I really wonder….

…how some people can take each and every word of the bible so literally when they aren’t even reading it in the language it was written…

With any book, the person translating it has to use their judgment and make certain decisions and concessions on how best to convey something that doesn’t translate well. To take a translation as the literal word of God is ludicrous to me since that is really the word of man, and thus, the person would then be worshiping a false idol and, if the 10 commandments have any truth to them, going to hell.


On this day:

In 2007 – My favorite video games
In 2005 – Hangover

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56 Comments on “I really wonder….”

  1. damedini says:

    Yeah. I’m always amused when the thumpers go on and on about the word of the lawrd, which, really, is the word of umpty dozen translators (unavoidably influenced in their translation by their own beliefs and experiences – really, a very slight error in the exact translation of a word 1,000 years ago could have such a huge difference.) in several languages, and even latin has changed somewhat in the last 2,000 years.
    Also, much of the new testament was written by a man with anti-woman biases which are throughout everythign he wrote. The historical Jesus did not have these biases.
    I was actually thinking of this the other day, wondering what word was used in the original writings that is translated as sin today. What did that word actually mean? I can’t imagine that it had the exact meaning as we give sin today.

  2. damedini says:

    Yeah. I’m always amused when the thumpers go on and on about the word of the lawrd, which, really, is the word of umpty dozen translators (unavoidably influenced in their translation by their own beliefs and experiences – really, a very slight error in the exact translation of a word 1,000 years ago could have such a huge difference.) in several languages, and even latin has changed somewhat in the last 2,000 years.
    Also, much of the new testament was written by a man with anti-woman biases which are throughout everythign he wrote. The historical Jesus did not have these biases.
    I was actually thinking of this the other day, wondering what word was used in the original writings that is translated as sin today. What did that word actually mean? I can’t imagine that it had the exact meaning as we give sin today.

  3. How many different translations are there of the Bible today? Each one says something different.

  4. How many different translations are there of the Bible today? Each one says something different.

  5. agrrlswrrld says:

    it’s not just that. It has been translated over thousands of years based on each translation (in many cases).
    The funny thing is that academics try not to do this with literature (though it has happend with biblical translation)
    It’s funny you should write this. I started writing a paper yesterday on the misrepresentation of females in the book of genesis (as a way to assume male control)- not that you needed to know that (it’s certainly not exciting!)

  6. agrrlswrrld says:

    it’s not just that. It has been translated over thousands of years based on each translation (in many cases).
    The funny thing is that academics try not to do this with literature (though it has happend with biblical translation)
    It’s funny you should write this. I started writing a paper yesterday on the misrepresentation of females in the book of genesis (as a way to assume male control)- not that you needed to know that (it’s certainly not exciting!)

  7. shesaid says:

    We actually can be certain that the English translations we are reading are quite accurate. Where do you get the idea that they are not? Our current translations are based off of texts that are in the original languages, not one off of the next off of the next. They are reviewed by numerous scholars (secular and non-secular) prior to publication to ensure accuracy. Also, many Bibles include footnotes that specify areas where the text is unclear or disagreed upon so the reader can deal with these passages as they would like.

    • tianadargent says:

      I never said the translations were based on translations.
      What I’m saying is that no language can be perfectly translated into another and that the translations would vary depending on who would do them.
      I also think that even when you are looking at an English version for example, without even thinking of how it was translated, much of what you get from it can be interpreted in many ways. I know that when I read certain passages from my French new testament I got a totally different impression than from my English one.
      That alone causes me to believe that taking each word literally instead of trying to see the greater message is problematic.

      • shesaid says:

        Then this:
        To take a translation as the literal word of God is ludicrous to me since that is really the word of man, and thus, the person would then be worshiping a false idol and, if the 10 commandments have any truth to them, going to hell.
        is taking it too far.
        Also, all of the translations vary slightly in how they are worded, but are communicating the same thing. Have you read something in French and read something in English and got two completely different meanings? It is still the same message and isn’t conning someone into worshiping a false idol.

        • tianadargent says:

          There I was just getting cheeky. Following my train of thought:
          -The bible is written by man ( I think this is undisputed) and man is an imperfect being, thus inaccuracies can occur.
          -Translations are done by man, the nature of a translation renders it impossible to convey precisely every single original meaning
          -thus taking what is written in the bible as “100% exactly what God said” absolutely seems ludicrous to me because to me, what’s in the bible is “100% exactly how man interpreted what God said” not only in the original writings but again with each translator.
          I’m not saying the differences I’ve noticed (back in high school when I went to a French school) between French and English were as different as one saying the sky is blue and the other saying it’s green. But, in the way they translated, the same passages show emphasis to different parts. I wish I had my old books in front of my to illustrate but it’s been at least 10 years since I’ve seen my French one.

        • tianadargent says:

          There I was just getting cheeky. Following my train of thought:
          -The bible is written by man ( I think this is undisputed) and man is an imperfect being, thus inaccuracies can occur.
          -Translations are done by man, the nature of a translation renders it impossible to convey precisely every single original meaning
          -thus taking what is written in the bible as “100% exactly what God said” absolutely seems ludicrous to me because to me, what’s in the bible is “100% exactly how man interpreted what God said” not only in the original writings but again with each translator.
          I’m not saying the differences I’ve noticed (back in high school when I went to a French school) between French and English were as different as one saying the sky is blue and the other saying it’s green. But, in the way they translated, the same passages show emphasis to different parts. I wish I had my old books in front of my to illustrate but it’s been at least 10 years since I’ve seen my French one.

