Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Transparent English Bible

Dr James Tabor has released a sample from the forthcoming Transparent English Bible, a longstanding project that dates back to a proposal by Ernest Martin. If you fancy literal translations, this may appeal to you. The first few chapters of Genesis are available as a PDF document.

Tabor expresses his preference for literal translations in a blog entry, even recommending the long-forgotten 1901 ASV, and opting for the 1950s RSV over the NRSV. To each their own.

What you can say is that the proposed TEB is different. With the proliferation of dumbed-down "easy to understand" versions (which distort the not-so-easy-to-understand realities of the manuscripts) this version will certainly stand out. This is a long, long way from the feel-good babblings of the Good News Bible or the CEV.

A couple of "buts". The TEB has reached this stage of development before, with substantial excerpts pre-published online (including the first chapters of Genesis, if memory serves.) For whatever reason the project was then rebooted and the initial work apparently withdrawn.

Second, if an important quality of a good English translation involves being able to be read aloud, then this may be the TEB's Achilles heel. Scripture has only been the object of personal, silent reading in relatively recent times. In synagogue and church the Bible has always been read aloud, reflecting the reality of our largely illiterate forebears. Arguably these books were written to be read aloud rather than pored over by individuals - that's how it was supposed to happen when they were first set down. By this criteria TEB looks shaky. Try rolling this text off the tongue:

These are the bringings-forth of the skies and the land in their being created. In the day of the making of YHVH ELOHIM, land and skies, and no shrub of the field was before that on the land, and no plant of the field had before that sprouted - for YHVH ELOHIM had not made rain on the land, and there was no soil-man to service the soil (2: 4-5)


This may be true to the Hebrew, but it's not the way lucid English works. That said, the Tabor Bible may - assuming it finally reaches completion - fill an important void in the market, perhaps supplanting the simply awful NASB and kindred travesties. It's certainly a project worth following, and I'd wager a thousand percent more worthy than the KJVish Coulter translation, due for release (both Old and New Testaments) very shortly.

Meantime I'll be sticking to the NRSV.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes,Gavin,versions of the Bible that stick to the more literal translation of the Hebrew, rather than its paraphrasings are not exactly light reading.

Still,it takes all sorts to make a world.Some enthrall to the jerky, literal translations, and perceive them as having a purity of meaning that the paraphrased versions cannot attain to.But, when all is said and done,all these fresh translations only add a gloss to our understanding.The old King James says it all, and does have a turn of phrase that modern renditions cannot match.

Still, that is not to belittle the more recent translations that can add a nuance of meaning and understanding that perhaps the KJV might be lacking in, with its old-fashioned English.

Granny, brought up as a strict Presbyterian, loved the KJV, and read from the huge family edition with the brass clasps.It is still around today,having been brought to this country in 1883.It is more a museum piece, now,though.

The German Bibles of Luther's time with their Gothic type also had a charm about them.Reading from another tongue you get viewpoints that perhaps you would not obtain with the KJV.If I took a trip to a certain German village I could probably read from the same Bible my 15th great-grandfather read from as a Domherr in the 1580s and 1590s.

A Nonnie Mouse

nb said...

I disagree with your first correspondent about the KJV. It has to be the least accurate version commonly available.

It relies on poor manuscripts (cobbled together by Erasmus in a pre-critical age.)

It includes texts that are not part of the original documents (the long ending in Mark, the story about the woman caught in the act of adultery, the trinitarian "three witnesses" proof text.)

The vocabulary represents usage that has since disappeared from English - causing confusion for modern readers.

The KJV is an artifact of world literature - like Shakespeare. But despite that it isn't much use for Christians today. What more proof of that do you want than the weirdo groups that still use it to cull proof texts from?

My personal choice is the New Jerusalem Bible and the JPS Tanakh for the Old Testament. Tabor's translation won't go far, I think, as it seems to be the work of just one man, and one man translations are a bit like the curate's egg. Who still uses Moffatt, Fenton or Phillips?

Corky said...

How many English versions of the bible are there? There are many, too many.

And, keep in mind that the oldest MSS. are only copies of copies and that the "original" MSS. do not exist.

Yes, it's true, there are just so many versions of fairy tales and myths that one cannot trust whether they have the correct version of the fairy tales and myths.

The biggest myth of them all can be found on my new blog:
http://ex-christadelphian.blogspot.com/

Just yet another "version" of WCG blogs. Just what we need, huh?

I kind of think Scott is right, there are just so many ways and words to describe "all things Armstrong". It didn't begin with HWA anyway, it began with William Miller and the Great Disappointment of 1843.

It is the foundational premise of the cults that is wrong; the return of Jesus and pre-millenialism, which is of the greater myth - Jesus of Nazareth.

minimalist said...

