the lamsa bible and supporting writings..

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REV. DR. JAIME LOPEZ ORTEGA | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Mar 10 2011 5:51 PM

Wink  I would like to drum up some support to let logos know that we value the George Lamsa materials i.e.  his bible version from the aramaic and other books explaing aramaic idioms.. it has excellent variants guaranteed to open the eyes of your understanding. and with the logos machine it will be even more invaluable.. Please back this request so logos will respond..

Thank you

Jaime..

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 10 2011 6:07 PM

Jaime Lopez Ortega:
we value the George Lamsa materials i.e.  his bible version from the aramaic and other books explaing aramaic idioms

Yes !!

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

Posts 308
James W Bennett | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 11 2011 8:06 AM

!!! Please read the entire post before commenting !!!

I am not trying to start a discussion of who or what author or work is orthodox. Neither am I trying to criticize the person who requested the works of George Lamsa to be made available in Logos. I am absolutely against censoring. I also am normally for all things related to Eastern Christianity in all of its variations. And I applaud the availability of scripture from other faiths such as the Koran or even (please, please, please) the LDS Doctrines and Covenant. And I would like to have some of Lamsa's works (at least his translation of the Peshitta) in Logos.

I won't go into the problem of Aramaic vs Greek primacy, which is an academic question that despite the overwhelming evidence for Greek primacy is not completely settled. I also won't go into the differences between the Aramaic and Syriac languages that weigh into the additional argument of Peshitta primacy that Lamsa championed. Nor will I address the red herring that is often leveled against the Lamsa translation: a translation into English of the Peshitta which is itself a translation is inherently inaccurate. Nor will I address the orthodoxy of George Lamsa, that is between him and God since he is dead and cannot answer questions put to him. Although I believe that the orthodoxy of the Assyrian Church of the East (e.g. the Nestorians) is no longer in question in light of the 1994 document "Common Christological Declaration between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East" agreed upon by "John Paul II, Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic Church, and His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East."

The adherents to his translation often justify that his translation of the Peshitta is the best possible translation into English because he was a native speaker of Aramaic and raised in the mid-east. This argument is flawed. Language and culture change. The Syriac he spoke natively was not Syriac as it was spoken and written in the 2nd - 6th c when the Peshitta was written. Even though language and culture change conservatively in the mid-east they still change. At MINIMUM the language of Syriac shifted in pronunciation that resulted in two separate and distinct dialects. Also words change and idiomatic expressions shift even in culturally related areas. As a very simple illustration, who on this list knows what a "darning needle" is? Some will say that it is a needle that is used in sewing. Others that it is the name for a damselfly. This is a long way of saying that their (and his) argument that he was the best qualified person to produce a translation of the Peshitta into English is flawed. Although it does not yet mean that his translation is flawed.

However, with that said...

I would suggest that the works of George Lamsa and his translation, like any translation by a single person, should be used with caution. Additionally, his translation has problems. I will outline below the most common problem: that of Jesus' final words on the cross recorded in Matthew 27:46.

P     Ps 22.1: ܐܠܗܝ ܐܠܗܝ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ : My God, My God why have you forsaken me? (my translation)
P  Matt 27.46: ܐܺܝܠ  ܐܺܝܠ ܠܡܳܢܳܐ ܫܒ݂ܰܩܬ݁ܳܢܝ  : God, God why have you forsaken me? (my translation)
OS Matt 27:46: ܐܻܝܠ  ܐܻܝܠ ܠܡܳܢܳܐ ܫܒ݂ܰܩܬܴ݁ܢܝ  : God, God why have you forsaken me? (my translation)
K  Matt 27:46: ܐܝܠ  ܐܝܠ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ  : God, God why have you forsaken me? (my translation)

The words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 27:46 are typically viewed as a reference to Psalms 22:1 which implies that Psalm 22:1 has a Christological interpretation. Lamsa translates the verses as follows:

   Ps 22.1: My God, my God, why hast thou let me to live?
Matt 27.46: My God, my God, for this I was kept!

James Murdock, eighteenth c scholar, translated the passage from Matthew as follows:

Matt 27.46: O God, O God; why hast thou forsaken me?

