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#1 Obed Benyah

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:54 PM

I am very frustrated with most English "translations" that now exist.

I am searching for an "alternative" form of "translation", probably more correctly identified as an "interpretation".

The current mode of "translation" is typically tied to one or two words to identify the meaning of Hebrew, in particular, but also of Greek words. With Hebrew this often leaves a great deal of "meaning" out of the "translation".

 

I'm searching for a text that will provide a "concept-to-concept" presentation of what the term really meant - and I'd like to see that come as close as possible to what one such as Moses would have intended at the time he was writing it. Rather than using one or two words, I'd truly like to see the full concept that lies behind the original language - at least as nearly as may be possible at this point in time.

 

Does anyone know of such a "translation"?

I would truly appreciate finding one.

 

Thank you for your kind assistance with this.


He has explained to you, oh man, what is good, and what YAHWEH requires of you: 

- Do justice, 

- Love mercy, and 

- Walk humbly with your Elohim.

                                                  Micah 6.8


#2 Enoch

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 10:49 PM

IMHO:

 

Translation of course is ever an imperfect process.  You can choose between a word for word translation (though words often are not exact in semantic territory across languages) or go with a conceptual dynamic free translation, or choose something in between.  The problem is that thinking you can enter the minds of persons who lived over 3000 years ago can involve a lot of hybris.  Can we really determine what something meant to 2,000,000 Israelites in the desert way back then?  Conceptual translations tend to be highly interpretive.  So, you can go dry-bones word for word literal (ASV 1901) or original New English Bible / Philips, free flowing conceptual, or NIV = an in between translation.  

 

They all have legitimate purposes.  You can use the easy-reading conceptual to try to get an overall Gestalt on a book, or the wooden literal for proof-texting doctrine.   

 

You might go look up some verses at Biblos dot com & compare a pile of translations.  Do you really want "bread of life" changed to "fish of life" if eskimos are reading it?  Do you want a holy kiss changed to a handshake (Philips)?



#3 Helen Brown

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 04:59 AM

Some people really like Everett Fox's translation, The Schocken Bible. We have the five books of the Torah.


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#4 Julie Falling

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 11:06 AM

The perfect English version does not exist, in my opinion.

 

I found Dr. J's podcast, How to Read the Bible Better, helpful, and have been using a similar set-up for a couple of months.  (The NET Notes are great, by the way.)  Before that, I had all formal equivalence versions in parallel.

 

Using multiple English versions has been my practice most of my Christian life.  Those of us who understand English have more resources, in general, and more Bible versions, in particular, than any people group in the history of the church.


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#5 Obed Benyah

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 11:25 AM

To Enoch:

 

Thank you for your kind response. I do understand that "translation" is indeed an imperfect process.

It's even more "imperfect" when one uses only one word to translate a term from a foreign language. 

Try to translate 'migration' with one word. Indeed, look up any word in a dictionary - and see what you get for results. It becomes a guessing game at best to figure out what was intended. When Strong's Numbers list 40-50 different words as potential "translations" for one Hebrew word the confusion is instant.

 

Hebrew in particular seems to have many unique concepts contained within the language itself. From the original pictographic images came "letters" to symbolize concepts. And while this does have its merits it also has its challenges. Should one translate each individual letter, or should one translate combinations of those letters? And with no breaks or punctuation marks, how does one know where to insert such things into the text?

 

I was not raised in a Hebrew culture. Therefore I am not able to comprehend easily how one raised in a Hebrew culture would view (understand) the meaning of a given term. Modern Hebrew retains a lot of the "flair" of biblical Hebrew, but it is "different" - the meanings are often subtly different. And what I long to understand is what these same terms might have meant to one such as Moses.

 

I know we don't have any audio recordings from the days of Moses, et. al., so I realize we cannot possibly reconstruct their exact thinking. But I do believe we can come a lot closer than most so-called "translations" currently do. In many cases the text is so altered that one has difficulty calling it a "translation" even. And in many instances theological biases have crept into the text - evidenced even in the notations of the Masoretes and the changes they made. Furthermore, the influence of the Greek language and culture have further corrupted the original texts - caused in many cases by improper renderings of the Hebraic concepts - leaving us with either significant confusion, or a huge void of understanding.

