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Concerning the translation of the Bible

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Nick Moser, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Nick Moser

    Nick Moser Member

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    The OSB uses the NKJV for the New Testament and I don't really see any EO Bible translated into English. Is the NKJV close to the original which is in Greek? How trustworthy are interlineal Bibles, the Brenton Bible, and likewise how accurate is the Russian Synodical Bible?
     
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  2. Justin BT

    Justin BT New Member

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    I love how these types of diagrams help people start to think about the types of bible translations we have available.

    Closest to which Greek text? The small collection of greek manuscripts that the KJV translators had available to them collected into the Textus Receptus? The collection of greek manuscripts we have available now. Or more importantly which subset of the collection of greek manuscripts we have now. Different bibles and different scholars place value on different "families" of greek manuscripts, each manuscript "family" has subtle differences that ultimately influence the English.

    So before we ask if a particular translation communicates the Greek text more accurately, we must first establish which Greek text we are measuring the translation against. For example:

    Categories of New Testament manuscripts - Wikipedia
     
  3. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    what should matter is the proper interpretation, which only the Orthodox Church has.
     
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  4. Justin BT

    Justin BT New Member

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    Non sequitur. The question of who has authority to define proper interpretation of the is a separate topic to the discussion around bible translation principles.
     
  5. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    In short, they all say the same thing. While I'm not familiar with the Russian bible, at this point it is safe to say that I have compared every verse of the new testament to nearly every English version of the bible. With the exception of the New World Translation they are consistent in meaning. As @ArmyMatt pointed out, it's when people start "interpreting" the bible to suit their own whims on any given day that inconsistencies crop up. The Orthodox Church does not "interpret" the bible within the meaning of protestant interpretation. The Church does not need to interpret the bible because the Church already knows what it means.

    So to answer your question, any translation is acceptable.
     
  6. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    This is the Orthodox section, so I will limit my comments to avoid any conflict with EO views.

    My wife really enjoys the Orthodox Study Bible for the notes, and the NKJV.

    I use the NKJV most of the time lately, partly because it gives notes for majority, TR and UBS texts. So in that respect it helps you quickly identify the major variants if you are reading in English. Then if you want to tear into your Greek texts and compare the readings, and the apparatus to look at witnesses you can.

    Being closer to word-for-word means they retain most of the idioms, so again, that is helpful for looking up more information if you wish to.

    My understanding is that the NKJV was chosen because the TR is closer to the Majority Text in many cases than the UBS text, (while still having considerable differences). If there were a quality majority text translation that was finished at the time they likely would have used that.

    Farstad was the executive editor of the NKJV, and having helped with a scholarly Greek Majority Text, he wanted to make sure the textual notes in the NKJV pointed out Majority text readings.

    And for the Greek church, while there may be some debate about specific manuscript examples, the majority text would seem to be their clear preference, given its use in the church over time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  7. Daniel Marsh

    Daniel Marsh Well-Known Member

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  8. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    To my thinking they are as trustworthy as your understanding of what they are trying to say. Sometimes the forms, etc. don't tell the whole story.

    It is helpful because it is free on a number of electronic resources. But I think it is known to be a bit more on the loose side of translation. Likely the OT text of the OSB, with translation by Orthodox scholars, is more accurate.

    The OSB translation makes the OT reading of any text quoted in the NT parallel to the NT version of the reading, similar to the MEV Bible. So you may find some differences in that regard.
     
  9. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    except that this is the Orthodox forum. I was only pointing out that the important things FOR ORTHODOX, is the interpretation, NOT the translation as much.
     
  10. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    https://www.quora.com/What-version-of-the-Holy-Bible-is-used-by-the-Orthodox-Church

    The Eastern Orthodox Church does not officially endorse any English translation of the Bible. They recognize the Septuagint (Greek) Old Testament and the Byzantine majority text of the Greek New Testament, and they recognize specific Old Church Slavonic and Arabic translations.

    Individual bishops have recommended the King James and New King James versions, primarily because they follow the majority text of the New Testament (unlike the vast majority of modern English translations, which follow the critical text), but that is not an official recommendation offered by the Church as a whole.

    Eastern Orthodox scholars were partly involved in the translation of the New Revised Standard Version, but they expressed some disappointment over the final result.

    Many Orthodox churches in the United States use the Revised Standard Version for all public readings, but that is by no means universal.

    I should add that the Septuagint includes the Apocrypha by default, but opinions on the Apocryphal books vary from one Church to another. Among the Greeks, for example, the Apocrypha is typically relegated to deuterocanonical status, while the Slavic churches tend to make no distinction between the Apocrypha and the rest of the Bible.


