Comments on and quotes from The TTT Translation, my updated English version of the New Testament

If I could but have help with the Old Testament…

Alright, the New Testament’s done and waiting for me to have some spare change to print a proof copy…then what?

The obvious next step is the Old Testament.

That’s something I know I can’t do alone.  But if I had some help to ease the project… well, I guess what I’d need is a sort of a translated polyglot, like, say, translate the Masoretic Text, translate the Septuagint, translate the Vulgate (actually for these there are public domain translations I can readily appropriate), translate the major Targums, translate the Peshitta, translate the Samaritan Pentateuch, translate those portions of scripture that have shown up at Qumran… editing the result of that into something coherent and unified wouldn’t be that difficult, I don’t think.  But getting there…that is not a job for one person. 😦

An example of a parallel edition somewhat of what I am trying to do is http://buric.co/malachi.pdf.

Isaiah 53.4-12

Truly he took away our sicknesses,
and he carried away our pains,
and we treated him like a leper,
like one struck by God and humiliated.
And because of our iniquities he was wounded,
because of our crimes he was made weak;
the discipline of our peace was upon him,
and by his bruises we are healed.
We have all been straying like sheep,
each of us lying down in his path;
and the LORD has placed on him
the iniquity of all of us.
He was offered of his own will,
and would not open his mouth;
like a lamb he was led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep before the shearer he remained silent,
and did not open his mouth.
Because of sorrow and because of judgment he was taken away.
Who will tell of his generation?
For he has been cut off from the land of the living;
because of the crime of my people he was stricken.
And they gave him a tomb with the wicked,
and with the rich his death,
though he had done no iniquity,
nor was deceit in his mouth.
And the LORD was pleased to grind him down in weakness.
If his soul were put up for our sin,
his seed would see old age,
and the will of the LORD would be made straight in his hand.
For that which his soul toiled,
he will see and be made full.
By his knowledge he will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great,
and he will divided the loot with the strong,
because his soul was handed over to death,
and he was reckoned with criminals,
and he bore the sins of many,
and pleaded for the transgressors.

Hebrews 5.1-10

For every priest who is taken from men is set in place for men in the things which pertain to God, that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins, who can have compassion on the unknowing and erring, for he himself is surrounded by weakness. And for this reason he ought, as for the people so also for himself, to do sacrifice for sins. Nobody usurps the honor for himself except the one who is also called by God, as Aaron also was. Thus also Christ; he did not glorify himself, so that he might become a high priest, but the one who said to him, My son you are; today I have fathered you. (Ps 2.7) As he says also elsewhere, You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Ps 110.4b) The one who, in the days of his flesh, offered prayers and supplications to the one who could render him safe from death, with strong crying and tears, was also heard for his reverence, and though being the son, learned obedience by those things which he suffered; and being made perfect, to all who obey him, he became the cause of eternal salvation, named by God “a high priest according to the ordination of Melchizedek”.

Mark 10.35-45

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him, saying, “Teacher, we want to ask you to do one thing for us.”

And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And they said to him, “Give us that one at your right hand and one at your left hand we may sit in your glory.”

And Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink of the cup which I drink, and be baptized with the baptism which I will be baptized?”

And they said to him, “We can.”

And Jesus said to them, “The very cup which I drink you will drink, and the baptism with which I will be baptized, you will be baptized with. However, to sit on my left hand or my right, is not mine to give, but is for whoever it is prepared for.” And the other ten, hearing, became indignant at James and John.

And Jesus, calling them to him, said to them, “You know that those who would be seen to rule over the nations, exercise lordship against them. And those who are leaders among them exercise power upon them. But it shall not be thus among you; but whichever of you wants to be great among you shall be your servant. And whichever of you wants to be first shall be slave to all. For the son of man himself did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his own life as redemption for many.”

The theme here seems to be how Jesus gave his life for our sins, as Philip explains to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8.27-39).  Part of the Isaiah passage is quoted there. Actually, much of this passage is quoted throughout the New Testament, in one form or another, and the crucifixion is described as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. Hebrews here uses a couple of quotes from Psalms, but places the same idea in verses 7-9.

slave to all: Many of us have gotten the idea that a government should exist to keep people in line.  It seems to me that a government ought to exist as a servant of the people, and not the people as servant to the government… that by taking the foremost place, that of government, it ought to take the least place, that of servant. Here, Jesus says that to take the foremost place, of God’s right hand, he must take the lowest place, of a convict unjustly condemned.

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I sometimes find it difficult to write on the topics suggested by the RCEL, without someone to prompt me, so I really don’t have much to say today.