Analysis of the Lamsa translation:

1. I admit that reading Psalm 22:1 as a Christological psalm is an interpretational position. But it has been the position of the Christian Church, including the Syriac speaking Churches, from at least the Patristic period. So even if you discount that this is what Jesus meant, the Church has understood this as what Jesus meant. That said, in my view the first problem with Lamsa's translation, even without going into the translational issues, is that this wording disconnects Matthew 27:46 from the wording in Psalm 22:1 and so weakens the argument that Psalm 22:1 is Christological.

2. In Psalm 22:1 ܐܠܗܝ is the word god (e.g. any god) with a first person singular possessive suffix that modifies the word so that it is the god of the speaker, e.g. God of the Jews or Christians. In Matthew 27:46 ܐܝܠ is God (e.g. God of the Jews and Christians). There is no possessive suffix. A first person possessive might be implied, but I believe the phrase without the suffix actually strengthens the argument for a Christological interpretation of Psalm 22:1.

3. In both Psalm 22:1 and Matthew 27:46 the word ܠܡܢܐ is a preposition affixed to an interrogative neuter pronoun. There is no room for ambiguity. The best translation is to/for what reason, to what end, why, wherefore; and then used as the introduction to a question. Lamsa translates this properly in Psalm 22:1. There is no support for his translation "for this" in Matthew 27:46. Note the orthographic differences in the word between the two verses is only related to whether the text in question had or did not have diacritical marks. It does not effect the translation in this instance in any way.

4. In both Psalm 22:1 and Matthew 27:46 the word ܫܒܩܬܢܝ is the verb ܫܒܩ. It has the meaning of forgive, leave, or allow. It is present in a second person, masculine, singular, perfect Peal form. It has a first person, neuter, singular object suffix. It should be translated as you have forsaken me; you forsook me; you left me. There is no support for his translation "thou let me live" in Psalm 22:1. While he got the grammar correct in this translation he did get the meaning of the word incorrect. There is even less support for his translation "I was kept" in Matthew 27:46, especially when you allow for his comments in the notes for the verse where he says that this verse means "this was my destiny."

This is just the beginning of the translation problems in this work. There are also issues with his understanding and translation of idioms in the bible. To illustrate the issues here let me reproduce a small number of examples from his book "Idioms in the Bible explained," which can be previewed on Google Books.

1. Genesis 1:3, "Let there be light" means "Let there be enlightenment; let there be understanding."

2. Genesis 2:9, The tree of life in the midst of the Garden represents "Sex; posterity, progeny."

3. Genesis 5:24, "God took him away" means "He died painlessly. He had a heart attack."

4. Genesis 19:1, Angels are "God's counsel; spirits; God's thoughts."

This is not to say that there are not good translations into English of some of the Bible's idiomatic expressions. His interpretation of the Pharaoh "going out to the water" in Exodus 8:20 as the Pharaoh going out first thing in the morning to urinate in the Nile is reasonable and plausible.

So, while I would applaud the availability of this resource in Logos, I would caution anyone to research this author (or any author) before simply accepting his assertions. There are a lot of Christians who accept George Lamsa as an enlightened translator and teacher and his books are often available in Christian book stores. There are also a lot of Christians who find the theology behind his works suspect.

---

James W Bennett

http://syriac.tara-lu.com/

Posts 25
REV. DR. JAIME LOPEZ ORTEGA | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 11 2011 10:01 AM

All of this said here in your critique of the Lamsa writings can be said of anyones work of translation, whether an individual or a committee of scholars.. That said I can give you solid testimony from my life; I have never seen anyone saved by focusing on minutiae of Holy Writ.

This is not to disparage the fascinating and often fulfilling journeys that one may have as they undertake a personal attempt to rediscover for oneself what position on and which Writ one can feel most comfortable with. I am sure you know also by the sound of your articulate, tight argumentation style that anyone attempting an exhaustive, critical review of what purports to be original Writ, ( since there is no such thing at present anywhere), will sooner than later find themselves in  quandaries without definitive solutions possible.  At this point ( which is probably not a bad thing) we must all return to our first Love, (FAITH), and having re-established it in our hearts continue from there to live out the Word of God through and by which is the only sure method to obtain a rock solid relationship with and knowledge of what and Who is the  truth. I pray this settles in your heart with the warmest intentions that I purpose to convey to you..

Posts 297
Schezic | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 11 2011 10:10 AM

My, What big words you have ! Huh?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 11 2011 7:00 PM

James W Bennett:
So, while I would applaud the availability of this resource in Logos, I would caution anyone to research this author (or any author) before simply accepting his assertions. There are a lot of Christians who accept George Lamsa as an enlightened translator and teacher and his books are often available in Christian book stores. There are also a lot of Christians who find the theology behind his works suspect.

