Bible translations dictate our closeness to God?


#1

I am troubled by some of the posts I have seen on this website concerning which bible translation should be read and studied. Before coming to this website, I was very exited to be delving back into Sacred Scripture by researching it, reading it and praying it. Knowing that through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, I could strengthen my relationship with God and his Church. After having read several posts which promote the idea that you should only study certain translations (ie. DR, Vulgate, etc.) because they are the most accurate to the original texts, even though there are others that have Church approval, I find that I have become disillusioned as to what is really important when choosing a bible to read, pray and study. Wouldn't you want to use the same translation for reading, studying and praying? Am I to believe that using the DR will get me closer to God than another Church approved translation. I recently purchased a compact Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition - (by Ignatius Press) which I find suits my needs. It has the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from 1966. However, I've seen several posts claiming this is a "Protestant" version. I understand how the RSV-CE was created, but since it has Church approval isn't it worthy of studying, reading and praying? I was always taught there are certain things you must do prior to reviewing the Sacred Scriptures for whatever reason: (1) Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, (2) Verify the text has Church approval, (3) Use the five keys to interpreting scripture as described in the CCC and, (4) Reflect on how your time spent with God through the Holy Bible can be applied to your life. In doing these things, wouldn't the RSV-CE or any Church approved Bible serve well enough as a tool for growing closer to God and his teachings? Complaints that refer to the RSV-CE having Protestant-biased language (ie. in Isaiah, Mathew, etc.) seem to me to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the parameters of the CCC on reading scripture and with the approval of the Church, I believe Church doctrine can be sustained while at the same time growing closer to God in the process. Please note that I am in NO WAY against using the other translations as long as they are approved by the Church (ie. DR, Vulgate, etc.) - I actually wish I had a DR as well - I am only saying can't we let God come to us through any of the Church approved bibles? We shouldn't make someone believe their closeness to God is dictated by which Church approved translation they happen to use. For if for what other reason do we study, read and pray the Holy Bible than to become closer to God!?! Please let me know what you think on this issue. Thanks and God bless you!


#2

The best Bible for you is the one you will read and study. Period.

There will always be some people, in any group, who feel that their personal opinion should be law. The RSV-CE most certainly is, as you’ve already noted, a Catholic Bible.
The DR will indeed get you closer to God – IF that’s the version you prefer.

Be at peace, and enjoy your study.


#3

It sounds like you have an excellent understanding of how to go about reading/studying the bible, and with that, you really needn't worry what other people think.


#4

Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference. Some people prefer literal translations. Others worry that a translation that had Protestant input will lead them astray. Ultimately, if it has Church approval, that means it’s sound in faith and morals, even if it’s not ‘exactly’ what the original authors wrote.

If you listen to the traditionalists and go with the Douay, and get frustrated with the archaic language and lose interest in reading the Bible, it was a poor choice. However, if a dynamic translation like the New Jerusalem keeps you engaged in reading the Bible, it will be a much better choice overall.

As was said above, the best translation is the one you actually read.


#5

Personally I have many different Bibles and enjoy reading each one. I think they pretty much are saying the same thing. It is interesting how many times the wording is changed with the intentions of better helping us understand what is being written within how we speak. The older Bibles can be a bit confusing to read and something I have wondered about is why are certain passages left out ( such as in Tobit (Tobias) ) and a few others I have noticed Genesis 1:2 "Spirit of God" ... "while a mighty wind". Personally, I like "Spirit of God" that one confuses me a bit. And there are others and someone once told me as long as the verses in question don't change the Dogma of the church...we are ok, something like that.

The other Tobias 3:22 *...

"For thou art not delighted in our being lost; because after a storm thou makest a calm, and after tears and weeping thou pourest in joyfulness."

