Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rev. 13:1 - "wild beast [therion]"

A book which examines most twentieth century English versions of the Bible: So Many Versions? (SMV), by trinitarian Bible scholars Dr. S. Kubo and Dr. W. Albrecht provides a page and a half of what it calls "peculiar translations" (pp. 108-109) by the NWT. Many of these "peculiar translations" are comparable to translations found in more popular Bibles of Christendom. But these comparable renderings are not criticized at all in SMV's critique of them.

One of these "peculiar translations" is of Rev. 13:1:

Rev. 13:1 - "wild beast [therion]" vs. RSV's "beast."

The NT Greek word here is therion. This word (therion) means "wild beast" in distinction to ktenos ("beast" or domestic animal) - New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed., Tyndale House, p. 127.

And W. E. Vine states that therion

"almost invariably denotes a wild beast....Therion, in the sense of wild beast, is used in the Apocalypse [Revelation]...[Rev.] 11:7; 13:1-18; 14:9, 11..." - p. 95, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Thomas Nelson Publ., 1984 printing.

Noted NT scholar Gerhard Kittel agrees: see p. 333, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, (Abridged in one Volume), Eerdmans Publ., 1985.

And highly respected NT scholars Liddell and Scott write:

"[therion] a wild animal, beast .... of savage beasts" - p. 396, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Liddell and Scott, Oxford University Press, 1994 printing. (Cf. A. T. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. vi, p. 398.)

Adam Clarke agrees: Commenting on the word often translated as `beast' in Rev. 13:1, Clarke refers us to its use for the four beasts in the Book of Daniel. The Hebrew word used for these beasts was (chaiyah).

"This Hebrew word [chaiyah] is translated in the Septuagint by the Greek word qhrion [therion], and both words signify what we term a wild beast; and the latter is the one used by St. John in the Apocalypse. Taking up the Greek word qhrion [therion] in this sense, it is fully evident, if a power be represented in the prophetical writings under the notion of a wild beast, that the power so represented must partake of the nature of a wild beast. Hence an earthly belligerent power is evidently designed." - pp. 1109, 1110, Vol. 6B, Adam Clarke's Commentary.

Also examine NAB (1970); CBW; and Weymouth which all use "wild beast" at Rev. 13:1.

And here's how most Bibles translate therion at Mark 1:13:

"Wild beasts" - RSV; NRSV; NKJV; KJV; ASV; NASB; JB; NAB (1970); NAB (1991); NEB; REB; AB; CBW; Mo; Byington; Webster (and Revised Webster); KJIIV (Green); Darby; Weymouth; and Lamsa. "Wild animals" - NIV; NJB; GNB; AT; NLV, Beck; and Phillips.

We can see the same thing at Rev. 6:8 where RSV; NASB, ASV; NIV; NEB; REB; NJB; NAB (`70); MLB; GNB; Moffatt; and Phillips translate therion as "wild beasts." Also LB; CBW; NRSV; and AT render it as `wild animals.'

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