The Bible tells of a time when God was busy working miracles for and talking to a certain tribe - Israel. Then he stopped communicating (except thru latter day profits like Mohammad, EGG White, Joseph Smith & Perbert W. HarmStrong

Now , no more miracles just when we need them - like reversing global warming and stopping Iran building a nuke (Israel really needs this miracle).

Is Israel paying a terrible price for its past delusions of grandiosity (the holocaust, potential nuclear annihilation) ?

Anonymous said...

nb,

You find fault with the King James Bible? Well, that is your privilege,of course.

I still defend it as a useful tool.And I use the New King James as well as an Interlinear Version,so I am not entirely besotted with its charms.

Seamus.

Robert said...

The New Jerusalem Bible is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985.

The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) has become the most widely used Roman Catholic Bible outside of the United States. It has the imprimatur of Cardinal George Basil Hume.

My advice would be to stay away from it as it is bound to have some bias towards the Catholic faith.

The best source is to use a combination of Bibles, commentaries, Greek and Hebrew Interlinear texts and lexicons.

Truth is something we have to search out and rarely will we find it in one source alone.

Jordan Potter said...

These are the bringings-forth of the skies and the land in their being created. In the day of the making of YHVH ELOHIM, land and skies, and no shrub of the field was before that on the land, and no plant of the field had before that sprouted - for YHVH ELOHIM had not made rain on the land, and there was no soil-man to service the soil.

That is . . . interesting. I'm not sure what it is, but it's definitely not a translation. It's just the first partial step towards translating the text. Hopefully Dr. Tabor will finish the task, so he won't get an "incomplete" written down in the grade book.

Literal, faithful translations are always to be preferred over the non-translations/free inventions euphemistically called "dynamic equivalence," but a translation can be too literal, as we see in this case.

I disagree with your first correspondent about the KJV. It has to be the least accurate version commonly available.

It relies on poor manuscripts (cobbled together by Erasmus in a pre-critical age.)

It includes texts that are not part of the original documents (the long ending in Mark, the story about the woman caught in the act of adultery, the trinitarian "three witnesses" proof text.)


You have a point, but you're not really talking about faulty or inaccurate translation -- you're talking about differences of opinion over what allegedly was in the original documents and what allegedly was not. Deciding on a text to translate, and translating a text, are two different things. Generally speaking, the King James translators produced a faithful and accurate translation of the texts they had before them.

Dr. Tabor's hyperliteral non-translation, however, is a little too faithful for it to be accurate and useable.

Jordan Potter said...

My advice would be to stay away from it as it is bound to have some bias towards the Catholic faith.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Every translation of the Bible is bound to have SOME bias towards the Catholic faith, since the Bible as Christians know it is largely the fruit of the Catholic faith. It's interesting, though, that the KJV became the preeminent Bible of the English-speaking Protestant world, when it was created specifically for the Anglican Church (this is why in the first chapter of Acts, the KJV has St. Peter refer to the "bishopric" of Judas Iscariot). The KJV's Anglican bias didn't turn all English-speaking Protestants into Anglicans, or introduce any Anglican distinctives into their thinking. In the same way, you needn't worry that The New Jerusalem Bible will turn people into Catholics, or introduce Catholic distinctives into their thinking.

Anonymous said...

"...since the Bible as Christians know it is largely the fruit of the Catholic faith."


that is what the Roman Catholic Church would have us to believe, but the truth is that the books of the bible were already set long before the RCC "cannonized" the bible. The RCC simply tried to take the credit for it.

Tom said...

nb>>The KJV is an artifact of world literature - like Shakespeare.<<

Artefact? You need to check your diction, and get some training in the appreciation of English literature.

"if we wish to know the force of human genius," says William Hazlitt, "we should read Shakespeare."

And this is from 1611 edition of KJV, "Evil communications corrupt good manners."

nb>>But despite that it isn't much use for Christians today.<<

For a critic of the greatest literature in the world, this is very poor transition. However, how would you know what is useful for Christians when you are not one?

Tom

Jordan Potter said...

but the truth is that the books of the bible were already set long before the RCC "cannonized" (sic)the bible. The RCC simply tried to take the credit for it.

So it is your contention that "the Bible as Christians know it" already existed before the consensus on the biblical canon was reached during the fourth century? You obviously don't know very much about the history of the Christian Bible.

Case in point: Check your New Testament and see what order the General Epistles are in. Is the first one in your New Testament the Book of Hebrews, or is Hebrews rather embedded among the Pauline Epistles? If it's the first of the General Epistles in your New Testament, you can thank the Catholic Church for that. Again, where are the General Epistles located in your New Testament? Are they before the Pauline Epistles or after them? If they're after the Pauline Epistles, you can thank the Catholic Church for that too.

Is the letter to the Roman Church the very first Pauline Epistle in your New Testament? If so, thank the ROMAN Catholic Church for placing that letter first in order, even though it is not first in chronological order. (Did you ever notice how Acts ends with St. Paul in Rome of all places, and then the next book in your Bible is St. Paul's epistle to the Romans? Do you think that book order just happened, or maybe somebody planned it that way?)