 

I appreciate your suggestions. I have already done considerable work in reviewing a wide variety of translations that are currently available. I will continue to do so, but I must say that I'm deeply disappointed by much of what I have seen.

 

 

To Helen Brown:

 

Thank you for your kind recommendation.

 

I have The Five Books of Moses by Everett Fox in paperback form already. I am greatly anticipating the release of Volume II in November of this year. I deeply appreciate what Everett Fox has written. My only wish is that he had "the rest of the story" already completed. Having The Torah is a great beginning. But I long for a complete text that I could use today - especially within Accordance.

 

I am not a young man. I don't know how much longer I have. But I do know that the experience of the Hebraic mindset that Everett Fox presents is far more meaningful than many of the other works I have reviewed thus far.

 

Seeking His Truth,

Obed Benyah

 

 

 


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He has explained to you, oh man, what is good, and what YAHWEH requires of you: 

- Do justice, 

- Love mercy, and 

- Walk humbly with your Elohim.

                                                  Micah 6.8


#6 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 02:01 PM

You might take a look at the New Living Translation and The Voice.  Although I'm a bit puzzled by your argument.  Theological bias seems much more prevalent/likely in thought-for-thought translations and paraphrases than in word-for-word/formal equivalent translations, although it shows up in both and cannot be entirely avoided. 

 

The Voice in particular adds a lot of "explanatory" verbage to the translation, to try to make clear to modern readers what would have been understood by original hearers.  These additions are in italic typeface, so that they can be easily identified as additions.  It is not (yet?) available in Accordance.

 

You might also find background commentaries helpful, as well as the NET notes, recommended above.


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#7 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 02:43 PM

It is possible to "tune our ears" to better hear the biblical text, but it does take work. It isn't just about trying to find a translation that renders the original perfectly. Even if that were possible, it would still only deal with one side of the conversation. We would still need to try to recreate the world of the readers: their culture, their history, their presuppositions, and needs.

 

I have found reading literature from the ancient world very helpful, as I plan to illustrate in the next podcast on Genesis 1. It gives me a window into the ancient readers' world. You can find these sorts of documents in books like The Context of Scripture, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, and Light from the Ancient East.

 

I also think reading about the culture it helpful. Books like ZIBBCOT and ZIBBCNT are invaluable for bringing out the meaning of the Bible to its original readers.


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#8 Dan Francis

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 05:08 PM

The Amplified Bible Might be a decent alternative for you.. It is older and a base literal translation interspersed with helper words bracketed to give a fuller meaning...

 

“IN THE beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth.The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it; and God separated the light from the darkness.And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. And God said, Let there be a firmament [the expanse of the sky] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters [below] from the waters [above]. And God made the firmament [the expanse] and separated the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the firmament Heavens. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be collected into one place [of standing], and let the dry land appear. And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the accumulated waters He called Seas. And God saw that this was good (fitting, admirable) and He approved it. And God said, Let the earth put forth [tender] vegetation: plants yielding seed and fruit trees yielding fruit whose seed is in itself, each according to its kind, upon the earth. And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed according to their own kinds and trees bearing fruit in which was their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good (suitable, admirable) and He approved it.”

(Genesis 1:1–12 AMP)

 

“A Psalm of David. THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.”

(Psalms 23:0–6 AMP)

 

“Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous—possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you.You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

(Matthew 5:2–14 AMP)

 

-Dan



#9 Obed Benyah

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 08:54 PM

To Julie:

 

I agree that the perfect English translation does not exist. I also have spent considerable time reviewing multiple translations and comparing various texts.

This is sone of the key reasons I have Accordance. I appreciate your suggestions.

 

To Lorinda:

 

Thank you for your kind suggestions. I'm not familiar with The Voice, so will look into that. I have explored The New Living translation somewhat.

 

To Dr. J:

 

Thank you for the suggestions. I understand that "context" is crucial, including the context of the culture in which these texts were written, not just within the text itself. I will certainly explore your suggestions further.

 

Often it seems we have lost the Hebraic perspective because of the English words we use, and particularly those that are impacted by the Greek culture which has predominantly overwhelmed our views of Scripture - being used as THE basis for most of our translations, rather than the Hebrew itself which underlies the Greek.

