Since reflecting on my tutors comments on Part 2, I wanted to review some of the initials ideas I explored in various assignments, adding to my research and reflections (which was a bit thin).
One aspect Carla brought up, was on the printing press and the distribution of the Guttenberg Bible, one of the first books to be printed and mass-produced. The question I had asked, but couldn’t find any proof of, what “how much has the Bible changed, since it was first written and during the time of Jesus (new and old testaments)?”
I did some research, and most sites I found were pro the existence of God and other church websites. I didn’t find any academic papers to verify anything. Lucky for me, my friend Matt, who is staying with us at the moment, is a scholar who studied in Jerusalem, and writes and read in ancient Aramaic. He is also gay, which wouldn’t matter, other than, one of the reasons he decided to study the ancient scrolls, was to find answers about how the church views same sex relationships. His father is a pastor and was raised in an ultra religious fashion, it was a long time until he came out, but always felt so wrong being gay.
I asked him how much has the words changed in today’s or the Guttenberg Bible since the dead sea scrolls. He said to my surprise, very little. The sect of Jews who were in charge of re-writing the scriptures did so in a very careful and sacred manner, being careful with every word.
It turns out I’ve been asking the wrong question. I should ask, how has the TRANSLATION changed the original meaning? Yes, that is a much better question. The answer is, a lot. For example, did you know there were Unicorns the Bible? The original translators didn’t know the word for an animal, so they called it a Unicorn. So, if there are Unicorns in the Bible, what else has been translated differently.
As far as homosexuality is concerned, back in the day, when battles and war were common place, some soldiers after battle, to show their dominance, would rape the men they fought against. The Bible condemns this act, but perhaps it was misinterpreted as condemning sex between two men in any context?
There is also a question to whether temple prostitution has been misconstrued to support anti-gay and anti- lesbian opinions.
I found this on the Gay Christian 101 site after Matt told me about this
“In the extensive reading and research I’ve done on Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, no scholar I have read presents any biblical cultural doctrinal historical linguistic or religious proof that 1450 BC Israel had a problem with gay men and lesbians. As you will see in the quotes from conservative anti-gay scholars on this page, all of the evidence points to the truth that ancient Israel had a problem with shrine prostitution and shrine prostitutes and their pagan sexual worship of false gods.”
Translating languages has a far greater chance of misinterpreting truth and intentions, than mass producing words through the technological advancement of printing.
There is a myth that went the first explorers came to Australia, they pointed at a Kangaroo, and the aborigines said “kangaroo” which was later discover meant “I don’t know”.
This isn’t of course true, but it does highlight how easily language can be misinterpreted, not only meanings, but also intentions, and cultural difference. Body language also differs from nationalities, for example, what I thought meant maybe, a open palm giration of the hand side to side, means definitely NO in Vietnam. As well as how you call someone over, I have waved at someone before, but made the downward hand-jester, which means, come hither, we were both quite confused.
Another question to ask is how does language shape the world we see? An essay written by
explores this idea by looking at directions different cultures see time. Latin based languages which are read left to right, see time moving in that direction, the same is with middle eastern language which read right to left, see time passing in the direction. Lera looked at aboriginal communities whose language in based on environment location, north-east-south-west. They saw time moving depending on what direction they were facing. Another interesting experiment was looking at different languages which uses genres. Germain and Spanish languages attribute different male or female grammar to objects, for example a bridge is female in Spanish and male in German. When each were asked to describe a bridge, the Germans said it was “hard,” “heavy,” “jagged,” “metal,” “serrated,” and “useful,” whereas Spanish speakers were more likely to say “golden,” “intricate,” “little,” “lovely,” “shiny,” and “tiny.”
Lera also says this when looking at art, which I thought was really interesting.
“In fact, you don’t even need to go into the lab to see these effects of language; you can see them with your own eyes in an art gallery. Look at some famous examples of personification in art — the ways in which abstract entities such as death, sin, victory, or time are given human form. How does an artist decide whether death, say, or time should be painted as a man or a woman? It turns out that in 85 percent of such personifications, whether a male or female figure is chosen is predicted by the grammatical gender of the word in the artist’s native language. So, for example, German painters are more likely to paint death as a man, whereas Russian painters are more likely to paint death as a woman”.
Lera https://www.edge.org/conversation/lera_boroditsky-how-does-our-language-shape-the-way-we-think [10-5-17]