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Author Topic: What version of the bible do Orthodox Christians read?  (Read 27764 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gabriel
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« on: June 03, 2006, 10:34:05 PM »

I'm not asking for a list of canonical books.  Rather, I'm asking about the specific version of the Bible that Orthodox Christians purchase and read for their own reflections and study, ie, the Protestants hold fast to the King James Version.

I need to buy a bible.

What version do you folks recommend?
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2006, 08:53:42 AM »

I think you'll get a variety of answers from English speaking Orthodox Christians. So far, there is NOT one complete translation of the entire Orthodox Bible into English that has been made by Orthodox scholars.ÂÂ  The closest right now that you can get is the RSV (Revised Standard Version) with the "Apocrypha" (I hate to use that term, but that's how its listed in their translation.) It has the entire NT canon and the entire Orthodox OT canon translated into English. Please don't confuse it with the NRSV, which last time I checked, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the OCA said was NOT to be used for liturgical readings in church. A lot of Orthodox parishes (with the approval of their bishop) use the New King James for the lectionary readings on Sunday. This is because the Sunday lectionary doesn't include Old Testament readings. I mention this because the translators of the NKJV did notÂÂ  bother to translate the books of the Greek Canon of the OT (the so-called "Apocrypha"). Many times these OT books are read at Vespers, so using a NKJV Bible for OT readings is quite unsatisfactory for Orthodox Christians. Some Orthodox parishes use the KJV for the Sunday lectionary readings and also use it for the OT readings since the KJV did translate the "Apocrypha." However, as you might imagine, there are occassional complaints about the archaic language style of the KJV, so I doubt the use of the KJV will be any type of permanent solution to this. It does seem like the broad consensus of English-speaking Orthodox in North America is to use the NKJV for Sunday lectionary readings.ÂÂ  The OT presents more problems for us as English-speaking Orthodox Christians because our OFFICIAL OT text is the Septuagint, not the Masoretic Hebrew text.ÂÂ  Nearly all of the English translations of the OT come from the Masoretic text, and while sometimes these translations are used in English-speaking Orthodox parishes, it is a concern that will have to be addressed eventually. The Antiochian Archdiocese has been leading the way for a completely Orthodox translation of the Septuagint into English and they have come a long way. You may visit their website at www.lxx.org. I don't think they have completely finished their work, however. Also there are the two volumes translated by the Old Calendar Greek Monastery in Buena Vista, Colorado that are very good. Volume I, The Orthodox New Testament: The Holy Gospels, and Volume II, The Orthodox New Testament: Acts, Epistles, and Revelation.ÂÂ  There is also The Psalter According to the Seventy, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery of Brookline, Massachusetts, which is an English translation of the Psalms from the Septuagint. I hope this helps.
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2006, 05:24:36 PM »

Ditto, Good summarization!

Thomas
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2006, 05:50:34 PM »

Tikhon, this is a great research! Thank you!
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2006, 06:14:02 PM »

In an effort to use the underlying texts most widely accepted by the Orthodox Church in the past I try to use Brenton's translation of the Septuagint for my Old Testament readings and the King James (or Orthodox New Testament mentioned by Tikhon) for my New Testament and Deutero-canonical readings. It's imperfect and unwieldy but the best I think that can be done if you want an English translation which follows the text-types used by most Orthodox for most of Church history. The Douay-Rheims is another good choice if you want the commonly accepted text-type of the Western Church from the time following St. Jerome to the Great Schism.
   The Revised Standard version mentioned is a very beautiful translation and has the merit of being complete (and in "biblical" English for those of us who like that). But I personally haven,t got much involved in it because its Old Testament is not based on the Septuagint and the translation style is much less literal than the versions I normally use. I prefer the word-for-word translation approach over the thought-for-thought one.
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2006, 10:09:21 PM »

Thanks for the reminder about the Douai Rheims version. That is an excellent translation and one of my favorites. I wish it were more widely used.
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2006, 03:39:21 AM »

OSB: Old Testament Project has a due date of Pascha 2007. We should be blessed by its arrival. It will be a complete Orthodox Study Bible with every book in the OT, and not ripped apart or disorganized.

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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2006, 08:33:02 AM »

OSB: Old Testament Project has a due date of Pascha 2007. We should be blessed by its arrival. It will be a complete Orthodox Study Bible with every book in the OT, and not ripped apart or disorganized.

