This is a text that formed the basis of some email
I recently wrote,
and that could be of interest to more people.
Last week I finally got one answer concerning a number of email messages
I sent you concerning questions and remarks about bible translation and
I got a message from Roeland Klein Haneveld <firstname.lastname@example.org>
where he deals with some of the content of my message, and where he
addresses a part of the points I raised.
At any rate, I want to make clear what my motivations and intentions are,
and I'd like to emphasize again that I find it important to get feedback,
and to undertake activities in various ways with what I found, and to verify
and get confirmed what I do whereever necessary.
email is a pleasant medium for me, possibly because I have many years of
pleasant professional experience with it, and because it can be
easily copied and spread, and the reason I'm addressing the EO (evangelical
broadcast org.) is that at one of their latest large scale meetings,
I heared almost all speakers clearly bring forward essential parts of
the things I've been dealing with lately.
I do not associate with any specific group of believers, other than that I
feel connected with those who have the same inner conviction (see last
message), and therefore have no sounding-board in that sense, and at this
moment I don't feel compelled to change that situation.
I did spend a lot of my time during 4 years at a bible school in the Hague
(course material of Dr. Albert Grimes), and therefore am not unfamiliar
with the doctrinal whereabouts in the "charismatic area" (and others),
and I'd like to add that for some time I have completely sidetracked my
faith, because I deemed the fruits of some who I thought had the same
faith in the group way to sectarian, and in short they ignored all my
efforts to ascertain what was realy going on, and when I started to stay
away they didn't even value all the efforts I'd put in enough to ask me
why I didn't show up regularly anymore, even though my presence was
clearly noticable since I played piano and organ in and outside of services
1 to three times a week.
This only goes to show that a number of things are a complete mistery
right until today, and that I had good reason to put aside a faith of
which I had to conclude that those are the final fruits, and first have
some essentials clarified.
I am aware of it that several points I raised in previous messages
probably are primary to be dealt with acedemically (I am an engineer
in EE, and have a number of years of acedemic experience), and I cannot
expect to get indepth contentwise comments or remarks on everything
I wrote right away, so I don't, but I am much interested in any
pointer in that direction.
The main reason I sent messages to your 'corner', and that I'm sending
another now, is that in the acedemic approach there is not necessarily
a link with a personal faith, while that is at the core of the NT.
And because in a number of areas, I'm amoung others talking about
powerstructures and relations and sexuality, my findings indicate a
rather different line of thinking about these areas as I read they are
supposed to be according to both new and old testament, and
appearently a number of the essentials are shared by some of the
foremen of EO. And that concerns a personal faith with practical
outworking showing good fruits.
And because I am used to taking things seriously in general, all tests
that are mentioned in NT (amoung which confirming or correcting my
thoughts based on working on translation and it straightforward
explanation) should be applied.
And in my opinion that means that both the acedemic test of the
scientific side of my activities, and the personal test of those with
the same faith are of importance.
Finally, during the previous time when I took biblestudy very serious,
for a long time I could not properly understand a number of scriptural
passages (and the corresponding subjects), and I had the suppress the
notion of observing to internal inconsistencies, and what I thought I
should make of it has produced bad fruits in my life. My findings of
approximately the last year have shed a very clear light on these
matters, allowing me to continue perfectly well both personally as
scientifically, and it seems useful to share this if there is an
interest for it. It is relevant to notice in connection with this that
I have followed a fairly extensive bible course with an emphasis on
personal and practical application of scriptural teachings, and that
I still value that course highly, and it is probably not for nothing that
the author of it received a docters title because of it, apearently he
also valued acedemic testing. But in that course for instance the
subjects relations and sexuality are hardly explicitly dealt with, even
though scriptural references to these important issues are available
in abundance. Voila the motivation for undusting my faith after I
realized that a number of people of whom in the past I expected that
they could account for a reasonable measure of the authority they
claimed for themselves, brought forth fruits of a faith that is not
coinciding with what the essence of it is for me, and that the sectarian
elements in my life hardly played a role (except to some degree for the
areas just mentioned). In other words I blamed my faith for a number
of problems that have nothing to do with the core of it.
