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Author Topic: LDS, KJV
Will B
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OK, I'll stop asking LDS q's sometime soon. Anyway: when I was over at my friend's house, I saw one of the books on his TV, Holy Bible in KJV, with an imprint from Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-DAy Saints.

I thought from previous discussions here that LDS considered KJV deeply flawed, thus justifying its replacement with the Inspired Version.

What's the actual position?

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Magson
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We consider it the base one we use. My understanding is that Joseph Smih, while stating it is flawed, still also said that it's the best available translation out there.

We don't use the "Inspired Version" since it was never pronounced "complete." Additionally, I don't think the LDS church had access to it (being copyrighted by the RLDS church) until the past 30 years or so. As such, we use it as reference material, but nothing more.

Then there's also the whole dealie of us being accused of having "our own bible" all the time becuz of the Book of Mormon. Can you imagine how difficult our outreach programs would find it if we didn't use a "normal" translation of the Bible?

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katharina
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The most commonly used version is the KJV - all the scripture sets you buy from the church distribution center will be KJV. There is a strong feeling that the KJV is the best translation and everything quoted from the Bible will be that version, but I know people who use other versions, especially when they are reading the Old Testament straight through.
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BlackBlade
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Will B: In addition to what the other posters have said, the, "Inspired Version" was never completed and so what was written down is found within the footnotes of any KJV of the bible the church prints at it's distribution center.

It probably wouldn't do to have the inspired text superimposed on top of the traditional text as then you would have difficulty discussing the scriptures with other Christians. Better to simply learn the traditional text as well as seeing what the original passages were intended to mean where possible, (no offense intended to our non Mormon Christian brothers and sisters).

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
My understanding is that Joseph Smith, while stating it is flawed, still also said that it's the best available translation out there.

That was also more than a century ago.

I believe the reasons we haven't changed which version we use are that it is tradition/familiar, that it is still one of the more widely used translations in the English-speaking world, that it is not under copyright, that the JST additions/corrections were designed to fit in with it, that it familiarizes us with some of the language that is used in the Book of Mormon, and that no one has yet justified the expense of switching over to another translation, seeing as we don't really believe that any existing translation or translation likely to exist soon will be completely and fully perfect and correct.

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ketchupqueen
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Also, I have known many Latter-day Saints to study from other versions of the Bible as they see fit. I myself have a NSV Bible I was given as a child when attending the Presbyterian church, in which I was raised, which I have kept not only for the sentimental value but because it has some cool maps and pictures and stuff in the back and sometimes I like reading the easier version. Mine also has the words of Christ written in red, so you can always tell when something is coming directly from His mouth, which is kind of cool.
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lem
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The JST is not a re-translation of the entire Bible. He "translated" sections of the bible. I am thinking he did the creation, large portions of Matthew and other notable passages.

Many of the JSTs can be found in the back of the LDS KJV. Why redo the entire bible when Joseph never got to complete his work? Also, much of the work is in the RLDS churches hands.

It makes sense to me to just reference the inserts and direct more serious scholars to the RLDS material.

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lem
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I stand corrected, if Wikipedia is accurate. I never realized such large portions of the Bible were translated.

quote:
Smith's work on the volume took place from about 1830 until Smith's death in 1844 when he was preparing the manuscript for publication. The bulk of the work took place from 1830-1833, and 3,410 Bible verses were in some way altered. There is some dispute among scholars as to whether Smith considered the translation to be complete and why he made changes to the manuscript as late as May 1844, a month prior to his death.
quote:
Most scholars believe that the current edition of the Inspired Version as published by the Community of Christ renders the manuscripts accurately, although it generally does not include most of Smith's later changes.
quote:
Possibly because of any uncertainties, and the fact that the Community of Christ owned the original copyright on the work, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) does not accept the work as part of its canon. However, the translation of Genesis 1:1-6:13 is canonized in the Pearl of Great Price as the Book of Moses, and Matthew 23:39–24:51 as Joseph Smith-Matthew.

The LDS church does accept many of the changes as doctrinally significant. Nearly 1000 of the more doctrinally significant passages from the translation are included as excerpts in the current LDS edition of the King James Version of the Bible.