Kyrie Eleison,
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Amen to that! And I intend to get a copy as soon as its out. I was disappointed when the first publishing date was pushed back.
Who knows? I might even get used to the lack of thees and thous one day............
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2006, 12:02:42 AM »

Can anyone give me a perspective on the NAB and NIV?

Thank you.
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2006, 02:57:46 AM »

I have used the NIV and was disappointed as to its translation. As mentioned before the Old Testament uses the Masoretic Hebrew text. and not the Septuigent that is the official Old Testament for the Orthodox Church. I have not looked at the NAB. I am looking forward to having a full Orthodox Old and New Testament.ÂÂ  Currently I use the Oxford Ecumenical Bible (It has appendices that have the complete Orthodox Canon and discuss how to use the Bible in an Orthodox Context that is good).ÂÂ  I make a great deal of use of the two volumes translated by the Old Calendar Greek Monastery in Buena Vista, Colorado when I do my own Bible studies of the New Testament. Volume I, The Orthodox New Testament: The Holy Gospels, and Volume II, The Orthodox New Testament: Acts, Epistles, and Revelation. They are excellent in giving full text and syntax and are worth having not only for the text but for the rare black and white photos of unusual Icons.
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2006, 05:55:02 AM »

Orthodox don't generally like the NIV, at least not from what I have seen. On the whole its translation seems to have a Reformed/Calvinist bias. I have even met traditional Lutherans that dislike the NIV because they think it is too Calvinist a translation. So this is not a complaint of the Orthodox alone against this translation.  Orthodox author Clark Carlton really takes the NIV apart in this cathecism for its outrageous translation of 2 Thessalonians 2:14. That really ought to be read by anyone considering this version. The NIV translates the Greek "paradosis" as tradition ONLY when the word is used negatively, as when Christ condemns the Pharisees for teaching "traditions of men." But when St. Paul urgers his readers to "hold fast to the traditions ye have been taught, whether by word of mouth or my epistle" the NIV kind of fudges and tells its readers to "hold to the teachings you have been taught". It may seem like a slight point, but the translators were expressing the Protestant bias that tradition is ALWAYS negative. They don't want positive references to "tradition" in their Bibles. In addition to that, the NIV is just ugly English, in my humble opinion. It has no majesty or beauty to commend itself to use in Orthodox liturgical services. The NIV loves to end sentences with prepositions. It is also fond of contractions. And its sentences are often very short and choppy. Supposed it was translated to be at the 7th grade reading level. Here are some typical NIV phrases:

RSV: Arise!   
NIV:Get up!           

RSV: Fear not!   
NIV: Don't be afraid!

RSV: Lord God Almighty   
NIV: Sovereign Lord

RSV: Blessed is the fruit of your womb
NIV: Blessed is the child you will bare.

KJV: Blessed art thou among women.
NIV: Omitted entirely as "not being in the most ancient manuscripts"

Seen enough?
 
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2006, 05:51:57 PM »

Seen enough?

I believe I have.  I actually rely more heavily on the Douay-Rheims,  but have a problem with the old english so I fall back on the NAB, which I think is just laziness on my part.  I have found a very serious mistranslation in Rev.15:2. my study Bible (I cut out all the study references and rebound it) says:

"Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire.  On the sea of glass were the beast and its image and the number that signified its name.  They were holding God's harps, and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:"

should read (of course)

"those who overcame the beast and its image and the number that signified its name."

Pretty amazing hugh?  Doesn't take too much of an imagination to figure out who was responsible for that error....
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« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2006, 10:55:19 AM »

should read (of course)

"those who overcame the beast and its image and the number that signified its name."

Pretty amazing hugh?ÂÂ  Doesn't take too much of an imagination to figure out who was responsible for that error....

?? What do you mean? The Apocolypse of John has a tricky manuscript history in general, and the verses in the beginning of chapter 15 in particular have a number of contested readings. In fact, the whole latter half of verse 2 doesn't even appear in the early manuscripts. I suppose that doesn't explain either translation though, but I wouldn't put too much blame on anyone's effort to figure things out, considering the difficulties presented by the Apocolypse's rather shoddy, confused (and late) manuscripts.
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2006, 01:21:51 PM »

Yes, I understand your perspective, but for most people, who are not bible scholars (like myself) that interpretation is certainly misleading, to say the very least.

