Tag Archives: Masoretic

Is the Virgin Birth Prophecy a Mistranslation?

The media coverage of the burning of the RSV, the “Revised Satanic Version” of the Bible. From the November 25, 1952 edition of the Courier Mail, Brisbane, Australia. Luther Hux made quite a news splash all over the world.

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emman′u-el” (Matthew 1:23 RSV)

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman′u-el. (Isaiah 7:14 RSV)

Bible Burning

Luther Hux knew full well that the RSV was unholy, and accordingly he announced his intention to burn a copy of the new Bible,” so reports historian Peter Johannes Thuessen, from his In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible (p.96). Hux, a North Carolina Baptist pastor, had recently received a copy of the new “Revised Standard Version” of the Bible, published that year in 1952. In his fury over what he saw as a “mistranslation” of Isaiah 7:14, Luther Hux was determined to make a show over this “Bible burning” in front of as many press reporters as possible. Isaiah 7:14 is the famous prophecy of the virgin birth, as referenced by the Gospel writer Matthew. All previous English translations of this verse referred to a “virgin,” not a more generic “young woman,” as the new Revised Standard Version had done. Thuessen continues:

On the night of 30 November Hux delivered a two-hour oration and then led his congregation from the white-frame Temple Baptist Church into the cold autumn air, where every member received a small American flag. Climbing onto the bed of a waiting truck, Hux held aloft a copy of the RSV on which he had written the word “fraud.” Instead of burning the whole book, however he ripped out and ignited the page bearing Isaiah 7:14. “This has been the dream of modernists for centuries,” he shouted, ” to make Jesus Christ the son of a bad woman.” (p. 97)

Burning part of a Bible? It would hardly register a blip on the 24-hour news cycle at CNN today. But back in 1950s North Carolina, the “Buckle of the Bible Belt,” you just did not do things like that.

Well, at least he was being patriotic about it.

But what if Luther Hux was right? Was the Revised Standard Version (RSV) a fraud? Was the RSV, from Hux’s own word’s, “the Master Stroke of Satan?

I am not approving of “Bible burning,” but actually Luther Hux was onto something. What Hux did not know at the time is that he had stumbled upon an issue that has puzzled Bible scholars now for decades,… if not centuries.
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The Septuagint and the Original Old Testament?

The first part of the Book of Genesis, from the Septuagint, the early Old Testament Greek translation used by the early Christian church.

The first part of the Book of Genesis, from the Septuagint, an early  Greek translation of the Old Testament, which served as the “Bible” of the early Christian church before the completion of the New Testament.  Is this translation the closest thing we have to the “original” Old Testament?

I noticed sometimes the quotes of the Old Testament passages in [the Book of] Hebrews do not exactly match the wording when I go back and look up the verses in the Old Testament. I am just wondering what is going on.” This was a question sent to our pastors for our summer Bible study series on the Book of Hebrews. I do not know who asked the question in our congregation, but I want that person in my small group. What an awesome question!

The problem is that when you read a number of Old Testament citations in the New Testament, the New Testament writers are actually quoting from the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. Most of the Old Testament was written originally in Hebrew, so it comes as a shock to people to learn that this ancient Greek version of the Old Testament is referenced quite a bit in the New. Critics of Biblical faith will ask if the New Testament writers are at best sloppy when quoting from the original Old Testament, or are they downright fraudulent and terribly mistranslate the Old Testament by relying so much on the Septuagint instead of the original Hebrew?

Get your thinking caps on. This is really a good question.
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