Reading holy books for fun


by Greg Bernhardt
Tags: books, holy, reading
Greg Bernhardt
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Feb8-08, 03:51 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
It would be fun to read the books together on here. I'm willing to buy the Quran, I have a bible and would be interested in reading the Torah as well. We'd all have to have the same versions though.
That would be awesome. This is one one I bought. It's a simple paperback and the translation is fairly modern.
http://www.amazon.com/Quran-Translat...2507384&sr=8-3

Maybe there is a better one, I don't know.
turbo
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Feb8-08, 03:53 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
It would be fun to read the books together on here. I'm willing to buy the Quran, I have a bible and would be interested in reading the Torah as well. We'd all have to have the same versions though.
Very important! The Jesuits released a translation of the Bible back in the '60s (the New Jerusalem Bible) in which they attempted to translate the earliest-known examples of each section of text. If you have a book that is written in Hebrew, translated to Aramaic, then to Greek, then to Latin, then to German, then to English there are many opportunities for error, unintentional or intentional. In their version of the Bible, Mary is a "maiden" and not a "virgin", and it appears that the word virgin crept into the Bible's Latin translations because of the Romans' long tradition of virginity cults.
Evo
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Feb8-08, 04:01 PM
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Quote Quote by Greg Bernhardt View Post
That would be awesome. This is one one I bought. It's a simple paperback and the translation is fairly modern.
http://www.amazon.com/Quran-Translat...2507384&sr=8-3

Maybe there is a better one, I don't know.
I did see one suggestion in the reviews for another one. Let's see if there are any other suggestions and then decide.

This could be a lot of fun.
mgb_phys
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Feb8-08, 04:03 PM
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Quote Quote by turbo-1 View Post
Mary is a "maiden" and not a "virgin", and it appears that the word virgin crept into the Bible's Latin translations because of the Romans' long tradition of virginity cults.
The trouble with all translations is you have simply moved the arguement up a level.
Does maiden imply virgin in English or simply unmarried?
It certainly used to mean virginal in many folk songs, although that usually got solved by about verse 3.
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Feb8-08, 04:09 PM
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Quote Quote by mgb_phys View Post
The trouble with all translations is you have simply moved the arguement up a level.
Does maiden imply virgin in English or simply unmarried?
It certainly used to mean virginal in many folk songs, although that usually got solved by about verse 3.
Understood. The methodology of the Jesuits in compiling their Jerusalem Bible was to translate from the earliest known examples of each text directly into English, with the goal of producing a more historically accurate document. The Jesuits are perhaps the most scholarly branch of the Roman Catholic Church, and their penchant for questioning dogma has gotten them into hot water with the Vatican more than once.
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Feb8-08, 04:22 PM
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Rather than reading just Torah, I would recommend the entire Tanach. The Stone edition of the Tanach is one of the best modern versions, and I have a copy.

Rather than just the Torah (or Chumash), one should perhaps read the entire Tanach, which is Torah, Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings - Psalms, proverbs and others)

http://www.artscroll.com/stonetanach.html (offline between Friday-sundown and Saturday-sundown EST)

or http://www.amazon.com/Tanach-Twenty-.../dp/0899062695

All 24 books of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings are now at your fingertips in one magnificent 2,200 page volume, as interpreted by the classic sages of Talmudic and Rabbinic literature.


Torah/Chumash

Genesis (Beresh!t: "In the beginning...")
Exodus (Shemot: "Names")
Leviticus (Vayyiqra: "And he called...")
Numbers (Bamidbar: "In the desert/wilderness...")
Deuteronomy (Devarim: "Words", "Discourses", or "Things")


Nevi'im (Prophets)

I. Joshua (Yehoshua)
II. Judges (Shoftim)
III. Samuel (Shmu'el)
IV. Kings (Melakhim)

V. Isaiah (Yeshayahu)
VI. Jeremiah (Yirmiyahu)
VII. Ezekiel (Yehezq'el)
VIII. Trei Asar (The Twelve Minor Prophets)


The Ketuvim

Group I: The Three Poetic Books (Sifrei Emet)