I'd rather have a bible I could recommend to the little ones  that have very little education, and are seeking to know God's word.

 In all fairness this is how it reads on line:   

Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. 3 On the sea of glass were standing those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and the number that signified its name. They were holding God's harps and they sang the song of Moses, 4 the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: "Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations.
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2006, 03:24:57 PM »

This is one reason why both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches have been very hesitant to use the Apocalypse of John. In fact, to this very day, the Apocalypse is never read in any liturgical service in the Orthodox Church (the only NT book that has suffered such a fate). In addition to the many difficulties of interpretation, it also has questionable sections and scribal additions. Just something to consider when relying heavily on one's "simple" reading of the book for purposes of doctrine or edification. The Church does not necessarily encourage such a practice (although I personally love sections of the Apocalypse), and, considering the bizarre ways in which Apocalypse has been exploited and misunderstood by modern-day Christians, I would say the Church has been wise to do so!
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2006, 05:23:51 PM »

This is one reason why both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches have been very hesitant to use the Apocalypse of John. In fact, to this very day, the Apocalypse is never read in any liturgical service in the Orthodox Church (the only NT book that has suffered such a fate).

[anal nitpick]My choir director told me that he heard an Apocalypse reading on Holy Thursday or Saturday in a monastery once.  I think the rubrics actually do prescribe a reading for some service on the weekend.[/anal nitpick]

Don't ask me why/what service/reading though.  But for all practicality, yes, you are right.
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« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2006, 05:28:53 PM »

[anal nitpick]My choir director told me that he heard an Apocalypse reading on Holy Thursday or Saturday in a monastery once.ÂÂ  I think the rubrics actually do prescribe a reading for some service on the weekend.[/anal nitpick]

Interesting. I don't have all the service books here in my apartment, so I can't confirm or deny it right now, but I'd be surprised if it's actually in the Typikon, especially of the Great Church. I'll take a look tomorrow morning, though.
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« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2006, 08:12:22 PM »

Quote
especially of the Great Church.

As Elisha mentioned the said reading was from a monastery, hence the typikon of Constantinople may not be relevant.  ÃƒÆ’‚  
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2006, 01:05:00 AM »

Mother Anastasia,
How about the Roman Catholic Translation of The New Jerusalem Bible? It reads pretty interesting though not suitable for the laity at large. It is a decent read and as long as the neutral genderness of the text does not bother you, its okay. it definitely beats reading the St. Joseph Edition.

Kyrie Eleison,
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« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2006, 02:24:19 AM »

Mother Anastasia,
How about the Roman Catholic Translation of The New Jerusalem Bible? It reads pretty interesting though not suitable for the laity at large. It is a decent read and as long as the neutral genderness of the text does not bother you, its okay. it definitely beats reading the St. Joseph Edition.

Kyrie Eleison,
Panagiotis

Thank you, I'll look into it.
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« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2006, 02:38:44 PM »

Mother Anastasia,
How about the Roman Catholic Translation of The New Jerusalem Bible? It reads pretty interesting though not suitable for the laity at large. It is a decent read and as long as the neutral genderness of the text does not bother you, its okay. it definitely beats reading the St. Joseph Edition.

Kyrie Eleison,
Panagiotis

Since I haven't seen it mentioned, you might try the Ignatius Bible. I've only had my copy a few days and I'm not a biblical scholar, but it is lovely English.
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« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2006, 04:10:16 PM »

This is one reason why both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches have been very hesitant to use the Apocalypse of John. In fact, to this very day, the Apocalypse is never read in any liturgical service in the Orthodox Church (the only NT book that has suffered such a fate). In addition to the many difficulties of interpretation, it also has questionable sections and scribal additions. Just something to consider when relying heavily on one's "simple" reading of the book for purposes of doctrine or edification. The Church does not necessarily encourage such a practice (although I personally love sections of the Apocalypse), and, considering the bizarre ways in which Apocalypse has been exploited and misunderstood by modern-day Christians, I would say the Church has been wise to do so!
I agree. Evangelical Protestants have made a mess of the Apocalypse of John with their "Rapture" heresy. However, we must take into account that the Orthodox Church dose include this book in the biblical canon. I personally love 21:4 - "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."  Smiley (KJV) It's one of my favourite passages in the Bible. As you can see, I prefer the King James; the beauty of the language has made this translation a masterpiece of English literature. I was also lucky enough to come across a King James Apocrypha. I know that it is not our complete canon - I go to the RSV for the other books. The King James is also the favourite version of my priest.
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« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2006, 06:01:53 PM »

here is a link to a zip file containing the King James Apocrypha:

http://www.speakingbible.com/freezip/kjvapocrypha.zip



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« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2006, 06:08:58 PM »