    "Growing up in the Syrian Antiochian Orthodox Church, our late Archbishop Antony Bashir recommenced THE COMMON BIBLE, either the King James or Revised Standard Version since the children of our faithful could no longer read the Greek Septuagint or Arabic Bibles. THE COMMON BIBLE included ALL of the Books for the various jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Ethiopian (Oriental) Orthodox even has additional books such as Enoch etc. THE COMMON BIBLE is long out of print. And even a few editions omitt 3 & 4 Maccabees and Psalms 151. So be careful if you order one online to what is included. My editions list 84 Books in the index but a few of them are additions to existing books such as Letter(Epistle) of Jeremiah which is Baruch Chapter 6 or Additions to Esther etc. The much awaited ORTHODOX STUDY BIBLE was intended to be the book to use but ended up falling short! The OSB left out 4 Maccabees & 2 Esdras. The OSB does have a book called 2 Esdras but is just Ezra and no actual 2 Esdras . TCB has both Ezra and 2 Esdras . The original excerpts to the OSB were not often included. I heard the Publisher suggested to keep under so many pages but they included Western Ikons that should have been left out for scriptures!" Anthony Albert


    Orthodox Study Bible: "My NT is a New King James version, filled with notes explaining exactly what specific phrases & words mean & have always meant, particularly when the phrases are commonly misunderstood. For example, when Jesus asks the disciples if they have any swords & Peter says “Yes, we have two.” Jesus responded by saying “It is enough.” Today, people who self interpret the Bible believe a variety of meanings from this. What mine says is that “It is enough.” is an Aramaic phrase meaning “Enough of this!” or “Knock it off!”, which corresponds with Jesus's reaction afterwards. The OT is the Septuagint, also filled with notes & articles. It includes all the books that the Apostle Paul knew in 60 AD." Sverigielle Von Gothenburg




    Which Manuscript Family is Your English Bible Based Upon?

    When it comes to the many thousands of manuscripts upon which our English New Testaments are based, there are basically two major “families” of manuscripts: the Byzantine family and the Alexandrian family.


    [​IMG]

    The predominant view among conservative Bible scholars today is to prefer the ALEXANDRIAN family of manuscripts…


    …hence most modern English translations either footnote or bracket certain words, phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs (John 7:53-8:11; Mark 16:9-20)… words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs which were accepted as God’s Word in Bibles prior to the 20th Century.

    But I want to give you five reasons, among many, that I prefer the BYZANTINE family of manuscripts:

    1. While we have no 2nd Century manuscripts from this family, we see 2nd Century Church Fathers quoting Byzantine readings.

    2. The Alexandrian family was discovered only in one region of Egypt; the Byzantine family was found in all parts of the Mediterranean world.

    3. A massive majority suggests early Christians thought these renderings were superior and chose to copy from this family rather than the other. (The Alexandrian family was located in a remote part of the known world and probably had less manuscripts to compare).

    4. The Byzantine family seems complete; the Alexandrian does not (see Mark 16).

    5. God has kept the Byzantine family preserved and known through the entire history of the Church; the Alexandrian family was lost and unknown for over 1,500 years.

    The words of the Lord are pure words,
    Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
    Purified seven times.


    You shall keep them, O Lord,
    You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
    – Psalm 12.6-7

    Probably most of the readers of this blog are using English Bibles that are based more upon the Alexandrian family than the Byzantine family. Should you burn them and go back to the tried and true KJV? No. Here’s the thing, it’s not a major deal.

    * Less than 5% difference between the two families of texts, the main difference being the Alexandrian family is smaller (Mark 16:9-20 omitted, other verses and words omitted).

    * No major Christian doctrine impacted or changed (the most significant doctrinal issue is that the importance of fasting is weakened in the Alexandrian texts).

    * As proof that I do not believe it is a major concern, I continue to preach and teach from an Alexandrian-based translation (ESV) even though I have preferred the Byzantine family for some time now. When I get to a verse or passage in the ESV that is impacted, such as Matthew 6:13, I point out how the verse(s) is bracketed or in footnotes, explain why, and then preach it as God’s Word.

    Whichever textual family is actually correct, the Christian faith is not compromised.
     
  11. Justin BT

    Justin BT New Member

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    Thanks @ArmyMatt, I didn't realise that this post was in the Orthodox section. Your reply makes much more sense. I have much respect for my Orthodox brothers and sisters.
     
