King James Bible - the accuracy debate.

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Silas, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    (The above citations are available at Michael Marlowe's Bible Research.)

    I found it odd that it was only after I started treating religious studies as something that deserved to be taken seriously that I found out the KJV fetish was bogus. On the one hand, it's almost surprising that the least-educated Biblical views in American society (often called "fundamentalist" in a derogatory sense) use the most convoluted English-language expression of the Bible possible. To the other, if you're going to bite off more than you can chew, do so with grandeur.

    I'm so embarrassed, though. While I was looking up the above pages, I hopped over to look up a page that I had forgotten about, at the same site, dealing with the NASB, which is my paper-copy Bible for research. I use various translations online, but mostly RSV. I've been confusing the histories of the NASB and the RSV. Whoops.

    The problem, though, can be expressed by looking at the NASB and RSV:

    From the same website:

    It would seem that the accuracy, on the one hand, and the gravity of variation, to the other, are the stuff of interpersonal politics. For instance, whether the RSV actually violates Hebrew seems a gray area, although there is certainly an argument to be had regarding stylistic updates for modern vernacular. However, perhaps conversely, the KJV suffers for being archaic. (cf "Defects" discussion of "forthwith" and "by and by".) Flip a coin.

    More telling is the issue of contention between the RSV and NASB: Should the Old Testament contradict the New? (cf. On "The Revised Standard Version")

    To go full circle on this digression, the New Revised Standard Version, which replaced the RSV, which in turn held only 5% marketshare at best when it was replaced, is less literal than the oft-lamented RSV, but more literal than the NIV (cf. On the "New Revised Standard Version").

    And yet the NRSV is a further step away:

    In short, it seems there's much debate to be had about whether or not the Old Testament should be treated in its own historical context, or presumed to be a natural precursor for the New Testament. By the former, variation and even contradiction between the two scriptures is acceptable, and even expected. By the latter, though, it is problematic.

    Curiously, the question plays to accommodate that same bloc of Christians I mentioned earlier. It is an issue of simplification: some Christians presume that there must necessarily be complete harmony between the testaments, and that presumption is simply unacceptable.

    For centuries, many Christians have looked past the arrhythmia of the Old Testament, the ministry of Christ, and the Pauline evangelization. Much of the problem comes from trying to manage the detail of discordant testaments that are supposed to be in complete agreement. The authors of the Old Testament didn't write as part of the Christian experience, the Jews of Christ's day obviously rejected the ministry, and today's Jews don't recognize that continuity else they would be Christians. We have no reason at all to expect complete harmony between Hebrew and Christian testaments. Only the Christians have a stake in establishing that continuity.

    It's hard to find mention of the presumption in the King James Version; such a presumption does not seem to be an issue until the 20th century. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems the issue only came up after someone dared consider the Old Testament in its own context.

    Generally speaking, I consider the presumption that the Old and New Testaments must necessarily be in harmony a strike against any given Biblical consideration that might require it. If virgins and forthwith are important enough contextual considerations to argue about, what of the fundamental presuppositions to which a translation is expected to agree?


    Marlowe, Michael D., ed. "Bible Research: Internet Resources for Students of Scripture". See
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  3. Silas asimovbot Registered Senior Member

    tiassa, thank you for joining this debate with excellent reference material.

    As might have been noticed from my other posts on the Bible I am quite exercised by the problems of Isaiah 7:14 myself. I had noticed that problem with the one translation rendering the "young woman" already with child.

    A book I have read recently is Nine Questions About Judaism, a book written for Jews and Gentiles to explain some of the misapprehensions that people have about Judaism. There's a section on the difference between Judaism and Christianity that highlights the use made of messianic prophecy from Scripture in order to justify belief in the Christ, and Isaiah 7:14 is a case in point. The authors, as Jews, are anxious to point out (as I have done previously on this forum) that in the context of the whole of Chapter 7, any messianic interpretation is simply unfounded.

    One thing that is not mentioned in this repudiation of the Christian interpretation of Isaiah, however, is that the originators of the interpretation were themselves Jews, and it was Jews at the time of Christ who spent a lot of time taking individual lines of Scripture out of context in order to justify their own Messianic expectations of being freed from the Roman hegemony.

