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Darkness to Light - Vol. X, No. 4
Darkness to Light
Volume X, Number 4
Light Web site
Director: Gary F. Zeolla
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Analytical-Literal Translation: Devotional Version - Now available in hardcopy and eBook formats. The ALTD is a literal yet easy to read version of the the New Testament. It includes over 4,300 footnotes to help the reader to "analyze" and understand the text. Based on the Byzantine Majority Greek Text.
ALT: Old Testament
By Gary F. Zeolla
The first edition of my Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament (ALT) was published in 2001. Ever since then, I have had many requests for an Old Testament (OT) to go along with the New Testament (NT). But I have been hesitant to start such a project for a couple of reasons.
First, my knowledge of Hebrew is nowhere near as good as my knowledge of Greek. I can muddle through a few verses now and then in the Hebrew OT, but to do the entire OT would be beyond my abilities.
Second, the OT is about 3-1/2 times as long as the NT. So translating all of it is a massive project, and with my poor health, I was afraid I would never finish it. It could take many years to finish it.
Third, my current publisher has a limit of 740 pages for any books to be published through it. The only way to fit the entire OT let alone the entire Bible into that limited number of pages would be to use very small print. And even then, it would be hard to get it all to fit.
But having finished a couple of projects recently, I needed to come up with a new project to start. And an ALT: OT is the only thing I can think of. And praying about it, I really believe that is the direction God wants me to go. So on April 22, 2012, I began work on the ALT: OT. But to overcome the above mentioned problems, I have come up with some unique ideas for it.
First and foremost, rather than translating the OT from the Hebrew text as is done with most Bible versions, I am translating it from the Septuagint (LXX). The LXX is a third century B.C. Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The name and abbreviation comes from the tradition that 70 (or 72) Jewish scholars worked on its translation, six from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
The importance of the LXX is that it was THE Bible of the early Church. This can be seen when comparing quotations from the OT in the NT. When it can be determined, more often than not, the NT writers are quoting from the LXX rather than the Hebrew text. This is documented in my Scripture Workbook: Second Edition, in Scripture Study #2, "The Use of the OT in the NT."
Once the Church became predominately composed of Greek-speaking Gentiles rather than Aramaic-speaking Jews, the LXX was used almost exclusively. This can be seen when reading the writings of the early Church Fathers of the second and third centuries. They almost always quote from the LXX when quoting the OT. And many translations of the Bible into other languages in the early centuries were done from the LXX rather than the Hebrew text. It was not until the Church became mostly Latin speaking and began using the Vulgate in the fourth century that use of the LXX began to fade. So the LXX was very important in early Christian history.
The LXX has been translated into English a few times. The "standard" is the one by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton, published in 1851. But his text utilizes Elizabethan English like the King James Version does, with "thee's" and "thou's" and other archaic words. Brenton's text is a good translation, basically a "formal equivalence ("word for word") translation, but not as literal as my ALT is.
But Brenton's text does give me a good text to start with. That gives me a "head start" on the translation. But the text I am working from is not broken up into paragraphs and does not have quotation marks. So as I am working on it, I am updating the language, adding paragraph breaks and quotation marks, making the text more literal, and adding the unique bracketed "analytical" features of the ALT.
As for the massive size of the OT, the way I am going to work around that is to publish the ALT: OT in several volumes as I am working on it. That way, if I don't finish it, at least I will have published some of the OT. It will also enable me to get around the size limitation of my publisher.
Specifically, the volumes will be as follows.
Volume I – The Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy)
Volume II – The Historical Books (Joshua to Esther)
Volume III – The Poetic Books (Job to Song of Solomon).
Volume IV – The Major Prophets (Isaiah to Daniel)
Volume V – The Minor Prophets (Hosea to Malachi)
I have no idea how long it will take me to finish this project, but my best guess is that it will take at least a year for each volume. If or when I ever finish all of it, I have no idea if or how I will publish the entire Bible (OT and NT) in one volume, but I will worry about that if or when I ever get to that point.
Another thing I am not sure on is if I will publish a sixth volume containing the Apocrypha. These are the "extra" OT books found in Catholic Bibles. They are used by Catholics as they are contained in the LXX, and many early Church Fathers quote from them as Scripture. However, the NT writers do not. So for that reason I do not accept them as being God-breathed as the rest of Scripture is, but they are worth reading to fill in the "gap" between the OT and the NT, since these books were written during that time period.
So that is my plan. At this writing (6/29/12) I have almost finished two drafts of each of the first four books of the Torah. And I am pleased with how it is coming out. But it is obvious that this will be a slow and tedious project. But it will also force me to study the OT closer than I ever have before. So despite the tediousness of it, it is actually a rather uplifting experience, as doing the NT was.
Facebook Posts about the ALT: OT
I finished the first draft of Genesis for my translation of the OT. I am now working on the second draft. Below is a sample, the third chapter of Genesis.
