Old Testament

Week 2: origin and translation of the Old Testament

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14 September 2017

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Modern Bible Translations

Additional reading and links

  • John M. Lundquist, “The Value of New Textual Sources to the King James Bible,” Ensign (August 1983): 42–47. Many ancient texts and sources discovered in recent decades permit us to double-check the texts used by the King James translators.
  • Ben Spackman, “Why Bible Translations Differ: A Guide for the Perplexed,” Religious Educator 15, no. 1 (2014): 31–65. Published in BYU’s magazine for teachers of religion, Spackman looks at the challenges of accurately translating the Bible and how modern translations can help us understand difficult books and passages.
  • Kevin L. Barney, “Reflections on the Documentary Hypothesis,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 33, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 57–99. The Documentary Hypothesis is the leading academic theory about how the first five books of the Old Testament were created. In this article Barney, an LDS scholar, explores the Latter-day Saint reaction to, and the doctrinal implications of, the Hypothesis.
  • Biblical scholars Pete Enns, Jared Byas, and Jeffrey Stackert discuss “Who Wrote the Pentateuch?” in the 7 May 2018 episode of The Bible for Normal People podcast (54:02).
  • Philip L. Barlow, “Why the King James Version?: From the Common to the Official Bible of Mormonism,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 22, no. 2 (Summer 1989): 19–42. Barlow examines how and why the KJV became the official Bible of the Church. (This article later became a chapter in Barlow’s excellent book, Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion, which is available from Amazon.com.)
  • David Tayman, “The Joseph Smith Translation: Inspired Targum and Pseudepigrapha For Latter-day Saints,” Improvement Era: Musings with a Modicum of Mormonism, last updated 24 March 2010. Tayman explains why the JST is best understood as a modern, revealed expansion of the Bible, rather than a restoration of an ancient text.
  • Doctrine and Covenants lesson 15 goes into greater depth on the history and meaning of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.