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Which of the following is the 'best' translation of the scriptures?


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#1 Patrick

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 07:48 AM

As of right now, I know of four attempts at translating the Bible by the Orthodox, with only one completed.

1. The Orthodox Study Bible (I figure most everyone knows about this more than the other three, so I will not post a link to it.)

2. The Eastern Orthodox Bible

3. The Orthodox New Testament (the rest of the Bible will obviously be named differently)

4. The Holy Orthodox Bible

My question is which of the these (or any other I have failed to mention) is the "best" translation of the scriptures. The OSB and ONT (?) include very insightful footnotes, but these are not in consideration with the choice of the "best" translation. By best, I mean the most faithful to the Greek text without being an overtranslation and overbearing by being too literal.

For the Psalms though, I will probably continue reading from the HTM's Psalter. Because I do not want to make a new topic, what is the general opinion on the quality of the HTM's translation of the Psalter.

#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 09:50 PM

As of right now, I know of four attempts at translating the Bible by the Orthodox, with only one completed.

1. The Orthodox Study Bible (I figure most everyone knows about this more than the other three, so I will not post a link to it.)

2. The Eastern Orthodox Bible

3. The Orthodox New Testament (the rest of the Bible will obviously be named differently)

4. The Holy Orthodox Bible

My question is which of the these (or any other I have failed to mention) is the "best" translation of the scriptures. The OSB and ONT (?) include very insightful footnotes, but these are not in consideration with the choice of the "best" translation. By best, I mean the most faithful to the Greek text without being an overtranslation and overbearing by being too literal.

For the Psalms though, I will probably continue reading from the HTM's Psalter. Because I do not want to make a new topic, what is the general opinion on the quality of the HTM's translation of the Psalter.


If I was answering this to my parishioners I would say that the OSB is far preferable to the ONT. I'm far from being a language expert- but the reason I say this has to do with the criterion you already state: "faithful to the Greek text without being an over translation and overbearing by being too literal". When compared to the NETS version for example which is very helpful for study and an understanding of the underlying text(s) one can both see how faithful to the LXX the OSB is but also how it smoothes out many obscure passages.

To be able to study these obscure passages one needs to turn to the NETS so perhaps reading the two versions together is helpful. In some passages I personally like the beauty of the more difficult NETS- but in many more I appreciate the interpretational clarification of the OSB. What is important to grasp however is that by clarifying the original, interpretation is necessarily involved. It's important that we know this. But this leads us to the important point that translation always has faced the choice of literalness or clarification (often with a combination of the two). What's interesting from reading the NETS & OSB together is that you begin to see that the Church has always faced this task and has continually provided translations that clarify without this being considered an abuse of the original.

I also continue to like the HTM very much although it takes some adjusting to if you are used to more modern translations. I find it has a real beauty to it. By looking at the OSB, NETS and also the Slavonic or Greek originals you can also verify that the HTM version is very faithful to the original.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#3 Ryan

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:23 PM

I can't speak to language and translation issues, but I tend to enjoy "traditional English" translations. In this regard, the Psalter translated by Michael Asser is similar in style to the HTM Psalter. It is basically a reworking of the glorious KJV to conform to the LXX, and it is very beautifully presented and bound, with full-color icons. Michael Asser has announced his intention to produce a full Old Testament, again revising the KJV in accordance with the Septuagint.

One thing, aside from the contemporary English, that keeps me from getting and OSB is the fact that all editions are poorly bound (with glue).

#4 Patrick

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 01:32 AM

Thank you everybody for the excellent replies and advice. The only problem I have with the OSB is the that some of the footnotes seem to have a Protestant flavour to them. I have heard that the ONT has excellent footnotes, and the translation I have heard different things about. I have heard that it is "the best ever" to "the worst ever". But, footnotes were not in my consideration of the "best translation".

Has anyone read or looked at the Eastern Orthodox Bible or the Holy Orthodox Bible? I would like to have opinions on them as well.