1Now the serpent was wiser [or, more shrewd] [than] all the wild beasts, the ones upon the earth, which the Lord God made. And the serpent said to the woman, "What has God said, ‘You* shall by no means eat from every tree in the Paradise?'" 2And the woman said to the serpent, "We will eat of [the] fruit of [the] trees of the Paradise, 3but from [the] fruit of the tree which is in [the] middle of the Paradise, God said, ‘You* yourselves will not eat from it, neither shall you* touch it, so that not you* shall die.'" 4And the serpent said to the woman, "You* yourselves will not die [by] death [fig., will surely not die]. 5For God has known that in whatever day you* should eat from it your* eyes will be completely opened, and you* will be as gods, knowing good and evil."
6And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that [it was] pleasing to the eyes to see [or, to look upon] and beautiful the [fruit] is to contemplate, and having taken of its fruit she ate, and she gave to her husband with her, and they ate. 7And the eyes of the two were completely opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking about in the Paradise in the afternoon; and both Adam and his wife hid themselves from [the] face of the Lord God in the midst of the tree[s] of the Paradise.
9And the Lord God called Adam and said to him, "Adam, where are you?" 10And he said to Him, "Your voice I heard [as] You are walking about in the Paradise, and I feared because I am naked and I hid." 11And He said to him, "Who told you that you are naked? You did not eat from the tree which I commanded to you, this alone not to eat from it, did you?" 12And Adam said, "The woman whom You gave [to be] with me, she gave to me from the tree, and I ate."
13And the Lord God said to the woman, "Why have you done this?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me and I ate." 14And the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you [are] cursed away from all cattle and away from all the wild beasts of the earth; upon your breast and belly you will go, and you will eat earth all the days of your life. 15And I will put enmity [or, hostility] between you and between the woman and between your seed and between her Seed. He will keep [Heb., bruise] your head, and you will keep [Heb., bruise] His heel."
16And to the woman He said, "Multiplying I will multiply [fig., I will greatly multiply] your pains and your groanings; in pain you will give birth to children. And your turning [fig., submission] [will be] to your husband, and he will lord over you."
17Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and ate from the tree which I commanded to you, this only not to eat from it, cursed [is] the ground in your work, in pain you yourself will eat of it all the days of your life. 18Thorns and thistles will it rise [fig., grow] to you, and you will eat the vegetation of the field. 19In sweat of your face will you eat your bread until you return to the earth out of which you were taken; for earth you are and to earth you will depart [or, return]."
20And Adam called the name of his wife Life [Gr., Zoe; Heb., Eve], because she [was] the mother of all living. 21And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife clothes of [animal] skin [or, leather], and He clothed them.
22And God said, "Behold, Adam has become as one of Us, to be knowing good and evil. And now lest he stretch forth his hand, and shall take of the tree of the life and shall eat, and he himself will live into the age [fig., forever]. 23And the Lord God sent him forth out of the Paradise of Luxury [or, Delight; Heb., Garden of Eden] to be working [or, cultivating] the ground out of which he was taken. 24And He cast out Adam and caused him to dwell over against the Paradise of Luxury, and He stationed the cherubs and the flaming sword, the one turning about to be guarding the way of the tree of the life.
Finished the second draft of Genesis for my translation of the Old Testament. Probably my favorite verse from Genesis is the following. It is basically the OT's equivalent to Romans 8:28. God's sovereignty can turn seemingly evil or bad things that happen to us into good.
"You* took counsel against me for evil, but God took counsel concerning me for good, that it shall become as [it is] today, that many people should be sustained continually (50:20; ALT)."
For those who don't know, Romans 8:28 reads:
"But we know that to the ones loving God all things work together for good, to the ones being called according to [His] purpose" (ALT3).
Just finished translating the story of the Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea. Exciting stuff! Picturing Charlton Heston the whole time I was working on it.
Still translating Exodus. Some of the parts after chapter 20 can get rather boring and tedious to translate, until you get to the story of the golden calf (chapter 32). That part is rather exciting! I love how Aaron makes it sound like the calf formed by some kind of miracle (verse 24), when in fact, he fashioned it (verse 4).
Just finished the first draft of Exodus. It got rather difficult because the Greek Septuagint (LXX) omits quite a few verses or parts of verses. But these were the "redundant" verses in Exodus. God first instructs Moses in detail how to build the tabernacle and all the various items for it. Then all of the instructions are repeated when the items are actually made. But the LXX omits many of the redundant instructions, so the LXX condenses the Hebrew text somewhat. I translated a few of the more important verses from the Hebrew, but bracketed them to show they are "added."Also, some of the Greek is rather difficult, and the tediousness of it can get to you after a while. But now, I'm going to go over Exodus a second time before proceeding to Leviticus.
Finished the second draft of Exodus. Now it's on to Leviticus. Most find Leviticus to be rather boring to read, but I've always found it rather interesting. It is a strong testimony to the absolute holiness of God and our need of atonement for sin to be able to come near to Him. But I'll see what it's like translating it.
Just finished translating Leviticus 26. The first 13 verses are uplifting. They outline the blessings that will come upon the nation Israel if they obey God's laws and ordinances. But then the text continues:
14‘But if you* will not obey Me, nor do these My ordinances, 15but disobey them, and your* soul should loathe My judgments, so that you* should not keep all My commands, so as to break My covenant, 16then I will do thus to you* (ALT).