    Back later, my time has run out.
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  5. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

    M*W: There are no accurate versions of the Bible, including the originals (if there were originals). It's all myth based upon human stories about our solar system. Only the names have been changed to delude us as humanity immemorial has called it history.
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  7. Huwy Secular Humanist Registered Senior Member

    Thankyou medicine woman, thats exactly what i was saying.

    Also, the current bibles have been translated through at least 4 or 5 different languages.

    Even so, as they were written thousands of years ago, some of what they say doesn't apply to today's world.
  8. Huwy Secular Humanist Registered Senior Member

    For example:

    from "2 kings 6"

    28 Then the king said to her, "What is troubling you?" And she answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.' 29 "So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, 'Give your son, that we may eat him'; but she has hidden her son."

    Yes! Son eating!

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    Also some tips on farming and fashion!:

    Deuteronomy 22

    10 " You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. 11 " You shall not wear a garment of different sorts, [such as] wool and linen mixed together.
  9. Jenyar Solar flair Valued Senior Member

    A point very often overlooked is that most reforms (which leads to the perception of disharmony) happen intratestamentally and not intertestamentally. The prophets and faithful kings weren't contesting the consistency of their religion, but the inconsistency of its application! And there is little doubt of a heilsgeschichte - a salvation histroy - of how people come to new conclusions within their religious context.

    The messianic expectation is just one example. The is little doubt that Jews did read various texts messianically. Maimonides' twelfth principle of Jewish faith is the expectation of the messiah. They got this expectation from the Hebrew Bible, as did the first century Christians. How it pointed to him, and exactly who it pointed to was open to interpretation within its boundaries. Joseph (Genesis 37-41) and Moses (Exodus 1-12) were both initially rejected by Israel, and who can forget that even the great R. Akiba was wrong about Bar Kochba being the Jewish messiah. For others, wikipedia has a list of them. They were certain about all these people, but they are certain that Jesus was not? (See also Messianic Texts at Qumran for examples of how the Bible was interpreted messianically before the Christian era.)

    So I agree with tiassa: assuming that there must be complete harmony between the testaments in all areas is as unfounded as assuming there is complete harmony within the testaments. Everything is never known from the beginning; knowledge is built upon sure foundations. Considering the Old Testament within its historic context is by no means new, and it's not such a threatening concept as conservatives fearfully imagine.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2005
  10. anonymous2 Registered Senior Member

    Are we sure R. Akiba was wrong about Bar Kochba being the Jewish Messiah?

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    Here's a joke I found on the website:

    An old joke, but for the new people...

    Jew: If Jesus was the Moshiach, our Rabbis would have know. Rabbi Akiva, the greatest of his generation never erred in such things and he never mentioned such a name even once!
    Christian: Well he made a mistake! After all he believed that Bar Kochba was the Moshiach and he was wrong!
    Jew: He wasn't wrong. Why would you say such a thing?
    Christian: Well he was killed, the Temple was never built, and the Jews dispersed.
    Jew: And you have a problem with that?
    Christian: Of course! It's obvious!

    I checked out the link provided by Jenyar, and here is an excerpt that I find interesting, concerning 11QMelchizedek:

    ..."and the messenger is the Messiah of the Spirit, concerning whom Daniel said, [Until an anointed one [Messiah] a prince] (Daniel 9:25)

    So, all of the words which would actually relate to Daniel 9:25 specifically are assumed, apparently. It could have just as easily been a reference to Daniel 7:13-14, the Son of Man reference, right? "Coming with the clouds" seems like it could go with the idea of "the messenger", doesn't it? I think even Jews presently think that's a reference to the Messiah, although I think the translation is different from a Christian version.

    Personally, I've yet to see any actual evidence that Daniel 9:24-27 even existed before Jesus. I'm not saying it didn't. But I've yet to see it. From my understanding, that part of Daniel was not found at Qumran. I know the NT makes mention of the "abomination of desolation", but this reference, to me, seems to be to Daniel 11:31 and/or 12:11, because Daniel 9:24-27 doesn't say "abomination", while Daniel 11:31 and 12:11 actually says "abomination that maketh desolate".
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2005
  11. Silas asimovbot Registered Senior Member

    Well....... it has to be said, I've seen a lot of funnier Jewish jokes than that....

    Actually one of the very first anti- animal cruelty statutes enacted.

    As a matter of fact there is generally no doubt that everything included in the Seputagint predates Jesus by at least 100 years, and that includes everything in the commonly accepted Bible Old Testamen and the Apocrypha.

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