Saturday morning Bible Study at BPC 6 August 2016, impromptu (no handouts) (a cancellation was cancelled) discussion of Psalms 23 and 100. Compiled by a group member (me, Bill W., actually absent this time) after the meeting. Jewish and NSRV have been used before by Ed. I added the New World Translation because of an interesting conversation I had with a Jehovah's Witness, about changes by modern editors. If anyone wants to talk with me about this file, email@example.com.
Psalm 23, New Revised Standard Version, 1989
Psalm 23, Complete Jewish Bible, 1998
Psalm 23, Jehovah's Witnesses New World Translation, 2013
Select Psalm 23 interlinear; English text is KJV. At this site there are PDF files, which (when you pick a psalm) may not open but simply download.
Psalm 100, New Revised Standard Version, 1989
Psalm 100, Complete Jewish Bible, 1998
Psalm 100, Jehovah's Witnesses New World Translation, 2013
Select Psalm 100 interlinear; English text is KJV. At this site there are PDF files, which (when you pick a psalm) may not open but simply download.
What was changed in the 2013 New World Translation
Wikipedia, English Bible Translations
Interestingly (to me, Bill W., who am typing this- I missed the 7 August 2016 morning meeting, which actually had been cancelled but then was able to happen-- Without handouts. So I'm creating this file as part of making up for my absense.) Interestingly, for many decades Psalm 23 intrigued me, to say the least, with "the valley of the shadow of death," and "I will live in the house of the LORD forever." Ahhh, immortality. When I found out, a couple of years ago, that many modern translations -- including Jehovah's Witnesses -- say "valley of darkness" and "for the rest of my life," I reacted badly, like, "That's pretty lame; only 'the rest of my life?' And what happened to *death*?" I complained to some folks about this. Then I saw the interlinear. Oh oh. It doesn't promise immortality. It says "for·length-of days." It never DID say "forever." Well, anyway there's still "tzlmuth / shadow-of-death."
And they're still reciting the KJV of Psalm 23, explicitly addressing death and immortality, at funerals I attend; and that's good, at least it applies to what I see up front at most of them, I mean, death. Immortality? I'll have to wait until later, to see about that.... Unfortunately, there's a possibility I won't be able to find out....
Before she died, my mother said several times, "Well, I guess I 'm going to find out what it's all about." This isn't something science can help with. I can't have Popperian falsifiability (two links), in my own experience. I can't experience disconfirmation of "I survived my body's death." I mean, what's it like to have an experience of not experiencing anything?
Not much attention is given the situation where one begins to sense that there is no future in one's present. This can be a wrenching discovery.
We are hardwired to feel a short way into the future, that is, the future in our awareness (in our imagination- But not "imaginary" like a fantasy). A collection of expectations is part of our identity, part of our sense of self. We hold a certain expectation of content in the next second or two, and to a much lesser degree, future minutes, hours, days and so on. I will experience the warmth of the air in the room, the feel of the chair under me, the sound of the fan, and so on. (See Graph A.)
As the reality of our earthly existence becomes more apparent, the future side of the graph deteriorates--
And along with it, part of our sense of self.
This can be a disorienting or frightening experience, and at the same time one that is difficult to communicate- which exacerbates the "distance". Contemplating one's own end-time and trying to imagine the experience-of-not experiencing, ahead of time, can be confusing. The difficulty of understanding and communicating this experience can impair one's sense of belonging in one's community. Of course the normal mechanisms of denial and avoidance can be expected to come into play. Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to neglect this aspect of the pre-death experience (whether dying or contemplating), along with encouraging people to not think about when they are not going to be here, from their own point of view, as does, for example, Diana Butler Bass when she says, "I don't think much about my own demise; what I think about is how other people will remember me." (LTQ video.)
After becoming accustomed to modern scholarship getting away from immortality in the conclusion of Psalm 23, yesterday (August 12) I ran across this interlinear version which says at the end, "perpetuity". Which is more like “forever.” You can change the "23" to "100" at that web page, to get the take of this web site, on Psalm 100.
Comparison of 23 with 100
Comparing Ps23 and Ps100, Ps100 ends with a length of time specified for experiencing God’s beneficence, which is more like immortality, but in this case it applies to a group- the Nation- not individual people, as in Ps23. Ps23 says "I"; Ps100 says "generations". This is a more observable form of immortality, although not a source of solace for individuals. Except that it is of course nice to think of one's descendants carrying on traditions, values and memories.
Ed told me he used some poetry at the meeting, by Wallace Stevens, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird", and compared the arc of a person's life to the trajectory of a bird flying into an open window in an attic, then out through another window. If anyone else who was there on August 6 would like to provide input here, please get in touch!