New Testament Translation Question

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Ron Corbett | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Aug 24 2010 6:12 AM

Came across a translation I have never heard of:.

Mickelson's Hilkiah Edition New Testament Translation

Does anyone know of this? Any opinions?

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 10:30 AM

Ron Corbett:

Came across a translation I have never heard of:.

Mickelson's Hilkiah Edition New Testament Translation

Does anyone know of this? Any opinions?

Never heard of it. The only review on Amazon.com is by the author/publisher. It appears to be self-published. See the author/publisher's website, in particular his translation philosophy. Here's more analysis about his methodology. He doesn't even give a bio other than calling himself "a servant of Jesus" so we don't know his credentials for translating Hebrew and Greek. I wouldn't buy a translation (as opposed to a paraphrase like The Message) done by a single person, especially a translator who talks about the "key tenants" of his translation philosophy. He calls this "a hand-edited translation to correct vocabulary usage and ensure consistency of word choices" which means that he started with some other English translation and "corrected" things he thought were wrong about it. Indeed, digging further I found on his "Old Testament - " and "New Testament Revisions" pages that the "Foundation of the English text is the Revised Websters Translation." Googled this and found very few references to it indeed, even with the corrected spelling of it "Revised Webster's Translation." Someone who can't spell is again deserving of my suspicion when it comes to being a Bible translator.

I did find something called "Webster's Revised Version" in The Cambridge History of the Bible, pp. 369 - 370. But even that title got only 7 Google hits. Here are the relevant paragraphs from the Cambridge History as found on Google Books:

Webster's revised version, entitled The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, in the Common Version, with Amendments of the Language was published in 1833. There were some one hundred and fifty words and phrases which he found to be erroneous or misleading, and which he corrected in the various passages where they appeared. Practically all of these have been changed by later revisers also, who found his judgment sound as to the need of change, and in most cases accepted the corrections he proposed. He substituted 'who' for 'which', when it refers to persons; and 'its' for 'his', when it refers to things. He used 'Be not anxious' for 'Take no thought'; 'food' for 'meat'; 'ask' for 'demand'; 'hinder' for the obsolete sense of 'let'; and various words appropriate to the context for 'prevent' in its obsolete sense of 'go before'. He used the term 'Holy Spirit' instead of 'Holy Ghost'.

As far as it went, Noah Webster's revision of the English Bible was sound. It pointed the way that revision should take in matters of English usage. For a time it was used in many Congregational churches; a second edition was published in 1841, and three editions of his revision of the New Testament were printed in 1839, 1840, and 1841. But then it faded from public view, and now it is almost forgotten. It made too few amendments to challenge attention; it was not adopted for general use in the public worship of the churches; and it did not go far enough, in that it was based almost wholly upon English usage, and did not push behind this to the problems with respect to the Greek text of the New Testament that were emerging in the 1830's and 1840's.

Looking at another product that includes the Webster's Revised Version of 1833, and what other versions it includes, you can probably get an idea of the theological leanings of anyone who would choose to use this as a source of his own translation. Nothing newer than 1909 except these:

  • American King James Version, 1999
  • Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, 2000
  • World English Bible, 2006
  • Through a bit more Google searching I found that this Webster's version is also called Webster's Revised KJV, and here's another software product that includes that. Same sort of avoidance of any of the common modern translations.

    You can find the text of Webster's Revised KJV at the Jesus Army Multilingual Online Bible site here.

    Finally, here's a fascinating article called Correcting the Grammar of God: Noah Webster’s 1833 Bible by C. Dowdell.

    So, while I wouldn't recommend Mickelson's Hilkiah Edition (unless you like his translation philosophy), and I'd never heard of Webster's, thanks for the question, as I learned a lot in the process about the history of Bible translation in America! Smile

    Posts 450
    Dave Moser | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 6:30 PM

    He seems to have some trouble telling us what his source document is:

    "Having had three years to research numerous matters, I simply come to the Greek text (1550 Stephanus by Eramus) to render simply what it says: no more, no less."

    I'm guessing he meant "Erasmus" which would indicate that he's using essentially the worst GNT available. This also contradicts his statement, cited earlier by Rosie, that he was simply revising an extant English text to suit his taste. (Again, his English grammar is rock solid...)

    I'd shy away from this one...

