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Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.

Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby Adam » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:46 pm

To prove anything about the Synoptic Problem, analysis of the Greek is necessary. However, it is not sufficient because most people don't know Greek to be able to read the answer.
To display anything sufficiently to impress most people, use of English is essential.
What Bible translation into English serves best? In 1975 Reuben Swanson thought the Revised Standard Version would serve him best. He used it in preparing his exacting and elaborate Horizontal Line Synopsis of the Gospels. His method was correct, but he chose his version apparently on popular appeal rather than on scientific demonstration. Unfortunately the two versions better suitable for his purpose were awkward and unknown. Already a century old was Young's Literal Version. Not quite as old, but even less used and little known was the Concordant Version. Both of these were based on the essential principle that each Greek word gets its own English word. But what antiquated, awkward word use came out all too often! Both were written before the Revised Standard Version set the new standard.
An apparently better alternative finally arose. Whereas the Revised Standard Version renders meaning quite well, the judgment of the translators could choose varying English choices for the same Greek word, depending upon the context and extra-Biblical common use. However, the Revised Standard Version has been the basis for several updates. The New Revised Standard Version cannot serve because it puts inclusivity above literal translation. The New American Standard Bible is better at being literal. It had to wait for the English Standard Version more recently, however, to apply the Greek-word-one-English-word principle. I went to work to revise Swanson's analysis based on it, only to find that sometimes the ESV used one English word to translate two Greek originals. The fatal word is "send" to translate both pempo and apostello, both common in the gospels. Not too bad, huh? But what if (as is the case) I'm tracing authors of sources and the different authors use (as they do) a different preferred Greek original?
I will proceed nevertheless on such matters as proving several sources chronicling John the Baptist, proving his historicity. Anyone have any suggestions? I already have the Concordant Version, and Young's Literal is better known and thus also available. For both, the choice of words is out of the ordinary and often jarring, but I don't yet know how many words the ESV translates with the same English word. (Maybe there's even a Greek word with two English translated words?)
There's also the problem that no one seems to care. Whether I come up with the truth or not seems irrelevant if an academic professorship is mandatory before one is taken seriously in any field, but particularly in Bible criticism where there is such an excess of scholars with pretentions.
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Re: Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby Ben C. Smith » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:21 pm

Many moons ago, when I was starting to design the synopses that can still be found on my website, I wrestled with some of the same issues for the English translation component. I had already decided to do the translations myself, so I did not have to choose between versions, but the kind of translation was still an issue for deep thought. I really tried to go with the one-English-word-one-Greek-word standard, but it simply does not work without making serious sacrifices: you have to give up either readability in English or the accurate reflection of the Greek.

The Greek particle δέ, for example, can mean "and" or "but" or any of a number of other far less common but still possible translations. Should we stick relentlessly with "and", since it is more versatile? If so, then how would we translate καί (which offers its own challenges insofar as it can mean "also" and "both" in many cases instead of "and")? But if we stick with "but" for δέ, we wind up flat-out mistranslating a lot of constructions. (It can be, not just jarring, but fundamentally incorrect, to match up words one-to-one between two languages.)

So I decided to strive for that high standard as often as I could, but for the sake of accuracy I did not go through with it all the way.

A possible compromise (attainable only on a web page or in a computer program) might be to offer a readable English translation with CSS glosses to reveal the Greek word underlying the translation, something like what I have on this experimental page: http://textexcavation.com/marcanendingsinterface.html, but with the English showing and the Greek revealed on the hover. Lots of work, though! (Separate coding for each and every word.)
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Re: Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby Charles Wilson » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:56 pm

Adam --

The Moffatt Translation offers a good recipe for a variety of uses. James Moffatt's version was a new try at an old problem and it is refreshing to read although if he felt the need to place this passage there, he did it. Not recommended for Congregational Reading.

His text has pointed me to many insights:

Acts 27: 15 - 20 (RSV):

[15] and when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven.
[16] And running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the boat;
[17] after hoisting it up, they took measures to undergird the ship; then, fearing that they should run on the Syr'tis, they lowered the gear, and so were driven.
[18] As we were violently storm-tossed, they began next day to throw the cargo overboard;
[19] and the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackle of the ship.
[20] And when neither sun nor stars appeared for many a day, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

Compare with Moffatt:

[17] Once they hoisted it aboard, they used ropes* to undergird the ship, and in fear of being grounded on the Syrtis, they lowered the sail and lay to..."

* "Naber's conjecture [Greek word given] for the [Greek word given] of the MSS. yields this excellent sense."

This entire passage simply opens up when you see that the "boat" was secured by "ropes". "Syrtis" offers a clue in Polybius, Histories 151, (from memory here) but the ROPES undergirding the boat!

Tacitus, Histories, Book 3:

"...The barbarians even insolently scoured the sea in hastily constructed vessels of their own called "camarae," built with narrow sides and broad bottoms, and joined together without fastenings of brass or iron. Whenever the water is rough they raise the bulwarks with additional planks according to the increasing height of the waves, till the vessel is covered in like a house. Thus they roll about amid the billows, and, as they have a prow at both extremities alike and a convertible arrangement of oars, they may be paddled in one direction or another indifferently and without risk..."

The last two chapters of Acts open up as well. All of this follows from the description of the "Camarae Boats". "The Queen's Eunuch" of Acts 8 follows from this and reveals that the Story is about Anicetus, who is to be Double-Crossed and cut down. "Paul" is therefore at the mouth of the Cohibus River at the end.

And so on... YMMV but Moffatt has opened up a Gold Mine to me.

