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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:48 pm 
Avisaru
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All of the ones I mentioned in my post (KJV, NKJV, NIV, ESV, NASB, NLT) are Protestant Bibles in the Christian order without the deuterocanonical books. They also all use "the Lᴏʀᴅ" (in small-caps), which seems to be standard for mainstream Protestant translations.

EDIT:
malloc wrote:
What would people here consider the most accurate translation of the Bible into English?

I have no clue, but I don't think it's a straightforward question and would depend on what you consider "most accurate" to mean. E.g. a word-for-word translation might be the most accurate on a word-by-word basis (or at least I'd hope it would be!), but would it necessarily express the intent and overall meaning as well as a less word-for-word translation? And things like emotion and style can be easily lost in direct translation, such as poetry vs. prose. (for a concrete example, I've never come across an English translation that even attempted to translate the acrostic poems of the Old Testament as acrostic poems in English. The words might be accurate, the meaning might be accurate... but it's still missing out on the original form)

IME Bible translations fall somewhere on the spectrum of "word-for-word" (translate each word as literally as possible, even idioms, even though the overall meaning can get lost) and "thought-for-thought" (translate what you believe the meaning behind each phrase to be, even if you lose the nuance of the original [and possibly misinterpret the meaning]). If we're talking about "most accurate" in terms of words, then you probably want something from the hardcore "word for word" side of the scale... but if you want the "most accurate" in terms of meaning, well, there's been a few historical disagreements on that subject, and you're highly unlikely to get everyone to agree on a single one!

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:45 pm 
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Why do all those American translations have such bland names? American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, New American Bible, New American Standard Bible, American Standard Version, Revised American Standard Bible, New Revised Standard Version (quick, find the one that doesn't actually exist). Makes it very hard to remember which is which.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:18 pm 
Smeric
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Maybe American Christians aren't generally as invested in Bible translations as other Christians are? Idk.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:28 pm 
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Vijay wrote:
Maybe American Christians aren't generally as invested in Bible translations as other Christians are? Idk.


Vijay wrote:
Maybe American Christians aren't generally as invested in Bible translations as other Christians are? Idk.


Vijay wrote:
American Christians aren't generally as invested in Bible


Vijay wrote:
American Christians aren't invested in Bible


That... sounds really implausible. There are tons of American translations of the Bible; they just have very bland names.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:32 pm 
Sanno
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Vijay wrote:
Maybe American Christians aren't generally as invested in Bible translations as other Christians are? Idk.


That seems extremely unlikely. That seems the opposite of truth.

In the developed world, America has by far the most (both proportionally and in total numbers) fanatical Christians, very many of whom are Protestants, and a weirdly huge number of whom follow fundamentalist and/or evangelical sects. As a result they have devised a whole panoply of slightly varying translations and editions, of which they own a huge number. They're the world capital of bibliolatry.

Just not of exciting naming of things.

[I'm guessing it's at least partly "the Bible is the Greatest Authority so look at our Most Authoritative Carefully Revised New But Traditional Perfectly Standard And Unobjectionable Bible" sort of thing. Whereas elsewhere we're more "hey! I've just heard of this thing called 'the Bible' you might want to look at some time! Look at it's groovy interestingness! This one's from Jerusalem!" sort of thing.]

EDIT: more seriously, I think there's a different approach to authority. A lot of European translations are named after the place or the translator - like the Douay-Rheims-Challoner, which is so-called even though Challoner didn't actually use all that much of the Douay or the Rheims, and modern DRCs don't necessarily stick that closely to Challoner either. But the names are marks of authority. Whereas it seems as though many American versions go for the antiseptic "this is a wholly new translation (see smallprint for predecessor texts) compiled by an impartial board of anonymous scholars" approach. Personal authority replaced by 'scientific' authority, as it were.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:46 pm 
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Many have similar names because they're related.

KJV > ASV (1901)
ASV > RSV (1952) > NRSV (1989)
> NAS (1971)
> Living Bible (1971) > NLT (1986)
> World English Bible (2000)
KJV > NKJV (1982)

The NIV (1978) is a new translation.

On the Catholic side, the NAB (1970) > RNAB (1986, 91) > NABRE (2008)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:00 pm 
Smeric
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Ryusenshi wrote:
Vijay wrote:
Maybe American Christians aren't generally as invested in Bible translations as other Christians are? Idk.


Vijay wrote:
Maybe American Christians aren't generally as invested in Bible translations as other Christians are? Idk.


