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2. The Textual and Linguistic Competence of the Translation

2. The Textual and Linguistic Competence of the Translation

2.1. Textual Accuracy

The Hebrew Masoretic text of the Psalms (MT) preserves an old and accurate text, but it does contain copying errors and other damage, which we can often correct with the help of other ancient manuscripts. Apart from the Dead Sea scrolls, which Simmons does not cite even when their evidence is important (e.g., Pss ; ; 144:2; ), these manuscripts are translations of the Hebrew, and so must be used with double care. First, we must decide if a phrase was translated literally enough to be able to tell what the underlying Hebrew was; then, we must decide whether that underlying Hebrew text is any more accurate than our text. The goal is always to recover the original reading that gave rise to the variety of readings reflected in the textual evidence.

Unfortunately The Passion Translation (TPT) shows little understanding, either of the process of textual criticism, or of the textual sources themselves. When it says ‘Aramaic’ it generally means Syriac – a confusion that some Syriac versions themselves perpetuate – but from a text-critical point of view the difference is important. The Syriac Peshitta is a generally conservative translation of a Hebrew text almost identical to ours, made a few centuries after Christ.