From my diary

It is day 14 of my house move, but I am still busy moving the accumulation of 24 years.  Most of my books are still at the old house, and 5 big book cases that I made when I was young.  I was busy removing books from the shelves yesterday.  Today my back has informed me that I won’t be doing any more of that for a while!   But I have bowed to the inevitable and asked a firm to quote for packing and moving everything still left in the house.  Nor will that be the end of the matter, since the old house must then be readied for letting, with various necessary works.  So my time is  more than fully occupied.

Looking through the books, pulling off the shelves and into bags, is an interesting process.  Do I still need this book?  Or this one?  The 14 volumes of the Wheel of Time novels – will I ever reread these?  What about this three-volume history of the Church of England?  I doubt that I will ever read the Three Musketeers again – but that copy came from my grandmother.  I never read any C. S. Lewis these days – his work has entered into my soul forever – but those little yellow paperbacks I bought at university from my slender grant money.  How can I let those go?  Will I return to Arabic Christian studies?  If not, do I need that five-volume copy of Graf, obtained at some cost and labour?

The question of what to do with the books is one that confronts every reading man on his retirement.  Doubtless I shall keep too many, and, when I die, my executor will call a house-clearance company and they will go off to a charity shop.

Yet I don’t really want to get rid of books.  I just wish they could vanish into some null-space area until called for, rather than occupying floor and wall space.  If Doctor Who ever decides to monetise his Tardis, I guarantee that a few of us will be very interested in this “larger on the inside” technology!

In a way, Kindle allows us to do that.  I have a library of novels on my smartphone, so I do not need to have them in physical form.

But I don’t really like Kindle.  Legally you don’t own your e-books.  Amazon take the high-handed stance that, on your death, you can’t bequeath them.  So really you just have a lease.  In fact I don’t trust our tech corporations one bit.  They could delete the book.  They could “suspend” access, as a means of political control.  This may sound paranoid, but I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more.

Even worse, electronic materials can be altered silently.  What if I go to read a book and find that it has been bowdlerised, not of obscenity but of truth?

Only yesterday I came across an example, when I consulted the NRSV of 1 Cor. 6:9-10 on the mighty Bible Gateway website and found that it had changed.  The text did not read as I remembered.

On investigation, I found that it really had changed. The NRSV is not public property, as bible translations should be.  It is owned by some group of decaying churches who have decided to remove the biblical condemnation of a certain vice.  And so it has come to pass!  The text is changed, a cynical footnote, “Meaning of Gk uncertain” is added, and that is that.  The bible websites have already been updated.  No-one can see what the old text was.  No doubt the other versions will be altered also, to conform.  Oldies will marvel, but young folk will not know that it ever said anything different.

The “KJV-only” cranks always claimed that the modern versions were deliberately corrupted.  It is sobering to see a text-book example, proving them right.

The next question that springs to mind is even worse. Is this just the start, or is this rather the endpoint of a long process of deliberate interference?

How far back does this go?  For some years Bible versions have been translating “ἀδελφοί” as “brothers and sisters” instead of brethren.  We’ve been lectured how this is an improvement.  This is not translation, but paraphrase, of course.  But now that we know for certain that bible translators are making changes to the bible text purely because they don’t like what it says, why would we believe them?

How far back does this really go?  All the modern versions prefer to render “αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον” as “divisive person”, faithfully reflecting the liberal and ecumenical movement of the twentieth century, where the KJV renders it plainly as “heretic”.

I was rather dubious about the need for the ESV.  But how right they were, to establish the new version at that time, before the pressure was on.

Now if this can be done to the bible, it can be done to any book.  If all we have is kindle, then will we even know when things change?

Sobering stuff.

Meanwhile summer has arrived here with a vengeance, and we’ve just passed through some exceedingly hot days.  Luckily my mobile air-conditioning unit was one of the things that I brought over first!  But it’s like flying to the middle east – the first couple of days is just too hot to do much.  Let us lie back and enjoy it!


24 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. Good of you to point out that purposeful mistranslation of the NRSV committee in 1 Corinthians. They did the same thing in Exodus 21:22, rendering a passage that says literally ‘her child is born’ to ‘miscarriage’ so as to make it seem like abortion is allowed in the Bible.

  2. In re ownership of Kindle books: (1) download all of your Kindle books to a computer (2) look on your hard drive for where those files are stored (on the Mac its “My Kindle Conrtent” (3) Copy those files somewhere else (4) Download the Calibre app (5) Use the Calibre app to convert them to MOBI or EPUB form.

    Yeah, it’s a lot of work, but for the amount of money I’ve got invested in those books, I’m willing to do it.

