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The Jerusalem Bible


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#1 Daniel E.

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:57 AM

What is the opinion about the Jerusalem Bible among the Orthodox? As a roman catholic I've ben using it for long time. I dislike the notes and the introducions for the most part since they reflect, in my humble understanding, a rationalistic approach. But my question refers mostly to the translation into English.

In Christ,

Daniel

#2 Cyril D.

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:40 PM

What is the opinion about the Jerusalem Bible among the Orthodox? As a roman catholic I've ben using it for long time. I dislike the notes and the introducions for the most part since they reflect, in my humble understanding, a rationalistic approach. But my question refers mostly to the translation into English.

In Christ,

Daniel



Daniel,

I think your question may not be "on topic". But I figured I would answer it briefly in case it is not deleted.

I was planning on being a professor of New Testament and Greek when I was Protestant. So I spent six or seven years constantly reading through the Greek New Testament. I would frequently look at translations via my Bibleworks program while reading through the Greek text. The Jerusalem translation I found to be frequently provocative, in a good way. The translators of the Jerusalem Bible would regularly notice possible alternative meanings. I recommend the translation to be read with others to flesh out other possible meanings of the Greek text. Naturally there were places when I thought a certain translation was unwarranted. But the same could be said for any translation. I found the translators of the Jerusalem Bible to be highly competent, as they are well respected within the Academy. I found it interesting that the Jerusalem Bible is a French translation of the Greek which was then Englished. That being said, a wonderful job must have been done of comparing the French and English with the Greek text. I never would have guessed it was an English translation via French had I not read about it. So to reiterate my salient point, I think it is a worthwhile translation and deserves to be referenced and/or worked into one's reading rotation.

#3 Cyprian (Humphrey)

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:55 PM

I'm far from an expert, and can only offer my personal opinion.

The only real criticism that might be offered is that it doesn't include all the books that the Orthodox have in our OT. But, that's not really much of a shock since there are only two English translations that do (the RSV and the NKJV based text that they used for the Orthodox Study Bible).

Also, I suspect that translating the tetragrammaton into English as "Yahweh", although supported by modern scholarship, might not be the best for use in public worship. I'm not aware of it being blessed for liturgical use amongst the Orthodox, and it may be primarily that reason.

Other than that, I have seen it on the bookshelves of many Orthodox, and know that there are some who use it as their primary Bible for devotional reading.

The trick is, there is no perfect, or even best translation. We can very easily fall into this trap of trying to find the "best" translation and end up jumping from Bible to Bible whenever we find imperfections. All translations are imperfect, especially the modern English ones.

Let me explain what I mean. I am not disparaging the English language or anything like that. Nor do I think there is a divinely inspired translation. It's just that all the translations I've seen have always had a "method" or "technique" to their translating. Paraphrases will paraphrase everything. Literal translations (try to) translate everything literally. Everything on the spectrum between those two will be consistent with their idea of what constitutes the "best" approach (side note: a "dynamic equivalent" such as the NIV is a paraphrase - "dynamic equivalent" is a synonym for "paraphrase" - they're just a little more conservative about it than, say, the Living Translation). The problem is that they're consistent.

The text of the Bible, consisting of many varied books and varied types of literature, IMHO should be translated differently, depending on what one is translating. Certainly, didactic and historical passages should be translated literally, but perhaps it is preferable to translate some of the more poetic works, more poetically, along the lines of a paraphrase. But, then again, one gets into the whole debate about which passages are poetic or not. The distinction isn't always clear from the Hebrew, and Greek uncial, texts. But there are experts lurking around here who could speak to that far better than I.

Also, take all the Bible sales pitches about their translation being the most "readable" and flat-out ignore them. Font is more important to "readability" than any turn of phrase. I find the most difficult thing about reading the Bible is eye-strain from fonts that are too small. The smaller the printers can make the font, the less paper they have to use, cutting their production overhead. Printing Bibles is a business. So, maybe, it's just me getting older and getting tired of eye-strain, but I'll definitely prefer a larger font KJV or Douay-Rheims Bible, than the "normal" font NKJV or Jerusalem Bible.

So, no Bible translation is perfect, they all have their strengths and weaknesses, and large font makes it more readable than anything to do with translation, IMHO.

That's just my two kopecks.

Your mileage may vary.

#4 Daniel E.

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:23 PM

Dear Cyril and Fr. Cyprian:

Thank you very much for your insights. I was not aware at all that this could not be "on topic". My apologies with the moderators. I'm still not fully familiar with all the rules here.

I also try to read some Greek in the NT, although is far from good. Yes, I agree with the whole idea of "translations". I certainly don't like to jump into different Bibles, unless I'm doing some cross reference. For my personal devotion and spiritual reading I use the JB with comfort. Since I've started to attend the Orthodox Church and to receive instruction, I'll give it a try to other translations and options, maybe incorporate the OSB (although I am discomfort with the NKJV since to me it sounds too protestant for my taste...).

Suggestions are welcome!

In Christ and the Holy Theotokos,

Daniel

#5 Cyril D.

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:47 PM

Dear Cyril and Fr. Cyprian:

Thank you very much for your insights. I was not aware at all that this could not be "on topic". My apologies with the moderators. I'm still not fully familiar with all the rules here.

