1. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    06 Jul '11 05:04
    Can any book which is a translation of an original ever be ctaken literally?
    (Obviously I have the bible in mind but would be interested in other examples)
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    06 Jul '11 06:24
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    Can any book which is a translation of an original ever be ctaken literally?
    (Obviously I have the bible in mind but would be interested in other examples)
    First, can any book be taken literally? Doesn't it depend on what its author intended?
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    06 Jul '11 08:18
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    Can any book which is a translation of an original ever be ctaken literally?
    (Obviously I have the bible in mind but would be interested in other examples)
    I don't understand. What is the bible a translation of?
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    06 Jul '11 11:011 edit
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I don't understand. What is the bible a translation of?
    My understanding is that "The Bible" was originally a collection of texts, gathered together into one book a few hundred years after events depicted within them. Those texts will have been written in an ancient language. According to [http://www.biblica.com/bibles/faq/11/], the old testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in ancient Greek.

    So your [King James / New England / Whatever] Bible is a translation (possibly a translation of a translation of a translation of...) that original Hebrew/Greek version.

    Those translations will not be exact, word for word. Mistakes will have crept in. Some phrases would be meaningless if translated literally and would have been interpreted. Politics may have also influenced the translations.

    Also, many of those stories (particularly the old testament ones) will already have undergone many translations and interpretations from the originals before being gathered into that first Bible.

    See also
    http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/#timeline

    Does that clarify things?

    --- Penguin
  5. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    06 Jul '11 11:43
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    Can any book which is a translation of an original ever be ctaken literally?
    (Obviously I have the bible in mind but would be interested in other examples)
    Yes. Consider a society that bases its worldview on a literal interpretation of a translation of an ancient text. The ancient original is irretrievably lost. Anyone who seeks to understand the worldview of this society will be forced to take the translation literally.
  6. Subscribersonhouse
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    06 Jul '11 13:32
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Yes. Consider a society that bases its worldview on a literal interpretation of a translation of an ancient text. The ancient original is irretrievably lost. Anyone who seeks to understand the worldview of this society will be forced to take the translation literally.
    Bummer.
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    06 Jul '11 13:51
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Bummer.
    its not of course strictly true, the Masorettes numbered the actual letters when making a copy of the original, comparisons with what we have now with for example the dead sea scrolls, reveal, that the text has remain largely unchanged for millennia.
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    06 Jul '11 14:45
    Originally posted by Penguin
    My understanding is that "The Bible" was originally a collection of texts, gathered together into one book a few hundred years after events depicted within them. Those texts will have been written in an ancient language. According to [http://www.biblica.com/bibles/faq/11/], the old testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in ancient Greek.

    So ...[text shortened]... tsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/#timeline

    Does that clarify things?

    --- Penguin
    Clear as mud.

    My understanding is that "The Bible" was originally a collection of texts, gathered together into one book a few hundred years after events depicted within them.
    Sure. The canon of the Scripture (Old and New Testament together) was officially established around the middle of the second century. Just so. However, the books of the OT had been established quite some time before that--- in some cases, around 400 BC--- and the letters of the NT had been circulating since their inception.

    Those texts will have been written in an ancient language.
    Those texts were written in the language of the time.

    According to [http://www.biblica.com/bibles/faq/11/], the old testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in ancient Greek.
    Broadly speaking, of course. They may have forgotten about Chaldean as well as glossed over the types of Greek, but it's pretty close otherwise.

    Those translations will not be exact, word for word.
    The job of the translator is so grossly under-appreciated, don't you think?

    Mistakes will have crept in.
    Do tell.

    Some phrases would be meaningless if translated literally and would have been interpreted.
    Ah! Some concession for the translator!

    Politics may have also influenced the translations.
    So might an empty stomach, or a crying infant in the other room. Let's be a tad more precise, shall we?

