The Gnostic Quill

Making the Esoteric into Exoteric

I Welcome the Day

Plato paints the picture of a Charioteer (Greek: ἡνίοχος) driving a chariot pulled by two winged horses: “First the charioteer of the human soul drives a pair, and secondly one of the horses is noble and of noble breed, but the other quite the opposite in breed and character. Therefore in our case the driving is necessarily difficult and troublesome.” The Charioteer represents intellect, reason, or the part of the soul that must guide the soul to truth; one horse represents rational or moral impulse or the positive part of passionate nature (e.g., righteous indignation); while the other represents the soul’s irrational passions, appetites, or concupiscent nature. The Charioteer directs the entire chariot/soul, trying to stop the horses from going different ways, and to proceed towards enlightenment.

 

 

 

I welcome the day that takes me out of my head.

Not the kind of experience that makes you blur, distort or alter your reality by way of inducing some chemical agent.  No drugs or alcohol will change anything after the effect wares off.  Usually change comes when you meditate or study and if you’re lucky, after years of this process you begin to realize that we go through stages in life that help direct us if we pay attention to the right voices.  In every age, (childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, adulthood, etc>) we have an opportunity to learn what this age can teach us.  In our experiences of the world and in our relationships, what is expected from us; by us, by others, and by the world in general, we can disassociate from the ineffective experiences and learn truths that become known through experience.  But we must also train ourselves to acquire the right knowledge.  The reason part can be faulty and fail to give us truth if we inaccurately perceive or make false deductions.  We should by education selectively seek answers that are sound logically as well as appeal to the other directing components that we rely upon to help us judge.

 

Rabindranath Tagore

“A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.”
Rabindranath Tagore
Albert Camus

“It is always easy to be logical. It is almost impossible to be logical to the bitter end.”
Albert Camus
Ryszard Kapuściński

“if reason ruled the world would history even exist?”
Ryszard Kapuściński
René Descartes

“Dubium sapientiae initium. (Doubt is the origin of wisdom.)”
René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

 

I welcome the day that takes me out of my heart.

I realize that any of our meaningful experiences often include a layering and overlapping of happy moments upon hurtful moments.  The spectrum of the heart can be wondrous as well as overwhelmingly pernicious.  One must ideally recognize that these moments should balance out and augment our perspectives since the happy as well as the sad times are essential for a healthy experience of the world.   This emotional part should also rely upon other sources to help judge.  Heartfelt moments should have some basis for the mind to intercede before any judgement is rendered.

 

 

Mahatma Gandhi

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
Mahatma Gandhi
Rumi

“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.”
Rumi
C.S. Lewis

“The human heart is not unchanging (nay, changes almost out of recognition in the twinkling of an eye)…”
C.S. Lewis
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“For though your mind is active enough, your heart is darkened with corruption, and without a pure heart there can be no full or genuine sensibility.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground

 

I welcome the day that takes me out of my sensual appetence.

From the time I was in my twenties, my hunger for physical stimulation often exceeded my emotional need in connections to others and the rational need for understanding from others.  My education about the significance of tactile stimulation began with Ashley Montagu’s book Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin first published in 1971.  I discovered a re-issued publication around 1983 when I was a psychology student on a mission to unlock the mysterious of the mind.

 

Not much later I discovered partly by personal experience and partly by the influences in my education that if you do not blend these stimulative elements, (the head, the heart, and the spirit) of the human being, you can become lost in any one part that can distort your perceptions.  Allowing any of these elements can cause us loss or injury as we are not using the other parts of our being to make good decisions.

 

George Bernard Shaw

“There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman
Friedrich Nietzsche

“Ultimately, it is the desire, not the desired, that we love.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Abraham Maslow

“It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.”
Abraham Maslow
Jean de La Fontaine

“Everyone believes very easily whatever he fears or desires.”
Jean de La Fontaine

In all accounts it is darkness, that teaches us the beauty of light.

In my lifetime on this planet I much like others, had to figure out who I was, who I wanted to be, and how would I get there?   Because of my odyssey and passage in this life, I sought to find answers that would explain questions I did not ascertain from those in my family growing up as a child.  Little did I know then that it would be a lifelong journey.

