Friday, January 13, 2017

Herman strikes again


Last month (December) Rachael posted that there had been a flurry of interest in an old post on Herman Heinfetter. You can find the original (reprinted from a Bible Collectors' magazine) if you use the search facility on this site. Herman produced several Bible translations in the 1840s through to the 1860s in London, UK.

Those interested in this work can try google and download a pdf, although one comment suggested that these might not be complete. So - I went online to try and obtain a print copy.

The original is very rare, or more accurately - originals are... Herman produced a number of editions as part works and then complete works and two different translations - one called A Literal Version and one called An English version. They were privately produced in very small numbers. But shopping around I found that as well as ridiculous prices for print on demand, it was also possible to obtain both versions quite cheaply. I won't give the links because one already appears to have changed by this time of writing, but a search should yield something similar.

From "abebooks" came The Literal Version of around 450 pages from 1863. It only cost around 14 GBP including mailing from India. Yes - India. The downside was that it was reduced in size. I have seen an original in the Bible Society library, and while this size looks good in the bookcase, Herman's copious notes were pretty small in the original, so you need very good eyesight or a magnifying glass. For the general reader, this version reads like an interlinear.

From Amazon came The English Version of over 800 pages from 1864. This only cost me 8 GBP including mailing. It came from the UK, but was originally reprinted in the US. This was full size and is far more readable and user-friendly.

So what has this to do with this blog? Herman Heinfetter was the pseudonym of a British businessman who was a longtime member of the Anglo-Biblical Institute. His real name was Fred Parker, and he made his money as (quote) "an animal charcoal manufacturer". Although apparently a loner, with no direct connections to Unitarians, Adventists or Age to Come adherents of the day, he knew of the works of George Storrs. And his translation has some unusual features, like the use of "a God" in the last clause of John 1 v.1 and the regular use of "Jehovah" for the name of God over 150 times in his New Testament.

These non-traditional translation decisions may be rather familiar to many readers of this blog.

11 comments:

roberto said...

Jerome, bravo!

roberto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
roberto said...

HERMAN COLPISCE ANCORA - traduzione italiana

Lo scorso dicembre Rachael ha scritto che c’è stato una raffica di interesse su un vecchio post riguardante Herman Heinfetter. Potete trovare l’originale (ripubblicato dal Bible Collector’ Magazine) se usate il tasto “search” di questo blog. Herrman produsse diverse traduzioni bibliche tra il 1840 e il 1860 a Londra.
Coloro che sono interessati al suo lavoro possono scaricare un file in pdf tramite google, sebbene un commentatore mi ha suggerito che non si tratterebbe dell’opera completa. Perciò – Mi sono messo alla ricerca di una copia cartacea da comprare su internet.
L’originale è molto raro, o sarebbe meglio dire – gli originali sono … Herman produsse un certo numero di edizioni in dispense fin quando realizzò due diverse traduzioni – Una chiamata “A LITERAL VERSION” (Una Versione Letterale) e un’altra chiamata “AN ENGLISH VERSION” (Una Versione Inglese). Furono prodotte in forma privata con una tiratura molto limitata. Facendo shopping su internet ho scoperto che ci sono prezzi ridicolmente esagerati per una copia Print on Demand, ma che è anche possibile avere entrambe le copie a un prezzo abbastanza economico. Non vi fornisco i link perché sembra che uno abbia già cambiato indirizzo, ma una vostra personale ricerca vi porterà sicuramente a trovare gli stessi prezzi economici che ho trovato io.
Su “Abebooks” trovate la “Literal Version” di circa 450 pagine del 1863. Costa solo 14 sterline inglesi incluse le spese di spedizione dall’India. Si – India. Il lato negativo è che è in un formato molto ridotto. Ho visto un originale alla Bible Society Library, e sebbene il suo formato sembra buono per la libreria, le numerose note di Herman sono piuttosto piccole, così che avete bisogno di una vista molto buona o di un magnifico paio di occhiali. Per il lettore comune, questa versione è paragonabile a un’interlineare.
Su Amazon potete trovare la “English Version” di oltre 800 pagine del 1864. Costa solo 8 sterline inglesi incluse le spese di spedizione. Viene dal Regno Unito ma originariamente era stata ristampata negli USA. Questa è in un formato più leggibile a facile da usare.
Ma infine, cos’ha a che fare tutto questo con il nostro blog? Herman Heinfetter era lo pseudonimo di un uomo d’affari britannico che per un lungo tempo fu membro della Anglo-Biblical Institute. Il suo vero nome era Fred Parker, e si guadagnava da vivere come (sto citando una fonte) “produttore di carbone animale”. Sebbene apparentemente non associato ad alcuna chiesa, e nessuna connessione con gli Unitariani, Avventisti o credenti nella “Age-to-come” di quel tempo, conosceva gli scritti di George Storrs. E la sua traduzione ha alcune rese inconsuete, come ad esempio: “un Dio” nell’ultima proposizione di Giovanni 1:1 e l’uso sistematico del nome Geova (nella forma inglese Jehovah) ben 150 volte nel Nuovo Testamento.
Questo modo non convenzionale di tradurre può suonare abbastanza familiare a molti lettori di questo blog

jerome said...

molte grazie

Donald Jacobs said...

Thank you very interesting. I wonder has evidence been documented of this translation influencing early Bible Students, let alone the later translators of the NWT.

jerome said...

Although Heinfetter is one of the J references in the NWT Study Bible, and is also featured in the Insight book I believe that Watchtower writers and researchers came to him somewhat late in the day, probably due to researches in Dr Williams' non-conformist/Unitarian library in London. However, in some respects Heinfetter's work in England paralleled the work of Benjamin Wilson in the States. Wilson was influenced by Newcome's Improved Version of the NT from 1808 (which also reads "a god" and uses the name Jehovah in several places). Early Bible Students were greatly influenced by Wilson's translation of course.

Chris G. said...

Very interesting, thank you for sharing!

Donald Jacobs said...

I don't know anything about Dr Williams' non-conformist/Unitarian library in London. I found the reference to him in the original article. When you say Watchtower researchers what period do you mean? If it's in the 1984 Bible but not the 1950 edition I guess that would put the discovery between those dates. From London bethel? Is Dr Williams' library open to the public?

jerome said...

I can't be precise but knowing the individual from London Bethel who went to Dr Williams' Library I believe the work was done in the second half of the seventies or even very early eighties. The library is open to the public, bur you may need to make an appointment or get a readers' ticket. A couple of years ago I made inquiry about visiting because they have several volumes of The Rainbow magazine there (edited at one time by Rotherham who did a review of Divine Plan of the Ages in it). As yet I have not made the trip. An internet search will give you the details and numbers to call if you are interested in visiting. Like many such libraries, I know their catalog is incomplete, so you never know what you may find until you either ask direct or visit in person.

Donald Jacobs said...

A review of the Divne Plan of the Ages by Rotherham? That would be awesome!

jerome said...

I have sent you the full review back-channel. Also see the extracts and synopsis of Rotherham's comments in the next post on the blog from Rachael.