General Question

JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about the new version of the bible that is being published?

Asked by JLeslie (60532points) April 22nd, 2011

From what I understand the word men will now be people, virgin will now be young woman, just to name a couple. Here is an article about it.

It actually states young woman is a better translation from the Hebrew.

Please let me know what religion you are, if you are religious, a theist, and whether you are ok with updating the language. Even if ok with updating the language do you agree with all of the changes or just some of them.

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27 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

If it’s trying to make it be more PC, then I’m against it. But if it’s trying to be as accurate in translating the original writings into today’s English, then I’m for it.

seazen_'s avatar

I think virgin is an accurate translation of Betula – young woman is simply that – and they certainly knew the difference – pardon the pun – when a young woman was a virgin or not.

PC Bible? Couldn’t happen. Let’s start with God – and what was she doing on the seventh day? Sorry, what was he/she/they – oh fuck it.

Believer in God.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Eh, so? I figure people always find a version that’s in line with how bigoted/open minded they want to be. Atheist.

JLeslie's avatar

@seazen_ In the article it cites the Hebrew word almah as meaning young woman? Also, in Hebrew if you say men, can it mean men and women? In Spanish for Instance, if there are boys and girls present, you only use the word boys and it means both. Literally children is the same word as boys.

seazen_'s avatar

@JLeslie Ahhh – that young woman. Yes, it’s right. Also about the plural – when there is one masculine item, or one man present, everything is then “masculine” – hence a bunch of boys and girls together playing would be children.

Elliebes's avatar

The bible is quite violent. I was shocked to discover how much and pretty mean to women in general. So they can do what they like with it I’d rather read the Beano!

mrentropy's avatar

They should ride the trend and throw in a bunch of vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Well, more zombies.

Religious status: Unknown

seazen_'s avatar

@Elliebes Welcome to fluther. Perhaps you’d like to fill out your profile and ask a question or two? Stick around a bit – we don’t bite. Please don’t post something and then disappear – I can’t take it anymore.

Blackberry's avatar

Yeah, that’s cool, but it’s still the bible…..

JLeslie's avatar

@Elliebes Yes, Welcome to fluther!

@seazen_ Don’t scare her off.

Elliebes's avatar

this site is too difficult for me to navigate so how do I delete myself?

ragingloli's avatar

Heh. It is like putting these tiny little black censorship bars over the image in Japanese Hentai Manga that barely covers up anything. It is rather pointless.

DominicX's avatar

I think it’s ridiculous unless it is meant as a more accurate translation. If the word usually translated as “virgin” didn’t carry that meaning at the time it was written, then by all means, use “young woman” if that is really a more accurate translation. But if the word for men meant “men”, I see no need to change it unless “people” really is a more accurate translation.

I wonder what they’re going to do with the good old Greek terms malakoi (“effeminate men”, literally “soft ones”) and arsenokoitai (“homosexuals”, literally “man-bed”).

I consider myself agnostic, but I am very interested in religious studies and study of the Bible. I typically examine it from a purely human/historical/linguistic perspective.

JLeslie's avatar

@DominicX Well, @seazen_ is our resident Hebrew expert and he agreed it is young woman. That is a pretty big deal I would think? She could still be a virgin also I guess?

JLeslie's avatar

Wow. @Elliebes is gone.

filmfann's avatar

The thing is the Bible is gonna be translated, so you are not going to read it right unless you can read Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.
I am currently reading 4 different versions, and it is interesting on the changes from one translation to the next.
Example? Exodus 34: 16 continues God’s warning not to allow your sons to intermarry with women of other faiths.
King James Version:
And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and thier daughters go a-whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a-whoring after their gods.
New King James Version:
And you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.
New International Version:
And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

All three cited translations are from the same text, but they all read a little differently. I find the NIV to be a little clearer to me, but I am not saying that is closer to the original message. The important thing is to have a clear understanding of what is being said.
Even Bible scholars argue between themselves over how much weight different versions of the Bible should have (Critical Text vs. Majority Text). Some ancient copies have verses others don’t. Were they added, or omitted from the later text? Which is correct?
There are differences, also, just from how lines are copied from one ancient text.