#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 07:56 AM

I like the HTM Psalter though it tries a little too hard here and there. Michael Asser's original Psalter is a fine work - a pity some editor interfered with it.

#6 Rick H.

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 11:09 AM

Dear Patrick,

I once asked a man whom I thought was qualified to answer the question, "Which modern translation is the best?" . . . he replied, "It depends on the verse."

In Christ,
Rick

#7 Anthony Stokes

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 01:14 PM

As of right now, I know of four attempts at translating the Bible by the Orthodox, with only one completed.

1. The Orthodox Study Bible (I figure most everyone knows about this more than the other three, so I will not post a link to it.)

2. The Eastern Orthodox Bible


I've only really ever looked at the first two, but it should be noted that the OSB is actually just a New King James Version with new translations only of those parts of the Septuagint that are different from the NKJV, but the language style is the same.

The EOB uses a different Greek text for the NT than what the KJV uses, and according to their website, they agree that some of the commentary in the OSB may be a little off - http://www.orthodox-...nfo/eob/osb.asp

Sbdn. Anthony

#8 Patrick

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 01:46 AM

I've only really ever looked at the first two, but it should be noted that the OSB is actually just a New King James Version with new translations only of those parts of the Septuagint that are different from the NKJV, but the language style is the same.

The EOB uses a different Greek text for the NT than what the KJV uses, and according to their website, they agree that some of the commentary in the OSB may be a little off - http://www.orthodox-...nfo/eob/osb.asp

Sbdn. Anthony


On this website, there is a topic about the OSB's rendering of the LXX. In some places, the OSB mistranslates from the original Greek. I am too lazy to find the topic, but I do remember one verse is that the OSB in Gen. 2:2 rendered "And on the seventh day God finished the works he made..." while the Greek says on the sixth day. The Holy Orthodox Bible does include on the sixth day. HOB preview of Gen.

How was the translation of the EOB compared to the original Greek and to the OSB?

Dear Patrick,

I once asked a man whom I thought was qualified to answer the question, "Which modern translation is the best?" . . . he replied, "It depends on the verse."

In Christ,
Rick


Indeed, it does depend on the verse because no translation is perfect. This is sound and perfect logic, and I thank you for presenting it to me; I believe that I read it somewhere on this forum. It was my Herman if I am remembering correctly.

But, what I mean is that, what translation is the best at doing what it was meant to do. Being the best does not necessarily mean that it is perfect.

Edited by Patrick, 09 April 2009 - 01:48 AM.
Adding more text


#9 Anthony Stokes

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 04:06 AM

On this website, there is a topic about the OSB's rendering of the LXX. In some places, the OSB mistranslates from the original Greek. I am too lazy to find the topic, but I do remember one verse is that the OSB in Gen. 2:2 rendered "And on the seventh day God finished the works he made..." while the Greek says on the sixth day. The Holy Orthodox Bible does include on the sixth day. HOB preview of Gen.


That is an interesting one, because my Septuagint clearly says "ta imera ta ekti." The KJV says seventh day. I wonder if that is just something that they missed when choosing which places were different in the Greek or Hebrew or what. Even the translation in the Brenton says "sixth day." It makes more sense to me to be the sixth day. I'll have to look for that thread too.

Sbdn. Anthony

#10 Patrick

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 06:03 AM

That is an interesting one, because my Septuagint clearly says "ta imera ta ekti." The KJV says seventh day. I wonder if that is just something that they missed when choosing which places were different in the Greek or Hebrew or what. Even the translation in the Brenton says "sixth day." It makes more sense to me to be the sixth day. I'll have to look for that thread too.

Sbdn. Anthony

Here is the site referenced to in the topic. SITE

Is the Holy Transfiguration Monastery translating the Bible? In this topic on the post 5 by Christophoros, it seems that the HTM is translating the Bible. I have not found any references to this. If so, can someone give me a site that I can see this at? Thank you.

