The Complete Bible: An American Translation

By J. M. Powis Smith; Edgar J. Goodspeed | Go to book overview

PREFACE

WHY should anyone make a new English translation of the Old Testament? With the Authorized Version of King James and the British and American revisions, to say nothing of unofficial renderings, have we not enough? This question may quite fairly be asked. The only possible basis for a satisfactory answer must be either in a better knowledge of Hebrew than was possible at the time when the earlier translations were made, or in a fuller appreciation of fundamental textual problems, or in a clearer recognition of poetic structures, or in such a change in our own language as would render the language of the older translations more or less unintelligible to the average man of our day. As a matter of fact, our answer is to be found in all of these areas.

The most urgent demand for a new translation comes from the field of Hebrew scholarship. The control of the Hebrew vocabulary and syntax available to the scholar of today is vastly greater than that at the command of the translators of the Authorized Version or of its revisers. This is due partly to the greater degree of scientific methodology now practiced in the study of language in general and of Hebrew in particular, and partly to the contributions made to our knowledge of Hebrew by the decipherment of the hieroglyphic and cuneiform writings. The first requirement of a translation is that it should reproduce as fully and accurately as possible the meaning of the original documents. To this end the translators should know the language of the original as well as it can be known.

Modern studies of textual problems reinforce the need for a new rendering. These have brought out more and more clearly the uncertain state of the Hebrew text and have perfected the technique of critical method. The science of textual criticism has made great progress in recent years, and no translation of the Old Testament can afford to ignore its results. Our guiding principle has been that the official Massoretic text must be adhered to as long as it made satisfactory sense. We have not tried to create a new text; but rather to translate the received text wherever translation was possible. Where departure from this text was imperative we have sought a substitute for it along generally approved lines, depending primarily upon the collateral versions, having recourse to scientific conjecture only when the versions failed to afford adequate help. If the number of such passages seems to him unduly large, he should bear in mind certain facts. The oldest known Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament dates from the ninth century A.D. This means that at least eighteen centuries elapsed between the earliest Hebrew written documents and our oldest manuscript; and that between the latest Hebrew document now found in the Old Testament and our oldest manuscript there was a lapse of approximately eleven centuries. Moreover, the original Hebrew text included only the consonants. The vowels were not added until about the seventh century AM.1

____________________
1
There is a fragment of papyrus, found in Egypt about 1901 A.D., which contains the Hebrew text of the Decalogue and the Shema ( Deut. 6:4 f.). It is pre-Massoretic and probably dates from about the second century A.D.

-xiii-

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The Complete Bible: An American Translation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • The Old Testament - An American Translation xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Publisher's Note xvi
  • Part I - The Pentateuch *
  • The Book of Genesis 1
  • The Book of Exodus 51
  • The Book of Leviticus 90
  • The Book of Numbers 118
  • The Book of Deuteronomy 158
  • Part II - The Historical Books 193
  • The Book of Joshua 195
  • The Book of Judges 218
  • The Book of Ruth 243
  • The First Book of Samuel 247
  • The Second Book of Samuel 281
  • The First Book of Kings 310
  • The Second Book of Kings 342
  • The First Book of Chronicles 373
  • The Second Book of Chronicles 400
  • The Book of Ezra 434
  • The Book of Nehemiah 444
  • The Book of Esther 458
  • Part III - The Poetical Books 467
  • The Book of Job 469
  • The Psalms 500
  • The Book of Proverbs 581
  • The Book of Ecclesiastes 611
  • The Song of Songs 619
  • Part IV - The Books of the Prophets 625
  • The Book of Isaiah 627
  • The Book of Jeremiah 690
  • The Book of Lamentations 753
  • The Book of Ezekiel 761
  • The Book of Daniel 810
  • The Book of Hosea 826
  • The Book of Joel 836
  • The Book of Amos 840
  • The Book of Obadiah 848
  • The Book of Jonah 850
  • The Book of Micah 852
  • The Book of Nahum 858
  • The Book of Habakkuk 861
  • The Book of Zephaniah 864
  • The Book of Haggai 868
  • The Book of Zechariah 870
  • The Book of Malachi 880
  • The Apocrypha - An American Translation i
  • Preface ii
  • The First Book of Esdras 1
  • The Second Book of Esdras 16
  • The Book of Tobit 45
  • The Book of Judith 55
  • The Additions to the Book of Esther 69
  • The Wisdom of Solomon 73
  • The Wisdom of Sirach 91
  • The Book of Baruch 137
  • The Story of Susanna 144
  • The Song of the Three Children 147
  • The Story of Bel and the Dragon 150
  • The Prayer of Manasseh 152
  • The First Book of Maccabees 153
  • The Second Book of Maccabees 182
  • The New Testament - An American Translation i
  • Preface iii
  • The Gospel According to Matthew 1
  • The Gospel According to Mark 32
  • The Gospel According to Luke 52
  • The Gospel According to John 85
  • The Acts of the Apostles 111
  • The Letter to the Romans 142
  • The First Letter to the Corinthians 155
  • The Second Letter to the Corinthians 168
  • The Letter to the Galatians 176
  • The Letter to the Ephesians 181
  • The Letter to the Philippians 185
  • Letter to the Colossians 188
  • The First Letter to the Thessalonians 191
  • The Second Letter to the Thessalonians 194
  • The First Letter to Timothy 196
  • The Second Letter to Timothy 200
  • The Letter to Titus 203
  • The Letter to Philemon 205
  • The Letter to the Hebrews 206
  • The Letter of James 216
  • The First Letter of Peter 219
  • The Second Letter of Peter 223
  • The First Letter of John 226
  • The Second Letter of John 230
  • The Third Letter of John 231
  • The Letter of Jude 232
  • The Revelation of John 233
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