1. Tehillim (Psalms)
2. Mishlei (Book of Proverbs)
3. `Iyyov (Book of Job)

Group II: The Five Scrolls (Hamesh Megillot)

4. Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs) or (Song of Solomon)
5. Ruth (Book of Ruth) (Shavuot)
6. Eikhah (Lamentations)
7. Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) (Sukkot)
8. Esther (Book of Esther) (Purim)

Group III: Other Historical Books

9. Daniel (Book of Daniel)
10. Ezra (Book of Ezra-Book of Nehemiah)
11. Divrei ha-Yamim (Chronicles)


For further readings, I would suggest the commentaries of Rashi and theRambam (Maimonides)

Judism and Islam are considered to have common Abrahmic roots. Both Jewish and Islamic traditions consider Ishmael as the ancestor of Arab people.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael
mgb_phys
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Feb8-08, 04:23 PM
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The methodology of the Jesuits in compiling their Jerusalem Bible was to translate from the earliest known examples of each text directly into English, with the goal of producing a more historically accurate document.
It's not that the translation is bad - it's that translations assume a common definition of the word in English.
Unless there is an appendix which states 'we take the term maiden to mean virgin' then it is more ambiguous than the original.
That's why patents and technical standards end up being written in such unreadable langauge, you have to define every word as you go.

To take a simple example 'bad' means something very different to a teenager and to their parent.
TVP45
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Feb8-08, 04:23 PM
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Quote Quote by Greg Bernhardt View Post
Which surprised me because I thought animal sacrifice was Pagan and frowned on by the Church.

Also back to the Qu'ran. I was very surprised to see many "Biblical" characters in the text. I wonder what the relationship between the two books are and why they share characters.
They share much of the Hebrew Bible because of Abraham's two sons Isaac (born of Sarah) and Ishmael (born of Hagar). Jews are descended from Isaac and Muslims are descended from Ishmael. Both religions worship the same G-d and have a tradition of interpretation and commentary. That is, in addition to the written books (which varies a little bit depending on which religion you are), they have written commentary and oral tradition/interpretation (Midrash for Jews). These commentaries and interpretations flesh out the sometimes terse stories found in the Hebrew Bible. The Qu'ran is not intended to be in any sense chronological and that sometimes seems confusing since the Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament are basically chronological.

Both Jews and Muslims consider themselves bound by Abram's convenant with G-d. Christians generally feel that covenant was superceded by Baptism although there is some theological hair-splitting about this. The three religions are monotheistic, though Jews in particular sometimes have difficulty with the Christian Trinity and all base their legitimacy on their descent from Abraham.
The book Christians call the Old Testament is essentially the Hebrew Bible.
TVP45
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Feb8-08, 04:30 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
It would be fun to read the books together on here. I'm willing to buy the Quran, I have a bible and would be interested in reading the Torah as well. We'd all have to have the same versions though.
Normally, when you say Torah, this is the five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
mgb_phys
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Feb8-08, 04:35 PM
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Quote Quote by TVP45 View Post
Normally, when you say Torah, this is the five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
So presumably there isn't much point reading the Torah + the old testament, given that (translations aside) they should be identical.
TVP45
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Feb8-08, 04:38 PM
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Quote Quote by mgb_phys View Post
It's not that the translation is bad - it is that translations assume a common definition of the word in English. It is always difficult to translate somethign that has literay content while keeping it the meaning accurate.
That's why patents and technical standards end up being written in such unreadable langauge, you have to define every word as you go.

