Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

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Cadence
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Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by Cadence » 12 Mar 2011, 10:42

I was always taught growing up that the bible was in error because of all the translations that it had been through and that many "plain and precious" truths had been removed. I really believed this and it helped me to explain why there was no mention of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament like we had in the Book of Mormon, that talks all about Jesus before his birth. So now as I study the history of the bible I find out that instead of things being removed from the bible, actually much more has been added. Going back to the original source documents as much as possible we find that many of the faith promoting stories we have come to take for granted did not even exist it the early texts but were added latter for effect. Then you take the JST and all the stuff he added or corrected has no relation to anything other than his particular notion of what it should say. You would think it would match up to the original texts. The bible we studied growing up is not less divine than the original text, if anything it is more divine.

All this tells me the BofM is not any kind of actual history but is a story based on biblical notions of the 19th century. How could a book that is so detailed about the central importance of Jesus Christ be so correct when the place where he actually lived in the old world has no real reference to him before his birth. Sure there is the stuff in Isaiah that foretells of a messiah, but that is a pale and vague comment compared to what the BofM relates about christ before his birth.

So if the old testament really is not missing a bunch of passages detailing the mission of Jesus Christ, I think that somewhat dismisses those passages in the BofM. The message may be good, but still why would anyone continue to try and claim it as actual history.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

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cwald
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Re: Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by cwald » 12 Mar 2011, 11:37

Cadence wrote:
So if the old testament really is not missing a bunch of passages detailing the mission of Jesus Christ, I think that somewhat dismisses those passages in the BofM. The message may be good, but still why would anyone continue to try and claim it as actual history.
IMO, because we have groomed a generation of Mormons that rely on spiritual welfare from their church leaders. We have conditioned our "tribe" to believe and " follow the prophet" without doing any real thinking on there own. Most members don"t care, and will not pursue these kind of logical thought processes because they just expect the Prophets to do it for them and come to the conclusions, and tell them how to think, what to believe, and how to behave.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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amertune
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Re: Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by amertune » 12 Mar 2011, 12:28

Cadence wrote: The bible we studied growing up is not less divine than the original text, if anything it is more divine.
I've always taken a literal approach to scripture, but that has been radically shifting lately. Now I see scripture as inspired or inspiring instead of factual. From what I've read from biblical scholars, a lot of the Bible is oral tradition, myth, fiction, and forgery. Still, there is a lot of truth and beauty in it.

I think that you are right, and that many of the additions to scripture have made them more meaningful. It's possible that the people adding to scripture were just as inspired as the people who originally told the stories or wrote them down.

I've been reading Karen Armstrong's "The Bible: A Biography", and one concept in there is a description of the way that scripture used to be read. She said that the Jews read scripture as a way to get inspiration. I get the feeling that it was never intended to be taken literally, and that the literal viewpoint is a more modern invention.
The search for truth is in one way hard and in another way easy, for it is evident that no one can master it fully or miss it wholly. But each adds a little to our knowledge of nature, and from all the facts assembled there arises a certain grandeur. - Aristotle

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Mar 2011, 14:16

Joseph Smith clearly saw scripture much more as a starting point for inspiration than as an infallible proof-text. I see most things that way - especially the temple.

The whole "liken all things unto ourselves" concept follows that same pattern - and absolutely is consistent with ancient Jewish practice.

I've believed for a long time that someone else's words are less important in and of themselves than the impact they have on the hearer. From a practical standpoint, the greatest sermon in the history of the world would be useless - totally meaningless - if there was nobody to hear or read it.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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mormonheretic
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Re: Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by mormonheretic » 12 Mar 2011, 15:29

Mormons that rely on spiritual welfare from their church leaders.
Cwald, I believe there is much truth to this statement. Not enough Mormons study the scriptures, but rely on the leaders too much.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Mar 2011, 16:43

and, fwiw, that is the human default setting for the large majority of people in this world. Getting people to change that natural tendency is part of the message of "pure Mormonism", imo. ("agents unto themselves")
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by Brian Johnston » 12 Mar 2011, 17:57

Cadence wrote:Sure there is the stuff in Isaiah that foretells of a messiah, but that is a pale and vague comment compared to what the BofM relates about christ before his birth.
[disclaimer, this is my personal opinion]

The only reason those connections exist is because the authors of the New Testament told the story that way. When Jesus was killed, his followers were not quite sure what to do. They had to build a story to explain the meaning of their life experience, which now involved -big surprise- a Jesus that was killed by the Romans as a criminal.

So you have an author like the person who wrote the Gospel of Matthew, who makes a literary point over and over again writing statements like this:

"And Jesus did X, as was foretold by Y."

The author of Matthew was a Jewish Christian in the area of Jerusalem trying to explain what happened by looking in his "scriptures" to find guidance. He had the Gospel of Mark, but didn't find it satisfying. So he came up with a better story. By searching his religious writings for passages that sounded like they "fit" what happened.

Joseph Smith did this in his day.

We do this in our life too as 21st Century LDS (different than what JS needed to do).
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Cadence
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Re: Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by Cadence » 13 Mar 2011, 13:59

Brian Johnston wrote:
Cadence wrote:Sure there is the stuff in Isaiah that foretells of a messiah, but that is a pale and vague comment compared to what the BofM relates about christ before his birth.
[disclaimer, this is my personal opinion]

The only reason those connections exist is because the authors of the New Testament told the story that way. When Jesus was killed, his followers were not quite sure what to do. They had to build a story to explain the meaning of their life experience, which now involved -big surprise- a Jesus that was killed by the Romans as a criminal.

So you have an author like the person who wrote the Gospel of Matthew, who makes a literary point over and over again writing statements like this:

"And Jesus did X, as was foretold by Y."

The author of Matthew was a Jewish Christian in the area of Jerusalem trying to explain what happened by looking in his "scriptures" to find guidance. He had the Gospel of Mark, but didn't find it satisfying. So he came up with a better story. By searching his religious writings for passages that sounded like they "fit" what happened.

Joseph Smith did this in his day.

We do this in our life too as 21st Century LDS (different than what JS needed to do).
Brian I agree completely. The question then becomes do we really look at scripture as anything more than one mans viewpoint?
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

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SamBee
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Re: Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by SamBee » 13 Mar 2011, 14:05

In away, Jesus actuallly does appear in the Old Testament... it's the Greek version of the name Joshua...

See also here for more general points.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typology_%28theology%29
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Making the Bible Divine, The Work of Translation.

Post by Brian Johnston » 14 Mar 2011, 11:55

Cadence wrote:The question then becomes do we really look at scripture as anything more than one mans viewpoint?
That's a really compact way of describing the way I mostly tend to see them. It isn't the only way, and I don't even claim it is the best way. But I see a scripture-document as a reflection of what the author thought about their religion. It is VERY much a product of the author.

The meaning I make from it though is very much a product of ME. It tells me a lot about myself.

Both of these can possibly tell me things about God or Jesus (the Christ, not necessarily the historical Jesus). It is still meaningful for me, just in a different way. What we tend to wrestle with here is the dissonance we feel trying to look at scripture in a critical thinking perspective AND at the same time holding the expectation that it was dictated by God via His biological texting device -- a prophet.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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