When ministers read and study the Scriptures in English, they kiss their bride through a veil

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When ministers read and study the Scriptures in English, they kiss their bride through a veil

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Alex Guggenheim's picture
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'Tis true, but then some

'Tis true, but then some might like a veiled bride. Such imprecision frees them to claim many things that otherwise they could not. It is a convenient mechanism for all sorts of eccentricities and novel narratives.

With that said of course, even with the veil lifted many have denied what precision makes obvious and have twisted its meaning by way of interpretive gymnastics, but that is another problem altogether. Smile

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thanks

Dealing with my fallen intelligence, the biblical languages come slow for me.

But I am back at it.

Last night with two other pastors, a pastoral intern, and some laymen, we were parsing personal pronouns, and looking at three uses of autos: personal pronoun, adjectival intensive, and identical adjective.

This past Sunday morning, our pastoral intern highlighted Mt. 28:19-20 (we have a team of 7 headed to Honduras in three weeks). And last night, we examined all the pronouns in the Greek.

Thanks for the quote. It motivates me.

RPittman's picture
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Sounds right, yet . . . . . .

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When ministers read and study the Scriptures in English, they kiss their bride through a veil.

With a nineteenth century understanding of language, this appears to be a profound statement. However, one begins to wonder if this is true if language is as contextual as we have come to understand. Do we really think Greek and Hebrew scholars, much less those with a smattering of Greek and Hebrew, have a deep and penetrating understanding of languages that are extant only in written form with limited samplings and having never heard it spoken or used in its cultural context? Furthermore, one wonders if the theories and scholarship have not created artifacts that are uncritically accepted. This may work in a purely academic, scholarly paradigm but is it reality?

On the other hand, if one questions the foundationalism of this concept, he is driven back to a position of faith in preservation by the unseen hand of God working to preserve his Word in an understandable context.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture
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Wow Roland, you really have

Wow Roland, you really have gone off the deep end. Now you are questioning the original languages but swallowing whole the translation which springs from them.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

RPittman's picture
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Learn to swim . . . . .

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Wow Roland, you really have gone off the deep end. Now you are questioning the original languages but swallowing whole the translation which springs from them.
Well, Chip, if it's too deep out here, then I suggest that you go back to shore or learn to swim. You obviously failed to grasp what I wrote. If people struggle this much with English, then imagine the difficulty of struggling with the nuances of language that no on has ever heard spoken or lived in its contextual environs.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture
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ONLY a KJVO adherent would

ONLY a KJVO adherent would argue against the superiority of studying the original languages. Once again you evidence a complete lack of understanding of the issues involved in translation. Blind faith is at least a comforting answer to everything, no matter how unfounded it might be! Too bad it's so dangerous. A lot like curling up with a favorite blanket and warm fuzzy slippers when one finds out they have cancer. Oh so dangerous, but at least it feels nice.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Thought Provoking Metaphor

As I continue reading through the textbook for my seminary Hermeneutics class, I have been struck by the number of times that the authors stress the importance of the original languages. This has increased my desire to learn them.

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

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How contextual IS language?

RPittman wrote:
Do we really think Greek and Hebrew scholars, much less those with a smattering of Greek and Hebrew, have a deep and penetrating understanding of languages that are extant only in written form with limited samplings and having never heard it spoken or used in its cultural context?

As a KJVO advocate, are you asserting that you have heard Early Modern English "spoken in its cultural context?" Last I checked, it was "only extant in written form" via Shakespeare, the King James Version, etc. If there be a place whither thou canst hear it with thine own ears, I wot not.

This is just a side thought in addition to Chip's comments, which address the heart of the matter: The supreme exaltation of any translation inevitably leads to a devaluing of God's original words. Disturbing indeed.

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Violating your own methodology . . . . . .

Chip, you are obviously a rationalist, are you not? It appears that you are using what you think is a rationalist methodology--i.e. logical reasoning as you would probably call it. However, you make so many unfounded assumptions and fail to exhaust other possibilities that you violate your own methodology. Scientific reasoning, as it is sometimes called, is based on eliminating all other factors except the one that must be true. This you fail to do. Chip, my friend, you falsely castigate me for what you call "blind faith" yet you exhibit a much more un-seeing faith in your own little cerebral gymnastics.

