Bible Translation – Fact or Fantasy?

We have this really great book – the Holy Bible – world all time best seller. Nothing even comes close in popularity.

Big problem – it is written in foreign languages. Mostly Hebrew, some Aramaic, and Greek. Most of us do not speak these languages. In point of fact, actually nobody speaks these languages, as they are archaic forms of the modern versions of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The differences are similar to English and Old English. The English language has changes so much during the last 1000 years that we would not be able to understand someone speaking Old English at all!

I have asked modern Hebrew speakers, Israelis, to read and translate some biblical passages, and they struggle in the attempt. So how do we get accurate translation of the ancient biblical text to English? The simple answer – it is very difficult and somewhat defective.

Now there are biblical language scholars who dedicate their lives to accurate biblical translation. They do a great job. The bible is generally translated well enough to communicate the general message – God created the universe which has a beginning and an end. God made mankind uniquely in the “image” of God, with various talents, and independence to make choices. Mankind bears responsibility for the choices we individually and collectively make. And so forth.

Dr. Joel Hoffman is a linguist. He explains how language translation has progressed and fallacies with some well known translation methods. A fun and educational read. You can buy from Amazon with the link below. I attended a lecture by Dr. Hoffman which can be down loaded here as an introduction to purchasing his book.