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Gehenna and bible translations
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TOPIC: Gehenna and bible translations

Re: Gehenna and bible translations 7 months, 2 weeks ago #5155

  • John Haak
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You can search the resources here on that subject as thoughtful presentations are here.

But if you find no answers I would encourage you to research it and submit something, The leaders here are all volunteers so you could add to our [Re]thinking on this aspect of the story of how hell got misunderstood.

Re: Gehenna and bible translations 7 months, 2 weeks ago #5156

  • webb
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I think the word hell is pretty useless. It connotes, for most people, a medieval idea of an underworld cavern (think Dante's Inferno) where people roast in flames forever and ever, tormented by demonic beings.

My studies of the scriptures have convinced me that (1) The underworld (typically called Hades--which is sometimes translated in old translations as "hell") though pictured as a place of fire, is not the cosmological context for the final destruction of the wicked: earth is. (2) Gehenna is, as mentioned by John Haak, a ravine outside the city walls of Jerusalem. The word means "The ravine of the son of Hinnom." A concordance study will show that it is also known as Topheth (2 Kgs 23:10; Isa. 30:33; Jer. 7:31-32; 19:6, 11-14). Gehenna is the place where the rebels who attack the New Jerusalem are burnt up (esp. Isa. 30:33; 66:22-24). (3) The devil and the demons don't get to torment people even in Hades--they themselves end up imprisoned and equally helpless there (Isa. 24:21-22; Mt. 25:41; Rev. 19:19--20:3).

So "hell" connotes something that doesn't exist at all as far as the scriptures are concerned. In teaching for the purposes of re-educating people, you've got to use it and explain it, but when teaching people for the first time, it shouldn't be used except to explain how it is misleading and wrong.

Re: Gehenna and bible translations 7 months, 2 weeks ago #5157

  • John Haak
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Hey Webb ... good to hear your thoughts.

I know you have done translation work and wrestled with these things. It sounds like we might even be better off then transliterating the Greek word "Gehenna" like we have done with baptism. Let it stand as a new English word that leads to looking into the background and so truly translating the word through study. You are certainly right that people reading "hell" whenever Gehenna appears get the wrong image.

Any thoughts on Carl's question of translators choosing "Hell" for Gehenna being related to a theological bias?
Last Edit: 7 months, 1 week ago by John Haak. Reason: correct name of poster

Re: Gehenna and bible translations 7 months, 2 weeks ago #5159

  • John Haak
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Ha, good point.
I think Jesus' answers is "be wary" of all that we read or think including our own bias that can slip in. [See Luke 16:14-18 for instance on how the "rulers" twisted Scripture.]

Recognize that we all tend to read into Scripture what we want to see and so must enter study with humility, fear and trembling. Translators' work is valuable as they are fellow believers with a desire to honor God. But I think God expects us to be students that come to our own conclusions.

I think every believer would do well to ask their pastor to train them in Bible study skills. I have found BibleHub.com to be a good tool also if you have not found it. Mainly I use the Interlinear text linked to Strong's Concordance. It is free.
Last Edit: 7 months, 2 weeks ago by John Haak. Reason: word improvement

Re: Gehenna and bible translations 7 months, 2 weeks ago #5161

  • webb
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John Haak wrote:
Any thoughts on Chloe's question of translators choosing "Hell" for Gehenna being related to a theological bias?
The first translators of the Bible into English show an inability to distinguish between Hades and Gehenna. They have the medieval notion of an everlasting fiery underworld. KJV/AV has "hell" in Luke 16 for the location of the rich man in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Although Hades typically gets a different translation in more modern translations, Gehenna is still almost always translated as "hell" in contemporary versions (my translation, The Spoken English New Testament, transliterates as Gehenna, as do the Berean Literal Bible, Weymouth, World English Bible, Young's, and a few others). I think the choice to translate Gehenna as "hell," in the knowledge that "hell" brings with it the connotation of everlasting conscious torment, does show a distinct theological bias towards ECT among translation teams and/or sponsors of translations such as publishers and Christian foundations for the promulgation of the Bible.
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Re: Gehenna and bible translations 7 months, 1 week ago #5164

  • John Haak
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Kyle ... I am studying Luke 17 and thought I recognized the Greek word you use on your Upside Down Cross.
Good selection; hard to live up to. ... biblehub.com/greek/888.htm
Last Edit: 7 months, 1 week ago by John Haak. Reason: Wanted posters name included
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