I only have a King James bible and I like the language used but I'm not sure if it's exactly "kosher" for the Orthodox to use.
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« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2006, 10:04:17 PM »

here is a link to a zip file containing the King James Apocrypha:

http://www.speakingbible.com/freezip/kjvapocrypha.zip

If you get the 1611 edition it will come with the 'apocrypha' included:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=631609&netp_id=316580&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW

The King James version is really a lovely translation and is an acomplishment in prose and poetry that is unequaled by any other translation and for scholarly work it is as reliable as any of its English language competitors; though if accuracy and precision are your primary concerns, stick with the Greek.
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« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2006, 09:34:28 AM »

Thankyou greekischristian!  Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2006, 12:12:51 PM »

As far as I know, the RSV common bible (and maybe its NRSV analogue) is the only way to get all of the scriptures in the EAstern canon. RC bibles (and the Anglican apocrypha) lack a couple of books.

While it is popular to wax rhapsodic over the KJV English (and I must confess that when looking for poetry, I'm more likely to turn there) I doubt that most people would find it congenial for study. THe language has changed too much.

What it comes down to in the end is that I don't think it's going to matter than much to most Orthodox, unlike for radical Protestants. The tradition of the church figures so much more importantly that the specifics of dcriptural wording can (and in my opinion, probably ought to be) subsumed in the adivce of priests and theologians.
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« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2006, 06:07:57 PM »

As far as I know, the RSV common bible (and maybe its NRSV analogue) is the only way to get all of the scriptures in the EAstern canon. RC bibles (and the Anglican apocrypha) lack a couple of books.

Only if one gets the New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha expanded edition RSV. I wouldn't over-emphasize the idea of an "Eastern canon" - some Eastern Bibles share the same LXX text as the Vulgate was based upon. Some Slavonic collections have some of these books that the Greeks don't have, and vice versa. Add to it the Scriptural collections found with Georgians, Armenians, Copts and Ethiopians - and there are even more books that we don't normally have in English (like Enoch I.)

Examples: 4 Maccabees - found only in some Greek manuscripts, and as a Syriac translation. 3 Maccabees - in many LXX manuscripts, as well as Syriac and Armenian manuscripts, not in the Vulgate (or the Greek text it was based upon.) The Letter of Jeremiah - a separate book in Vaticanus and Alexandrinus, the Syriac Hexaplar and the Arabic version. In other Greek, Syriac, and Latin it is part of Baruch.

Also - there are Slavonic manuscripts of the Bible (like some Coptic and Ethiopic texts, and as described in some Irish texts) that include Enoch 1 (and even Enoch 2, which I find difficult), Pastor of Hermes, and other texts.

However - what the *dioceses* have approved for use liturgically and for study is what is important, and there really hasn't been a need for the New Oxford Annotated Bible in that capacity - so far approval has been given by various dioceses in the English-speaking world for Douay-Rheims, King James, New King James, and Revised Standard versions (in the canon agreed upon by the Vulgate and the LXX texts it is based upon.) The OCA has condemned the NRSV - but other than that, I don't know of any use or critique of other versions. Best to ask what is used in one's diocese (which can differ: officially, RSV is used by the Antiochians, though NKJV for those former Evangelical parishes, and KJV for AWRV parishes.) Some dioceses don't encourage an English translation. To put it simply - no simple answer, ask your bishop.

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« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2006, 02:39:02 AM »

So far, there is NOT one complete translation of the entire Orthodox Bible into English that has been made by Orthodox scholars.ÂÂ

George Lamsa was a member of the Assyrian Orthodox Church, and he translated the Aramaic Peshitta, the traditional text of the Malankara Church. That's good enough for me.

