John 1.11 in Brian Simmons’ ‘Passion Translation’: does τὰ ἴδια mean His ‘own things’ or His ‘own people’?

 

I am presenting evidence that seems to suggest that the ‘Passion Translation’, so-called, is not in fact a translation from the original languages as it is represented to be. 1  Yesterday, I examined two of the translator’s footnotes to John 1.10 and today I continue with John 1.11 and its footnote.

Continue reading John 1.11 in Brian Simmons’ ‘Passion Translation’: does τὰ ἴδια mean His ‘own things’ or His ‘own people’?

Notes:

  1. For the record, I have previously presented it to author and publisher, but received no explanation for the errors and blunders in Greek and Hebrew contained in it. I also provided a statement from a named lecturer in Greek at a well-known ministerial training college, to the effect that he had seen my evidence, and had found that the ‘errors seriously erode my confidence in the integrity of the author’s claim to be producing the translation directly from Greek texts.’

John 1.10 in the ‘Passion Translation’: more evidence that Brian Simmons may not be translating from Greek.

In my last post, I asked, in connection with a footnote to John 2.3 in the 2015 edition of John: Eternal Love, whether Brian Simmons, the supposed translator of the ‘Passion Translation’, was even looking at the Greek text at all. Today, I ask the same question with regard to the first footnote to John 1.10 in the 2014 edition. The second footnote also casts some doubt on whether he is really translating from Greek. I take them one at a time. Tomorrow, I plan to look at the following verse and its footnote.

I give both verses together here, since the Greek text of verse 11 helps to explain a blunder in the first footnote to verse 10:

Continue reading John 1.10 in the ‘Passion Translation’: more evidence that Brian Simmons may not be translating from Greek.

Why did Brian Simmons transliterate ἐξηγέομαι (exēgeomai) as ‘hexegeomai’?

I have been considering two closely related questions:

a) Is the so-called ‘Passion Translation’ New Testament actually translated at all, or is it derived from English versions?

b) Does Brian Simmons, who says he is the ‘translator’, lack elementary competence in Greek?

In this post I consider a second example of a mistake in transliteration. Yesterday, I asked how Simmons could have transliterated ἑώρακα (heōraka) in John 1.34 as ophesthe. Today I consider the implications of his transliterating ἐξηγέομαι (exēgēomai) as hexegeomai, as if the first epsilon had a rough breathing  rather than a smooth breathing   . Although this may seem like a relatively minor error, in comparison with the one I examined yesterday, I would like to ask whether it is an error that somebody who has elementary competence in Greek could plausibly make?

Continue reading Why did Brian Simmons transliterate ἐξηγέομαι (exēgeomai) as ‘hexegeomai’?

Why did Brian Simmons translate ἑώρακα (heōraka) as ‘ophesthe’?

In my last two posts  I have been presenting evidence (here and here) that Brian Simmons, who calls himself ‘the translator’ of the ‘Passion Translation’ New Testament, is less than familiar with the Greek language. I continue with a surprising mistake in a footnote to John 1.34 in the 2014 edition of John: Eternal Love.

John 1.34

κἀγὼ ἑώρακα καὶ μεμαρτύρηκα ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ [NA 28]

"I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God." [NASB]

In the Passion Translation, 2014 edition, the verse and first footnote read:

ἑώρακα is the first person perfect active indicative of ὁράω, ‘I see’, ‘I perceive’, and means ‘I have seen’ or ‘I have perceived’. This must be the Greek word that Simmons is referring to in his footnote.

ἑώρακα transliterates as heōraka;

ὁράω, the lexical form, transliterates as horaō.

Why then does Simmons transliterate it as ophesthe?

I cannot give a definitive answer, but I do have a possible partial explanation.

Continue reading Why did Brian Simmons translate ἑώρακα (heōraka) as ‘ophesthe’?

Is the ‘Passion Translation’ actually a translation? (part 2)

In my last post I began to present evidence that seems to betray a lack of elementary competence in Greek on the part of the supposed translator of the ‘Passion Translation’. I say ‘supposed’, because I have reluctantly come to the provisional conclusion that Brian Simmons is not translating at all, in any meaningful way, but rather is working from English versions, while making some use of lexicons to find novel renderings for individual words. I stand to be corrected. I have written to the author and publisher presenting my evidence and have not received any alternative explanation for the gross blunders in the ‘translator’ footnotes. Yesterday I showed that:

ἐλάλησα αὐτοῖς

cannot mean: 1

spoken these things

but must mean

spoken to them.

Today I draw attention to a similarly glaring error in another footnote just three verses later in John.