I remember how one translation got it terribly wrong. In the original story of Moses coming down from the mountain after 40 days with God, he was glowing with the Holy Spirit. A bad translations said that when Moses came down, he had horns (rather than beams of light) coming out of his head. So, that explains why Michaelangelo’s statue of Moses has horns.

I am figuring read the material, try to understand it, and God will cut me some slack if I got some of it wrong, and He will correct me.

LostInParadise's avatar

I do not know how relevant it is, but in German, Jungfrau literally means young woman, but it also means virgin. I wonder if the ancient Hebrews took the two terms to be equivalent.

JLeslie's avatar

@LostInParadise Interesting. Actually, I think some interpretations of the word Miss rather than Ma’am is that the Miss is a virgin. I don’t think of Hebrew as changing a lot like English, but I could be totally wrong. Hopefully @seazen_ can comment on that. This leads back to what @filmfann said; even if someone reads Hebrew or Aramaic, language changes over time, and so does meaning. Even if the bible had been originally written in English all those years ago, we would be unsure of some meanings.

ragingloli's avatar

Actually, it only means young woman if you write the two words separate (junge Frau). As one word, it only means virgin (and virgo, the constellation). (quite funny when you think about the fact that it is also applied to men)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’m with @MyNewtBoobs on this. If they’re trying to correct inaccuracies, then go for it. But if they’re changing words to be more PC, then it’s just stupid.

prolificus's avatar

As a former student of koine Greek, I’m in favor of the change from men to people because, as I learned and understood, the Greek word for men in the New Testament meant humankind and wasn’t necessarily gender restrictive. I don’t recall at the moment data related to translating virgin or young woman.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote that there is neither male nor female…, that we are all one in Christ Jesus.

As a former Evangelical Christian, I have no problem with the change because I think it honors both original language (at least in New Testament Greek) and the idea of being one in Christ. As a current “progressive follower of Christ,” I say, it’s about damn time!

As an aside, my identity is not tied to any specific label, whether gender or religion or anything in between. I’ve been on a journey to learn the true meaning of being one in Christ Jesus, and the jury is still out deliberating.

seazen_'s avatar

You said: Actually, I think some interpretations of the word Miss rather than Ma’am is that the Miss is a virgin. I don’t think of Hebrew as changing a lot like English, but I could be totally wrong. Hopefully @seazen_ can comment on that.

Hebrew doesn’t change at all – in fact, an Academy convenes once a year (Oxford does four times a year) to add new words to the language. The words are based on Hebrew – so it’s very different than a new English word like the new acronyms BFF and LOL which have entered the lexicon recently.

Englishisms, like the very global TV or Telephone – are replaced with actual Hebrew words which mean the function of the instrument or tool, e.g. Sach Rachok (meaning – distance conversation) is telephone.

Of course, everyone here speaks English and uses most High Tech and other euphemisms and even slang – well, religiously.

Miss is a young girl, and young girls didn’t even consider sex before marriage (which was probably at the age of 12 or so back then). Everyone was religious – until the 1800’s I think anyway. Ma’am is short for Madam, not?

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks @seazen_!

Ma’am is short for Madam. That just makes me realize I have been living in the American south too long.

seazen_'s avatar


mattbrowne's avatar

What we often forget is the inherent difficulty to determine the semantics of an ancient text. What is the relation between the signifiers in the Bible (words, phrases, verses) and what they stand for, their so-called denotata?

It’s an illusion to assume that the most accurate translation of a 2500-year-old Hebrew text into English yields a 1:1 mapping of the Hebrew and English denotata. Having the best knowledge of these two languages is not enough. What is also needed is world knowledge 500 BCE and world knowledge today. And these worlds are very different. Often the ancient writer had something else in mind because his world was different. The historical context was different. Reconstructing this is very difficult.

I think this new version is a very good idea. Because it aims at bringing the two denotatas closer together instead of sticking with accurately translated signifiers.

In 1900 the word mankind stood for the group of all people on Earth. It meant men and women. It referred to men and women. Today the word humankind is more common. So when we translate ancient Hebrew words containing man or men they can be translated to human or humans when the original actually referred to all people and not just men.


chewhorse's avatar

Just like the one’s before it, there will be things added and taken away in spite of the command to do neither.

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