After this comes a long list of very scary judgments that will come upon the nation. Given how much the USA has "loathed" the commands of God and is no longer walking in his ordinances, I truly fear that His judgments will soon be coming upon our nation.
In my God Given Foods Eating Plan book I make the case that vegetarianism is not Biblical. Moreover, it's not just that God gives "permission" for us to eat meat, but that God "intends" for us to eat meat. This case is even stronger in the LXX rendering of Leviticus 11:
1And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2"Speak to the sons [and daughters] of Israel, saying, ‘These are the animals which you* will eat of all animals upon the earth. 3Every animal parting [the] hoof and making divisions of two hooves, and chewing the cud among the animals, these you* will eat.
Most translations have "may eat" in verse 2. But the LXX has a future tense here, indicating God intends for use to eat "clean" animals. I discuss in my book why, although it is not still a spiritual requirement to follow the distinction between clean and unclean animals, it is wise to do so for health reasons.
If anyone is interested in pursuing this issue further, or in studying what the Bible (and science) has to say is healthy versus unhealthy eating, see my "Eating Plan" book.
Homosexual advocates try to claim that the Old Testament injunctions against homosexual sex are no longer applicable. Or they claim they are only referring to sex within the context of pagan religious observances. But if either of those claims is true, and it is thus okay to have homosexual sex today, then it is also true that it is okay to have sex with an animal. The reason for this is both prohibitions occur one right after the other:
22‘And you will not sleep sexually with a male [as with] a woman, for it is an abomination. 23Neither will you give sex, your insemination, to any animal, to be polluted with it: neither will a woman present herself before any animal to mount [fig., have sex with] it; for it is a perversion (Leviticus 18:22-23; ALT).
I discuss this passage in detail and many others in my book The Bible and Sexual Relationships Issues.
Translating the Book of Numbers can be rather tedious, with the repetition of numbers and the archaic laws. But in the midst of the tediousness is this gem:
24"May the Lord bless you and keep you. 25May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and have mercy upon you. 26May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace."
That is my prayer for all of my friends here on FB [and readers of this newsletter].
The following is an important passage from Numbers due to Jesus referring to it in the New Testament:
6And the Lord sent into the people deadly serpents, and they bit the people, and many people of the sons [and daughters] of Israel died. 7And the people came to Moses and said, "We sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against you: pray therefore to the Lord, and let Him take away the serpent[s] from us." And Moses prayed to the Lord for the people 8And the Lord said to Moses, "Make for yourself a serpent, and put it on a signal-[staff] [fig., flag pole]; and it will be [that] if a serpent shall bite a person, everyone having been bitten, having looked at it will live." 9 And Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a signal-[staff]: and it happened [that] whenever a serpent bit a person, and he looked on the bronze serpent, he lived. [cp., John 3:14] (Numbers 21:6-9; ALT).
The reference from the NT reads:
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so it is necessary [for] the Son of Humanity to be lifted up (John 3:14; ALTD).
How these passages fit together is that just as the Israelites who repented and looked at the bronze serpent were spared and lived, today when we repent and look to Jesus and His death on the cross, we are forgiven and live eternally.
I find the following passage from Numbers 27 interesting given Moses' reaction. When God tells him he's going to die, rather than being concerned about himself, he's concerned about the congregation of Israel whom he had been leading. It's also interesting because Jesus alludes to it.
12And the Lord said to Moses, "Go up to the mountain in the [country] beyond [Jordan], this Mount Abarim [LXX, Nabau], and behold the land Canaan, which I give to the sons of Israel for a possession. 13And you will see it, and you also will be added to your people, just as Aaron your brother was added [to his people] in Mount Hor. 14Because you* transgressed My word in the wilderness of Sin, when the congregation resisted [and refused] to sanctify Me; you* did not sanctify Me at the water before them." (This is [the] water of Strife in Kadesh in the wilderness of Sin.)
15And Moses said to the Lord, 16"Let the Lord, the God of the spirits and of all flesh seek out [or, appoint] a man over this congregation, 17who will go out before their presence, and who will come in before their presence, and who will lead them out, and who will bring them in; so the congregation of the Lord will not be like sheep to which there is not a shepherd [or, without a shepherd]. [cp. Matt 9:36; Mark 6:34] (Numbers 27:12-17; ALT).
The passages from the NT read:
Now having seen the crowds, He was moved with compassion concerning them, that they had been distressed and had been dejected, like sheep not having a shepherd. [cp. Numb 27:17] (Matt 9:36; ALT3).
And having come out [of the boat], Jesus saw a large crowd. And He was moved with compassion on them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd, [cp. Numb 27:17] and He began to be teaching them many [things] (Mark 6:34; ALT3).
Between Bible Versions
Translation Principles, Greek Text-types, and KJV Onlyism.
Advocates a literal or formal equivalence translation method.
Advocates the use of the Textus Receptus or Majority Greek Text for translating the New Testament.
Forty Bible versions are compared and evaluated.
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