What is Christianity? How can we understand it better? What don't we understand?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by ObiWan506, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. DarthDogbert Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2004
    star 2
    During the days of Christ, there were two main versions of the OT Scriptures: Greek (Septuagent) and Hebrew. The Hebrew was considered to be the more accurate by the scribes, but the Greek was more popular among the common people. Jesus actually quoted from both in the gospels. Many times He would use the Greek, most likely because of its popularity and accessability. Other times He would use the Hebrew, especially where there was a conflict between the two versions. This tells me that God's word should be available in the common language without sacrificing accuracy, and that's what newer faithful translations do.

    While I predominately use the NKJV in preaching, I actually use many translations while studying. Some convey subtleties in meaning on certain passages that others do not. And of course, if I really want to get into the details, I start looking at the Greek.

    All that said, the most important thing to understand is that the differences between one actual translation and the next are minor, and can usually be resolved by an understanding of the context of the passage and the harmony of other passages.
  2. Jedi_Corin_Daan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2010
    star 3
    Good explanation. I would add that not every version of the Bible out there is a translation of the Greek texts. Some Bibles, like the Message and the Living Bible, are paraphrased versions taken from the English translations. The people who made these versions were trying to make the Bible easier to read. These can be interesting to read, but they are more likely to have errors than actual translations from the original Greek. So they are not as reliable when doing a study on various theological issues, since the paraphrase does not always carry the full original intent of the texts.
  3. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    DarthDogBert,

    You only answered half my question. The other half was "Do you think that people who go to a church that doesn't use the King James Version of the Bible are going to a 'bad' church and are therefore condemned?

    And I notice you use the New King James Version. The guys on the website/group I read insist on only using the old KJV as the New KJV has some minor variations in words.

    I have a copy of the Lord's Prayer translated directly from the Aramaic. It is quite different from the version most Christians have been taught. It is very interesting. It was given to me by one of the posters here, I think Jabbawocky. Correct me if I am remembering incorrectly.
    He also provided the video.

    Here is a sample of the prayer:


    The first line, which is usually translated as "Our Father who art in Heaven", actually means:
    "Father (AhWOON), the who-you-ARE,not-your-name-or-body (du-wush) is-manifest-and-apparent-here-and-everywhere(maYA)"

    So you can see the connection. But some words, like "du-wush", really had no adequate translation into Greek. And still might not be perfect translation in English.

    Also interesting to note:
    "Maya," in Aramaic, means the appearance of how things are manifest to us in the present.
    "Maya," in Sanskrit, is also a word which describes the fleeting and temporary nature of things as they appear to us.
    Both hold the same basic meaning.
    Aramaic and Sanskrit are both the oldest two written languages yet known in history. One gave rise to the Western religions, one gave rise to the Eastern religions.


    I'm going to try and find a true translation of the entire Lord's Prayer, as Jesus would have actually meant it in the original Aramaic. I remember hew saying the meaning of "vibration" is woven into a lot of the prayer. And find a video that has someone reciting it correctly in Aramaic, it really is quite beautiful.


    The video is quite beautiful. I don't know how to post links, but it's available on youtube.

    My main point is that since some of the words, even in this simple prayer, had no translatable equivalent in Greek, and that makes me question if any translation is really correct when compared to the original Hebrew/Aramaic.

  4. Jedi_Corin_Daan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2010
    star 3
    Kenobi,
    I hope you don't mind if I weigh in on those questions. That last statement brings up a good point. First I should point out that only certain portions of the New Testament were written in Aramaic originally. The rest was written in Greek. So translators don't have to worry about making an English translation of a Greek translation. Also, you are partly correct in wondering if any translation is really correct when compared to the original, because as you pointed out certain Greek and Aramaic phrases and sayings have no literal English equivalent. This is something that translators deal with a lot. For instance, one person was trying to translate the parable of the man who built his house on the sand into a native language, and the people didn't get it. If it had been translated literally they would not have understood the meaning because in that area, building in sand was the only way to make sure their huts didn't wash away in the rainy seasons. So sometimes that is something that you run into because of the differences in languages, cultures, and time periods. However translators are aware of this and work very hard to study the original intent and then translate that into an English equivalent (or whatever language they are working with).

    Going back to your other question, I would point out first that the Bible only claims that the original authors were inspired, not those who made translations later. Some would and have claimed that the KJV is the "inspired" translation. While it is a good translation, no translation can be said to be "inspired". Also, as good of a translation as the KJV is, it does have some errors in it. Most of these errors are small, but the point is that it is not a perfect translation. Those who worked on it in 1611 did not have access to some of the better copies of portions of the Bible that were discovered in later years. This does not mean that it is a false heretical document, just that it is not perfect.

