Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Bible: So Misrepresented, It's a Sin (Part One)

Recently (Dec. 23, 2014) Newsweek magazine published a cover-story, "The Bible:  So Misinterpreted, It's a Sin," in which author Kurt Eichenwald made numerous misrepresentations of some text-critical subjects.  This blog-entry and the next few entries will address some of the pernicious falsehoods in the Newsweek story, point by point.

(1)  Kurt Eichenwald says nobody has read the Bible -- "At best, we’ve all read a bad translation—a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times."

Eh? Has he never set eyes on a Hebrew Bible, or on a Greek New Testament?? And can he be so isolated from the enterprise of Bible translation that he foolishly imagines that Bible translators only consult earlier translations -- as "translations of translations" -- and not the compilations of the Hebrew and Greek texts??? Absurd!

(2)  Kurt Eichenwald says that in koine Greek, written in scriptio continua, "a sentence like weshouldgoeatmom could be interpreted as “We should go eat, Mom,” or “We should go eat Mom.” 

Eh? That illustration is way out of focus, because it does not mention that in Greek, word-endings make a world of difference -- so much so that the illustration is misleading. It's much, much easier to tell where Greek words separate from each other, when written withing spaces between the words, than it is when writing English without spaces between words. There are some passages where more than one word-division is sensible and feasible, but those are anomalies. Eichenwald's impression to the contrary is misleading.

(3)  Eichenwald wrote: "In the past 100 years or so, tens of thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament have been discovered, dating back centuries." 

Eh? Was he referring to relatively unimportant medieval Vulgate copies and Armenian copies?  Tens of thousands? Really? We certainly don't have "tens of thousands" of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament books. Can anyone tell from the article what sort of manuscripts the writer is writing about, as in, what languages these "tens of thousands" of manuscripts are in???

To be continued . . . 

1 comment:

andrea chiu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.