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World News

Bible translation 'The Pure Word' slated by experts

by Cara Bentley

A Bible translation has been hugely criticised for its clunky English as well as its poor translation of the texts.  

'The Pure Word' claims to be 'unprecedented' in its ability to bring out the intention of the Koine Greek from some New Testament manuscripts.  

Its website says it "can save scholars, pastors and Bible students from the countless hours needed to re-translate the original Greek meanings for all 27 books of the New Testament." 

For example, it compares the King James Version with its own version of John 3:16: 

King James Version:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 

The Pure Word:
"Because, God has Loved in such a manner the satan's world, so that He Gave His Son, the Only Begotten Risen Christ, in order that whoever is Continuously by his choice Committing for the Result and Purpose of Him, should not perish, but definitely should, by his choice, be Continuously Having Eternal Life." 

They argue: "In this example, both the KJV and The Pure Word present similar messages regarding the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ; however, the original Koine Greek to English translation found in The Pure Word provides more original depth regarding the meaning of 'believeth' in Greek that was condensed by the scholars who translated the 1611 King James." 

It is made by One Path Publishing, whose President Brent Miller claims Jesus spoke in Koine Greek, although he probably spoke in a local dialect of Aramaic, and says in a video they wanted to create a New Testament that was as similar as possible, in understanding, to what the early church was reading. It was published in 2017 but received renewed attention when academics started posting about it this week. 

Although intentions - to help people know God better - may be well-meaning, the execution has been ridiculed and lambasted.

It has been criticised by scholars online, including Dr Peter Williams from Tyndale House in Cambridge and James F McGrath, Professor of Religion and New Testament Language expert at Butler University in Indianapolis, who said: "This is so appallingly terrible I am literally laughing out loud." 

Another commentator, Eric Vanden Eykel, who has a Ph.D. in Christian Origins and is Associate Professor of Religion in Virginia posted a long thread about why the translation is inaccurate as well as hard to read. He questioned why they were capitalising certain words and wrote: "These are not translations. They're commentaries. And that's fine, but don't call it a translation. And certainly don't call it ‘accurate.’"

 

One claim by the publisher is that English is an 'imprecise language' and that Koine Greek is more specific, requiring a translation that reflects the complexities. 

Caitlin Halfacre, a Christian Ph.D. student in Linguistics at Newcastle University told Premier this is a misunderstanding of how language and translation works: "Different languages form sentences and other constructions differently but they are all capable of reflecting the human capacity for logic. Part of the work of translation is finding the ways in which to express the logic and concepts written in the source language in another language." 

Others, simply enjoying the incomprehensibility of the most famous verse in the Bible, wrote: "Google translate would do better" and "Do they do fridge magnets? My kitchen could definitely use some of this 'depth of meaning'"

 

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