… “MY MESSAGE’S BEEN LOST IN HUMAN LINGUISTICS!!!”
“By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.”
… George Carlin
Ease back and picture your cognitive-spun rendition of the sandal-clad biblical characters read about as if they were dressed in blue jeans and tennis shoes, nonchalantly checking their smartphones.
Sprinkle some present moment dust on the cognitively-fixed still-framed stories of biblical times. Picture them in today’s atmosphere.
Use your freewill to test the actual practicality of theology’s painted picture. Look beyond the millennia of unquestioned social acceptance (naivety) and just think about it.
The subject of how 312 years post-mortem, Rome’s emperor Constantine had his priests choose the suitable gospels from the available accounts of Jesus’s teachings to establish the Roman citizen mindset using the Roman Bible’s first edition and to then destroy all the unselected gospel accounts along with all the evidence of any competing religions is set for another blog.
This blog post will question biblical integrity in light of how the Roman Bible’s first edition has evolved to affect today’s world.
APPLES TO ORANGES … BIBLES TO BIBLES
To demonstrate the disparity that exists between the different translations of the Bible’s scriptures, it only took a bit of due diligence and an Internet connection.
“The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. As of September 2016 the full Bible has been translated into 636 languages, the New Testament alone into 1442 languages and Bible portions or stories into 1145 other languages. Thus at least some portion of the Bible has been translated into 3,223 languages.” Wikipedia
The Bible’s the most published book to date. The number of differing languages and cultures represented in these publications reaches out to all parts of the world.
The Bible’s supposed to be the written source used for an individual to derive the strain of wisdom they use to steer their life away from suffering. This was the topic of the god Jehovah’s first lecture to man during the Genesis Garden of Eden creation.
Each of the following seven modern biblical translations tells their readers about acquiring that wisdom:
New American Standard Bible: “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.”
God’s Word Translation: “The beginning of wisdom is to acquire wisdom. Acquire under- standing with all that you have.”
American King James Version: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding.”
Bible in Basic English: “The first sign of wisdom is to get wisdom; go, give all you have to get true knowledge.”
Douay-Rheims Bible: “The beginning of wisdom, get wisdom, and with all thy possession purchase prudence.”
Darby Bible Translation: “The beginning of wisdom is, get wisdom; and with all thy getting get intelligence.”
World English Bible: “Wisdom is supreme. Get wisdom. Yes, though it costs all your possessions, get understanding.”
This comparison demonstrates the biblical translation-related skew on intended meaning that exists between biblical translations of Proverbs 4:7. The nature of this intended meaning skew can be extrapolated to include the text from other scriptures.
Following is a comparison chart of different biblical translations reflecting differing interpretations of Romans 1:18.
With all the different Bible translations in today’s world, the reader’s interpolation becomes necessary. An individual will read from a few of today’s Bible translations and maybe from a few well-known Bible commentators. From these readings, they will interpolate their own idea of the originator’s intended meaning.
Just listen to how different Sunday morning TV preachers justify what they think biblical wisdom is.
EXPERIENCE UNAVOIDABLE HUMAN STATIC
There’s a party game in the Midwest that makes light of how the core of a story changes shape as the story theme is verbally passed along from person to person.
The exercise starts with one person quietly whispering into the ear of another a detailed story of some sort. The listener then whispers the same story into the ear of the next person. After the story has been silently passed along between all the guests, the last person to hear the story tells their version of the story to the group.
The final account of the story is always far from the original. The more participants, the more entertaining the final account becomes.
Keep in mind that these friends all spoke the same dialect of the same language in the same culture and there were no brain-to-paper related distortions of meaning.
YOU JUST HAD TO BE THERE
Jesus spoke Aramaic, the language of few words. There are no recordings of his teachings in his native tongue.
It’s hard to imagine how his true intended meaning orally presented in a language of few words could ever be captured and related to other people by any means.
Preserving his intended meaning in his teachings would be greatly enhanced by witnessing his body language as he formed his beliefs into words. Jesus’s teachings reached deeper into the subtle meanings on aspects of spirituality for which there were probably no words for yet.
Jesus taught mankind about the subtle truths about how the human condition relates to the human experience that was only beginning to surface into mankind’s cumulative waking consciousness. He taught of new insights to enlighten mankind’s waking awareness as to what the truths are that rule the unalterable principles that determine the outcomes of all cause/effect relationships in this reality … the ignorance of which accounts for all human suffering.
How could he use the few-word language of Aramaic and accomplish this? He had to have used changing tone levels and body language to best hit on the heartfelt meanings of these truths.