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
ONLY a KJVO adherent would argue against the superiority of studying the original languages.
Wrong, anyone holding to faith in a single translation, such as the Geneva Bible or even Luther's translation in German, could hold my position. Obviously, you are not thinking about the possibilities very thoroughly. BTW, I would point out that I did not deny the value of original languages but I question whether we are overstating our knowledge of them. The advantage of a received or transmitted text is that it has carried a kind of contextualization from generation to generation. Furthermore, the KJV has provided a type of contextualization of its own through a pervasive influence on the development of the English language. Thus, we can better conceptualize the KJV in the context of our own native language and culture than we can Hebrew and Greek which will always be foreign languages for us.
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Once again you evidence a complete lack of understanding of the issues involved in translation.
On the contrary, you seem oblivious to current thinking on language. You are stuck in 19th century time warp. Semantical content with subtle nuances of connotation and meaning is not forever encoded in a static symbol (i.e. a word).
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Blind faith is at least a comforting answer to everything, no matter how unfounded it might be!
Well, you have a naive epistemology too. I can say as well that you have a blind faith in your reason and what you've been taught.
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Too bad it's so dangerous.
Yeah, and it's a two-way street with my opposition following a blind faith of his education and reasoning. That is just as dangerous, sans thinking.
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A lot like curling up with a favorite blanket and warm fuzzy slippers when one finds out they have cancer.
This is a foolish assumption. You have no idea of how much study, thought, and reading that I have done. As a fast reader, I've turned a lot of pages over fifty years. And my reading has not been fluff either. I've never read, other than excerpts, Riplinger, Ruckman, Gill, etc. My reading has ranged from Kierkegaard to Kant to Aristotle to Locke to Emerson to Cicero to Russell to Spinoza ad infinitum. Also, I've read the Post-moderns. This is not to mention a wide range of theologians. Thus, I encountered many disturbing ideas with which I wrestled and retained my faith. No, the comforting and easy route is to accept the common pabulum and ask no questions.
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Oh so dangerous, but at least it feels nice.
Well, Chip, you appear snug in your own self-deception. My goads evidently cannot prod you out of it.

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KJV influence on English language . . . .

Eric R. wrote:
RPittman wrote:
Do we really think Greek and Hebrew scholars, much less those with a smattering of Greek and Hebrew, have a deep and penetrating understanding of languages that are extant only in written form with limited samplings and having never heard it spoken or used in its cultural context?

As a KJVO advocate, are you asserting that you have heard Early Modern English "spoken in its cultural context?"

I don't think that I said this. Could you provide me with my quote? This is, I think, an invalid inference on your part.
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Last I checked, it was "only extant in written form" via Shakespeare, the King James Version, etc. If there be a place whither thou canst hear it with thine own ears, I wot not.
Well, I grew up an area where Elizabethean English was still preserved. Are you aware of Elizabethean English being spoken in Appalachia up into the twentieth century? Are you aware of the profound influence of the KJV upon the development of the English language so it provided a kind of contextualization for theological concepts?
Quote:

This is just a side thought in addition to Chip's comments, which address the heart of the matter: The supreme exaltation of any translation inevitably leads to a devaluing of God's original words. Disturbing indeed.

This is a value judgment that is nothing more than personal opinion or bias without argumentation and supporting evidence. Could you please define God's original words for me. Also, how are they devalued when translated into another language. Do the Greek and Hebrew words carry some special valuation more than words in another language? Come on! Let's stash the fluff and cut to the chase.

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Let's Take a Step Back

Can we interrupt the goading a bit? Smile This has some important implications for hermeneutics and inspiration.

RPittman wrote:
Quote:
When ministers read and study the Scriptures in English, they kiss their bride through a veil.

With a nineteenth century understanding of language, this appears to be a profound statement. However, one begins to wonder if this is true if language is as contextual as we have come to understand.

I am not following. First, what is the modern discovery about language that changes our understanding? I recognize that language must be understood and interpreted in context (my Hermeneutics professor just emphasized that repeatedly), but that is not new, so I infer that you mean something more.

Second, how does this new understanding of language undercut the veil metaphor?

RPittman wrote:
Do we really think Greek and Hebrew scholars, much less those with a smattering of Greek and Hebrew, have a deep and penetrating understanding of languages that are extant only in written form with limited samplings and having never heard it spoken or used in its cultural context? Furthermore, one wonders if the theories and scholarship have not created artifacts that are uncritically accepted. This may work in a purely academic, scholarly paradigm but is it reality?

I wonder what you mean by "limited samplings" given the wealth of manuscripts that we have available.