Amos 5.6-7, 10-15

Seek the Lord and live, lest the house of Joseph be burned as by fire, and devoured, and there shall be no one to extinguish it in Bethel, 7 you who turn judgment into wormwood, and leave behind justice upon the earth. […] They have harbored hatred toward the one in the gate who rebukes, and have despised the perfect speaker. Therefore, because you have walked all over the poor, and have borne away the choice prey from him, you have built houses of square stone, but shall not dwell in them; you have planted delightful vineyards, and you will not drink their wine. For I have known your many crimes and your mighty sins; foes of the righteous, takers of bribes, who oppress the poor people in the gate. Therefore the one who is prudent in that time will keep silent, for it is an evil time. Seek good, not evil, so that you may live; and the Lord God of troops will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; perhaps the Lord God of troops may have mercy upon the remnant of Joseph.

There still is a “remnant of Joseph” (i.e., the northern tribes), but their numbers continue to dwindle. They are located mainly in Nablus.

Hebrews 4.12-16

For the word of God is alive and effective, and pierces far deeper than even a two-bladed sword, reaching as far as the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and is the discerner of the musings and intentions of the heart. And there is no other being which shall not be revealed in his sight; but all things are naked and opened to his eyes, to whom is our speech. Therefore, having a great high priest who has pierced the heavens, Jesus the son of God, we ought to hold firmly to the confession. For we do not have a chief priest incapable of empathizing with our failings; but one tempted by all things in the same manner as us, yet sinless. Therefore, we shall approach with confidence the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy, and find grace toward opportune aid.

Mark 1.16-31

And walking beside the sea of Galilee, he sees Simon and his brother Andrew, casting nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I shall make you become fishers for people.” And at once leaving the nets, they followed him.

And moving a little further along, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat adjusting their nets, and at once he called them. And leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired hands, they followed him.

And they went into Capernaum, and at once that sabbath entering into the synagogue he would teach. And they were astonished at his doctrine. For he was teaching them as one having power, and not like the scribes.

And there was in their synagogue a man in unclean spirit, and shouting, saying, “Ah, what is there between you and us, Jesus the Nazarene? Have you come to destroy us? I know you, who you are—the holy one of God.”

And Jesus rebuked him saying, “Hold your tongue and get out of the man.”

And the unclean spirit convulsed him, and shouting in a great voice, he left him.

And all were awed, so as to discuss among themselves, saying, “What is this? What are these new teachings? For in power he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

And his fame went forth in every place, in the whole region of Galilee.

And at once out of the synagogue they came in the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. And the mother-in-law of Simon was bedridden, having a fever; and at once they told him about her. And coming to her he lifted her up, grabbing her hand, and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered to them.

There is an immediacy in Mark which many translators consider a mistake.  The author of this gospel often wrote in the present tense instead of the past (you see this in verse 16).  Ironically, one of the few translations to maintain this effect in the translation is the KJV.

At first I followed the lead of the Scholars’ Version here. Shut up and get out of the man…I thought better of this choice later, and used the more polite, but still curt hold your tongue instead.

Flags are a red flag

I hear a lot of talk, “oh, we should honor the flag”, “we should say the pledge of allegiance to the flag”.

NO!  You should not say the pledge of allegiance, you should not salute a flag.  Saluting a flag is giving honor and worship to a strip of nylon, an artifice the work of man’s hands, which is due to God alone.  And allegiance is due to God alone.  The pledge of allegiance is an act of idolatry.  (This is still true if it is to the Christian flag; that flag is still not God.)  You are not to worship or pay homage to these things (Ex 20.5a), which are but a creation and not the Creator; they are but the work of human hands, they are not the living God.

I had some issues in high school because I refused to say the pledge.  I felt it was idolatrous then as well.  And it completely mystifies me that people so hung up on God, as many evangelicals are, would stoop to saluting before a flag, and pledging their allegiance to it, which belongs to God alone. I, the Lord your God, am mighty and jealous (Ex 20.5b).  Fear the Lord your God, and serve only him (Dt 6.13b).

Anonymity and pseudonymity

When I first posted a draft of my translation on a private server, I figured my name would cause the translation to be seen as a vainglorious attempt at self-aggrandizement.  I did not place my full name on the text, though I did mark my name on it somewhat, feeling that not stating this fact would rouse people’s suspicions.

I wanted to be able to say yes, I had done the project, but I didn’t want to make it look like I had done it to make myself look better in the eyes of men.  I have relatives in the ministry.  I don’t want that affecting how my work is understood, and more importantly, I have not talked to any of my relatives in 20 years, since I’ve lived a couple hundred miles away from them ever since then.  I last visited my hometown in 1999 and was not long there.

I am not translating the New Testament out of any wish for fame, fortune or regard.  These are not the things a Christian should seek after.  I have desired a better understanding of the scriptures, and have gone as far back to the source as my limited knowledge allows me.  [W]hether you eat, whether you drink, whether you do anything (so says Paul) do all things in the glory of God. (1 Cor 10.31) This is all I have wished to do.

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Here’s the quotes of the week.  Sorry if I get a bit rambling or incoherent… I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Psalm 8 TTT:

To the bandleader—For “Gittith”—A psalm of David

Lord, our Lord, how great is your name in all the earth, you who have placed your glory upon the heavens!  From the mouth of babies and nurselings you have founded power because of my adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and avenger.