Your analysis agrees with what I have heard from others - and my reaction to my paper copy was to store it away out of easy reach. But many Logos resources are problematic in one way or another - the necessary side effect of offering a wide range of resources. However, I see Lamsa as having value whether you think highly of him or if you want to see what others are thinking and reading.

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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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 11 2011 8:23 PM

Jaime Lopez Ortega:
... I pray this settles in your heart with the warmest intentions that I purpose to convey to you..

Observation: plain text with default size same as majority of forum posts would be easier to read - using 60 % bigger letters has similar effect as all cap's (shouting) since have adjusted my web browser for quick reading of most forum posts.  "Shouting" distracts from friendly, living room conversation.

Appears Aramaic Bible Society is copyright holder for works of Dr. Lamsa - has authorized free electronic copy of Lamsa Bible text for use on some web sites.

Perhaps suggestion could be shared with Aramaic Bible Society about electronic publication for use in Logos (price to be negotiated).

Logos has two free Bibles - Russian Synodal Translation and Finnish Bible plus many Bibles available for purchase.

Keep Smiling Smile

 

Posts 25

very old and very blind here .. wo sorry for the giving the impression of shouting.. please accept my apoloies.i cant see this size font to edit it for errors.. thank you for undestanding..

Peace

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 12 2011 3:13 PM

Jaime - we can adjust to large and bold if that is what is needed for you to participate.

MJ

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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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 12 2011 10:00 PM

Jaime Lopez Ortega:

very old and very blind here .. wo sorry for the giving the impression of shouting.. please accept my apoloies.i cant see this size font to edit it for errors.. thank you for undestanding..

Peace

 

MJ. Smith:

Jaime - we can adjust to large and bold if that is what is needed for you to participate.

MJ

 

Likewise Peace - getting older has its opportunities, including eye focusing (plus metallic additions: gold teeth, silver hair, lead posterior).

Windows and Mac computers have accessibility options for visual display, including magnifiers (enlarge portion of screen).  Likewise can change display resolution to smaller number to effectively magnify everything.  For some people, moving monitor 10 % closer is an option (for 10% magnification).  Other people prefer moving monitor further back - easier to read when far sighted.

Idea can ask eye doctor for computer eyeglass prescription (clearly focus between a foot and a cubit).  Recommend changing eyeglasses before driving a car (distant objects are blurry in computer glasses).

Possibility for forum editing - compose using Heading 2 or 3 (easy to read) - preview (back to compose as desired for editing).  When satisfied - select all - change font to paragraph - then post.  Also have option to adjust default font in web browser - help readability for many forum posts.  Thankful for Logos forums - have learned much and have much to learn.

Keep Smiling Smile

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 12 2011 11:55 PM

MJ. Smith:
But many Logos resources are problematic in one way or another - the necessary side effect of offering a wide range of resources. However, I see Lamsa as having value whether you think highly of him or if you want to see what others are thinking and reading.
Well said MJ. I am not familiar with the work in question. However I do agree that " Lamsa as having value whether you think highly of him or if you want to see what others are thinking and reading." In a good University/Seminary library, you find resources from a variety of scholars, schools of thoughts, etc.. Mature professors allow you to agree with them, once you have sound evidence to support what you say.

My desire, publish all resources in the area of religion and theology in Logos Bible Software. The user if free to purchase/read what he/she chooses.

See my signature at the bottom of the thread.

Lynden Williams Communications https://www.lyndenwilliams.net 

Posts 175
Silent Sam | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 13 2011 5:31 AM

                                                     Hmm HHHMMMmmm~~~ Hmm

Posts 308
James W Bennett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 13 2011 5:37 AM

MJ. Smith:
However, I see Lamsa as having value whether you think highly of him or if you want to see what others are thinking and reading.

Please do not misunderstand. As I stated at the beginning of my post I would like to have some of Lamsa's works in Logos format. I just felt compelled to add a cautionary warning so that some might understand that some of his works have to be treated cautiously because of demonstrable errors that they contain and that are not just theological errors.

The idea of whether Logos should print cautionary information about works that they publish has been debated before. But that is mostly because there are valid theological disputes and as a book seller, Logos does/should not put themselves in the middle of the fray.

