Utahn's work with Dead Sea Scrolls adds insights for Bible translation

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    April 17, 2013 5:46 p.m.

    First of all, Dr. Parry is not translating anything as part of this project. That is not the purpose of the Biblica Hebraica Quinta. Translating is what other Biblical scholars will do when the work on the Biblica Hebraica Quinta is finished. What Doctor Parry and his peers are doing is examining the old Testament in its original Hebrew and Aramaic, line by line and literally letter by letter, looking for textual variants. They are using the Leningrad Codex as a baseline and comparing it against the Dead Sea Scrolls and other relevant documents. Any textual variant will be noted and if found significant, it may be added to the work. Before any textual variant to the Old Testament text can be published as part of the Biblica Hebraica Quinta, it will be subjected to a peer review process on steroids. So both supporters and non-supporters of Dr. Parry should relax.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Aug. 21, 2009 1:39 p.m.

    To the 5:09 Aug 15th commentator,
    You seriously misunderstand the Joseph Smith Translation. If you want to get a good understanding of it I would recomend Dr. Matthew's "A Plainer Translation": Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible.
    Isaiah was not actually all that heavily revised in the Joseph Smith Translation. Some of the Book of Mormon revisions may have been Nephi expounding on the words of Isaiah and not quoting them verbatim. At least one variation is an addition of material available in the septuagint. There are only two long passeges from the JST in Isaiah included in the JST appendex of the LDS edition of the scriptures, as opposed to four from Exodus, 11 from Genesis (and that is not counting the Book of Moses), 18 from Matthew, 10 from Mark, 11 from Luke and four from John.
    The Joseph Smith Translation does not neccesarily present a closer rendering of what the texts technically said in the original language. As far as I can tell there are no revisions offered by Joseph Smith for the text of Isaiah 15-28 inclusive. Know before you speak.

  • Larry Lawlor
    Aug. 18, 2009 10:47 p.m.

    Interesting that Don G. in quoting Gen 1:26 only quotes part of it and fails to note that the verse also says '"And God said, Let us make man in "our" image, after our likeness' and to try to make some kind of point out of your statement doesn't seem to add up to anything, does it? Obviously, it is talking about more than one person.

  • Waiting4It
    Aug. 17, 2009 9:14 p.m.

    for shaking the head@ 5:08
    Which TRUTH are you referring to? Kinda lost me there.

  • shaking the head
    Aug. 17, 2009 5:08 p.m.

    Amazing how much time and effort is wasted on blogging on issues such as this. The truth is......... "THE TRUTH". If you have to question it now, you'll understand when the time comes. That's a promise.

    I've been there and back........ and am now home. In my deepest heart of hearts, I know it to be the truth. In the meantime, everyone can say all they want, but the truth will prevail, and it's going to be so phenomenal and exciting I can't wait. Especially to see the surprised looks on the faces of the nay sayers.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 16, 2009 5:16 p.m.

    I hope the mormon church allows this guy to do a full inspection on the fictional works that Ole' Joe wrote up. Now that would be interesting>

  • An OBserver
    Aug. 16, 2009 4:29 p.m.

    I do NOT KNOW what the DN finds so offensice about rhis opinion,

    but I WIll try again,

    Some people can NOT accept that a person can be a and a christian and a scholar

    or a scholar and a mormon,

    IT just blows their world and their beliefs and conceptions they have of religion.

    As you see from all these posts the ANTI-MORMONS, the non-mormons, the ANTI-RELIGIONISTS, will not let this rest.

    They MUST attack the integrity of work done by such people.


    IF YOU know your REAL history, the LDS leadera NEVER FELL for the "salamader" letters,

    and unfortunately the only way to do a thorough testing was to purchase the letters,

    up to that time all the CON man allowed them to do was just inspect them, that is HOW con men work.

    AS you know FULL well, God allows EVERYONE their agency.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 16, 2009 12:56 p.m.

    LDS church leaders fell for the salamader letters. What makes you think that can correctly translate or interpret anything. Wow you people are very wacked!

  • RE: Don G
    Aug. 16, 2009 9:13 a.m.

