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Best is reading the originals directly. As I recall the bible is written in 5 languages, so learn those 5 to fluency and read that. Since most of us don't have the time to learn 5 languages well enough to understand subtle details we rely on translations.



Problem is... we DON'T have the originals.

Something few people know:

The greek translation of the old testament, might be more accurate than the hebrew version.

The reason is that the complete hebrew version we have (I mean, ignoring fragments found in archeological digs recently), was written about 700 years after Jesus, by a group of people that were strongly biased against the idea that Jesus was the Messiah, also their version has explicit editor notes, and commentary, and obvious errors (for example "alphabetic" psalms that are missing letters, while the greek translation still have them).

Some of my favourite translations are ones that did research to find what was probably closest to originals, instead of reliance on the language of manuscripts, there are even some ethiopian texts (in ethiopian language!) that are reputed to be more reliable than more recent texts that are supposed to be copies of originals in original language.


"Problem is... we DON'T have the originals."

That's a common misunderstanding of textual criticism, when it comes to the Bible, often peddled by pop-scholars writing for the masses, who make out that the sheer number of minor textual variants is a major stumbling block in getting back to the original text.

On the contrary, the more copies you have, the better. It's the same with Google, you hope they make thousands of backups, and at different points in time.

With textual criticism, you don't need the originals if you have thousands of copies to compare, in different languages.

Likewise with ancient history, you don't need to have been there, to know that an event happened in the past.

I would encourage you to read people like Bruce M. Metzger, F.F. Bruce, or Paul Barnett if you want to understand the logic of ancient history and textual criticism, or if you want to balance your perspective.


I found this paper by Maurice A. Robinson very informative on the subject, but he does advocate for Byzantine priority. http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/vol06/Robinson2001.html At the very least it's a good introduction to New Testament textual criticism, and it goes further in depth on your points.


What are the five language? There is Hebrew and Aramaic in the OT (though Aramaic is a close to Biblical Hebrew as Spanish is to Portuguese, so it's not very hard to pick up one when you know the other). In the NT we have Greek and a smattering of Aramaic/Hebrew words. What are the other two languages?


Good question. I do not know, I jut recall someone telling me that 5 once. It seems like it is in the right range.




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