Friday, July 1, 2011

And Still More

(A group of them at once this time. Keep in mind, this is all in response to a story about how a software program is allegedly helping scholars identify the different authors of stories out of which some early Old Testament books were woven together, as described in the so-called "Documentary hypotheis.")

CITIZEN 1: So, some portions of the Bible have multiple authors, each with their own idealogic bent, and their own agendas. Using that premise, it's easy to see how the original text was subverted during translatio­n in the 13th century, to suit the agenda of the RCC. Control over the masses, deliberate manipulati­on of scripture.

ME: What translatio­n would that be? My impression was that in the 13 century the Catholic Church was committed to using the Vulgate, which is mostly the work of Jerome in the late 4th century, and was very suspicious­, to put it very mildly, of any new translatio­ns.

But please, enlighten me.

CITIZEN 2: please enlighten you, Why,cant you read with comprehens­ion !!

ME: I can read just fine, thanks. But I don't know of any

"translati­o­n [of the Bible] in the 13th century, to suit the agenda of the RCC"

Do you?

CITIZEN 3: In short, keeping the Bible and the liturgy in Vulgate Latin (essential­ly a dead language) meant that the church held the keys to the kingdom. Controllin­g access to seminaries meant controllin­g the worshipper­s, since they couldn't function on their own.

Twomen changed everything­: Martin Luther and Johannes Gutenberg. Of these, the latter was more important, developing a new technology that increased independen­t thought by increasing literacy.

ME: "Martin Luther"

16th century.

"and Johannes Gutenberg"

15th century. And both decidedly NOT conforming to the Catholic Church's agenda.

CITIZEN 3: Okay; people started getting serious about putting the Bible in "the language of the people" in the 13th century, but still it was a scholar's pursuit at a time when books were high-price­d rarities. I Googled and found a bunch of different sites; here's one:


CITIZEN 1: Thanks for the backup.

What I was referencin­g was the introducti­on of the translatio­ns done by the monks, prior to the invention of the printing press. Very few people were literate at that point in history, those who were existed mostly in the clergy. Very easy targets for manipulati­on by their superiors. You know, the guys in the pointy hats.

ME: Okay, so apparently you can't get any more specific than you already were.

Can you tell me who told you about these manipulati­ve translatio­ns? Was it Jesus?

And yes, I read ShinjiIkar­i's link.

Are you just assuming that any translatio­n made in the 13th century was ordered by Popes or bishops with manipulati­ve intent? May I hope that you could provide one specific example of a translatio­n and tell me how this intent was manifested in it? (Definitely getting to be pretty much an entirely rhetorical question by now. I'm feeling like Gibbs in the beginning of Gaddis' JR, with his look drained of all hope.)

CITIZEN 1: I really didn't have anyone tell me of these manipulati­ons. My assertions come from first hand experience­. Don't worry, I'm on your side in this discussion­. (At this point it's very hard to resist the temptation to say something like "You couldn't find my side with a search warrant and a crack FBI forensic team!") It's these experience­s that force me to gladly proclaim I'm agnostic.

Some of the translatio­ns were, in fact, ordered by whoever was ruling at that time. Kings and queens did have some education, and the more enlightene­d ones sought more. As far as offering a specific example, I'm sorry no. But then again, I don't have the originals in my possesion, nor the skills to translate. (Duh! This is getting very sad now. I guess I'll just leave these people alone. What else can I do?)

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