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Occasional
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There is a question of its completeness. However, knowing Joseph Smith's belief that Scripture is never complete I would guess his project would always be up for revision. He seemed to be more concerned with proper theological understanding more than any kind of "translation" in the sense of original autograph.
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BaoQingTian
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It's worthwhile to note than when we say that Joseph Smith translated it, we don't mean translated in the strict, scholarly sense of the word. From what I understand, he did not know Hebrew at the time. Furthermore he believed there were errors and omissions in the original texts from which the KJV was translated.

IIRC, I remember reading something, perhaps in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, where he said he actually saw some of the events in a vision as they took place, specifically the creation. So Inspired version of the Bible comes closer to capturing what we believe the process was than Joseph Smith Translation does (receiving revelation on a verse of scripture vs. re-translating from original texts).

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
My understanding is that Joseph Smith, while stating it is flawed, still also said that it's the best available translation out there.
My understanding is that Joseph Smith actually said that one of the German translations was a better translation.

Of course, that doesn't affect most of the LDS population, as we cannot read German. And even my LDS friend who does speak German cannot read that (slightly archaic) translation.

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Ron Lambert
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It is true that the original manuscripts (or at least, the oldest ones that we have found) have some minor variations when compared to each other. The KJV and NKJV, for example, prefer to go by one set of ancient manuscripts, while the NASB, RSV and NRSV, etc. prefer another set of ancient manuscripts.

I don't think I would have much confidence in a Bible version produced by someone who did not even know the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. There are enough difficulties and issues for those who do.

The Bible (in a passage about which there is no disagreement) says: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20) This tells us that any future claim by anyone to have an inspired message must be measured against the written standard of the faith, the Bible. This must be given highest authority.

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Occasional
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"I don't think I would have much confidence in a Bible version produced by someone who did not even know the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek."

Unless you believed that person translated it by the gift and power of God? That is pretty much what is at issue with the JST. However, Joseph Smith did understand the importance of language for scripture study enough to try and learn Hebrew. He also said he would try to learn other languages as time permitted.

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Ron Lambert
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Occasional, I see no indication in the Bible that God ever gives to anyone a spiritual gift than in effect takes the place of the Bible--which is what is implied if someone claims they have been given an inspired authority to say what the Scriptures mean or should mean. The Bible is over all human authority, and God gives no spiritual gift to reverse that.
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katharina
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That's a different belief than Joseph Smith held or Mormons hold. [Smile]
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MattB
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What BQT said; the JST is not a translation. It's more like an inspired midrash: clarifications, expansion, and commentary. The book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price (as well as the book of Joseph, which was never canonized) emerged from the KJV, and they're terribly far deviant from all the surviving sources of Genesis.

Joseph Smith didn't start studying Hebrew until five years after he began working over the Bible.

I agree that the LDS stick with the KJV out of tradition - its language is the inspiration for the rest of LDS scripture, and furthermore, all of the LDS auxillary material is referenced to the KJV. Copyrights and so forth. The RLDS hold the copyright to the inspired version, and use it.

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Ron Lambert
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I probably should be candid and admit that Seventh-day Adventists have a very popular "version" of the Bible called the Clear Word Bible, produced by an Adventist professor, Jack Blanco, Dean of the School of Religion at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, TN. Blanco does know the original lanugages and did translate the text himself, but he also combined his personal study notes with the text, making it something even beyond a paraphrase. He himself does not claim it is an alternate Bible version, just a study guide. But I shudder whenever anyone brings that to a Bible study with non-church members, lest anyone get the idea that we have our own "Adventist" Bible. I always make a point of explaining the real nature of the thing, and I never call on anyone using The Clear Word to read a text, since in my view it has no authority.
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Occasional
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Katherina, I am not sure that what RonL said is not, to a degree, what is believed. On the other hand, I don't think that RonL's "implication" is what Mormons believe either. That is taking it too far. It is more like somewhere in the middle and much more complicated.
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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
I probably should be candid and admit that Seventh-day Adventists have a very popular "version" of the Bible called the Clear Word Bible, produced by an Adventist professor, Jack Blanco, Dean of the School of Religion at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, TN. Blanco does know the original lanugages and did translate the text himself, but he also combined his personal study notes with the text, making it something even beyond a paraphrase. He himself does not claim it is an alternate Bible version, just a study guide. But I shudder whenever anyone brings that to a Bible study with non-church members, lest anyone get the idea that we have our own "Adventist" Bible. I always make a point of explaining the real nature of the thing, and I never call on anyone using The Clear Word to read a text, since in my view it has no authority.