I have also recently found this site of a Bible called the Apostles' Bible. Any info about it?
http://www.apostlesbible.com/

I have recently looked at the Book of Daniel, and it doesn't contain the Hymn nor Prayer of the Azariah. Nor, does it contain the Deutero-Canon...how can it claim to be an LXX then?

Edited by Patrick, 09 April 2009 - 06:24 AM.
Adding more stuff so I don't have to create a new post


#11 Patrick

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:09 AM

Here is the site referenced to in the topic. SITE

Is the Holy Transfiguration Monastery translating the Bible? In this topic on the post 5 by Christophoros, it seems that the HTM is translating the Bible. I have not found any references to this. If so, can someone give me a site that I can see this at? Thank you.

I have also recently found this site of a Bible called the Apostles' Bible. Any info about it?
http://www.apostlesbible.com/

I have recently looked at the Book of Daniel, and it doesn't contain the Hymn nor Prayer of the Azariah. Nor, does it contain the Deutero-Canon...how can it claim to be an LXX then?


Sorry for the double post, but after reading through the site that reviews the OSB and comparing the passages mentioned with the Holy Orthodox Bible, I can say that the Holy Orthodox Bible (at least in regard to Genesis' and Exodus' first five chapters) is more accurate and faithful to the LXX. Far be it, I am not a Scripture authority, so forgive me if I have made a mistake.

#12 Kris

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 11:49 AM

One cannot really compare the OSB and ONT since the former does not contain a new translation of the New Testament, using instead the NKJV, while the latter, as the name suggests, is a translation of the New Testament alone and does not contain the text of the Old Testament.

In terms of commentary, however, the ONT is far superior to the OSB, although it is not as extensive in vol. 2 (Acts, Epistles and Apocalypse).

#13 Patrick

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 04:58 PM

One cannot really compare the OSB and ONT since the former does not contain a new translation of the New Testament, using instead the NKJV, while the latter, as the name suggests, is a translation of the New Testament alone and does not contain the text of the Old Testament.

In terms of commentary, however, the ONT is far superior to the OSB, although it is not as extensive in vol. 2 (Acts, Epistles and Apocalypse).


I am sorry to disagree, but I do feel that they can be compared (at least the new testaments) because the NKJV while not a new translation is a translation based on the received text and not the eclectic texts that the newer and "more accurate" translations use, and this also applies to the ONT as using the received texts.

#14 John Litteral

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 02:49 AM

I can speak for the Holy Orthodox Bible, I have had the vol. 1 ever since it came out in print. My wife reads from it and loves it too! Now that its online it will be my standard that I go by for the LXX in English. Its online http://litteralchris... Orthodox Bible

#15 Ryan

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 09:06 PM

Mr. Papoutsis made some weird grammar choices which I don't understand, such as "thou has"... it's not just a mistake- he does this consistently. I find that a little jarring.

#16 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 11:51 PM

Dear Ryan,

I've only just had a first (and very brief) glance at P. Papoutsis' Holy Orthodox Bible translation, and have to say that, as a first reaction, I find myself quite in agreement with you. There are striking - and consistent - problems with the usage of the old personal/informal second person ('thee/thou'), which seems rendered incorrectly in almost every instance (which isn't an error of translation so much as it is an improper usage of English; e.g. the phrases 'thou has hearkened..' (Gen 3.17), 'What have thou done?' (Gen 4.10) do not exist in English of any period - this is simply incorrect grammar); and there are certain passages where the English sentence structure is unordered and phrases almost unreadable (e.g. most of Gen 7). These (and other) basic flaws of English render me extremely suspicious of the quality and accuracy of the translation itself; but I am travelling at the moment without the Greek text to hand, so cannot check that until later.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#17 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 08:13 PM

Dear Ryan and others,

I've just spent some time with the Holy Orthodox Bible translation, urged on by your comments; however, I've posted my (quite critical) comments in the thread dedicated to that translation, rather than here, just to keep things a tad more organised.

INXC, Dcn Matthew




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