For when I look upon the heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have founded, what is a person, that you will remember him, or a son of man, that you visit him? You have made him little less than God, crowned him in glory and honor, given him power over the works of your hands, placed them all under his feet; all sheep and oxen, and furthermore all the animals in the field; birds of the sky and fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord, how great is your name in all the earth!

More on this later, as the citation is referenced in the next citation.

Hebrews 1.1-4, 2.5-12 TTT:

Having many times, many ways, spoken to us through the prophets, God, in these last days, has spoken to us through his son, whom he set in place as the heir of all things, by whom even the world itself was founded; who, being the splendor of his glory and the very reflection of his substance, and bearing up all things by the word of his power, by himself made a purgation of our sins, sat down to the right of majesty in the heights; being made far superior to the angels, having inherited himself a name more excellent than any of them. […]

For he has not subjected the angels to the earthly realm to come, of which we speak. But a certain one of them bore witness, saying, What is a man that you remember him, the son of man that you visit him? You have made him not much inferior to the angels, crowned him with glory and honor, and placed him over the works of your hands—all things thrown down under his feet. (Ps 8.4-6) For in this he subjected or threw down all things, leaving nothing which he did not subject. But we do not yet see all these things to have been subjected.  But we see the one who has been made not much lower than the angels; we perceive Jesus because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God, he would taste death for everyone. For it seemed right to him, because of whom all things are, and by whom all things are, that he lead many sons into glory, to perfect the prince of their salvation through sufferings. After all, both the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified, are all from one; for which reason he is not embarrassed to call them brothers, saying, I shall proclaim your name to my brothers; in the midst of the community I shall praise you. (Ps 22.22)

If you noticed, there’s a little difference here.

The Hebrews quote says: You have made him not much inferior to the angels (fecisti eum paululo inferiorem angelis thus Erasmus).  With this reading, it has been applied to Jesus, who is often referred to as “the son of man”.  This is in fact the reading which the Greek Bible has at Psalm 8.5: ηλαττωσας αυτον βραχυ τι παρ’ αγγελους. Jerome, the translator of the Vulgate, translated the Psalms both out of Greek and out of Hebrew, and when he translated from Greek, he had this reading as well: minuisti eum paulo minus ab angelis (“you have diminished him to just a little bit less than the angels”).  But when translating the Hebrew he has this: minues eum paulo minus a deo (“you diminish him to just a little bit less than God”).  This phrase works with the other understanding of “son of man”, “a human being”… but doesn’t work as well with the christological interpretation.

The KJV handled this by using the Greek interpretation: For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.  This is not the only place where this has been done.  And checking the Hebrew text (with romanization; I cannot read Hebrew script) the word “elohim” (“God” or “gods”) is clearly visible; it would (I believe) be daft to translate this any other way.

On to the third quote.

Mark 10.2-16 TTT:

[A]nd coming to him, Pharisees questioned him: “Is it or is it not allowed for a man to divorce his wife?”, tempting him.

And he replied, saying to them, “What did Moses command you?”

And they said, “Moses permitted to writing a bill of divorce, to dismiss.”

And Jesus, replying, said to them, “To the hardness of your heart he wrote you this command.  However, from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  (Gen. 1.27) Because of this a man will give up his father and mother and will cling to his wife, and the two will be in one flesh, (Gen. 2.24) so now they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, man may not separate.”

And again in the house his disciples asked him about this, and he said, “Whoever divorces his wife and takes another commits adultery against her; and if a woman should divorce her husband and marry another, she commits adultery.”

And they brought him little children, so that he might touch them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  And Jesus, seeing, became indignant, and said to them, “Let the little children come to me, do not stop them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Amen, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like this little child, shall certainly not enter into it.”  And when he began to take them in his arms he placed his hands upon them and blessed them.

In places, my translation of the Gospels is a bit ragged around the edges, being some of my earliest work.  Certainly I intend to fix this before committing it to dead tree.

Regarding Jesus’ interpretation of a married couple as being as good as one – marriage is not something to be entered into lightly.  One would want to find oneself a person with which he or she would want to spend the rest of his or her days with.  These days there is too much flippant marriage, and as a consequence, flippant divorce; this should not be, should never have been.  I will be 33 years old in a few months and have still not found that someone; but in the meantime, I haven’t rushed into tying the knot either, which is (I think) for the better.  Take your time, and you’ll make better choices.  (Not saying I wouldn’t like to have tied the knot 10 years ago, but…)

receive the kingdom of God like this little child.  Children have quite open minds; again, sanity check, and keep an open mind, but don’t let your brain fall out!  But keep an open mind, and don’t close yourself to a different understanding, if one should come along.

Starting off

A few years ago, I was challenged to do a translation of the New Testament.  As I write this, only 6 chapters remain, which I hope to complete by the end of the year.

Periodically, I intend to provide quotations from the text, and notes about its evolution and my decisions regarding the translation.

It is a public-domain translation; I have no qualms with my quotations being copied.  Just remember, however, that my notes and annotations are not public domain.