The Dongola Times

(Anachronistic) Dispatches from the Kingdom of Makuria.
23rd of October, 2013

Koine English Version

I will be making the Colloquial Translation into a “Koine English” version. The reason the name “Koine” works is because that is really what “colloquial” means, but also because I have decided that all my sources are going to be from Koiné Greek. Yes, LXX for the Old Testament. I know how far I have gone in organising the software tools.

The source text for the Old Testament would be the Codex Alexandrianus, which was done under divine inspiration. There will also be small influence from the Masoretic text for things like locating the tetragrammaton, which I want to do funky, modern—even typographic—things with. Also, it will be useful for locating the scripturally-hot Messianic verses, as the divinely-inspired Codex Vaticanus bears witness against the Masoretic text.

The names would be updated from Greek (Iakob, Esias) to modern English (Jacob, Isaiah), much further than was done for the great LXX2012. Software has to help in this. It is just simply not useful anymore for amateur Bible scholars and sopherim to work like it is 1970. We, too, need a web-based thingy for assembling critical texts and translating. The programmers have thought of themselves.

If you have a project like LXX2012, there is no reason why the work of substituting from old English to modern English cannot be expanded and the set of scripts used turned into an app for executing incremental translations, arriving at NIV-grade modernity of language (especially where appropriate, such as in the New Testament) while retaining perfect synchrony with the book-level translation strategies. It seems that the age is upon us of citing Bible versions as “XNKJV2013-1.2.343-BETA”. I hope not.

Still, I hope to exploit symbols a lot like the Masoretes exploited their masorah. For example, here is a snip out of Psalms 132:

“I will not enter my house or go to my bed, I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for God, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
We heard † in Ephrathah, we came upon † in the fields of Yaar.

Note that it is still the 132nd psalm. The Koine English is keyed to the standard Protestant Bible as a compulsory minimum, with options for arbitrary deutero-canon being added by a user. It is, after all, fundamentally a digital edition of the Bible. The Web is already crawling with heretics, cults, and porn.

The masorah in my translation there is due to the inspired source texts—the LXX—having “mistakes” in those places in the original Greek. The modern scholar would say that this is due to sloppiness on the part of the original 72 scholar-prophets who did the Septuagint. Au contraire, there are no mistakes in the LXX, as witnessed by our source documents. There are only clues[1]. Of course since “Christ is the telos of the Law and the Prophets” these clues are now dressed in their proper masorah, which is that † symbol.

Similarly, a font that is suitable for use in a printed copy of the Koine English Version should have a typographic ligature for “God”, such that it is rendered distinctly, uniformly, beautifully, and legibly in every single case where it occurs. It would replace all the tetragrammata in the Masoretic. The other cases of “the Lord” and “God” as they occur in the KJV (but not “the LORD”, which is the tetragrammaton in the KJV) will be translated mostly as “the Lord”, following the lead of the Septuagint, which is of holy inspiration.

There would be other changes over time, varying in size and seriousness. For example, I would like all  Since it would all be in a database, it would be possible to re-execute the steps of the translation, skipping and re-organising as the need may arise. (Therefore steps need not be reversible if the original is kept, as indeed it will be. They just need to be kept for reference.)

Now about the New Testament, of course, the question arises: Westcott-Hort, or the Textus Receptus? (The original placeholder name for this version was “LXX+(W-H)=66”, a formula I created to remind myself of the goal: 66 books as a mixture of LXX and Westcott-Hort. The goal has evolved somewhat.) In reality, neither.

Both Westcott-Hort and Textus Receptus were inspired[2]. TR1894 shows us the collection of glosses that were inspired, while Westcott-Hort shows us the inspired form of the earliest documents. As in the case of the Vaticanus and the Alexandrinus, God wants two or three witnesses, both of them inspired. So in comes Westcott-Hort, and its critical tradition, and Textus Receptus, and its conservative (even “KJV-only” tradition). As a result, Westcott-Hort is the source, and therefore protects the soteriology of the source critical text (Protestant), while Textus Receptus watches over it to protect against Christological heresy (Catholic/Orthodox) and to protect endangered parts of the Gospels (the Pericope Adulteræ, for instance).

[1] Prof. Pietersma, who did the Psalms in the New English Translation of the Septuagint, respected these “mistakes” of the scholars. He marked them as “Antecedent unclear.” They are references to Jesus; which is why in my masorah, they have a † symbol in their place or incorporated in them, which will be the case with all such clues of Jesus as we manage to identify. Meanwhile “clue” is one of my preferred words to replace “parable” which nobody uses in colloquial, Koiné speech anymore.
[2] No doubt some will say it is impossible that Erasmus was inspired, or that TR1894 was inspired, or that Westcott-Hort, who were wicked men, were inspired. The only one who would qualify before God is Christ. The rest of us are equally worthless, and yet equally-loved. God inspired these documents, in spite of everything that is not God. From then until now, that the Koine English Version is inspired in all its steps is not due to men, that none may boast.