Monday, July 25, 2011

American Standard Version "Bible in a Year" Project

I used to read the Bible through every year, back when I had more time for reading paper books!  Of late I've been doing more e-reading.  Most everything I want to read is out of copyright and free on Gutenberg. 
So cool to have a dozen books in a tiny one-hand size gadget.  It's lighter than a book and easier to turn pages, and I can read in bed until I fall asleep, and three minutes later the gadget turns itself off. 

This year I made a Daily Bible Reading file, very simple, just the Bible divided up into 365 chunks.  I've been staying on track so far.  It's a nice feeling to get back to that, I had missed it.

I use the King James version mostly because so many verses are familiar. The wording that sticks in my head is KJV, so it seemed logical to continue to dump more KJV on top of what's already in there to increase the chances of remembering more of it.

My folks were into the Holy Name, saying Yahvah and Yahshua instead of God and Jesus.  I agreed in theory, only it never seemed quite comfortable to me, and I just didn't say it.

Jesus is the English version and English is what we're speaking, here. In English, most of the Ys have morphed into Js, but it's still the same name. And the Holy Name people still use other names for comfort like Peter and John, they don't say Petros and Johannes.  Why not stick with the same language throughout? 

But the name of God-- no argument that our God has a personal name and that it occurs in the Bible six thousand some times. I agree that it wouldn't have been inspired to be written down so many times if God had wanted someone to come along later and censor it for him because they had better taste than he did.

It does say we're supposed to remember the name.  We have to "call on the name of the LORD".  Okay.  And that is--?

At least there are several verses in KJV where Jehovah appears, so that Christians know what the name of their God is even if they're not used to hearing it very often.  You gotta know it before you can call on it.

When I was a child, my mother told me that if there was an emergency, I should call her by her given name.  The problem with that is that in emergencies, we do whatever is ingrained habit.  If the sky was falling I wouldn't have had presence of mind enough to yell anything but "Mom!!!"
That's why I taught my kids from birth upwards to call me Janel.  When the lights go out in Walmart, a lot of kids will yell for their mothers, and mine will be easy to pick out.

A couple weeks ago I was just innocently reading along and something snapped.

Psalm 135:
Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD. Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant. For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.

My brain hit a brick wall! WHAT?  WHAT in all capitals?  WHAT are you talking about?  WHAT is with this substitution?  If it's so important to say over and over, why are we being kept away from WHAT's really there? 

I might have just become a Holy Name person.

I closed the Bible and wouldn't open it again until I got a better version.
Oh, I mean I turned off the reader and deleted the file, until I could get back to my desktop and download a better version  :-)
The solution is right there as a free text file.  It's the American Standard.

Not "New," it's the old, original American Standard, now in the public domain!

Here's the preface to explain the reasoning, and I find this interesting from a historical perspective This was the attitude in America in 1901, before "The Great War" to begin perpetual idiocy, before "The Great Depression" to show 'em who's boss and get their heads focused on Mammon, before the even bigger slaps that were to follow those.


Copied from
"But the American Revisers, after a careful consideration were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament, as it fortunately does not in the numerous versions made by modern missionaries. This Memorial Name, explained in Ex. iii. 14, 15, and emphasized as such over and over in the original text of the Old Testament, designates God as the personal God, as the covenant God, the God of revelation, the Deliverer, the Friend of his people; -- not merely the abstractly "Eternal One" of many French translations, but the ever living Helper of those who are in trouble. This personal name, with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim."
In 1963 the New American Standard Version came out, with new American values imposed.  Check out their New American reason for putting "LORD" back in the text again, obscuring God's name from New American eyes.  Was it because they discovered it wasn't really meant to be written there?  No. Was it a divine revelation that God doesn't care any more whether we call him by name or not?  Nope!

YHWH (rendered as "Jehovah" in the original ASV) is rendered LORD or GOD in capital letters in the NASB. The committee stated the reason as: "This name has not been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. Therefore it has been consistently translated LORD..."
And I've never been much of a fan of changing truth to suit special interest groups.

For the rest of us, there's the internet, with the full text to download for free!

I set about portioning up the document again for my daily reading convenience.  I spread the Psalms and Proverbs around a bit, similar to the way the One-Year Bible does.  I didn't do anything so scientific, only broke up the long chapters and added those sections in after each Old Testament portion, ending with Malachi.  In my opinion the very beginning of the Bible (with its summer-movie action sequences) and the New Testament are the funnest parts to read in large chunks, so I mixed the Psalms and Proverbs with the parts in between.

As of yesterday, July 24th, I caught back up with the right date and I'm on track.

So far, I've been enjoying the ASV text very much. 
What a relief it is from that coy small-capitals "LORD"!
Here "Lord" only occurs in the text where it means lord, and it's in regular letters.

Re-reading Psalm 135 is like a breath of fresh air. 

Praise ye Jehovah. Praise ye the name of Jehovah; Praise him, O ye servants of Jehovah, Ye that stand in the house of Jehovah, In the courts of the house of our God. Praise ye Jehovah; for Jehovah is good: Sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant. For Jehovah hath chosen Jacob unto himself, And Israel for his own possession. For I know that Jehovah is great, And that our Lord is above all gods.
Here's my document for download... American Standard Bible Reading Project