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A Little Knowledge in Large Numbers

June 1, 2008

I’m not sure why it is, but there seem to be more and more translations out there by folks with little or no formal training. Early, I posted on how A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing, that is the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible (ARTB) by A. Frances Werner where she attempts to translate every Hebrew and Greek word the same in every context (with the help of her Strong’s Concordance.

Now, Charles Halton at Awilum tells of an even more depressing undertaking: the Wikki Bible Translation. Why use a translation published by acknowledged scholars in the field when you could trust the masses? As the homepage states:

If you know Greek or Hebrew, claim a chapter! Or if you don’t want to make that commitment yet, check somebody else’s work. If you don’t know Greek or Hebrew, we can still very much use your English skills in proof-reading and tweaking the text.

After all, why let no knowledge of a language stop you from editing the Bible?

I’m very saddened by this whole affair.

  1. June 1, 2008 9:14 pm

    Quite shocking, huh?

    Although, this mentality is not all that far off from students who say, “Why should I take time to learn the languages when I have BibleWorks?”

  2. June 2, 2008 7:59 pm

    Charles is definitely on to something there. It seems this mentality is prevalent in seminaries and churches and undergraduate schools country (maybe even world?)-wide . . . or at least something close to it.
    What’s that cynical saying? Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups . . .

  3. June 3, 2008 11:39 pm

    You know, you two are not making me feel any better about things….

  4. Doug Mangum permalink
    July 14, 2008 6:43 pm

    I just thought of a solution. What if those of us who actually know the biblical languages beyond 1st or 2nd year competence go and claim all the remaining chapters. Of course, who has the time to volunteer for a major translation project when we have dissertations to finish, families to feed, etc. The project would linger for decades like the DSS publication project and eventually die altogether. Oh well. On a serious note though, I agree this is an odd undertaking. I’m surprised at how much progress they’ve made in the New Testament. Not surprised that most of the Hebrew Bible sits unclaimed. Hebrew is harder to translate on just year of study, even using Bibleworks.

  5. July 14, 2008 7:50 pm


    Your brilliant! Not that I have the time to work on such a project either, but if some bibliobloggers would grab key portions the translation would probably come out better.

    Then again, perhaps that would just lend an air of credibility to the whole undertaking….

  6. July 14, 2008 11:58 pm

    My plan was more to claim the project and then let it linger and die. I’m not sure why they even thought of starting it since both the KJV and the ASV are in the public domain and available on their site to begin with. Either one will be a far superior translation to what they’ll end up with.

    You’d like their ambitious list of ANE texts they want to have available.
    Maybe you could offer your services with Gilgamesh. I was disappointed that whoever made the list couldn’t even think of anything in Ugaritic to list.

    Thanks for bringing these two projects to my attention. It was a fascinating revelation. Fascinating in a shocking, sad way.

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