Why the King James Version?


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On 4/1/2022 at 9:15 PM, Vort said:

PS To finish answering: I suspect the new English LDS edition of the Bible will look much like the current one. I could be wrong, though, which would be interesting.

PPS I'm hoping to hear @mordorbund's input.

For starters, I don’t know that there’s a new edition of the scriptures coming out. This is a question I’ve been kicking around in my head for a while.

From what I can tell, scripture is given to people in their own language. Or rather, in their own scripture language. The New Testament was written in the Greek of that period and, rather than citing Hebrew references to the Old Testament, the authors quoted from the LXX. Similarly, I mentioned before that the Book of Mormon (and the Doctrine and Covenants for that matter) reference a KJV translation of Old and New Testaments. Further, when working on the New Translation of the Bible, a great number of the changes Joseph Smith made was modernizing the verbs (getting rid of the -eth endings).

It strikes me that God wants His teachings in scripture to be approachable. @Anddenex quoted an article saying the KJV is the most doctrinally accurate, but the clause before that quote clarifies that the accuracy comes from latter-day revelation directly quoting the KJV. We know what constitutes “dead works” because we have a section in the D&C about it.

For these reasons, I’m not convinced that the KJV has to remain locked in as the Bible of the ongoing restoration so long as that link is maintained. If it was primarily the language or the poetry that God wanted us to get from the Bible (and I have heard some people argue that the difficulty is a feature to force the modern reader to really grapple with the text) then I would think we would be encouraged to follow Joseph Smith’s example and try to learn some Hebrew and Greek. The international Church may use Book of Mormon translations when working with new and potential converts, but in short order they’ll be encouraged to read it in the original language to capture the poetry and literal style. Instead I see the restoration going out to every nation, kindred, people, and yes — even tongue.

For the English tongue, the KJV translators have provided a template for about 200 years from now — when restoration scripture is updated ensure that the Bible text uses the same verbiage. That can be done with an in-house translation of the Bible (if the Church has developed a prominence that such a translation is viewed as akin to KJV or NIV and not the New World Translation) but I think it’s more likely that the Church will select a modernish translation that it can have the rights to and match the restoration text to it.

Actually, the more I think about the more I think is that we’ll accept Bible illiteracy and not try to preserve the textual links. The KJV will continue to be the Bible in the Gospel Library app, but instructors will be encouraged to use a Bible comfortable to them and their class. The manuals may have a note suggesting the reader reference the modern revelation that springboards from a given verse, but I think really it will just reference the restoration principles. Isaiah passages about Zion will not necessarily refer Church classes to Nephi or the D&C but will still have a discussion about how to strengthen the stakes of Zion.

In my mind the link between restoration scripture and the Bible is known by many who make a study of both but not all. For those that are curious, the footnotes do a really good job of mapping those links and serious nerds will see the occasional article in the Church periodical of the time. For everyone else, that connection is already lost. If ever the Church encourages the use of modern translations we'll be less likely to stumble into that relationship but the odd article will prompt those that otherwise missed it to mark their Bibles with those missing connections (and probably JST notes too). That is, until BYU or Book of Mormon Central develops an app that augments your digital Bible with the KJV footnotes.

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Does anyone know how the Church handles the intertextuality problem in other languages? Is there an official Bible translation for other languages? Does the Doctrine & Covenants mirror that language? If there is no official translation, does it follow one of the popular ones? Or does it just ignore them altogether?

Some English phrases that sound a little odd:

- confirming the churches D&C 24:9, Acts 50:41

- celestial and terrestrial D&C 76, 1 Cor 15:40

- Book of Mormon Isaiah, Isaiah

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20 minutes ago, mordorbund said:

Is there an official Bible translation for other languages?

