June 16, 2021

Get Thee Away From Me NRSV

It always amazes me when a Christian translation committee, in this case the New Revised Standard folks, bend over backward so far to not prejudice the text in favor of Christ that they bend it to be biased against Christ.  (It's the sort of thing we see constantly in science as well and other disciplines.) 

One small example I happened across recently, Psalm 22:16 (NRSVCE): “For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled.” 

Not: “they have pierced my hands and my feet” as it is customarily rendered. 

I looked at a commentary and I suppose the translators are leaning on the Hebrew text from the Middle Ages instead of one from before Christ:

From a commentary: 

Psalm 22:12–18 (Psalms 1-41 (James M. Boice)): “A special word should be said about verse 16, which is translated, 'they have pierced my hands and my feet.' The word pierced is the most striking indication of a crucifixion in the entire psalm, but it is well known that the Masoretic (or vowel-pointed) text of the Middle Ages does not actually read 'pierced.' As it stands, the word in the text should be rendered 'as a lion.'

A translator must always be careful how he or she disagrees with the Masoretic text, particularly when there is no explicit textual variant to base an alternative translation on. Yet in this case there seems to be good reason for doing so. For one thing, the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Old Testament, produced a century or two before the Christian era and therefore an unbiased witness, rendered the word 'pierced.' 

Second, the other major versions also translate the Hebrew this way. Third, the meaning 'as a lion' has little sense in the context and leaves the phrase in question without an explicit verb (it would have to be supplied from the preceding line). This suggests that the Masoretic text with its vowel pointing is just wrong and that alternative vowels should be supplied.”

I think I've red-pilled off the Masoretic after reading this

For me another amazing thing thing is that St. Paul in Corinthians actually quotes directly from the Septuagint.  “Now is an acceptable time” is only in the Greek translation that includes the extra six Catholic books in the Bible. So apparently what’s good enough for St. Paul is not good enough for many Christians who, when Martin Luther came around, rejected the Septuagint. 

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