For example, "soul" was not a Hebrew concept, to my limited knowledge. I believe it is a totally Greek invention and conceptualization. Yet it dominates virtually every modern translation, and few people can explain to you want it really means.

 

I'm over 70. I've been studying Scripture for over 40 years. Over and over I look at the words used, the definitions given, the context within Scripture, etc. and I end up wondering how in the world they came up with the words used in the English translation - which do not appear to reflect the meaning of the Hebrew or Greek at all. It is this key issue that has pushed me to attempt to learn Hebrew at this point so I can more readily determine what was behind the original statements. But this is a very difficult proposition because without expertise in a different language I know I'm going to "miss the mark" in my own comprehension. I just won't grasp the nuances.

 

I can't help wondering why, since we are now in the year 2014 and have had centuries to work at this, we do not have available to us, somewhere, a complete translation of Scripture that carries within it, at the very least, a strong Hebraic perspective - for both the Old and New Covenants. This is foundational material. YAHWEH chose Israel. He gave them His Word. It ought not be that difficult to discover and transfer a Hebrew view of His Word into the English language - by those who have an excellent working knowledge of the language and the culture at this point. We have scientists projecting how things were millions of years ago in the natural realm. Why can't we produce a Scripture text that reasonably accurately embraces the Hebraic understandings of YAHWEH's actions in the life of the nation of Israel?

 

If I were a younger man I would seriously consider attempting to put such a text together. I like what Everett Fox has started. But with 19 years between Volume 1 and Volume 2 I'll be dead long before he gets it finished - and even he may not be here long enough to do it. 

 

I am most grateful to have Accordance 10 available to me at this point. I am working on trying to bring together portions of good material that I have access to. But my skill levels with the languages and with computers is not advanced enough to remit me to work at more than a snail's pace. 

 

To Dan:

 

Thank you for the suggestion of The Amplified Bible. I have spent some time with it and there are things I do indeed like about it. It just seems to be lacking a bit in the Hebraic perspective.

 

 

You are all most kind to respond to my request for help. I look forward to any other suggestions others may have in this regard. It would be wonderful for people to have a version of Scripture that carries much more of the Hebraic perspective within the text, and supplemented where necessary by explanatory notes. Since they thought and acted in concrete terms our multitude of abstractions end up being distractions from the meaning of The Word.

 

Bless you all for your kindness,

Obed


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He has explained to you, oh man, what is good, and what YAHWEH requires of you: 

- Do justice, 

- Love mercy, and 

- Walk humbly with your Elohim.

                                                  Micah 6.8


#10 Enoch

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 02:28 PM

Dan, I can see how great minds work the same way!  I was thinking about the Amplified Bible & about to mention it, when I saw that you beat me to it.  I won't comment on how that extremely wordy translation was made by a woman, who actually did the world a great favor by making it as she did.  On the Amplified, you have 2 choices:  1) the Amplified Bible [whole thing] or 2)  the 3 original parts: a-) OT I, b-) OT II, c-) NT -- 3 volumes.  Why get 3 volumes?  Well, the Amplified Bible was changed.  In the original 3 parts edition, compare Song of Solomon original-in-parts with the 1-volume-whole.  I recommend getting the Song of Solomon in the original, since it is the best illustration I know of for the Ewald theory of Song of Solomon (3 characters instead of 2, where King Solomon is a lascivious villain).  I don't endorse the POV, but just the exemplar of the theory.  In SOS, there must be more italicized text than regular font!  The authoress really went wild on adding to the text!  Perhaps she changed her mind for the single volume edition.

 

Obed, IMHO, as a rule, the one English word (or word-phrase) per one Hebrew word is the general best (with numerous exceptions) and with explanatory footnotes from time to time.  This enables one more easily to compare usage in different passages, which generally corrects the fact that semantic domains are not the same across languages.  It is of course imperfect.  But IMHO, the dynamic equivalence technique introduces even more imperfection, as it is based upon a degree of knowledge about an ancient culture which is largely mythical & dreamed up by modern persons who really have very inadequate knowledge of ancient situations.  This may be another example where the perfect is the enemy of the good.