  3. Nothing like translators deceiving people in a passage about not letting oneself be deceived. Sigh.

  4. Having completed the third year (of five) of my university’s early retirement program (teaching one semester per year), I struggle with the inevitability of leaving my office and removing all those books. A planned move to another city doesn’t help the issue. Should I sell them all to students and young scholars? Will they treasure them and use them as I have? I do not want to leave this to my children, but I do hate to part with my library. I never anticipated this eventuality.

  5. It is a very hard decision. But if you will never use them again, why carry them with you? On the other hand … my life is in those books.

    I would get a couple of quotes for professional moving. That’s one option. Once you know that, then you can make more decisions.

  6. How right you are! I could have written myself your words. I am 74 and have the same problems with my library. So many treasures that no public library accepts as a gift and no second-hand dealer will buy. Terribile.

  7. Horrible problem. Specialist academic book dealers will buy these things, although not for much. I sold all my Sources Chretiennes to a dealer in Oxford.

  8. That footnote for the homosexual versions in the new version that reads “Greek uncertain”: the Greek is literally “male-bedding-men”. Definitely not any sort of obscure term by any means. (As much as I dislike the NIV, they actually have both of those words correct, and their footnotes are accurate.)

    I think transliterating “heretic” gives the wrong idea of what the Greek is getting across in ““αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον”. “Heretic” today, at least, in the minds of people, gives the idea of someone teaching falsely. In Greek, the idea is someone who is creating a “sect” and is force an individual to make a decision between one or the other. It’s usually in a bad connotation, but not restricted to negative usage. So, the translation “sectarian human” would probably get it across.

    But the translation of ἀδελφοί to “brothers and sisters” is ridiculous. Many times when they use “brother” the phrase literally in Greek is translated “men, brothers”, making it clear that only men are meant. Most of the time these letters were written from men to men who were leaders of the assemblies. Even if “sisters” might be implied in a few cases or they might be passive removed listeners, it’s no different than us being able to apply rebukes to the assemblies at the start of revelation. But we wouldn’t revise the text to be to the church of “Ephesians, Corinthians, London, New York” etc just because the rebuke could carry over to someone else.

    I’m glad I took great pains to learn the language myself. Then you know where the KJV and any modern translation is wrong.


  9. Sorry, for some reason Akismet marked that as spam.

    I agree entirely. I do download my kindle stuff to PC, and I have used Calibre. I just haven’t been through the process for them all.

  10. I have discovered one aan line a wall with bookshelves floor to ceiling and stick the sofas and whatnot in front. Shift when needed to access. Best quality wall paper.

  11. This is why, when I can, I always buy a hard copy of an ebook I enjoyed. Ebooks are easy to grab, but if I want the book to remain in reach unchanged, I buy the hard copy. Kindle is convenient – it is not forever.

    My library is meant to last my lifetime, if I can help it.

  12. To Daniel R. Jennings:

    I would like to challenge your understanding of the Greek word “Porneia”. Because the Greek word is clearly not limited pre-martial sex, but can easily be proven to include sexual activity while the individual is married. I am a Greek translator, and I wrote this myself:

    The first Greek word to be dealt with is “PORNEIA”, which in the King James Version is usually translated to “fornication”, while modern translations usually translate to something like “immorality” or “sexual- immorality” (though some others translate to “whoredom” or “unchastity”, etc).
    Now this word PORNEIA is where the modern English word “pornography” is derived from. PORNEIA, according to all of the Greek scholars means every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, whether it be fornication, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, (and would even include adultery according to some, but not all Greek lexicons); any sexual sin, whether before, during, or after marriage. Here are how all of the Greek Lexicons and Dictionaries available to me translate this word (and I am not aware of any which translate the word any differently):

    · “illicit sexual intercourse,” including “adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, intercourse with close relatives, etc.” (Strong’s)
    · generally, of every kind of extramarital, unlawful, or unnatural sexual intercourse fornication, sexual immorality, prostitution (Friberg: Analytical Greek Lexicon)
    · unchastity, prostitution, fornication, of various kinds of unlawful sexual intercourse (Gingrich: Greek NT Lexicon)
    · sexual immorality, fornication, unchastity (Danker, Greek NT Lexicon)
    · fornication, prostitution (Middle Liddell)
    · prostitution (of a man), fornication, unchastity (LSJ)

