This is where you will find most answers. If there should still be any questions left, don't hesitate to contact us.
The major difference between the LEV and any other version is the treatment of names. There are very few versions out there that give such careful treatment to not only our Father's Name and His Son's Name, but also to the transliteration of the names of others. In Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, all names mean something, and in many cases, just the names themselves tell a story. Therefore it is vitally important that these names be transliterated into their original pronunciation as best as possible. Names may have alternate forms, for instance, the name "Joshua" is the anglicized form of "Yehoshua." However, if my name were Joshua (and it is not), and I introduced myself to someone who spoke only Hebrew, I would not introduce myself as "Yehoshua" but rather "Joshua." Names should always retain the spelling and pronunciation of their respective language.
The other major differences, aside from those that arise over text base (that is, the differences on account of using the Critical Texts instead of the Majority Text) have to do with consistency. We have sought to, as much as possible, translate one Hebrew word into one English word, and keep it the same. This usually works for the most part and avoids some silly variations. Such as is explained regarding the words ger, nokri, tochav, and zur in the Preface.
In many cases, the LEV will be very familiar to those that have previously enjoyed the WEB, ASV, NASB, ESV, and other such modern translations.
The primary texts are those that stood behind the ASV and were carried into the WEB. Beyond that, the WEB brought the text better in line with the most recently updated version of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), which was not available in 1901. Beyond this, the LEV took it a step further and refined the text to bring it more in line (in the "Old Testament") with the BHS than even the WEB had, and includes many additional readings where other versions of the OT differ. These variations include the Greek Septuagint (LXX), the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), the Samaritan Pentateuch (SP), the Latin Vulgate (LV), and the Syriac Peshitta (Syr). In most cases, these variations are left in the footnotes. However, when many of these all agree in a reading AGAINST the Hebrew Masoretic Text (which is the base of the BHS), the additional reading was added, [though set in brackets], with a footnote at the bottom of the page stating why it was added.
For the "New Testament" we did things a little bit differently. The ASV was based on the 1881 Wescott & Hort Greek New Testament. While that remains the base of most modern Greek New Testaments, there have been many discoveries made since then. The WEB actually takes the minority view and decided to use the Greek Majority Text. For the LEV, we have heavily revised the text to bring it in line with the Nestle-Aland 28th ed. Critical Text. This makes it closer to modern versions than to the WEB or to the KJV etc.
While there are numerous verses in the NT that are not found in the Critical Texts, we have chosen to include them, though set them in [brackets] and added a footnote. This allowed us to inform the reader that a particular reading is not in the oldest texts. Some readings, which are not supported by the Critical Texts or even by the Majority Texts such as 1 John 5:7a were omitted completely, as it is also omitted from all versions outside of the KJV and its descendants.
While the LEV does not take the position of Aramaic Primacy (specifically, Peshitta Primacy) we have done something that no other translation has done: noted a great number of variations between the Syriac Aramaic Peshitta NT and the Greek Critical Texts. This allows the reader to see many of the differences between the two.
No, the Alexandrian Greek texts are not "Catholic corruptions." In fact, some of the Alexandrian Texts are the ONLY texts that predate the false Orthodoxy of the Catholic Church. There is quite a bit of misinformation out there about them, usually spurred on by the Cultic "King James Only" people. Rather than answer all that right now, please click here to read a full write-up on the Majority Text vs. the Critical Texts. Now the Majority Text agrees with the Textus Receptus more often than the Critical Texts. The Majority Text means that whatever reading is most common, that is taken as the "original" reading. In fact, the Textus Receptus was, in its day, the first "Majority Text." But please note that the TR was based on only a handful of manuscripts (seven, originally) when it was written and compiled by Desiderius Erasmus, the Catholic scholar. What is more, is that some pieces of the Textus Receptus are backward translations from Latin. This means that some Latin texts (specifically, for example, the last section of Revelation) were translated BACK into Greek, and THAT is what Erasmus put into the Textus Receptus. The reason he did this was because his copy of Revelation lacked the final section, and all he had available to him was the Latin version.