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« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2006, 11:25:51 AM »

As far as I know, the RSV common bible (and maybe its NRSV analogue) is the only way to get all of the scriptures in the EAstern canon. RC bibles (and the Anglican apocrypha) lack a couple of books.

While it is popular to wax rhapsodic over the KJV English (and I must confess that when looking for poetry, I'm more likely to turn there) I doubt that most people would find it congenial for study. THe language has changed too much.

What it comes down to in the end is that I don't think it's going to matter than much to most Orthodox, unlike for radical Protestants. The tradition of the church figures so much more importantly that the specifics of dcriptural wording can (and in my opinion, probably ought to be) subsumed in the adivce of priests and theologians.



Sorry, but this one caught my eye..
Which books are missing from "RC" Bibles? Did you mean to say some RC Bibles, or all? Huh
I would like to review this and get the "missing books" so I have something more to discuss with my Priest.
Thank You
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« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2006, 11:12:55 PM »

The extra books translated were

1 and 2 Esdras (aka 3 and 4 Ezra)
Psalm 151
3 and 4 Maccabees
The Prayer of Manasseh
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« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2006, 12:19:40 PM »

The extra books translated were

1 and 2 Esdras (aka 3 and 4 Ezra)
Psalm 151
3 and 4 Maccabees
The Prayer of Manasseh


Thank you. Before I talk to him tomorrow, would you be able to tell me why/how this happened? Why they are not used?
This is making me a bit angry thinking I have been ripped off.....
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« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2006, 05:34:33 PM »

George Lamsa was a member of the Assyrian Orthodox Church, and he translated the Aramaic Peshitta, the traditional text of the Malankara Church. That's good enough for me.

Peace.

Matthew, please.  We've gone over this before.  Lamsa had long left the Assyrian Church and become Protestant by the time he made his translation.  This should be a ton of red flags for you.
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« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2006, 07:44:25 PM »

Matthew, please.ÂÂ  We've gone over this before.ÂÂ  Lamsa had long left the Assyrian Church and become Protestant by the time he made his translation.ÂÂ  This should be a ton of red flags for you.

The Lamsa Bible is the only complete English translation of the Aramaic Peshitta and is widely read by Orthodox Christians of the Syrian tradition. There are many Protestant bibles that Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics read. Even if the Lamsa translation were a Protestant bible, it would be better than the rest.
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« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2006, 11:17:09 PM »

The Lamsa Bible is the only complete English translation of the Aramaic Peshitta and is widely read by Orthodox Christians of the Syrian tradition. There are many Protestant bibles that Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics read. Even if the Lamsa translation were a Protestant bible, it would be better than the rest.

It is not utterly clear that Lamsa did really translate the Peshitta; various scholars believe that it's actually based off the Textus Receptus, possibly even through the KJV. And he has some rather eccentric ideas. For example, at Matthew 27:46 Lamsa has

Quote
And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, Eli, Eli lemana shabakthan! My God, my God, for this I was spared!

And from some of things I've seen seem to indicate that Lamsa's own ideas are are esoteric (technical sense) and not really Nicene. He's very popular with woo-woo sites.

What we have here, Matthew, is another case where you have to have a special Christianity rather than the ordinary one that is good enough for everyone else.
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« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2006, 01:48:13 AM »

It is not utterly clear that Lamsa did really translate the Peshitta; various scholars believe that it's actually based off the Textus Receptus, possibly even through the KJV.

Most likely, what Lamsa did was simplify the language of the KJV while making corrections where the Aramaic Peshitta necessitated, due to the mistranslations within the Greek New Testament.

For example, at Matthew 27:46 Lamsa has

What matters is whether or not this is the correct translation from the Aramaic which Jesus spoke. The Aramaic language is rather limited. Many words with completely opposite meanings are only distinguishable by one dot. A Greek translator ignorant of the subtleties of the Aramaic language could easily mistake one word for another. Therefore, for this particular verse, one must consider the context. If the Son is within the Father and the Father is within the Son, and the Father is always with the Son, how could the Son be forsaken by the Father? It should be noted that the Younan translation of the Peshitta agress with Lamsa on this one.
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/Peshittainterlinear/1_Matthew/Mattich27.pdf

And from some of things I've seen seem to indicate that Lamsa's own ideas are are esoteric (technical sense) and not really Nicene.