    A slightly different form of the Greek word (PORNEUO), is a noun. It is usually translated to “harlot” or “whore”, but more specifically is someone who practices PORNEIA (“a woman who practices sexual immorality”).
    PORNEIA is a much broader term than ADULTERY, including an unlawful sexual relationship with anyone, be it man or animal, and includes adultery as merely one of the possible sexual sins. But ADULTERY (as defined in a section above) refers specifically to a man who has had relations with a woman who is already married to someone else (and does not include polygamy — a man with more than one woman).
    The Greek word PORNEIA usually translates the Hebrew ZANAH, which, according to the Strong’s and other Hebrew Lexicons has the same meaning as the Greek PORNEIA. (Likewise, both the Greek and Hebrew word for ‘adultery’ both mean the same as well.) (See Jeremiah 3:1, Amos 7:17).
    The full definition of PORNEIA in the eyes of God may be summed up in Leviticus Chapter 18, which would include, “incest (your mother; your step-mother; your sister; your step-sister; your son’s daughter; your daughter’s daughter; your step-daughter; your aunt, either side of family; your father’s brother’s wife; your daughter-in-law; your brother’s wife; with a woman and also with her daughter, nor shall you marry and have intercourse with her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; while your wife is still living, her sister), a women unclean from menstruation, your neighbor’s wife, homosexuality, bestiality, etc. In the Mosaic law, the penalty for most of these acts was death (see Leviticus 20:10~16,19~21 for the penalties; also Acts 15, 1 Corinthians 5 for evidence that these immoral acts were still condemned under the New Covenant).

    Then Balaam set out on his journey home; and Balak also went his way. While Israel was living at Shittim, the people degraded themselves by committing sexual-immorality (Hebrew “ZANAH”) with the Moabite women. These then invited the people to the sacrifices of their god, and the people ate of the sacrifices and worshiped their god.
    When Israel submitted in this way to the rites of Baal of Peor, Yahweh’s anger flared up against Israel, and he said to Moses, “Gather all the leaders of the people, and hold a public execution of the guilty ones before Yahweh, that his blazing wrath may be turned away from Israel.”
    So Moses told the Israelite judges, “Each of you shall kill those of his men who have submitted to the rites of Baal of Peor.”
    Yet a certain Israelite came and brought in a Midianite woman to his clansmen in the view of Moses and of the whole Israelite community, while they were weeping at the entrance of the meeting tent. When Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, and taking a lance in hand, followed the Israelite into his retreat where he pierced the pair of them, the Israelite and the woman. Thus the slaughter of Israelites was checked; but only after 24,000 had died.

    It would be absurd to suppose that all of these thousands Israelites in Numbers 25:1+, who committed sin with the daughters of Moab, only committed sin with unmarried women. And when Paul refers to this event, he says:

    Let us not indulge in sexual-immorality as some of them did, and 23,000 fell within a single day.
    (1 Corinthians 10:8)

    Now when Paul states this in his letter, is he only referring to unmarried Corinthians? I think not.
    Again, in Revelation, the Christ himself refers to the same instance when he rebukes the Pergamum assembly:

    Instead, I have a few things against you, because you have some there who are grasping the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling-block in front of the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual-immorality. (Revelation 2:14)

    Now, coming to another example. In Hosea, after he has taken Gomer for his own wife, we read:

    The beginning of the word of Yahweh by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a woman of sexual-immorality, and children of sexual-immorality: for the land will surely indulge in sexual-immorality in departing from the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer, daughter of Debelaim; and she conceived, and bore him a son. And she conceived again, and bore a daughter. And he said to him, “Call her name, Unpitied: for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, but will surely set myself in array against them.” (Hosea 1:2~3,6)

    Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my woman, and I am not her man: and I will remove her sexual-immorality out of my presence, and her adultery from between her breasts (Hosea 2:2)

    Yes, their mother [Gomer] has committed sexual-immorality (Hebrew “ZANAH”); she who conceived them has acted shamefully. “I will go after my lovers,” she said, “who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.” I will have no pity on her children, for they are the children of sexual-immorality.
    (Hosea 2:5)

    This clearly shows that sexual-immorality (PORNEIA) is not limited to premarital relationships, but includes adultery, since this sin of sexual-immorality happened to Hosea while she was married to him.
    Now in the following passage, God, who was married to both Israel and Judah at the same time, had SENT Israel AWAY from him because she committed sexual-immorality and issued her a BILL OF DIVORCE. But Judah was not frightened because of this, and she also did the same:

    …that for all the adulteries rebellious Israel had committed, I SENT her AWAY from me and gave her a BILL OF DIVORCE, nevertheless her traitor sister Judah was not frightened; she too went off and committed sexual-immorality. (Jeremiah 3:8)

    Therefore, it can clearly be seen, that sexual-immorality (PORNEIA) includes sexual sin which occurs while one individual is currently married.
    Now this can also clearly be demonstrated in the early Christian writing known as the Shepherd of Hermas. (I merely cite this writing as an example of the use of the word, not based on its authority, although many members of the first few centuries of the church considered it to be a holy writing equal to the rest of the holy writings). Now in this scene, Hermas already is married to a woman, and a heavenly messenger is instructing him.

