Why German (Protestant) Bibles are bigger than English ones #Bible

Recently I finished reading the book ‘Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger’ by Gary G. Michuta. It tells the story of some Old Testament books not found in many ordinary Protestant Bibles. These books are called the Deuterocanonical books. Protestants today call them Apocrypha, which confuses these books with a whole set of ancient books such as the Gospel of Thomas.

An interesting point is that the Protestant reformers did not remove these books at the time of the Reformation. Martin Luther, who started the Protestant Schism and translated the Scriptures into his native German, translated the whole Bible, including the Deuterocanonical books, which he questioned. He also disliked the New Testament books of James, Hebrews, and Revelation. But he translated them anyway, and when I bought a Martin Luther translation of the Bible in Germany, it had ‘die Apokryphen’ tucked away in a special section between the older Old Testament books and the New Testament.

In England, the famous King James Version translation of the Bible included the Deuterocanonical books. But the KJV Bibles I grew up with lacked these books. Why, if the KJV translators took the trouble to translate them?

It started in 1804, when the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed. They did not have a high opinion of the Deuterocanonical books. Plus, it was cheaper to print Bibles without them. They decided to cut funding to foreign Bible societies that were printing complete Bibles with the Deuterocanonical books left in. There was a controversy for some time over this, since the foreign Bible societies being helped often did not want to provide people with partial Bibles. But in time British opinion hardened against the Deuterocanonical books and no Bibles would be printed in any language that contained the Deuterocanonical books. There were some that feared these books taught ‘popish’ doctrine and might make people Catholics.

Interestingly, this tradition of the English Bible society affected the Esperanto translation of the Bible. The English and Foreign Bible Society did the translation of the New Testament, L. L. Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto and a Jewish man, translated the accepted books of the Jewish Bible— which does not contain the Deuterocanonical books. Since the English and Foreign Bible Society did the printing, Esperanto Bibles containing the Deuterocanon were not available until recently.

Although I am now a Catholic, even when I was Protestant I didn’t believe that the British Bible Society was an authority chosen by God to make the final decision as to which books are in the Bible. I felt that since the early church, including the Apostles, seemed to favor the Septuagint, a Greek language Old Testament translation which included the Deuterocanon, that was a good argument for those books being included in the Bible. Why, if they were bad books, wouldn’t Jesus have had something negative to say about them rather than making reference to them?

If you have any curiosity about how it got determined which books are in the Bible, Michuta’s book is a good place to get started. His ‘Selected Bibliography’ includes works by Protestants as well as Catholics.

I personally prefer the KJV Bible when I read the Bible in English. For some years I used my old KJV Bibles along with a copy of just the KJV ‘apocrypha’ in paperback form. I now have a leather-bound complete KJV Bible for my personal Bible reading.


Let your light so shine/Via lumo lumu antaŭ homoj

Every Sunday Catholics and many Protestants hear the same set of Bible readings, all over the world.  This is from the readings for today, in two languages. (Don’t worry, the second one is in English.)


13  Vi estas la salo de la tero; sed se la salo sengustiĝis, per kio ĝi estos salita? ĝi jam taŭgas por nenio, krom por esti elĵetita kaj piedpremita de homoj.

14  Vi estas la lumo de la mondo. Urbo starigita sur monto ne povas esti kaŝita.

15  Kiam oni bruligas lampon, oni metas ĝin ne sub grenmezurilon, sed sur la lampingon; kaj ĝi lumas sur ĉiujn, kiuj estas en la domo.

16  Tiel same via lumo lumu antaŭ homoj, por ke ili vidu viajn bonajn farojn, kaj gloru vian Patron, kiu estas en la ĉielo.

English, King James Version

13  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The King James translation is one of the greatest works in the English language. It contains the full text of the Bible, not just an abbreviated version of the Old Testament like many modern Protestant translations have. I have read that if all the copies of the King James Bible vanished, it could be reconstructed almost completely from the Bible quotations in other English works.

Many proverbial expressions that are well used in the English language originated in the King James Bible.  There are three of them in this passage alone: Salt of the earth, light of the world, let your light so shine before men. As writers, it is well to know the origin of these common phrases.

In the phrase “Let your light so shine before men,” the word ‘men’ is used in its meaning of “men and women.” In 1611 when the KJV Bible was published, modern feminist jargon had yet to be invented, and so the translators were free to use “men” instead of the ugly and less effective feminist jargon alternatives like “personkind” or “humankind.” (In English, words of one or two syllables pack more of a punch than words of three or more syllables.)

