Another Reason “Literal” isn’t Perfect in Bible Translation and the Need for Textual Criticism

In this case, the problem is grammar and comprehension. Specifically, the Gospel of Mark Chapters 6-8 (6:5-8:27?) in the Greek, where for 89 verses Jesus is identified as “he”. That makes for confusion in reading in any language. Ancient scribes and modern translators both inevitably change the actual text to “Jesus”, “the Lord” or some variation thereof.

This is a particular problem in a specific category of biblical manuscripts, called lectionaries, where the biblical text is divided up into portions for daily readings. Obviously three chapters that are further split to sections that speak only of “he” day in and day out would make lectionaries seriously incomprehensible, and thus variant names for Jesus abound in this section of many lectionary manuscripts. To get at the original wording, one must compare lectionaries and other forms of NT manuscripts, using methods of textual criticism.

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