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CMB1969
raging moderate
10:22 AM on 06/21/2011
"Deciphering these words in English (which were themselves translated from Latin, which were translated from Greek)"? Is this really supposed to be a serious discussion of practice of Biblical translation in the modern age? I am quite sure that any translation in general use among the Jewish community would come directly from Hebrew to English. Protestant translations have derived from from the original languages since the late 16th Century. The old Douay-Rheims Catholic version (an utterly archaic, unreadable text, even though it dated from within a decade of the still more-or-less readable King James version...) that my mother owned as keepsake when I was a child was translated via that circuitous route, but all Catholic versions done in the past century have come from original languages.
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gemmax
11:29 AM on 06/21/2011
If a scholar speaks honestly regarding this issue they will tell you that God's message has not changed. Because of language differences some modifiers have changed. Some words that mean exactly the same thing have been substituted. God himself tells us that His word will not perish. It hasn't and it won't.
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01:30 PM on 06/21/2011
Well it has, your books are all lies created to make YOU feel better about being the heathens that in your deepest heart you know you are.
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JoshInPgh
Pro-Jewish, no matter the censors.
12:44 PM on 06/21/2011
There are still quite a few mistranslations, even in the KJV. For example, Psalm 22 is mistranslated as "pierced my hands and feet" rather than "like a lion they maul my hands and feet". This is kept in the NIV, which also has numerous mistranslations (whether they are as deliberate as the Psalm 22 mistranslation is up to you to decide).
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catsanon
Humans... Such silly creatures.
10:21 AM on 06/21/2011
"...it is telling us that the perpetrator deserves to have his eye put out, but he won't. He will make an appropriate monetary payment to the victim."

Does either the Torah or the oral tradition provide guidance for determining the appropriate monetary value of the victim's eye?

Or is the "appropriate monetary payment" something apart from either tradition, and perhaps a more recent development?

By the way - how does one determine the historical accuracy (or consistency) of an oral tradition?
10:32 AM on 06/21/2011
:...how does one determine the historical accuracy (or consistenc­y) of an oral tradition?"

The same as one would examine the accuracy or consistency of a written tradition; by examining the faithfulness over time of the people following the tradition.
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catsanon
Humans... Such silly creatures.
11:59 AM on 06/21/2011
"...by examining the faithfulne­ss over time of the people following the tradition."

When there is a written tradition, one can use the written word as a reference.

When one is relying on an oral tradition, then one is dependant on the reliability of people's memories and/or assertions. Or do you have a suggestion for how one can evaluate "faithfulness over time" to words which are as ephemeral as a breath?
10:47 AM on 06/21/2011
Those are excellent questions.

The answer is yes, there are guidelines for determining these things, and they are somewhat complex (not too complex to explain but too much for this forum).
Your second question is also addressed in the Talmud. We see evidence that it was of great concern to the rabbis of old and they were aware that there was a systematic loss of data over time, albeit small, that they had to deal with.
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Ami Toben
Plenty more where that came from
10:14 AM on 06/21/2011
Being born and raised in Israel and taking 12 years of bible study in its original Hebrew while traveling to almost all of the places mentioned in it, i can confidently say that the bible should be respectfully placed in libraries and museums. We should treat it in the same way we treat The Iliad, the Odyssey, Beaulf, The Egyptian Book of The Dead, and Norse mythology.
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Babele
your micro-bio is empty
10:33 AM on 06/21/2011
Yes, it is a beautiful piece of mythology. I have to say that the Iliad and the Odyssey were much better reads!
10:53 AM on 06/21/2011
I agree, but the Iliad and Odyssey don't provide a basis for the legal, moral and spiritual code of a civilization. The Torah has.
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TheWM
aka The Wrong Monkey
11:53 AM on 06/21/2011
I think that the feuding Olympians provide a much more realistic reflection of chaotic human experience than one omnipotent God.
10:50 AM on 06/21/2011
On the one hand, that's great praise, especially when you put it in the same league as Homer. On the other hand, your 12 years of study, while impressive sounding, doesn't really mean much if you had the wrong teachers. Did you learn it with the commentaries? Midrash? Rashi? Rambam? Ramban? Sforno?
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Ami Toben
Plenty more where that came from
11:17 AM on 06/21/2011
Considering the supposed fact that it comes from an omnipotent omniscient creator, and considering the supposed fact that i supposedly belong to a "chosen people", one might think that my 12 years would be more than enough on their own.
This is more simple proof of just how man made the whole thing is.
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Gonzo36
Pro-awesome!
10:08 AM on 06/21/2011
Excellent article. Might I add another one to continue the knowledge regarding the 'oral Torah', et all:

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1114845/jewish/Why-Not-Just-Go-By-the-Book.htm
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nlightenup
Retired psychologist, responds to open minds.
11:15 AM on 06/21/2011
Wonderful article! Thanks for posting the link.
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Mari Harmon
Your Kung-Fu Is Weak And Obsolete!
09:58 AM on 06/21/2011
"What would a Jewish court do if an eyeless man ran around poking people's eyes out?"

Really? Surely in the Commentaries there'd be something along the lines of "How would he find those people?"

And still....there's that talking donkey in there that everyone forgets about. So yeah, there could be all sorts of misprints and misinterpretations, ways of bending numbers to make them fit a particular view, needing more books, oral traditions, and mystical experiences of the Sages to understand it, but there's still a talking donkey sitting right there in the middle of it.
10:51 AM on 06/21/2011
Yeah, but if a talking donkey ever put someone's eye out, we'd surely know what to do!
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whirlpool
founder walnut tree congregation
11:46 AM on 06/21/2011
I do recall a talking horse on TV back in the 50s or 60s. Maybe he was channeling god.
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St Juan Bautista
02:47 PM on 06/22/2011
1 normal person, run like a b...... 2 human nature, kill the donkey, 3 reason and common sense, talk with the donkey, see what's on his mind. is this what you meant? peace.
10:54 AM on 06/21/2011
Not sure what you're referring to, but dozens and dozens of talking donkeys appear on these screens every day.
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Gonzo36
Pro-awesome!
11:11 AM on 06/21/2011
I wish I could fan you again!
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Mari Harmon
Your Kung-Fu Is Weak And Obsolete!
11:12 AM on 06/21/2011
Of course you don't know what I'm referring to. Everyone overlooks the talking donkey, the poor old thing. Not a bit of the story that people pay much attention to. Look up Balaam's donkey.