 

Being left with the impossible task of going back in time and immersing ourselves in the audience that heard the text originally, we are left with a really even better context for the scripture:  namely the scripture itself.  Immersing oneself in the text (from Genesis - Revelation), reading it over & over, meditating on it day & night, puts us in the best context for understanding it.  Reading over & over again the words (consistently translated as much as possible) enables us to get at the Biblical intent of the words & concepts, even how their Biblical meanings differ from modern English.  For example, we understand how the Biblical word for "church," (ekklesia) is never a building nor a denomination.

 

Fortunately today, we have a multitude of translations to read in parallel whenever we wish, along with the Hebrew text itself.


Edited by Enoch, 26 March 2014 - 05:44 PM.

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#11 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 02:37 PM

Another translation to look at, if you have not already, is the JPS translation of the Hebrew Bible.  It should not demonstrate the Greek influence you are concerned about.  You might also consider the new (to Accordance at least) Jewish Annotated New Testament, which looks at the New Testament from the perspective of Jewish scholars. 


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#12 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 02:48 PM

Let me say a word about the Amplified Bible. The various synonyms in parentheses are NOT alternate translations of the original Greek or Hebrew word. If they were, I'd recommend this translation highly. Instead, they are synonyms of the English [translated] word. That's a very different thing, a bad thing.

 

Each English word has a different range of meanings than the Greek/Hebrew word. Each synonym has its own range of meaning, again, different than the original Hebrew/Greek. As a result, the Amplified Bible doesn't solve the problem. It compounds it!

 

Use a lexicon to find the range of meaning for the original words. If nothing else, rely on the gloss [short meaning] in Instant Details in Accordance. If that isn't enough information, then press the command key [PC Alt] and read the entry in that source. If that still isn't enough, buy a good wordbook or lexicon for each language. It's the only way I know to nail the meaning of the original words.


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#13 Joe Weaks

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:58 PM

Let me say a word about the Amplified Bible. The various synonyms in parentheses are NOT alternate translations of the original Greek or Hebrew word...., they are synonyms of the English [translated] word. ...

Tim,

That is horrible. I've never really looked at the Amplified Bible. I know of it, and have seen a church member with one a couple different times, and I assumed the words were different glosses for the Hebrew/Greek, which I thought a clever idea.


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#14 Dan Francis

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 05:13 PM

I had also thought for the most part they were glosses.... A very bizarre thing for them to have done... I use it occasionally but not often.

 

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#15 Julie Falling

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 05:20 PM

Thanks for the caution, Dr. J.  I didn't know that, either.


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#16 Enoch

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 05:41 PM

Well Tim,

thanks for the heads-up.  You seem to be saying that the translator may have used an English Thesaurus instead of Greek & Hebrew lexicons.  And all these years I thought the latter.

 

But on a scale of 0-10, how sure are you of your claim?

 

I note Lockman, the producer claims:

 

Quote:

Parenthesis () and Dashes — —: signify additional phases of meaning included in the original word, phrase, or clause of the original language.

Titles of Deity: are set off with commas.

Brackets: contain clarifying words or comments not actually expressed in the immediate original text.

Italics: point out some familiar passages now recognized as not adequately supported by the original manuscripts. “And,” “or,” and other connectives in italics indicate they have been added for readability in English.

Capitals: are used in names and personal pronouns referring to Deity, but sparingly elsewhere.

References: are intended to cover any part of the preceding verse to which they apply.

Synonyms: are limited to what the text seems to warrant, both as to number and wording."

unQuote:

 

And I note that the Amp has been updated.

I also read the claim that the translator used sources like Marvin Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament


Edited by Enoch, 26 March 2014 - 06:38 PM.


#17 Obed Benyah

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:01 PM

Lorinda:

Thanks for your recommendation on the Jewish Annotated New Testament. I'll want to explore that further. I already have the JPS translation and I have The Complete Jewish Bible by David Stern. Each of them have positive and negative aspects about them. I like what I see in the JANT, but which there was more content shown on the website than the one screen shot.

 

Dr. J:

Thank you for the illumination on the Amplified Bible. Now I know why I've never felt comfortable with it.