    So no, I wouldn't say that someone who doesn't use the KJV is in danger of being a heretic or of not being saved.
  5. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    Thanks for the response. In the church I was raised in, we were taught that judging someone was a sin. So, to say that someone is using the wrong Bible because they use one you don't agree with is judging them. And to further state that they are damned is even worse.

    While the language of the KJV is quite lovely, it is archaic and can be confusing to someone who is used to less formal language construction.

    It's like the difference between a modern poet/playwright and Shakespeare.
  6. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I gained a new appreciation for the language of the KJV when I first started studying the scriptures in Spanish (as I was serving as a Spanish-speaking missionary for my Church).

    In reality, the language of the the KJV is the less formal form, albeit less common. In Spanish, what the KJV translates as "thee", "thou", "thy", and "ye", translates to the "tu" or "vosotros" forms (sorry I can't add the proper accents, but I'm on my work machine and such things are disabled). Those are the familiar or informal second person forms, rather than the more formal "Usted" or "Ustedes" forms. In English, those formal second person forms are the "you" (both singular or plural) form. While "you" has become the more common usage, grammatically speaking it is still the more formal.

    For me, that understanding highlights how we are supposed to have a personal, familiar relationship with God.

    Kimball Kinnison
  7. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    Right . . .

    Nothing in that teaches sola scriptura. St. Paul told St. Timothy that all scripture was good - but not that written scripture was the only written rule of faith.
  8. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    I go to the Holy Qurbono once a month in Aramaic.

    I would also like to point out that not only did the Holy Apostles speak Aramaic from their birth, they were all either fluent or proficient in Greek and certainly translated the prayer given to us by Christ himself into sufficient and appropriate Greek. The Our Father has been recited at the Liturgy from the beginning of the Church and there is no reason to think that the Greek translation is poor and that there is some mystical, "real" Aramaic version out there.
  9. Jedi_Corin_Daan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2010
    star 3
    Yeah, so, saying that anyone preaching a gospel other than the one in the Bible should be cursed does not, in face, mean that you can't add a few more things in... You will never find the term "sola scriptura" in the Bible, just like you will never find the word "trinity" in the Bible. That doesn't mean that the Bible does not address those issues. A consistent theme throughout the Bible is that it is the only Word of God and the final standard for all theological disputes.
  10. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    Okay, I found the entire prayer in Aramaic. Will post some now and some tomorrow. You can compare it with the "Our Father" we learned as children.


    O Cosmic Birther, from whom the breath of life comes,
    Who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.

    May your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.

    Your heavenly domain approaches.


    As you can see, this is much different from what we were taught.
  11. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Strictly speaking, as the Bible wasn't established in its current form until centuries after Christ's death, the Bible itself does not say that only what we currently call the Bible is valid.

    There are a variety of scriptural sources mentioned in the Bible that we don't have today, and I'm not talking about the Apocrypha, but actual lost scriptures. For example, Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 5:9 a previous epistle that he sent to Corinth. If that epistle were to be discovered today and authenticated, would it not be a valid source of scripture? Or would Paul's first epistle to Corinth (which we don't have) not be as authoritative as his second and third ones (which we do have)?

    The Bible might be a collection of scripture, but it doesn't claim to be the only source of scripture. In fact, it specifically references other works that we don't have, which suggests that there are lost scriptures that also contain God's word.

    Kimball Kinnison
  12. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    So, here's the rest of the Lord's Prayer for anyone who is interested. I believe that this is a direct translation from the original Aramaic into English without first having been 'walked thru' Greek.


    Let your Will come true in the universe (all that vibrates)
    As on earth (that is material and dense).

    Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily needs.
    Detach the fetters of faults that bind us,
    Like we let go the guilt of others.

    Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),
    But let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.

    From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act.

    The song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.

    Sealed in trust, faith and truth. (I confirm with my entire being.)


    Amen

    The second-to-last line reminds me of that recent song about King David finding the chord that pleased the Lord.

    One part I remember very well refers to standing before the Lord of Song with nothing save Alleluia (sp) on my tongue.

    There are subtle differences in the words and I think this version of the Lord's prayer is more meaningful that the shortened version they use in most churchs.

    And I learned the version that ends with "For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen."
  13. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    ...

    Utter crap. I go to a Church that uses Aramaic AS ITS LITURGICAL LANGUAGE.

    Our priest is getting a doctorate in Syriac - the written form of Aramaic. A later dialect, yes, but only as different as Vulgar Latin from Classical - if that, even.