I also try to read some Greek in the NT, although is far from good. Yes, I agree with the whole idea of "translations". I certainly don't like to jump into different Bibles, unless I'm doing some cross reference. For my personal devotion and spiritual reading I use the JB with comfort. Since I've started to attend the Orthodox Church and to receive instruction, I'll give it a try to other translations and options, maybe incorporate the OSB (although I am discomfort with the NKJV since to me it sounds too protestant for my taste...).

Suggestions are welcome!

In Christ and the Holy Theotokos,

Daniel


My apologies to you for saying you were "off topic". I did not realize that your question was in the appropriate area, as I am new to this forum.

-Cyril

#6 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:47 PM

Seems entirely on topic to me!

#7 Nathaniel Woon

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 05:39 AM

There is actually a version of the Jerusalem Bible which uses Lord rather than Yahweh - i.e. the CTS New Catholic Bible



#8 Titus Fulcher

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:52 PM

There is actually a version of the Jerusalem Bible which uses Lord rather than Yahweh - i.e. the CTS New Catholic Bible


Yes, I have a copy of this version, which is printed in the UK. The drawback is they chose to use the Grail Psalter so that the psalms would match the current readings in the Roman lectionary.

#9 Daniel E.

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 07:52 PM

But isn't the term "Yahveh" still considered more accurate or there are new opinions on the matter? I personally prefer the LXX verson of Kurios, though.

#10 Cyril D.

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 11:07 PM

But isn't the term "Yahveh" still considered more accurate or there are new opinions on the matter? I personally prefer the LXX verson of Kurios, though.


Well, Daniel, "more accurate" is a somewhat subjective idea. The Hebrew bible did not have vowels (they were added around a thousand years ago in the form of "points") as the earliest (Semitic) alphabets were mostly consonants. The name of God is Exodus 3 is the four letters YHWH, which scholars have reconstructed to sound something like Yahweh. The Jews did not say the name of God, lest they take it in vain. So once the text was pointed (i.e vowels were added) they added the vowels a, o, a, from ADONAI, meaning Lord, to the letter YHWH, so they would say Adonai, so as not to take the Lord's name in vain. This incidentally is where the word Jehowa comes from, which the Jehova's Witnesses say is the only name of God, which is utterly rediculous. The LXX translated YHWH with EGW EIMAI hO WN, "I am the one who is" or something like that. YHWH is a derivative from the Hebrew verb which means to be, or exist.

#11 Daniel E.

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 02:35 AM

Thank you Cyril for your answer.

If I understand correctly, what you refer is the "Masoretic text" that vocalizes God's name as YaHoWa or even JeHoVa. This masoretic vocalization I think it comes from 8 or 10th century. It has been taken by translators of the King James Version. I also understand that the famous "Tetragrammaton" that you make reference has been substituted by Jews with Adonai, or even HaShem.
What I meant in my question was basically that some think that the word Yahweh is rooted in the Hebrew "Yahu" or Yah, and completed with a verbal form "awe". This study comes from the German scholar Gesenius (19 Century), and even very criticized today, still has no parallel among other biblical scholars. But I could be wrong, and my question was related to this.
There are many other names for God in the OT, among the most famous, El Shadday an other names with a particular theological significance, and my favourite Kurios from the Septuagint.

In Christ,

Daniel

#12 Cyril D.

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 03:58 PM

Thank you Cyril for your answer.

If I understand correctly, what you refer is the "Masoretic text" that vocalizes God's name as YaHoWa or even JeHoVa. This masoretic vocalization I think it comes from 8 or 10th century. It has been taken by translators of the King James Version. I also understand that the famous "Tetragrammaton" that you make reference has been substituted by Jews with Adonai, or even HaShem.
What I meant in my question was basically that some think that the word Yahweh is rooted in the Hebrew "Yahu" or Yah, and completed with a verbal form "awe". This study comes from the German scholar Gesenius (19 Century), and even very criticized today, still has no parallel among other biblical scholars. But I could be wrong, and my question was related to this.
There are many other names for God in the OT, among the most famous, El Shadday an other names with a particular theological significance, and my favourite Kurios from the Septuagint.

In Christ,

Daniel


My understanding is that God was never called "Jehowa". When Jews were reading and came to the tetragrammaton (YHWH) they would just say Adonai, which is why the vowels points a,o,a were placed below YHWH. But I'm just a dilettante in Hebrew and Jewish affairs, so any aficianados please add to or correct any errors in my understanding.

#13 Cyprian (Humphrey)

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 05:37 PM

My understanding is that God was never called "Jehowa". When Jews were reading and came to the tetragrammaton (YHWH) they would just say Adonai, which is why the vowels points a,o,a were placed below YHWH. But I'm just a dilettante in Hebrew and Jewish affairs, so any aficianados please add to or correct any errors in my understanding.


Beloved in Christ, Cyril,

I too am not an expert in this field, but I know people who are, and they've assured me that the vowel points and the tetragrammaton consonants are linguistically unrelated. Any guesses about how the original "YHWH" may have been pronounced, regardless of how many degrees, how many books published by, or how highly esteemed the one making the guess is, it remains, first and foremost, a guess.




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