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Error In the Danish Translation of the Bible in 2020

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Accurateness is the most important aspect that makes a good translation. When it is not achieved, miscommunication arises. The reader gets the wrong message and passes it over, which then results in funny, negative, or embarrassing situations. Editing is also very important, a wrong letter can make an insult or a dirty joke. When it comes to the Bible, the translation should be especially sensitive and impeccable since it is a cultural and religious text that shapes the understanding of faith.

How Moses Got His Horns?

One of the translation mistakes in the Bible has led to serious confusion regarding the appearance of Moses. A sculpture by one of the most renowned artists of Italian Renaissance Michelangelo depicts Moses with horns, like those, typically associated with the devil. It is due to a mistake in the medieval Latin translation of the Bible in Exodus in the episode with the introduction of tablets with the Commandments. When Moses returns holding the tablets he is described with a Hebrew word ‘qeren’ that can have a meaning of ‘horned’ but in this context refers to the radiance that surrounded him. This example shows how diverse the effect of the wrong translation of the Bible can be because of the strong cultural influence of the Holy Scripture.

Another example is concerned with editing. There are hundreds listed ridiculous mistakes in the text that passed through unnoticed, but probably one of the most infamous is about adultery in King James Version and interestingly, it is also found in Exodus and is also connected with the ten Commandments. In 1631 the King James Version of the Bible was published with a huge proofreading error – in one of the Commandments, the word ‘not’ is missing. It is the seventh Commandment that originally states “You shall not commit adultery”. So just imagine one reading in the Bible that God’s rule is to do vice versa. What a mess!

Correcting Issues and New Edits in the New Danish Translation of the Bible

Publishing a new edition of the Bible is the titanic work of a group of many people. Surprisingly, but the whole team of editors missed one blatant translation mistake. The New Danish version of the Bible was published with the issue in one of the lines where the Hebrew word for ‘kinsman’ is mistranslated as ‘enemy’. It has already been noticed and corrected in the electronic version but the issue will remain in published books until the release of a new edition. Unfortunately, such mistakes often lead to misinterpretation of the entire line. It clearly demonstrates that double-checking should be conducted at all levels.

Another difference from the original text introduced in the new Danish version is the replacement of ‘Israel’ with the ‘land of the Jews’. As claimed by the group of editors and translators it is done to avoid confusion with the contemporary country of Israel. Curiously, but all other names of the states remained in the text unchanged, although they also do not refer to the current existing countries. Such a decision is rather puzzling as considering the age of the text of the Holy Scripture and the story of the Jewish people described in it, one would definitely not confuse what is meant in the Bible by Israel and the modern country. Many also claim that this is a heretic attempt to describe Jewish people as ‘stateless’ and it has nothing to do with religion and culture.

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The translation of the Bible is always a way of its interpretation and delivery of some religious message. However, one should always strive for preserving the original meaning in order to allow the readers to decide on the perception and understanding of the Holy Scripture on their own.