Finally, name a single ancient biblical manuscript that we can affirm was compiled and edited by someone other than a Catholic scribe or priest or monk. (Good luck with that.) The Bible didn't just fall down out of the sky whole and entire, you know.

As I said, the Bible as Christians know it is largely the fruit of the Catholic faith. Many non-Catholics would have us believe "that the books of the Bible were already set" long before the Christian canon took shape, but the manuscripts, the writings of the early Christians, and the earliest synods and councils all tell a completely different story.

Anonymous said...

and what difference does the order of appearance make?

Anonymous said...

the books of the bible were accepted as scripture before the RCC canonized them, period.

you basically confirmed my position by your posting, and I thank you for that.

nb said...

Tom pulls me up for using the word artifact rather than artefact. A quick check of most modern dictionaries confirms that one is an acceptable variation of the other (I checked in both a British and Australian dictionary). Tom needs to take his own advice.

Tom also seems to infer that I'm attacking Shakespeare. How he reached that conclusion is beyond me.

And finally Tom has the gall to accuse me of being a non-Christian because... I don't use his sacred KJV.

That's the kind of specious research and logic befitting a traditional Armstrongite, jumping at shadows and barking at thunder.

Stingerski said...

As Shakespeare would say, "Much Adoe About Nothing." (Or is it "ado?")

Many people, including some Christians, find it amusing that so many of the "faithful" are debating which version of the Jewish + Catholic scriptures is the most accurate. It's like the old You say po-tay-to and I say po-ta-to jingle.

And to add to the confusion, most denominations cannot even agree which books should be in there, and which ones should not. One Jewish canon includes the apocrypha and another does not. The Catholic canon does, but the Protestant one does not. And there are wide variations in the latter. Martin Luther threw out the Letter of James and thought the Book of Revelation was also on very shaky ground (as many others also think).

And when the final "translation" is at last written, what will this all matter? Because until the end of time people will be arguing and even killing each other over these "sacred books" in an attempt to think they belong to the purest of pure true believers.

You say to-may-to and I say to-ma-to.

Byker Bob said...

Well, personally, I gave up on that a long time ago and simply call them "spuds".

But, I've come to believe that just about the only reliable precept you can glean from the Bible is actually a paraphrase, or may have even originated with Buddha. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The Bible has been touted as the perfectly preserved revelation directly from God for mankind, God's handbook for our species. However, when you get right down to it, some serious questions arise as to the authenticity of certain books, the biases of some of the writers and translators, the quality of the "original" (none actually survives!) source material, etc.

I believe that if God works with people today, it would have to be through their lives and hearts, as opposed to through a book. An all powerful God knows the keys to each of our minds, and can unlock them at any time. Why would such a God, presumably far more intelligent than any human, leave a book behind to do His job for Him? We can glean certain basic principles from that book, but if we attempt to get anal about it, we self-sabotage. Any strength, practiced to extreme, becomes a weakness.

It would be nice to believe that some day, someone will succeed in performing the perfect translation, but in a way that's similar to the thought process which led most of us to believe that there is only one true church. It's been my experience that most people's chief use for the Bible is as a tool to judge and look down upon their fellow humans, who are often well-intentioned and attempting to lead the best lives which they can.

BB

Anonymous said...

No discussions of translations of the Bible could be complete without an examination of the book of Zechariah. Long an enigma, it gets weirder and weirder as chapter after chapter passes by and not even the most devout Armstrongists in their heyday -- or is that Hoeh Day? -- deigned to attempt to cover it in Bible studies.

Chapter five is classic, beginning as it does with the "flying roll" some 30 feet by 15 feet.

If any of you want to explain the book and why it is even in the Bible, please be my guest. It should make for an amusing discussion.

And it will be a wonder of what Dr. James Tabor makes of it. The literalist translation may make it go from incomprehensible to total gibberish. Too bad none of this will come with any explanation at all. A commentary would be useful. Or maybe not -- if no one can understand the bloody thing in the first place.

OK: One more challenge. Explain the four spirits in Zechariah 6 and map that to Revelation! Fine, fine, go ahead and quote Chapter 14 to prove that the Feast of Tabernacles will be kept in the millennium. But first explain the preceding 13 chapters. It should also be noted that the fourteenth chapter may or may not refer to the millennium if you look very closely at the Scripture.

Of course, looking at the Book of Ezekiel is also an endeavor in the surreal and there also much to explain there if it is assumed it is from inspiration.

Anonymous said...

That's the kind of specious research and logic befitting a traditional Armstrongite, jumping at shadows and barking at thunder.

A sensible post. However, you forgot baying at the new moon naked.

At least Wiccans have the good sense to worship in the light of the full moon.

Anonymous said...

