"Dynamic Energy" + Questions about NWT

Monty M. Self mself at i.kiev.ua
Tue Jun 19 05:22:32 EDT 2001


This morning I woke up to discover that my name has been added to the long
and prestigious list of scholars whom have misquoted, misread,
misrepresented, or misunderstood the writings, ideas, or works of Greg

In regards to "Dynamic Energy",  I am interested like Bill Rea in knowing
wither this translation was selected for artistic reasons, lexical
clarification, or for some other reason.  I understand that it is difficult
to ascertain the reasoning behind a translators selection.  Some would say
that it would be almost impossible, but being that one of our members has
identified himself as working with the translation committee and another is
a popular leading Jehovah's Wetness apologist with a very large book; I was
hoping we could get a little more inside information.  Being that the
translator(s) has (have) requested to remain anonymous, it is difficult to
ask these types of questions.  In regard to the NWT, I am interested in
obtaining information about the translators mode of operation.  For example:
How did they select variant text?  Under what criteria were lexical
selections made? How much were the LXX and targums used in clarifying
confusing text?  Are theologically charged words translated the same on
every occurrence or was their translation dependent more upon context?  I
want to be able to evaluate readings from the NWT just as I would evaluate
readings from KJV, NASV, and NIV.  Greg Stafford and several others are
correct,  discussions about the translation committee's formal training in
Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic does not help us determine the validity of a
translation.  We can only ascertain the validity of a translation by looking
at the original text used and the English translation which was produced by
the translator. While all of this sounds nice and good, it leaves us with a
problem.  We are not able to enter the mind of the translator.  Thus, our
questions are left unanswered.  What text did they start with?  Why was it
selected?  What type of translation or paraphrase was intended.  For those
of you who will become upset because I suggested that the NWT might be a
paraphrase, let me explain.  In my option, most English translations of the
Hebrew text contain an element of paraphrase.  Hebrew is a Semitic language
and English is an Indo-European language.  Unlike translation from French to
English, Hebrew to English translations are challenging because the author
want to be literal without losing the original meaning of the Hebrew text.
Many Hebrew construction are difficult to translate literally.  Hebrew is
very idiomatic.  These colorful expressions mean nothing to the typical
English reader if translated literally.  Thus, in order to have a meaningful
English translation of a Hebrew text the translator is forced to employ some
degree of paraphrasing.  My question is how much paraphrasing did the
translator(s) of the NWT intend to employ.  Answers to questions like these
will help scholars determine the level of Hebrew scholarship that was used
in the NWT.  Another realm that must be addressed in evaluating a
translators skills or the validity of a translation is understanding the
presuppositions of the translators.  Does not matter what anyone says;
Every translator translates with presuppositions.  Some times these are
theological and philosophical presupps.  Other times they are presuppos are
About syntax and lexicology.  Why is it nice to know where a Hebraicist
studied.  Then we have a good guess at what his or her foundational ideas
about Hebrew grammar are. It is also nice to know who the translator is.
Knowing his or her name permits a scholar to look at the corpus of the
translators writings and discover the translators presupps.

Monty M. Self
Professor of Hebrew
Kiev Theological Seminary

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