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    Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 7:06 PM

    A major flaw in his translation methodology is his insistence that the highest value be placed on "consistency of word choices" in Greek-to-English or Hebrew-to-English. He delights in showing off a diagram that shows how the KJV and Webster's translate the same words in different ways at different times, and he finds that problematic, but he shows off that his translation is consistent:

     

    Essentially, he believes that there is a one-to-one correspondence between Greek (or Hebrew) words and English words and that the best translation, that is in his mind a "literal" translation, keeps to this one-to-one correspondence. Which is about the worst possible understanding of language you could imagine. There simply is not a one-to-one correspondence between words in any language and words in another language. He's acting as if biblical languages are something you could decode with your "secret decoder ring" from a box of breakfast cereal. Know the right English word for each Hebrew word in the original and you're good to go. Just replicate it every place that word appears in your source text. That is poppycock. Anybody who's ever studied any foreign language knows that there are all kinds of reasons why a word might be translated in different ways into English depending on the context. Idiomatic speech is a major reason for that. One simple example from French might suffice to illustrate. The word "full" in English is usually translated "plein" in French. "The glass is half full of water" = "Le verre est à moitié plein d'eau." Pretty much a literal one-to-one word-by-word translation. But you would never say to a host who offers you some more food after a meal, "Non merci, je suis plein." You'd be telling your host "No thank you, I'm pregnant." Instead you would say something like "Non merci, je n'en peux plus," which means literally "No thank you, I can no more of it" (the verb "eat" understood). Or more smoothly and idiomatically, "No thank you, I couldn't eat another bite." The word "idiom" does not even appear anywhere on this guy's website. He probably doesn't believe in it.

    Spend a little time poking around in Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains (both Greek and Hebrew) and you'll see why translations like KJV might translate the same Greek word as "authority," "power," "strength," "force," and "might."

    Actually, this guy's diagram is pretty meaningless. What does it mean to say that the word "Authority" is always consistently translated as "Authority"? Both sides of the diagram are English, so he's basically just produced a meaningless tautology in the bottom diagram.

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    MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 8:08 PM

    Rosie Perera:
    Which is about the worst possible understanding of language you could imagine. There simply is not a one-to-one correspondence between words in any language and words in another language. He's acting as if biblical languages are something you could decode with your "secret decoder ring" from a box of breakfast cereal. Know the right English word for each Hebrew word in the original and you're good to go. Just replicate it every place that word appears in your source text. That is poppycock. Anybody who's ever studied any foreign language knows that there are all kinds of reasons why a word might be translated in different ways into English depending on the context. Idiomatic speech is a major reason for that.

    Under a different hat, I was given the New Testament to review, one that had been translated under this philosophy. Somehow, I wasn't sent a copy of the Old Testament when it came out. Big Smile However, the individual involved was very sincere and was following the guidance of her favorite pastor / Bible teacher. As such, I felt it was important to treat her with respect, even in a review that panned the translation. There are those on these forums who may well be guided by someone much like her guide. I think we need to watch our language to treat them with the respect that they deserve and with which we wish to be treated.

    Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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    Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 8:51 PM

    The Webster's Bible is only an "Americanized" King James Version published in 1833. Noah Webster considered it his greatest life achievement. There are several current sources for it, both digital and hardcopy. I am surprised it is not one of the titles in The Christian History Library http://www.logos.com/products/details/3525 because I first heard of this translation from the Foundation for American Christian Education (F.A.C.E.)

    Of course none of this gives credibility to the translation in question. It reminds me of the missionary to Mexico that is single-handedly attempting to translate the KJV into Spanish. What an awesome responsibility! Zip it!

    Logos 7 Collectors Edition

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    Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 24 2010 8:57 PM

    MJ. Smith:

    Under a different hat, I was given the New Testament to review, one that had been translated under this philosophy. Somehow, I wasn't sent a copy of the Old Testament when it came out. Big Smile However, the individual involved was very sincere and was following the guidance of her favorite pastor / Bible teacher. As such, I felt it was important to treat her with respect, even in a review that panned the translation. There are those on these forums who may well be guided by someone much like her guide. I think we need to watch our language to treat them with the respect that they deserve and with which we wish to be treated.

    Well said, and good point. I now regret some of my choices of words in my panning of this translation philosophy, and I did not follow my own philosophy of not making snide remarks about other people's ideas simply because I disagree with their position on something. My apologies to whoever might have been inclined to trust Mr. Mickelson as a faithful servant of God and wise guide. I'm sure he is sincere and well-meaning and has worked very hard at his labor of love, this translation of his. And I'm guessing that it will have some benefit to someone. I just don't think that anyone who has been using many of the features and resources in Logos thus far would find it very worth adding to their library or lobbying Logos to make it available.

    MJ, I would go back and edit my post, but you've already quoted me, and this discussion is perhaps educational for others on what not to do. So I'll leave it be. Hopefully I don't offend anyone who comes along and reads only my previous post and skips the rest of this thread.

    Posts 3
    Jonathan K Mickelson | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 8 2010 11:24 PM

    Dear Rosie,

    You have given a very authoritative review for a such a cursory review of a man's work, let alone our brother Noah Webster's own labors.  Your review was less than 4 hours of research, and apparently with little or no examination of either man's work.  By contrast, my labor has exceed 8.5 man-years in a 6.5 year period preceded by 17 years of reading and putting God's Word into practice in my own life and my family's.  I am born-again and redeemed in Christ Jesus, and I am also glad to know you are my eternal sister in Christ.  We won't even be concerned about this occasion, but for a mere moment of our eternal life in Him.