How much of Lamsa's ideas have you actually studied? Is there any particular book written by George Lamsa which you have read?

What we have here, Matthew, is another case where you have to have a special Christianity rather than the ordinary one that is good enough for everyone else.

The Aramaic Peshitta is the traditional Biblical text of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, and Lamsa's, though imperfect, is its only complete English translation. Did you not know that the Peshitta is the Biblical text for the Churches of the Syrian tradition, including the Assyrian Church in which Lamsa was raised?

Peace.
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« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2006, 12:01:21 AM »

Most likely, what Lamsa did was simplify the language of the KJV while making corrections where the Aramaic Peshitta necessitated, due to the mistranslations within the Greek New Testament.

Most likely, Bruce Metzger is right and you are speculating baselessly.

I haven't read any of Lamsa's books. It is obvious, however, that he is a figure of controversy, and something like 3/4s of the websites I found mentioning his translation were woo-woo, not really Christian sites.

Various Christian apologetics sites attribute to him universalist and esoteric beliefs which are certainly not Chalcedonian or even remotely consonant with it. I don't know how accurate they are, but it's hardly clear that you are a more reliable source than they are. You have a history of preferring eccentric positions, after all.

I see no evidence that the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church uses Lamsa's translation. If they do, from what I see, they shouldn't.
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« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2006, 12:11:30 AM »

My Priest laughed his butt off with this gem. Re: missing books in RC Bible.

Until his face dropped when he asked me where in the world I found this baseless accusation from. (I was not specific of this site)

He told me we would have to talk about it later as it needs more time than a brief run down.
He also said that website info is not to be trusted.
Duh.
But his face dropped. Like a kid with a hand in the cookie jar busted.
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« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2006, 12:48:00 AM »

Most likely, Bruce Metzger is right and you are speculating baselessly.

I've read Metzgers's opinions on Lamsa, and noted his usage of strawmen and ad hominems. George Lamsa was rather open on his choice of Syriac manuscripts:

"George M. Lamsa, the translator, devoted the major part of his life to this work. He was an Assyrian and a native of ancient Bible lands. He and his people retained Biblical customs and Semitic culture, which had perished elsewhere. With this background and his knowledge of the Aramaic (Syriac) language, he has recovered much of the meaning that has been lost in other translations of the Scriptures. There is a section on the problems of translating from the Aramaic to the Greek.

Manuscripts used were the Codex Ambrosianus for the Old Testament and the Mortimer-McCawley manuscript for the New Testament. Comparisons have been made with other Peshitta manuscripts, including the oldest dated manuscript in existence. The term Peshitta means straight, simple, sincere and true, that is, the original. Even the Moslems in the Middle East accept and revere the Peshitta text.

Although the Peshitta Old Testament contains the Books of the Apocrypha, this edition has omitted them."
http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Scriptures/LBP.htm

"Manuscripts used in making this translation were the Codex Ambrosianus for the Old Testament and the so-called Mortimer-McCawley manuscript for the New Testament; the former is in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, Italy, and has been identified as fifth century A.D.; the latter was used for our previous translation of the New Testament, of which this edition is a revision, and has been variously identified as sixth or seventh century A.D.Comparisons have been had with Peshitta manuscripts in the Morgan Library, New York, N. Y., with manuscripts in the Freer Collection, Washington, D. C., with the Urumiah edition, and with a manuscript of the Peshitta Old Testament in the British Museum, the oldest dared Biblical manuscript in existence. Our translator states that comparisons show no differences in text between these various manuscripts, and that he has filled in the few missing portions of Chronicles from other authentic Peshitta sources, as noted in his Introduction."
http://www.aramaicbiblecenter.com/lambib.html

Metzger either intends to deceive, or he has no real idea of what he's talking about. Metzger himself is somewhat of a controversial figure, but you won't find me using that alone as an attack against him.
My copy of the Lamsa Bible even has pictures of the manuscripts which Lamsa utilized. Why would you use Metgzer as a source, without even looking into it first? Why would you be speculating baselessly?
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Online_Version/greek_primacy_deception.htm

It is obvious, however, that he is a figure of controversy, and something like 3/4s of the websites I found mentioning his translation were woo-woo, not really Christian sites.