Continue reading Is the ‘Passion Translation’ actually a translation? (part 2)

Notes:

  1. The subject ‘I’ appears earlier in the sentence.

Is the ‘Passion Translation’ actually a translation at all?

I spent most of March this year investigating Brian Simmons’ claims to be translating from Aramaic in certain verses of the holy scriptures. I reluctantly came to the conclusion that he did not know the language and was in fact making use of existing English translations from the Aramaic Peshitta. I did my best to discuss the matter with Brian personally before going public with my conclusions, here and here.  The only response I had from him was on Facebook, where he referred me to an English translation, and made no reference to the Syriac text, which I had included in the question I put to him about his supposed translation of Galatians 3.1.

It dawned on me gradually, as I was working on the Aramaic text of various verses, and examining Brian’s translator footnotes, that he might not know Greek or Hebrew either. There are many mistakes which I do not think that somebody with even elementary competence in these biblical languages could make. In this post, I share one of these and invite responses.

Continue reading Is the ‘Passion Translation’ actually a translation at all?

Brian Simmons and his ‘Passion Translation’: what text is Victor Alexander translating from? (part 1)

I have shown in previous posts (here and here) Brian Simmons’ heavy dependence on Victor Alexander’s ‘Aramaic Bible’. When Simmons claims to be translating from the Aramaic text of the Peshitta, it turns out that most often he is taking his text from Alexander, at least in Galatians, which is the first and only book I have researched in detail so far. 1

Alexander’s ‘Sacred Scribal Language of the Scriptures’

I have also pointed out Alexander’s eccentric claim to be translating from what he calls the ‘Leeshana Supprayah’, or the ‘Sacred Scribal Language of the Scriptures’:

However, Leeshana Ateeqah became the Leeshana Supprayah (Scribal Language). This is the Sacred Scribal Language of the Scriptures, which the Hebrew Prophets used and the Apostles of Eashoa Msheekha used. In fact, it is the language Eashoa Msheekha read the Scriptures from in all the synagogues and temples that He visited when He came to the world. This translation has been made from the Leeshana Supprayah, the Sacred Scribal Language of the Scriptures. This is the only Bible that has been translated from scratch using this language as the source material.

In the same post I cited Alexander’s unwillingness , expressed in a short blog post dated 15 February 2014 (part way down the page), to reveal what are the source documents for his so-called translation:

Many people who have asked me to defend the authenticity of my translation’s source documents, want to see proof. However, I know that even if I were to show them a 2000 year old manuscript in my hand and do a Carbon-14 test in front of everyone’s eyes, none of them would believe it still. The truth has been denied for so long that it would literally take me forever.

On occasion, he seems to imply that he may have an ancient manuscript he is translating from, but here again, in a blog post dated a few weeks earlier (30 December 2013, part way down the page) and entitled ‘Proving the authenticity of the Scriptures’, he appears unwilling to specify what it is:

I don’t need to prove that the manuscript I’m translating from is the oldest found; archeology is not the issue. I don’t need to prove that the manuscript I’m translating from has been sanctioned by any church; doctrine is not the issue. I don’t need to prove that the manuscript I’m translating from is in the proper dialect; nationalism is not the issue. The only thing I need to prove is whether or not the manuscript I’m translating from contains the fundamental belief system of the Apostles of Eashoa, the belief system which Eashoa taught. This I’ve done, even if you take just two words: Maryah and Milta. I have a lot more and they’ll be revealed in subsequent commentaries, as I said. If I were to present archeological proof, doctrinal ideas or a chain of authority, it would take me a thousand years and more books than the whole universe could hold.

Alexander is a film-maker and promotes ‘a style of filmmaking where dreams and reality are perceived as one experience.’ It seems possible that he has a similar approach to his translation work, with his ‘Sacred Scribal Language of the Scriptures’ being a product of his imagination.

Continue reading Brian Simmons and his ‘Passion Translation’: what text is Victor Alexander translating from? (part 1)

Notes:

  1. From a preliminary examination of Ephesians, it looks like the same is true there also.

Is Brian Simmons of the ‘Passion Translation’ telling the truth?

In The Passion Translation of sections of the New Testament, Brian Simmons frequently claims in footnotes to have translated from the Aramaic text. For example he renders Romans 1.9 as:

with footnote:

The Greek text (NA 28) reads:

9 μάρτυς γάρ μού ἐστιν ὁ θεός, ᾧ λατρεύω ἐν τῷ πνεύματί μου ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, ὡς ἀδιαλείπτως μνείαν ὑμῶν ποιοῦμαι

which almost demands to be translated along the lines of the ESV, for example:

‘For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you’

All 36 English translations at Bible Study Tools, including the Message Bible, translate τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ with ‘good news’ or ‘gospel’ or ‘glad tidings’. Simmons has ‘revelation’, which is a different idea. He says that he has translated from the Aramaic, so to the Aramaic we go, expecting to find a word closer to ‘revelation’ than ‘gospel’.

