BEGINNING BIBLE WORKSHOP Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path. Psalms 119:105 PART Ia The Book in Your Hands
Divine Revelation • Revelation is defined literally as the uncovering or disclosure of something that is hidden. The Bible itself addresses the meaning of revelation. • Hebrews 1:1-2 • In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to • our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, • he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of • all things and through whom he created the universe; • 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 • But as it is written: "What eye has not seen, and ear has • not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, • what God has prepared for those who love him," this • God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
Matthew 16:17 • Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon • son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed • this to you, but my heavenly Father." • Matthew 11:27 • All things have been handed over to me by my Father. • No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one • knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom • the Son wishes to reveal him. • 2 Peter 1:21 • For no prophecy ever came through human will; but • rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke • under the influence of God.
Romans 1:19 • For what can be known about God is evident to them, • because God made it evident to them. • Because the Bible is an important source for God's revelation, we should know: • where the Bible comes from; • what books are included in the Bible; • how God uses the Bible to reveal Himself; and • how do we interpret the information in the Bible.
The Catholic Church, through her teaching arm, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) also defined what is meant by revelation: Constitution on Divine Revelation, No. 2In his goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of his will by which, through Christ the Word made flesh, people have access to the Father in the Holy Spirit and come to share in the divine nature. Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God out of the abundance of his love speaks to his people as friends and lives among them, so that he may invite them into fellowship with Himself.
Why are there Different Versions of the Bible Today? Manuscripts -- ancient (or modern) texts written by hand: • often copies, of copies, of copies, with significant differences. • We have no original manuscripts, only copies of copies: • original manuscripts written hundreds of years after events; • existing copies even later in history, up until invention of printing (c. 1439); • oldest Hebrew texts (prior to 1945): Masoretic text (9th -10th century AD). • Copies we do have contain numerous textual variations: • many small differences • spelling, grammar, word choice; • some larger differences • book placement /order • omission of books altogether.
No Perfect Translation Exists • Important recent discoveries of older manuscripts: Dead Sea Scrolls (written before 100 AD), found 1947-1956 Codex Sinaiticus (written 350-400 BC), found 1859); • Meanings of some biblical texts remain unknown/uncertain; • Ancient languages are different from modern languages; • Every translation is an interpretation;
All living languages change and develop; • Cultural developments require new sensitivities in language: • Sensitivity to racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, other forms of discrimination ; • slanted or biased language; • Inclusive language alternatives.
What is the Difference betweena Translation and an Edition? Translations of the Bible: • Interpretation of the meaning of the Bible from original languages into another (modern) language; • Examples: King James Bible, Authorized Version, New English Bible, Revised Standard Version, New American Bible, etc. • Editions of the Bible: • Publication of an already published translation; • Adds introductions, study helps, commentary, or references • to existing translation; • Examples: Study Edition; Children’s Edition; Catholic Study Bible; • Oxford Study Bible, etc.
English Biblical Translations Over 500 different English translations of Bible; Modern Translations are More Accurate: • Changes in English over the centuries; • New discoveries in past 50-150 years.
Two Types of Translations Used in Modern Bibles Formal Correspondence Translations: Literalist translation; meaning is in words; Preserve original wording and word-order of Hebrew and Greek; Require explanations (footnotes) to avoid misinterpretations; Good for in-depth academic study of the Bible; Difficult to understand when heard or read aloud; for the eye; Examples: Douay-Rheims, KJV / NKJV, RSV / NRSV, NIV • Dynamic Equivalence Translations: • Literal sense; people mean (sacred author, God); • Focus on meaning and ideas, not “word for word” translation • Better for public proclamation or liturgical use; for the ear; • Examples: NEB / REB, TEV / CEV, JB / NJB, NAB
Truth 1 Truth 1 “The things God ordered and those only they first rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth.” revealed who they were, when they lived, their knowledge their language, literature, their culture, their worldview, etc written Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, 1893 Hebrew/Aramaic/ Greek language theological baggage denominational bias new languages translating persons etc. Truth What God means 1 truth translated What author means people mean LITERAL SENSE wordsmean LITERALIST Catholicism Protestantism
Alternative “Translations” Biblical Paraphrases Not (don’t even claim to be) accurate translations; Often intended for children or teenagers; Condense and/or omit much of the material; Freely change the wording of the original texts; Examples: The Living Bible, The Book, Cotton Patch Bible, etc. • Amplified Bible • “Amplifies” text, adding many extra words and phrases; • Example: The Amplified Bible, etc.