Many people do not like the Critical Texts because they say that a group of fallible humans sat around a "picked" the readings to put into it. This is true, but only because it is necessary. In the Greek 'New Testament' texts, there are roughly 400,000 variations. There are more DIFFERENCES between Greek NT texts than there are WORDS in the Greek NT texts. So the process of Textual Criticism is employed to try and select the best, most "original" reading. This is the same process Erasmus used in combining the handful of manuscripts he had when he created the Textus Receptus. The difference is, Erasmus only had a few manuscripts to work with, and he was only one man. Today, the Greek Critical Texts are worked by numerous Greek scholars, and they have access to thousands of Greek texts.
We do not wish to be labeled or lumped in with any movement. The Tetragrammaton was used because simply put, that IS the name of our Creator. We do not care for substitutions in the text. As mentioned in the Preface to the LEV (and previously, the SQV), the reader is fully encouraged to pronounce the Name, however, he/she so desires. Or, in the event the reader wishes to not pronounce His Name, they may do that as well. When reading the Tetragrammaton many have chosen to pronounce the Name in the way they believed it should be pronounced. Others, however, have continued the Jewish and Christian practice of speaking it as "Adonai" or "HaShem" or "The Lord." That is between the reader and The Almighty.
But simply put, the LEV is not a "Sacred Name" Bible, in that it does not support the notion that without utilizing the proper pronunciation of the Name, one cannot be saved.
First, if you (or I, or anyone) come across Scriptures that disagrees with personally-held theology, it is time to reconsider that theology. But as stated previously the #2 goal of the LEV is to remove bias. Therefore whatever the source text (Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek) says, that is what we went with, even if we personally grappled with understanding it theologically. There are, to be sure, a handful of places where this differs from mainstream translations. And there are a handful of places where given the ambiguous nature of the text, there could be multiple ways to translate it. An example of this is B'reshiyt [Genesis] 10:21:
21 Also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, and the older brother of Japheth, children were born. (NASB)
21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber. (NIV)
21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. (KJV)
So you can see the issues. Given the way this verse reads in Hebrew (אֲחִ֖י יֶ֥פֶת הַגָּדֹֽול) that it is not so simple as just "translating the text" but rather, deciphering the best translation with the information and evidence available.
Look it up. If anyone reading disagrees with the translation, that is fine. We fully encourage readers to "test everything" (1 Thess. 5) and to verify if we have done a correct job by checking the work themselves. This can most easily be accomplished by using an Interlinear Bible that shows the direct English meaning for each Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek word. Again, our intention was NOT to create a Bible that would suit our theology. Rather, we created a Bible that was not tailored towards any denomination or movement; it is only tailored towards accuracy and integrity to the original texts. And we have had numerous people checking the accuracy of the translation. Not too long ago someone contacted us telling us there was an error in a verse in Leviticus (20:10 to be exact) that repeated the same phrase twice. Our response was to check the English rendering and go back, yet again, to the Hebrew text. Here, however, the phrase in Hebrew does repeat, and thus was translated correctly. We informed the individual who brought it to our attention, who then went and verified it with an Interlinear himself.
If you are reading through the LEV and come across what you believe to be an error, be it technical (spelling, spacing, etc.), or doctrinal, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will certainly attempt to address all questions, comments, and concerns.
Because that is the only factual, textual support we have for it. The Greek texts of the NT write His Name as Ιησους (Iesous) which is used in the Septuagint (LXX) as a stand-in for both Yehoshua (Joshua) and Yeshua (Jeshua). This means we can narrow down the Hebrew spelling of His Name to either ישוע, which we have chosen, or to יהושע, which we did not choose. The reason for this is multi-faceted, but the largest level of support was found in the Syriac Aramaic texts, which record His Name as ישוע as well. This also fits with the Hebraic naming convention of naming a child something that has to do with his birth, as shown in the footnotes of Matthew 1. Yoseph was told, "He will save His people" and indeed, "Yeshua" (ישוע) means "he will save."
