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Son of God #2

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Ashraf Schneider

Channel: Ashraf Schneider

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Episode Notes

Welcome to the 2nd and final episode of the Son of God series, inspired by my re-reading of MisGod’ed by Laurence Brown.

1 Translating ancient texts

2 Translation: ‘son’ or ‘servant’

3 Inconsistent translation meaning: literal vs metaphoric

4 Conclusion

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh Peace, blessings and mercy be upon you all. Welcome back to my page and to part two of this video series Son of God. In the first video in this series, I talked with you about identity politics, Jesus's self designation as son of man, and the metaphorical weight of honorifics, like son of God and Son of David. In today's video, we're going to talk about semantics, and focus on the translation of the New Testament from ancient Greek. As you know, translation is a tricky beast. While it makes texts more globally accessible, and therefore increases their reach and marketability. It also has its pitfalls, translation often fall short of

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its own best intentions. And that is because there are some words and concepts that simply fail to translate well, for example, my South African followers window, there is no real way to translate the Afrikaans word lacquer, of course, you can offer a direct translation and save means nice, but that doesn't quite capture the essence of the intention, and the meaning in the original language, does it? Can you imagine how much more difficult it must be to accurately translate meaning from an ancient language into a modern one languages evolve and develop over time, drawing from the contemporary realities to inform the construction. So it's no wonder translations, often literal or

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direct, failed to convey the nuances originally intended. Just look at Google Translate. Now, obviously, I'm joking, because Google Translate is just the machine. And the scholars who translate religious texts are human, and therefore self aware, and aware of the distinction between direct translation and the translation of meaning. But aren't we all as humans, by definition, fallible? No two of us are alike. And aside from the passage of time, and the development of language systems and systems of meaning, that's just another reason why we get different translations of a single source text. For example, the King James Version of the Bible is a different translation to the New Living

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version of the Bible. And there are various different scholars who have offered their own translation of the Holy Quran into English. While the meaning of all English translations of these texts should then be identically true to the meaning and intention of the source text. We know this isn't always the case, because of both the pitfalls of translation and the evolution of language, not mentioned the element of human subjectivity, whether implicit or explicitly expressed. Therefore, it is important that we refer back to the source language whenever meaning and translation is called into question, or otherwise in doubt. This brings me to the investigation of

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the translation of the New Testament from ancient Greek, and, more specifically, the translation of two specific Greek words which pertain to sonship and the identity of Jesus Christ. The two Greek words, both of which are popularly translated in modern Bibles as son, in English are pious and who has these words in turn have been derived from the ancient Hebrew language. pious, for example, is said to be derived from the Hebrew word edit, which bears a meaning more akin to serve and then son. However, as explored in part one of this video series, the ancient intention or meaning of sonship, was one who imitates or follows the example of a father, figure or leader, who takes commands from a

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master or leader better than a servant, whose existence is predicated on fulfilling the wishes of his master. This translation of pious to son and not servant must then likewise be metaphorical, as in ancient tradition, and not literal as is tempting to assume of modern translations. This translation of the metaphorical intention actually ties in perfectly with a prophecy of a saya conveyed in chapter 42 verse one, and which is upheld in Matthew chapter 12, verse 18, in which God says, Behold, my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased. This prophecy is believed to have been about the coming of the Prophet Jesus, which was fulfilled by the

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time of the painting of Matthew, even if we were to disregard the translation of pious a son and not servant. in contemporary English Bibles, we'd need to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is not the only one who is called pious thier servant of God. In the original Greek, the same phrase is used eight times in the New Testament, and only five of those times are in reference to Jesus. The remaining three are divided between Israel as in Luke chapter one, verse 54, and David as in Luke chapter one, verse 69. And Acts chapter four verse 25. Even if you translate pious Theo's as Son of God, instead of servant of God, they are still at least three sons of God mentioned in the New Testament. So why

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does the English translation appear to deliberately set Jesus apart because the spite the fact that the Greek is identical

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The meaning and expression when referring to Israel, Jesus and David. As pious the US the English translation of servant is applied to David and Israel but son is reserved for the references to Jesus if the original Greek does not make that distinction in either expression or meaning, why does the translation presume to do so? The Greek word who else, which is also translated in English as son is also blatantly metaphorical in his usage in the original Greek, but the same metaphorical weight has failed to translate to the English Yes, who asked is used literally in referring to Jesus as the Son of Mary, but it is more frequently used metaphorically to refer to among others,

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believers as sons of King, Gods elect sons of Abraham, believers being sons of God, Jesus, his favorite disciple being introduced to his mother Mary, as her other sun, and various other metaphorical references to the sons of various abstract concepts or natural phenomenon, like sons of peace, sons of light, sons of this world, and even Sons of Thunder. But this is not Greek mythology, right? Sons of Thunder is clearly a metaphor, because otherwise we'd have to accept that James and his brother were false kids, right? Or that the natural phenomenon Thunder was capable of fathering children. Nobody's claiming that this is the case. So why does this metaphorical weight of the

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original Greek not translate to the English and look, ultimately, none of this is to say that Jesus peace and blessings be upon him was not special, or that he was not a son of God, a prophet, a servant. He clearly was in the Quran, Jesus even miraculously speaks from the cradle, and calls himself any abdulah which means a servant of God. Even gray Hunstanton, a renowned biblical scholar concludes that most scholars agree that the Aramaic and Hebrew word behind son is servant, which makes sense, because all God's prophets can be described as his servants, often foregoing the pleasures and foibles of this life to serve their master in heaven. So I hope you understand why I

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say that. While Jesus was definitely a son of God, His servant and a prophet. I believe calling him the Son of God is not only misleading, but disingenuous. Thank you so much for sticking around for part two of this video series. If you haven't watched part one of this series, I highly encourage you to check it out now. And if you have any questions, comments or concerns, you're welcome to contact me directly via my page or in the comments below. I'm always happy to engage in constructive and mutually respectful conversation. Until next time, there's like a lot here.