 ☀︎☀︎☀︎

 

to be continued….

 

 

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The History of the Bible

http://medievalfragments.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/meester_van_catharina_van_kleef_-_getijdenboek_van_de_meester_van_catharina_van_kleef4.jpeg

An example of the distortions of translations known to scholars of medieval philosophy is the quote: “Peace on earth, good will to men!”

Luke 2:14

King James Version (KJV)

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The actual Greek translation states a different semantic meaning: “Peace on earth towards men of good will!”

The first does not discriminate, the second discriminates.

Many translations exist for the current day bible as many men decided what should be left in and what should be left out of the biblical texts.

Constantine had a huge impact on what books were to be left in, (leaving out the gnostic gospels), of the current books we know of now.

The path from original Hebrew, then traveling though the Arabic world and translated into Aramaic, and then to Alexandria into Greek, and then into Europe and into Latin.

The Gospel according to Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John are the selected books of the Bible that tell the story of Jesus Christ.

There are other books that the Catholic Orthodoxy has rejected as Heresy and are not included in the Known Bible.  They call them the Gnostic Gospels, and include such books as The Gospel of Thomas, as well as an expunged Gospel from Luke known as the Gospel of the Lord, The Gospel of Truth with the teachings from Pistis Sophia, The Secret book of James, The Acts of Thomas and of Peter, but the commonly known Gnostic Gospels mainly refer to:

  • The Gospel of Mary
  • The Gospel of Thomas
  • The Gospel of Truth
  • The Gospel of Philip
  • The Gospel of Judas

After the Death of Christ, Christianity spread through-out the known world and into Europe from Rome.  In the year 325 The Roman Emperor Constantine Puts an end to the persecution of Christians, and adopts Christianity as the official Religion.  Only a few sects of Christianity was allowed to be followed by the direction of Constantine and the now growing power of the Catholic church.

In the beginning of the 8th Century the Muslim advance began which found these Muslim Arab attacks into Europe.  In 1099 the European Christians launched the Crusades.  These were military and religious campaigns to take back the Holy Land.  This in turn gave rise to military orders of personnel enshrouded in legends and mystery.  One of these orders became The Poor Fellow Soldiers Of Christ, or the Knights Templar.  It begins with the first crusade led by Godfrey of Bullion who was said to have uncovered great relics in the Holly land after his siege upon it.  To preserve the secrets he had uncovered on the first crusade he enacted the Order of Scion in the wake of Godfrey II.

Seal of Templars.jpg

Officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around 1129, the Order became a favored charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades.  Non-combatant members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom,  innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking,  and building fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.

The Templars’ existence was tied closely to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the Order faded. Rumors about the Templars’ secret initiation ceremony created mistrust and King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Order, took advantage of the situation. In 1307, many of the Order’s members in France were arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and then burned at the stake.  Under pressure from King Philip, Pope Clement V disbanded the Order in 1312. The abrupt disappearance of a major part of the European infrastructure gave rise to speculation and legends, which have kept the “Templar” name alive into the modern day.

The crusades took place for about 200 years.  Whatever was uncovered by the first crusade in the temple of Solomon by the Templars has been kept secret and has caused great speculation even until this day.  If the origins of the central banking system we known today spawned from the Templars’, why did the church exempt them for so long?  Was it because of the secrets they had uncovered in the temple of Solomon?

Is that why they ultimately met their downfall in 1307 when King Philip IV ordered their execution on Friday the 13th?

