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Hiya Tom,

"But again, in a matter like this, what or why would they hide? Who lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl? Honestly, provide one reasonable excuse why these men should be anonymous."

Well the preface explains the reason: "They shall give the Lord Jesus Christ His proper place, the place which the Word gives Him; therefore, no work will ever be personalized."

Wait a minute, that's the New American Standard Bible I was quoting from (see http://ononeaccordwcharity.org/Preface_for_NASB.html ), which *also* keeps anonymous translators. My bad.

While we're at it, just who were those Coptic translators Tom? What degrees did they have? ;)

Here's another article on the Coptic translation of John 1: http://www.bibliacoptica.com/resources/copticnoute.html


tom sheepandgoats

Hold on just one moment, TJ. How many degrees do YOU have? How do I know you're qualified to write the comment you just wrote?

I didn't know that about the NASB. Thanks.


My qualifications? I'll take the NASB defense which seems to please all of these people outraged at the NWT translators' anonymity:

"And rest assured, the translators and consultants who contributed to [*this post*] are, as always, conservative Bible scholars who have doctorates in biblical languages, theology, or other advanced degrees." http://www.lockman.org/nasb/

Of course, Tom, if you *really* want to find out whether or not I'm a properly educated scholar, all you have to do is administer the "God"/"a god" test. "God" passes, "a god" doesn't.

From the NASB discussion forums: "By the way, no responsible translator is on record as agreeing with the Watchtower's New World Translation regarding its rendering of John 1:1, saying as it does that the Word was a god."

See? Dr. Jason BeDuhn is obviously not a responsible translator. The test works again!



Another advantage of remaining anonymous when it comes to religious publications in general is that not only is the attention directed to the writing itself, but to the organization that publishes it.

One: It is a vote of faith/confidence by an organization because it is not possible to say, "that's just so-and-so's opinion." This helps unity.

Two: It helps to avoid situations where people will start following a specific person rather than the Word of God. There is no "Enlightened Prophet."

I'm not just speaking of biblical translations. As stated before, most biblical translations are market-driven, and so the translators/publishers are under a lot of pressure to write in such a way as to have the readers' ears tickled.

It is far easier to tell people what they want to hear, and not the truth of any matter. Those who are best at it rise to prominence. The truth, althouh able to "set men free" in a spiritual sense, is often used to imprison people.

tom sheepandgoats

Thank you, Screech. I incorporated your comment in answer to this fellow who commented on the post "Religion is a Snare and a Racket:"



Fascinating post. I really enjoyed it, especially the point about Bill Gates being "unqualified" by academic scholarship to run Microsoft!

An illustration is worth a thousand words.



In philology there is a well-known term: “The Homeric Question.” This term actually describes the unsolved problem of identifying the real author(s) of Iliad and Odyssey. Of course, the uncertainty of the authorship of those texts does not change the fact that Iliad and Odyssey are literary masterpieces, for some scholars even the best in human history.

It should be easily understandable that an expert does not need someone’s CV in order to judge the quality of the latter’s work when the expert is in position to study and check the work itself. Only people who are unable to check the quality of a work need the CV of the person who made it.

This is the reason why when we read reviews of the NWT written by experts in the field of the Biblical languages, we never see negative comments as to who are the anonymous translators. Such experts speak about the work itself. So, the question is, now, what do the experts say for the NWT in general and the ability of the translators?

On the NWT of 1984:

"[Jehovah's Witnesses'] translation of the Bible [has] an impressive critical apparatus. The work is excellent”—New Catholic Encyclopedia, Gale, 2005, Vol. 7, p. 751.

On the Christian Scriptures (1950)

“On the whole, one gains a tolerably good impression of the scholarly equipment of the translators”—Bruce Metzger, The Bible Translator 15/3 (July 1964), p. 151.

On the 1st volume of the Hebrew Scriptures (1953):

“This work indicates a great deal of effort and thought as well as considerable scholarship.”— Samuel Haas, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 74, No. 4, (Dec. 1955), p. 283.

On the Christian Scriptures and the first volume of the Hebrew Scriptures:

“The anonymous translators have certainly rendered the best manuscript texts, both Greek and Hebrew, with scholarly ability and acumen.”—Charles Francis Potter, The faiths men live by, Kessinger Publishing, 1954, 239.

(For the whole references see the article of Wikipedia “New World Translation”)

All of those writers do have their objections on specific renderings of the NWT, but they openly admit the general quality of the NWT. Beyond any doubt, apostates and anti-cult preachers seem very ridiculous when their comments are contrasted with those above. Yes, someone becomes very ridiculous when he is burbling about the credentials of the NWT translators when the New Catholic Encyclopedia itself considers the NWT as “excellent.”

Jason Chamberlain

If a brownie is 99% excellent, but contains 1% rat poison it's still going to kill you. I don't think that admitting the "general" quality of the NWT concedes anything. Most of the verses may be rendered correctly, but if it gives the reader an inaccurate view of Jesus then it will still lead the reader to death. Of course, the same goes in reverse for the NASB, NIV, etc.

Why do people ask for credentials? People do it because they don't know the original languages themselves and want to know who is doing the translation for them. I think it's a fair question. A child may be able to pick up conversational Spanish in the home, but nobody speaks Koine Greek anymore. Therefore, a certain measure of scholarship is required to handle the language.

As I wrote in the other post, either you trust the Watchtower or you don't. Either you trust the Lockman foundation or you don't. Either you trust the ESV translation committee or you don't. And so on. Knowing who worked on the translation goes a long way toward building that trust.

The home inspection analogy is actually quite interesting. A completed residential home has more than a builder involved. There is oversight from city inspectors to determine the quality of the work before occupancy is permitted. This is why third-party inspections are valid for Bible translations as well.

tom sheepandgoats

I think you've put your finger on the crux of the matter right here:

"Most of the verses may be rendered correctly, but if it gives the reader an inaccurate view of Jesus then it will still lead the reader to death."

It's as DeBuhn stated. Translators ought to translate rigorously and then let the results teach them about Jesus, about God, about the kingdom, and everything else. Instead, some approach the task with pre-existing views of who/what Jesus was, and then make sure their translation reinforces those views.

Jeff Gilbert

Hi folks,
With all the manuscripts, translations and all the Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean, and Aramaic renderings,and all the translators arguing every single line in the Bible just about, And all the different apocraphal books, Who in their right mind would have anything to do with any of it any more.
I have been a christian for over 40 years and with all the problems all the scholars have with it I think all the Bibles all over the world should be piled up and burned and then ask God to give us a copy that not even cults can dispute. Otherwise what's the point.I've seen whole families distroyed by what the different denomination,organization, persuasions, and cults have done to it.

tom sheepandgoats

It's called muddying the waters. It happens in every field of importance. The scoundrels introduce so many red herrings and carry on so vehemently and contradictory, that eventually folks say "to hell with it all," and devote their energies to less taxing matters.

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