The best writers in the world ‘let their light so shine before men.’  That is, they don’t hide their ‘light’— their knowledge, both spiritual and secular, and their very selves— in order to seek popularity by being just like all the other writers. Hiding your ‘light’ makes your writing seem bland and boring and just like every other second-rate writer. The writer who shares his ‘light’ and his self with readers is going to be a one-of-a-kind writer and can stand out from the crowd.

An Esperanto-language blog from Nepal

razeno_apud_flagoBona esperanta blogo estas ‘Razeno blogas Esperante.’ La aŭtoro estas Razen Manandhar, el Katmando, Nepalo.
OK, maybe you’d rather I blog in English?

Let me tell you the story of Razen Manandhar from Kathmandu, Nepal. He is a blogger— and he blogs in the international language, Esperanto. I have followed his blog, off and on, for years. While reviving my own Esperanto blog, I decided to check on his. He’s still active. So on my ‘kaj la hundo’ blog in Esperanto, I wrote about his blog. And since I’m being lazy today but still wanted to post in THIS blog, I decided to cheat a bit and blog about the same thing.

Here is my blog post for today from ‘kaj la hundo.’

A good blog in Esperanto is ‘Razeno blogas Esperante.’ The author is Razen Manandhar from Kathmandu, Nepal.

Razeno says:

“Welcome to my blog. In my Esperanto-blog, I show to the world that our international language indeed lives today, and you can find it also in Nepal. You will find short articles about Nepal, its culture, society and my personal life. And I without fail give my personal opinion about the Esperanto-movement in my country.


And here is the Esperanto version, in case you are interested:

Bona esperanta blogo estas ‘Razeno blogas Esperante.’ La aŭtoro estas Razen Manandhar, el Katmando, Nepalo.

Razeno diris:

“Bonvenon al mia blogejo. Per mia Esperanto-blogo, mi montras al la mondo ke nia internacia lingvo ja vivas hodiaŭ, kaj ĝi troviĝas ankaŭen Nepalo. Vi trovos artikoletojn pri Nepalo, tiea kulturo, socio kaj mia persona vivo. Kaj mi nepre donas mian personan opinion pri Esperanto-movado en mia lando.”

The cool thing about Esperanto is that you can get in contact with people from distant countries on a more equal level. Razen Manandhar speaks English, and has an English blog somewhere or other. But if I only communicated with him in English, he would be having to speak to me in MY language— an unequal relationship. But when we are both trying to communicate in Esperanto, we have BOTH laid aside our native language and learned another language, Esperanto, so we would be able to communicate with one another.

Daily Writing Habit:

After having three good days of doing my daily 8-minute timed writing session (and more), I slipped up yesterday. Got all caught up in the IWSG blog hop, and also in tending my Esperanto blog and Facebook page, and did not get to my writing session at ALL.

So today, I did my timed writing session FIRST. I only did 2 eight-minute sessions, but it’s a start and I hope to do more later today.


When I put the kittens out on the porch so I could get things done, I was pleased to note that kitten Alvin went out on his own for the very first time. I guess he’s having fun playing on the porch and in the yard like a big kitty.

IWSG: Reviving my 2006 blog in Esperanto

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeThis is a post in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. Join at: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

My latest ploy to avoid having enough time to work on my WIP is reviving my oldest blog— one from 2006. At that time, my main blog was called ‘Moreover the dog went with them’, after a line from the Biblical book of Tobit. (If you don’t have Tobit in your Bible, you need a better Bible. Tobit was in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Bible Jesus and his disciples used.)

In addition to Moreover, I started a second blog in Esperanto, the international language. It’s called ‘kaj la hundo iris kun ili’, which is the Biblical phrase from the Esperanto Bible.

The Bible in Esperanto translation.

Esperanto Bible

I have not posted in ‘kaj la hundo’ in years, but lately I decided to start again. The reason is that I am working on a science fiction novel in which Esperanto is the common language of the Terran Empire and also used as an intercommunication language by aliens, because it’s such an easy language to learn. Using Esperanto as a futuristic language used to be far more common in science fiction, but today’s science fiction writers are convinced that difficult English will be the One True Terran Language in the future. Not very logical, but…..

My revival of the ‘kaj la hundo’ blog is currently concerned with providing links to Esperanto learning material for English speakers. Here is the link, in case you want to have a look: http://kajlahundo.blogspot.com/  I welcome comments on any of the posts there in any language. Well, OK, if you are going to comment in Chinese or Swahili I won’t understand it a bit, but I welcome the comments anyway. 😉

I especially hope to find readers for that blog interested in learning a little Esperanto. Studies show that Esperanto can be learned in 1/10th the time it would take to learn another European language. So it’s a quick way to get a second language into your brain.