Serving a mission in Quebec (and, as far as I know, other French speaking missions) we missionaries "officially" used the Louis Segond translation. One page claims this is the most common French translation used by Protestants (whether the late 19th century version or the 1910 version or the 1970's version, I'm not sure). A rumor that I heard (and can't seem to verify) is that the choice was made because the Louis Segond was a popular translation based on the Textus Receptus (which also forms a substantial portion of the basis for the KJV). Getting dangerously deep into extrapolation, but my guess has been that the Church would prefer translations based on the Textus Receptus (possibly ignoring newer information than the Textus Receptus had available), because those translations would be more similar to the KJV used in English.

Lots of guessing though, so looking for more input.

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12 hours ago, MrShorty said:

Serving a mission in Quebec (and, as far as I know, other French speaking missions) we missionaries "officially" used the Louis Segond translation.

And how closely did the French translation of restoration scriptures follow the wording of the Louis Segond translation? --if you still have access to both.

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On 4/7/2022 at 8:45 PM, mordorbund said:

 Is there an official Bible translation for other languages? 

In Spanish we use the LDS edition of the Reina-Valera translation dating back to the 1500's.  It is very much akin to the KJV in its language as it pertains to Spanish.

On my mission, we used a 1960 revision from a different publisher which obviously lacked the footnotes which are included in the LDS edition.

IMG_20220409_000300969.jpg

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9 hours ago, person0 said:

In Spanish we use the LDS edition of the Reina-Valera translation dating back to the 1500's.  It is very much akin to the KJV in its language as it pertains to Spanish.

On my mission, we used a 1960 revision from a different publisher which obviously lacked the footnotes which are included in the LDS edition.

IMG_20220409_000300969.jpg

Did the Book of Mormon or Doctrine & Covenants follow the wording of the Reina-Valera?

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On 4/9/2022 at 9:23 AM, mordorbund said:

Did the Book of Mormon or Doctrine & Covenants follow the wording of the Reina-Valera?

The relationship is more similar to how close D&C is to the KJV.  All of the conjugations and tenses are there, but often the Book of Mormon is a slightly 'easier' read than the Reina Valera.

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Perhaps I can be clearer on the relationship between the Doctrine and Covenants and the KJV. If an elder is sent out to some branches he may be counseled to “strengthen the churches” where he goes or to even “confirm the members in the church”. If leaders wanted it to sound KJV-ish they might say “thou shalt strengthen the churches”. But if they want to actually use KJV verbiage they will lift the words directly from Acts 15:41 where Paul “went through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches”. If D&C 24 were received today with the prevalence of the NIV then Joseph Smith might have been told to continue in … strengthening the churches.” Whereas if Young’s Literal Translation carried more cachet he would “continue in … confirming the assemblies.”

So my question about foreign translations involves specific wording in languages I know nothing about.

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On 3/29/2022 at 9:47 AM, Carborendum said:

Here's what I've heard, but I haven't taken the time to verify.  Two opinions:

1) Of all the versions available, the King James version is the most accurate and complete.

2) Most of the versions today pretty much preserve the language of the Tyndale Bible.  A lot of sacrifices were made to bring us the KJV.  So, it was more-or-less Joseph's preference because he considered the language of the KJV to be sacred.

I rather like #2 better.  But I'm afraid that may be short lived.

The whole reason why we needed a Bible in English is so that a "poor farm boy" would have access to its actual words.  Today, a "poor farm boy's language skills" are very common.  But the difference is that today's kids are not raised reading this Bible anymore.  So, they read, but cannot understand.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/2005/03/what-had-to-happen?lang=eng

At some point, we're going to need a more plain-language / modern language version.  And that may be the death of Christianity (as we know it).  While we can try to modernize the language somewhat, I believe we can't sufficiently dumb-down the language enough for the average person in America to read and understand while sufficiently preserving the literary mechanisms of the Bible as we know it.  But I am guessing people will still try.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2007/04/the-miracle-of-the-holy-bible?lang=eng

My preference would be to keep the KJV and offer as many study guides and aides as possible.  This is the route the Church has taken since I've been alive.  I hope they don't change course.

