Buckle your seat belt… Its a story that either will upset your faith or affirm your faith!
Last week… from ancient story to sacred text Tonight… preserving and translating the text
Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures are considered the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and Gods Word to you.
But Questions Remain!!! How do we define the Scriptures? We have no autographs of the writings of the authors The printing press wasnt used in the west until the fifteenth century Can we trust the copies of copies of copies? When they were translated, can we trust the translations? How do we know which ones are best?
Copies of Copies of Copies We have no autographs Copying of texts in the ancient world was a cumbersome task which led to numerous mistakes Copies were made by single scribes or in a room with a reader and multiple scribes Some changes were accidental… others were made to clarify or perfect a text
The Dead Sea Scrolls Discovered in 1947 in the desert near Qumran near the Dead Sea Written in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Nabataean, the scrolls date from fourth century BC to third century AD The majority of texts found are non- Biblical, however 22% of the Hebrew Bible has been found
The Dead Sea Scrolls Previous to this, the oldest Hebrew text of the Hebrew Bible dated to the tenth century AD One of the most important finds is a complete text of the Isaiah dating from the first century BC
New Testament Texts The oldest fragment of NT writing, known as P52, is 3.5 inches x 2.5 inches It contains a portion of John 18:31 on one side and John 18:37 on the other Usually dated from around 120 AD, it was found in Egypt in 1920
New Testament Texts P52 is one of over 5,800 Greek texts, 10,000 Latin texts, and 9,300 texts of other ancient languages. There are an estimated 400,000 variations among these texts! Texts are catalogued by manuscript construction (papyrus, paper, etc.), by style of writing, and by content of the text
Two Questionable Texts John 7:53-8:12 – The woman caught in adultery Found in no early transcripts Uses words and phrases alien to the rest of the Gospel Written in a style unlike rest of the Gospel
Two Questionable Texts The Final Twelve Verses of Mark ( they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them;) Found in no early transcripts Uses words and phrases alien to the rest of the Gospel Written in a style unlike rest of the Gospel Without them the story ends abruptly ( they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.)
Textual Criticism The 19 th and 20 th Centuries gave rise to a new school of Biblical studies ~ Higher, or Historical Criticism This method seeks to determine the most original text possible
Textual Criticism External Evidence Which text is oldest? Where is the text from? Is the text part of a group which is considered reliable? Internal Evidence Does it use language and express views common to the rest of the text? Does it seem to be a mistake? (a word left out) Is it more difficult than other texts?
Translations The Latin Vulgate Late fourth century Utilized best available texts of the day Widespread use made it the most important text of the Bible in western Christianity By 16 th century it was officially proclaimed as the official version of the Bible for the Roman Catholic Church
English Translations Wycliffe Bible Fourteenth century translation Based on the Vulgate Intended to be heard since most people couldnt read After his death the church declared him a heretic and exhumed his body and burned it
English Translations The Reformation and Printing The desire for Scripture and the availability of printing prompted a flood of translations The earliest and most famous was the Tyndale Bible (c.1525) Based on early Greek manuscripts, Luthers German translation, and the Vulgate Burned at the stake in 1536 as a heretic
English Translations The Use of Jehovah Tyndale introduced the word to English language as Gods name. The Hebrew text takes the consonants of YHWH (LORD) and adds the vowels of Adonai (lord) to make YaHoWaH, or Jehovah!
English Translations King James Version After Tyndale, a number of English translations emerged In 1604, King James I authorized a translation to become the definitive English translation Based on Greek, Hebrew, and Vulgate texts, it draws heavily on Tyndales work Enormously influential in the development of the English language
English Translations The Revised Standard Version Following KJV, there were numerous other English translations, but none rivaled KJV until RSV in 1950s Utilized modern scholarship for latest Greek and Hebrew text Other than references to God, used common pronouns and verb forms ( you did instead of thou didst)
English Translations Isaiah 7:14 controversy of RSV Most ancient Hebrew text uses Hebrew word almah – a young woman shall conceive LXX translated Hebrew into Greek with Greek word parthenos – a virgin shall conceive KJV used the LXX and translated it virgin RSV used the Hebrew and translated it young woman
Recent Years Translations or Paraphrase? Translations are based on Greek and Hebrew texts and attempt to be faithful to the original languages Paraphrases are loose translations in which the authors interpretation and style makes the text more readable
Recent Years Well Known Paraphrases J. B. Phillips (1958) Good News for Modern Man (1966) The Living Bible (1971) The Message (1993-2002) – considered a cross between paraphrase and translation – an idiomatic translation of ancient texts
Recent Years Well Known Translations The New International Version (1978) – considered scholarly but not formal The New Revised Standard Version (1989) – uses gender neutral language in translating Todays New International Version (2005) – uses gender neutral and more modern language The NRSV and TNIV ended printing of RSV and NIV
A Final Word Through editing of ancient writings, changes in various manuscripts, twists and turns of dozens of translations, through the power of the Holy Spirit, when we read these words, we encounter and are encountered by God.