    I can assure you - the Our Father, as they, the Antiochene Rite Christians (Maronites, Syriac, Chaldean, Malabar, and Malankaran) have prayed it in Aramaic for the last 2,000 years, is essentially equivalent in meaning to the Greek, Latin, and English translations, and have little, if anything, to do with your "translation".

    http://aramaicdesigns.blogspot.com/2007/06/o-father-mother-birther-of-cosmos.html

    This translation is only slightly more reliable than Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Breathings.

    And I think that you listened to the Leonard Cohen song or one of the covers, and did not actually read the Psalms.

    Mormons pointing this out to me was one of the things that started my journey to the Catholic Faith.
  14. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    What I think you're missing here is that there is a difference between "sola scriptura" and "sola biblia". The Bible firmly supports the idea that only scripture (sola scriptura) is a basis for doctrine. However, it doesn't support the idea that only the Bible (sola biblia) is a basis for doctrine, as the Bible (as a whole) wasn't compiled until centuries after it was written. Where it gets confusing is that there are many people who don't accept any scriptures (either written or passed down as oral tradition) other than the Bible, and so from their perspective sola scriptura and sola biblia are one and the same.

    It's a subtle difference, but it is an important one.

    Kimball Kinnison
  15. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter." - St. Paul

    Whether oral or written, it's still the Word of God.
  16. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    The question then becomes, how can you tell if something is the Word of God, and not Satan trying to deceive you?

    Today, you are almost 2000 years removed from Paul and his teachings. How do you know whether a claimed piece of oral tradition was actually taught by Paul or not? Simply saying "The Pope says it is", or "The Church says it is" isn't a logical response, because then you have to ask how they know whether or not it is, and why should you trust them.

    It's the same question as asking someone how do they know that the Bible is the Word of God? For many people, the answer to that is that the Bible says it is, but that doesn't really answer the question.

    Kimball Kinnison
  17. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    I'll respond to the post regarding the Lord's Prayer tomorrow. Right now, I'm trying to find out whose post had the original information in it.

    But, really, you should not use the word 'crap' when responding to another poster's posts.

  18. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    I'm sorry, I didn't mean your post.

    I meant the translation is utter crap. It's not only a poor translation, but an intentionally misleading fabrication.
  19. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    Obi-Zahn,

    I am trying to find out who originally posted the translation as it was posted in April of 2010, so that he/she can let me know where he/she found it. I have watched the video a few times.

    The reason I am so curious about translations being accurate is because my grandmother, who was born and raised in a tiny village very close to the Greek border, and did not learn English until she came to America, called the vacuum cleaner 'the machine that eats dirt' because there was no equivalent word in her language for 'vacuum cleaner.'

    It is very important that translations be as good as they possibly can be, especially in the case of religion, where people are willing to fight to the death to protect their sacred books.
  20. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I was the one who brought up the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic back on April 15th, 2010, in this thread.

    My original post:


    I don't remember the rest of her translation (the Sufi woman who learned and studies Aramaic), but it's not the exact same as the translation offered in the video I found (which I mostly posted because you can hear the actual Aramaic in it).


    The first line she taught, which is the only one I remember she taught, meant:
    "Father (AhWOON), the who-you-ARE,not-your-name-or-body (du-wush) is-manifest-and-apparent-here-and-everywhere(maYA)"


    versus what the video I found translated as:
    "O cosmic Birther, from whom the breath of life comes, who fills all realms of light, sound, and vibration"


    or commonly translated as:
    "Our Father, who art in Heaven"


    but in Aramaic sounds like:
    AhWOON du-wush-maYA



  21. aPPmaSTer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 23, 2004
    star 3
    I think the most important thing in ANY religion is to have a copy of the ORIGINAL message in its original language available along with all the translations. In Islam, we are all highly encouraged to learn Arabic and to read the Qur'an in its original form, not only because it's a lot more accurate, but also because it flows much better and sounds like poetry. Dubbing a song into another language usually makes it lose its beauty, so is the case with the Qur'an.

    This is why most Qur'anic translations include the original Arabic text.

    This, in my opinion, is mandatory if you want to preserve the meaning, as translators throughout the centuries will have different interpretations of different passages. And what is religion if not human interpretation of God's Word? However, it should be YOUR interpretation of God's word, not your interpretation of a translator's interpretation of God's Word. Naturally scholars are there to explore these meanings and guide us as to what they think their meanings are, but it's a lot different if a scholar explores the Hebrew or Arabic texts than if he skips right to the English version.
    Darth-Ghost likes this.