    Of course a kinder introduction would have been nice, but this type of review has been long expected.  I am sorry the mention of my work caught you at bad moment.  But I did count the cost during the three years of preparation before starting the actual work of translation, a cost which included this day (and the many to follow).

    I am friends with a Christian brother who is a staunch KJV-Only advocate.  And in accordance with the character and teaching in the Holy Scriptures, he is also a very gracious man.  He is an elder and pastor in his church, overseeing discipleship.  We have had no fights nor arguments, but rather we have enjoyed mutually beneficial conversations (sometimes 2.5 hours in length) regarding God's Word and the translation work.  He has examined the work with some detail and has asked his questions, and I have answered them.  And I honor his unswerving regard for KJV as the only translation approved by God for English speaking people.  But we honor Christ who made us brothers in His blood-bought Redemption.  And we actually work daily together, literally side-by-side. (Thank you, Erion, for your Christian friendship!)

    My native Greek colleagues in Greece have reviewed my work for years (both the NT Translation and the companion NT Dictionary) and have adopted it, and also promote it (but quietly, at my request), and the Thai Bible Society adopted the NT Dictionary for its use.  I have another 18 years of work ahead of me, and I do not have time for the controversy this type "conversation" stirs up among our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    There is need to address and correct some of the misrepresentation that are stated in the replies that followed your review.

    Forgive me if you think I am too harsh in attempting to alleviate some of the concerns you have raised and somewhat addressed at the bottom of all these postings.  Our grandchildren and great grandchildren will have need of such a reference translation.

    your brother in Christ,

    Jonathan K Mickelson

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    Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 8 2010 11:51 PM

    Dear Jonathan,

    I apologize for the cursory review and the dismissive tone with which I presented it. I should have expected that you might stumble upon it, since your name was mentioned in it. I hope my more conciliatory follow-up later in the thread softened the sting a bit. I realize that I don't know enough Greek or Hebrew to challenge your translation or your methodology. I'm not an authoritative reviewer at all. This forum contains all kinds of user opinions, and that's what was asked for. That's all I offered.

    By the way, I notice this is your first post. I don't know whether you're a Logos user or not, but I hope you are or will consider becoming one. It is a great product, even if it doesn't have your translation among the resources available in its format (yet). Perhaps if you want to see it become more widely disseminated you could offer to give them permission to publish it electronically.

    Blessings in Christ,

    Rosie Perera

    Posts 3
    Jonathan K Mickelson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 9 2010 12:03 AM

    Rosie Perera:

    A major flaw in his translation methodology is his insistence that the highest value be placed on "consistency of word choices" in Greek-to-English or Hebrew-to-English. He delights in showing off a diagram that shows how the KJV and Webster's translate the same words in different ways at different times, and he finds that problematic, but he shows off that his translation is consistent:

    Essentially, he believes that there is a one-to-one correspondence between Greek (or Hebrew) words and English words and that the best translation, that is in his mind a "literal" translation, keeps to this one-to-one correspondence. Which is about the worst possible understanding of language you could imagine. There simply is not a one-to-one correspondence between words in any language and words in another language.

    Rosie, you read enough of my website to find the one place where I misspelled "tenet" and ignored the all the other places where it is spelled properly.  You linked to various spots of interest to you.

    I say this to you because you read enough of my website to know that your statement above about my translation methodology is profoundly false, and it is libelous of my intellect, character, purpose, ability and motive. My declared highest value, explicitly declared in the tenets three times, is to preserve the concept actually being expressed by the writer.  Doing that with a moderated consistency for each context and concept in which a word is used aids in proper correlation of one scripture passage with another like passage.

    Taking the time to seek our Heavenly Father for His expression of His Holy Scripture in an English reference translation takes years.  And it is from this diligence that I can rightfully declare the NT Hilkiah Edition to be "Concept for concept, Context for context, and Word for word.  Yes, all three!"  This effort required an increased use of English vocabulary to account for the various nuances expressed in the Hebraic-Koine Greek by the Hebrew (and Greek) authors.  The features contained therein are unparalleled in any reference translation of any time or target language.

    And the silly thing is, it is available online in a world-class online interlinear Bible program without charge to whomever would like to view and study the word (and translation work) for themselves.

