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>Bethke on manuscript history

>Bruce Bethke writes an interesting post titled Relevance. Expanding how a simple question can have so many underlying assumptions.

Some days you can ask what seems like a simple question, and find that instead of plucking off a loose thread, you’ve started unraveling the entire sweater. For example, this morning I asked my wife one simple question, and before I knew it, we were deeply into a wide-ranging discussion of Old Testament history, subtext, context, and translation issues.

…To begin comprehending her answer, then, we should first examine the embedded subtext of the question I didn’t even know I’d asked: does a book written 2,000 years ago really have any relevance to our lives today?

…It was the Septuagint that was widely read and circulated in the early Christian Era and used as the basis for the Latin translation (the Vulgate) written by St. Jerome in the 4th century CE,… The King James version in turn became the basis for almost all subsequent English-language Protestant Bibles except the Lutheran version, which is based on Luther’s German translation, and a careful reader will note many subtle differences between the English-language Catholic, Lutheran, and other Protestant versions of the Bible. (For example, even today the Catholic version of the Ten Commandments omits the prohibition against worshiping graven images, while the Episcopalian version has been shortened to the Nine Suggestions.)

It is worth reading for his conclusion, a modern application of an ancient biblical passage.

  1. 2008 December 14 at 04:52

    He’s actually a little incorrect with his history though. St. Jerome translated the Hebrew OT into Latin, not the Septugant. He actually got a lot of flak for it.
    Also, I am pretty sure the Catholic Church recently recanted on the 10 Commandments thing, but I can’t provide proof for that.

  2. 2008 December 14 at 09:40

    Yeah, there were some minor comments that I would take issue with.
    I had read the commandment thing started with Augustine. There being no versification (at the time) and the second commandment included but joined to the first, thus the last divided.
    But the post was still clever.

  3. michael
    2008 December 15 at 17:23

    He also missed the Geneva Bible which is why King James wanted John dead!
    However, as all of us know, John was deceased already but still very much alive! :)
    Hebrew Abram, ah, Abraham, who for no fault of his own was reckoned Righteous as God Himself, Themself, alone!
    Go figure?
    So, where does that leave us unstable ones who wish to be known for something good inside ourselves?

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