Putting that aside, how do you see the situation different from English? Modern Hebrew and Greek are different from the languages of Bible times; however, English has changed, too, and we no longer have native speakers of the English of Beowulf or Chaucer or Shakespeare. (The differences, if any, appear to be ones of degree, not of kind.) Of course there are challenges, but that does not prevent current expertise in the earlier forms of the languages. We gather manuscripts, we read them, we study them, and we come to understand. Further, all that I have read indicates that we have made significant advances in our understanding of the Biblical languages over the last several hundred years. So, yes, I do think that there are Hebrew and Greek scholars with a deep and penetrating understanding of those languages. That seems quite apparent as you read the grammars, lexica, and other materials that have been written.

Putting that aside, too, suppose that we could not understand Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek adequately today. Would such an inability not affect us all, either directly or indirectly, since our English Bibles all come from . . . Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Put differently, if English speakers cannot gain an adequate understanding of the Biblical languages, then how do we rely on the translations of Tyndale, Coverdale, and others who followed them and gave us the English Bibles that we now use? I think that this is what Chip was trying to raise earlier in the thread http://sharperiron.org/comment/24882#comment-24882 ]here (though admittedly with a distracting barb). This has vast implications for hermeneutics and thus for each person who seeks to understand the Word.

RPittman wrote:
Could you please define God's original words for me. Also, how are they devalued when translated into another language. Do the Greek and Hebrew words carry some special valuation more than words in another language? Come on! Let's stash the fluff and cut to the chase.

I infer that Eric is referring to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words of the original autographs of Scripture. To cut to the chase, whether one thinks that those words have special value will depend on one's view of inspiration, right? If those words are God-breathed (2Ti 3:16), the result of the moving of the Holy Spirit (2Pe 1:21), then they are special. How well another language compares depends on how much is "lost in translation," right?

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

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Stashing the fluff and cutting to the chase...

...at Roland's request.

"God's original words" are those words which were breathed out by God, through human writers, contained in the autographa, in the languages God chose to use: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Any subsequent translation which faithfully renders those words into another language is the Word of God. However, no translation can rightly be called verbally inspired.

Roland, you have asked several questions, which I will be happy to answer when I have time to do so thoughtfully. However, in the interest of cutting to the chase, I have answered only one to start. If you would please let me know whether or not you agree with the above statements, I will know how best to continue the conversation.

Thanks!

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Brent, I agree with what you

Brent,

I agree with what you have said. Unfortunately, you have apparently jumped into the conversation unaware of all that has proceeded. If you look up Roland's comments on just the last few issues of Bauder's recent series "Now about those differences,", you will begin to see where we are. The quote you snipped went on to infer much of what Roland has claimed before.

Roland, if I misstate here, I apologize. I am genuinely trying to give a nutshell summary of the core of your position. Please jump in whenever you have time and make any corrections necessary.

Basically, Roland accepts the KJV and TR by faith, not based on textual criticism, because he feels they are the fruit of promises contained in Scripture. He has repeatedly rejected all textual criticism as man-made philosophy and untrustworthy compared to the faith he holds instead.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Thanks . . . . . .

Eric R. wrote:
...at Roland's request.

"God's original words" are those words which were breathed out by God, through human writers, contained in the autographa, in the languages God chose to use: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Any subsequent translation which faithfully renders those words into another language is the Word of God. However, no translation can rightly be called verbally inspired.

Roland, you have asked several questions, which I will be happy to answer when I have time to do so thoughtfully. However, in the interest of cutting to the chase, I have answered only one to start. If you would please let me know whether or not you agree with the above statements, I will know how best to continue the conversation.

Thanks!

So, according to the critical text theorists, do we have "God's original words?" We no longer have the autographa.

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RPittman wrote: Eric R.

RPittman wrote:
Eric R. wrote:

"God's original words" are those words which were breathed out by God, through human writers, contained in the autographa, in the languages God chose to use: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Any subsequent translation which faithfully renders those words into another language is the Word of God. However, no translation can rightly be called verbally inspired.

Roland, you have asked several questions, which I will be happy to answer when I have time to do so thoughtfully. However, in the interest of cutting to the chase, I have answered only one to start. If you would please let me know whether or not you agree with the above statements, I will know how best to continue the conversation.

Thanks!

So, according to the critical text theorists, do we have "God's original words?" We no longer have the autographa.

I'm leery of taking the risk of inferring anything from your response, since I've gotten in trouble for that before. I would feel safer with an actual answer. Do you agree with the above statements or not? (And if not, I would be interested to know which part and why.)

Forgive me if you've covered this ground elsewhere on SI. I don't read everything on here, but I know you've had discussions about these topics before. I just don't want to proceed too far with any false assumptions about your position.