In 1305, the new Pope Clement V, based in France, sent letters to both the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and the Hospitaller Grand Master Fulk de Villaret to discuss the possibility of merging the two Orders.  Neither was amenable to the idea, but Pope Clement persisted, and in 1306 he invited both Grand Masters to France to discuss the matter. De Molay arrived first in early 1307, but de Villaret was delayed for several months.  While waiting, De Molay and Clement discussed criminal charges that had been made, it seems, two years prior by an ousted Templar and had been taken up by the king of France and his ministers.  It was generally agreed that the charges were false, but Clement sent King Philip IV of France a written request for assistance in the investigation.  According to some historians, King Philip, who was already deeply in debt to the Templars from his war with the English, decided to seize upon the rumors for his own purposes.  He began pressuring the Church to take action against the Order, as a way of freeing himself from his debts.  Recent studies emphasize the political and religious motivations of the French king. It seems that, with the “discovery” and repression of the “Templars’ heresy,” the Capetian monarchy claimed for itself the mystic foundations of the papal theocracy.  The Temple case was the last step of a process of appropriating these foundations, which had begun with the Franco-papal rift at the time of Boniface VIII.  Being the ultimate defender of the Catholic faith, the Capetian king was invested with a Christlike function that put him above the pope: what was at stake in the Templars’ trial was the establishment of a “royal theocracy”.

After the imposed war on the Templars’, The Priory of Scion was formed, thus the secrecy of the Templars goes underground.

The Holly Inquisition becomes tantamount when one looks at the treatment of the Templars and the treatment of Women given the implication of the Gnostic Gospels.  The Heretical implication of the works of Leonardo Da Vinci  such as the Last Supper had to be painted in a very secretive code.  Otherwise he to would befall the fate of the Inquisitors.  The fact that Leonardo was also a Grand Master of the Templars is very curious yet gives support to the idea that there was something he was communicating that may not have been excepted by the power of the Church. Leonardo being a Grand Master would have denounced the treatment of the Church of the Gospels, and therefore would have reason to paint within his own beliefs, or rather, paint in a way as to render his painting with hidden truths.

During most of the 16th and 17th centuries, fear of heretics spreading teachings and opinions that contradicted the Bible dominated the Catholic Church.  They persecuted scientists who formed theories the Church deemed heretical and forbade people from reading any books on those subjects by placing the books on the Index of Prohibited Books.  A type of war between science and was in play but there would be more casualties on the side of science. Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo Galilei were two scientists who printed books that later became banned. Copernicus faced no persecution when he was alive because he died shortly after publishing his book. Galileo, on the other hand, was tried by the Inquisition after his book was published.  Both scientists held the same theory that the Earth revolved around the sun, a theory now known to be true.  However, the Church disapproved of this theory because the Holy Scriptures state that the Earth is at the center, not the Sun.  As the contents of the Bible were taken literally, the publishing of these books proved, to the Church, that Copernicus and Galileo were sinners; they preached, through their writing, that the Bible was wrong.

 

for an account of the biblical manuscripts see Wikipedia’s treatment

Hebrew Bible

The Tanakh was mainly written in Biblical Hebrew, with some portions (notably in Daniel and Ezra) in Biblical Aramaic. From the 9th century to the 15th century, Jewish scholars, today known as Masoretes, compared the text of all known biblical manuscripts in an effort to create a unified, standardized text. A series of highly similar texts eventually emerged, and any of these texts are known as Masoretic Texts (MT). The Masoretes also added vowel points (called niqqud) to the text, since the original text only contained consonant letters. This sometimes required the selection of an interpretation, since some words differ only in their vowels—their meaning can vary in accordance with the vowels chosen. In antiquity, variant Hebrew readings existed, some of which have survived in the Samaritan Pentateuch and other ancient fragments, as well as being attested in ancient versions in other languages.[2]

New Testament

The New Testament was written in Koine Greek.

The discovery of older manuscripts, which belong to the Alexandrian text-type, including the 4th century Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, led scholars to revise their view about the original Greek text. Attempts to reconstruct the original text are called critical editions. Karl Lachmann based his critical edition of 1831 on manuscripts dating from the 4th century and earlier, to demonstrate that the Textus Receptus must be corrected according to these earlier texts.

The autographs, the Greek manuscripts written by the original authors, have not survived. Scholars surmise the original Greek text from the versions that do survive. The three main textual traditions of the Greek New Testament are sometimes called the Alexandrian text-type (generally minimalist), the Byzantine text-type (generally maximalist), and the Western text-type (occasionally wild). Together they comprise most of the ancient manuscripts.

