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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Augustine’s mistake about original sin

I have posted at my own blog on Augustine’s mistake about original sin, relating to his misunderstanding of Romans 5:12 because he was using an inadequate translation. The post goes into theological matters which are outside the scope of this blog. But my main point, with which I conclude that post, is related to better Bibles:
But my real point here is the need to be very careful before basing any kind of doctrine on a translation of the Bible. It is almost impossible for a translation to be precise and unambiguous in its rendering of little words like prepositions. Augustine’s Latin translation was not really inaccurate, it was just excessively literal and introduced an ambiguity which wasn’t in the original, like many translations into English and other languages today. Sadly, too many exegetes and preachers today base their teaching on similar misunderstandings of inadequate translations, and don’t bother to learn the original languages. Not many of their mistakes will still be remembered 1600 years later, but there are serious consequences for leading just one person astray by wrong teaching.

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