Re: [asa] Proposed Revision of Genesis 1-11 in the KJV

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Apr 19 2008 - 08:31:48 EDT

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dick Fischer
  To: ASA
  Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2008 12:04 AM
  Subject: RE: [asa] Proposed Revision of Genesis 1-11 in the KJV

  Hi George, you wrote:


>>You won't be surprised if I tell you that the whole project is misguided.<<


  No it is not surprising. Do you know some guides willing to help us here, George?

  Yes, translations & commentaries by scholars & committees of scholars who don't have concordist axes to grind. For that matter, it's a little strange for you to be claiming that the NIV is still using erroneous ideas from KJV when it seems pretty clear that NIV strained toward harmonization & concordism in some cases (e.g., the "expanse" instead of firmament or dome).


>>For starters, the notion that translators of RSV, NRSV, NEB, NIV have made use of nothing that has been learned since 1611 is simply untrue. The reason they haven't put into their versions some of the things you have in yours is simply that they've tried to translate what the original Hebrew meant, not read into it what modern science has learned about the natural world.<<


  There are real questions as to what the writer(s) knew, and what they intended to say with the inherent limitations of their rudimentary language, antiquated terms of speech, and so on. Some substitutions are easy, land for earth, hills for mountains, etc. And some are more difficult. If we let X equal the absolute truth of the matter, what actually happened, and let Y equal something other than X, we can make certain assumptions that may work in some instances but perhaps not in every case. I try to assume that the writers wrote X all the time in Genesis and that where there is a difference between the translation Y and the truth which is X then the translation has to be in error. Of course it is possible that the writers wrote Y at times that was translated Y (correctly) and it ends up at variance with the truth because the writers themselves were mistaken.


  We should be able to discern from many different sources that the flood was local to the area and not worldwide. Thus the word "land" is consistent with the actual context of the flood and the land in their proximity is all they knew. Yet translators slavishly persist with "earth," unable to break with tradition. At least up until Abraham the covenant race had to know they were in the company of those outside their own line of descent. The Sumerians at Ur and other Mesopotamian cities were a constant reminder that there were people unlike themselves in the vicinity. We are making the assumption in this "misguided" translation that this knowledge was never lost to them even though latter day translators may have had no inkling of it and thus all latter day translators have been consistently out of the loop on this issue.

  So it's clear that your procedure is eisegetical: If the text doesn't express "absolute truth" then you'll make it do so. (Of course that answers the question of verbal inerrancy by making it a tautology.) At the very least you ought to retain the ambiguity of words like 'eretz: Yes, it can mean "land" but it can also mean "earth."


>>Your rendering of 1:27, "So God created Adam12 in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them", is especially bad.<<


  Are you saying that this word "man" in the original refers to someone other than Adam? Who? Or are you saying the word should be "mankind" which includes men and women? Read just up to the semicolon. God created Adam (or somebody) and he was created in the image of God. Then it follows with God created both male and female. If the intent was to say that God created "mankind" in his image, then it should have followed with: "in the image of God created he [them] ." The writer used the word "him" referring back to the man created in God's image who would have been Adam. Unless you are of the opinion this "man" is some generic man who climbed down out of the trees in Africa.

  'adham is best rendered "humankind" (as in NRSV), as is clear from the reference to "male and female." What you have there is Hebrew parallelism, not separate statements. The reason it says "in the image of God created he him" is probably to emphasize that each individual bears the image of God. OTOH your interpretation implies that women weren't created in the image of God.


>>As is clear from the concluding clause, the reference is to humankind, "male and female." So to translate 'adham as "Adam," which people will of course read as the proper name of a single male human, is just wrong.<<


  It may be wrong but I think your argument is with the writer, not me.

  No, as I said, it's your "translation" that's wrong.


  Dick Fischer, president

  Genesis Proclaimed Association

  Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History


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Received on Sat Apr 19 08:36:06 2008

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