Talk:Bible Retranslation Project

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I admit that I am not as great a linguist, translator and biblical scholar as Andy is, so pardon my question, but when did "word" not mean "a short expression of a single concept, which can include a vulgarity or a falsehood"? From what I see, the issue at hand seems to be rather how you actually translate "Logos" (a.k.a. "the Word", as opposed to "a word"). If you just want to directly translate it to "Truth", that would sound plausible to me, but redefining "word" to really mean "Truth" is somewhat pushing it in my eyes.

But like I said in the beginning, this isn't exactly my special field of study, so I'm open for any source Andy or somebody else can show me to understand things better. --AlanS 15:04, 25 December 2008 (EST)

AlanS, the more you rely on silly sarcasm, the less likely you will be insightful. In response to your comment, the primary meaning of "word" in English at the time of its incorporation in translating John 1:1 was a "command" or series of speech sounds, not false or vulgar. Today its primary meaning in English is quite different from about 400 years ago, as in "he had a word with so-and-so" or "password".--aschlafly 17:07, 25 December 2008 (EST)
Aschlafly, the less you rely on belittling and dismissing other people and posts ("the more you rely on silly sarcasm, the less likely you will be insightful", "I'm not interested in wasting my time with someone suffering from evolution syndrome"), the more respect people will give you. I assume/hope you don't treat your students like this, so why your fellow editors? I came to this talk page to learn, not to get the wagging finger treatment from you. And I assumed that you, somebody who is going to retranslate the Word Of God, have some experience as a linguist, translator and biblical scholar - no sarcasm intended. Because otherwise, I'd seriously ask what you were thinking when you started this. No offense, but this is a task more talented people than you and I have to study years for, so the thought of somebody with no experience or training in this field translating the Bible makes me frown to say the least.
More on-topic, I find your explanation interesting, but I would welcome a source for your claim because I couldn't find any. I'm not here to doubt the you, but I want to verify it. Also, what is your explanation for the newer translations not having updated that word? --AlanS 08:27, 26 December 2008 (EST)
AlanS, don't rant on these pages. Contribute, or please leave.--aschlafly 08:39, 26 December 2008 (EST)

"Word" sounds better in my opinion. Also, which editions are you using as a source for your translating, the original Hebrew and Greek, or one of the many English versions? And how far do you plan on taking this? I personally find it superfluous, but since linguistically I am a prescriptionist, that may just be me.ENorman 22:49, 25 December 2008 (EST)

I don't think "Word" means the same to people anymore as it did a generation ago. As to your second sentence, all early manuscripts were in Greek, and the term used was "logos" as stated.
I think the table is merely scratching the surface. The English language is devolving quickly, and retranslation of many key terms is worth considering. This exercise itself is illuminating. I'm confident we've all learned something new just from reading the first three examples.--aschlafly 22:53, 25 December 2008 (EST)
But evolution isn't real, right? :)
Joking aside, I'll help you with my basic knowledge of linguistics if you honestly want it. Just want to avoid this degenerating into an exercise in Newspeak or playing with deeper meanings. ENorman 22:58, 25 December 2008 (EST)
Wow, that's bizarre: where did your comment on evolution come from? No, I'm not interested in wasting my time with someone suffering from evolution syndrome. If you have an open mind, then I do welcome your efforts; if not, then maybe Wikipedia is a better place for you.--aschlafly 23:05, 25 December 2008 (EST)


ASchlafly: The word "Logos" does not translate to truth. It is generally translated to "word, thought, principle, or speech." Good luck on rewriting the Bible! MReynolds 22:20, 25 December 2008 (EST)

Alternative Procedure

This project is quite ambitious, and generally, I'd say it is out of the reach of the high-school pupils you're addressing. Wouldn't it be more effective to write a commentary to the gold standard of Biblical translations, i.e., KJB, to explain its verses to the contemporary audience? The language of the KJB is so vigorous that any alteration just weakens it. Of course, I'm coming from a German perspective: It took a genius like Martin Luther to come up with a usable German translation for the Bible. He introduced numerous metaphors and proverbs into the German language which still live on. Granted, there are more modern translation - esp. the Einheitsübersetzung of the EKD (Protestant churches in Germany) and the German Conference of Catholic Bishops. But though it's more exact historically, it lacks the power of Luther's language. Another thought: The Bible in its old translations has inspired or at least influenced countless works of literature. This influence is more easily spotted using the traditional translations. BRichtigen 08:59, 26 December 2008 (EST)

