Why does the Watchtower leadership slap its own defenders in the face?

by slimboyfat 63 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • slimboyfat

    Thank you Paul for the link. I was aware of Jonsson's response but hadn't got round to reading it yet. It may well have the answer to the extent of Furuli's cooperation with the writing department on the chronology issue at least, so that's really useful. And thank you very much for responding to my email, I know you must be very busy. All the work that's gone into your excellent website is very much appreciated. I use it often for reference on all sorts of things from statistics to finding Moyle's letter. Surely the Watchtower will drop 1914 at some point. As you say it would be really interesting to see how Furuli responds. On this thread there was also mention of who comprised the new NWT translation committee. Do you know of any confirmatory evidence Jackson was involved?

    Yes wonderment it's true the revised NWT departs from the old version in lots of significant ways, the handling of Hebrew verbs is just one. Consistency in translating words like soul is another you mention. Another is the abandonment of awkward words and phrases like "time indefinite" and "impale" for crucify that Furuli and others have also wasted a lot of ink defending over the years. Sorry for earlier misunderstanding that you were making an additional point rather than disagreeing as such.

    Thanks TD for pointing out those examples. Furuli really did display quite an obnoxious attitude. Somehow I didn't appreciate that at the time, because I had more sympathy for his position, I suppose, and I thought Muramoto must simply be an apostate pretending to be an impartial academic.

    Thank you vidqun for more information on the reception to Furuli's work. Cook makes a good point that the examples Furuli cites could simply be exceptions to the conventional view rather than a reason for overturning the conventional understanding altogether. Either way, when Franz decided to handle Hebrew verbs the way he did I very much doubt his reasoning or justification was any near as developed or sophisticated as demonstrated in the exchange between Furuli and Cook.

  • TheOldHippie
    I wonder what Jason BeDuhn would have to say on the Greek text, considering his praise for the NWT in "Truth in Translation".
  • slimboyfat

    I don't think any of the passages BeDuhn examined in his book have been changed significantly. He focused mainly and rather narrowly on Christological texts, so his evaluation probably remains the same. It's JW defenders who went above and beyond the call of duty to defend all peculiar aspects of the NWT who came a bit unstuck when the 2013 revision removed many of these.

    The "impale" issue is a bit of a touchstone I reckon. The word simply doesn't mean what the old NWT used it to mean, any reasonable person could see that, and the 2013 revision duly got rid of it. Those JWs who defended it all these years, on some really tortured use of dictionaries definitions, just look a bit silly now. Even Furuli defended "impale" in a footnote, which surprises me a bit.

    TD do you know if anyone from the Watchtower leadership actually contacted Furuli and told him to desist because he was being unhelpful?

  • jwfacts
    On this thread there was also mention of who comprised the new NWT translation committee. Do you know of any confirmatory evidence Jackson was involved?

    I have not received any confirmation that Jackson was involved, but I agree with your comment that he was mostly likely involved, and actively so. Jackson worked in Watchtower translation for decades and made a name for himself by releasing the first Tuvaluan dictionary. He was called to New York in 2003 to do translation work, and now is involved with the writing, teaching and personnel committees. As one of the most experienced translators Watchtower has, it follows he would have been key to the project.

    Considering the time involved in releasing a new edition of a Bible translation, I wonder if by 2003 plans were already in place for a new edition, and he was called to New York with a view to being involved with the translation, or alternatively if it was Jackson himself that suggested it after arriving in New York.

    Hopefully there are members on this board that were at Bethel at the time with further insight into the NWT translation committee.

  • done4good

    WT is an authoritarian system. Academics are anathema to authoritarianism.

    Fred Franz was a pseudo-academic, however was also one of the organization's authoritarian leaders. When he died, no one filled that vacuum, and the organization lost the ability to counter any academic arguments made against their theology. Authoritarian leaders don't accept being challenged, and also don't accept outside "help" from those whom they fear are more intelligent/better educated than they are. They are well aware that at some point these strong supporters could turn on them, once enough academic "digging" is performed.

