The Bible Unauthorized
Two common misconceptions about the Bible are both amazing and disastrous. First, that the Bible can be understood by reading a literal translation. Second, that the commonly translated Bible is accurate. Most critics and defenders of the Bible refer to literal translations of the Hebrew; these translations have little to do with what the Bible truly means.
Bible translators took great care to make their versions beautiful in language, imitating as best they could the form of the original Hebrew. One of the very first translators, Jerome, openly stated, “So great is the force of established usage, that even acknowledged corruptions please the greater part, for they prefer to have their copies pretty, rather than correct.”
Even if Bible translators made an effort to produce a translation that accurately reflects its true meaning, they would still encounter innumerable obstacles. For example, the original text of the Bible is written without vowels; only consonants are used. Each word can be read and made to mean almost anything, depending on the vowels one introduces. The first verse in chapter two of Genesis reads: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished.” It can also be read as: “Thus the heavens and the earth were destroyed.”
Truly, no more effective mode of securing the degradation of the Bible could have been found than by literally translating its language. This has resulted in giving the world a beautiful but soulless Bible. Instead of studying the Bible that G-d inspired, the world has a fallible, translated book that contains meaningless phrases and discrepancies meriting much of the criticism it receives.
One of the most powerful supports to the claim that G-d authored the Bible is the inimitable craft of its composition. Each word contains, or might be used for, a number of different meanings. As air is created for breathing, for flying, for carrying sound, and for other purposes known and unknown, so too was the Bible composed for many purposes. A section may be read as a fairy tale for children, yet contain true history, a deep moral lesson, natural science, a Divine secret of Creation, a prophecy of the future and innumerable other great truths.
All of this is made possible by the most artful, complicated and subtle methods of composition. One cannot make a Biblical passage express a false thought or an illicit idea. The original language and composition give the Biblical text a wide scope of conception, while also protecting it against false interpretations and conclusions. When a Biblical passage is translated irresponsibly, the whole passage becomes incoherent, like a crossword puzzle with a wrongly spelled word in its construction.
That is why Jews have never spoken of reading the Bible, only of studying—it cannot be understood through mere reading. Its secrets are hidden in the combinations of the Hebrew words of each phrase. It must be pursued in its true form to approach its mysteries.
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