     

    (note: cut & paste changed the font size, and there is no ability to modify font size in this web editor)

    Key Tenets

    • Bring the English-speaking person to the Word of God, not the Word of God to the English-speaking person. (not bringing the Word to someone's mindset or bent, but bringing someone to the Word)
    • Preserve the Concept actually being conveyed by the author regardless of all personal, linguistic, structural, or stylistic preferences. Simply render what it says, nothing more, nothing less.
    • Again, preserve the Concept, then, with all strength and reason, preserve the Construct (verb to verb, noun to noun).
    • Do not transliterate. Use common English and fully render the concept in English.
    • Strive for Word Consistency within the Given Context (man or husband, woman or wife).
    • Document the Contexts in which each word is used (future project).
    • As far as is reasonable, make each Greek word or phrase have a unique English word or phrase.
    • Do not undermine a Greek word or concept by assigning it a single English word: use an English phrase as often and liberally as needed for proper expression.
    • Keep it simple and easy to read and comprehend.
    • Do not dumb it down. If an explicit Greek concept requires a college level word, use it or consider an appropriate, succinct, but accurate phrase.
    • Preserving the Concept supercedes all secondary tenets when they conflict with this goal.

    (this last statement is not a tenet; it is a fact.)

    This is God's Word. It will verify itself. It will ring true for it is living, and it is true.

     

    Posts 3
    Jonathan K Mickelson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 9 2010 12:11 AM

    Rosie Perera:

    Dear Jonathan,

    I apologize for the cursory review and the dismissive tone with which I presented it.

    ... ... ...

    Blessings in Christ,

    Rosie Perera

    Rosie, I fully accept your apology.  You are released from the matter in peace.

    My second posting was already composed and sent before I saw your response, which is why I did not address your response at that moment.

    Grace and peace to you in Christ and unto all who trust in our gracious Redeemer.

    Gratefully,

    Jonathan

    Posts 1
    justin rosewarne | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 21 2011 1:57 AM

    Hello Brother Jonathan

    I would like to commend you and the leading of the SPIRIT of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,that has led you on this most noble of enterprises namely a fresh and more correct English BIBLE AMEN!!!! I am eagerly awaiting your soon to published revision eg 31 may 2011,so that I can buy it and be able to read this at the table with my family .Yes I am a KJV only kind of a guy,but due to my limited learning and the ancient old English used have found some difficulty in understanding CHRIST"S WORD and besides all the other modern translations using the minority text as a base from which to demean the WORD of JESUS.Yes I have been looking/longing for a modern majority base text as used by the KJV translators the WORD blessed of GOD for the last 400 years as my family are not HOLY SPIRIT filled as yet and the impediment of the KJV language is a barrier and a faithful modern text is most definitely needed!!!!!!!! 

    Brother I would like to talk to you further,but I do not know how i may contact you and I live almost half a world away!!! Over to you Brother,shame that their is no way to contact you on your website re plowshare?

    Yours in OUR MOST LOVING LORD JESUS CHRIST Justin Rosewarne

    Posts 2824
    Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 21 2011 8:42 AM

    Rosie Perera:
    There simply is not a one-to-one correspondence between words in any language and words in another language.

    As always, Rosie is right on the mark.  If everyone understood that, how many goofy interpretations would disappear.

    "In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

    Posts 175
    Bill Coley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 21 2011 10:36 AM

    Rosie Perera:

    Well said, and good point. I now regret some of my choices of words in my panning of this translation philosophy, and I did not follow my own philosophy of not making snide remarks about other people's ideas simply because I disagree with their position on something. My apologies to whoever might have been inclined to trust Mr. Mickelson as a faithful servant of God and wise guide. I'm sure he is sincere and well-meaning and has worked very hard at his labor of love, this translation of his. And I'm guessing that it will have some benefit to someone. I just don't think that anyone who has been using many of the features and resources in Logos thus far would find it very worth adding to their library or lobbying Logos to make it available.

    MJ, I would go back and edit my post, but you've already quoted me, and this discussion is perhaps educational for others on what not to do. So I'll leave it be. Hopefully I don't offend anyone who comes along and reads only my previous post and skips the rest of this thread.

     

    Rosie,

    I honor and appreciate both the tone and content of your apology.

    Now, if only our politicians (and those allied with them) would implement the approach to disagreement your statement advocates. as well as the method of unconditional apology you employ!  Wink

    Blessings

    Bill

     

    Posts 14
    Richard Mast | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 23 2019 8:05 AM

    Michael Childs:

    Rosie Perera:
    There simply is not a one-to-one correspondence between words in any language and words in another language.

    As always, Rosie is right on the mark.  If everyone understood that, how many goofy interpretations would disappear.

    Actually this comment of Rosie's doesn't accurately reflect Mr. Mickelson's translation philosophy.  Even a cursory reading of the introduction to the translation reveals that he freely acknowledges that many times there are different words (and combinations) that must be used to translate the same Greek word (depending on context, etc.), but the goal is consistency across the scripture as to how that is done.  His work is extremely valuable and is accorded a very high place in my personal bible study and reading.  Ideally I would like to see him use Pickering's Family 35 text instead of the TR, but the differences, as a percentage, are very minimal and the MCT remains a treasured asset!

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