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Ree: John 14:14

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  • Rolf Furuli
    Dear Ron (Jim and Allan), Ron Minton wrote:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 22, 1997
      Dear Ron (Jim and Allan),

      Ron Minton wrote:

      <It may be that Jim West was correct and the NWT does not
      <follow W-H as claimed. If that is the case, what I said
      <doesn't mean much because all I did was show one place
      <where they did not use W-H. I would like to know if any
      <study has been done to validate or invalidate their

      I have been gathering material for a book on the role played
      by theology and bias in Bible translation, among other
      things comparing the NWT with the TEV. Having read the NWT
      text verse by verse against the Hebrew and at present
      reading the NT against the Greek, I would like to give som

      In the OT the NWT translators have been extremely faithful
      both towards the Masoretic text and their own translation
      principles. Several times, after first reading the Hebrew
      text and then the English, I asked myself: `Was this nuance
      really in the Hebrew?` And certainly it was! Only minor
      ionconsistencies have I recognized in the OT. Similarly It
      is my impression that the WH text has been closely followed
      in the NT. I look forward to see Jim`s examples to the

      <The fact that they rejected the Greek "me" in 14:14 says
      <the text was theologically chosen at least in this case
      <(unless we can demonstrate which of their claimed sources
      <do not have that word, and I do not have all of them). All
      <I wanted to demonstrate here was the fact that "me"
      <was common in the immediate context, and it is; cf.
      <believe me, ask me, love me.

      <You noted John 1:18 and 10:33. I did not consider 1:18
      <because of the variant, but you are right; it should be
      <counted. I did not consider 10:33-4 as applicable, but if
      <10:33 is considered, then the NWT translates the anarthrous
      <theos in John's works as "God" 24 times and as "a god" 3
      <times (the only three that Jesus is in view). I think that
      <it is conclusive: the NWT is theologically slanted in the

      The statement that NWT is `theologically slanted to the
      extreme` may imply that other translations do not fit this
      description. As a matter of fact, theology plays a major
      role in ALL translations. In my study I therefore ask about
      the `legitimate` role of theology in translation, and my
      criterion for legitimacy of `theological renderings` is that
      they must not violate the rules of grammar and syntax and
      that the readers must be informed when there are different
      possibilities, in order to be able to make their own
      judgements. Using this on NWT it scores very high compared
      with TEV.

      The word ME in John 14:14 occurs in WH in brackets,
      indicating some doubt about it, although it is viewed as a
      primary reading. The 1950 edition of the NWT New Testament
      may be criticized because it has no footnote referring to
      the WH text and to its use of ME. However, in the the
      Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures
      (1969) by the same translators the WH text is printed, and
      ME is found without brackets. (This edition is an excellent
      tool to ascertain whether the translators used WH or an
      eclectic text). In the NWT with references (1984) a footnote
      shows in which manuscripts ME is found and in which it is

      According to R.H. Countess The Jehovah`s Witness` New
      Testament (1982:109) the anarthrous QEWS occurs 20 times in
      John: It is translated by `God` in 1:6,12,13,18; 3:2,21;
      6:45: 8:54; 9:16,33;13:3;16:30,19:7 and 20:17 (two), and is
      translated by `a god` in 1:1 and 10:33, by `the ..god` in
      1:18 and by `gods` in 10:34,35. There can be no question
      that these translations are theologically based, but so are
      the renderings of TEV and most other translations, using the
      word `God` in all cases (except 10:34,35). Most evangelical
      Christians believe in the old christological creeds, but
      from a scientific point of view these creeds are strange,
      using words contrary to what is normal and thoughts that are
      contrary to reason. It can hardly be a criterion on which to
      decide which renderings are slanted.

      Linguistically speaking, the rendering `a god` in John 1:1
      is perfectly legitimate, and there are good contextual
      argumeents in favour of it; namely that the Word was PROS
      God, indicating a numeric and personal difference, and v 18
      where the Word is portrayed as `g/God with qualification` -
      a/the onlybegotten/unique g/God. True `a god` is an unhappy
      rendering in 1:1, because it may iimply there is more than
      one God. However, ANY rendering of this clause will give
      unhappy connotations.

      Regarding the 15 examples of anarthrous QEWS rendered as
      `God`, all agree that they refer to the Father. In the five
      examples, however, the references are different, so there is
      no inconsistency on the part of the translators when they
      decide the difiniteness of the nouns on the basis on the
      context. This is the normal procedure of all translators.


      Rolf Furuli
      Ph.D candidate in Semitic languages
      University of Oslo
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