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A Reply To Heinz Schmidt

On the Subject of My Online Review of Rolf Furuli's The Role of Theology and Bias in Bible Translation

James Stewart

 

My original review, as it appeared on Amazon.com in July, 1999, may be found here.

The webmaster of a prominent Jehovah's Witness website has written a response to my review, which you can find here.

I was informed that Mr. Heinz did a review of my review of Mr. Furuli's book on Amazon.  I asked him if I could reply to his review on his web-site, but he said no.  So, I am posting my reply here. - Originally posted on Robert Bowman's Evangelicals and Jehovah's Witnesses Discussion Board, 10/6/2002.


 

Since I wrote my review of Mr. Furuliís book, I have received a few e-mails from very angry Jehovahís Witnesses.  After reading Mr. Heinzís review of my review, it seems to me that he is angry with me also.  What Mr. Heinz and others fail to realize is that when someone goes to print, it comes with the territory that there will be positive and negative reviews of oneís work.  In fact, it should have been expected from a book that defends the NWT.  People are going to agree and disagree with what is written.

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "The reason for a review of this review is that it posted

in many places in order to undermine Jehovah's Witnesses, the New

World Translation, and anyone who dares come to its defense."

 

The purpose of my review was to tell people what Mr. Furuliís book was all about (in my opinion).  It was not a refutation of Mr. Furuliís book.

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "It should be noted that of the ten reviews listed of this book on amazon for Furuli's book, this was the only negative one."

 

I would be willing to wager that Jehovahís Witnesses wrote the other nine reviews.  A couple of the other nine reviews actually defended Mr. Furuliís book against my review.

 

Mr. Heinz states, "Reply: Well, the book IS subtitled "With a special look at the New World Translation of Jehovah's Witnesses."

 

The sub-title has nothing to do with refutation.  His book is supposed to be an objective analysis of theology and bias in a translation.  In my opinion, one does not expect a refutation of other books in a book not claiming to defend the NWT.  The first point of my review was to point out that his book is really an apologetic book I donít think this book would be so important to Jehovahís Witnesses if it werenít a defense.

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "Didn't Mr. Stewart read this??"

 

Didnít Mr. Heinz understand the first point of my review that it was my opinion that Mr. Furuli should have been out front that his book was an apology for the NWT.  I know apologetics when I read it.  What he wrote in his preface (in my opinion) does not match how he wrote his book.

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "Reply: I own hundreds of books on Bible translation, and Bible theology. Few, and I mean few authors actually list the demomination(sic) that they belong to... Why should he be held to a different standard than other academic works?"

 

It is my opinion that someone who writes an apologetic on a subject should let the readers know his/her frame of reference.  Probably most of the books Mr. Heinz is referring to were written from within the historic Christian tradition, so it was not necessary to state a frame of reference.  Also, Mr. Furuli is not in another denomination.  He is in a different religion. 

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "Is it because Stewart works under the assumption that any author that is a member of a mainstream church will not have biased

thoughts clouded by theology, and that anyone who is a JW is

naturally a liar and cannot work beyond his commitment to "Mother" or

the "Borg?" Judging from his comments below, prejudice is hard to

dismiss."

 

Wow!  Where did this come from?  All I did was give a negative review to Mr. Furuliís book.  Mr. Heinz should have asked me what my assumptions are.  I donít think anyone is neutral.  Everyone has a frame of reference by which they make judgments. I do not think that "anyone who is a JW is naturally a liar" How does he know my assumptions since we have never dialogued?  And why use pejorative words like Ďprejudice?í

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "Reply: The difference is the level of interpretation involved, as is pointed out even in other books:... AND THEN, Professor Furuli goes on to equate this meaning of "interpretation" as "paraphrase", all of this still on page 27. Did the reviewer even read the entire book?"

 

Yes I did read the entire book.  What Mr. Heinz doesnít understand is that I was commenting on Mr. Furuliís criticism of the TEV translation, not the translation itself.  I was not concerned with the NWTís translation or the TEVís translation of SARX.  It was the criticism that Mr. Furuli applied that I thought was too broad.  His criticism was that the TEVís translation of SARX is forced on the readers.  But this is a two-edged sword.  Any translation is "forced on the reader," if that reader does not know the source language.  I think that criticism makes any sense.  It is too broad.  I was also not concerned with the debate between Formal Correspondence and Functional Equivalence theories of translation!

 

Mr. Heinz states, "Reply: There is a point that Stewart failed to grasp in reading this book. The reader takes part in the interpretation process."

 

No, what I was doing was holding Mr. Furuli accountable for his statements.  And that is okay.  You are holding me accountable for my statements in my review.  And that is okay.  It comes with the territory.  I agree with Mr. Furuli that translation is interpretation.  If this is true, then to translate SARX as Ďfleshí or as Ďhuman natureí is interpretation.  His criticism of the TEV applies to his translation as well. 

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "Perhaps it is time for James Stewart to get on the same page."

 

Like I said above, "I was also not concerned with the debate between Formal Correspondence and Functional Equivalence theories of translation!"

