Event Title

Where are the Jews? Pre-Shoah and Post Shoah Differences in the Mention of Jewish Terms in Modern Bible Translations

Presenter Information

Elizabeth Kirkley BestFollow

Location

Room B

Start Date

1-10-2011 9:15 AM

End Date

1-10-2011 10:30 AM

Abstract

Two major events have occurred in the past 160 years in the translation of the Holy Scriptures. Until the mid-1800s, Bible translation though differing in some respects along the Vulgate vs. Received text lines, had reasonable continuity in direct translation. In the mid-1800s, Konstantin Tischendorf, a collector of antiquities found the intact Codex Sinaiticus in the abbey of St. Katherines at Sinai, which appeared to be one of the oldest and most complete copies of the Bible, despite flaws in the text. The appearance of many pages of the Sinaiticus now in two locations, in addition to the surfacing of the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus, caused late-19th century translation scholars to move for a new edition of the Authorized Text (KJV, largely based upon the work of Tyndale). Anglican Bishops Westcott and Hort formed the committee for the Revised Version, and the base text for translation was changed by a set of criteria that dismissed the majority of the texts comprising the Textus Receptus. Forefront in the new translation were three new codices, resulting in controversy ever since.

The second major event was the impact of Reich scholarship upon not only theology, liturgy and church politics, but also upon Bible translation. A neo-Marcionism arose in the writings of Goebbels, Rosenberg, Kittel, Grundmann, and others to dismiss the influence and use of the Old Testament including an attempt to make new Reich Bibles for the Reichkirche that were judenrein. Rudolf Kittel, A pre-shoah scholar re-collated a Hebrew text introducing a stronger influence of the Peshitta [Samaritan text] resulting in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the Hebrew text which has replaced the pure Masoretic text in all modern Bible translations from the 1952 Revised Standard Version. The son of Rudolf Kittel, Gerhard continued his father's work and edited/compiled the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, the most widely used modern Lexicon, also a major tool in modern translation.

While there have been attempts to hide Kittel's National Socialist past, scholars have surfaced his undeniable and eminent role in what Kittel refers to as "non vulgar antiSeimitsm," the doctrinal anti-semitism which was so profound that the younger Kittel, head of a major committee to bring church concerns into line with Nazi ideology, was arrested and imprisoned for war crimes by the French at the end of WWII (Erikson 1978).

The hypothesis (es) in this study, was that the impact of the Kittels' and others work in the Reich and use of the adjusted texts of Westcott and Hort and the Biblia Hebraica would show in modern Bible translations in the representation of Jewish terms, or terms related to the Jewish experience, nation, or worship in the change in number of terms in the new translations. The methodology used included comparisons of verse counts of individual basic Jewish terms (e.g. Jew, Jews, Jewish, Hebrew, Zion etc.) across 15 of the most widely used translations before and after the Shoah. (e.g Douay Rheims, KJV, Darby, ASV, RSV, NRSV, NLT, GNT, NIV, NIRV, TNIV and Holman) Several comparisons were made in a series of six studies: this article represents the first basic comparison of terms.

The results indicate a statistically significant change in many of the terms from the pre-Shoah Bibles to the post-Shoah Bibles, although not all, as a few increase in count. Many of the terms which did not reach statistical significance in Welch's two tailed t-tests, nonetheless showed a raw count change, which is of concern as any change is worthy of note. Overall comparisons show that pre-shoah Bibles have a higher count of the Jewish terms observed, and a more consistent count, and that the result overall are statistically significant. Standard direct translations fare better than paraphrases, and significant or not, modern translations have greatly wider/and-or varying standard deviations, indicating some instability in consistency.

Intra-translation differences were also observed, with overall average comparisons indicating a decline in Jewish term mention in later versions of the same text, (e.g. ASV to RSV to NRSV.) Exceptions do occur and are noted. KJV appears to have the highest overall average count next to pre and post Shoah Bibles. Comparisons were also observed for four sets of related terms (Studies I-IV) and for a baseline comparison against other ancient nationalities. The effect does appear to be regarding the Jews and not only a modernization of mention of a number of other ancient peoples. A last study observes the differences and consistencies among the three most widely used online search engines.

The implications of the study in general appear to indicate that the switch to the "new" Hebrew text of the Kittels is having an effect against the correct rendering of Jewish terms, although more research is necessary in this area by textual criticism scholars. Future research should also include the nature of the changes, and comparisons against the original texts to determine whether it is a function of modern translation or the change in texts.