Your No. 2 point about the Tyndale bible is interesting. The NRSV and the ESV(English Standard Version) are used & considered authoritative by so many today.Both have the RSV as their forerunner. I don't think the ESV reads as much more than a retread but that's just me. And the RSV as the grandchild of the Authorized Version stands squarely in the tradition of Tyndale. My 1980s prediction(to myself) that the NIV would soon become The English Bible for Evangelicals never did come to pass😊.

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Well, Joseph Smith did say that the German version was the most correct version, so it can't really be because of that... they could just have translated it to English. However, the King James was indeed (and still is) a very popular version, and the language fits the Book of Mormon.

 

It's funny though to see when the general authorities use other bible translations in their talks. There's no need to be obsessed about it, as long as you don't suddenly have a class reading out loud from 20 translation (it's good to agree to some order)

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5 hours ago, Nordic saint said:

Well, Joseph Smith did say that the German version was the most correct version, so it can't really be because of that...

The claim was that it was the most correct "OF THE ENGLISH VERSIONS AVAILABLE."  I thought that went without saying.  But I guess not.

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16 hours ago, Carborendum said:

The claim was that it was the most correct "OF THE ENGLISH VERSIONS AVAILABLE."  I thought that went without saying.  But I guess not.

Easy now, cowboy 🤠 I thought it went without saying that latter-day saints shouldn't talk down to each other, especially when it's uncalled for. But I guess not.

But no, the main post didn't claim that the KJV version should be the most correct English version available. I think however you take this a little bit too personal.

 

Where did the notion about the KJV being the most correct version come from anyway? Perhaps I haven't noticed the general authorities mentioning it...

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On 4/17/2022 at 1:10 PM, Nordic saint said:

Easy now, cowboy 🤠 I thought it went without saying that latter-day saints shouldn't talk down to each other, especially when it's uncalled for. But I guess not.

But no, the main post didn't claim that the KJV version should be the most correct English version available. I think however you take this a little bit too personal.

 

Where did the notion about the KJV being the most correct version come from anyway? Perhaps I haven't noticed the general authorities mentioning it...

It is my personal impression that we must be careful what we call the most correct English version.  Part of the problem is the evolution of initial Biblical texts.  We have learned through the discovery of the Dead Sea Scriptures that the ancient manuscripts of the Bible that were thought to be the most accurate - are in reality far from it.  The discovery of the Dead Sea Scriptures has caused a great problem for both Christians and Jews.  We know from the Book of Mormon that the most accurate ancient scripture of what we call the Bible was the brass plates of Laban.  But we also know, because of the Book of Mormon that there are important and critical books missing from all modern versions of the Bible.

The Dead Sea Scriptures also brought about a critical problem with the New Testament.  This is because the most quoted ancient (old testament) text in the New Testament Bible was the Book of Enoch - which is quoted by name as critical scripture in the Book of Jude.  The Book of Enoch was left out of the New Testament Bibles because it was thought to have been created after the manuscripts we use as the New Testament.   But there was a Book of Enoch found in the Dead Sea Scriptures the predates Christ and all the New Testament by 300 years.

In short - anyone that has studied the origins of the Bible and textual Biblical criticism realizes that there are no authoritative Biblical  manuscripts - leaving (especially those unstudied in such matters) to argue or discuss the most authoritative manuscripts and thus modern versions. 

The very obvious and simple truth that is best explained by the L-rd (Christ) in modern revelation - that in these last-days we are also given the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and divinely called according to the oath and covenant of the priesthood of G-d - living apostles, prophets and seers.  It is only through all that has been restored that we have authoritative scripture.

 

The Traveler

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18 hours ago, Traveler said:

It is my personal impression that we must be careful what we call the most correct English version.  Part of the problem is the evolution of initial Biblical texts.  We have learned through the discovery of the Dead Sea Scriptures that the ancient manuscripts of the Bible that were thought to be the most accurate - are in reality far from it [...]

I absolutely agree. Even if one bible version is considered more accurate, it's still far from a correct translation of the originals. It's a huge blessing that we have the necessary teachings today despite the attempts to change the scriptures

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