Artefact? The spell checker won't countenance it. No such word according to Firefox.

Yet another wrong-headed insistence by a self-righteous dull-witted Armstrongist idolater hypocrite full of the standard silly presumptive assumptions.

Tom said...

nb>>Tom pulls me up for using the word artifact rather than artefact. A quick check of most modern dictionaries confirms that one is an acceptable variation of the other (I checked in both a British and Australian dictionary). Tom needs to take his own advice.<<

I didn't pull you up on your spelling of artifact, for I know it can be spelt either way. I suggested you check you diction. Diction means your "choice of words to describe things." The word Artifact is defined as, "Anything made by human workmanship." So to describe the language of the bible and Shakespeare as an artefact, is arid nonsense.

nb>>Tom also seems to infer that I'm attacking Shakespeare. How he reached that conclusion is beyond me.<<

I wasn't inferring anything. Your description of the writings of Shakespeare as an artefact was disparaging. Perhaps you didn't realise what you were saying. In that case, think long and hard before you speak.

nb>>And finally Tom has the gall to accuse me of being a non-Christian because... I don't use his sacred KJV.<<

I didn't say that you were not a Christian because you are disparaging about KJV. I said it because you not. Would a Christian write: "That's the kind of specious research and logic befitting a traditional Armstrongite?"

I appreciate that it has become very fashionable for former WCG members to blame HWA for every tragedy that has befallen them, and it will continue until death snatches them away.

Tom

Jordan Potter said...

and what difference does the order of appearance make?

If it's your contention that it doesn't matter that your New Testament follows a Catholic arrangement, then you shouldn't have any trouble with Catholic translations such as The New Jerusalem Bible. But if you want to worry about Catholic bias in a Bible, then toss your New Testament into a randomizer and then adopt the new order of books that it generates, because the order of books in your New Testament was determined by Catholics. There is just no way around it -- the Christian Bible bears an indelible Catholic stamp.

the books of the bible were accepted as scripture before the RCC canonized them, period.

Most of them were, others were in doubt for a while, and several other books were accepted as scripture for a while before finally being excluded.

As I said before, you obviously don't know very much about the history of the Christian Bible.

you basically confirmed my position by your posting, and I thank you for that.

Really? How did pointing out your error show that you are "basically" correct? You stated that "the books of the bible were already set long before the RCC 'cannonized' [sic] the bible. The RCC simply tried to take the credit for it." But the books of the Bible were not already set before the consensus on the canon developed during the 300s A.D., nor did the Catholic Church simply try to take credit for "setting the books" or canonising them: it's an indisputable matter of the historical record that there was no "setting of the books" or canonisation that took place apart from the Catholic Church and Catholic tradition. Granted, some people think Elvis didn't really die in 1977, and some people don't think the Christian Bible as we know it is a product of Catholic tradition, but facts are facts.

As G.K. Chesterton wrote:

To an impartial pagan or skeptical observer, it must always seem the strangest story in the world; that men rushing in to wreck a temple, overturning the altar and driving out the priest, found there certain sacred volumes inscribed “Psalms” or “Gospels”; and (instead of throwing them on the fire with the rest) began to use them as infallible oracles rebuking all the other arrangements. If the sacred high altar was all wrong, why were the secondary sacred documents necessarily all right? If the priesthood faked the sacraments, why could he not have faked his Scriptures?”

Jordan Potter said...

Would a Christian write: "That's the kind of specious research and logic befitting a traditional Armstrongite?"

Yes.

Jordan Potter said...

Yet another wrong-headed insistence by a self-righteous dull-witted Armstrongist idolater hypocrite full of the standard silly presumptive assumptions.

Would you be referring to your apparent belief in the infallibility of your spellchecker and Firefox?

Jordan Potter said...

Among the definitions of "artifact" at Dictionary.com --

"Something viewed as a product of human conception or agency rather than an inherent element"

"anything made by human art"

Sounds like the language of Shakespeare and the KJV Bible can properly and accurately be called "artifacts."

Oh, and we also find "artefact" as an acceptable variant spelling, chiefly a British spelling, so some of us will just have to tell Firefox and our spellcheckers where to get off.

Samuel Martin said...

I think one of the important things that is being passed over is the issue of the order of the books that my father advocated for in his book "restoring the original Bible." Not only will the original bible project produce a first class scholarly work, it will put the books in the right order as well, which will no doubt cause many in the Christian world to start asking more questions about the Bible.

Samuel Martin

Bamboo_bends said...

Byker Bob said...

.....I've come to believe that just about the only reliable precept you can glean from the Bible is actually a paraphrase, or may have even originated with Buddha. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."


AMEN Byker Bob! You shall ascend to ride upon that glorious Harley Davidson panhead on high! Can I get a witness?

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS


Kinnear Penman,senior pastor to the Living Church of God in New Zealand has been offered an opportunity to write a paper reconciling DNA with his church's British-Israel type ideology.