    He [the messenger] declared to Hermas, “I instruct you to guard your purity. And do not let it ascend upon your heart to think about another man’s woman, nor about sexual-immorality, nor about any similar wicked things. For if you do, you are working a great sin. While you are always remembering your own woman, you will never fall into sin. (Hermas 29:1)

    Since Hermas is presently married, it shows that sexual-immorality (PORNEIA) may be committed by a married man, and it not limited to premarital sex.
    And again in the Shepherd of Hermas:

    “Lord,” I declared, “if a man might be having a woman who is faithful in the Lord and he should find her in some adultery, is he then sinning if he continues to live with her?”
    “As long as he remains in his ignorance, he is not sinning,” he declared. “But if her man should come-to-know about the sin, and the woman may not change-her-mind, but instead might be persisting in her sexual-immorality and yet the man should continue to be living with her, he becomes liable for himself of her sin, and a companion to her adultery.” (Hermas 29:5)

    Here, it is plainly obvious that sexual-immorality (PORNEIA) would include adultery, since the woman is committing both the adultery and the sexual-immorality while she is currently married to a man and they seem to be part of the same instance.
    Another example includes Paul’s writing to the Corinthians assembly:

    Sexual-immorality is actually being heard of being committed among you, and sexual-immorality of such a kind which is not even among the nations, so that a certain man is having a woman of his father. (1 Corinthians 5:1)

    Here, Paul gives an illustration within a marriage. So this word cannot be limited to premarital sexual activity, and cannot be forced to exclude the meaning of adultery. This word includes every kind of unlawful sexual activity, including adultery. Therefore, PORNEIA will be translated to ‘sexual-immorality’ in every occurrence.
    Here is a list of every passage that uses either ZANAH (Hebrew Old Testament) or PORNEIA (Greek Old Testament/New Testament):

    Genesis 34:31, 38:15,21,22,24
    Exodus 34:15~16
    Leviticus 17:7, 19:29, 20:5,6,21:7,14
    Numbers 14:33, 15:39, 25:1
    Deuteronomy 22:21, 23:3, 23:18, 31:16
    Joshua 2:1, 6:17, 6:22,23,25
    Judges 2:17, 8:27,33, 11:1, 16:1, 19:2
    1 Kings 3:16, 12:24, 20:19, 22:38 / 2 Kings 9:22
    2 Chronicles 21:11,13
    Tobit 4:12, 8:7
    Psalm 73:27, 106:39
    Proverbs 5:3, 6:26, 7:10, 23:27, 29:3
    Wisdom 14:12
    Sirach 9:6, 19:2, 23:17,23, 26:9, 41:17, 46:11
    Enoch 8:2, 10:9
    Isaiah 1:21, 23:15~17, 47:10, 57:3,9
    Jeremiah 2:20, 3:1~3,6,8,9, 5:7, 13:27
    Letter of Jeremiah 1:9
    Ezekiel 6:9,16:15~17,20,22,24~26,28,30,31,33~36,41, 20:30, 23:3,5,7,8,11,14,17~19,27,29,30,35,43, 44, 43:7,9
    Hosea 1:2, 2:2,4~6, 4:10~15,18, 5:3~4, 6:10, 9:1
    Joel 3:3
    Amos 7:17
    Micah 1:7
    Nahum 3:4
    Matthew 5:32, 15:19, 19:9
    Mark 7:21
    Luke 15:30
    John 8:41
    Acts 15:20,29, 21:25
    1 Corinthians 5:1,9~11, 6:13,15,16,18, 7:2, 10:8
    2 Corinthians 12:21
    Galatians 5:19
    Ephesians 5:3,5
    Colossians 3:5
    1 Thessalonians 4:3
    1 Timothy 1:10
    Hebrews 11:31, 12:16, 13:4
    James 2:25
    Jude 1:7
    Revelation 2:14,20,21, 9:21, 14:8, 17:1,2,4,5,15,16, 18:3,9, 19:2, 21:9, 22:15
    Barnabas 19:4
    Clement 12:1
    Hermas 29:1,5, 38:3

  13. I know from experience that it can be hard to clean out old books. Whenever you look at one, it seems like something you just need to have – lol.

  14. The way I do it is to have an “out pile”. If I read a book and know that I shall never want to read it again, it goes on the pile. Sometimes I browse the pile and pull a book out. But if it’s still there after 6 months, or a year, or whenever the mood takes me, then off to charity shop it goes.

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