CW

PS [Edit Update]: https://archive.org/details/newtestamentnewt01moff

PPS: "Wendt (1899) refers to Naber’s conjecture of βοείαις for βοηθ. as very plausible..." http://biblehub.com/commentaries/acts/27-17.htm
Last edited by Charles Wilson on Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby MrMacSon » Mon Jun 27, 2016 4:06 pm

Adam wrote:To prove anything about the Synoptic Problem, analysis of the Greek is necessary. However, it is not sufficient because most people don't know Greek to be able to read the answer.

Surely it is possible to do the analysis of the Greek and to then give/'display' an explanation of that analysis in any language.
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Re: Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby Adam » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:02 am

Here's an even worse example of how unsuitable the ESV can be for scholarly use. Our English verb "to see" is conjugated to translate THREE Greek verbs, horao, eidan, and theomai. Similarly "say" comes in variants critical for scholarly differentiation.

But yes, MMS, the text can be presented fairly well by transliterating by Howard M. Teeple's method as exhibited here for John from "S" (and in my system further differentiated into "P-Strand") for John 1.24-25a:
"S
24 and they were sent [apostello] from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him and said [eipan] to him..."

With his method further showing every Greek letter underlined and the final "o" in apostello superscripted with a solid line, but my computer is not even set up to allow either. Scholars would prefer of course (and I could subscribe to some Greek type facility) the real Greek letters, and Teeple himself probably would have done that except his method was the most convenient in 1974. But it remains best for exhibiting to English speakers.

Applied to the Synoptic Problem, of course, Teeple's method is quite burdensome. One starts with three (sometimes four, or for duplicate saying in practice up to seven) Synoptic (usually) texts to juggle, but also reference to the Greek of each. One can see why Reuben Swanson settled for such an unsatisfactory vehicle and which was nevertheless devilishly difficult as explained by him. Accomplishing my purposes would require incorporating the Greek as well. (Or using Young's Literal or the Concordant, not pleasing to the eye nor ear.) No wonder no one has yet done it as a doctoral thesis.
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Re: Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby Adam » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:56 am

PS [Edit Update]: https://archive.org/details/newtestamentnewt01moff
OK, Charles Wilson,
Does YMMV stand for "you may mock my views"?
Your above freely downloadable Moffatt translation is dated 1913, an earlier version of the 1935 text Teeple apparently knew (and may have strongly influenced his own translation in 1974) as 1935
If it's a full century old, it would have the objections I have to Young's Literal and the Concordant versions. You did not explain why Moffatt's would be useful for my scholarly needs.
As for me possibly using Teeple's method of transliterating Greek words, most readers would prefer that I just use Young's Literal or the Concordant.
For my own purposes I have already proven for myself that John the Baptist can be proven historical and I believe that I can prove the gospels were written through the Proto-Gospel procedure. And I also believe that I could do that and just be ignored by scholarship anyway.
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Re: Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby andrewcriddle » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:00 pm

If you want a translation that stays close to the Greek then you should consider the Revised Version of 1881

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Re: Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby Adam » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:27 pm

Thanks, Andrew,
But nowhere else have I heard the 1881 (English) RV compared to the literal exemplars of the Young's and the Concordant.
Meanwhile what I want and need may be in progress:
Note: This translation is a work in progress in which things need to be continually updated and corrected according to our Father's witness. This translation work is Public Domain and the student should feel free to copy this work and make it their own and do their own editing.
https://sites.google.com/site/literaltr ... ranslation
Without exception stays true to the word order in the original Greek text.
Assigns to each Greek word one unique English meaning. Most translations assign various English meanings to the same Greek word as well as various Greek words to the same English meaning. For example, in the King James New Testament some 27+ different meanings are given to Logos.
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Re: Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby Adam » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:43 pm

Joh 1:24 And having-had-come-to-be-set-off they-were out of-the-ones of-Faris-belonged.

Joh 1:25 And they-entreated-unto to-it and they-said unto-it, To-what-one accordingly thou-dip-to if thou not thou-be the-one Anointed not-moreover an-Êleias not-moreover the-one a-declarer-before?

https://sites.google.com/site/literaltr ... john/joh-1

So, my problems are solved?
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Re: Best Bible Version for Scholars for Synoptic Problem?

Postby Charles Wilson » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:08 pm

Adam wrote:Does YMMV stand for "you may mock my views"?


Yikes! No, of course not! It's "Your Mileage May Vary", which I usually place after my meanderings when they're really out there.
I have too much respect for you, Adam.

Your above freely downloadable Moffatt translation is dated 1913, an earlier version of the 1935 text Teeple apparently knew (and may have strongly influenced his own translation in 1974) as 1935


True and nice to know about Teeple.

If it's a full century old, it would have the objections I have to Young's Literal and the Concordant versions. You did not explain why Moffatt's would be useful for my scholarly needs.


Here's where I probably owe you an apology. Moffatt was variously called "The first modern translation" since it looked at a more modern rendering (and placement of) the Greek Text. You were asking about something else.

As for me possibly using Teeple's method of transliterating Greek words, most readers would prefer that I just use Young's Literal or the Concordant.


Here's where I went off the rails. "I use LibreOffice which can render the Greek as well as the transliterations." :facepalm: Not. Helpful. Charlie.

For my own purposes I have already proven for myself that John the Baptist can be proven historical and I believe that I can prove the gospels were written through the Proto-Gospel procedure. And I also believe that I could do that and just be ignored by scholarship anyway.


Yes, yes and yes.

CW

PS: JtB was as least as historical as Captain Ahab. He might have even been a real person. Whatever he was, he was from the Mishmarot Service Group Bilgah, which was real according to archaeological records of Settlements. YMMV.
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