And yet I do not find it in other versions... so maybe someone here can answer for me but I like the answer... Which ever version gets you reading the Bible!*


#6

[quote="Kaemarie, post:5, topic:331994"]
Personally I have many different Bibles and enjoy reading each one. I think they pretty much are saying the same thing. It is interesting how many times the wording is changed with the intentions of better helping us understand what is being written within how we speak. The older Bibles can be a bit confusing to read and something I have wondered about is why are certain passages left out ( such as in Tobit (Tobias) ) and a few others I have noticed Genesis 1:2 "Spirit of God" ... "while a mighty wind". Personally, I like "Spirit of God" that one confuses me a bit. And there are others and someone once told me as long as the verses in question don't change the Dogma of the church...we are ok, something like that.

The other Tobias 3:22 *...

"For thou art not delighted in our being lost; because after a storm thou makest a calm, and after tears and weeping thoou pourest in joyfulness."

And yet I do not find it in other versions... so maybe someone here can answer for me but I like the answer... Which ever version gets you reading the Bible!*

Just chiming in. Simply put, it's really a matter of difference between source texts. The book of Tobit exists today in quite a number of different versions in different languages, three of which are relevant to this discussion: a longer Greek version (which I'll call Greek II or GII), a shorter Greek version (Greek I or GI), and the version found in the Latin Vulgate.

The Vulgate version of Tobit (out of which the D-R version is made) was actually a translation of a translation. St. Jerome found a version of Tobit in Aramaic, or "Chaldean" as he calls it. He, however, wasn't very good at the language, so he had someone read and translate it in Hebrew for him while he translated the Hebrew into Latin and dictated it to his scribe on-the-spot. According to him it took them only a single day's work.

Greek I is the version found in most Greek manuscripts (and thus is currently the standard version for the Eastern Church); before Greek II and other versions were discovered it was really the only other alternative available. Consequently, it is the version used by the translators of the KJV (for the Apocrypha section) and also the RSV.

Greek II is a longer version of Tobit, found only in a handful of manuscripts. (In its fullest form it is found only in Codex Sinaiticus, which wasn't discovered until 1844.) When it was originally discovered scholars dismissed it as being an expansion of Greek I, which they still thought to be the more original version. However, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1950s changed all of that. The Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts of Tobit found in Qumran (there are five of them) are actually pretty close to GII - although they do sometimes exhibit some agreement with GI - as well as to Latin translations made before Jerome (aka Vetus Latina), which is even closer to these texts than GII is. When these fragments were found and studied, scholars began to revise their thinking. Nowadays the common opinion is that GI is actually a summarized, more streamlined version of GII, which is now deemed to be more closer to the original Hebrew/Aramaic texts of Tobit. Because of this, the NAB and the Nova Vulgata (the version of the Vulgate promulgated in 1979 and is the current standard text used for the Roman Rite) both use GII as their main source text.

So there you have it. The D-R, the RSV, and the NAB each using three different versions of Tobit! ;)

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#7

Thank you, patrick457, for that translation analysis! :thumbsup:


#8

Ditto - Thank you patrick457 for your analysis and thank you also to the rest of you who replied - I really appreciate the value each of you have added to this subject!
BTW, I will be purchasing a D-R Bible in the near future. I am currently trying to acquire the concordance to the RSV-CE. Thanks again!


#9

This :thumbsup:


#10

A translation does not dictate how close a person gets to God. Prayer and striving for holiness dictates that. Any translation approved by the Church is sufficent to edify a person as far as the limitations that Scripture has to edify, obviously Church teaching through Dogma and Tradition is just as important. A perfect translation with wrong teaching is a total disaster because a person is getting error with what appears to be backed up by Scripture, which Protestantism has down to an art.

On the otherhand footnotes in Catholic Bibles are not equal. There are traditional footnotes, and then there are non-traditional footnotes. Not everyone beneifits from both. Oftentimes, including myself, the very non-traditional footnotes gives the impression that the Bible is loaded with forgeries, contradictions, and errors, while traditional footnotes gives Scripture the benefit of the doubt and usually provides explanations and harmonizations.


