Pro-Greek forgery in most common translations of the Bible

AncientsPro-Greek forgery in most common translations of the Bible

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In the most famous translations of the Old Testament Bible, the book of the prophet Daniel, the word “Greece” is artificially inserted, although according to the original text in ancient Hebrew it should have read – Macedonia!

A commonly accepted belief is that the Old Testament describing a dream refers to the conquest of Asia by Alexander the Great of Macedon. Here we point to a large pro-Greek forgery of the Bible, which unfortunately fell victim to many translators and reprinters of the Bible, even including some Macedonian authors and editors.

Indeed, in verse 8.21 of the Book of Daniel a king is mentioned – theologians, historians, academics, etc. are certain that Alexander the Great of Macedonia is meant by this. In the Macedonian translation of the Bible (available online) this king is also referred to as the “King of Greece”.

We also checked other translations of the Bible that are in circulation and most of them say the same – probably a typical domino effect when a translation is based on an already falsified translated version, thus, if somewhere in the “mother version” of the forgery “Greece” is mentioned it was taken for granted and by inertia entered the new translation.

As a result of this effect, we find the term “Greece” instead of Macedonia in the well-known and widespread translations of the Bible in English, for example in the translation by Webster (1833), by Darby (1890), in the American Standard Version of the Bible (1901) and other editions.

In all of these translations we read the English term “Greece”. The famous translation of the Bible from the Church of England by King James I, also known as the “King James Bible” (1611), provides the latin term “Graecia” for Greece.

The translation in the Douay – Rheims Bible from the year 1582 goes one step further and seems to be the furthest in the pro-Greek definition of forgery, thus the “King of Greece”, which had been falsified up to now, became the “King of the Greeks”.

These pro-Greek forgeries of this passage from the Book of Daniel can be found in many translations – including translations from Macedonia and translations of foreign works into Macedonian.

In reading these translations, we objected the authenticity of the use of the term “Greece” in all of these translations. First of all, due to the fact that this classification was made in the late seventh or early sixth century BC by the prophet Daniel, and at this point in time there was no state “Greece”, neither as a political unit (a unified ancient Greek state never existed in history, not even until the 19th century) – also because of the well-known differentiation between Greeks and Macedonians in antiquity and the legacies of that time. This means that the prophet Daniel (who lived in Babylon) could never had used this term.

In further research we found the text of the Old Testament in the original Paleo-Hebrew form (from the seventh and sixth centuries BC) in the transcription of Modern Hebrew and in the transcription with Latin letters. We found the mentioned verse 8.21 and saw a great surprise.

Paleo Hebrew in Latin transcription:

VHTShPhYUr HSh’yYUr MLK YVN VHQUrN HGDVLH ‘aShUr BYN-‘yYNYV HV’a HMLK HUr’aShVN.

Daniel 8.21

English: And the young he-goat, the hairy one, is the king of Javan; and the great horn that is between its eyes is the first king.

As we can see now it was not written “King of Greece”, but “King of Javan” instead.

So who has allowed to rename the name Javan (or Yavan) and replace it with the foreign name of a non-existent country, state, empire, … called “Greece”?

This is an unprecedented forgery and a bold fraud and even made it into the Bible! As we mentioned earlier, such frauds have found their way into countless translations of the Bible, if not all. Some Bible translators correctly translated Daniel’s works so that their translations read “Javan” rather than the artificial and spurious term “Greece”. As an example, the English translation of the Bible by Robert Young (published in 1862), we read in his translation of the works of Daniel correctly “King of Javan” and not the falsified “King of Greece”.

But what does the term “Javan” mean? Why has someone dared to equate this word with the term “Greece”? Is it an older name for the Territories of Modern Greece?

Javan is not a geographical name (e.g. as a former or older name for Greece), but it is a personal name! More precisely, it is the name of one of the sons of Jafet (the son of Noah). So Javan was not an area but was the nephew of one of Noah’s sons. This is illustrated in the Book of Genesis (chapter 10):

  • 1. The genealogy of Noah’s sons: Shem, Ham, and Jafet, all of whom had sons after the Flood
  • 2. The sons of Jafet: Gomer, Magog, Madaj, Javan, Tubal, Meschech, and Tiras
  • 4. The children of Javan: Elisha, Tarsis, Kittim and Rodanim (occasionally also Dodanim)
  • 5. From there the peoples spread across the islands – each with their own language according to their countries – according to their tribes and nations.
THE FIRST BOOK OF MOSES, called Genesis. Chapter 10. King James Version 1611

According to the Old Testament, different nations emerged from the grandchildren of Noah and their descendants, even if it is not precisely defined which person founded which nation, or shall we say – many have tried but still nothing of it is confrimed.

The pro-Greek-minded people hold the theory that the descendants of Javan gave birth to the Greeks, and so the name Javan appears in their translations and other works with the term “Greece” as an equivalent – although there is no historical evidence for this approach. Basically, the pro-Greek translators refer to the table of nations (Genesis 10) written by the Roman-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (who lived in the first century AD), in this table Josephus shows the Greeks as descendants of Javan.

As an example, in the most popular online encyclopedia “Wikipedia” we read in this context (title Javan, from the English version):

Javan was the fourth son of Noah’s son … Flavius Josephus takes the traditional view that this person was an ancestor of the Greek people.

