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The Historical Importance of Jesus's Words
An introduction of my work to re-introduce Jesus's words to the world.
Many people think they are studying what Jesus said by reading the popular English translations. The truth is that recent and popular translations such as the New Living Translation or, worse The Message are nearly impossible to connect to the original Greek. Even those translations that keep closest to the original, such as the King James Version, adapt the meaning of keywords to support their particular beliefs. dogma. I have heard preachers give entire sermons about the importance of Jesus’s use of a certain word in a verse when that word never appeared in the Greek faithfully preserved for two thousand years.
Why Jesus Words Matter
For fifteen years, I have been translating the Greek of Jesus’s words, not because I want to promote any view of Jesus’s teaching, but because of his impact on human history, a public life of no more than three years, never holding any political power, never commanding an army, never traveling more than thirty miles from his home, and yet an impact so great that our calendar itself pivots at his birth, marking it as the beginning of our “common era.”
Despite never writing anything, Jesus words have become the most frequently duplicated words in human history, starting almost immediately after his death, ancient copies of it being a hundred times more common than the works of Plato, Aristotle, Sun Tzu, Confucius, and all other voices in human history. They not only became instantly popular wherever they traveled, but they were faithfully preserved, place after place, copied by hand, generation to generation, century to century, millennium to millennium, the diligent work of thousands of people in thousands of places over thousands of years. While copies of other written works were preserved, here and there, no other words were preserved on such a vast scale.
His words have reshaped human thought, giving rise to concepts that were unthinkable before his teaching. Science itself, the idea that the universe could be comprehended by the human mind, arose from people who took Jesus’s words to heart. Galileo, the father of the scientific method, Newton, father of physics, inventor of calculus, Lavoisier, the founder of chemistry, Euler, history’s most prolific mathematician, Faraday, discoverer of electromagnetism, Mendel, founder of genetics, the list goes on and on, all serious students of Jesus.
Many of these people, including Galileo and Newton, wrote seriously on Jesus’s philosophy. Newton, writing more about theology than he did about physics and mathematics. However, these people had one advantage people lack today. They could study the original Greek. Most of these great minds questioned the most popular dogmas of their eras, Galileo one of history’s most famous rebels, Newton afraid to publish his theology writing for fear of censure.
Words Lost to Dogma, Translation, and Time
But don’t we know Jesus’s words? Haven’t many of us heard them since childhood? The short answer is no, partly yes, but too much no. When I started studying Greek, I didn’t expect to find much new, not as much as I found in the ancient Chinese of Sun Tzu. Instead, what I found is that Jesus’s words have been systematically mistranslated, some problems related to how the Bible itself changed the meaning of the Greek, making it difficult to hear the words as his contemporaries did, but most problems related to Christian dogma, the problem growing worse in the most recent versions of the Bible, but a few of these problems going back to the fourth century, when the Greek was first translated into Latin in the Vulgate.
In the original Greek, Jesus’s words, translated as his listeners would have heard them, are more entertaining, more dramatic, and, especially, more practical for those wanting to lead a productive life and building a wealthier, more livable world. They are full of fun wordplay, but many of their double meanings are economic. In other words, Jesus entertained people while teaching people what they wanted to know: how to create better lives for themselves and their loved one. He instructed people to stop repeating their mistakes—not “sins”—actions that made their lives more difficult, but he did it in a fun way. His main philosophy was that a better way of living was near, the Divine wants to reward us, the secret just a matter of changing our minds about what is important, viewing the world from a higher perspective, a long-term perspective.
The articles in the publication are meant to be entertaining and provocative, many will focus on Jesus’s humor, which is reach, deep, and shows up in most verses. Many other articles will discuss the words that are systematically mistranslated in the Bible, words like “sin,” “love,” “end of the world,” “eternal life,” and “heaven,” words that control many people’s reading of the Bible. Other articles will examine the practical advice that Jesus gives, advice that gets lost in religious dogma, relating to economics, relationships, and more. Some articles will analyze his methods for creating drama in storytelling, a method invisible in Biblical translation.
I won’t be publishing any articles to promote my own religious beliefs. I will do one article about those beliefs so that readers can know where am coming from, more if readers are interested. I also won’t be publishing my detailed research into each verse of Jesus’s words. I publish those boring articles daily at ChristsWords.com, which represents over 10,000 hours of research into the Greek, listing and categorizing the differences between the original Greek and the King James (KJV) and New International Versions (NIV). I also started an analysis of the New Living Translation (NLT), but I gave up because so little of that work related to the words that so many worked so long to preserve. One of the great tragedies of today’s Christianity is that this work is so popular among modern pastors.
If I do this correctly, my articles will be interesting enough to make people angry. I enjoy a good debate. I find mistakes that I have made in translation every day, but I have done more work on analyzing Jesus’s words than anyone I can find. I would love to encounter others who think they know more so I can learn from them, one way or another. I find mistakes that I have made every day, but I would like to think that the information I provide here is solid, backed up by historical facts.
If you have any questions, please ask,
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