Is an Anti-Semitic Demon Touching Your Nightstand? New Book Probes Bias in the Last Place You'd Expect

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In these heady days of political primaries, we can pride ourselves that we've exorcised another demon of historic bias against African-Americans and women. But it's taken a scientist to raise the question of the source of bias lurking on your nightstand. No matter if you are Protestant or Catholic, your bible translation of the Old Testament has significant gaps between the English and the original Semitic languages which diminish its true beauty. A. Frances Werner's hard hitting expose, "Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Surprising Bias in the Old Testament", documents the degree your Old Testament ignores its Hebrew roots.

The Jews have long objected to any negative bias in the New Testament story of the crucifixion of Christ. Translators have responded to eliminate those obvious anti-Semitic disparities. However, a scientist, A. Frances Werner, proposes that those disparities are minor compared to the irregularities in today's translations of the Old Testament.

In the recently released "Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Surprising Bias in the Old Testament" (ARTB® Publishing, 2007), A. Frances Werner placed 20 versions from Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah Witness and Jewish faiths under her microscope. Werner carefully traces the roots of each and every Hebrew word to document how faithfully your favorite bible version matches the original text. Her analysis of 8 million data points coalesce into some simple, disturbing numbers.

The oldest bible analyzed, the King James Version (KJV), is only 74% faithful to the original Hebrew text. The remaining 26% deviation, or 1 in 4 words, was introduced by translators who opted for the Greek manuscripts, or invented other words of their own choosing. The KJV is missing over 1200 unique English words to match unique Hebrew and Aramaic words.

A. Frances Werner explains, "From the earliest times, the Christian church embraced the Greek language in preference to the original Hebrew language. There has been a fundamental mistrust in the accuracy of the manuscripts which have been handed down through the Jewish faith. Otherwise, why have translators preferred the later Greek translations to such a great degree? Is this a result of anti-Semitism?"

Most people have no idea that their favorite Old Testament doesn't really reflect its original roots. Newer bible versions generally have not improved, but deviate further from the Hebrew. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) which is hailed by many scholars to be accurate, is less 'Hebrew' with a consistency of 66%. That's a deviation of 1 in 3 words. The bestselling New International Version (NIV®) by Zondervan is only 52% 'Hebrew', a mismatch of 1 in 2 words. Even the recent publication of the English Standard Version (ESV) falls short on its Semitic roots. It is estimated to be 61% consistent with Hebrew. These later versions added approximately 500 of the unique words back to the text, but are still missing over 700 unique Hebrew vocabulary words. The main reason there is not a match between every Hebrew and English word is that most bible versions reuse the same English words again and again.

As Werner demonstrated, Old Testament translations are lacking the basics, right down to simple vocabulary. "All Christian faiths are implicated when their Old Testaments are filled with something less than a true Semitic-based Old Testament with Hebrew and Aramaic roots. Since English is the dominant language in the world today, we have a special responsibility to set aside historical biases which are clouding the quality of the translations we are producing," continues A. Frances Werner. "Let us finish off this exorcism whether its residual anti-Semitism or another demon and recover the true diversity of the original text."

View additional data from "Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Surprising Bias in the Old Testament" at the blog for A. Frances Werner, at and at Werner is also the author of the Ancient Roots® Translinear® Bible (ARTB®), which was specifically designed to restore the original text. Both books are available at


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Mike Ferrantino

A. Frances Werner
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