      • shesaid says:

        Then this:
        To take a translation as the literal word of God is ludicrous to me since that is really the word of man, and thus, the person would then be worshiping a false idol and, if the 10 commandments have any truth to them, going to hell.
        is taking it too far.
        Also, all of the translations vary slightly in how they are worded, but are communicating the same thing. Have you read something in French and read something in English and got two completely different meanings? It is still the same message and isn’t conning someone into worshiping a false idol.

    • tianadargent says:

      I never said the translations were based on translations.
      What I’m saying is that no language can be perfectly translated into another and that the translations would vary depending on who would do them.
      I also think that even when you are looking at an English version for example, without even thinking of how it was translated, much of what you get from it can be interpreted in many ways. I know that when I read certain passages from my French new testament I got a totally different impression than from my English one.
      That alone causes me to believe that taking each word literally instead of trying to see the greater message is problematic.

    • agrrlswrrld says:

      some do, some don’t. The point is that language evolves. 2 scholars can translate the same piece and depending on their use of a particular ancient greek word (which much of the original text of the new testament is written). That language has changed immensly, which is why even today scholars are going back and re-translating the same pieces. There is much debate between scholars about the translations of single words in some of those texts.

    • agrrlswrrld says:

      some do, some don’t. The point is that language evolves. 2 scholars can translate the same piece and depending on their use of a particular ancient greek word (which much of the original text of the new testament is written). That language has changed immensly, which is why even today scholars are going back and re-translating the same pieces. There is much debate between scholars about the translations of single words in some of those texts.

  8. shesaid says:

    We actually can be certain that the English translations we are reading are quite accurate. Where do you get the idea that they are not? Our current translations are based off of texts that are in the original languages, not one off of the next off of the next. They are reviewed by numerous scholars (secular and non-secular) prior to publication to ensure accuracy. Also, many Bibles include footnotes that specify areas where the text is unclear or disagreed upon so the reader can deal with these passages as they would like.

  9. redaryl says:

    It’s not just in the translation either. Huge chunks of it were changed and removed by several leaders throughout history. I completely agree with you. It’s ridiculous.

  10. redaryl says:

    It’s not just in the translation either. Huge chunks of it were changed and removed by several leaders throughout history. I completely agree with you. It’s ridiculous.

  11. janaekailey says:

    Which is why they’re called Fundamentalists.
    I learned how to read and write Hebrew and Greek in seminary, and a lot of it has to do with the one who’s reading it (it’s not so clear “what/how” they mean it, because we don’t fully understand their cultural context).

  12. janaekailey says:

    Which is why they’re called Fundamentalists.
    I learned how to read and write Hebrew and Greek in seminary, and a lot of it has to do with the one who’s reading it (it’s not so clear “what/how” they mean it, because we don’t fully understand their cultural context).

  13. clivec says:

    People construct many layers of interpitation on faith teachings. I find it endlessly fascinating.

  14. clivec says:

    People construct many layers of interpitation on faith teachings. I find it endlessly fascinating.

  15. rachaeldoss says:

    AH! I just had this conversation with Ben tonight!!!!!

      • rachaeldoss says:

        It was slightly different – we were discussing some of the Republican candidates for president, and how a lot of really bible-belty states voted for Mike Huckabee, who is a former evangelical Baptist preacher because John McCain is “too close to the democrats” on some issues that are so close to their hearts (don’t ask me what, I know he’s pro-life, and as far as I know that’s all they really care about) and I just sort of got irritated at what “they” consider important issues for the country: Cater to their needs as they are the only ones living in the manner of the Lord, but of course, they aren’t, because I don’t know a single person who follows what’s in the bible to the letter, and so I said “If they are going to claim that the bible should be read literally, I want them to all start living that way or shut-up.”
        I guess we didn’t so much have a conversation about it as I had a rant on the topic :-/

      • rachaeldoss says:

        It was slightly different – we were discussing some of the Republican candidates for president, and how a lot of really bible-belty states voted for Mike Huckabee, who is a former evangelical Baptist preacher because John McCain is “too close to the democrats” on some issues that are so close to their hearts (don’t ask me what, I know he’s pro-life, and as far as I know that’s all they really care about) and I just sort of got irritated at what “they” consider important issues for the country: Cater to their needs as they are the only ones living in the manner of the Lord, but of course, they aren’t, because I don’t know a single person who follows what’s in the bible to the letter, and so I said “If they are going to claim that the bible should be read literally, I want them to all start living that way or shut-up.”
        I guess we didn’t so much have a conversation about it as I had a rant on the topic :-/

  16. rachaeldoss says:

    AH! I just had this conversation with Ben tonight!!!!!

  17. metahara says:

    it was written 300 years after Christ died. It has been translated so many times it isn’t anywhere near what it was in Aramaic. Some say King James was a homosexual….so the version most Born Agains and Fundamentalists are taking word for word and hearing “Hate Homosexuality” well, you get the point.
    When I was confronted by Fundamentalists about being a veg. i paused and reflected (they lived next door) and did some research. I just couldn’t believe people back then would care or go so far as demonize someone for leaving animals alone….Dominion over animals (their argument) simply means to take care of and respect…doesn’t mean dominate, torture and eat.

  18. metahara says:

    it was written 300 years after Christ died. It has been translated so many times it isn’t anywhere near what it was in Aramaic. Some say King James was a homosexual….so the version most Born Agains and Fundamentalists are taking word for word and hearing “Hate Homosexuality” well, you get the point.
    When I was confronted by Fundamentalists about being a veg. i paused and reflected (they lived next door) and did some research. I just couldn’t believe people back then would care or go so far as demonize someone for leaving animals alone….Dominion over animals (their argument) simply means to take care of and respect…doesn’t mean dominate, torture and eat.


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