With the help of Accordance I am essentially doing what you've recommended. The ability to use parallel texts along with the lexicons and dictionaries is VERY BENEFICIAL!!! It enables me to in fact do what I don't find in "off-the-shelf" translations. But I work slowly, and long for a completed work of that nature.

 

In observing the expertise that is active within and behind this forum I have been hoping there might be someone who has their own private version that they've developed, and that it might be available as a module, or whatever, through the Exchange - or even better, a translation that has been completed that I'm simply not aware of.

 

I believe it's possible to produce a work that is faithful to the originals (within what's really possible) yet uses more than one word where needed to give a more full meaning of the Hebrew term being used in that context. It should not be that difficult to do. And it does not need to be theologically biased in any manner (unless you call being faithful to the Hebrew context being biased).

 

Perhaps an appropriate example is shalom. Most of the time it's "translated" as "peace". Yet that's woefully lacking from a Hebraic understanding of "complete wholeness in all aspects of one's being". (At least - this is what I've read that it really means. Maybe even that is incorrect. But if it is, that's precisely what I'd like to know.)

 

Further, it just seems quite sad that we don't already have such a version of the text in the hands of every believer in the world. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to just pick up a copy of The Scriptures and read them with the sense they are fully revealing the Truth hidden behind some rather cryptic, and very deceptive in some case, English words that carry no sense of the original Hebrew perspective.

 

Once again, I sincerely appreciate your kind assistance with this quest of mine. It is not my intent to have this for my own personal benefit, but that it might benefit every person who has placed their faith in YAHWEH and His Son, YAHSHUA.

 

Seeking His Truth,

Obed


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He has explained to you, oh man, what is good, and what YAHWEH requires of you: 

- Do justice, 

- Love mercy, and 

- Walk humbly with your Elohim.

                                                  Micah 6.8


#18 Enoch

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:26 PM

Footnote to Tim:

 

I note that the Amp has for

 

John 11:25:

Jesus said to her, I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live.

 

Take "I am"  = ego eimi.  Now eimi means by itself "I am," so IMHO adding "myself" is a valid translation when both the verb is 1st person singular and ego (I) is also attached.

Then "believes in" is amplified:  " ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ."  Would you agree that pisteuō has those connotations added?

Now if it had been merely a synonym in English, the thing might have included (thinks thus, believes without evidence).  For a very common (groan) meaning for faith has arisen in English, as believing without evidence, having faith (when there is no evidence).  Yet neither pistis nor pistueo in Greek signifies "without evidence."  (One meaning of faith is proof!)

 

But I won't be surprised if you find instances to support your thesis. 

 

To Obed:

 

Yes, Shalom is surely hard to do justice to with one word.  As to modern Talmudic Jewish translations, I would watch out for anachronistic Talmudic influence on the interpretation of documents written thousands of years before the Talmud.

 

Shalom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Edited by Enoch, 26 March 2014 - 11:45 PM.


#19 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:47 AM

One easy way to check the Amplified (and, yes, I suppose they could have corrected it in the years since I first assessed it) is to check passages with the Greek word for "faith" (Gk. pisteuō).

 

In Greek, the word means both "faith" and "faithfulness," which is one of the reasons for the widely varying interpretations of Rom. 1:17, "The just shall live by faith." The Amplified renders this verse, "The man who through faith is just and upright shall live by faith shall live and shall live by faith."

 

A better "amplification" would have been: the just shall live by faith ("by trust;" or shall "walk faithfully," or "walk in a trustworthy manner").

 

Hope this helps!

 

BTW, I think a translation that actually did what the Amplified claims would be a great asset. Anyone want to write one?


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Blessings,
"Dr. J"

Timothy P. Jenney, Ph. D.
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#20 Obed Benyah

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:48 AM

Does anyone have significant experience with The Jewish Study Bible and The Annotated Jewish New Testament?

There appear to be some interesting features to these two works, but I'm having difficulty finding good information on just how useful and accurate they really are.

Since both are available in Accordance I'd like to hear what others are finding in using them. There are no Reviews notes on them to help with this.

 

Thank you!

Obed


He has explained to you, oh man, what is good, and what YAHWEH requires of you: 

- Do justice, 

- Love mercy, and 

- Walk humbly with your Elohim.

                                                  Micah 6.8






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