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Showing posts with the label #Texts

The Textus Receptus: The first popular western Greek NT.

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The Greek New Testament of renaissance Christians… and conspiracy theorists. TEXTUS RECEPTUS'tɛks.təs rə'sɛp.təs, properly 'teɪk.stus reɪ'seɪp.tus, noun. The medieval western Greek New Testament, edited and first published by Desiderus Erasmus in 1516. (Latin for “received text.”)2. Any of the Greek NTs published by Erasmus’s successors before 1831; most often Stephanus’s 1550 edition.We don’t have the original Greek-language copies of the New Testament anymore. Wish we did; it’d be nice if Christians had preserved them. Then again Christians would wind up worshiping the books… about as much as we already do.But ancient Christians, like most ancient peoples, figured if you made copies and spread ’em around, that was just as good. And that’s what they did. They made copies, didn’t worry about the originals, and when the originals wore to pieces, no problem—they had lots and lots of backups! There are still thousands of ancient copies of the NT; it wasn’t just a best-sel…

Transliteration: Because in some languages, you’re illiterate.

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No offense, but if you can’t read their alphabet, you are illiterate. So here’s a quick fix. By now you’ve likely learned the bible wasn’t originally written in English. (Although good luck informing certain King James Only folks of this. Most of ’em know better, but there are some holdouts who still think God speaks in King James English.)The bible was written in three dead languages, languages nobody speaks anymore. The present-day versions of these languages are not the same. Languages evolve. Modern Hebrew uses western word order (subject-verb-object, “I go home”), and ancient Hebrew uses middle eastern word order (verb-subject-object “Go I home”). Plus the vocabulary’s way bigger, what with all the loanwords from Yiddish, English, German, Russian, and Arabic. Plus the pronunciation’s different, much like the differences between American English and British English. Modern Greek follows new grammatical rules. Neo-Aramaic speakers love to point out Jesus spoke Aramaic like them, bu…

The interlinear bible.

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For those who want the illusion of being able to read the original. INTERLINEAR BIBLEin.ter'lin.e.er 'bi.beln. Bible which presents the same text in different languages printed on alternate lines.First time I stumbled across an interlinear bible was back in high school. I was killing time in a Christian bookstore. (Remember those?) This one happened to have an interlinear Old Testament mixed in among the bibles. Never knew such a thing even existed, but I wanted it immediately: It had “the original Hebrew”—the Masoretic text of the scriptures, in a language I couldn’t read at all, ’cause I hadn’t even learned the alphabet yet. But its secrets were unlocked with a word-by-word translation, displayed beneath every Hebrew word. Looked like yea:
Acts 2.42-44 presented interlinear-style. Oak Tree SoftwareWanted to buy it immediately, but the sucker was expensive. (A lot of interlinear bibles are. Low demand, y’see.) Something like $80 in 1980s money.Ten years later I bought the NIV …

Why the Dead Sea Scrolls are such a big deal.

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Other than being our oldest copies of the Old Testament. Round 1947—most likely some years earlier—Muhammad edh Dhib, a Bedouin goatherd, was chasing a stray goat through Khirbet Qumran, ruins near the Dead Sea. Checking the nearby caves in case the goat was hiding in there, he threw rocks into the blackness to scare out the goat. Instead he heard a pot break. So he went in to check that out. He found pottery which contained scrolls written in first-century Hebrew.Figuring they were worth a sheqel or two, he sold them to an antiquities dealer. In November 1947, the dealer sold ’em to Eliezer Sukenik of Hebrew University. Word spread. Hundreds of Qumran caves were searched. Eleven were found to contain tens of thousands of scroll fragments, which altogether make up about 875 books.Popularly they’re called the Dead Sea Scrolls. Sometimes they’re called the Qumran scrolls. They’re the writings of an ancient religious commune in Qumran, Jews from Jesus’s day who considered themselves neit…

Textual variants.

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’Cause sometimes the bible’s oldest copies won’t agree. TEXTUAL VARIANT'tɛks.tʃ(əw.)əl 'vɛr.i.əntnoun Form or version of a document which differs in some respect from other copies or editions of the same document.Before the printing press was invented in the 1400s, books were copied by hand.Sometimes this was done carefully and conscientiously. The Masoretes, fr’instance, were Jewish scholars who wanted to be certain they got exact copies of the scriptures, with super-duper anal-retentive precision. So they invented a very careful procedure, including a system of checksums, to be sure every copy of the bible was an exact replica. It’s why, when you compare the first-century Dead Sea Scrolls with 10th-century copies of the Old Testament, you find astonishingly few differences. Dudes knew what they were about.Other times, not so much.Even when they knew this was a very important book. (Heck, back then most books were considered important. Hand-copying meant publishing was crazy …

The bible in “the original Greek”: The Septuagint.

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SEPTUAGINTsɛp'tu.ə.dʒɪntnoun. An ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament.[Septuagintal sɛp.tu.ə'dʒɪnt.əladjective.]When you read the New Testament, and one of the apostles quotes the Old Testament, most of the time they’re not translating it from the original Hebrew. They’re quoting a Greek translation.There wasn’t just one translation. Same as English versions of the bible nowadays, different translators had taken different shots at putting the Hebrew scriptures into Greek. Some Greek-speaking Jew in Jerusalem might put together something like a “King Jonathan’s Version,” or KJV; some Greek-speaking Jew in Egypt might’ve cobbled together an “Egyptian Standard Version,” or ESV; some curious gentile in Laodicea might’ve put together a “New Laodicean Translation,” or NLT… I could come up with more hypothetical reasons for these familiar initials, but you get the gist. But over time, copyists smooshed all these different Greek bibles together into one sorta-kinda-the-stand…