) God used the opportunity to add a truth to scriptures.  If prophets can be inspired in what they originally say and scribes inspired in what they choose to include in their original writings, why not translators in their struggles to give more better access to these sayings and writings.

But then I probably have a more relaxed view of the purpose of scripture than most (meant to get us thinking about, seeking out and then asking God more than providing answers).

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

Wow! You served in a German-speaking mission? Which one?

I, myself, served in Germany Düsseldorf, 1973-1974, which I believe was discontinued before you were there.

No, I served in England. I just had about 4 German elders serve in my various districts. The mission was about 50% US and Canadian, 48% European, and 2% rest of the world. I served with English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swiss, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Jamaican, and Czech elders and I am probably forgetting one or two.

Link to comment
On 7/21/2021 at 9:41 AM, SeekingUnderstanding said:

You probably don’t want the “critics” answer, so from a faithful perspective, I’d say this is evidence for a loose translation heavily influenced by Joseph’s mind and culture. 

I think there is moderate evidence with the whole EModE theory, that this didn't just come from Joseph's mind and culture at all.  And I am of the opinion that in some situations, God just doesn't care about incorrect portions of the translation that don't matter to the big picture. 

As evidence of this idea, there are many differences between the quotations of Old Testament verses by the writers of the New Testament (either due to translation issues or other textual variations), some of which are found in the book of Revelation (which is the closest we could come to a direct revelation in the New Testament).  Some of the variations appear to be quotations from the Greek Septuagint translation, and even though there is evidence that the Septuagint was translated from a Hebrew source text that varies from the currently held Massoretic text, the identity of the original text and the correctness of the translation is often debated among scholars.  (As an example, see Revelation 2:27 as a quotation of the Septuagint version of Psalm 2:9 - does he "rule them with a rod of iron", or "break them with a rod of iron" and "dash them in pieces"?   See KJV Rev 2:27, KJV Psalm 2:9, and LXX Psalm 2:9).   

The bottom line for me is, did these differences in translation impact the faith of the New Testament saints?  Did they significantly alter the message of the gospel?  It might have done so with some people, but certainly not for others.  Neither Jesus nor the apostles seemed to be overly concerned with textual variations and translation issues. 

Edited by InCognitus
Link to comment
5 hours ago, Calm said:

And for those who argue that it is evidence Joseph wasn’t inspired?

(It is a valid belief in my view and should be taught, so no one should assume I want it dropped)

I think we have to find ways to better deal with the reality that the KJV was heavily influential on the way the Prophet articulated the Restoration, with all its errors and shortcomings.

Link to comment

You are supposed to have all the answers, Dan, already. So disappointed. ;)  
 

I am actually quite looking forward to a less set in stone reading of scripture. Happy to be patient for its coming. 

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

I think there is moderate evidence with the whole EModE theory, that this didn't just come from Joseph's mind and culture at all.  And I am of the opinion that in some situations, God just doesn't care about incorrect portions of the translation that don't matter to the big picture. 

As evidence of this idea, there are many differences between the quotations of Old Testament verses by the writers of the New Testament (either due to translation issues or other textual variations), some of which are found in the book of Revelation (which is the closest we could come to a direct revelation in the New Testament).  Some of the variations appear to be quotations from the Greek Septuagint translation, and even though there is evidence that the Septuagint was translated from a Hebrew source text that varies from the currently held Massoretic text, the identity of the original text and the correctness of the translation is often debated among scholars.  (As an example, see Revelation 2:27 as a quotation of the Septuagint version of Psalm 2:9 - does he "rule them with a rod of iron", or "break them with a rod of iron" and "dash them in pieces"?   See KJV Rev 2:27, KJV Psalm 2:9, and LXX Psalm 2:9).   

The bottom line for me is, did these differences in translation impact the faith of the New Testament saints?  Did they significantly alter the message of the gospel?  It might have done so with some people, but certainly not for others.  Neither Jesus nor the apostles seemed to be overly concerned with textual variations and translation issues. 

I’m afraid I don’t follow this at all. Differences are expected. It would take a miracle to translate from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek and have things come out word for word. Especially since it’s possible that much of it came from oral traditions where taking a bit of leeway with the words is not a big deal.  What it’s odd here is that Nephi is word for word copying the words of English translators making stuff up in the 1500’s. So either there is a loose translation going on where Joseph (or your 16th century translator) used the familiar words of the mistranslated Bible to loosely convey Nephi’s meaning, or … I’m drawing a blank on other faithful options here. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
Link to comment
2 hours ago, Stargazer said:

If I were to say that the "line upon line" version was what God wanted in place of what was in the OT manuscript,

I’d actually say that I can’t understand a God that would throw up stumbling blocks. If he wanted it in the manuscript, then tell Isaiah to put it there. Don’t raise doubt in the most perfect book on earth and slide it in backwards. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
Link to comment

I recognize, fully, that others' mileage may and does vary.  However, questions notwithstanding (and be assured, I do have questions, including why the KJV rendering of the scripture we're discussing made it into the Book of Mormon), I've had too much personal, intimate experience with the Book of Mormon, and with the Divine through the Book of Mormon, for me ever to dismiss the whole thing outright.  As Elder Banks, the African American/Black missionary in the film God's Army says, "It's like God gives you a hundred reasons to believe, and one or two not to, just so you can choose."  For what it's worth, that's how I feel about the Book of Mormon.

Edited by Kenngo1969
Link to comment
31 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I’d actually say that I can’t understand a God that would throw up stumbling blocks. If he wanted it in the manuscript, then tell Isaiah to put it there. Don’t raise doubt in the most perfect book on earth and slide it in backwards. 

With due respect, while you're entitled to your opinion on the matter, and while I understand why people in good conscience and good faith hold that opinion, no one ever claimed that the Book of Mormon is perfect.  Cf. e.g., Mormon 9:31, 33; Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4 p. 461.

Dictionary.com, s.v. "Perfect," last accessed July 22, 2021: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/perfect.  Cf. Id., s.v. "Correct," also last accessed July 22, 2021: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/correct

Edited by Kenngo1969
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...