Do You Need to Learn Hebrew and Greek? (WT 11/01/09)

by Midget-Sasquatch 34 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • TD
    Wasn't there some story from the old days that either Russell or Rutherford were challenged in some court proceedings to read out something from the Hebrew or the Greek, and whoever it was was unable to?

    In the 1913 Russell vs. Ross libel case, Russell stated that he was familiar with Greek only insofar as recognizing most of the alphabet.

    In the 1954 Douglas Walsh vs. The Right Honorable James Latham Cylde M.P.C case, Franz declined to translate a verse from English back into Hebrew. There is a very strong tendency on the part of observers and critics of JW's to read more into that refusal than is justified.

  • daniel-p

    While I was at Bethel I developed a deep desire to study Ancient Greek. I wanted to truly LEARN something, as opposed to simple ingestion of the FDS's "prepared dishes of spiritual food."

    I knew there were a few at Bethel who had studied Ancient Greek, and I wanted to connect with someone and see if they might be willing to tutor me a little bit. Asking around, however, revealed that 99% of the people looked at me, or the person I was trying to contact, with either derision or suspicion, thinking I was unqualified to even embark on such a task, that I was inherently lacking faith that the WT scholars knew the languages themselves, or that I was being presumptuous.

    I never connected with any other amateur scholars, although knowing of a few, but began doing my own research. One brother in my department gave me a book he had been given by a worldly relative, an intro to ancient Greek, that I began studying on my own. Every morning I would read the daily text scriptures through the Interlinear, writing down Greek words I didn't know in a ledger, then studying those words with Liddel and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (which I still have) and other study aids later in my room.

    I really enjoyed my studies, and it made everything else so much enjoyable, since it finally gave some depth to my studies past merely underlining statements written by the WTS. It was also helping me to be more content at Bethel, since I had something to myself, of my own, that I could submerge myself in intellectually.

    The most telling thing is that, even as a Bethelite, I knew it was something that I couldn't just share indiscriminantly, that it could be misconstrued as a lack of faith in the FDS if I shared what I was learning and expounded on scripture beyond that which was sanctioned. And yet, intellectually, spiritually, that was what I longed to do. To make it my OWN.

    This was the closest I ever got to having a personal relationship with God. But like all good things, that came to an end later, its demise helped along by being forced out of Bethel after achieving the dream of living there and trying to become a "man of God."

    Sometimes I feel like I should have been born a Catholic, or some other more traditional religion, one in which personal investigation into theological matters is not discouraged.

  • Dixie

    This is such a contrast to the churches that I have attended where the pastors actually encourage you to study biblical Greek & Hebrew. The languages that the bible was written in are so much more descriptive than the English language so a bible scholar (or really any Christian) is really missing out by not studying those languages. I took a class in biblical Hebrew and I found it to be absolutely fascinating and it really enhanced my understanding of certain scriptures.

    I think the WT discourages JWs from studying those languages because anyone with a true understanding of biblical Greek & Hebrew would see right through the NWTs inferior & misleading translation. I challenged my mother once about why JWs don't study those languages and she actually said "we don't need to because those guys at Bethel are pretty smart and they translate the scriptures better than we could."

  • daniel-p

    BAHH bahh

  • quietlyleaving

    well I've taken the plunge and signed up for the course I linked in on page 1.

    My tutor used the greek word χαιρε (khaire) to say welcome. To me this word seemed very close to χαριν, kharin/kharis or charis translated as grace but as underserved kindness by the wts. The greek words have the same root apparently (according to a tel discussion with my tutor). Also the word eucharist stems from the same root.

    I don't see any common ground between undeserved kindness and saying welcome, rejoice, grace

    edit: in fact undeserved kindness seems to convey an opposite meaning

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