Vijay wrote:
American Christians aren't generally as invested in Bible


Vijay wrote:
American Christians aren't invested in Bible

Maybe you're cherry-picking the wrong things to emphasize.

What is so implausible about that? How many Americans do you think are interested in Bible translation? Hell, how many Americans do you think believe that God ever spoke anything other than modern American English?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:25 pm 
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Well, Americans are clearly more interested in Bible translation than anyone else, considering just how many Bible translations have come out of the US, versus anywhere else.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:25 pm 
Smeric
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I said generally, though. Do most American Christians care about Bible translation?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:03 pm 
Lebom
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Probably not most of them, but in no country on Earth do most people care about details of translation.

To give an example: the King James Only movement was born in the US, and it made lots of people care about "corrupted translations", about the Textus Receptus and the Alexandrian text (disputes that had previously only been the domain of dedicated scholars). Admittedly, the most deranged fundies aren't interested in new translations, since they would rather keep using their trusty old KJV until kingdom come (or the Rapture, whichever comes first). It seems to me that, on the whole and compared to other countries, Americans care very much about Bible translations.

To give a personal anecdote: my mother is a (non-practicing) Catholic. As it happens, all the Bibles she owns are Protestant translations, and she never realized that until I pointed it out to her.

I like Salmoneus's theory, by the way.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:06 pm 
Smeric
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Ryusenshi wrote:
It seems to me that, on the whole and compared to other countries, Americans care very much about Bible translations.

It doesn't to me, and I live here. You don't.
Quote:
I like Salmoneus's theory, by the way.

Sal's theory isn't even that different from what I was trying to say!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:49 pm 
Lebom
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Vijay wrote:
It doesn't to me, and I live here. You don't.

And you don't live in Europe. One point each.

I've been to the US, and in three weeks, I had more people talking to me about the Bible than in the past twenty years in France. A hostess tried to convince me to get a Bible; I told her I already had one. She asked me if it was a good one. That would never happen in France. Edit: a similar example with some Jehovah's Witnesses. They talked about the "correct" version of the Bible, i.e. their own. French Jehovah's Witnesses are happy if the person they talk to knows the Bible at all.

French people don't care about the Bible. They would rather read a condensed version, or books such as What's really in the Bible? or What the Bible says about Jesus or The Bible for Dummies, than opening an actual Bible. Some of them have a Bible somewhere, gathering dust, and they probably don't even know which version it is.

My grandma is a devout Catholic, she has several missals and prayer books, but she never reads the actual Bible. She probably knows that there's an Old and a New Testament, but I doubt she could tell me the names of the four Gospels.

The other day, I talked to colleagues about the Nativity in the different Gospels. I mean basic, 101-level stuff: that only Luke and Matthew mention the virgin birth, and that John and Mark don't mention anything about Jesus's birth. They asked me if I had ever considered becoming a Biblical scholar, and were flabbergasted when I said I was an atheist: even most believers don't know that stuff, how come you know all of that if you're not even one of them?

Seriously. On this forum, I can count on people knowing what the Tetragrammaton is, or what Deuterocanonical means. In France, apart from hardcore Catholics, Evangelical fundies, scholars, and a few geeks such as myself, nobody knows any of that stuff. And I don't think French people are particularly ignorant here.

So, when I say that compared to other (Western) countries, Americans care very much about Bible translations, I know what I'm talking about.

Vijay wrote:
Sal's theory isn't even that different from what I was trying to say!

Well, I really didn't understand what you were trying to say, then.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:24 pm 
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Vijay wrote:
Ryusenshi wrote:
It seems to me that, on the whole and compared to other countries, Americans care very much about Bible translations.

It doesn't to me, and I live here. You don't.

Yes. I think our point is that because you live in Bibleland, you may not realise how weird Bibleland is, when it comes to Bibles.

To pluck out just one example: Donald Trump, a Presidential candidate, was, in all seriousness, asked what his favourite passage from the Bible was.That's fucking weird. He was asked repeatedly. And not by swivel-eyed daylight-deprived people, but by respectable news organisations. He was asked that by fucking Bloomburg. As though anybody - even someone who was devoutly religious and adored the Bible, as Trump claims to - would have a favourite passage. As though not being able to cite chapter and verse demonstrated, at the very least, some dishonesty in his claim to love the Bible.
And when Donald Trump did cite "2 Corinthians", he was greeted with mockery. Huh? Leaving aside the fact that I've always heard it called '2 Corinthians' (saying "Paul's Second Letter to the Church in Corinth" all the time is unwieldy), why would anybody, even the most devoutly religious, care about the protocol of biblical citation? Or expect anyone to care?
Why would anyone but the most obsessively devout or geeky even know that there were two letters to the Corinthians, let along cite chapter and verse in a political speech?

