Where to go for the 'Deep Things'?
As someone who has been out a while, I wondered what publications a JW would turn to now if they want to do serious bible research. Are there any meaty JW publications left?
I haven't heard of the Insight books being revised. These used to be the only bible encyclopedic resources, yet parts of them must be very out of date now.
I know books like the Revelation book are no longer published - do people still access these using the DVD's - there hasn't been anything to supersede the Revelation book, so are these kind of meatier books still used and referred to?
As I understand, the Christian Life and Ministry meeting has the appropriate watchtower references available to print out so so need for additional study seems to be expected.
Almost everything is getting 'simplified'. Now, from next year The Watchtower study articles are becoming 'simplified'. I do not know how different the current Watchtower study articles are from the simplified editions - they are pretty simplified as it is - if they simplify them more surely these can no longer serve as research tools.
I imagine at the moment older publications are required to bolster up the flimsiness of new publications but if these more substantial works are not replaced with something of similar quality, as they are designated old light and pulled, it doesn't seem like there will be anywhere to go for 'deep things' anymore.
It is very hard not to see similarities with 1984 and the refinement of 'Newspeak':
'How is the Dictionary getting on?' said Winston, raising his voice to overcome the noise.
'Slowly,' said Syme. 'I'm on the adjectives. It's fascinating.'
He had brightened up immediately at the mention of Newspeak. He pushed his pannikin aside, took up his hunk of bread in one delicate hand and his cheese in the other, and leaned across the table so as to be able to speak without shouting.
'The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition,' he said. 'We're getting the language into its final shape -- the shape it's going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we've finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We're destroying words -- scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We're cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won't contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050.'
He bit hungrily into his bread and swallowed a couple of mouthfuls, then continued speaking, with a sort of pedant's passion. His thin dark face had become animated, his eyes had lost their mocking expression and grown almost dreamy.
'It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn't only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take "good", for instance. If you have a word like "good", what need is there for a word like "bad"? "Ungood" will do just as well -- better, because it's an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of "good", what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like "excellent" and "splendid" and all the rest of them? "Plusgood" covers the meaning, or "doubleplusgood" if you want something stronger still. Of course we use those forms already. but in the final version of Newspeak there'll be nothing else. In the end the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words -- in reality, only one word. Don't you see the beauty of that, Winston? It was B.B.'s idea originally, of course,' he added as an afterthought.
A sort of vapid eagerness flitted across Winston's face at the mention of Big Brother. Nevertheless Syme immediately detected a certain lack of enthusiasm.
'You haven't a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston,' he said almost sadly. 'Even when you write it you're still thinking in Oldspeak. I've read some of those pieces that you write in The Times occasionally. They're good enough, but they're translations. In your heart you'd prefer to stick to Oldspeak, with all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning. You don't grasp the beauty of the destruction of words. Do you know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year?'
Winston did know that, of course. He smiled, sympathetically he hoped, not trusting himself to speak. Syme bit off another fragment of the dark-coloured bread, chewed it briefly, and went on:
'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we're not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,' he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. 'Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?'
I doubt there is much hunger in JW organization for the deeper things.
I've heard that the main reaction from the rank and file regarding the simplification and cutting back on the amount of content in the literature is one of relief along the lines of, "At last I'll be able to keep up with the reading."
That sort of attitude reflects an organization in which deepening one's knowledge and reasoning are no longer valued. And the absence of "protest" strongly suggests those who remain are not that interested in reading and research.
Keep them stupid is the name of the game now.
Used to really enjoy the 'deeper things ' of books of yesteryear....somehow made more sense in those early years.... Naievete..
As the orgs ability to give a satisfactory accounting of their beliefs has reduced, their level of control has had to increase to compensate.
If you ask 'why' now you don't get a full and comprehensive explanation, you get a simple answer you are required to accept or else you get threatened with a proverbial baseball bat.
Thanks Cobweb for posting that selection of 1984. I've read Animal Farm but haven't been inclined to read 1984.
Having grown up in the WT, I've been dragged to assemblies all my life. They used to have hours of talks, discussing Revelation, the Trinity, what will happen in the future - all with countless scriptures to be looked up.
10 (?) years ago or so, they started doing 2 day assemblies that revolved around, God Loves you, Don't beat yourself up over Past Sins - not a lot of meat, but some kind of feel good stuff. I felt relieved in a way but not really. I noticed that the amount of scripture references had gone down.
Strangely tho, about that time or a little later, the WT we studied, become grandiose in vocabulary. There was a proliferation of words that many had to look up in the dictionary. (if they even had time to) This didn't go without notice and some complained about it, while others, incorporated them into their comments. Even going as far as to add several more into their answers so that 4 or 5 large words were the main construct of a sentence. One brother continued to do that in all the meetings, making people laugh after his comments and shake their heads. I thought at the time "Jesus would never talk like this to people"
Nowdays, people are "happified" or should I say "Stultified?"
I do think JW's are happy that there is less to read and think about. They've already heard the GB Stewardesses instructions on how to safely fly into the new order a few hundred thousand times. They are good to go so why worry about the small details.
So simple minded is the JW org that it imagines that by reading their propaganda this amounts to "research". There is no research possible within the JW org just "beliefs" and obedience.
If you want some honest research, try Professor Thomas L Thompson's books. He mainly considers the OT not from wrangling a meaning from the Bible but by looking at the sociological context in which the Bible writers lived using archaeology, and contemporary text and stone inscriptions to identify the prevailing ideas at the historical time of writing.
Professor Thompson is uncompromising when it comes to evidence however painful the consequences. His PhD dissertation was refused by his adjudicator, later to become Pope Ratzinger, because his research denied the authenticity of Catholic doctrine.
The insight books were very lightly 'revised' a few years back, nothing major, just getting rid of 'old understandings'. Not available in hard copy anymore. Like has been said, the move is towards 'simplification', or as we call it here: dumbing down. Right now the closest thing to a revised version of the Insight books is the glossary in the back of the RNWT. Instead of the Watchtower Publications Index, now we have the magazine sized kindergarten level Study Guide. There's the Greek Interlinear, King James, etc. versions on the app, but these are just used as digital 'trophy' Bibles, not used seriously by anyone (unless they're waking up).
Are there any meaty JW publications left?
There never were. They were bloated BS, now they are lean BS. Still BS.