However we still fully encourage readers to pronounce or not pronounce His Name however they feel led. We chose this rendering based on our textual support, not simply personal theology. What we refused to do with the LEV was to place our personal opinion into it. In the case of the Name of Messiah, many translations forsake sound grammar and linguistics in favor of personal interpretations or preferences. These usually include Yahshua, Yahushuwah, and so on. There is no linguistic or grammatical support for translating either the Greek Iesous or the Aramaic ישוע as Yahshua, or Yahusha, or Yahushuwah, or anything else. This is further supported by the Latin's version of Iesus, the Coptic version's Iesous, and the Amharic (Ethiopic) version of Yeiysus. Given the comparison of the Greek and Aramaic, along with the support of these other languages, the Name must be written as ישוע. To be fair, the Ge'ez Ethiopic version of the NT gives His Name as Iyasus, though the evidence that the Name has a short 'e' vowel instead of a long 'a' vowel is overwhelming. Even the medieval-era Hebrew translation of Matthew (Munster) has His Name written as ישוע. (Note: the other versions, DuTillet and Shem Tov, use the shorter, derogatory form of "Yeshu" (ישו))
Because although the apocrypha does contain some vital stories that benefit all believers, it is still hotly debated as to its authenticity. However, as a companion to the LEV Scriptures, we published the Literal English Version apocrypha, which includes all the standard books such as Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Sirach, and so on. The LEV books of 1 & 2 Maccabees is already available as its own book and can be found here. A future edition of the LEV may, at some point, include all of these books (that is, the 66 books of Scripture plus the Apocrypha), but that would still be a ways down the road.
This is a bit of a trick question. Without a doubt we believe that every word of YHWH is TRUE and without error. Sadly, this does not mean that every Biblical manuscript and every Biblical text is without error. Nor does it mean that ANY translation is without error. The fact is, there are errors in the texts we have available today. The key to it, however, is to study these texts and compare them and examine internal and external evidence to figure out what were the original and inspired words. Anyone who denies that errors exist, has certainly not studied textual criticism. While variations in the OT are few, there are a number of them. The NT, however, has more variations between manuscripts than there are words in the NT. Again, the key is to piece together what we have given the evidence available to us.
The ISR Scriptures is a good version. Indeed, I (J. A. Brown) used it almost exclusively for about a year or so. And yes, it has done a great job with restoring the Names of our Creator, His Son, and most others found in the Scriptures. It has amended the English text to conform to a more Hebraic writing style, which is always nice. It also handles translated words and phrases better than most English Bibles out there. However, there are some notable differences. Primarily the differences being the base. The ISR Scriptures is essentially an extensive revision of the KJV. It retains some British English word order and spelling, and has a similar flow to the NKJV. It claims to use Kittel's Biblia Hebraica as the source for the Tanakh (OT) [the LEV uses the more expansive, updated Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia] and the Textus Receptus as the source for the NT [the LEV uses the Nestle-Aland 28 (UBS5) Critical Text]. This is the major point of diversion. Our largest disagreement with this translation is its arbitrary use of source texts.
We say arbitrary because when a translation is being made, a source texts must be selected. ISR chose to use the Textus Receptus. They did this because, as they state in the Preface of the ISR Scriptures, "As a modus operandi then, we have started out using the Textus Receptus, modifying our rendering as seemed appropriate in light of those other texts which we consulted, such as the Nestle-Aland text and the Shem Tob text, noting certain differences in the footnotes, where necessary." [emphasis added]
The major issue here is that these texts are not consistent on a Text-Critical level, nor are they consistent on a historical level. What the statement above essentially means is that readings were cherry picked from different source texts. Why would they do this? And at what point would they choose one reading over another? This shows that bias and personally-held theology drove the selection, and therefore influenced the translation. This is not consistent. They have created an eclectic text, with readings chosen from here and there. This is not uncommon, as the NIV translators did the same. However, one must wonder what lead the translators of ISR to choose one reading over another. If you are familiar with the translator and/or the organization, then you may already know the biases held by those individuals. And if you do, you can clearly see WHY these different readings were selected.
Where the LEV diverges with ISR is that we have conformed the NT text to that of much more recent and updated Critical Texts (the Nestle-Aland 28 [UBS5]), and we have not diverged from this text. However, any doctrinally-vital Scripture (except for 1 John 5:7) which is found in the later texts but NOT found in the Critical Texts HAS BEEN included in the LEV. It has been set in brackets, with a footnote stating that the verse is not present in early Greek (and/or Syriac) texts. To be sure, if the verse IS original, we do not want to be guilty of "removing from" the Word. However, we also do not want to be guilty of "adding to" the Word either. As a sort of middle ground we have followed the Critical Texts in our version, and have chosen to include the questionable verses IN BRACKETS.