Wow. I was SDA and never knew this.
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MattB
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quote:
Katherina, I am not sure that what RonL said is not, to a degree, what is believed
Probably his rejection of any inspired authority other than the Bible. Which makes sense if you believe in scriptural inerrancy; Mormons, however, do not, as per the 8th article of faith.
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Ron Lambert
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Synesthesia, The Clear Word Bible was released in 1994. (The first time I saw it in a Bible book store I groaned.) Here is an entry in Wickipedia about it:

"The Clear Word (originally published as the Clear Word Bible) is a paraphrased version and bible commentary published by the Southern College Press of Southern Adventist University which is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

"The Clear Word Bible is not produced, nor endorsed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but was written as a personal devotional exercise by Dr. Jack Blanco, former professor at Southern College. It is printed in chapter-and-verse format, two columns to the page.

"The Adventist Church does not use the Clear Word edition, which includes passages from Ellen G. White’s writings, for its worship services and Bible studies around the world, but quotes from Bible translations such as the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New American [Standard] Bible, the New International Version, and others."

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Synesthesia
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Interesting. I stopped being SDA a bit after that was released. I wonder if my relatives have heard of it. They are all for the most part SDA.
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Ron Lambert
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They probably have.
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BaoQingTian
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Occasional, I see no indication in the Bible that God ever gives to anyone a spiritual gift than in effect takes the place of the Bible--which is what is implied if someone claims they have been given an inspired authority to say what the Scriptures mean or should mean. The Bible is over all human authority, and God gives no spiritual gift to reverse that.

I probably don't quite understand what you mean, because The Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 seems like it shows the spiritual gift of revelation to say what the scriptures mean. It seems especially odd, since the Isaiah verse you quoted earlier was probably referencing the Torah, which Christianity itself sort of overturned. I guess my point is I don't see how your argument for LDS invalidity is different than Lisa's arguments for the invalidity of Christanity as a whole.
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Occasional
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Not to mention Jesus often said, the Scriptures (or Law) said THAT, but I say THIS. Then there is the fact that the Four Gospels are not always the same on what happened or who said what. Of course, you could say they are Scripture and not changing Scripture. Its just all so confusing [Smile]
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I guess my point is I don't see how your argument for LDS invalidity is different than Lisa's arguments for the invalidity of Christanity as a whole.
In terms of tact, respect, and politeness, it is worlds apart.
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I will give him that mrPH. Much more respectful.
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BaoQingTian
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Oh, absolutely. I wasn't quite specific enough. The logic behind the argument is what I was talking about, not the tone, delivery, etc. Sorry, I wasn't trying to paint Ron with too broad a brush there, but I did it anyway. My apologies.
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Olivet
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Wow. I don't believe in believe in scriptural inerrancy, though I understand why people do. But I also don't think that it's quite logical to say what one person (quite possibly inspired by God) says supercedes what another person (also possibly inspired bu God) says. For me, it's always the human element that is questionable. I realize that that stance calls all revealed knowledge into question-- but it only seems rational to me that it should be questionable by default.
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Occasional
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The reason that Mormons believe one person inspired by God can supercede what another person inspired by God said is the human element in Revelation. No one is perfect, and therefore God cannot use us beyond our own capacity.
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BlackBlade
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On the question of the German translations of the Bible, Joseph Smith did indeed say they were more faithful and meticulous in their rendition of verses. Just and example which is interesting as I had to read the Chinese Bible to find it.

Chinese Bibles use the German translation as their foundation, and when I came across James the brother of John in the Bible I was confused as they had rendered it "Jacob" in Chinese, instead of James.