BRichtigen, with all due respect, the greatest works throughout history have been produced by teenagers like my students. Moreover, many of my students likely have a better command of history and linguistics than you do. Try your hand at American_History_Midterm_Exam_-_Boys and see how you stack up.
Your put-down aside, your approach does not address the problem of how culture changes the meaning of modern terms used by all translations of the Bible. An accurate translation using terms "x, y, and z" becomes inaccurate when culture modifies the meaning of "x, y, and z" to listeners.--aschlafly 09:27, 26 December 2008 (EST)
"the greatest works throughout history have been produced by teenagers like my students" A closer examination of the greatest work of history (perhaps we could agree on a list of the TOP 100) will show that the statement is just wrong. In fact, the few cases of teenagers who excelled in their fields are so well known as they were rare. (There is only one Mozart...)
I'm sure that your students have a better command of American history than I do. And they should speak better English than I do. I don't know about their German, Latin, Dutch or French...
An accurate translation using terms "x, y, and z" becomes inaccurate when culture modifies the meaning of "x, y, and z" to listeners. A reasonable thing would be to explain the meaning of x, y, and z to the listeners as used in the translations.
The Greek originals were in use for a couple of centuries while Ancient Greek was still a living language. Somehow, no one so the necessity to rewrite the originals...
BRichtigen 09:41, 26 December 2008 (EST)
BRichtigen, you're welcome to start a list of the greatest works in history, but I'm confident most will be accomplished by people who were teenagers. Your point about x, y, z, is not clear; the retranslation is precisely designed to explain x, y, z in a more accurate way as culture changes language. Ancient Greek, which I have studied (have you?) was not as vulnerable to cultural changes to language as today's society is.--aschlafly 10:30, 26 December 2008 (EST)
I looked into the claim most of the greatest works in history were accomplished by people who were teenagers, and the more I research, the more absurd it becomes.
Take for instance mathematics, one of the fields were prodigies are said to be found quite often. Granted, there are accomplishments by young men (Abel, Galois), and Gauss constructed the regular heptadekagon age 18. But these examples are few, and most times, the works of the teenage mathematician will be overshadowed by the works of the matured one - if he is allowed to life long enough.
Another area: Music. Mozart is the child prodigy par excellence, and others tried to imitate his success (Beethoven's father lied about the age of his son...). But there are only few works of teenagers worth listening to...
Which accomplishments in history are you thinking about?
And my Greek is negligible, I'm afraid... --BRichtigen 11:07, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Addendum: Your class voted on the most influential person in American history. None of the top four made his most important attributions to American history as a teenager... BRichtigen 11:39, 26 December 2008 (EST)
This paper examines the age at which Nobel-winning economists published their important works, and also the ages at which they began their Nobel-related research. Table 1 lists the age at which they began their Nobel work; the youngest was 21, and the average was 29.3. They also briefly examine other fields: the mean "beginning age" for Nobel-winning physicists was 33.6, for chemists it was 31.6, and for physiology/medicine it was 33.2. Note that these are the ages when they began the work, not when the Nobel prize was awarded, as it often takes a number of years for the true importance of significant work to be recognised. BrianW 11:57, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Well, fine, but few or none of those examples would rank as the greatest "works" in history. And as to BRichtigen's comment above, the issue of the "most influential person" is obviously very different from the issue of the "greatest works."--aschlafly 12:22, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Could you give a few examples of the greatest works in history, preferably done by teenagers? Thanks, BRichtigen 15:58, 26 December 2008 (EST)

Unique and useful project

Whatever the claims of your distractors and critics be, I believe it is a great project and quite suitable to the intended audience of the encyclopedia. You are quite right in spotting that the meaning of words change as the language evolves or change. This is especially true for English which has become the universal language and the de facto official language of the internet.I wonder whether any one has done this before. It may also be beneficial to recruit some one with special expertise in this field. --MRain 12:06, 26 December 2008 (EST)

Thanks for your encouragement. I'm not aware of anyone else doing this (or anyone who has "special expertise" in the devolution of modern English). We welcome contributions to the project ... starting with yourself! I'll be adding new items as I discover them.--aschlafly 12:19, 26 December 2008 (EST)
I think that this is an interesting project, and a good opportunity to try and get across some of the wordplay in the original language that the KJV and most other translations just lack; things like Gen 15:2 or Num 21:9 to give a couple of simple examples - also there's very often the case when words are conflated - like the "kill" example - it's good you want to distinguish the more murderous הרג from נכה- there are a number of separate roots that get translated inconsistently as "kill" and "slay", but you'll perhaps want also to distinguish הרג from רצח and נכה from שחט? Also the names are often clumsily translated as footnotes, if at all, rather than elegantly worked in - sometimes the transliteration of a name is inferior to its translation (IMHO, naturally). Added to that, the KJV (which is very bad in this respect) is incredibly inaccurate when it comes to plants and animals, and it'd be nice to see a scholarly yet poetic translation that is sensibly consistent. I look forward to seeing the results of this! DeniseM 16:23, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Thanks for your insights, Denise, and I look forward to your contributions to this project!--aschlafly 16:26, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Sadly I'm rather busy these days (and my Greek is not much good compared to my Hebrew, and my Aramaic is near non-existent), but I'll try and make some helpful suggestions. Do you mind if I add my twopennyworth to the project page, as far as examples of things I'd like to see included or avoided? I'm not necessarily always able to talk with reference to the KJV, and my interests (as you'll have gathered) are linguistic, aesthetic, and exactitude-focused rather than centred around political considerations. DeniseM 16:33, 26 December 2008 (EST)

Divine Right

Sorry if I offended with the Divine Right translation. My intent was to say that only Christ has the ultimate authority to rule, not to suggest that claims of Divine Right by kings and despots had and validity. QWest 14:19, 26 December 2008 (EST)

Bearing arms

The text reads: "In Biblical times, as today, the bearing of arms to defend ones family and society was the hallmark of civilisation."