Most variants among the manuscripts are minor, such as alternative spelling, alternative word order, the presence or absence of an optional definite article (“the”), and so on. Occasionally, a major variant happens when a portion of a text wasor variants tend to be easier to correct. Examples of major variants are the endings of Mark, the Pericope Adulteræ, the Comma Johanneum, and the Western version of Acts.

Early manuscripts of the letters of Paul and other New Testament writings show no punctuation whatsoever.   The punctuation was added later by other editors, according to their own understanding of the text.

History of Bible translations

Ancient translations of the Hebrew Bible

Aramaic Targums

Some of the first translations of the Jewish Torah began during the first exile in Babylonia, when Aramaic became the lingua franca of the Jews. With most people speaking only Aramaic and not understanding Hebrew, the Targums were created to allow the common person to understand the Torah as it was read in ancient synagogues.

Greek Septuagint

By the 3rd century BC, Alexandria had become the center of Hellenistic Judaism, and a Koine Greek translation was compiled in several stages during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC (known to have been complete by 132 BC). The Talmud ascribes the translation effort to Ptolemy II Philadelphus (r. 285-246 BC) who is said to have hired 72 Jewish scholars for the purpose, for which reason the translation is commonly known as the Septuagint, a name which it gained around AD 354-430, “the time of Augustine of Hippo“.[4] The Septuagint (LXX) was the very first translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, and later became the accepted text of the Old Testament in the church and the basis of its canon. The Latin Vulgate by Jerome was based upon the Hebrew for those books of the Bible preserved in the Jewish canon (as reflected in the masoretic text), and on the Greek text for the deuterocanonical books.

In his City of God 18.42, while repeating the story of Aristeas with typical embellishments, Augustine adds the remark, “It is their translation that it has now become traditional to call the Septuagint” …[Latin omitted]… Augustine thus indicates that this name for the Greek translation of the scriptures was a recent development. However, he offers no clue as to which of the possible antecedents led to this development:[5]  and was widely used by Greek-speaking Jews, and later by Christians.[6]  It differs somewhat from the later standardized Hebrew (Masoretic Text). This translation was promoted by way of a legend (primarily recorded as the Letter of Aristeas) that seventy (or in some sources, seventy-two) separate translators all produced identical texts; supposedly proving its accuracy.[7]

Versions of the Septuagint contain several passages and whole books beyond what was included in the Masoretic texts of the Tanakh. In some cases these additions were originally composed in Greek, while in other cases they are translations of Hebrew books or variants not present in the Masoretic texts. Recent discoveries have shown that more of the Septuagint additions have a Hebrew origin than was once thought. While there are no complete surviving manuscripts of the Hebrew texts on which the Septuagint was based, many scholars believe that they represent a different textual tradition (“Vorlage”) from the one that became the basis for the Masoretic texts.[2]

Early translations in Late Antiquity

Origen‘s Hexapla placed side by side six versions of the Old Testament, including the 2nd century Greek translations of Aquila of Sinope and Symmachus the Ebionite. His eclectic recension of the Septuagint had a significant influence on the Old Testament text in several important manuscripts. The canonical Christian Bible was formally established by Bishop Cyril of Jerusalem in 350 (although it had been generally accepted by the church previously), confirmed by the Council of Laodicea in 363 (both lacked the book of Revelation), and later established by Athanasius of Alexandria in 367 (with Revelation added), and Jerome‘s Vulgate Latin translation dates to between AD 382 and 420. Latin translations predating Jerome are collectively known as Vetus Latina texts.

Christian translations also tend to be based upon the Hebrew, though some denominations prefer the Septuagint (or may cite variant readings from both). Bible translations incorporating modern textual criticism usually begin with the masoretic text, but also take into account possible variants from all available ancient versions. The received text of the Christian New Testament is in Koine Greek,[8] and nearly all translations are based upon the Greek text.

Jerome began by revising the earlier Latin translations, but ended by going back to the original Greek, bypassing all translations, and going back to the original Hebrew wherever he could instead of the Septuagint.