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  12. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    thanks! just wanted you to know why I answered what I did.
     
  13. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I'm no scholar, but I do especially like the Eastern Orthodox Bible. It's only the NT so far. The main text is the Patriarchal Text but it is informed by later discovered manuscripts and does a good job of both translating and bringing out nuances and variants in the footnotes.

    To me it reads like a very simple book, but so many passages suddenly make a great deal more sense.

    I tend to think it's a good idea to use multiple translations especially for study but also just for reading. But this one is my favorite most of the time and I appreciate that it was translated with the mind of the Church.

    I wanted to copy the basic info about the translation and post it for you, but it's much longer than I remembered and is too much to share here. I've found it very beneficial though.
     
  14. Not David

    Not David Der Ewige Katechumene

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    I love how the Orthodox response is mostly: It doesn't matter! We have the authority!

    It's better to avoid playing that game.
     
  15. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    I don't think, among these options, we have a strict preference, and I don't think the differences in philosophy can really be accurately projected down onto one dimension. Different styles of translation have different uses, though, admittedly, we probably don't have much use for the right side of this spectrum, especially not in liturgical use. I am personally not a fan of translations that advertise themselves as being more "word-for-word" because they're often either wooden translations that are bad English or engaging in false advertising. "Accuracy" is a very slippery term because it is not at all clear what you really mean by it. There are certainly some translations that are inaccurate but choosing between two very good translations can be very hard and the criteria for doing so are not at all obvious - anybody who tells you otherwise is selling you something. Every translator is a traitor; read more than one translation.

    Byzantine text type is important for the NT if you're using it for liturgical purposes, otherwise good translations note significant variant readings in footnotes and it really only makes a significant difference for a couple passages in the NT. If you have multiple translations, this is much less of an issue, especially if you have a "Catholic Edition" Bible as one of your options, as they follow those variants when they matter, too.
     
  16. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    The significant differences in those translations from our perspective are not about dynamism or word-for-word stuff, but about the injection of, eg, Protestant doctrine into their translations. The NIV for instance is notorious for this.
     
  17. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, we compiled the Bible sometime in the 3rd or 4th century and managed to survive without it for about 400 years (much to the chagrin of 99% of the world's Protestants ;))

    In the USA, for public reading, the two popular ones tend to be the KJV or and older RSV. Part of this is because both have a more formal English than "newer" translations that's still comprehensible for modern speakers. The Orthodox Study Bible uses the NKJV, which isn't bad, but they did correct some of the verses to be more inline with Orthodox teachings.

    I would love to see an official English Orthodox Bible translated from the LXX by Orthodox, for Orthodox that still retains some thees and thous to maintain formality. However, the day that happens will be the day there is a single Orthodox jurisdiction in North America :yawn:
     
  18. Knee V

    Knee V It's phonetic.

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    The Orthodox New Testament, from Holy Apostles Convent, exists, and it matches the criteria you mentioned. However, I am not a huge fan of it. I like it to an extent, but it reads like it was translated by a non-native English speaker with a scholarly knowledge of English, if that makes sense. There are several places where the syntax is just a little off, or where a more traditional wording might have been more familiar to churched English speaking Christians.

    For example, they translate John 1 as "In the beginning was the Logos..." I get it, but English renderings of that have pretty much always been "In the beginning was the Word," and that is very familiar to churched English-speaking Christians.

    Another example off the top of my head (I am not at home and don't have it in front of me) is from 1 John, where they use the definite article before "light" where normal English usage would have no article, and I remember that it was at least once in the opening verses. I think (I'll look it up later and correct myself if I am wrong here) it even has "The Logos of Life" or even "The Logos of the Life." Later, "God is the light" instead of "God is light."

    There are some other examples. It's not horrible, but I just don't like how it reads.

    As for the Old Testament, I am a big fan of Michael Asser's translation of the LXX. It is available at lulu dot com, and it comes in several volumes, both paperback and hardback. Just as the OSB is a revision of the LXX using the NKJV as a starting point for the translation, it is a translation of the LXX that uses the KJV as a starting point. It changes the KJV wording where necessary to bring it into conformity to the LXX, and retains the KJV wording where possible. That is my normal go-to Old Testament.
     
  19. AMM

    AMM A Beggar Supporter

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    I’m hoping for a unified translation of the Creed and some common troparions (and kontakions, etc) first! I have so many different translations of the Creed in my mind haha
     
  20. JohnTh

    JohnTh Newbie

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    Care to give some examples from Alexandrine vs Byzantine families upon this topic?
     
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