And it's not just because Trump was pandering to the most devout of the devout. Take, say, Barack Obama. "I do have a few favorites. Isaiah 40:31 has been a great source of encouragement in my life, and I quote from it often. Psalm 46 is also important to me" said the left-wing politician. Obama went to a memorial service in 2016 and didn't just spout general stuff about God and Love and Heaven and whatnot, he actually quoted from the Gospel of John. And from the Book of Ezekiel. And from Paul's Letter of the Romans. And from the Book of Psalms. In one speech! He didn't just quote from Ezekiel, he said it was from Ezekiel (as though people knew what 'Ezekiel' was!) and said something along the lines of "as it says in Ezekiel" (as though anybody might have the faintest clue about anything from Ezekiel!!??).
Here, if someone says "as it says in Ezekiel...", they're about one pamphlet short of a straitjacket. In America, it means they're a secular politician.

Hell, in America there are Bible study classes! And not just for kids! Recently I've heard of several members of Congress privately attending Bible study groups - not on campaign trails, and not that weird thing Trump makes his cabinet go to, but just privately, without press. And to emphasise: the weird thing isn't that they're religious, though that's hard enough to get one's head around as a non-American*, it's that the idea of expressing one's faith by studying the Bible is just so profoundly... weird. I know plenty of devout Christians - I went to a religious school myself - but even the really extreme, Americanised evangelical Protestants only go so far as to know a few of the blockbuster quotes. The idea of adults actually getting together and reading the Bible together is... wow.

*as the devoutly religious PM's press secretary explained: "we don't do God".

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:56 pm 
Avisaru
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Actually the church I go to in Cambridge has several groups, but then it's full of actual theologians/theology students anyway so I'm not sure it counts so much.

Also why do you think readings from the Bible are integral to the church service? Because people won't bloody read it for themselves, and that's kind of how it should be if I'm honest. Just reading the Bible as-is without some kind of mediating critical eye like a trained cleric is how fundamentalism happens.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:59 pm 
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Tanakh studying is pretty common among devout Jews all over the world. Not among secular ones though. My family in Israel had mandatory Tanakh classes even through the school they go to is completely secular.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:56 pm 
Sanno
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Frislander wrote:
Because people won't bloody read it for themselves, and that's kind of how it should be if I'm honest. Just reading the Bible as-is without some kind of mediating critical eye like a trained cleric is how fundamentalism happens.


Welcome back to Catholicism!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:58 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
Yes. I think our point is that because you live in Bibleland, you may not realise how weird Bibleland is, when it comes to Bibles.

I live miles away from the Bible Belt. About once a month, someone tries to hand me a free Bible while I'm walking past the local transit station.

During the year I lived in Europe, this happened to me all of once. PLOT TWIST: The guys distributing them were American.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:31 pm 
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alynnidalar wrote:
IME Bible translations fall somewhere on the spectrum of "word-for-word" (translate each word as literally as possible, even idioms, even though the overall meaning can get lost) and "thought-for-thought" (translate what you believe the meaning behind each phrase to be, even if you lose the nuance of the original [and possibly misinterpret the meaning]). If we're talking about "most accurate" in terms of words, then you probably want something from the hardcore "word for word" side of the scale... but if you want the "most accurate" in terms of meaning, well, there's been a few historical disagreements on that subject, and you're highly unlikely to get everyone to agree on a single one!


The weird thing about evangelicals, at least, is that they intensely study the Bible and seemingly nothing else. E.g. pastors study "New Testament Greek" as if the NT was the only thing written in Greek; certainly it's the only thing they'll ever read in it. So they might, say, look up all the uses of ἀγάπη in the NT. But it would never occur to them to look at other books in Hellenistic Greek, or even Christian Greek.

As readers, this means that they're aware that multiple translations are possible, but they retain the layman's puzzlement that there isn't just One Translation that gets everything right and is precisely, absolutely equivalent to the original text.

The same issues come up translating any text... but then fundies, and to some extent evangelicals, arose explicitly in opposition to 19th century literary scholarship. They don't want to hear about multiple sources for the texts, or non-Jewish antecedents, or the likelihood that the NT books weren't written by whoever's claimed to write them in the first paragraph.

