THE SCRIPTURES Institute for Scripture Research
P.O. Box 1830, Northriding 2162, South Africa. 2000. xviii, 1224 pp. $33.00.
(Available in North America from Institute for Scripture Research, 2303 Watterson Trail, Louisville, KY 40299.)
The Preface to this book says, “This present work of translating the Scriptures had its origin in 1971.” It further declares, “a few of us began to search and to do research, after having been called—explicitly called.” Soon thereafter “called out” believers from all over the world joined to help. This strange claim underscores this entire work.
While acknowledging the many fine translations that have been a blessing to many, the writer of the Preface cites four reasons for this new translation: 1) to restore the Name of the Almighty to its rightful place in the text; 2) to be recognizably Messianic in that it affirms the Hebraic forms of certain words and titles, and by using the same division of the pre-Messianic books that was current at the time of the Messiah; 3) to restore the meaning of many words that have become popular, but that do not represent the meaning of the original, such as church, glory, holy, sacrifice, soul, etc., and finally; 4) to seek to be, as far as possible, a “literal” translation rendering key words uniformly whenever possible.
This version differs radically from most other translations in that it does not continue the tradition of substituting the name of the Father and the Son with names ascribed to gentile (pagan) deities. It boldly declares that the Orthodox Jewish avoidance of the name of the Almighty, the so-called Tetragrammaton, is a “post-exilic-apostasy.” When the inquirer is told that this Name has been translated into English as “Lord,” this author asserts that this argument does not hold water. He cites, for example, that the Italian name “Guiseppe,” corresponding to “Joseph” in English and the latter name “Verdi,” which means green, would never be translated as Joseph Green! Rather, it is always transliterated or transcribed in order to approximate its original pronunciation. The translators here considered the various spellings and pronunciations of the Father’s Name and decided to render it with Hebrew letters. They followed a similar course regarding the Messiah’s name, also in Hebrew. Names and titles in this version are often, but not always, provided, in addition to the English translation.
This translation employs both the English and the Hebrew names of the OT books, and it places them in their traditional Jewish order. However, the book of Daniel has been “restored” to “its rightful place among the prophets” by placing it after Ezekiel and before the twelve Minor Prophets. It is therefore not included with “The Writings,” as is customary. The translators further assert that they have restored the text to its original readings in 142 places, where they claim that Scribes removed the name of God (usually rendered “Lord” in English) and have substituted either “Adonai” or “Elohim.”
Even though the translators grant that “there are close to 28,000 Greek manuscripts/fragments” (?) of the New Testament that are extant, they believe that a good case can be made for the view that the originals were inspired in a Semitic language, even though virtually no such copies are known to exist! They simply admit that their text is based on no particular underlying text. A thin vertical line has been printed alongside certain prophecies in this translation that have yet to be fulfilled as of the time of its printing (1998). This practice was apparently adopted in order to underscore the relevance of the Scriptures to our own times. This version further insists that it does not offer its labors to the public as the “last word.” The translators rather welcome feedback from any who may have insight or information that might improve their rendering.
Some readers of this version will find it difficult to follow because of its many different spellings of otherwise familiar words, and the insertion of Hebrew characters into the text. This publication continues a crusade that has been pursued by other groups for many decades: one that argues for the consistent use of (transliterated) Hebrew names and titles.