Apparently and Joseph Smith mentioned this the apostles name is in fact Jacob or Jacobus, and James was for whatever reason simply tacked onto Jacobus and we have gotten used to calling him that. The German translation does not call him James hence the Chinese version still rendering it Jacob.

From what I understood of the inspired version sometimes Joseph Smith would simply be reading and he would feel impressed that a certain verse was wrong to the point of warranting corrections, if you read the KJV of the bible there are tons of words added for clarity, by translators, they are all in italics.

I try to make it a point to keep an eye out for italics as occasionally you will find words added, that, were they removed, change the meaning of a verse significantly.

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pfresh85
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
Also, I have known many Latter-day Saints to study from other versions of the Bible as they see fit. I myself have a NSV Bible I was given as a child when attending the Presbyterian church, in which I was raised, which I have kept not only for the sentimental value but because it has some cool maps and pictures and stuff in the back and sometimes I like reading the easier version. Mine also has the words of Christ written in red, so you can always tell when something is coming directly from His mouth, which is kind of cool.

This is not totally relevant to where the topic is now, but my KJV (that I got after being baptized at my Baptist church back in the day) is the same way. It has maps in the back, and the words of Christ are in red. I like it quite a bit better than my older Bible (which I think is still KJV but doesn't have any fancy things like that).
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Apparently and Joseph Smith mentioned this the apostles name is in fact Jacob or Jacobus, and James was for whatever reason simply tacked onto Jacobus and we have gotten used to calling him that. The German translation does not call him James hence the Chinese version still rendering it Jacob.
I understand that the apostle's name was changed from Jacob/Jack to James in honor of King James for which the KJV is named.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
Apparently and Joseph Smith mentioned this the apostles name is in fact Jacob or Jacobus, and James was for whatever reason simply tacked onto Jacobus and we have gotten used to calling him that. The German translation does not call him James hence the Chinese version still rendering it Jacob.
I understand that the apostle's name was changed from Jacob/Jack to James in honor of King James for which the KJV is named.
I did not know that, I'd love to verify that being true.
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Olivet
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quote:
Originally posted by Occasional:
The reason that Mormons believe one person inspired by God can supercede what another person inspired by God said is the human element in Revelation. No one is perfect, and therefore God cannot use us beyond our own capacity.

I understand those words, but you use them as if they mean something other than what they seem to mean.
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Occasional
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Olivet, or we just have different perceptions of what the meaning is.
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Olivet
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Well, if I take it with the assumption that you believe what Mormons believe, then it means that, although all people are fallible, Joseph Smith had a greater capacity for revelation than, say John or Paul. It makes sense that you would believe that, but it doesn't explain why the underlying conceit would be true.

Which is why it sounded a tad like a double-speak non-answer.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
take it with the assumption that you believe what Mormons believe, then it means that, although all people are fallible, Joseph Smith had a greater capacity for revelation than, say John or Paul.
I disagree with that interpretation of Mormon belief.
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Olivet
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Okay. But he wouldn't explain what he said, so I was just kind of guessing at what he meant. I meant no offense.
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Occasional
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The reason is that John and Paul are not Joseph Smith, or vice versa. The way Paul or John would say things are very different than the way Joseph Smith might or from each other. Think of them as religious poets putting their thoughts and visions down on paper. Each of us are different as individuals, and therefore how or what God might reveal is according to that individuality.

Joseph Smith was a new prophet of a new dispensation. As such, what God had to say to him was distinct from what was said to Moses or John of the Book of Revelation. Not only was this because of the different times involved, but also because Joseph Smith had been given a distinct mission seperate from the other prophets. That gets into the idea of this as the Last Days before Jesus Christ's return - when all things will be revealed that might have only been hinted at in the past.

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mr_porteiro_head
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I didn't mean to sound Snarky, Olivet. Sorry. I did't really feel like getting into an argument about the nature of prophets, but I didn't want to let what I viewed as an incorrect statment about Mormon beliefs to stand.
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Olivet
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I didn't take it as snarky, dear. I think I know you better than that. I just wanted to be sure you didn't take what I said as an attack. [Smile]

I don't have a horse in this particular race, you know? Just curious. [Smile]

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Jay
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There's also the Geneva Bible that the pilgrims and reformers used. They just recently released it again after being out of print for so many years:
www.1599genevabible.com

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Kent
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As an LDS member, I believe the Joseph Smith Translation is more "commentary" than "translation". It isn't part of the cannon, while KJV is; so the KJV is our official scripture. I agree with Occasional's views on this.
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Olivet
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I've read the New Testament in koine Greek. I think you can make a case that most translations are flawed, because any language is open to interpretation (as Mr. O showed in this very thread).