    This is not difficult to understand. If someone performs enough research, it is not difficult at all to not only disprove JW theology, but also see that the origins of Christianity, Judaism, etc., all evolved from polytheistic, pagan religious systems. The WT leaders know this. Authoritarian leaders are propagandists, not interested in truth or the pursuit of it at all. Furuli may/may not be a true academic in the pursuit of fact finding, (he may be little more than just another self-proclaimed "expert", looking to have his ego stroked), but either way, he presents risk to an organization dependent on its authoritarian structure, simply because he is an outsider, and an educated one.


  • OneGenTwoGroups

    I've appreciated reading through this scholarly thread. Nice to see specifics on the Hebrew translating efforts of the WT darling Fred Franz. He had the time (single, really single) and the ability, so he did a lot of work.

    But, as I was waking up from the cult, the point Simon made hit me between the eyes.

    The following doesn't matter:

    • What an ancient Hebrew extant says
    • What a Hebrew scholar says
    • What the NWT nor the rNWT says
    • What an old Watchtower says

    The only thing that matters is that seven hands go up on Wednesday morning around the GB table and vote unanimously on a piece of "new light". That procedure trumps EVERYTHING and EVERYONE, yesterday and today.

  • Phizzy

    Maybe the WT/JW leadership have been unknowingly wise in not acknowledging Furuli openly.

    They seem to have used his arguments without referencing him, regarding 607 BCE.

    He is obviously an arrogant arse. He also makes a habit of wading in on areas in which he has no Academic expertise, like Blood Transfusions, and I remember him having much to say on Babylonian astronomical tablets, when this field is not his either.

  • BluesBrother

    Fascinating 'old fashioned ' thread ,showing that we can still have an intelligent debate.

    Of the original NWT ,according to Furuli,

    Some of these renditions may seem to have unnecessarily many words, but in a study edition they represent the best way to convey the Hebrew verbal force into English."

    The revision,though, sacrifices this for "enhanced readability" . Do you recall G JAckson before the Aus. Commission, he said his primary concern on the Writing Committee was "Is it easily translatable" . They have multiple translation centres staffed by non academic dubs ...it has to be easy.

    They like to paint "the world" as being ill-educated and lacking comprehension of deeper things but it is not us..it is them!

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Slimboyfat, I cannot find sources for Fred Franz's Jewish scholar friend. I think I trawled it up recalling an assembly speech by him (approximately two centuries ago) where he mentioned his friend...as I recall, in warmly appreciative terms with me noting at the time the incongruity of him having a close worldly associate.

    I also remember looking at the material which Fencing mentions where Furuli and others gave a numerical value to the accuracy of the astronomical evidence for 607BCE. This needs re-visiting and clarifying.

  • Wonderment


    Not sure if this helps about your inquiry of Fre Franz and his Jewish friend:

    Barbara Anderson, a former member of JWs who worked for ten years at the WT Brooklyn Headquarters, and became a Writing Staff member, recalls that Fred Franz had a very close friend with a heavy Jewish accent, Barry Horowitz, who was knowledgeable in the Hebrew language. Anderson wrote: “This man was the ‘expert’ Franz went to when he needed help to explain, translate, or interpret the Hebrew language for many of the complicated interpretive books which Franz, the ‘oracle,’ wrote for the organization.” (26 December 2008)

    Also, Vidqun wrote to you:

    "A while back I read a piece by Barbara of Silent Lambs fame, reporting that she had asked a Jewish colleague (involved with the Society’s translation work in Israel) whether Franz’s Hebrew was up to standard. The woman confirmed that his Hebrew was accurate, and that she had high praise for the man."

    This account is very similar to the one statement of Ray Franz. So I wonder if Vidqun's account is referring to the same incident." Vidqun, are you listening? Could you answer this one for us?

    "While working on the Watch Tower’s Bible dictionary Aid to Bible Understanding, on more than one occasion I had to seek out his assistance [Fred's] with reference to Hebrew renderings. He was always able to supply the needed information. In 1971, on a trip to Israel, we visited the Watch Tower’s branch office located in Haifa. A member of the staff there, Dalia Erez, a young Jewish woman, native to the country, did Hebrew translation of the organization’s publications. She spent part of one day discussing with Fred Franz certain translation problems she was experiencing and received his assistance and recommendations. She clearly found his knowledge of Hebrew solid."

Share this