What is a Genre? Genre, by definition, is a category or type of literature (or of art, music, etc.) characterized by a particular form, style, or content. • Ways of Distinguishing: • Verbal vs. nonverbal; • Poetry vs. prose; • Place/Form published; • Smaller genres or subgroups .
Literary Genre Genres and Sub-genres: Fiction vs. Non-Fiction • Biographies, histories, technical manuals, textbooks, poetic anthologies, legal codes, etc. Some publications contain multiple genres: Newspapers have news articles, editorials, comics, sports results, financial reports, classified ads, obituaries, movie reviews, etc.; Bible similarly contains many different genres.
Hebrew Bible Genres • Historical Narrative (Genesis, parts of Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) • Legal Codes (Leviticus, parts of Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) • Genealogies (parts of Genesis, much of Numbers) • Annals (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, etc.) • Prophecy (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc.) • Psalms/Odes/Songs (Psalms) • Prayers/Laments (Lamentations) • Proverbs (Proverbs) • Wisdom Literature (Job, Wisdom, etc.) • Apocalyptic (Daniel)
New Testament Genres • Biography/Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke, John) • Historical Narrative (Acts) • Correspondence Letters (Paul, John) • Church Directives (1 Timothy, Titus) • Last Will/Testament (2 Timothy and 2 Peter) • Homily/Sermon (Hebrews) • Wisdom Collection (James) • Epistles/Encyclicals (1 and 2 Peter) • Apocalyptic (Revelation)
Summary • Bible is not one book, but a library. • Bible contains many different literary genres. • No perfect translation of the Bible exists. • Different translations dramatically affect our understanding of the Bible’s meaning (e.g., Catholic vs. Protestant). • Recent discoveries and developments make modern translations more accurate.
End of Part 1a Go to Part 1b Return to “Resources”
BEGINNING BIBLE WORKSHOP Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path. Psalms 119:105 PART Ib The Book in Your Hands
The Bible: Written Revelation The Word of God revealing Himself to His People through the sacred authors was first of all oral. Periods of oral transmissionvaried. The revelation of Genesis, from prehistory to the time of Moses is an example of oral transmission; MOSES BC BC 2000 1900 1800 1700 1600 1500 1400 1300 1200 1100 1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 the period from the resurrection and ascension of Jesus (about 30 AD) until some of Paul's letters (about 51 AD) or the writing of the first Gospel, Mark's (about 65 AD), is another example of oral transmission of revelation. PAUL MARK BC/AD AD 10 5 1 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 100
The Word of God as eventually written down is contained in the Bible. The Bible is the collection of sacred books, written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and recognized by the Church as such. Evangelists, Paul, Peter, James, etc., wrote down what they received . . . BC AD Jesus and HisApostles preached and taught. Old Testament patriarchs, prophets, kings, etc., received and proclaimed God’s Word. Bishops, Fathers, Doctors continued to preach and teach also . . . to this very day . . .
The two divisions of the Bible are called Testaments, the Old Testament (or the Hebrew Scriptures) written before the coming of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament, written after the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
The canon of the Bible refers to the definitive list of the books which are considered to be divine revelation and included in the Bible. ("Canon" [Gk. kanon] means a reed; a straight rod or bar; a measuring stick; something serving to determine, rule, or measure.) Over the centuries, the different faith communities which use the Bible (e.g., Jews, Catholics, Protestants) have developed different canons, i.e., different lists of which books belong in the Bible "library."
The title of this collection of sacred books comes from the Latin biblia, which in turn comes from the Greek, ta biblia. The Greek word means "The Books." Hence, the Bible is a library of books rather than a single book.
The original language of the Old Testament was predominantly Hebrew, with some later books having been written in Greek and Aramaic. The entire Old Testament was translated into Greek well before the time of Christ. The New Testament was entirely written in Greek. Not a single original manuscript (i.e., “autograph”) for either Testament exists today. This library contains among its books, many kinds and types of literature; there is a law book or literature (e.g., Leviticus), there are books of history (e.g., the books of Kings and Chronicles), there are books of poetry (e.g., Song of Songs) and hymn books (e.g., Psalms), parables or stories (e.g., Job), biography (e.g., Gospels), prophetical (e.g., Revelation), collections of wise sayings (e.g., Proverbs), etc.