Unless there is an appendix which states 'we take the term maiden to mean virgin' then it is more ambiguous than the original. To take a simple example 'bad' means something very different to a teenager and to their parent.
There are concordances available to help. I use James Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible to find the original Hebrew or Greek which then offers best guesses based on contemporary usage. The "virgin" from Matthew comes from the Greek parthenos, literally maiden or unmarried daughter.
CaptainQuasar
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Feb8-08, 04:39 PM
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The Mahābhārata, the larger epic that contains the Bhagavad Gītā, is interesting as well. But I find even more interesting the Rig Veda.

For understanding Islam the hadiths are also very important, the oral traditions of the deeds and words of Mohammed and his followers. When I was a kid reading the Koran there was nowhere to find that stuff but now there are many sources available over the internet (and probably even in some local libraries now too.)

The Papyrus of Ani, the Egyptian Book of the Dead is awesome. I love the idea that your soul must be lighter than a feather to enter heaven. For a Lamaist take on the same thing there's the Bardo Thodol, the Tibetan Book of the Dead. There's a really awesome BBC documentary that used to be up on Google Video about it that got taken down, unfortunately.

What we have of Zoroastrianism's Zend Avesta is interesting too. The only Zoroastrians really left around today are the Parsis of India and Iran.

And although it isn't a scripture for any living religion I always liked reading the Epic of Gilgamesh. What we have left is nice and short, it's worth checking out and you could probably read the whole thing while you're visiting one of those bookstores that has nice comfy chairs and couches. It's also supposed to be the oldest written story in the world.

If there are any local colleges with a Theology department near you check out their libraries, they tend to have lots of stuff about all sorts of religions even if it's something like a Catholic school that adheres to one sect of one religion.

So yes, I like reading holy books too.
TVP45
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Feb8-08, 04:41 PM
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Quote Quote by mgb_phys View Post
So presumably there isn't much point reading the Torah + the old testament, given that (translations aside) they should be identical.
There are small differences, but those are fairly subtle and I usually have to ask a Rabbi to explain them. Given only one choice, I would read the Hebrew Bible; it's like reading Maxwell versus Resnick's textbook - the original seems preferable.
TVP45
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Feb8-08, 04:45 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
Rather than reading just Torah, I would recommend the entire Tanach. The Stone edition of the Tanach is one of the best modern versions, and I have a copy.
Thanks. I wasn't aware of this. I'll check it out.
CaptainQuasar
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Feb8-08, 04:48 PM
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Oh, and I forgot the Analects of Confucius, which are very interesting to compare to the Gospel of Thomas, a Christian apocryphal scripture (the apocrypha is basically the body of scriptures that was not included by the early Roman church in the Bible), and the Tao Te Ching of Taoism. Taoism is pronounced "Dowism" by the way, like the Dow Jones Industrial Index.
mgb_phys
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Feb8-08, 04:51 PM
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Quote Quote by TVP45 View Post
The "virgin" from Matthew comes from the Greek parthenos, literally maiden or unmarried daughter.
That was my point you need an annotation that says something like - "the original Hebrew word is X and it is also used in other documents from the same period to mean Y".
So does 'parthenos' mean hadn't had sex or just unmarried, or given the society would there be no difference between the two?
Simply translating into another language, especially one as subtle and changable as English isn't enough - however good the translation.


ps. Does the Qu'ran repeat the Torah/Old Testament books or does it just provide a link to them?
CaptainQuasar
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Feb8-08, 04:56 PM
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Quote Quote by Greg Bernhardt View Post
Yeah my GF tells me there is alot of animal sacrifice early in the Bible.
Not to mention human sacrifice. See Abraham and Isaac.

Quote Quote by Evo View Post
It would be fun to read the books together on here. I'm willing to buy the Quran, I have a bible and would be interested in reading the Torah as well. We'd all have to have the same versions though.
One solution might be to read a version that is free online, or pick a version that is also free online. That would also permit linking to specific passages.
mgb_phys
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Feb8-08, 05:00 PM
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Quote Quote by CaptainQuasar View Post
And although it isn't a scripture for any living religion
In the theme of religions that lost there is the "Poetic Edda" admitadley not as much sex and violence as the old testament.


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