Simmons’ Aramaic text is the Syriac Peshitta. From his web-site:

while incorporating insights from the Syriac (Aramaic) Peshitta, as well as the Roth text.

By ‘the Roth text’ Simmons must I think be referring not to another Aramaic textual source material, but rather to Andrew Roth’s English translation of the Peshitta. So it is to the Peshitta we turn for our Aramaic text. I don’t know Aramaic so use the Peshitta tools at dukhrana.com. First of all, here is the Western UBS text, with transliteration and three English translations, by Etheridge (green), Murdock (navy), and Lamsa (purple):

The first thing most of us (who don’t know Aramaic) will notice is that all three translators have ‘gospel’ and not ‘revelation’. The more observant may be struck by the similarity between the transliterated word ‘bewangelīāwn’ and the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον meaning ‘gospel’. Clicking on the ‘analyze’ tool brings up the meaning of each word. Here are the words for the clause of interest:

Clicking on ‘2:282’ provides confirmation that the word for ‘Gospel’ is indeed the word that looks like εὐαγγέλιον:

The b’ suffix means ‘in’, in much the same way (I think) as בְּ does in Hebrew. The lexeme itself – which corresponds to the form of the word which appears in a lexicon (a dictionary) – is:

Clicking on ’16’ in the table above brings up the entry for this word in Jennings Lexicon to the Syriac New Testament:

It can be seen first that, although this is a Syriac to English lexicon, the meaning is given first in Greek because it is a loan word from Greek; and secondly that the meaning of εὐαγγέλιον, as said before, is ‘Gospel’. It can be seen also that Romans 1.9 is listed among the occurrences of the word, confirming that this is the Aramaic word used there.

Finally, the Peshitta tool at dukhrana.com has two alternative Peshitta text types, the Eastern and the Khabouris. I have checked these for Romans 1.9 and they both have the same word ܒܸ݁ܐܘܲܢܓܸ݁ܠܝܼܘܿ (bewangelīāwn), ‘in the gospel’.

My provisional conclusion then, subject to correction, is that Simmons’ rendering of Romans 1.9 is not in reality translated from the Aramaic as he claims. I have written to him for an explanation but not received one as yet.

Romans 1.11

Two verses later, there is an example of Simmons giving a rendition which actually does seem to derive from the Aramaic, as he claims. The Greek text (NA 28) of Romans 1.11 reads:

ἐπιποθῶ γὰρ ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς, ἵνα τι μεταδῶ χάρισμα ὑμῖν πνευματικὸν εἰς τὸ στηριχθῆναι ὑμᾶς,

The ESV, as a typical example, has:

‘For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you’

and most versions (KJV, ASV, RSV, NIV, NASB etc) translate χάρισμα … πνευματικὸν (charisma pneumatikon) as ‘spiritual gift’, πνευματικός being the adjective from πνεῦμα, meaning ‘spirit’.

Simmons’ text however has ‘the gift of the Spirit’ instead of ‘some spiritual gift’:

He explains in a footnote that he has translated from the Aramaic:

The Peshitta tool shows that all three English translations have ‘gift of the Spirit’ rather than ‘spiritual gift’:

The analysis tool confirms that the Aramaic text has a noun meaning ‘spirit, wind, breath’ rather than an adjective:

It is not that Aramaic lacked an adjective meaning ‘spiritual’, as one such was used in 1 Corinthians 2.13, 15 and elsewhere, as can be seen from the definitions in Jennings:

It just seems to have been a change made by in the translation process from the Greek original to the Peshitta.

In this case, therefore Simmons seems to be justified in saying that he has translated from the Aramaic. As I said above, I am not here examining the question of why he would prefer the Peshitta reading to the original Greek text. (I have written to him twice on that point and not received a reply so far.)

What remains is to investigate whether Simmons’ apparently mistaken claim in Romans 1.9 is a one-off and so probably an inadvertent error, or whether there are more such claims which turn out to be apparently unfounded. In my next post I give further cases where Simmons’ text differs from normal versions, with no possible basis from the Greek text, and where he has claimed to be translating from the Aramaic, but where this claim turns out to be false, so far as I have been able to ascertain, to the best of my endeavour.

Andrew