Does that have any bearing when it comes to the rules of logic? If the authority of Jesus Christ were dependent upon the behavior of his followers, what authority would he really have?

For sites related to George Lamsa which are not "woo woo," I'd recommend www.Peshitta.org and www.aramaicpeshitta.com

I see no evidence that the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church uses Lamsa's translation.

It is not endorsed by the Malankara Church, it is just the only complete English translation available. Though imperfect, it is still considerably better in many ways than Catholic or Protestant Bible versions.

Peace.
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« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2006, 02:28:52 AM »

I've been to the two sites you've linked to, and I have to say I'm not that impressed.

Let's start with www.aramaicpeshitto.com. Right in the introduction, with the emphasis mine:

Quote
This is my amateur website for promoting the  Peshitta (the  Aramaic Bible) and to a lesser extent, the Peshitto. My free books will explain to you why Greek primacy (the belief in the originality of the Greek New Testament) is illogical, and why Old Syriac primacy is a farce, by looking at the historical evidence, and more importantly, the linguistic evidence.

It's a little harder to get at http://www.peshitta.org/; but again, I find the following:

Quote
This translation is not sanctioned by the Church of the East. This is a personal translation only, and all readers are encouraged to verify the work on their own. This translation has not been edited nor verified by anyone other than the author (who does not have official sanction for this work) and is likely to have numerous errors.

And not to put to fine a point on it, but Bruce Metzger is about as far from an amateur working alone as it is possible to get. He was general editor for the NRSV, for crying out loud. He is unquestionably an expert in the field, as you are not.
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« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2006, 03:07:32 AM »

He was general editor for the NRSV, for crying out loud. He is unquestionably an expert in the field, as you are not.

You are providing a red herring. It is obvious that Metzger lied concerning George Lamsa. Do you care to retract your previous statement?

"Not only is his claim that “We have no records in manuscript form of the gospels in Aramaic” undeniably false, it is an outright intentional lie, as his own books testify:

“Surprisingly, while the Four Gospels in the Peshitta are generally Byzantine type texts, the Book of Acts in the Peshitta has Western type tendencies. In the Gospels it [the Peshitta] is closer to the Byzantine type of text than in Acts, where it presents many striking agreements with the Western text.” — The Text of the New Testament 2nd ed, Bruce Metzger; 1968 p.70"
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Online_Version/greek_primacy_deception.htm

To claim that the manuscripts which Lamsa utilized never existed is an outright deception, no matter what your position is concerning the man.

Peace.
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« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2006, 03:25:50 AM »

Quote
Thank you. Before I talk to him tomorrow, would you be able to tell me why/how this happened? Why they are not used?
This is making me a bit angry thinking I have been ripped off.....

I suggest you read about the Council of Trent, since that is when the Catholics finalized their Bible. Though you won't hear about this in most parishes, theologians in the RCC debated the canonicity of various books right up through the 16th century. The term deuterocanonical wasn't even coined until 1566. The following links might interest you...

Orthodoxy or Catholicism? The Scriptural Canon...
Question Concerning EO Canon of Scripture
Sources that verify the Canonicity of the Holy Bible
Different Books of the Bible by Jurisdiction

Btw, I agree with your priest, website info is not to be trusted. Books can't always be trusted either, but they are significantly better. The web is best for getting "leads" on which path to explore, and what books, essays or people you can tap into in your exploration.
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« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2006, 12:19:59 PM »

You are providing a red herring. It is obvious that Metzger lied concerning George Lamsa. Do you care to retract your previous statement?

No.

Quote
"Not only is his claim that “We have no records in manuscript form of the gospels in Aramaic” undeniably false, it is an outright intentional lie, as his own books testify:

“Surprisingly, while the Four Gospels in the Peshitta are generally Byzantine type texts, the Book of Acts in the Peshitta has Western type tendencies. In the Gospels it [the Peshitta] is closer to the Byzantine type of text than in Acts, where it presents many striking agreements with the Western text.” — The Text of the New Testament 2nd ed, Bruce Metzger; 1968 p.70"

Matthew, this isn't even vaguely a justification of your claim. This passage says nothing at all about Aramaic, Greek, or for that matter any other language. It says nothing about manuscripts. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised to find that, in Metzger's book, this passage is taken out of a larger passage asserting that the Peshitta is a composite text (and therefore late).