The New Testament was translated into Gothic in the 4th century by Ulfilas. In the 5th century, Saint Mesrob translated the bible into Armenian. Also dating from the same period are the Syriac, Coptic, Old Nubian, Ethiopic and Georgian translations.

There are also several ancient translations, most important of which are in the Syriac dialect of Aramaic (including the Peshitta and the Diatessaron gospel harmony), in the Ethiopian language of Ge’ez, and in Latin (both the Vetus Latina and the Vulgate). Wulfila, bishop of the Goths in what is now Bulgaria, translated the Bible into Gothic in the mid-4th century.

In 331, the Emperor Constantine commissioned Eusebius to deliver fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople. Athanasius (Apol. Const. 4) recorded Alexandrian scribes around 340 preparing Bibles for Constans. Little else is known, though there is plenty of speculation. For example, it is speculated that this may have provided motivation for canon lists, and that Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus are examples of these Bibles. Together with the Peshitta, these are the earliest extant Christian Bibles.[9]

File:Codex Vaticanus B, 2Thess. 3,11-18, Hebr. 1,1-2,2.jpg

Middle Ages

The Codex Gigas from the 13th century, held at the Royal Library in Sweden.

When ancient scribes copied earlier books, they wrote notes on the margins of the page (marginal glosses) to correct their text—especially if a scribe accidentally omitted a word or line—and to comment about the text. When later scribes were copying the copy, they were sometimes uncertain if a note was intended to be included as part of the text. See textual criticism. Over time, different regions evolved different versions, each with its own assemblage of omissions and additions.

The earliest surviving complete manuscript of the entire Bible is the Codex Amiatinus, a Latin Vulgate edition produced in 8th century England at the double monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow.

During the Middle Ages, translation, particularly of the Old Testament was discouraged. Nevertheless, there are some fragmentary Old English Bible translations, notably a lost translation of the Gospel of John into Old English by the Venerable Bede, which he is said to have prepared shortly before his death around the year 735. An Old High German version of the gospel of Matthew dates to 748. Charlemagne in ca. 800 charged Alcuin with a revision of the Latin Vulgate. The translation into Old Church Slavonic was started in 863 by Cyril and Methodius.

Alfred the Great had a number of passages of the Bible circulated in the vernacular in around 900. These included passages from the Ten Commandments and the Pentateuch, which he prefixed to a code of laws he promulgated around this time. In approximately 990, a full and freestanding version of the four Gospels in idiomatic Old English appeared, in the West Saxon dialect; these are called the Wessex Gospels.

Pope Innocent III in 1199 banned unauthorized versions of the Bible as a reaction to the Cathar and Waldensian heresies. The synods of Toulouse and Tarragona (1234) outlawed possession of such renderings. There is evidence of some vernacular translations being permitted while others were being scrutinized.

The complete Bible was translated into Old French in the late 13th century. Parts of this translation were included in editions of the popular Bible historiale, and there is no evidence of this translation being suppressed by the Church.[10]  The entire Bible was translated into Czech around 1360.

The most notable Middle English Bible translation, Wyclif’s Bible (1383), based on the Vulgate, was banned by the Oxford Synod in 1408. A Hungarian Hussite Bible appeared in the mid 15th century, and in 1478, a Catalan translation in the dialect of Valencia. Many parts of the Bible were printed by William Caxton in his translation of the Golden Legend, and in Speculum Vitae Christi (The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ).

Reformation and Early Modern period

The earliest printed edition of the Greek New Testament appeared in 1516 from the Froben press, by Desiderius Erasmus, who reconstructed its Greek text from several recent manuscripts of the Byzantine text-type. He occasionally added a Greek translation of the Latin Vulgate for parts that did not exist in the Greek manuscripts. He produced four later editions of this text. Erasmus was Roman Catholic, but his preference for the Byzantine Greek manuscripts rather than the Latin Vulgate led some church authorities to view him with suspicion.

