Criticism Of The New World Translation

See also: Controversies regarding Jehovah's Witnesses#New_World_Translation

The New World Translation is claimed by Jehovah's Witnesses to be the most accurate translation of the original manuscripts to date. [27]. However, Drs. John Ankerberg and John Weldon write, “the scholarly Christian community has rendered its verdict on the NWT: such a translation must not be trusted to accurately convey God’s Word because of its unrelenting biases in translation.”[28]. Reviewing the New World Translation, Dr. Bruce Metzger writes, “The introduction of the word ‘Jehovah’ into the New Testament text, in spite of much ingenuity in an argument filled with a considerable amount of irrelevant material (pp. 10-25), is a plain piece of special pleading.”[29] Scholar H. H. Rowley says of the translation, “From beginning to end this volume is a shining example of how the Bible should not be translated”.[30] In contrast, a recent book by Dr. Jason BeDuhn[31] states (in regards to the New Testament of the NWT): “While it is difficult to quantify this sort of analysis, it can be said the NW[T] emerges as the most accurate of the translations ... judging by the passages we have looked at.” [32]

An example of the differences between the NWT and other translations is in the 1st verse of John's Gospel, considered a proof text for the divinity of Christ by most Christians. Classically, it is rendered "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."[33] The NWT renders the text, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."[34]

In regards to this passage, critics claim:

1) That this was purposefully translated in order to deny the traditional view that Jesus is God. [35] Witnesses are quick to point out that the passage is expressing a divine quality about Jesus [36]; Christian scholars agree with a qualitative (descriptive) nuance of theos in John 1:1c. [37][38]

2) That the addition of a second smaller "god" (Jesus) to the bigger "Jehovah God" (the Father) in the translation introduces polytheism into the New Testament (Martin and Bruce Metzger)[39]. Witnesses deny the "polytheist" label [40] and point out that the NWT is a literal translation that mandates a rendering of "a god" with an interpretation of "Godlike" or "Divine". [41]

3) That the predicate nominative inflection for the word "God" and the sequence of the words in the Greek sentence "and God was the Word" require the traditional translation in English "and the Word was God". [42]

4) That the word for God (theos) without the article is used only a few verses later in the text in both the accusative and nominative cases, which the NWT translates without an indefinite article both times "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten god..."[43][44] BeDuhn explains the fallacy of this assertion, and Martin's fundamental misunderstanding of basic Koine Greek, by pointing out that the passages are not comparable. [45]

As can be seen in the preceding points and counter-points, both sides agree that the anarthrous nominative theos can be taken in a qualitative sense -- something like "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the Deity, and Deity [i.e. qualitative] was the Word."[46] and [47] The contention involves the underlying doctrines behind the two sides. For one side "a god" is taken qualitatively. For the other side "God" is taken qualitatively.

Although the members of the committee that translated the NWT wish to remain anonymous, Raymond Franz, a former member of the Governing Body[48], has claimed that the translation committee consisted of 6 members:[49]

William Cetnar, a former Witness who resigned from the international headquarters in 1958 and was disfellowshipped from the religion for apostasy in 1962[50], also included Milton Henschel as a member of the translation committee.[51]

It has been argued that the NWT translators were insufficiently qualified to translate the Bible, with only Franz having formal education in Biblical languages. It has also been argued that the size of the translation committee was very small compared to the number of translators involved in producing most other English translations.[52]

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Translation_of_the_Holy_Scriptures