[sword-devel] GNU and OS ideologies and indulgences

Michael Rempel sword-devel@crosswire.org
Sun, 16 Dec 2001 03:56:02 -0800

> >...The millions of dollars paid for translating one version of
> >the scriptures does not get spent on expensive equipment, or high paid
> >salaries, it is spent carefully on rather inexpensive salaries for highly
> >trainned people who all but volunteer to do it, excepting that they need
> >eat.
> You do know that it does not always take a million dollar team of
> translators to make a translation? History records more than a few
> translations by one person without a fortune. People are still using many
> of them. And there are also the Bible versions that did not come from

Few if any are really good works that have lasting value. Anything that
fails to work with the original texts is frankly someone's pipe dream, and
not a translation at all. The discipline involved in translation demands
excellent exogesis, not isogesis. the Living Bible is an excellent example
of an isogetic text, lots of interpretations, lots of modernized analogies,
it speaks to a wide audience with great power and some fresh insight.
Probably a better work for the same kind of value is Peterson's The Word.
But Peterson puts it well when he says that his work is not a translation,
but an interpretation of the text, with meaningful application to people's

These texts have great value, and we need to keep making them. We need the
Chuck Swindol's to keep interpreting scripture through and to our culture as

Bible translation done well needs to answer some of those motivational
questions I asked, and others too, if it is to be valueable as a
translation. The real task of translation for the translator is to remove
themselves from interpretation as much as possible, allowing the intent and
wording of the speaker to come through. One of the biggest mistakes
Christianity has made in the past has been interpretations that maintain
incorrect assumptions, mistaken ideas, and quite frankly on many occasions
anti-semitism, to fester and multiply upon itself. It is so bad that it took
a non-Christian Jew, Mark Nanos to correctly put much of Paul's theology
into it's correct perspective. If you have never read his Mystery of the
Romans you owe it to yourself to do so.

Messianic Rabbi Tim Hegg of Seattle has done some marvelous work in a
similar vein to unpack and make plain much of the text of Hebrews that
remains a complete mystery to Non-Jews, be they believers or not.

I am casting this discussion in terms of Messianic Judaism for some simple
reasons. First, there is a lot of vital Judaism that has been systematically
cut out of Christianity that needs to be put back, and second, thanks mainly
to that, Messianic Judaism is one of the few voices in the world today that
has anything new and live giving to say. If you want to get into it just a
little, pick up a copy of the Complete Jewish Bible, or start learning some
of the Hebrew terms, and the meanings behind them in your own ORTHJBC Brit
Chadasha. It is a bad name for a not too bad attempt to see the Renewed
Covenant of Yeshua (New Testemant of Jesus for all you who dont speak the
lingo) through Jewish believer's eyes.

Enough about my motives, let's discuss yours for a moment.

I would always hope and presume that your intention would be to produce the
best work you possibly can. To do less is really pointless repitition. There
are dozens if not hundreds of texts that nearly qualify for the kind of
translation you are suggesting, all of equal, minimal value except in the
circles in which they are created, and even then they usually only last a

On the money front, simply put, it is easier to fund raise for almost any
other project on the face of the earth, than it is to raise funds to
translate scriptures yet again. Most of the work being done these days is
into languages that have never had scriptures, or that have only bad

The other thing that may annoy you is that frankly there really is no
pressing need for a new free translation. People find it easy to pay for
Bibles that already exist. In the main, they pay for book versions anyway.
Even the Bible societies are not giving them away for free, printing on
paper costs money. Adding a small fee for a 'better translation' is simple
to do, and pointless to omit for the vast majority of Bibles sold. That
little bit of margin is what motivated the creation of the NIV, despite the
fact that the scholarship is questionable in a lot of places, and the text
often embraces Christian tradition over accurate translation.

Just some thoughts.