Wikipedia, Javan

This (wrong) view is also held by a number of other authors, including the translators of the Bible mentioned above. According to them, Javan was supposedly the “ancestor of the Greeks” and therefore his name was exchanged in the Bible with “Greece” or “Greek” and thus ultimately falsified. As a basis for such a claim, the authors refer to the table of nations by Flavius Josephus.

And now it is time to critically review these pro-Greek claims in the Bible.

First we take a more precisely look on the “table of nations” to which the pro-Greek translators cling so vehemently. And immediately we say that the table of people is neither a biblical nor a historical text, but it is a literary work probably also by later authors – we do not want to say directly that the content is fiction. In the Old Testament (Genesis) we saw that it is only said that the descendants of Noah (quote):

From there, the peoples spread across the islands – according to their countries, each with their own language – according to their tribes and nations.

Genesis

Nowhere is it written who was whose descendant! Many centuries later, some authors took the liberty of adopting and speculating (without concrete evidence, of course) on the basis of this statement, as to which nations would be the descendants of the sons. Such assumptions (speculations) from the point of view of an author are known as such “Völkertafel”. For example, one of the authors who wrote their own version was the ancient Roman-Jewish historian Josephus. However, he was and is not the only author who created a table of people – there is not only one table of people, besides Josephus there were several different authors from the old days. In addition to the table by Flavius ​​Josephus, there are others by: Hippolytus (third century), Jerome (end of the fourth century), Isidore of Seville (seventh century) and several other authors. They all created their own tablet centuries after the original Genesis from the Old Testament appeared.

We said that in Josephus Flavius’ table of nations, which was written in the first century AD (about seven centuries after the completion of the book of Genesis), Javan was the progenitor of “all Ionians and the Greeks”, of course without any historical basis and proof for this claim – at this point we want to remind you that in all his historical works Flavius Josephus makes a clear distinction between Macedonians and Greeks, everywhere he clearly separates these two nations.

But in contrast to the table of people by Josephus Flavius, the table created by Hippolytus (first half of the third century) shows that Javan was the ancestor of the Macedonians through his son Kittim! Hippolytus (who came from Rome and is today considered to be one of the greatest early Christian theologians), who saw the Iberians, Trojans, Phrygians and Romans as direct descendants of Javan, is also interesting. There is ample evidence of the ethno-cultural connection between the Macedonians and Phrygians (who were known as Brygians at the time of their presence in the Balkans), this means that Hippolyte was not far from the truth regarding the Macedonians and Phrygians. Javan was the ancestor of the Macedonians and not the ancestor of the Greeks or the ancestor of Greece – Hippolytus wrote this in his large twelve-volume Jewish encyclopedia (published in modern times between 1901 and 1906). In this encyclopedia Javan is clearly associated with Macedonia.

In the world famous Krecman project – actually more of a commentary on the Bible by Prof. Dr. Paul Krecman published over 3,000 pages between 1921 and 1924 – which is considered the leading interpretation of the Bible among Lutherans, the term Javan is even associated with Macedonia and Greece, we read:

Javan includes Macedonia, Greece and the Ionian colonies …

However, we also find very categorical statements with regard to the descendants of Javan who strengthen the Macedonian position – and also our investigation here, including the Jewish academics Gothil and Kraus. According to them, Javan only refers to Macedonia.

In the Jewish Encyclopedia they recall that Alexander the Great was referred to as “Alexander the Macedonian” in the ancient texts of the rabbis and that in the Bible Macedonia is referred to as Kittim (we remind: Kittim, who was one of the sons of Javan), which means that there is a biblical testimony that Macedonia is associated with Javan through his son Kittim. Here we also become categorical and remember that this testimony can be found in the Old Testament in the First Book of the Maccabees (1-3):

Alexander the Macedonian, the son of Philip. King of Macedonia, who first ruled over Greece, left the land of Kittim and defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes.

First Book of the Maccabees

In this biblical testimony we clearly see that Alexander is referred to as a “Macedonian” (who at this point had already subjugated Greece) and that he left the land of Kittim. And because we know that the country of Alexander was Macedonia, and that Kittim was the son of Javan – here we have biblical proof that Javan should or must be associated with Macedonia and not with Greece.

1 Maccabees Chapter 1 (Original 1611 KJV Bible)

And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettum, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece

1 Maccabees Chapter 1
(Original 1611 KJV Bible)

Gothil and Kraus also reminded the rabbis who lived during the “Macedonian era” (quote):

“identified the Hebrew Javan with Macedonia”.

Hence the question arises: why did the translators of the Bible not use the word Macedonia as a synonym for Javan, even though there are testimonies in the Bible and in the Book of Maccabees? Why did they use the word “Greece” and also the name “Greeks”, although there is no historical basis for it as we could prove? Still, it would have been best if these translators had stuck to the original text (and historical truths) and used the term Javan in the translations instead of improvising based on unsubstantiated speculation.

Here is another pro-Greek tendency exposed by some scholars around the world, who ascribe something to Greece and the Greeks and their history that they do not deserve. And this time, no more and no less in the most sacred scripture in the universe – the Bible!

Source: Александар Донски translated, edited and appendixed by Macedonia History Blog

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