    "God himself was once as we are now,and is an exalted man and sits entroned in yonder heavens!...I am going to tell you how God became God.(Joseph Smith) "...As man is,God once was; as God is,man may be."(Articles of Faith)
    (Gen 1:26)..."our image"; verse 27 reads "His own Image",If there were more than one God,it would read ,"their own image".Orthodox Jews would not accept the idea of many Gods. Dr. Parry should understand the meaning of God(Elohim),plurality of majesty.If anything, This teaches the trinity.
    ..."man is a God in embryo.' (Articles of Faith,James Talmage)

  • Confused
    Aug. 16, 2009 7:51 a.m.

    For Don@10:52
    So you believe in one God, but He is only the One God of this Universe? Then you state "We believe that there are other Gods for other universes out there..." Please tell me that is not the teaching of your Faith. If so, then you attribute Divinity to more than one Entity. How does this differ from pagans who believe in gods of forest, the rain and lightning? You can't have it both ways. Either you believe in the existence of One God or you believe in the existence of many Gods. I am not being mean, just trying to understand what I see as a contradiction. Thanks

  • To: Don G
    Aug. 15, 2009 10:52 p.m.

    You're a little confused over LDS doctrine, I'm afraid. We believe that God is divine. We believe that Jesus Christ is divine. He is God, He is the creator of the universe, He knows all and is perfect in every way.

    We believe in the idea of deism, or theosis. Early Christians also believed in this and taught it quite heavily in the First Century, under the direction of Peter and the other Apostles. There are many records available that prove this. The idea is that eventually, man can become like God.

    We do believe that as far as we're concerned, there is one God. We worship Him, we don't worship anybody or anything else. We believe that there are other Gods for other universes out there, but they don't concern us. The book of Genesis also supports this, when God says "Let US make man in OUR image." Who was He talking to, who was He including in His comment, if He was the only supreme being?

    We worship God. We don't worship other Gods or Goddesses. End of story.

  • Jim in Texas
    Aug. 15, 2009 10:21 p.m.

    I've always wondered why the phrase "as far as it's translated correctly" disturbs some folks. Do they mean that they would believe in the bible even it's wasn't translated correctly? Hmmmm!

  • Don G
    Aug. 15, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    Jewish-Hebrew and Christian Scholars agree on the OT "Shekinah glory". The devine prescence of Jehovah Elohim,or Jehovah and God are the same person. God is not a man . Rabbinic teaching(Bibical)on Shekinah glory are easily available,How he can square the Mormon teaching that God is an exalted man will be interesting. Gen 1:1 In the beginning God. Joseph taught in the beginning gods brought fourth gods.

  • By far
    Aug. 15, 2009 8:55 p.m.

    The "sweetest" position BY FAR is churchball coach! You get to curse, act all crazy screaming at the top of your lungs when your guys get fouled, and no one so much as raises an eyebrow.

    I kid. ;-)

    Seriously, though, "as far as it is translated correctly" is very interesting to me. Having several cross references available could clear up some...indiscretions, we'll say.

  • bwell
    Aug. 15, 2009 8:21 p.m.

    Re: Anonymous
    "Sweet Church Postions" The bigger the position in the Mormon church, the more is required of personal sacrifice and dedication. Opportunities to serve are offered to members who can accept or reject those callings. The "sweetest" calling is to be a nursery leader of 3 yr. olds on Sunday because of the natural sweetness and unconditional love of children. I venture to say Don Parry would accept that calling if his bishop asked him. You are uninformed about how the Church operates.

  • Keith
    Aug. 15, 2009 8:17 p.m.

    Ha ha, some of these comments make me laugh, especially the ones about him connecting imaginary dots to mormonism. I had an old testament class from Dr. Parry while at BYU. It was the best religion class I've ever had, and it was precisely because it was extremely academic based. So for those of you that are paranoid that mormons are the devil and this is another one of their brainwashing tools, relax!

    Congrats Dr. Parry! I know you'll do great! Look forward to seeing the finished product!

  • Idaho Mormon
    Aug. 15, 2009 7:59 p.m.

    Funny how easily my fellow Latter-day Saints can be baited into a debate on these comment boards. Actually, kind of sad.

  • RE: Jody Palmer
    Aug. 15, 2009 7:22 p.m.

    One of the modern translation today is the (NIV) over 20 different Christian denomination produced it. Among Christian denominations there is a saying: Unity in the essentials(Triune God)understanding in the non-essentials(woman pastors) charity in all else(Mormon,Jehovah Witness). One test will be (Isaiah 29:4,14 KJV)Modern translations have a different meaning all together.