In 1521, Martin Luther was placed under the Ban of the Empire, and he retired to the Wartburg Castle. During his time there, he translated the New Testament from Greek into German. It was printed in September 1522. The first complete Dutch Bible, partly based on the existing portions of Luther’s translation, was printed in Antwerp in 1526 by Jacob van Liesvelt.[11]

The first printed edition with critical apparatus (noting variant readings among the manuscripts) was produced by the printer Robert Estienne of Paris in 1550. The Greek text of this edition and of those of Erasmus became known as the Textus Receptus (Latin for “received text”), a name given to it in the Elzevier edition of 1633, which termed it as the text nunc ab omnibus receptum (“now received by all”).

Later critical editions incorporate ongoing scholarly research, including discoveries of Greek papyrus fragments from near Alexandria, Egypt, that date in some cases within a few decades of the original New Testament writings.[12] Today, most critical editions of the Greek New Testament, such as UBS4 and NA27, consider the Alexandrian text-type corrected by papyri, to be the Greek text that is closest to the original autographs. Their apparatus includes the result of votes among scholars, ranging from certain {A} to doubtful {E}, on which variants best preserve the original Greek text of the New Testament.

Critical editions that rely primarily on the Alexandrian text-type inform nearly all modern translations (and revisions of older translations). For reasons of tradition, however, some translators prefer to use the Textus Receptus for the Greek text, or use the Majority Text which is similar to it but is a critical edition that relies on earlier manuscripts of the Byzantine text-type. Among these, some argue that the Byzantine tradition contains scribal additions, but these later interpolations preserve the orthodox interpretations of the biblical text—as part of the ongoing Christian experience—and in this sense are authoritative. Distrust of the textual basis of modern translations has contributed to the King-James-Only Movement.

The churches of the Protestant Reformation translated the Greek of the Textus Receptus to produce vernacular Bibles, such as the German Luther Bible (1522), the Polish Brest Bible (1563), the Czech Melantrich Bible (1549) and Bible of Kralice (1579-1593) and the English King James Bible (1611).

Tyndale’s New Testament translation (1526, revised in 1534, 1535 and 1536) and his translation of the Pentateuch (1530, 1534) and the Book of Jonah were met with heavy sanctions given the widespread belief that Tyndale changed the Bible as he attempted to translate it. The first complete French Bible was a translation by Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples, published in 1530 in Antwerp.[13] The Froschauer Bible of 1531 and the Luther Bible of 1534 (both appearing in portions throughout the 1520s) were an important part of the Reformation.

The first English translations of Psalms (1530), Isaiah (1531), Proverbs (1533), Ecclesiastes (1533), Jeremiah (1534) and Lamentations (1534), were executed by the Protestant Bible translator George Joye in Antwerp. In 1535 Myles Coverdale published the first complete English Bible also in Antwerp.[14]

In 1584 both Old and New Testaments were translated to Slovene by Protestant writer and theologian Jurij Dalmatin. The Slovenes thus became the 12th nation in the world with a complete Bible in their language. Samuel Bogusław Chyliński (1631–1668) translated and published the first Bible translation into Lithuanian.[15]

The missionary activity of the Jesuit order led to a large number of 17th century translations into languages of the New World.

Modern translation efforts

The Bible continues to be the most translated book in the world. The following numbers are approximations. As of 2005, at least one book of the Bible has been translated into 2,400 of the 6,900 languages listed by SIL,[16][not in citation given] including 680 languages in Africa, followed by 590 in Asia, 420 in Oceania, 420 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 210 in Europe, and 75 in North America. The United Bible Societies are presently assisting in over 600 Bible translation projects. The Bible is available in whole or in part to some 98 percent of the world’s population in a language in which they are fluent.

The United Bible Societies announced that as of 31 December 2007[17] the Bible was available in 438 languages, 123 of which included the deuterocanonical material as well as the Tanakh and New Testament. Either the Tanakh or the New Testament alone was available in an additional 1168 languages, and portions of the Bible were available in another 848 languages, for a total of 2,454 languages.

