We are pleased to announce the availability for download of The Scriptures 1998 with footnotes courtesy of Institute for Scripture Research (www.isr-messianic.org).
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About The Scriptures Translation
In the past few centuries the Spirit of Elohim has moved scholars, calling and equipping them, to search and to do research in the Scriptures: Hebrew, Greek and related subjects. This research has led to the increase of knowledge, as was indeed prophesied (Dani’ĕl / Dan. 12:4).
This great move of the Spirit among these scholars has greatly blessed millions of sincere believers. They were indeed bringing to light (out of the treasure) hidden truths, renewed truths and old truths (Mattithyahu / Mt. 13:52). All this treasured knowledge was given through these scholars to all of us, and we are greatly indebted to all of them.
This present work of translating the Scriptures had its origin in the year 1971 when a few of us began to search and to do research, after having been called - explicitly called. Soon after this work started “called out” believers from all over the world joined in to help.
The Purpose of this Translation
While there have been many fine translations which have been a source of blessing to so many, we have felt the need for a translation of the Scriptures which:
1. Restores the Name of the Almighty to its rightful place in the text (see THE RESTORATION OF THE NAME, below).
2. Is recognisably Messianic in that it affirms the Hebraic roots of the Messianic belief by its appearance, by the use of Hebraic forms of certain words and titles, and by its usage of the same division of the pre-Messianic books of Scripture (the Tanaḵ or “Old Testament”) that was current at the time of our Messiah.
3. Restores the meaning to so many words which have become popular to use, but do not accurately reflect the meaning of the original - for example, church, glory, holy, sacrifice, soul, etc.
4. Seeks to be as far as possible a “literal” translation, wherever possible rendering key words uniformly (exceptions being noted in footnotes or the Explanatory Notes of the printed version).
The Restoration of the Name
“The Scriptures” differs radically from most other translations in that it does not continue in the tradition of substituting the Name of the Father and of the Son with names ascribed to gentile (pagan) deities. All the names of deities which in the past have been ascribed to the Father, the Son, and even used when engaged in worship, have been avoided.
One of the post-exilic-apostasies of Orthodox Judaism was the avoidance of the Name of the Almighty, the so-called Tetragrammaton, (the four lettered Name, יהוה). Because of this and a similar and continued suppression and substitution of the Name by the Church, much harm was done to the True Worship. When anyone enquires about this he is told: “The Name has been translated into English as LORD, as was similarly done in other languages.” This argument does not hold water. Guiseppe in Italian corresponds to Joseph in English; however, Guiseppe Verdi cannot be translated as Joseph Green in English, even if that is what it means in English! The proper name of any individual is not translated; it is always transliterated or transcribed in order to approximate its original pronunciation. We repeat: the proper name of any individual is simply not translated, more especially when we are dealing with the most important Beings in all the universe: the Most High (יהוה) and His Son (יהושע )!
We thought of rendering the Father's Name (יהוה) as Yahuweh (pronounced with the accent on the “u”). On the other hand, John H. Skilton, The Law and the Prophets, pp. 223, 224, prefers “Yahoweh”. The Assyrians transcribed the Name as “Ya-u-a”, so Mowinckle and other scholars prefer “Yahowah”. Some scholars prefer “Yehowah”, because that is the way the Massoretes vowel-pointed it. (Whether this vowel-pointing of the Name was done in truth, or whether it was done to “disguise” the Name, in accordance with the instruction given in the Mishnaic text of Tamid vii.2 (=Sota vii.6), we do not know for certain. There is also the Rabbinical interpretation of the Massoretic text saying that the vowels e,o and a were added to the Name as a Qerĕ perpetuum which means that the reading of Adonai or Elohim is to be used instead. However, there is no definite proof that the Massoretes originally did it for this reason). Then again, many scholars favour the rendering “Yahweh”. In any event, we decided to avoid controversy over the precise pronunciation and to render it in Hebrew characters as יהוה.
Such a rendering has solid historical precedent in the earliest copies of the Septuagint (LXX), and has the merit of being true to the text, neither adding nor subtracting by means of substitutions (however well-intended). It has also the additional merit of allowing the individual reader to progress in his own quest for accuracy of pronunciation, as he seeks to obey the scriptural injunctions to call on the Name (Shemoth / Ex. 3:15; Yeshayahu / Is.12:4; Yirmeyahu / Jer. 10:25; Tehillim / Ps. 105:1,3;), to make it known (Shemoth / Ex. 9:16; Yeshayahu / Is. 64:1,2; Yeḥezqĕl / Ez. 39:7;), and to not obliterate or forget it (Deḇarim / Dt. 12:3.4; Yeshayahu / Is. 65:11; Yirmeyahu / Jer. 23:27; Tehillim / Ps. 44:20)! In the same way the Messiah's Name in Hebrew, יהושע , was chosen in order to avoid controversy. All the available authoritative sources and references are in agreement and clearly admit that our Messiah's Name was יהושע (see for instance even Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, under Iesous). However, while some believe that this spelling should be pronounced in the traditional way, i.e. “Yehoshua” others influenced by the Murashu Text suggest the pronunciation “Yahushua”. So we decided to print the Name of the Messiah (יהושע ) in Hebrew characters as we have done with the Name יהוה.
While the short post-exilic form “Yeshua” (ישוע ) is popular with many (indeed the Shem Toḇ Hebrew text of Mattithyahu renders it as such, as also the Hebrew translation of the “New Testament” by F. Delitzch), Dr. Solomon Zeitlin refutes this form as the Name of our Messiah, favouring instead the form יהושע (see The Jewish Quarterly Review, Jan.1970, p.195). Also see Post-exilic Apostasy in the Explanatory Notes in the printed version of The Scriptures.
At this stage we need to explain the word “Elohim” used in this translation. English translations have traditionally rendered it as “God” or as “god(s)” in most instances. However, the Hebrew word “elohim” is the plural form of “eloah”, which has the basic meaning of “mighty one”. This word is not only used for deity, but is used in Scripture for judges, angels and idols (Shemoth / Ex. 7:1; 9:28; 12:12; 22:8,9; Tehillim / Ps. 8:5; 82:1,6) besides being used frequently for the Almighty. The shorter forms, “el” and “elim” have the same basic meaning and similar usage. (Needless to say, the same applies to the Aramaic equivalents, such as “elah” and “elahin”). By transliterating these expressions instead of translating them as “Mighty One” we discovered a richness in them, and therefore retained them, with the exception of a few instances (noted in footnotes), where the translation of “mighty one” or “mighty ones” seemed more appropriate.