It is of course fairly easy to find bookshelves full of information/doctrine/
opinions about these subjects, be it or not in an institutionalized form,
but I'm talking about a clear, logical amd scripturally consistent picture,
that can also be put to practise with good results. I would like to be in
contact with anyone who says to have that, because these are issues of
importance, and because I can pinpoint the internal or scriptural
deficiencies quite quickly in most of the popular opinions about these
subjcts, and because I refuse to believe that a book that claims to have so
much to say about life and death, about all subjects that apply to human
life, and that is so much aimed at life as it is supposed to be lived by
its creator would say such inconsistent or vague things about such crucial
elements of life, or that the fruits of certain interpretations should give
me such sour taste.
This message, and the previous ones, are intended to in any case at least
exchange thoughts with those who have the same interests. I wondered for
quite some time how it is possible that these things would be so important
only for me or for a small audience only, or else why there is no solid
foundation for these subjects that can be readily found in any evangelical
bookstore or something. There are various reasons to assume that at least
I'm not finding all too strange tracks. Firstly, there is a reason involving the
content of scripture, that I can best illustrate with an example, a second one
is related to fact that the unification of OT and NT, and the correct
translation of also very essential parts of them are amoung the main
issues in modern theology. See for instance "Die hebraeische bibel und ihre
zweifache nachgeschichte: Festschrift fuer Rolf Rendtorff zum 65. Geburtstag",
hrsg von Ernhard Blum, Christian Macholz und Ekkehard W. Stegemann,
Neukircher Verlag; and "Haubtprobleme der Biblischen Theologie im 20.
Jahrhundert", Henning Graph Leventlow, Darmstadt (..); various parts of
both books (some also in english).
First an example, based on Genesis 10:9 (10), where most translations say
something to the extend of "...and Nimrod was called a great hunter before
the Lord", and in some translations even "...and Nimrod was a great hunter,
blessed by the Lord". Looking up the hebrew for that, and using an existing,
well respected aramic/hebrew lexicon (Benjamin Davidson) to find the
meaning of the hebrew itself, and simply putting the meaning of the various
hebrew words together without any interpretation, I find something a lot more
profound and meaningfull, and with quite a different thing to say: "and Nimrod
(rebel) became mighty (powerful) by hunting wild beasts and/or setting
snares for birds, to turn away from God". Now this is something completely
different, an remember that Nimrod, being the founder of both the city
and the religion of Babylon, is not at all an obscure personality, and that
the opinion uttered in this verse is therefore not without weight).
So we have either a complete change of emphasis, or the opposite of what it
says in our translations, and something that scripture is saying has been
marginalized and put into form that reveals not much of the impact the
original verse should have. In terms of unifying old and new testament,
the beasts and the birds could easily be the same image as used in various
places in the NT (animals in the sea, crawling and 4 footed beasts, and
birds). Based on this (and knowing about the tower and the fact that the
religion is at the root of all pagan religions, and that in the religion Nimrod
is supposed to be a type of the (anti-) redeemer, part of the basphemous
babylonic triunity where he is something like the man of his own mother,
who happens to coincide exactly with the statues wrongly described as
an image of the mother of Jesus, existing already thousands of years before
she lived) Babylon can be thought of as being founded on two components,
which are mentioned where the building of the tower is explained in at first
sight rather meaningless or obvious terms (I'm quoting from memory) "with
bricks baked in the sun, and using slime as mortar". So the compnents are
hard on one hand ("bricks") and something initially soft is used to glue
together that tower to the heavens, which in my opinion is not that
different from the picture drawn in revelation, where there is also mention
of a "hard" component, complemented by a false (slimy) religion that comprise the
main lines. And of course Nimrod founded the city and the religion (as it
says in genesis and is historically verifiable). In this context it is probably
no coincidence that Jesus Himself speaks of "living stones".
Please notice that the main theme here surfaces simply by translating
correctly, and related subjects of a more exegetical nature follow directly
from it. But the main correction is made by a straightforward, truthful
translation, without a need for interpretation.
Recently I had a chance to verify amoung others the translation of this verse
with a native hebrew speaker who also studied OT texts, and found out that
indeed our translation is wrong, and that there is no question anout it that
the verse expresses an opinion about Nimrod that is negative.
Another example mentioned in the first of the books I listed above is the
translation of the second commandment, "love your neighbor as thyself",
which I found also to have a different meaning, and which is again confirmed
to be not correctly translated. Without taking the space here and now to
elaborate, this immedeately connects up with the translation of a new
testament word for loving which also is limited in its meaning.