Another alarming fact about the ISR Scriptures is that, for the book of Matthew, they diverged yet again from both the Textus Receptus AND the Nestle-Aland, in that they translated it from the Hebrew Shem Tob Matthew. This book has been proven, rather easily and numerous times, to be a late translation of the Gospel of Matthew, made from Greek and Latin sources. In fact, contained within the publication which was published alongside the Shem Tob Matthew is an appendix which lists numerous objections to ישוע being the Messiah. Yet again we found it strikingly odd that ISR would diverge so far from their otherwise textually consistent translation. Even in this, ISR has not been completely faithful in their translation in sticking with their source texts when it comes to the New Testament.
The LEV was created to be a Restored Name version of our Father's Word that has very little translational bias. There will always be bias, even if only in the decision of which original language source texts were used. Likewise, a "translation" can never be as good as the original. The best we can hope to do is offer a consistent, concise rendering of what the original languages state. Please read the Preface for more on this.
Well to begin with, the LEV is an amended version based on the World English Bible (WEB), itself being a revision of the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV). This means that the team of scholars that created the ASV were the first workers. Then, the creators of the WEB and the numerous volunteer workers that edited that version. Lastly, we come down to the LEV side of things.
The general editor of the project is J. A. Brown, though numerous Bible scholars and students contributed by proofing, editing, error-checking, cross-checking to other versions, and pointing out mistranslations that were carried into the WEB from previous generations. Though there are about a dozen individuals that have put the most effort into the project. Mr. Brown also maintains this website and handles distribution of the LEV.
Not at all. One person did most of the grunt work (changing names, for example, and adding footnotes) but dozens and dozens of individuals contributed to the LEV. Indeed, we have even received emails from individuals in Taiwan, Poland, Ireland, and across the United States that have offered substantial assistance.
Again, put succinctly, the LEV was born out of the WEB and was revised from there to make it more accurate in terms of transliteration and to bring it closer in line with the Greek Critical Texts (see "Source Texts" below).
For starters, the translators are the same scholars who worked on the ASV and the WEB, so to begin their names can be looked up, along with their qualifications. Next, many individuals that assisted in various capacities with the LEV did not want to be formally recognized for various reasons.
Lastly, since J. A. Brown is the official originator of the LEV (it was his idea and he manages the content and this website); in an attempt to offer accountability, his name is the only one featured in the Preface of the LEV. Originally we were not going to put any names in it, though we were told a few times that this was unwise, and therefore chose to listen to the counsel of our elders and put his name in it, along with contact information. Beyond this, we believe the work will speak for itself.
The same thing that has qualified any Believer to perform an act of service, worship, and obedience: the Set-apart Spirit of YHWH. The contributors to the LEV project come from various backgrounds and various skill levels/degrees. These include Semitic language majors, engineers, geologists, English / communications professionals, business professionals, linguists, and more. There are many different degree levels and fields represented here, but all have the same goal: to aid in producing the most accurate translation we can produce. J. A. Brown has experience in, and a working knowledge of, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek; many of the contributors have this level or more.
We have also been aided by various kinds of materials that have been produced including many different lexicons and dictionaries, various books on Bible translation and history, and a continued studying and sharpening of Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek language skills.
Technically speaking, anything that someone writes, whether they put a copyright symbol on it or not, IS copyrighted. That is simply US law.
There is a copyright notice inside the LEV (just after the title page), but this notice also notifies the reader that they are free to copy, quote, cite it as much as they want, without asking for permission. The only requirement to use/quote from the LEV is that no text gets changed.
The exception to this is swapping out Hebrew or Syriac words. For example, if you're quoting from the Tanakh on some social media sites, it may mess up your sentence to write the Hebrew יהוה in the middle of an English sentence. In this instance, it is perfectly acceptable to write YHWH or YHVH or YHUH or whatever your preference is in place of the Hebrew letters. The same goes for Messiah's Name. Similarly, the Syriac fonts are notorious for NOT being readable on mobile devices. On account of this, swapping the Syriac letters with Hebrew characters (which I did for the article, Aramaic Primacy of the NT) is perfectly acceptable, as is transliterating them.
That is exactly what that means, yes. Just don't alter the translation in any way. Again, this does not include writing the Names in English or changing fonts from Syriac to Hebrew. Altering any words in the text or word order, or any grammatical pointer that alters the way the verse is read or understood: this is not allowed