Again, no horse in this race, but you have satisfied my curiosity, and I thank you.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
My understanding is that Joseph Smih, while stating it is flawed, still also said that it's the best available translation out there.
I think Joseph Smith actually thought that the Martin Luther translation into German was more accurate than the KJV. Interestingly, the LDS church in Germany no longer endorses the Martin Luther Bible but uses a modern scholarly translation (The Einheits Ubersetzung).

I believe that Joseph F. Smith is the person who said that the KJV was the best available in English, but that is some what dissatisfying since JFS's time there have been many scholar translations which are better in many ways than the KJV.

There are two primary things which keep the LDS church from adopting a different English translation. The first is the huge amount of work the church put into compiling the cross references, footnotes, Topical Guides and Dictionaries in the LDS publication of the KJV. That would all need to be reworked for any other translation. Additionally, older members of the church (and all the church leaders are older) have a sentimental attachement to the language of the KJV which they have been reading all of their lives.

Its interesting that despite that there is an increasing tendency for some of the Apostles to quote other translations of the Bible.

While I think that the KJV has some nice things about it, I find several aspects of it unsatisfactory. First, because the KJV is 395 years old, much of the language is very dated. I frequently find that much of the discussion of scriptures from the KJV in sunday school classes and the like begins with a translation from the 17th century English into modern English. A fair percentage of the time that translation is wrong. It seems strange that in a church with a commitment to teaching the Gospel to all people in their mother tongue, we persist in using a Biblical translation which many people can't understand because its written in archaic English.

After that, I don't like the KJV much because although it uses very poetic English, it does a very poor job of preserving the original poetic structure in the Hebrew and to a lesser extent Greek. I am told that much of the meaning in the Hebrew texts is contained with in the structure of the poetic verses, and the KJV completely ignores those structures.

And finally, some of the 20th century translations have much better scholarship as well as access to more ancient texts than the KJV translators had. It seems silly not to take advantage of that scholarship. I like to compare several translations because, as has been pointed out, all translations are flawed.

I'm not sure that reading the text in the original Greek and Hebrew would solve the problem either. The meaning of words in every language drift with time (as is evident in reading the KJV) so I doubt that any modern scholar of Hebrew or Greek can fully understand the nuances the language held for the original writers. What's more, I know from my study of modern languages that it would take me years of study before I could even hope to have a better grasp of any language than I could get from a good translator. I'm fluent in German, yet still when I read in German it is unusual for me to understand the German more accurately than a good translator understands it. I do find exceptions where the translator has really screwed up the meaning of something but its much more common that I misunderstand the German. I find that what's missing in the translations is usual the aesthetics of the language which one can never translate.

[ November 27, 2006, 10:00 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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OMG, I came in here because I thought this thread was about LSD and KoJaVu. [Eek!]
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Will B
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:please, nobody make a dobie... please, nobody make a dobie...:
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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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quote:
Originally posted by Will B:
:please, nobody make a dobie... please, nobody make a dobie...:

Oh, you asked for it. [Big Grin]
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Silent E
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The Rabbit:"There are two primary things which keep the LDS church from adopting a different English translation. The first is the huge amount of work the church put into compiling the cross references, footnotes, Topical Guides and Dictionaries in the LDS publication of the KJV. That would all need to be reworked for any other translation. Additionally, older members of the church (and all the church leaders are older) have a sentimental attachement to the language of the KJV which they have been reading all of their lives."

Actually, I think the single most important reason for the LDS Church to keep the KJV is that large sections of that particular version, sometimes slightly tweaked, are quoted in the Book of Mormon. The effect of this mirroring in the Church's scriptures, and the reasons for it in the first place, would be lost if the Church abandoned the KJV for a "better" translation.

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