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Re: orion re: Altman and Crowder

Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 10:09:23 +1300
From: cctr114@cantva.canterbury.ac.nz (Bill Rea)
Subject: Re: orion re: Altman and Crowder
To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il

> From owner-orion@panda.mscc.huji.ac.il Fri Dec 19 07:53 NZD 1997
> This is "Altman and Crowder" in the sense that some (I beleive it was Jim West)
> wondered aloud how the DSS were 'changing the Bible.'  I don't want to get into the
> color-of-ink issue or the personality stuff.
> The fact that the NRSV used the DSS to add to Samuel is interesting and could be
> fractous.  This implies that the Bible is no longer a 'closed' book in--that
> scholars can reasonably use the DSS (and other newly discovered texts?) to add to
> the MT.  Give the attitude of some--that the Bible is divinely inspired and the
> 'inerrant and ineffable word of God'--there could be some serious ramifications
> within organized religion as the Bible becomes a 'living document' and begins to
> change--once again.

I think you are over stating the importance of this change. As you must be
well aware, the Masoretic text is the starting point for the vast majority
of translations into English. This text is much later than the DSS, so it
is only reasonable to allow the results of the research into the DSS to
inform current translations. An additional section in Samuel is not a
free composition by the translators, it has the backing of an ancient 
witness, though only recently recovered. It seems to me that there is 
big difference between allowing the results of serious scholarship to
inform our translations and somehow the Bible becoming a 'living document'
in which people are free to add to or remove from the text as they see fit.
Off topic, translators of the NT have to contend with this problem
all the time. There is hardly a single verse which does not have one or
more variant readings. Sometimes significant sections are omitted (or added,
depending on your view point) from some manuscripts.

Bill Rea, Computer Services Centre, \_ E-Mail   b.rea@x.csc.canterbury.ac.nz
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