First, I corrected the British spelling in compliance with the MoS. Second, this description of the culture of arms is against the evidence, at least as far as the Greeks. In "History of the Peloponnesian War," Thucydides spoke of wearing arms as a custom of the barbarians, and waxes poetic about the lack of necessity of bearing arms in Greece:

And even at the present day many of Hellas still follow the old fashion, the Ozolian Locrians for instance, the Aetolians, the Acarnanians, and that region of the continent; and the custom of carrying arms is still kept up among these continentals, from the old piratical habits. The whole of Hellas used once to carry arms, their habitations being unprotected and their communication with each other unsafe; indeed, to wear arms was as much a part of everyday life with them as with the barbarians. And the fact that the people in these parts of Hellas are still living in the old way points to a time when the same mode of life was once equally common to all. The Athenians were the first to lay aside their weapons, and to adopt an easier and more luxurious mode of life.

Should I correct it?-AlexanderM 15:56, 26 December 2008 (EST)

The Greeks believed in false Gods. Surely the correctness of Judaeo-Christian beliefs is obvious? Also, your reference to 'improper' spellings is unnecessary. Bugler 16:00, 26 December 2008 (EST)
You know I agree with you on that first point Bugler, but I don't think their being pagans affects their beliefs towards weapons. And I'm sorry, I didn't mean "improper" in the pejorative: it's just that the Manual of Style says not to use British spellings.-AlexanderM 16:01, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Alex, I'm not that hung up about the spellings so if you wish to copy-edit go ahead. As for the other thing, how about 'hallmark of Judaeo-Christian civilization'? Bugler 16:07, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Good idea! I'll change it, thanks Bugler. Good to see you again.-AlexanderM 17:47, 26 December 2008 (EST)

Kill vs Murder

One of the differences cites Ex. 20:13 and the clarification is to use "murder" instead of "kill". I agree with this clarification. I use the KJV with explanatory notes from the LDS church and the reference for Ex. 20:13 for the word "kill" says in an alternate translation from the Hebrew it means "murder". --DeanStalk 15:59, 26 December 2008 (EST)

Wow, I never knew that. By the way, Dean, does the standard LDS Bible use the KJV plus explanatory footnotes?--aschlafly 16:27, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Yes, it's a KJV with explanatory footnotes. The title page says it's the "Authorized King James Version with explanatory notes and cross references to the standard works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". There are also footnotes and appendix referring to the "JST" which is the Joseph Smith Translation. These are excerpts from the Prophet Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible. --DeanStalk 16:43, 26 December 2008 (EST)


The entry is blatantly false. You have to look it up. You cant take someone's word for it. Just because it sounds interesting does not make it true. see here. --Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 17:00, 26 December 2008 (EST)

Your link does not explain the meaning of the Greek term, but only its view of the Biblical meaning.--aschlafly 17:05, 26 December 2008 (EST)
What about this and this and this? --Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 17:12, 26 December 2008 (EST)
The problem here is that the statement is being assumed true, even though there is no reason to believe that it is, aside from the claim of one user who has agreed to the removal of the item. --Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 17:21, 26 December 2008 (EST)
The underlying insight is promising, given the very different nature of the "rich" then compared to now. Improvement rather than censorship is the better approach here. My research reveals that the Greek term really means "fully supplied,"[1] as in being pampered or lazy.--aschlafly 17:33, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Your source is a blog. I gave 4 separate sources that are greek lexicons. Which do you think is more reliable? --Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 17:40, 26 December 2008 (EST)
a footnote to the CP commandments says "Sources should be authoritative works, not merely published opinions by others."--Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 18:09, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Also, Aschlafly, while I share your concern with CPAdmin1's edits, I have to point out that he's right, it's not censorship to remove information because you think it's incorrect. Censorship requires (1) state or state-like action, and (2) removal of information (3) for subjective, viewpoint-discriminatory reasons. Even if he's wrong, it's assuming bad faith to call his deletions censorship.-AlexanderM 17:49, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Someone please provide a linguistic source that backs up the claim, or I will remove it. --Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 18:50, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Having checked in my Liddell & Scott, I think it's safe to remove it pending a scholarly source that supports the variant reading. This is a wiki, we can always put it back if more research turns up such a reference. DeniseM 18:59, 26 December 2008 (EST)


What is the planned translation of the tetragrammaton? In English translations it's often been rendered as 'Lord', sometimes with all-caps, based on the Jewish custom of the pronunciation "Adonai", used to avoid saying the name; others use YHWH/YHVH/JHWH based on the unvowelled consonants; others go with "Jehovah" based on a Latin form, fairly discredited now, I understand. Still others try and capture the "to be" root of it, opting for "the one who is" or "the eternal". Thoughts? I personally prefer one of the latter forms, though I think there is room for innovation here! DeniseM 17:46, 26 December 2008 (EST)