However, the truth of the matter is that when Logos publishes a work they, whether rightly or not, provide an inherent endorsement of that work. As a matter of fact MJ, when you, who are recognized as a senior poster with reams of knowledge, or any other poster gives thumbs up to a work you also provide a passive endorsement.

That passive endorsement is enough reason, in the minds of many, to trust that source. Just take a look at the amount of urban legend that floats around the internet through email or the willingness to accept information from Wikipedia or "reputable" new sources without question.

Whether people are suffering from information overload and do not have time to research every single author. Or they are just too lazy to research every single author. Or just plain do not know how to research the accuracy of their sources does not matter. We must not let truth suffer. And I don't mean just theological truth.

If we read an email that is being passed around and that we know has suspect information we need to let those who sent the email to us know our concerns. I and my wife regularly send others to Snopes for verification. We should do the same with other sources.

In the case of George Lamsa, I provided valid concerns about the accuracy of his work on the grounds of clear translational errors. I did not enter into the theological debate about him or his followers because this is not the forum for doing that. Although I would welcome that debate in email.

So. Yes. Yes for getting some of Lamsa's works in Logos. But be warned, they are not entirely accurate.

---

James W Bennett

http://syriac.tara-lu.com/

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 13 2011 12:47 PM

James W Bennett:
However, the truth of the matter is that when Logos publishes a work they, whether rightly or not, provide an inherent endorsement of that work.

I disagree. Publishers frequently produce works without endorsing the content. That is the nature of the business. For example, Logos publishes works by Reformed authors and by Arminian authors. Does this mean that the company has a split personality and is confused about what they are endorsing?

James W Bennett:
As a matter of fact MJ, when you, who are recognized as a senior poster with reams of knowledge, or any other poster gives thumbs up to a work you also provide a passive endorsement.

That is not the same thing as publishing a work. The accuracy of this statement depends upon the context of the thumbs up. If the thumbs up is simply agreement that the poster would like to see the work published in Logos, that does not constitute endorsement of the content of that resource. Many on these forums have advocated publishing works when that plainly state they have disagreement with the content.

Posts 25

well said Jack, you've articulated my thoughts on the subject concisely but very well.This is very helpful to discussion..

thank you very much,

Jaime..

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 13 2011 4:27 PM

James W Bennett:
As a matter of fact MJ, when you, who are recognized as a senior poster with reams of knowledge, or any other poster gives thumbs up to a work you also provide a passive endorsement.

I consistently give thumbs up to suggested books that I think fill a gap in Logos resources - this would include Nestorian and Gnostic works as well as items from the Eastern, Byzantine and Catholic traditions.  I think of Logos as a seminary library appropriate for the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. I would hope that with the breadth of material I give a thumbs up. no one assumes I believe all of it. In fact, there is enough diversity within my own tradition that I don't believe all of it.

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

Posts 1
JC | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 29 2017 6:57 AM

I agree.

Posts 156
Jerome Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 29 2017 8:42 AM

Despite the reservations of some regarding the Lamsa Translation, I have found it most useful.

Years ago when I was teaching Sunday school in the 1960s I found the Lamsa Translation to be one of the few available modern English whole Bibles available. For high school students that were uncomfortable with the English of the King James Version, the Lamsa Translation was a very helpful version for understandable reading. At that time most of the helpful modern English translations we use today were not yet produced.

At the time I purchased several of  his works that explained the idioms of the Syriac text, and I have found them interesting. But as I learned more about the Greek New Testament and the figures of speech it employs, I realized that New Testament Greek (as in Matthew's Gospel) cannot possibly be "translation Greek." Matthew as we have it must have been originally written in Greek.

But I would whole-heartedly endorse bringing the Lamsa Translation and the books George Lamsa wrote to accompany and explain it into Logos!

Posts 11433
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 29 2017 9:17 AM

This is an older thread, though a continuing suggestion.

Silent Sam. His last post ended in 2014. I wonder why he tagged this thread.

Curated. That used to be a selling point for the Logos library. Haven't seen that for a while. I continue to value 'curated' as meaning 'not off the wall'.  Logos now 'curates' even scholarly ... mainly ortho-evangelical. And that's ok. It's their curation.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 291
Roger Dittmar | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 29 2017 10:31 AM

Jerome Smith:
But I would whole-heartedly endorse bringing the Lamsa Translation and the books George Lamsa wrote to accompany and explain it into Logos!

Yes

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