More recently I started a Facebook page in Esperanto called ‘La Sankta Biblio en Esperanto.’ As you may have guessed, it’s about the Bible. I try to regularly post verses or groups of verses from the Bible in Esperanto. I usually give the English as well, and for single verses a few other languages. I use the web page Jesus Army Multilingual Bible to help find the verses in different languages. Here is the link to La Sankta Biblio en Esperanto: https://www.facebook.com/sanktabiblio/

I’d really like it if language geeks and Bible geeks would ‘like’ that Facebook page and share it with their friends. Thanks!

Kitten Picture of the Day

juliannenorbertMy cat Julianne— the orange one— got pregnant this spring and had to have an emergency caesarian. All of her kittens died. During the grief period Julianne needed to cuddle a kitten, so I handed her the youngest cat we had— seven month old Norbert (who is a girl kitty.)

Julianne has got over losing her kittens, and she’s grown a lot. She was so tiny at two years old the vet thought she was a pregnant kitten. But now she’s almost as big as her brother and kitten-daddy Derek. Perhaps being neutered let her grow more.IWSG

Writing a haiku every day for twenty years — in Esperanto

EOStephen D. Brewer didn’t start out to be an internationally known Esperanto-language haiku poet. He didn’t even know much about haiku at first– just what most of us learn about haiku in school. But now he is the author of three books of Esperanto haiku. (What is Esperanto? http://esperanto.org/us/USEJ/world/index.html)

What started him out was that he heard of Esperanto, an invented international language, and thought the concept was cool. He learned it, but then got too busy to practice it much. So, haiku. A haiku a day— not serious haiku at first, but an effort. Which led to learning more about haiku, and publication, and authorship. Persistence paid off.

I don’t write an Esperanto haiku every day. In fact, I’ve only ever written one haiku in Esperanto, plus two free-verse poems— with English translations, of course. But I am trying to write a poem every day— if not haiku, then senryu, sijo or free verse. This morning I wrote my first tanka— another Japanese form, like haiku.

This is how becoming a writer happens. You write every day— even if it’s something you don’t think anyone wants to read. Even if you are an Aspie or autistic and you don’t think you can ever communicate anything with others very effectively. But you keep it up, year after year, building your skill, and then the day comes when you can look back on a record of achievement.

Want to learn to write haiku in Esperanto? Go to the Lernu! web site for free Esperanto lessons. http://en.lernu.net/ When you have studied for three months or so, buy Wells’ Esperanto dictionary and The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson, and get started. If you want to share some of your best Esperanto haiku, you can come back to this blog and post it as part of a comment on a poetry-related post. Or you can post it on Twitter using hashtags #Esperanto and #hajko so Esperanto speakers can find it.

Diable! Swear-substitutes for Sci-Fi Writers

EoDicImagine this: you are writing science fiction. Your character swears. You don’t— or don’t want to do it in your fiction. What do you do?

One method is to translate the swears into a suitable science-fictiony language. After all, English-speaking people don’t get as upset at characters exclaiming “dreck” or “merde” as they do if those same characters had used the English equivalent (sh-t).

My favorite science-fictiony language to use for this is Esperanto— an international language created in 1887 by Polish oculist L. L. Zamenhof. Back in the early days of science fiction some authors mentioned Esperanto as a language of the future. Others had a language with names like ‘Standard’ or ‘Terran Standard’ that seemed pretty Esperanto-like.

Esperanto was used in the English translation of a German sci-fi series, Perry Rhodan. The Esperanto was a source of futuristic slang. In Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series, Esperanto is the language used by many of the characters and a few Esperanto words are used— such as bastardachfiulo, a construction that’s portrayed as ‘the worst thing you can call someone in Esperanto.’

There are two ways the clean-fiction writer can use Esperanto to translate swears. One is to translate the bad word directly— ‘the devil!’ being translated as la diablo! or simply diablo!  The other way is to find a non-swear-y equivalent of the swear and translate that. So, instead of ‘the devil’ you might say ‘the enemy’— la malamiko or malamiko. You might use both methods depending on the intensity of the swear.

Swear words may be divided into 4 categories— blasphemy, near-blasphemy, crude vulgarity, and minced oath. Let’s look at what can be done in each of these categories.

