Question Concerning Inspiration

Bill Rea cctr114 at it.canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Dec 4 15:21:10 EST 2000


Ian wrote:-

>The OT/HB is an undatable collection of traditions. The earliest copies we
>have of most of them are from Qumran, which could mean in some cases
>traditions which seem to refer back 1500 years from the turn of the era.
>(One can see the ongoing life of a tradition if one compares different
>versions of 1QS.) 

Does anyone seriously dispute this?  

>To understand a text we are attempting to analyse we have
>to be able to contextualise it.

In that case we're stuck. We can't date them with certainty, hence we
have no certain context, hence we can't understand them. Personally,
I don't think things are as black as you are trying to make out.

>It's fine and well to do literal
>translations of a language for which there are still very many unknowns in
>our knowledge, but what relationship have such translations to the
>communications of the various writers and redactors?

I translate quite a lot to keep my BH skills current. Most of the Bible
translations on the market are not literal in any sense of the word.
Most are either dynamic equivalence types or paraphrases. Even though the
NASB and revisions make a marketing virtue out of their literalness,
it's quite evident that even they do a lot of shaping of idioms to
make them understandable to the reader.

>I think one has to deal with when texts were written otherwise one may never
>do more than scratch their surface.

As you seem to delight in point out, the evidence which would tell
us when they were written is lost, or at the very least unknown to us.
Waiting until we know the date of composition before attempting
to understand the texts is a pointless waste of time. I would
be dead before I was allowed to attempt to understand them.

Bill Rea, Information Technology Dept., Canterbury  University  \_ 
E-Mail b dot rea at it dot canterbury dot ac dot nz             </   New 
Phone   64-3-364-2331, Fax     64-3-364-2332                   /)  Zealand 
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