lördag, november 11, 2006

7 Holy Criteria

I have been brooding a bit further over theology and translations in the 2nd Millennium, and have come to conclude the following criteria for dating the Holy Scriptures (always in the plural) of the Bible. Some suggestions:

1. Language: either Koíne; general Greek, which is either ordinary (Paul) or late (Pastorals) or else the artificial Greek of the Platonic Academy (e.g. Hebrews),
2. Dialect: Asian, Syrian, Alexandrian Koíne or Attic, Jonic, Alexandrian,
3. Vocabulary: theological/specific as of the LXX (pórnoi) or general (porneía),
4. Vocabulary may be concrete (pórnoi being persons) or abstract (porneía),
5. Forms of words: early (aiônos) or late (aiwníos in Jude v. 7),
6. Time: most everything in the Bible is presentic (perfect being used for God in Heb),
7. Choice of word: normal (gynai) or extreme (theleiai; cunts, in Romans 1.26-27),
8. Syntax: this may be typical or atypical for the claimed author,
9. Links: quotes/dependencies (for instance Mark/Luke contra Paul/Matthew),
10. Theology: Marcian, Pauline, Lucan, Johanneic or Alexandrian,
11. Cosmology and Creation: biblical (Paul), gnosticistic (Marcion) or philosophical (Clement of Alexandria),
12. Worldview: this is harmonic, antithetical or antagonistic, respectively,
13. View of Society: non-identity (Paul), identity (Pastorals) or antagonism (Clement),
14. Law: the X Commandments contra the laws of men,
15. Congregation: equality; ethnically, socially and biologically as in Galathians (Jew/Greek, slave/free, man/woman) or the subordination of women and slaves as in the Pastorals,
16. Manuscripts: differences between the General text (including Vetus latina and other 2nd century translations) and the papyri and pandects of the Alexandrian Sondertradition (Vaticanus, Sinaïticus, Alexandrinus). These are harmonized from the late 3rd century in the Byzantine version of the General text,
17. History of Theology: are there quotes in Patres – if so in which form; General or Alexandrian?

NEGATIVA– what we find instead:
1. Language: all Koíne is read already by the Patres as if it were the Greek of the Academy,
2. Dialect: question not posed,
3. Vocabulary: both theological/specific LXX language and general are universalized,
4. Ditto: Concrete becomes abstract (12th century scholastic concepts),
5. Forms of words: are not dated (the a-historic language theory of Platonism; words are un-changeable in eternity)
6. Tempus: presentic becomes perfect and future (the already hear and now, but not quite yet becomes ”pie in the sky when you die"),
7. Choice of words: in Rom 1.18-32 no less than 29 words are said to be non Pauline, but commenters don't specify them,
8. Syntax: is a non-question,
9. Links: these are seldom mentioned,
10. Theology: the 4 Patriarchates are all assumed to have had the same theology,
11. Cosmology and Creation: Alexandrian Philosophy is taken for granted,
12. World view: a non-question,
13. View of Society: question is put only if there is a need to ante-date (Colossians),
14. The Law: the laws of men are treated as Commandments overtaking the Gospel,
15. View of the Congregation: hierarchic subordination is written into all scriptures,
16. Manuscripts: the Alexandrian Sondertradition is treated as normative (Weston & Hort: "neutral") different layers are not mentioned, contradictions are harmonized,
17. History of Theology: neglected (nothing ever happened).

The academic Theology of 2nd Millennium Europe harmonizes differences in the Bible (time, geography, philosophy & c.) identifying Christianity with Alexandrian teachings on works and merit (Neo-Platonism).

The result is sexualization and dogmatization accommodating the translator’s own late 20th century tradition (often a form of Calvinism). ”Abomination”, “impurity” and ”sexual immorality” are examples of universalizing sexualizations, just as fornication, adultery and covet are sexualizations of specific cultic, collective and social terms of the II, VII and X Commandments, respectively.

Sexualized words in their turn sexualize each and every phrase where they occur, distorting the content – together several hundred times in the OT and NT.

The language theory of Neo-Platonism (dominating in Anglo-Saxon countries) regard languages as consisting of isolated "words" which have eternal and fixed meaning. This is quite wrong; languages consist of forms and structures. If languages consisted of ”words” in this way, we would have to pronounce every letter/sound… which we don’t. And the exact meaning of most words depends on context.

Late modernity homo-sexualizes pre-modern sexualizations introducing new ones (Judges 19.22, 1 Thess 4.6, Jude v. 7, 2 Peter 2), along with new sub-ordination proof-texts (slaves in 1 Cor 7.21, women in 2 Peter 2.14).

The theory of Dynamic equivalence introduced by the American Bible Society around 1940, abandons the traditional method of concordance (one word for one concept) explaining the translation, turning it into paraphrase.

Text and interpretation collapse into each other, accommodating text to teaching…

A secondary consequence is that the result cannot be checked against the method, making it impossible for the lay person to judge the quality of the translation. This is hardly a coincidence.
Of late there seems to be (at least in some parts) a sobering of kind, The New English Version (2002) has returned to the late 12th century Versio vulgata systematic errors of the KJV 1611/1785/1947 tradition.

But at least – being systematic – they are easy to spot.