Such a paper would make a valuable addition to Living's archival resources and would possibly bring promotion for Kinnear within his church.

Of course,an initial sermon on this subject,delivered at the forthcoming Feast in NZ,could well be the template for such a paper.

We trust that Kinnear takes up this opportunity, and we look forward to reading the fruit of his scholarly endeavours.

And,I am sure that Gavin would give gracious permission for such a paper to be published in full on his blogsite.

A Nonnie Mouse

nb said...

Samuel, what is the right order? The first NT book to be written according to most NT scholars was 1 Thessalonians. The first gospel - Mark - came much later (although I think your dad held out against "Marcan priority" and argued that Matthew was earlier.) Will the TEB get this radical?

There's also a consensus among OT scholars that Genesis wasn't the first book to be written, but comes in its present form from the early part of the Second Temple period. Will TEB shuffle these around too? I doubt it.

The point is there is no agreed order beyond conflicting traditions and speculative scholarship. In an age of electronic texts I really don't see that the page order will make much difference anyway.

Anonymous said...

"Kinnear Penman,senior pastor to the Living Church of God in New Zealand has been offered an opportunity to write a paper reconciling DNA with his church's British-Israel type ideology."

Possible Outcomes:

1. Penman lambasts genetic testing as "worldly" and unreliable. Keeps job.

2. Penman admits, in the face of genetic testing, that the BI theory is false. Loses job.

3. Penman admits that the DNA evidence seems to refute BI, but will laughably (and in the most convoluted manner)come to the conclusion that it actually supports BI. Keeps job, but is viewed with suspicion by HQ as an "egghead."


Paul

jdschroeder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

We trust that Penman accepts this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance his standing within his church,and also, those of the other splinter COG groups.

This would be an accolade for him and his church.


Gabriel

Anonymous said...

Any church that puffs and blows about ancestral beginnings should be able to back it up with firm and hard scientific evidence.Otherwise,their teachings are nothing but a crock, and they are seen for the hypocrites that they really are.

Let's face it,with Living it is all about mind control over the masses which,of course enhances the the swaggering bragadaccio of their ministers and inflates the cubic capacity of their already enlarged brain cases.

John

Anonymous said...

How could Kinnear not accept this plum assignment?

It is the dream of every Living minister,I am sure.

We here in the States have all sorts of legends about our racial origins and Barry Fell with his book "America BC" runs pretty close to the truth.

We encourage Kinnear in his research and trust that Rod Meredith will give him financial support for same,and maybe a Sabbatical,as well.

Heinie

jdschroeder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

We would like to offer some suggestions for Pastor Penman.

He should write the Royal Archivist at Buckingham Palace for corroboration that Queen Elizabeth is indeed related to Zedekiah,the last king of Judah.

I am sure that John Keyser who has dealt with Trojan beginnings would be only too pleased to assist.

Perhaps Yair Davidy could offer some suggestions as well.His websites are chock-full of facts.

And lastly,Stephen Collins could be another valuable source of information.

Believer

Anonymous said...

"...it will put the books in the right order as well, which will no doubt cause many in the Christian world to start asking more questions about the Bible."


how on earth does the order of appearance affect anything?
it's a collection of books, does it matter which one comes ahead of another in the volume?

Anonymous said...

Living Church Of God should have released a paper by now about the scientific evidence for British-Israel origins.

We must ask why? Is it in the too-hard basket,or is it because they secretly know their teachings are baseless,and are used to extract money from the poor and mindless sheep who follow them.

Living seems not to have cottoned onto the real meaning of Matt 6:33,such is their paucity of true intellectual resources.Imagine if Living followed the command of Christ to leave the income up to him....they might starve because he might just not recognise Living as one of his own.

Robert

jdschroeder said...

jdschroeder said...

Humanity has two sources of knowledge: Nature and Revelation. Nature embraces all that can be known from the sciences, humanities, arts, etc. Revelation consists fundamentally of the Torah of Moses, with the rest of Holy Writ being added with Torah as the benchmark. When Christianity appeared, so did the haggling over whose Bible is THE Bible, whether Catholic, Protestant, Ethiopian, or what have you, with each of these bibles sharing one body of work, the canonical Hebrew Scriptures, and differing in content throughout the rest. Sigh.

Dr. Tabor is endeavoring to present a literal translation of an ancient Hebrew text, which, if truly inspired of God must be compatible with the fossil record, with Relativity, and with all the developing knowledge of the cosmos in its phenomenal grandeur. No such translation can compete with either the matchless prose of the KJV, or even the more accessible modern translations. The Tabor type of Bible is not so much about the marketplace as about giving Genuine Biblical access to serious students who lack Dr. Tabor's rich background in Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. He is not going it alone, by the way, and has enlisted men of the highest qualifications to critique his work every step of the way.