    Also, many of those stories (particularly the old testament ones) will already have undergone many translations and interpretations from the originals before being gathered into that first Bible.
    We're all ears. Please hold forth on the many translations and interpretations suffered by the original stories.
  9. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    06 Jul '11 14:561 edit
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    Can any book which is a translation of an original ever be ctaken literally?
    (Obviously I have the bible in mind but would be interested in other examples)
    Yes, if the authors intentions are good and if the author understands what he/she is writing about. I have come across some translations of eastern texts where it was clear that the translating author didn't really ubderstand what they were translating.
    Good translators can adapt text for modern readers.

    edit: oh, did you say "literally" , I thought you said "seriously" 😀
  10. St. Peter's
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    06 Jul '11 17:16
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    Can any book which is a translation of an original ever be ctaken literally?
    (Obviously I have the bible in mind but would be interested in other examples)
    If we are speaking about the Bible, then my answer would be: depends on the context. Some parts are meant to be allegory, some hyperbole, some parable, some historical. Depends on the context.
  11. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    06 Jul '11 21:26
    Originally posted by Doward
    If we are speaking about the Bible, then my answer would be: depends on the context. Some parts are meant to be allegory, some hyperbole, some parable, some historical. Depends on the context.
    So why the big disagreement between christians?
    BTW I do loosely agree with your rundown on the bible. It's just that if you put it that way, there is so much room for personal intepretation. (which is good, but not really for unifying the religon)
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    06 Jul '11 21:45
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    Can any book which is a translation of an original ever be ctaken literally?
    (Obviously I have the bible in mind but would be interested in other examples)
    I'm still confused. What is the bible a translation of? (And I am talking here specifically about the original text, not the following translations which Christians do not generally consider inspired.)
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    06 Jul '11 22:06
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I'm still confused. What is the bible a translation of? (And I am talking here specifically about the original text, not the following translations which Christians do not generally consider inspired.)
    So am I.

    I now think you are saying one of two things:

    Either you are saying that you believe that the modern bible is not a translation of some other source (the original bible). In which case my previous post should tell you what modern bibles were translated from. This is what I thought you meant.

    Or you are saying that you believe the original bible was not translated from some earlier source. This is what I now think you meant and this holds far more credence but is irrelevant to the original post.

    --- Penguin.
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    06 Jul '11 22:31
    Originally posted by Penguin
    So am I.

    I now think you are saying one of two things:

    Either you are saying that you believe that the modern bible is not a translation of some other source (the original bible). In which case my previous post should tell you what modern bibles were translated from. This is what I thought you meant.

    Or you are saying that you believe the original b ...[text shortened]... u meant and this holds far more credence but is irrelevant to the original post.

    --- Penguin.
    When wolfgang says the bible, I immediately think Hebrew and Greek. If he meant translation of the bible, then he was simply being sloppy with language. And if he really did mean that, then I have no idea what the question means anyway. What does it mean to take a translation literally?
  15. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    07 Jul '11 00:28
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    When wolfgang says the bible, I immediately think Hebrew and Greek. If he meant translation of the bible, then he was simply being sloppy with language. And if he really did mean that, then I have no idea what the question means anyway. What does it mean to take a translation literally?
    Apologies for being sloppy with the language! I meant translation of the bible. But really that is the problem here. The original bible you say is in Hebrew and Ancient Greek (although I presume Jesus's parables had to be translated from Aramaic to Greek).

    My question is can any text be translated into another language and retain its full meaning?

    At a basic level there is no one-to-one correspondance between words in two languages. (e.g. English "you" has at least 6 translations in Spanish)

    Some languages simply have no translation. (e.g. schadenfreude, pied-a-terre, ciao)

    One language may have tenses not known in another (e.g. French Past Historic)

    Languages have their own idioms (e.g. how does "pull your socks up" translate into other languages .... )

    So how accurate are Jesus's teachings as given in an English (or any other modern language) bible given that his Aramaic words were translated into Ancient Greek, then Latin, then English. (And lets not even consider how the English language has changed since James I)
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