Compilation of the bible and the NWT translation source.

by trailerfitter 26 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • trailerfitter

    Hi,, I have a curious question about when the bible was actually compiled. From what I understand it was actually compiled under Emperor Constantines request in the 4th Century AD. This was the Nicene Creed.

    I also am aware that there quite a few books that were considered for inclusion but weren't. Constantine commissioned eventaully 50 bibles to be written in Greek for his churches including the ones he built in Constantinopol. 2 bibles remain from this 50 and one is in the British museum minus a couple of pages.

    Okay, I am hearing from a JW that she is a kin to the 1st Century Christians and she uses the NWT as her only true guide. Was there already a bible in use in the 1st century of just a collection of books loosely used by christians.

    Which Greek Scriptures are the NWT actually translated from? I am trying to undertand a part of history which is really vital to the formation of a book that followers put their absolute faith in even though it was actually edited.......What is the WT teachigs on this matter and what is exactly true?? Is there a contradiction between historians and the JWs??

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    I think you will find that the NWT NT is based on the Greek text of Westcott and Hort, as against, for example, the KJV NT which is based on the Textus Receptus, or the NIV which is based on an eclectic mix of sources.

    I cannot comment on their OT, whether it is based on the OG (=LXX) or on the MT. There are several differences between the Hebrew and Greek, as well as with the versions in the DSS. Most of the NT citations from the Hebrew Scriptures are from the several vesrions of the LXX (even words attributed to Jesus) rather than from the MT.

    I think you will find that Theodotian (381 CE) was more responsible for enforcing the Trinity and for determining Christian orthodoxy. The final list of which writings would be accepted the NT was drawn up by the Trinitarian Athanasius. Unfortunately he made mistakes, because Paul did not author several of the writings attributed to him, such as Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Hebrews, as well as some small parts of Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians.

    For example, whereas Paul says there is neither male nor female and all are one in God's sight, that it would be better that they not marry or have children, and he used women to teach, a mysoginist writing 50 years after Paul died said that women were to be subject to their husbands, and they would be better to be silent and pregnant, and that the leaders had to be married.

    The NT writings that were canonised represent the views of the Paul sector that became the dominant force, under the protection of the Roman emperors.

    If you would like to read some of the history around the formation of the scriptures, which took centuries of deep division, try these for example:

    "Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth", Mack

    "AD 381: Heretics, Pagans and the Christian State", Freeman

    "A New History of Early Christianity", Freeman

    "Jesus Wars", Jenkins

    The 4th and 5th centuries saw murder and mayhem between the Christian factions that leave the Spanish Inquisition in the kindergarten league.

    It is possible to read some of the writings that were not included in the NT by Athanasius:

    "Lost Scriptures", Ehrman

    "The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader", Ehrman


  • Wonderment

    Doug Mason: "I cannot comment on their [NWT] OT, whether it is based on the OG (=LXX) or on the MT."

    The Hebrew portion of the NWT was based on the Codex Leningrad B 19A of the Masoretic Text (R. Kittel's Biblia Hebraica, 1951-55) An update of this work, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 1977 edition was used to prepare the footnote apparatus of the 1984 Reference edition. However, the LXX was consulted as well as numerous other ancient sources in the translation process.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    Thanks for that information. Most interesting.

    The Hebrew Scripture citations used by the NT writers were predominantly from one of the LXX versions, and that included words coming from Jesus. ("Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period", Longnecker)

    Of course we must always be careful that we do not think there was just one version of the LXX.

    I presume therefore that their translation of Jeremiah 25 reflects the MT, rather than the alternate reading of the LXX.


  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep
    Which Greek Scriptures are the NWT actually translated from?

    Which members of the translation committee knew enough 4th century Greek to be able to translate anything more complicated than a restaurant menu?

  • Wonderment

    Black Sheep:

    At least two members of the NWT Committee had some knowledge of Greek, Gangas and Franz. Though some may laugh at their credentials, it should be mentioned, that some scholars have expressed admiration for the NWT scholarly equipment. How could that be if they were not able to translate a restaurant menu? Gangas could easily do that. He was Greek, and spoke Greek and Spanish, besides English.

    Something that is often overlooked, is the fact that the WTS is international in its scope. The WTS produces literature in hundreds of languages. "The Watch Tower Society has produced literature in 537 languages and calls on the services of more than 2,500 volunteers to assist with translation worldwide. In the early 1980's, a team of volunteers developed the world's first multilanguage electronic phototypesetting system [MEPS], which currently has the capacity to process material in 659 languages, using 29 alphabets and character sets." ( )

    One poster here mentioned recently that he knew of someone in Greece who was equally at home with modern and biblical Greek, and whom has been assisting the WTS in the translation department for decades. There may be others. Should we allow then, to be misguided by the Walter Martins, Robert Bowmans, the Manteys and a host of others who live to destroy, and not to build?

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    I don't think it is wise to mention Mantey, given the fact that he wrote to the WTS and demanded a written apology for the way they had misused his work.

    You will see his letter in "The Scholastic Dishonesty of the Watchtower", Michael Buskirk, CARIS


  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    some scholars have expressed admiration for the NWT scholarly equipment.

    Please provide references.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    WT 1950 Oct 15 p 315

    New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures

    9 We acknowledge our debt to all the Bible versions which we have used in attaining to what truth of God’s Word we enjoy today. We do not discourage the use of any of these Bible versions, but shall ourselves go on making suitable use of them. However, during all our years of using these versions down to the latest of them, we have found them defective. In one or another vital respect they are inconsistent or unsatisfactory, infected with religious traditions or worldly philosophy and hence not in harmony with the sacred truths which Jehovah God has restored to his devoted people who call upon his name and seek to serve him with one accord. Especially has this been true in the case of the Christian Greek Scriptures, which throw light and place proper interpretation upon the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. More and more the need has been felt for a translation in modern speech, in harmony with revealed truth, and yet furnishing us the basis for gaining further truth by faithfully presenting the sense of the original writings; a translation just as understandable to modern readers as the original writings of Christ’s disciples were understandable to the simple, plain, common, lowly readers of their day. Jesus reminded us that our heavenly Father knows the needs of his children before they ever ask him. How has he made provision for us in this need which we now keenly feel?

    So there you have it, in their own words, "in harmony with revealed truth" a stated agenda to fit the NWT to Watchtower theology.

    ... and they have had to make changes since that translation that also just happen to fit better with their "revealed truth" (=Watchtower theology)

  • Wonderment

    Doug Mason: I don't think it is wise to mention Mantey, given the fact that he wrote to the WTS and demanded a written apology for the way they had misused his work. You will see his letter in "The Scholastic Dishonesty of the Watchtower", Michael Buskirk, CARIS

    I am not the WT, so I think I have more leeway than them in this forum. Secondly, Mantey should be taken to task just as we do with the WTS. Mantey is a human, with his own preconceptions and biases. He too twisted some facts, or ignored telling the public the full facts of the matter. "Scholastic dishonesty" goes both ways.

Share this