How does one reconcile a 6 billion year old earth, a 15 billion year old universe, and the slow development of life on earth, including that of man, with 6 precise days of creation? It cannot be done in King James English -- but it can be done by utilizing all the potential hidden in the ancient Hebrew text. This potential cannot be expressed in Shakespearean prose; there's simply too much there, including the extremely important jots and tittles.

Will Dr. Tabor's translation reveal the complete potential of the Hebrew text? Of course not -- but it will help immensely by supplying a rich dimension of textual potential that none of us has been able to access so easily, in the English language, before now.

Dr. Tabor deserves high praise for his endeavors. He is enriching all of us. Where we might disagree with his scholarship and opinions, America herself deserves the praise for insisting that we all have a right to be heard.

I need this new Bible, can't wait for it to reach the bookshelves.

Sat Sep 22, 10:07:00 AM NZST

Sat Sep 22, 10:22:00 AM NZST

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the newly formed Ambassador College could award NZ Senior Pastor, Kinnear Penman, a scholarship to enable him to research the link between ancient Israeli and modern British DNA.

The fruits of his scholarship would be considered groundbreaking, and he would receive,I am sure, plaudits from the religious establishment for his conclusions.

Who knows,as an aftermath of his paper,he could be awarded a chair at Ambassador,to pass his erudition and research on to bright and upcoming young minds.

It could be called the Herbert Armstrong Memorial Chair of Britam.

Sergio

Anonymous said...

"We would like to offer some suggestions for Pastor Penman...."


I have an idea:

Penman could spend tithe dollars (you don't seriously think this guy has a day job, do you?) trying to reconcile DNA evidence with Star Wars.

Paul

Jordan Potter said...

how on earth does the order of appearance affect anything?
it's a collection of books, does it matter which one comes ahead of another in the volume?


Is that a serious question? So, what order a person reads a collection of stories is unimportant, and has no effect on the overall impressions one gleans and the interpretations one might reach about the stories?

The Bible is not a set of encyclopedias, you know.

Of course, there is absolutely no way to prove what the "original order" of the biblical books was . . . assuming there ever was just one original order.

Jordan Potter said...

How does one reconcile a 6 billion year old earth, a 15 billion year old universe, and the slow development of life on earth, including that of man, with 6 precise days of creation? It cannot be done in King James English

It can't be done in Hebrew either.

But if it can be done in Hebrew, then it can be done in King James English too, or even modern English.

Anonymous said...

I suggested you check you diction.

That's hilarious. It's really funny to see someone so clueless posting here.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate that it has become very fashionable for former WCG members to blame HWA for every tragedy that has befallen them, and it will continue until death snatches them away.

Depraved indifference is a crime.

Anonymous said...

it has become very fashionable for former WCG members to blame HWA for every tragedy that has befallen them

Just as it became very fashionable for Scripture to blame evil on Satan the Devil.

Stingerski said...

B-B said:

Why would such a God, presumably far more intelligent than any human, leave a book behind to do His job for Him?

Very good question! And one I've been asking myself for years. You would think with all the technology that the Master of the Universe has he at least would leave us all a video, or something. And a machine or two to play it on.

Or, just as a safe guard against the greedy & lying priests, who would try to alter the tape, or translate it for us into another book and then destroy the machines, how about a YooTube presentation? That way we could all judge for ourselves as to what the video is telling us.

Hell, I'd even settle for a set of golden plates, ala Joseph Smith style. But the plates would need to be available to all scholars (something Peeping Joe never could produce) for inspection.

Instead, we have this collection of ancient books, written in a long dead language of various dialects, by diverse and unknown authors over several centuries, and we expect this to be the final say for all time on matters of ethics and religion. Yeah, like the guys say in that Guinness Beer commercial, "Brilliant!"

And not only don't we know what books are supposed to be in this sacred collection, we don't even know their original intended order (as if that really matters). Shoot, if we really wanted to get "authentic" here, we would be reading them from right to left, starting from the "back" cover.

Oops! I better not give the wacky cult masters out there any new ideas for "better" bible study.

Byker Bob said...

Stinger,

As you know, I was always the agnostic. But, you are a deist, and have a well-defined "Walton's Mountain" concept of God.

I've recently begun believing in God, once again, but believe that, like the wind, you ascertain where He has been working through the effects in people's lives. It doesn't seem to have a heck of a lot to do with legalism, or the Bible per se, either. God seems to help many of the people whom I'd diagnosed as being hopeless after attempting unsuccessfully to assist them myself.

As we both expected, this has nothing to do with the ACOGs or H-wA! I don't know where this new oddyssey is going to take me, but for the moment it is just nice not to feel like a lost soul. As a deist, you probably never felt totally lost, but I certainly did.
Hope all is well on Walton's Mountain!

BB

XCGMouse said...

If God left a videotape, what language should it be in?

And, wouldn't it still be an induction from effects - a videotape - to God's existence?