Anyway, fortunately the NT is written in a pretty well-understood dialect, so they can't get too far off base, so probably none of the modern translations is really awful. It could be worse— Zoroastrians, for instance, have to deal with a scripture that's the only extant text written in its language, and where the earliest manuscripts are possibly 2000 years later than the original. (By comparison, we actually have 2C papyrus texts for parts of the NT, which is amazing for an ancient book.)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:40 pm 
Avisaru
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mèþru wrote:
Tanakh studying is pretty common among devout Jews all over the world. Not among secular ones though. My family in Israel had mandatory Tanakh classes even through the school they go to is completely secular.


But at the same time there is a long and proud history of Jewish biblical criticism and flexibility which is still prevalent and celebrated (e.g. one of my uni friends observes kashrut but not Shabbat because she sees the latter as being unnecessarily restrictive in its defenition), and of laypeople consulting the opinions of the learned rabbis who spend hours debating and discussing different topics.

That current is definitely there in Christianity, but the kind of hardline Protestant Bible study totally throws that out of the window, because it's all based on this individual notion of interpreting the Bible "for yourself", and not being beholden to any kind of earthly authority such as the church in Rome (the kind of historical consensus represented by the Talmud would be unworkable, nay unthinkable in mainstream Protestantism, because of that strong emphasis on the individuality of belief).

Salmoneus wrote:
Frislander wrote:
Because people won't bloody read it for themselves, and that's kind of how it should be if I'm honest. Just reading the Bible as-is without some kind of mediating critical eye like a trained cleric is how fundamentalism happens.


Welcome back to Catholicism!


I'm a liberal Anglican with high-church sympathies I think I'm there already on this one.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:51 pm 
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From what I understand most American sects have their pastors/ministers/whatever-they-call-its read the founding works of their sect (Luther, Calvin, Wesley as well as various Articles of Faith/Confession/Creed), regardless of hardlineness. I don't think the laypeople read them though, even though they are encouraged to read the Bible and Sola Scriptura and whatnot. (from a secular Jewish viewpoint, all these arguments are petty and hilarious. Except for the ones that actually deeply affect people, like stances on Homosexuality or BDS)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:46 pm 
Avisaru
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mèþru wrote:
From what I understand most American sects have their pastors/ministers/whatever-they-call-its read the founding works of their sect (Luther, Calvin, Wesley as well as various Articles of Faith/Confession/Creed), regardless of hardlineness. I don't think the laypeople read them though, even though they are encouraged to read the Bible and Sola Scriptura and whatnot. (from a secular Jewish viewpoint, all these arguments are petty and hilarious. Except for the ones that actually deeply affect people, like stances on Homosexuality or BDS)


???????????????????

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:55 pm 
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A quick Google search turns up this, but it could also be a typo for BDSM.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:18 pm 
Avisaru
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yes i was just surprised that methru would equate the extensive and incredibly far-reaching debates over the scriptural basis of stances on homosexuality with the basically pretty ephemeral issue of protestant positions on the BDS movement

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:30 pm 
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I didn't mean to equate them. And BDS is far from ephemeral but that's a discussion for a different thread.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:36 pm 
Avisaru
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Here is a beautiful translation of Genesis 1: http://llamasandmystegosaurus.blogspot. ... alpha.html I particularly admire the contrast it makes with this translation: http://www.pidginbible.org/Concindex.html This comparison demonstrates how much of the perceived beauty is contributed by the stylistic component of the text. I have collected a number of bibles by now from people who wanted to convert me, but when it comes to appreciating the full depth and scope of the bible, I accept no substitutes: http://www.thebricktestament.com/

My position is that religion will never resolve the conflict between fundamentalism and clerical authoritarianism. Why? Because religion is a fake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzWu6CgFz2A Being non-universal, it will always lead to factional infighting and intellectual subordination. Don't get me wrong, I very much subscribe to the tradition of the old synthesis between reason and revelation. I only think that, since we know revelation to be a fake, we should discard it and rely on reason alone. Since denying reason is known to lead to degradation, and reason judges the authenticity of revelation, it is proved against mere opinion and preference that reason is higher than revelation.

In that way, you might consider me to be a kind of pre-Christian paleoconservative within the Western tradition. At least, that is what I consider right and just, but that doesn't mean my preferred revolution will ever take place in this fallen world of the senses. I'm not evangelical. I like to appreciate the gems of rational truth embedded in every tradition.

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