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Why Do Translators Include Passages They Know Are Not Original?

Based on what I have said about the textual variant of 666 and 616 in the book of Revelation, several readers have asked a distantly related question.  Here is how one of them phrased it:   QUESTION: If the biblical scholars know with certainty that Mark 16:9-20 and John 7.53-8.11 were added by later scribes, why are they still in the modern bibles, that is, why are they not *completely* removed? I know these verses were removed in the RSV but added back in the NRSV.   RESPONSE: This is a great question.  On one level it doesn’t make sense.  If textual scholars go to all the trouble of trying to figure out what the “original” text of the New Testament was, and they decide that some passages were not originally there in the originals, why do translators (who are often themselves the textual scholars who have made these decisions!) include such passages in their translations? The problem is exacerbated by looking carefully at what translators have done, because strictly speaking they are not consistent.  [...]

2020-04-03T01:49:38-04:00November 8th, 2017|New Testament Manuscripts, Public Forum|

The Loeb Apostolic Fathers: The Challenges (Again)

This will be the last of my three blasts from past discussions of my translation of the Apostolic Fathers; in it I explain the difficulties involved in producing a "facing page translation" edition of ancient texts ("facing page" means you have the original language text -- in this case Greek -- on one page and then across from it, on the other page, your English translation) ************************************************************************* To continue my thread about translating the Apostolic Fathers for the Loebs…. So, the editor at Harvard Press, Peg Fulton, asked me if I would be interested in taking on the task of doing a new edition of the Apostolic Fathers for the Loebs. She wasn’t offering me the opportunity then and there. She was suggesting that I write up a prospectus that she could take to the board of the Loebs, in which I described the need for a new edition and explained how I would go about making one. After I thought about it for a while, and got advice from my friends, I decided to [...]

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