Samuel Martin said...

NB - Thanks for your post. Here I'll quote my father's book "Restoring the original Bible."

There is no doubt that the world has the complete Bible in its midst.
One of them is the beloved King James' Version published in 1611. There
have been many other complete versions produced over the last 100 years.
So, why do we need a “Restoring of the Original Bible”? The fact is,
there needs to be a drastic revision within all Bible translations and
versions (and that means all Bibles in existence no matter in what
languages they have been published). Truly, there is not a Bible on the
market today which follows the arrangement of the earliest manuscripts.
One might think that such a state of affairs could not exist, but it
does. Publishers have assiduously neglected to produce a complete Bible
which positions the books in the correct manuscript order. The outcome
has been a mass of Bible translations and versions which are literally
topsy-turvy in their design and arrangement.

One might at first glance dismiss this infraction as being of minor
consequence. But this represents a prime misjudgment when anyone looks
seriously at the issue. In truth, the Bible of the manuscripts has all
its divisions, parts and order of books in a symmetrical balance which
shows a harmonious story-flow from beginning to end. But theologians and
publishers have abandoned all attempts to restore this Bible to the
general public. Look at it this way. Suppose you bought a novel
containing 49 chapters which introduced the various characters and plot
in a progressive way from start to finish. Would it not be difficult to
understand what the plot was all about if, in the first 22 chapters,
chapter 16 followed immediately after chapter 6, and especially if the
chapters were not properly numbered? What then if chapter 22 were placed
after chapter 7, chapter 22 before 21, chapter 14 after 21, chapters 12
and 13 followed 14, chapter 18 positioned after 13, chapter 17 followed
8 and 9, chapter 20 after 10, and finally chapter 11 came after chapter
20? This would represent utter confusion. But if one reckons the
chapters of our hypothetical novel as being the books of the Old
Testament, this is the exact sequence we are saddled with in our present
Bibles.

Let's not stop with the Old Testament. Look at what has happened when we
add the 27 New Testament books. Return once more to the illustration of
our novel. It means that chapters 23 to 27 follow immediately after
chapter 11. Chapters 28 to 34 are found after chapter 44, while chapter
44 itself follows chapter 48, and chapters 35 to 43 are positioned after
chapter 27. This is further confusion.

Some might say, however, that a comparison of the Bible with a novel is
not proper. But this is exactly where the first mistake is made in
appreciating the manuscript order of the biblical documents. It will be
shown in this book that there is a definite weaving together of a single
story theme through the biblical books. And it is a remarkably
consistent account which often amazes people when they see it for the
first time. The only reason that such a homogeneous narrative has not
been recognized by most people today is because none of our published
Bibles has the books of the Old and New Testaments in the original
manuscript order. When the proper design is restored, a marvelous and
revealing series of connected subjects is seen running through the Bible
which illustrates a compatible and coherent account from beginning to
end. This book will reveal some of those amazing relationships which
exist between and among the various books. This information may well
prove to be an eye- opener to many students of the Bible—facts that have
never been realized before.

Other matters are considered in the body of this book. It will be seen
that the responsibility for canonizing the New Testament fell to the
apostles themselves. It was they who had the authority to write and
collect the various books of the New Testament, and that two apostles in
particular were given the special assignment of formulating the New
Testament into a complete and final canon. It will also be shown that
the original number of both the Old and New Testament books should be
reckoned as 49—not the 66 that we have in our modern Bibles. The present
enumeration reflects a numerical pattern which is very foreign to the
original. Indeed, some Bibles even have an extra eleven (and some
fourteen) books included in their contents. This divergence represents
an abandonment of the original number and arrangement of the books.

The subject of this book is almost like an adventure story—a story of
re-discovery. Yet, in actual fact, looking at the New Testament alone,
this book contains not one bit of new evidence (regarding the manuscript
order of the biblical books) that has not been known by New Testament
textual scholars for over a century and a half. It is an incredible
circumstance that most readers of the Bible are totally ignorant of this
evidence (and this includes most preachers, evangelists, priests and
even theologians). Such proof has long been in the hands of scholars who
have professionally dealt with the New Testament manuscripts, but even
here, not one attempt has been made to provide the English speaking
world with a complete Bible which follows the manuscripts of the Old and
New Testaments. It is even rare that the introductions to any English
version deem it necessary to inform the general public what the
manuscript order really is, and even then it is usually a brief and
inconsequential reference that the reader would hardly think
significant. The situation is best described as being in a sad state of
affairs. Indeed, in comparing the original manuscript arrangement of the
Old and New Testament books, our modern versions are in utter shambles.
This chaos in respect to the manuscript order of the biblical books
needs rectifying. It is time that the world be presented with the real
“Manuscript Version of the Bible.” Publishing such a work would provide
a proper canon of the Bible. The word “canon” means rule or standard.
But it is a fact that there is no version being published today that
resembles the canonical Bible of the manuscripts (and this includes the
most prestigious of the modern versions). But why not? Should not
Christians want to perpetuate the biblical canon devised by the men who
formed it? Yes, this is what the world desperately needs. Such a version
(the proper one) is long overdue. (Introduction to Restoring the Original Bible by Ernest Martin)

As for the correct order, my father advocates for the following order with lots of evidence.