Mr. Heinz stated, "Reply: The reference here is regarding the words PRO KATABOLHS KOSMOU, which the NWT-1950, NRSV, NKJV, NAB, Byington, NASB,

Perschbacher, KJV, Zerwick, Douay, Thayer's, Robertson, BAGD, HCSB,

Lattimore, RSV, LITV, MKJV, ESV, YLT, render "foundation of the

world," the NWT-1984, Thayer's, Strong's, BAGD and Rotherham

render "founding of the world," while Moffatt and the New Berkeley

Version prefer "before the world was founded." But Nida & Taber

recommended the translation of "(God) creates the world." Now tell

me, honestly, which one is *forced.*"

 

Like I said above, the issue is not the translation but the criticism, which is a two-edged sword.

 

Mr. Heinz stated, " Reply: So...what is it? Is he or is he not a JW apologist? If the above, according to Stewart, proves that Furuli is "contradicting his organization" then he is not a JW, and your entire review was in vain."

 

Mr. Heinz seems so intent on defending Mr. Furuli that he does understand the point I was making.  I was showing his inconsistency with the organization he represents.  A person can defend an organization and still contradict some of the teachings.  Mr. Furuli did it (without acknowledging that he was doing so) in his book.  And Mr. Stafford did it (and acknowledged doing so) in his old and new book.  The first and the third points of my review are not in vain.  They have nothing to do with whether Mr. Furuli is a Jehovahís Witness.  Point two would be irrelevant if Mr. Furuli is not a Jehovahís Witness.  But, he is, so it is not in vain!  Dave Sherrill has a relevant essay on this subject on his web site at www.jude3.net called "Can Neo-Watchtower Apologists Live Their Religion?" 

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "I can agree with those comments, can't you...Members of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses know what is meant by the WT67 and WT73."

 

This does not answer my challenge at all.  According to the two Watchtower quotes, Mr. Heinz cannot interpret the Bible without the Anointed.  In fact, Mr. Heinz is not even entitled to personal opinions on spiritual matters.  In the Watchtower August 1, 2001, it states, "A mature Christian must be in unity and full harmony with fellow believers as far as faith and knowledge are concerned.  He does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding.  Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his son, Jesus Christ, and Ďthe faithful and discreet slave."

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "Our criticism of mainstream Christianity is not as harsh as theirs is of us (see above quotes). We would not lower ourselves to using derogatory terms such as "cult."

 

This is a whole other subject. It is completely off the subject.  My review had to do with Furuliís book, not who has the Holy Spirit or who is in a cult.  I would love to refute it, but it is not relevant to my review of Mr. Furuliís book. 

Mr. Heinz stated, "Reply: It would have been nice if James would have expanded on how deficient Professor Furuli's book is in this regard, and how the host of other books on Bible translation have remarked on this. The accusation is made, and left open. The end."

 

My review was just a quick three-point review.  It was not intended to give an expanded list of deficiencies.  I pointed out a deficiency.  I did not make an accusation.  I would like to know from Mr. Heinz what the accusation is in my third point and why.

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "Perhaps more reading into "presuppositional pools" and how many are incorporating a later theology into an earlier text is demanded."

 

Again, this is completely off the subject.  This is a whole other dialogue.  Since it has nothing to do with my review, I will not comment on it.

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "At any rate, Stewart's review is unfair and discriminatory."

 

How sad Mr. Heinz felt it necessary to engage in ad hominem arguments at the end of his review of my review.  Mr. Heinz should have just said that he didnít like my review instead of making personal accusations.  How did I commit discrimination in my review?  Give an example from the review!

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "Incorporating quotes from old Watchtowers into a work that is not a Watchtower magazine apologetic is unwarranted, especially when it really had nothing to do with the subject at hand."

 

I disagree.  It had everything to do with the subject.  Mr. Heinz just doesnít like the conclusion.  Is Mr. Heinz saying that what the Watchtowers I quoted from are no longer true?  Or does Mr. Heinz disagree with the Anointed? What does age have to do with the subject?  As far as I know, those quotes are still the current position of the Anointed.  I am open to correction if they have changed their position.  The quote from the 2001 Watchtower I quoted from above seems to say that it is still the current position.

 

Mr. Heinz stated, "It was just a chance for Stewart to appeal to a myopic mindset hell-bent on placing JW's in a bad light, thereby creating a distinction of superiority for others, in that, "We would never say such a thing." All in all, it was inappropriate, and frankly, disturbing. In doing this he has placed himself into the realm of pseudo-scholarship as we have seen in Walter Martin, Ankerberg & Weldon, Gail Riplinger, Peter Ruckman, Ron Rhodes, and a host of others."

 

Wow! Does Mr. Heinz have supernatural knowledge to know my mindset?  Mr. Heinz seems to take my review of a book he didnít write personally.  I donít take offence at reviews of Robert Bowmanís books that I think are wrong. I wonít attack the people that give his books a thumb down.  I donít know what to say to all this name-calling.  There arenít really any answers to ad hominem arguments.  That is why it is called a logical fallacy.  The way Mr. Heinz talks about implies that he takes me to be an enemy or/and someone persecuting him.  Whatever happened to obedience to Christ Who said in Matt. 5:44, "However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you;?"  If we are to continue this dialogue, I request that Mr. Heinz handle himself professionally.