Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Unpublished Bible

There are lots of Bible translations published these days. According to Wikipedia [1], the Bible has been translated fully into 531 languages and paritally into 2883. There are 450 versions in English alone (Wikipedia) [2]. And of course, the Old Testament is readily available in Hebrew, the New Testament available in Greek. But one combination does not exist.

What if you want the OT Hebrew and the NT Greek in one volume? Granted most people wouldn't be interested, perhaps only Biblical scholars, but as far as I know, this particular combination is not published*. And it would require NO translation, how easy is that? I suspect the reason this hasn't been done is political, not technical. The keepers of the Hebrew** (Masoretic) text would have to work with the keepers of the Greek (Stephens) text.

Having No Beginning and No End

Let's look at one technical problem to publishing Hebrew plus Greek -- where is the beginning? Hebrew reads right to left, and Greek read left to right. Pages are also numbered right to left in Hebrew and left to right in Greek. So no matter how one arranges the Testaments, you can't turn the page from the end of the OT to the beginning of the NT. We have two choices where each language would read in its native direction.

Begin at the outsides
Begin at the center

Imagine a Bible bound this way, where the Hebrew book of Genesis is on the right, and the Greek book of Matthew is on the left. The end of each Testament would be in the middle.

Now imagine a Bible bound this way, where the Hebrew book of Genesis and the Greek book of Matthew are next to each other in the middle of the Bible, but the end of each Testament would be at the outside of the volume.

Old Testament Hebrew [3]
New Testament Greek [4]

Each arrangement makes sense. Personally I prefer the first because when you look at either cover of the book, it is meaningful. That is, whichever way you pick the Bible up, it will be correct, each direction would begin with page 1.

There are 531 different languages you can get the whole Bible (Old plus New Testaments), but not in the original languages.That includes Greek Old Testament translations dating back to the Septuagint, and Hebrew New Testaments dating back to the 1300s ( [10].  Why has no one published the Hebrew/Greek Bible? The Christian churches are anti-Semitic, thanks to Constantine, and the Jews deny Jesus as Messiah. That is changing, as shown by the Messianic movement among Jews and Christians. But for now, ironically, the best way to get the whole Bible is in a translation. Go figure.