1. Blasphemy swears are ones that take God’s name in vain, or uses words like ‘God!’ or ‘Jesus!’ as swear words rather than as names to be used prayerfully and respectfully. No matter what your own religious beliefs are, this usage is considered swearing of a particularly morally bad kind within the English-speaking world. A direct translation of these words would be ‘Dio!’ or ‘Jesuo!’ A less direct use is to use the word ‘heaven’ as a substitute for the name of the Ruler of heaven. In Esperanto that would be ‘ĉielo!’ but to avoid the use of the circumflex (the cap on the letter ‘c’) we can use the alternative: ‘chielo!’

2. Near-blasphemous swearing consists of words and phrases like ‘damn!’ or ‘Go to hell!’ which are semi-blasphemous in that they, in speech, usurp the right that God alone has of deciding who will, in fact, be damned to hell. These words also are extremely uncharitable. Merely mentioning the name of the devil in swearing isn’t as wicked, but it still isn’t very polite language. ‘Damnu!’ or ‘Dio damnu!’ are words/phrases in the ‘damn’ family, while ‘iru al la infero!’ (Go to hell!) ‘infero!’ (hell) and ‘infera’ (hellish) are in the ‘hell’ family. Milder versions might use the word ‘kondamnu!’  (condemn!) as a damn-substitute. For ‘hell’ we might use ‘diablujo’ (which means ‘devil’s place’ or ‘devil’s location’). Or if we want to make it still milder, we can substitute ‘malamiko’ for ‘diablo’ and we will have ‘malamikujo’ as a hell-substitute.

3. Crude vulgarity can be relatively mild terms such as bastard or bitch (when applied to a human female), or it can be the hard-core swears, sh-t and f-ck. It also includes crude slang terms for private anatomical parts. When I was young, these terms rarely appeared in books, and the hard-cores not at all— not even in pornography books! We need to be careful about how we substitute for the worst swears in this category, out of charity for people who are trying to get over a bad swearing habit. For the mild terms, bastardo means ‘bastard’ and the still-milder term malbonulo (‘bad guy’) can substitute. ‘Bitch’ translated literally yields hundino (female dog) and as the term is more usually used, inaĉo (shrew), also spelled inacho.  For the time-dishonored phrase ‘son of a bitch’ we can use the word inaĉido or inachido which would mean ‘offspring of a low-class female.’ There are Esperanto words for the ‘big 2’ swears in this category— ‘merdo’ for sh-t, ‘fiku’ for f-ck. There is good reason to avoid these terms, even translated. For myself, I might use ‘merdo’, but never the other. For a less swear-y version of merdo, use sterko, which means ‘manure’.

4. When I was middle-school-aged I went to a wonderful Christian school, San Jose Christian, and had a teacher, Mrs. Stark, who taught her pupils about the evils of the minced oath. These swears are words which sound like a type 1 or 2 swear, but are not the swear itself. It’s bad because the person using it has actually got the swearing-intention in his head, but at the last second substitutes a more civil word. Examples are ‘heck’ for ‘hell’, ‘darn’ for ‘damn’, ‘gosh’ for ‘God’, and ‘Jeez’ for ‘Jesus’. You see the problem here. By modern tastes, these substitutes are absurdly mild and often laughable. And yet it still offends. Some Evangelical publishers do not allow these minced oaths— first because they still have readers who would raise ‘heck’ over them, and second because of the laughability factor.  A similar type of swear substitute are the words used on television when they are playing a movie or cable TV show that uses class 3 swears that the network doesn’t allow— we hear ‘fricking’ or ‘froozing’ for f-ck, ‘spit’ for sh-t, and ‘mother-loving’ for mother f-king. The annoyance factor with this is high.

In Esperanto there are also 2 affixes which can be used to create swear-substitutes. The prefix fi- adds the meaning of ‘morally shameful’ to any word. The suffix -aĉ0 or –acho means ‘bad’ in a shabby, broken-down kind of sense. With an Esperanto dictionary and a little knowledge, you can use these affixes to create words to order.

To learn Esperanto:

Lernu! website provides free Esperanto lessons: http://en.lernu.net/

A good book is Teach Yourself Esperanto: http://www.amazon.com/Esperanto-Teach-Yourself-Revised-Edition/dp/0844237639

Wells’s dictionary is a good 2-way dictionary: http://www.amazon.com/English-Esperanto-English-Dictionary-Edition-Christopher-Wells/dp/1595691499

Peter Benson’s dictionary is a comprehensive English-to-Esperanto dictionary: http://www.amazon.com/Comprehensive-English-Esperanto-Dictionary-Peter-Benson/dp/0939785021