Friday, October 21, 2016

Protestants: Do you know what the "Protestant's Burden" is?

See pages 163-4 of Truth in Translation: link

Update: Hi [name removed]! Thanks for posting. However, I'm afraid his book is far more credible and serious than you are allowing for.
Update 2: Same goes for "[name removed]." He's very objective and for the most part very reliable. (He's not perfect however, but he doesn't need to be and none of us are.)

Best Answer: 

Yes, BeDuhn's book has far more value than many wish it to have. It was favorable to the NWT, and critical of the most popular English translations. Therefore it is understandable that Protestants or Catholics would be critical of BeDuhn's book.

BeDuhn's analysis is often misrepresented - his book was about *bias* in translation and how it affects accuracy - not translation accuracy in general. He said he picked the verses he analysed because those were the most talked about and controversial - they were the ones that others brought to his attention. They tended to be verses that were theologically important, so much so that bias would color the translation. Basically, the NWT was accused of bias in a certain verse, BeDuhn would investigate, and found that the NWT was actually the most accurate compared to other Bibles. BeDuhn did not say that the NWT was the most accurate Bible translation, bar none, but that it was the most accurate in the verses analysed.

BeDuhn found what he calls the Protestant Burden - the burden that Protestants have to make their teachings conform to the Bible - their supposed ultimate authority. Catholics don't have this because their church has equal or more authority. So, for example, Protestants need Trinitarian proof texts, but the Catholics are fine with church creeds that proclaim the Trinity. I have found that many Catholics are Ok with the Trinity not being formulated until 325 CE, for they think the Church had God's backing to proclaim the Athanasian Creed. But Protestants want Paul and John to be writing about the Trinity in the first century.

Basically, Protestants will color their translation in such a way that supports the Trinity - a doctrine they're not willing to abandon. On the other hand, Jehovah's Witnesses are interested in what the Bible itself says, stripped of tradition.

I agree with BeDuhn. JWs would believe in the Trinity if it was biblical, but I don't think Protestants are willing to disbelieve the Trinity if not biblical.


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