Old Testament

this is the order that Christ advocated as "the
Scriptures" (Luke 24:44,45). The Hebrew manuscript order is as follows:

I. THE LAW (TORAH) 1) Genesis 2) Exodus 3) Leviticus 4)
Numbers 5) Deuteronomy II.

THE PROPHETS 6) Joshua and Judges [but reckoned as two separate books by the Jews after the second century] 7)
The Book of Kingdoms (Samuel and Kings) [but reckoned as two separate books by the Jews after the second century] 8) Isaiah 9) Jeremiah
10) Ezekiel 11) The Twelve (Hosea to Malachi) [always reckoned as one
book by the Jews]

III. THE HOLY WRITINGS (or THE PSALMS because it was the first book in the collection in this "Royal Division") 12) The
Psalms 13) The Proverbs 14) Job 15) Song of Songs 16) Ruth 17)
Lamentations 18) Ecclesiastes 19) Esther 20) Daniel 21)
Ezra-Nehemiah [reckoned as one book by the Jews] 22) The Book of
Chronicles [reckoned as one book by the Jews]

The New Testament

Here is the comment of Professor Caspar R. Gregory in A.D.1907. "The
order in which we place the books of the New Testament is not a matter
of indifference. Every Christian should be familiar with these books,
and should know precisely where to find each book. Every New Testament
should have the books in precisely the same order, the order of the
Greek Church, which in this case is of right the guardian of this
ancient literature [see Romans 3:1,2]. The proper order is, I think:
First, the Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Second, the Book
of Acts. Third, the Catholic Epistles: James, First and Second Peter,
First, Second, and Third John, and Jude. Fourth, the Epistles of Paul:
Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians,
Colossians, First and Second Thessalonians, Hebrews, First and Second
Timothy, Titus, Philemon. And fifth, the Book of Revelation ... The
Greek order is that which places the Epistle to the Hebrews between
Thessalonians and Timothy, and that is the order to which we should
hold. The Latin order [of Jerome] places Hebrews after Philemon. But we
must keep to the old order or weshall have the New Testament turned
upside down inconnection with every fancied discovery as to
authorship and date of books."

(Canon and Text of the New Testament, pp.467–469

Here are the comments of Professors Westcott & Hort in A.D.1881. "We
have followed recent editors [in their official Greek text of the New
Testament meant for scholars] in abandoning the Hieronymic order [the
arrangement of Jerome], familiar in modern Europe through the influence
of the Latin Vulgate, in favour of the order most highly recommended by
various Greek authority of the fourth century, the earliest time when we
have distinct evidence of the completed Canon as it now stands. It
differs from the Hieronymic [Jerome's] order in two respects. First, the
Acts are immediately followed by the Catholic Epistles. The connexion
between these two portions, commended by its intrinsic appropriateness,
is preserved in a large proportion of Greek manuscripts of all ages, and
corresponds to marked affinities of textual history. This connexion is
not sacrificed in the arrangement found in the Sinai manuscript and
elsewhere, by which the Pauline Epistles are placed next to the Gospels.
The Sinaitic order has the undoubted advantage of keeping together those
books of the New Testament which were most decisively invested with a
scriptural character in the earlier ages. But there is a manifest
incongruity in placing the Acts in the midst of the Epistles; and
moreover, since the choice lies between what are after all only rival
traditions, strong reasons would be needed to justify us in forsaking
the highest ancient Greek authority, in accordance with which the
Pauline Epistles stand after the Catholic Epistles. Secondly, the
Epistle to the Hebrews stands before the Pastoral Epistles [of Paul]. It
is certainly not satisfactory to ourselves personally to separate what
we believe to be genuine writings of St Paul from the bulk of his works
by an epistle in which we cannot recognize his authorship. But no
violence has, we trust, been here done to truth in deferring throughout
to the most eminent precedent, since the Epistle to the Hebrews is on
all hands acknowledged as in some sense Pauline, and St Paul's epistles
addressed to single persons [the four Pastoral Epistles: I & II Timothy,
Titus, Philemon] may very well be placed by themselves. We have
therefore been content to indicate the existence of three groups in the
table prefixed to the whole Pauline collection [the nine epistles to the
Seven Churches of Paul, the Book of Hebrews, and the Pastoral
Epistles]."

(Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek,
pp.320,321 words in brackets are mine) appendix two

These quotes are from Chapter One of Restoring the Original Bible.

Samuel Martin
Jerusalem Israel