  • Neal Humphrey
    Aug. 15, 2009 7:01 p.m.

    Interesting. I don't translate the Hebrew Bible. I read it in the original. I'm Christian. One of my graduate-level biblical professors was Jewish (others were Jesuit, Presbyterian, and Disciples scholars). The accuracy of the existing Hebrew Bible on my desk has been confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls for decades. There cannot be a legitimate "Mormon slant," just confirmation of existing Judeo-Christian view of Scripture.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 15, 2009 6:08 p.m.

    As so long as they are proprerly translated... I have my doubt about this guy being a mouthpiece for the City Creek Shopping Cener, Inc.

  • To Anonymous 4:39 p.m
    Aug. 15, 2009 6:05 p.m.

    You are one hilarious and paranoid person!

    The guy has been doing DS Scrolls work for a long time and plenty of fellow scholars have been able to review his work with high praise and approbation.

    Just what is a "sweet" church position? Tell me if you know of one so I can go apply.

  • To Jody Palmer 11:46 am
    Aug. 15, 2009 6:00 p.m.

    YOU: I do hope there indeed is a great deal of peer review and Christian scholars who are supervising this effort. The best of luck to this man and I hope he is doing an honest effort and not doing the work of the Mormon church to create it as a legitmate organization.

    Will "Christian scholars" be objective themselves, or will they also bring their assumptions and prejudices just like any Baptist, Jew, Mormon, or Catholic?

    Dr. Parry has already participated in the scrolls projects for many years with high praise from his fellow scholars. He is talented and a recognized expert.

    The Mormon church already is a "legitimate organization".

    The only "work" Parry will do is to apply his scholarly talents to produce the most accurate translation possible. His integrity has spoken and will speak volumes.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 15, 2009 5:51 p.m.

    Another Book of Abraham. Mormons are noted for translations.

  • Alan Tennuchi
    Aug. 15, 2009 5:35 p.m.

    To those who question Perry's honesty and integrity, I hope that you apply the same criteria to others on the team. I am sure that they do not all agree 100% theologicaly with each other.

    The original translation of the scrolls was done by many Roman Catholics. Do we see the veneration of Mary introduced?

  • Cottontop
    Aug. 15, 2009 5:31 p.m.

    Just when I think I might enjoy moving back to Utah, I am reminded why it is good to be away from Utah. Why does everything that an LDS person does have to have some religious motivation to PROVE their faith. Faith cannot be proved. I happen to know many great members of the LDS faith who are great because they are just great people. They are successful because they are successful. Why do we never hear these same complaints about Baptists or Methodists.....as if they could never have ulterior motives for things they do or participate in. This man is a world reknown scholar who is recognized for his scholarly talents AND his integrity. The fact that he is LDS isn't the issue. The fact that he is a truly talented scholar and professional at what he does is all that matters.

  • Re prejeudices
    Aug. 15, 2009 5:09 p.m.

    The Christian world has a couple keys to watch Mormons on tranlation, 1.The Septuagint a Greek translation of the Bible about 250 BC Jesus quotes from this(Apostles Bible). Joseph Smith made many changes in tranlation of Isaiah, If this Scholar agrees with the JST translation that would be another key. will see.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 15, 2009 4:39 p.m.

    I hope the dude well but question his integrity. The mormon church has certain expectation placed on members and there are serious cultural damages if this guy bucks the faith; on the other hand if he follows through and links all together then he is inline for some sweet church positions. We will see what happens but as an individual we have to give him the benefit of the doubt; on the other hand if the church get to him all bets are off.

  • johns
    Aug. 15, 2009 3:07 p.m.

    Sounds like a great scholar, an expert in his field who will bring skill and knowledge to a challenging project.

    Clearly the non-Mormon critics are nervous and paranoid about the legitimacy that this brings to Mormonism; they should calm down. He happens to be an expert in his field who is a Mormon--so what?

    And...Mormons who think this stuff has some connection to the Book of Mormon are equally misguided. This is about ancient Judaism and Hebrew culture/artifacts. There isn't any archeological or DNA evidence for BOM connection to Judaism etc. This doesn't mean people can't sincerely believe there is a connection. It just means there isn't any physical evidence. In the end, who can really explain "faith" or supernatural belief?! Some believe, some don't--for a variety of reasons.

    Anyway, I wish this scholar success in his endeavour. He clearly has the expertise and respect of his expert peers.

