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"A Plainer Translation" Joseph Smiths Translation of the Bible - A History and Commentary

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Publisher: Brigham Young University Press
1 review about "A Plainer Translation" Joseph Smiths Translation...


  • Aug 3, 2011
Robert James Matthews (1926-2009) was a Latter-day Saint religious educator and scholar, who taught at BYU in Utah. He was particularly noteworthy for bringing together scholars from the Community of Christ (RLDS) and the LDS Church. He is noteworthy for his other work on the Joseph Smith Translation/"Inspired Version" of the Bible (see Joseph Smith's New Translation Of The Bible: Original Manuscripts and Plain and Precious Truths Restored - The Doctrinal and Historical Significance of the Joseph Smith Translation), as well as his other books such as The Selected Writings of Robert J. Matthews (Gospel Scholars Series) and A Burning Light: The Life and Ministry of John the Baptist.

He wrote in an introductory section ("Why This Book Was Written") to this 1975 book, "this book---tells why, where, when, and how the translation was made; points out some problems encountered in publishing the translation from the manuscript... discussed contributions of the New Translation to Latter-day Saint scripture and doctrine... The book is intended to be a serious approach to the whole subject of Joseph Smith's work with the Bible, to bring the subject into focus and place it in proper perspective within the larger framework of the history of the Church in the dispensation of the fulness of times."

Here are some additional quotations from the book:

"Although two portions of Moses and the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew (Joseph Smith 1), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never published the entire work." (Pg. xvii) (However, now see "The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament: A Side-By-Side Comparison with the King James Version" and "The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament: A Side-By-Side Comparison with the King James Version.")
"Perhaps the best use of the Inspired Version is as a commentary or reference work. It is often an extremely rewarding experience to compare an unclear passage in the King James Version with the Inspired Version. It is an excellent study aid and supplement." (Pg. xxxii)
"Therefore, the conclusion is that the 1974 printing of the New Corrected Edition is the most accurate printing of the Inspired Version yet to come forth... it is not a perfect representation of the manuscript, but it is the best one printed to date." (Pg. 201)
"The question is often asked, 'Did Joseph Smith finish the translation of the Bible? Historically, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have held that he did not, and members of the RLDS Church have generally held that he did. Each party can produce statements and give arguments in support of that claim." (Pg. 207)
"I feel that probably the most important parts were revised and put into a form useful to the members of the Church, and that perhaps what remained to be done consisted primarily in refinements and polishing to remove ambiguities and to clarify certain inferences." (Pg 214)
"Since these modern versions (of the Bible) are the product of the earliest available manuscript sources, and since they do not basically support the New Translation, the Prophet's work is thought by some to suffer by comparison, and the inference is that it could not be a restoration of the original text... It is to be remembered that none of the original manuscripts of the Bible are available today... it is possible that the corruption of the New Testament came soon after the death of the original Twelve and could have affected the very earliest copies. The Old Testament was undoubtedly corrupted much earlier." (Pg. 236-237)
"One of the most remarkable topics in Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible is the foreknowledge about Jesus Christ in the time of the ancient patriarchs from Adam to Abraham." (Pg. 323)
"Joseph Smith produced a 'plainer translation' of the Bible. It is not a perfect translation beyond all possibility of improvement, but rather an enlargement of and an inspired commentary upon some very important topics in the Bible." (Pg. 391)

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