Much printed currently within this library is not a part of the revelation of the Word of God. The writers of the books of the Bible did not title the books (with the possible exception of Mark's Gospel). Hence the titles of the books are not the Word of God. The sacred authors did not write in paragraphs or use punctuation or label sections or outline their books. Cardinal Stephen Langton created the chapters of both the Old and New Testaments in the Latin version of the Bible in 1228. Verses within chapters in the Latin version of the Old Testament were the work of the Dominican friar Santes Pagnini in 1528. The verses for the Greek New Testament were created by the Protestant Robert Estienne in 1555. Some brief books have no chapters but only verses (e.g., Philemon).
The Church has always believed that the Word of God is not wholly contained in the library of the Bible. As the opening of the Gospel of John proclaims, the Word of God existed eternally and became flesh in Jesus to dwell among us (John 1:1-14). The Church, birthed by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, existed, grew before, during and after the New Testament was written and the books of the Bible determined. The Church recognizes that the books of the Bible are but one source of information about God's revelation, although a very important source. The Word of God and the Spirit of Truth are too dynamic to be limited to the written Word only. The Bible is the book of the Church; we are not a Church of the Bible. The Church existed (30 AD) before the Bible and gave birth to it in faith and in Council (397 AD).
HEBREW SCRIPTURES CATHOLIC CANON PROTESTANT CANON The Palestinian Canon The Alexandrian Canon or The Septuagint (LXX) The Palestinian Canon The LawThe PentateuchThe Pentateuch Genesis Genesis GenesisExodus Exodus ExodusLeviticus Leviticus LeviticusNumbers Numbers NumbersDeuteronomy Deuteronomy Deuteronomy The ProphetsThe Historical BooksThe Historical Books Earlier ProphetsJoshua Joshua JoshuaJudges Judges Judges Ruth Ruth 1 Samuel 1 Samuel 1 Samuel2 Samuel 2 Samuel 2 Samuel1 Kings 1 Kings 1 Kings2 Kings 2 Kings 2 KingsLater Prophets 1 Chronicles 1 ChroniclesIsaiah 2 Chronicles 2 ChroniclesJeremiah Ezra EzraEzekiel Nehemiah NehemiahHosea * TobitJoel * JudithAmos Esther EstherObadiah * 1 MaccabeesJonah * 2 MaccabeesMicahNahum The Wisdom BooksThe Poetical BooksHabakkuk Job JobZephaniah Psalms PsalmsHaggai Proverbs ProverbsZechariah Ecclesiastes EcclesiastesMalachi Song of Songs Song of Songs * Wisdom * Sirach
HEBREW SCRIPTURES CATHOLIC CANON PROTESTANT CANON The Palestinian Canon The Alexandrian Canon or The Septuagint (LXX) The Palestinian Canon The WritingsThe Prophetical BooksThe Prophetical Books Psalms Isaiah IsaiahProverbs Jeremiah JeremiahJob Lamentations LamentationsSong of Songs * Baruch EzekielRuth Ezekiel DanielLamentations Daniel HoseaEcclesiastes Hosea JoelEsther Joel AmosDaniel Amos ObadiahEzra Obadiah JonahNehemiah Jonah Micah1 Chronicles Micah Nahum2 Chronicles Nahum Habakkuk Habakkuk Zephaniah Zephaniah Haggai Haggai Zechariah Zechariah Malachi Malachi
Protestant Christian Catholic Christian“apocryphal” books “deuterocanonical” books Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) Wisdom of Solomon Wisdom of Solomon Baruch Baruch Tobit Tobit Judith Judith Greek Esther (Esther 10:4–10) Greek Esther Greek Daniel Greek Daniel Song of the Three Young Men, Dan 3:24–90; Susanna, Dan 13; Bel and the Dragon, Dan 14 1 Maccabees 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees 2 Maccabees 1 Esdras 2 Esdras Prayer of Manasseh Protestant Christian Catholic Christian“pseudepigrapha” books“apocryphal” books Old Testament works Enoch Literature; Esdras Literature (1–2 Esdras); Baruch Literature (2–3 Baruch); Psalms of Solomon;; Sibylline Oracles; Letter of Aristeus to Philocrates; Assumption of Moses; Maccabean Literature (3–4 Maccabees); Prayer of Manasseh. New Testament works Didache; Apocalypses of Peter, Paul, Thomas; 1–2 Clement; Gospels of Thomas, Philip, Peter, Hebrews; Hermas; Acts of Pilate; Barnabas; Protoevangelium of James; To the Laodiceans; Various Papyruses; To Seneca; Epistola Apostolorum; Acts of John, Paul, Andrew, Thomas; Testaments of the Twelve Apostles.