  • Russianwolfe
    Aug. 15, 2009 2:15 p.m.

    Dr. Parry would not have the reputation that would even get him considered for this activity if he seemed to be 'too LDS'. It is indeed a nod to his scholarly abilities that they would even consider him let alone offer him a position. To those who think that every Mormon has a hidden agenda, learn more about what you criticize before you open your mouths. There are many LDS who are at the top of their professions, not because they are LDS but because they do a good job.


  • Catholic
    Aug. 15, 2009 1:20 p.m.

    "Some of the variant readings scholars don't even know – you can state it can go either way,"
    Parry said.

    If the man is a scholar, and indeed he is, it would be beneath his scholary expertise to "tilt" the translation to favor any particular Faith. On the other hand, just as Jewish, Catholic and other scholars bring their "interpretation" of what has been translated from the Scrolls, it is Dr. Parry's perogative to do so as well as a Latter-day Saint. This has been the case with the Bible for hundreds of years. Dr. Parry does not claim to have the "spiritual gift" of translation. He is doing his work as a scholar, not a Prophet.

  • pilgrim
    Aug. 15, 2009 11:58 a.m.

    Any rational person knows that a Christian, by definition, is a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ. So Dr. Parry is, of course, a Christian. His appointment to this project speaks volumes about his scholarly reputation.

  • Jody Palmer
    Aug. 15, 2009 11:46 a.m.

    I hope this guy does well but keeps this venture into context on looking at the scrolls. I do have my doubt, however he is trying to come up with a smoking gun to connect the Mormon church and these scrolls. I do hope there indeed is a great deal of peer review (not practiced at byu) and Christian scholars who are supervising this effort. The best of luck to this man and I hope he is doing an honest effort and not doing the work of the Mormon church to create it as a legitmate organization.

  • Cats
    Aug. 15, 2009 11:21 a.m.

    @Concerned: Don Parry has 100 times more knowledge about Christianity and the Bible in his little finger than you do in your entire body. His work is entirely scholarly.

    I never cease to be amazed at some of the ignorant comments from those who have little knowledge of scripture (particularly the Book of Mormon) and yet spew criticism at those who have great knowledge.

    You know it's really easy to write a blog that says there are no connections between Mormonism and the Bible. What I'd like to see you do is give some backup evidence to prove your unfounded statements. Gosh, I'd better not hold my breath.

  • Concerned
    Aug. 15, 2009 11:05 a.m.

    I hope there are Christian scholors which are overseeing Don Parry's work. I would be concerned about no peer review for this man and connecting dots to mormonism which just aren't there.

  • Lloyd Knowles
    Aug. 15, 2009 10:34 a.m.

    I spent a year and a half studying Parry's "Understanding Isaiah" and it was more like a stroll through central Jerusalem. What insight! To Klueth: Parry's work is scholarly, not creative. In his own writings he has the freedom to make the connection between the translations and his Faith; but the actual translations have to be as accurate as possible. This is an amazing work.

  • Ronnie Buckley
    Aug. 15, 2009 10:28 a.m.

    Facinating, I look forward to the outcome of all this.
    I have spent some time in the middle East and have been to where the Dead sea scrolls where found and have seen parts of them. Anything that can shine more light and knowledge on the Gospel Plan is so welcome to me as I work my way back to my Father in Heaven.
    Thanks for reporting on this

  • Zadruga Guy
    Aug. 15, 2009 10:07 a.m.

    Klueth, Parry's scholarly credentials speak for themselves. He is, simply put, one of the world's leading experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls. What are your credentials to speak on the Book of Mormon?

  • Klueth
    Aug. 15, 2009 9:46 a.m.

    I wonder how creative he will be in tying these to the Book of Mormon. I am sure he will come back home to Zion a hero.

  • dead sea scrolls
    Aug. 15, 2009 9:30 a.m.

    yawn. about as interesting as a walk through central cleveland in the fog.

  • anonymous
    Aug. 15, 2009 2:15 a.m.

    I thought the Jehova's Witnesses have the correct translation, I was told that their religion had already translated their version of the bible from the dead sea scrolls long ago.....seems like a correct translation is more complicated than their religion might teach.

  • Yeah!
    Aug. 14, 2009 10:18 p.m.

    Go Don, you rock!

    Don was my Hebrew teacher at BYU. What a great honor for a great guy.