Quote
To claim that the manuscripts which Lamsa utilized never existed is an outright deception, no matter what your position is concerning the man.


Since that isn't the claim, so what? Perhaps out of misunderstanding, you have misrepresented what Metzger said-- which was the suspicion that Lamsa didn't translate those texts, whether or not they existed.

We still at the same point: you and a couple of amateurs against the preeminent scholar in the field. Guess who I am going to follow?
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« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2006, 05:17:22 PM »

Since that isn't the claim, so what? Perhaps out of misunderstanding, you have misrepresented what Metzger said-- which was the suspicion that Lamsa didn't translate those texts, whether or not they existed.

Let's look again at what Metzger said concerning George Lamsa:

"He said that 'the whole of the New Testament was written in Aramaic,' and he 'translates it from the Aramaic,' but he never would show anybody the manuscripts that he translated from."
http://www.bibletexts.com/qa/qa023.htm

That is an outright lie. As I have already shown, George Lamsa was quite open as to his choice of manuscripts.
This is from the original publisher of the Lamsa Bible:

"Manuscripts used were the Codex Ambrosianus for the Old Testament and the Mortimer-McCawley manuscript for the New Testament. Comparisons have been made with other Peshitta manuscripts, including the oldest dated manuscript in existence. The term Peshitta means straight, simple, sincere and true, that is, the original. Even the Moslems in the Middle East accept and revere the Peshitta text."
http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Scriptures/LBP.htm

Metzger then continues, "We have no records in manuscript form of the gospels in Aramaic. There are no Aramaic documents of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John left."
http://www.bibletexts.com/qa/qa023.htm

In this instance, Metzger might as well be claiming that the Aramaic Peshitta doesn't exist.

We still at the same point: you and a couple of amateurs against the preeminent scholar in the field. Guess who I am going to follow?

Appeal to authority is an informal logical fallacy, especially when the authority figure in question has been shown as dishonest.

It seems that you would rather cling to Metzger's supposed authority than admit that you were wrong. Keeping an open mind and going where the facts lead you is good. Arguing for the sake of argument is not. It would best to pay attention to what people are actually saying, rather than others having to repeat themselves.

The best Bible is ultimately the one you will actually read. There is no use for fallacious attacks against the ones which you do not prefer.

Peace.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2006, 07:35:52 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2006, 12:43:39 AM »

Let's look again at what Metzger said concerning George Lamsa:

"He said that 'the whole of the New Testament was written in Aramaic,' and he 'translates it from the Aramaic,' but he never would show anybody the manuscripts that he translated from."
http://www.bibletexts.com/qa/qa023.htm

That is an outright lie. As I have already shown, George Lamsa was quite open as to his choice of manuscripts.
This is from the original publisher of the Lamsa Bible:

"Manuscripts used were the Codex Ambrosianus for the Old Testament and the Mortimer-McCawley manuscript for the New Testament. Comparisons have been made with other Peshitta manuscripts, including the oldest dated manuscript in existence. The term Peshitta means straight, simple, sincere and true, that is, the original. Even the Moslems in the Middle East accept and revere the Peshitta text."
http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Scriptures/LBP.htm

Metzger then continues, "We have no records in manuscript form of the gospels in Aramaic. There are no Aramaic documents of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John left."
http://www.bibletexts.com/qa/qa023.htm

In this instance, Metzger might as well be claiming that the Aramaic Peshitta doesn't exist.

Aramaic and Syriac aren't the same, even though they can be considered dialects. At least, that's what the experts say. And it may not have occurred to you that the two statements are not incompatible. Both authorities here (Metzger and the publisher) are at least one remove from Lamsa. It's possible the publisher is blowing smoke, and it's possible that Lamsa misrepresented to the publisher what he did.

Quote
Appeal to authority is an informal logical fallacy, especially when the authority figure in question has been shown as dishonest.

This entire discussion is based on arguments from authority. You, for instance, are appealing to Lamsa as an authority on Syriac/Aramaic. We are both limited by our (lack of) knowledge of the field, so that we are dependent upon those who are knowledgeable. Right now you are presenting me with a choice between Metzger, you, and the various pro-Peshitta sites as interpreters. It really seems more reasonable to resort to experts in the field. Your accusations of dishonesty seem, well, premature.
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