#11

Harmonization has its good points, but sometimes I do feel that it can tend to stifle the different voices and perspectives in Scripture (which IMHO is one of the beauties of it). Sometimes we get so caught up trying to homogenize all of these sometimes admittedly conflicting voices into something more manageable and palatable that we tend to lose sight of their inherent beauty. What we have with Scripture I think is diversity in the truest sense of the word, and that’s something that’s kind of underappreciated due to several factors. Detractors look at it and see it as an arsenal against belief while believers are busy mixing them into one. Many on both sides treat this diversity as something bad - I strongly disagree.

Not exactly related, but I think that if we take harmonization at the extreme I think we’ll end up with something similar to the theory that Peter must have denied Jesus six times or that there were actually four criminals crucified with Jesus - or even that Jesus must have been born and crucified several times! (I actually encountered someone a while back who seemed to think so) :smiley: :bigyikes: These approaches attempt to preserve the inerrancy and inspiration of the Scriptures, but at the cost of disregarding what is actually written.


#12

[quote="patrick457, post:11, topic:331994"]
Harmonization has its good points, but sometimes I do feel that it can tend to stifle the different voices and perspectives in Scripture (which IMHO is one of the beauties of it). Sometimes we get so caught up trying to homogenize all of these sometimes admittedly conflicting voices into something more manageable and palatable that we tend to lose sight of their inherent beauty. What we have with Scripture I think is diversity in the truest sense of the word, and that's something that's kind of underappreciated due to several factors. Detractors look at it and see it as an arsenal against belief while believers are busy mixing them into one. Many on both sides treat this diversity as something bad - I strongly disagree.

Not exactly related, but I think that if we take harmonization at the extreme I think we'll end up with something similar to the theory that Peter must have denied Jesus six times or that there were actually four criminals crucified with Jesus - or even that Jesus must have been born and crucified several times! (I actually encountered someone a while back who seemed to think so) :D :bigyikes: These approaches attempt to preserve the inerrancy and inspiration of the Scriptures, but at the cost of disregarding what is actually written.

[/quote]

Fortunately those great Catholic minds that have harmonized the Gospels gave excellent harmonizations and nothing silly like suggesting that there were 4 thieves at the cross or that Peter denied the Lord six times. Or that Jesus must have been born and crucified several times. You won't find ridiculous expositions like that from Augustine, Aquinas, Lapide, etc. I accept that there were different authors writing about the same accounts but describing different details, which is a beauty in itself. But to believe that the authors who were inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote contradictions and errors in Holy Scripture would also lead to believing that our Sacred Tradition and Dogmas have contradictions and errors as well. If there were no other explanations given except knee jerk to explain what might look like a contradiction, then I would cave. But fortunately we have brilliant expositors who have done all the hard work for us.


#13

Ah, that reminds me of the various attempts to harmonize the number of angels at Jesus' tomb. Was it one or two angels? I seem to recall that one scholar implied that one of the angels kept fading in and out like some kind of faulty neon light...


#14

[quote="COPLAND_3, post:12, topic:331994"]
Fortunately those great Catholic minds that have harmonized the Gospels gave excellent harmonizations and nothing silly like suggesting that there were 4 thieves at the cross or that Peter denied the Lord six times. Or that Jesus must have been born and crucified several times. You won't find ridiculous expositions like that from Augustine, Aquinas, Lapide, etc. I accept that there were different authors writing about the same accounts but describing different details, which is a beauty in itself. But to believe that the authors who were inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote contradictions and errors in Holy Scripture would also lead to believing that our Sacred Tradition and Dogmas have contradictions and errors as well. If there were no other explanations given except knee jerk to explain what might look like a contradiction, then I would cave. But fortunately we have brilliant expositors who have done all the hard work for us.

[/quote]

I really think the burden lies on those who consider the divergences between the different authors to be 'contradictions' and 'errors' as if one could neatly divide the world into black and white.

And that's what I'm talking about: for much of history we Christians have been focusing our energies on harmonization to the point that there hasn't been much effort devoted on looking at things synoptically and separately.


#15

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