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Translation Question

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Hello! I am currently in my church library and there's a whole shelf dedicated to adaptations of the Bible, Biblical poetry, devotions, and the whole nine yards. I found a translation from the University of Chicago and decided to see how they interpreted Genesis 1:1. Expecting the famous start: "In the beginning..." I was surprised to find it different and continued reading.

I cannot read Hebrew, so I'm not sure what the original text would say, but this one, "The Complete Bible, an American Translation" translated by Edgar J. Goodspeed says,
"When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth was a desolate waste, with darkness covering the abyss and a tempestuous wind raging over the surface of the waters." The binding of the Book feels nice, so I would like to read from it, but I'm not sure if it's actually accurate. Where does he find the tempestuous wind? Was the earth a "desolate waste" or is that overstating?

I currently have three Bibles around me now (including the KJV) and none of them say that. Here, please read this,
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. [2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (KJV)

Was God moving on the face of the waters the tempestuous wind? But what about the desolate waste? The earth had no form. I am very confused and my pastor is not here right now. (I'm at the church because my mother works here; we don't have service on Wednesday morning). The NIV says,
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. [2] Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." (NIV)

So...was the "empty" what he meant by desolate waste? When I hear that, I think fallen cities and...waste! Any ideas would be appreciated, and any explanation of translation too. Is Edgar J. Goodspeed of the University of Chicago trustworthy?
 
Unworthy Servant
Staff Member
Greetings,

I think you will find that translation is more of a literary translation meaning it was written for good and easy reading.
While it might be interesting, and even stimulating, that is not the best approach to reading the Bible.

Be aware of your motives in wanting or being curious about it.

Personally wouldn't bother with it. The same with quite a few other versions/translations.
One point may be worth considering, also. From what i know about that 'translation' it was not done by a team of scholars but by one or two men so the amount of input and decisions about what words to use would have been very one-sided , so to speak rather than any group agreement.

Bless you ....><>
 
Member
Greetings,

I think you will find that translation is more of a literary translation meaning it was written for good and easy reading.
While it might be interesting, and even stimulating, that is not the best approach to reading the Bible.

Be aware of your motives in wanting or being curious about it.

Personally wouldn't bother with it. The same with quite a few other versions/translations.
One point may be worth considering, also. From what i know about that 'translation' it was not done by a team of scholars but by one or two men so the amount of input and decisions about what words to use would have been very one-sided , so to speak rather than any group agreement.

Bless you ....><>


Thank you! I'll stick to my go-to translations for studying and explore when I know the word better. Thanks for your input!
 

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