In 1999, Wycliffe Bible Translators announced Vision 2025. This project aims to see Bible translation begun by 2025 in every remaining language community that needs it. They currently estimate that around 209 million people, representing 2.95% of the world’s population, speak those 1,967 languages where translation work still needs to begin.

In November 2012, Wycliffe presented statistics that said that scripture existed in 2,798 languages out of the 6,877 languages currently known to be in use in the world. There are currently 518 languages with a full bible translation. At least 4.9 billion people (70% of the world’s population) have access to a full bible translation in their first language. A further 595 million (8.5% of the world’s population), representing 1,275 languages, have at least the New Testament in their first language. Also, 1,005 languages (almost 20% of the world’s population) have at least one portion of scripture (one or more books) available in their first language. By September 2012, personnel from participating bible translation organizations were involved in 2075 active language programs.[18]

The New World Translation produced by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is currently (according to the The Watchtower Magazine of February 15, 2013), produced in over 116 languages and more than 178,545,862 copies have been printed, (somewhat less than the 215,000,000 copies of the popular New International Version translation of the Bible in English).

In 2001, Mike Coles, an RE teacher in Stepney, translated The Bible into Cockney Rhyming slang and in 2008, graphic representations of The Bible in Manga and Lego brick form were given approval by the Archbishop of Canterbury.[19]

The Zhuang language is considered to be the language without a Bible translation that holds the largest number of speakers, with 16 million.[20]

Differences in Bible translations

This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress

Dynamic or formal translation policy

A variety of linguistic, philological and ideological approaches to translation have been used. Inside the Bible-translation community, these are commonly categorized as:

though modern linguists such as Bible scholar Dr. Joel Hoffman disagrees with this classification.[21]

As Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible, like all languages, have some idioms and concepts not easily translated, there is in some cases an ongoing critical tension about whether it is better to give a word for word translation or to give a translation that gives a parallel idiom in the target language. For instance, in the New American Bible, which is the English language Catholic translation, as well as Protestant translations like the King James Version, the Darby Bible, the New Revised Standard Version, the Modern Literal Version, and the New American Standard Bible are seen as more literal translations (or “word for word”), whereas translations like the New International Version and New Living Translation sometimes attempt to give relevant parallel idioms. The Living Bible and The Message are two paraphrases of the Bible that try to convey the original meaning in contemporary language. The further away one gets from word for word translation, the text becomes easier to read while relying more on the theological, linguistic or cultural understanding of the translator, which one would not normally expect a lay reader to require.

Doctrinal differences and translation policy

In addition to linguistic concerns, theological issues also drive Bible translations. Some translations of the Bible, produced by single churches or groups of churches, may be seen as subject to a point of view by the translation committee.

Among these the New World Translation, produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses, is seen as controversial by some because of the renderings of key verses. Especially verses, that in other Bible translations support the deity of Christ, are rendered differently in the NWT.

Also, the NWT often translates the New Testament Kyrios, “Lord,” as “Jehovah” when referring to God. The publishers argue that this can be supported by the fact that the oldest copies of the Greek Septuagint found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (such as 8HevXIIgr) generally have the Hebrew tetragrammaton in the Greek text rather than Greek Kyrios as found in later Septuagint manuscripts. An exception to this is the Cave4 Leviticus fragment, which has Greek Iao.[22] The NWT translators believe that when Jesus read from such earlier scrolls he would have used God’s name and not the title. (Luke 4:18, Jo 17:6, 26) The NWT translators did this despite the fact that the tetragrammaton does not appear in the Greek manuscript of the New Testament books. The Greek manuscripts use Kyrios to refer both to Jesus Christ and God the Father.[23]

A number of Sacred Name Bibles have been published that are even more rigorous in transliterating the tetragrammaton, using Semitic forms to translate it in the Old Testament and also using the same Semitic forms to translate the Greek word Theos in the New Testament.

Other translations are distinguished by smaller, but distinctive, doctrinal differences. For example, the Purified Translation of the Bible, by translation and explanatory footnotes, promoting the position that Christians should not drink alcohol, that New Testament references to “wine” are correctly translated as “grape juice”.