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07/09/2008

Fowler finds one Bible 'fouler' than others

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 3-126A man named Bradley Fowler is suing Christian publisher Zondervan for 60 million buckeroos. Why, you ask? Well, Fowler claims that from 1982-1987, the company's version of some obscure book called the Bible translated one of the passages, 1 Corinthians 6:9, in a way that unfairly presented word "homosexuals" as one of the types of people who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. And he alleges that his pastor used that version of the Bible, which led his family to consider him sinful:

Zondervan faces $60M federal lawsuit over Bible, homosexuality [WOOD-TV]

No word on how Fowler arrived at the 60 million dollar figure. Though we predict he'll claim it has something to do with the Bible company also misrepresenting teachings regarding whether or not greed is a good thing.

**Mr. Fowler has set up two sites to tell his side of the story:

http://bradleyalmighty.tripod.com/
http://authorbrad.tripod.com/

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Your thoughts

I have a question, I had to go to church with my family a couple weeks ago and the pastor said that the dead sea scrolls were pretty much the same as the bible today, was he full of it and lying to try and justify their mean ways? (This is in CO Springs btw so you never know what they'll say) thanks

Posted by: Andrew | Jul 9, 2008 1:37:11 PM

Andrew, of course he was right. You know that humans would never make a mistake translating ancient documents, in poor condition, from languages that are no longer spoken in the exact same way, if at all. And don't forget the translations that have come in the intervening years. Those monks sitting in a cold monastery with only a candle for light were able to know exactly what was written and how the writer intended it to be taught.


/end sarcasm/

Posted by: keltic | Jul 9, 2008 1:45:41 PM

According to Wikipedia:
============
The significance of the scrolls relates in a large part to the field of textual criticism. Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible were Masoretic texts dating to 9th century. The biblical manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls push that date back to the 2nd century BC. Before the discovery, the oldest Greek manuscripts such as Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus were the earliest extant versions of biblical manuscripts. Although a few of the biblical manuscripts found at Qumran differ significantly from the Masoretic text, most do not. The scrolls thus provide new variants and the ability to be more confident of those readings where the Dead Sea manuscripts agree with the Masoretic text or with the early Greek manuscripts.
============

This is pretty much what I'd heard before. The texts do match up very well (the Masoretic texts are the basis for most Old Testament translations used by Protestant denominations). One must consider the practices of the Hebrew scribes with regard to accuracy of copies. They wrote very slowly, carefully examining each character and if one mistake was made, the entire scroll would be discarded and begun anew. Because they regarded it as holy work they took extreme care to not make mistakes. While this cannot assure a 0% error rate, it is the general consensus that it approached that very closely.

However, when comparing the "originals" to modern texts in the vernacular we must consider translation errors or inaccuracies where a wholly similar word is not available in English for the Hebrew or Greek. And then beyond that we must consider the changes in society which affect the way metaphors and allusions are read or interpreted even if translated 100% accurately.

So the pastor was sort of right--sort of--but he way oversimplified it.

Posted by: PSUdain | Jul 9, 2008 4:16:34 PM

Unbelievable. I'm as pro-gay as it gets, but there is no excuse for actively trying to undermine free expression in publishing (or online, in the streets, in films, etc.) by suing because one's opinion is offensive to someone else. I'm embarassed for Mr. Fowler.

Posted by: Kate | Jul 9, 2008 5:52:21 PM

For those interested in the linguistic semantics of 1 Corinthians 6:9 (from a a pro-gay perspective, at least):
http://www.gaychristian101.com/Malakoi.html
and for more information:
http://www.gaychristian101.com/Define-Malakoi.html .

I agree with Kate, as much as he may be right, Fowler's method seems a little excessive. Although, he HAS given me a good idea...
{Note to self: Sue Tyndale}

Posted by: WillB | Jul 10, 2008 2:00:28 AM

This is totally frivolous. The nature of other people's religion is not justiciable. He risks being liable for court costs and looking very silly.

Posted by: Robert | Jul 10, 2008 3:00:43 PM

I went to his website, and while he does have a point, and I agree with him ( as a christian) I don't think he has any legal ground here.

Posted by: | Jul 14, 2008 11:26:57 PM

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