If The Watchtower discourages Greek language study, why did they publish the KIT?

by VM44 37 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • JuanMiguel

    Up until when I left, that is the late 80s/early 90s, I never saw anything published that encouraged getting any type of formal education whatsoever, which is what you would need to learn an ancient language. There was no form of education in Biblical languages beyond the "tibdits" served in articles and the like via the Watcthower Society or if you went to Pioneer/Elder/Missionary School. Not even Franz had enough knowledge to teach it beyond this.

    Because of my family's background and my father having served in the U.S. Airforce, my family and siblings learned several languages while I was growing up--so it is possible to learn a living language this way, I can tell you. But Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic--you have to know both to read the Old Testament-- and you have to really get some help there. And knowing koine Greek is not enough to understand the Christian Scriptures because you have to also know the type of Aramaic of the first century Jews--it was a mishmash with some Hebrew terms mixed in--because there are several sections in the Greek with Aramaic transliterations, not to mention others which depend heavily on understanding the play-on-words of the Jewish culture that the gospels come from to comprehend what was being written in Greek. Nothing like this, as far as I know, has ever been offered or recommended by the Witnesses.

    While they've never outright discouraged it, each place they warn against higher learning is a big X against learning ancient languages formally. You just can't mail away for a course or get it in high school. It won't be enough to run with the big dogs. Some scholars spend their entire lives, from youth onward, devoted to learning just one facet of an ancient Biblical language. Try and catch up with that!

    I doubt there is anywhere in any writings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society that tell Witnesses that they cannot learn the original languages per se ("new light" for me since I've been gone for a very long time). But how will you explain that you've had to enroll as a member of a Baptist or Catholic university and join something like the Catholic American Biblical Association or the United Bible Society so you could gain access to certain texts for hands-on study to the elder body of your local congregation? Believe me, the Jewish Antiquities caretakers aren't just going to release materials on the Dead Sea Scroll to just any Tom, Dick, or Harry that says: "Hi, I'm learning Hebrew. May I please have a look at the Q scroll of Isaiah?" So I don't think truly learning the languages will go over with celebration by the Governing Body once they learn of it.

    A footnote to having the original writings: The theological stand of Christianity--Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant included--is that the revelation from God as contained in Holy Writ includes--not excludes--the editing process.

    For example, if not for the editing process, Genesis as both the Jews and Christians have now would be missing the first chapter and half of the Noachin Flood account, not to mention much more that was added onto this book through the ages.

    The teaching is that the books as finally accepted by their religious communities--in their canonical form--represent inspired revelation as God intended. So the argument that not having the original originals is moot because often, as understood by Judaism and Christians, writers and orators of the narrative sources did not know that they were playing a part in the revelation process that would eventually be considered as God's Word.

    That may not be acceptable to those who don't accept the Bible or God, but that is how they've accepted it for centuries. You can look it up in references such as the Judaic Encyclopedia and the Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church or books like the Zondervan's Bible Handbook and similar books. To Jews and Christians, it is the final product that is the Word of God revealed.

    It is the same for a writer--it is the final draft of a book that represents his true intentions, not his first or second one, or a movie director that makes a final cut or special edition of his film and says: This is the movie I wanted audiences to see the first time around, and this is the one I want them to remember as the definitive version.

  • peacefulpete

    Second: When did the Society discourage the study of biblical languages? Can you give a quote and reference?





    They said something in a KM some time ago but the 2009 WT above just passively discourages it as a waste of time.

    As has been said in other threads however, Knowledge of Greek and Hebrew really isn't needed to identify inconsitancies or indecency in doctrine.

  • TD

    I remember when the 1968 KIT was released. It was a different era entirely and the study of ancient Greek was not frowned upon. The speaker actually suggested that it would be possible to learn Greek from the KIT itself, which is pretty farfetched, but still shows their openess to the idea. For many Witnesses, this was their first real exposure to an interlinear.

    I agree with the idea that the KIT primarily facilitates the "Translate with a dictionary" mentality where religious people take the definition most convenient to their theology and plug it it. But at the same time, the KIT is really much better than the NWT and is free from many of it's quirky renderings.

  • easyreader1970

    The Watchtower published a heap of garbage over the last few decades. Much of what they published had to be taken at face value at the time. There was no internet to speak of back then and a determined researching publisher had to have insane amounts of time and resources at his disposal to determine the validity of what the WBTS printed. For the average person, it would be just undoable.

    You will notice that since the late 90s, they've stopped printing material in books and articles that could be easily refuted or argued against. You will never see books again going on about the ridiculous calculation used to come up with the date 1914 or detailed evidence against evolution. They still fudge and misrepresent quotes in their current material, but they don't print volumes as they used to.

    What is their reasoning for this? It is that they are only seeking "honest-hearted" ones. These are people who can just accept the "Truth" as they print it, not people who are cynical or skeptical. They no longer train or encourage witnesses to engage in debates or arguments against those who are unwilling to believe.

    Anyone now who studies the WBTS Greek translation even on the surface will find glaring problems, blatant mistranslations with no explanation.

  • clarity

    VM44 great post,

    Wow, can't thank you enough for the priceless information on here from everyone.

    JuanMiquel, sure hope you stick around with us on this site!


  • Leolaia

    JuanMiguel, enjoyed your posts!

    Here is my analysis of a recent counsel against the study of biblical languages by JWs:


  • JuanMiguel

    Great info, Leolaia. Lots have changes since I left so many years ago. Great analysis--awesome work!

    Clarity, I'm learning so much from this site right now about what's been going on since I left in the 1980s that just my trying to catch up on it all should me keep me around for some time.

  • Roski

    I have recently been thinking about the writer of the Awake article mentioned here - it made quite an impact on me as a younger and less informed JW. Since learning the truth about the truth I have wondered how this person thought the 'organisation' had the truth. It will be interesting to read his webpage. Thanks for the links.

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