To secure Jesus’s intended meaning, a student really had to be there to listen and watch his body language. And even then, it would be left up to the subjective decision of the individual who actually witnessed the animated expression to choose what descriptive and feeling-focused words to use to describe their heartfelt interpretation of his intended meaning.
It would be similar to what a one or two-year-old child does when they try to express a desire coming from the inside that they know of no vocabulary to express. With Jesus, it’s a matter of society not having yet derived the consciously recognized words to express the deep-down felt meaning of.
It would be a combination of blabber, finger pointing, eyebrow-raising, hip shifting and eye intensity. Parents can often understand the intended meaning of their young children as they “speak in tongues”?
This demonstrates how the emotional essence representing what is felt is generated on a pre-lingual basis. This inner theater is where the wisdom decoding the cause and solution to emotional affairs exists and is derived … not in consciously recognized intellectually metered and stored knowledge.
LANGUAGE … THE SHORTHAND CLIFF NOTES OF INTENDED MEANING
… INTENDED MEANING LOST IN TRANSLATION
Jesus’s intended meaning has been passed along through maybe 150+/- human generations.
There have been a couple thousand years for intended meanings of biblically scriptured wisdom to be diffused and diluted. The writings have been passed back and forth from area to area. . . language to language. . . culture to culture.
Linguistics has many inherent limitations. There are cultural differences that add filters between the enlightened teacher’s intended meaning and the understanding of today’s truth seekers. Much of the original intended meanings were lost, diverted misunderstood and mistranslated to some degree during the transformation of the original messages to what we have today.
Language is a social agreement.
The meaning of words is a conditioned social understanding. It’s a word-crafting compromise where “rounded off meanings” become unavoidable. The use of linguistically developed knowledge as a chosen media to derive wisdom isn’t really much more than interpolating wisdom from diluted approximations of intended meanings. An individual must subjectively stick with what gels into making sense to their conscious awareness.
When considering individual spiritual maturity levels, a translator’s effort to find a word to express a concept that’s not so well understood will cause the speaker’s intended meaning to be lost or altered.
The odds are greatly stacked against getting an accurate reflection of what meaning was originally intended.
WORD SEMANTICS VARY FROM CULTURE TO CULTURE
Different cultures generate their own assortment of words reflecting the different impressions reality’s distinctive footprint has left in their region. Culture to culture, the same words may have different intended meanings. Different people from different cultures can interpret the same message quite differently.
Comparing language to language, French and Italian have several more words that convey more specified meanings of the word “love” than does the English language. Eskimos have nine words that give a more differentiated understanding of different types of snow.
The eastern languages have a much larger selection of words to convey more focused notions relating to the topics of spirituality than does the English language.
Some intended meaning is compromised when translating from a language with less available words to a language with a more available selection of words defining the topic or idea like with Jesus’s native tongue Aramaic to any other of the many languages it was translated into. It becomes necessary for a translator to subjectively choose a word with a different and possibly more general meaning or to choose a word with a more specified meaning that points in a skewed direction and misses the intended point.
The life in the message becomes smothered in compromise.
FROM THE LANGUAGE OF FEW WORDS INTO LANGUAGES OF THE FUTURE
The language used in the King James Version of the Bible sounds antiquated in today’s world while it was a language of the future back during the days when the Jesus walked the earth speaking Aramaic. The original 2,000-year-old recorded impressions have been translated into many languages that didn’t even exist back in the day.
These newer languages include a richer vocabulary reflecting mankind’s more mature deeper understanding of concepts that 2,000 years ago were just emerging in mankind’s collective consciousness as distant ideas about the human condition.
The translators in having a larger selection available of more meaning-sensitive words had to decide which words to use to best channel the enlightened orator’s intended meaning as they interpret it. It’s like fitting a square peg into a round hole.
Translators make many assumptions when transposing intended original meaning into the more deeply defined meanings of languages that have since evolved.
The books that were chosen to make up the Bible didn’t begin appearing until after fifty years past Jesus’s death. How could the biblical account authors remember exactly what Jesus or any other of the biblical characters said when granting their statements red ink quotation status?
In between all the linguistical errors and the Roman priest editing decisions made in deriving the first edition of the Roman Bible, it’s reasonable to wonder if there might be a more defined tangible knowledge source to use to derive the strain of wisdom needed for the human condition to best understand and navigate the human experience.
When you think about it, the gospel writings in the Dead Sea Scrolls uncovered within the last 100 years would reflect less translation error as they were uncovered in the state they were in after only their earliest translation. But, again … that’s another subject.