Comments

Best is currently the director, author& founder of Shoah Education Project Web, an online Curriculum project providing holocaust education for the Church & general public at shoaheducation.com, shoahrose.com, & related sites. Her doctorate in Psychology from UF focused on bereavement & attachment, a continuing work. Helping to found research in the area of Perinatal bereavement, she turned later to research in Shoah or Holocaust Education, including studies on the effectiveness of online shoah education programs. For the past several years, her research has focused on transmission of Bible texts & translation during the National Socialist years in Germany and the effects on modern bible translation. Dr. Best also provides free bible study material through Judah's Glory, an online ministry, & has published in professional journals and several books.

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Oct 1st, 9:15 AM Oct 1st, 10:30 AM

Where are the Jews? Pre-Shoah and Post Shoah Differences in the Mention of Jewish Terms in Modern Bible Translations

Room B

Two major events have occurred in the past 160 years in the translation of the Holy Scriptures. Until the mid-1800s, Bible translation though differing in some respects along the Vulgate vs. Received text lines, had reasonable continuity in direct translation. In the mid-1800s, Konstantin Tischendorf, a collector of antiquities found the intact Codex Sinaiticus in the abbey of St. Katherines at Sinai, which appeared to be one of the oldest and most complete copies of the Bible, despite flaws in the text. The appearance of many pages of the Sinaiticus now in two locations, in addition to the surfacing of the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus, caused late-19th century translation scholars to move for a new edition of the Authorized Text (KJV, largely based upon the work of Tyndale). Anglican Bishops Westcott and Hort formed the committee for the Revised Version, and the base text for translation was changed by a set of criteria that dismissed the majority of the texts comprising the Textus Receptus. Forefront in the new translation were three new codices, resulting in controversy ever since.

The second major event was the impact of Reich scholarship upon not only theology, liturgy and church politics, but also upon Bible translation. A neo-Marcionism arose in the writings of Goebbels, Rosenberg, Kittel, Grundmann, and others to dismiss the influence and use of the Old Testament including an attempt to make new Reich Bibles for the Reichkirche that were judenrein. Rudolf Kittel, A pre-shoah scholar re-collated a Hebrew text introducing a stronger influence of the Peshitta [Samaritan text] resulting in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the Hebrew text which has replaced the pure Masoretic text in all modern Bible translations from the 1952 Revised Standard Version. The son of Rudolf Kittel, Gerhard continued his father's work and edited/compiled the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, the most widely used modern Lexicon, also a major tool in modern translation.

While there have been attempts to hide Kittel's National Socialist past, scholars have surfaced his undeniable and eminent role in what Kittel refers to as "non vulgar antiSeimitsm," the doctrinal anti-semitism which was so profound that the younger Kittel, head of a major committee to bring church concerns into line with Nazi ideology, was arrested and imprisoned for war crimes by the French at the end of WWII (Erikson 1978).

The hypothesis (es) in this study, was that the impact of the Kittels' and others work in the Reich and use of the adjusted texts of Westcott and Hort and the Biblia Hebraica would show in modern Bible translations in the representation of Jewish terms, or terms related to the Jewish experience, nation, or worship in the change in number of terms in the new translations. The methodology used included comparisons of verse counts of individual basic Jewish terms (e.g. Jew, Jews, Jewish, Hebrew, Zion etc.) across 15 of the most widely used translations before and after the Shoah. (e.g Douay Rheims, KJV, Darby, ASV, RSV, NRSV, NLT, GNT, NIV, NIRV, TNIV and Holman) Several comparisons were made in a series of six studies: this article represents the first basic comparison of terms.

The results indicate a statistically significant change in many of the terms from the pre-Shoah Bibles to the post-Shoah Bibles, although not all, as a few increase in count. Many of the terms which did not reach statistical significance in Welch's two tailed t-tests, nonetheless showed a raw count change, which is of concern as any change is worthy of note. Overall comparisons show that pre-shoah Bibles have a higher count of the Jewish terms observed, and a more consistent count, and that the result overall are statistically significant. Standard direct translations fare better than paraphrases, and significant or not, modern translations have greatly wider/and-or varying standard deviations, indicating some instability in consistency.

Intra-translation differences were also observed, with overall average comparisons indicating a decline in Jewish term mention in later versions of the same text, (e.g. ASV to RSV to NRSV.) Exceptions do occur and are noted. KJV appears to have the highest overall average count next to pre and post Shoah Bibles. Comparisons were also observed for four sets of related terms (Studies I-IV) and for a baseline comparison against other ancient nationalities. The effect does appear to be regarding the Jews and not only a modernization of mention of a number of other ancient peoples. A last study observes the differences and consistencies among the three most widely used online search engines.

The implications of the study in general appear to indicate that the switch to the "new" Hebrew text of the Kittels is having an effect against the correct rendering of Jewish terms, although more research is necessary in this area by textual criticism scholars. Future research should also include the nature of the changes, and comparisons against the original texts to determine whether it is a function of modern translation or the change in texts.